Fantasy query- The Beacon.

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pavloviandoggy
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Fantasy query- The Beacon.

Post by pavloviandoggy » October 6th, 2010, 4:22 pm

I'm really new to query writing and dealing with the publishing world, so any feedback is greatly appreciated. I've been writing and editing for the manuscript for a year and am now considering finding an agent. This is my first query. Feel free to tear it to shreds. Thanks!

Dear [Agent's name]

Deccaura lives a carefree life, exploring her father’s groves in Balla and playing with the charming and exotic Piorri. Then a foreign plague strikes her family and Deccaura’s childhood swiftly ends. Still reeling from her father’s death, Deccaura is forced into a marriage to an aloof and bitter king. He coldly dismisses her even after she bears him an heir. Trapped by her own loneliness, Deccaura finally gains a spark of happiness when Piorri reenters her life.

Yet Deccaura is gambling with more than her own heart. It is prophesied that an unfaithful queen brings a curse upon her entire kingdom. When disaster befalls her country in the form of an invasion by the Kasini Empire, Deccaura loses everything she holds dear. Her child and husband are slaughtered in cold blood while her fellow countrymen are sold into slavery. She is taken prisoner and thrust into a foreign land where the gods are strange and the mortals are cruel.

Just as Deccaura sinks to the depths of despair, her prayers are answered and her goddess entrusts her with a mission: kill the emperor of Kasini. Now Deccaura must endear herself to the very man she despises— the very man responsible for the death of her child and her country— to gain her revenge.

The Beacon is a completed 120,000 word epic fantasy novel. Thank you for your consideration. The entire manuscript is available on request.

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wilderness
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Re: Fantasy query- The Beacon.

Post by wilderness » October 6th, 2010, 7:07 pm

Hi there,

This is a good start. Your writing style is very clean and polished. But it sounds a little like a synopsis. Since you said the novel is an epic fantasy, I'm assuming that the novel starts with her childhood and her mission to kill the emperor is near the end. The problem is that by the time you get to the conflict about her killing the emperor, her childhood and her problems with her dead husband seem like backstory.

I think the trick here is to focus on the first 1/3 of the novel. Pique the interest of the agent. Hope that helps!

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Re: Fantasy query- The Beacon.

Post by pavloviandoggy » October 7th, 2010, 12:45 am

Here is round two. I've tried to revise the original query by expanding on the conflicts from the first third of the book, just before the country is invaded.
Dear Agent’s Name,

Deccaura lives a carefree life, exploring her father’s groves in Balla and playing with the charming and exotic Piorri. Despite the animosity between their races, Piorri teaches Deccaura about his culture and the two develop an uneasy friendship. Her adoration for the low- caste Piorri grows even as her mother assails her with more noble suitors.

Then a foreign plague strikes her family and Deccaura’s childhood swiftly ends. Still reeling from her father’s death, Deccaura is forced into a marriage to an aloof and bitter king. King Konor coldly dismisses her even after she bears him an heir and openly has an affair. Every day brings fresh miseries. She is denied access to her own child. King Konor’s spiteful mistress plots against her. Though Deccaura is never alone, she has no friends or freedom. Trapped by her own loneliness, Deccaura finally gains a spark of happiness when Piorri reenters her life.

Yet Deccaura is gambling with more than her own heart. It is prophesied that an unfaithful queen brings a curse upon her entire kingdom. Now Deccaura will lose everything she holds dear—her kingdom, her child, and her lover—for a few moments of pleasure.

The Beacon is a completed 120,000-word epic fantasy novel. [Insert personalization below]. I have included the first five pages below. The full manuscript is available upon request.

Sincerely,
Me
Phone Number
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Nicole R
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Re: Fantasy query- The Beacon.

Post by Nicole R » October 7th, 2010, 10:43 am

This is much improved from your first version. I think you can tighten the beginning even more to get to the catalyst—the plague—sooner.

"Deccaura spends her days exploring her father’s groves and fostering an uneasy friendship with the exotic, low-caste Piorri, but that carefree existence is shattered when a foreign plague strikes her family."

Or something like that. :)

More thoughts below. Nice work and good luck!

Deccaura lives a carefree life, exploring her father’s groves in Balla and playing with the charming and exotic Piorri. Despite the animosity between their races, Piorri teaches Deccaura about his culture and the two develop an uneasy friendship. Her adoration for the low- caste Piorri grows even as her mother assails her with more noble suitors. Is her initial friendship with Piorri really uneasy? She goes from “uneasy friendship” to “adoration” pretty quickly.

Then a foreign plague strikes her family and Deccaura’s childhood swiftly ends. Still reeling from her father’s death, Deccaura is forced into a marriage to an aloof and bitter king. King Konor coldly dismisses her even after she bears him an heir and openly has an affair. I get the “even after she bears him an heir” part, but I don’t think anyone would find it surprising if the king coldly dismissed her after she openly had an affair. Every day brings fresh miseries. She is denied access to her own child. King Konor’s spiteful mistress plots against her. Though Deccaura is never alone, she has no friends or freedom. Trapped by her own loneliness, Deccaura finally gains a spark of happiness when Piorri reenters her life. You have several lines about “fresh miseries,” “no friends and no freedom,” and “trapped by loneliness.” We only need one of those to understand how she feels. Eliminating the others might help you streamline, plus I started to see her as a little bit whiny and I don’t think you want that. :)

Yet Deccaura is gambling with more than her own heart. It is prophesied that an unfaithful queen brings a curse upon her entire kingdom. Now Deccaura will lose everything she holds dear—her kingdom, her child, and her lover—for a few moments of pleasure. I love the first line here, and I almost think a question might be a stronger close. Something along the lines of “Will she risk everything…” rather than telling us she WILL lose everything. It leaves more mystery.

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androidblues
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Re: Fantasy query- The Beacon.

Post by androidblues » October 7th, 2010, 11:43 am

I like this but I think the second paragraph can be tightened just a bit. If the writing in the novel is this good I'd really want to read it, provided she comes out on top.
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wilderness
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Re: Fantasy query- The Beacon.

Post by wilderness » October 7th, 2010, 12:22 pm

pavloviandoggy wrote: Dear Agent’s Name,

Deccaura lives a carefree life, exploring her father’s groves in Balla and playing with the charming and exotic Piorri. Despite the animosity between their races, Piorri teaches Deccaura about his culture and the two develop an uneasyfriendship. The uneasy part doesn't seem to fit with the rest. Not sure you need to mention that they develop a friendship here at all -- it seems implied by the next sentence. Her adoration for the low- caste Piorri grows even as her mother assails her with more noble suitors.

Then a foreign plague strikes her family and Deccaura’s childhood swiftly ends. Still reeling from her father’s death, Deccaura is forced into a marriage to an aloof and bitter king. King Konor coldly dismisses her even after she bears him an heir and openly has an affair. This sentence is ambiguous to whether Deccaura or the King had the affair. Every day brings fresh miseries. She is denied access to her own child. Passive voice. King Konor’s spiteful mistress plots against her. Though Deccaura is never alone, she has no friends or freedom. Trapped by her own loneliness, Deccaura finally gains a spark of happiness when Piorri reenters her life. Good ending to the paragraph.

Yet Deccaura is gambling with more than her own heart. It is prophesied that an unfaithful queen brings a curse upon her entire kingdom. Now Deccaura will lose everything she holds dear—her kingdom, her child, and her lover—for a few moments of pleasure. This is really good. Very high stakes as well. The only thing I would change is instead of she "will lose", can you leave it open to what her decision will be? Leave us with a choice she has to make.

The Beacon is a completed 120,000-word epic fantasy novel. [Insert personalization below]. I have included the first five pages below. The full manuscript is available upon request.

Sincerely,
Me
Phone Number
Email Address
It's looking good.

pavloviandoggy
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Re: Fantasy query- The Beacon.

Post by pavloviandoggy » October 8th, 2010, 5:50 pm

Ok, thank you for all the constructive input. Everyone is very positive. Here is my third draft.

I decided to cut down the first paragraph to two sentences. I’d still like to hint at racial tensions, since it’s a conflict in the novel. I also cut down some of the second paragraph. She did come off as sort of whiny. I cut out the part about King Konor having affair; mentioning the mistress implies he is having an affair anyway. And I did not include any questions because a lot of agents loathe them.

Dear Agent’s Name,

Deccaura lives a carefree life, exploring her father’s groves in Balla and learning archery with the charming and exotic Piorri. Despite the animosity between their races, Deccaura’s adoration for the low- caste Piorri grows.

Then a foreign plague strikes her family and Deccaura’s childhood swiftly ends. Still reeling from her father’s death, Deccaura is forced into a marriage to an aloof and bitter king. Her husband coldly dismisses her even after she bears him an heir. The king's spiteful mistress plots against her. As the king’s advisors deny Deccaura access to her own child, she becomes increasingly trapped by her own loneliness. Deccaura finally gains a spark of happiness when Piorri reenters her life.

Yet Deccaura is gambling with more than her own heart. An unfaithful can bring a curse upon her entire kingdom. If disaster befalls her kingdom, Deccaura could lose everything she holds dear—her homeland, her child, and her lover—for a few moments of pleasure.

THE BEACON is a high fantasy complete at 120,000 words. It is my first novel. Thank you for your time.

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wilderness
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Re: Fantasy query- The Beacon.

Post by wilderness » October 9th, 2010, 6:18 pm

I like how you simplified the first couple of paragraphs. Just a few tweaks suggested below.
pavloviandoggy wrote: Dear Agent’s Name,

Deccaura lives a carefree life, exploring her father’s groves in Balla and learning archery with the charming and exotic Piorri. Despite the animosity between their races, Deccaura’s adoration for the low- caste (low-caste is one word) Piorri grows.

Then a foreign plague strikes her family and Deccaura’s childhood swiftly ends. Still reeling from her father’s death, Deccaura is forced into a marriage to an aloof and bitter king. Her husband coldly dismisses her even after she bears him an heir. The king's spiteful mistress plots against her. As the king’s advisors deny Deccaura access to her own child, she becomes increasingly trapped by her own loneliness. Deccaura finally gains a spark of happiness when Piorri reenters her life.

Yet Deccaura is gambling with more than her own heart. An unfaithful (queen?) can bring a curse upon her entire kingdom. I liked it better when you said it was a prophesy. Otherwise, we don't know where this info comes from. If disaster befalls her kingdom,(the clause is repetitive from the last sentence) Deccaura could lose everything she holds dear—her homeland, her child, and her lover—for a few moments of pleasure. Consider something like: "Ignoring the servants' whispers and her own conscience, Deccaura risks losing everything she holds dear—her homeland, her child, and her lover—for a few moments of pleasure."

THE BEACON is a high fantasy complete at 120,000 words. It is my first novel. Thank you for your time.

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androidblues
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Re: Fantasy query- The Beacon.

Post by androidblues » October 9th, 2010, 7:57 pm

Great advice wilderness. That last sentence is really great. I'd add more but I'm typing from my phone.
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I never want to hear the screams of the teenage girls in other people's dreams.

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Re: Fantasy query- The Beacon.

Post by priya g. » October 10th, 2010, 10:13 am

Dear Agent’s Name,

Deccaura lives a carefree life, exploring her father’s groves in Balla and learning archery with the charming and exotic Piorri. Despite the animosity between their races, Deccaura’s adoration for the low- caste Piorri grows ARE WE TALKING OF THIS TIME? THE MENTION OF LOW CASTE MAKES ME WONDER IF WE ARE GOING BACK IN TIME.

Then a foreign plague strikes her family and Deccaura’s childhood swiftly ends. Still reeling from her father’s death, Deccaura is forced into a marriage to an aloof and bitter king. Her husband coldly dismisses her even after she bears him an heir. The king's spiteful mistress plots against her THIS SENTENCE IS SHORT AND CONCISE- PERFECT. HOW ABOUT TWEAKING THE PREVIOUS TWO SENTENCES A BIT TO KEEP THE FLOW? . As the king’s advisors deny Deccaura access to her own child, she becomes increasingly trapped by her own REMOVE 'OWN' loneliness. Deccaura finally gains a spark of happiness when Piorri reenters her life.

Yet Deccaura is gambling with more than her own heart. An unfaithful can bring a curse upon her entire kingdom NOW I GET A HINT THAT THIS IS FANTASY- BRING IN THE ELEMENT OF CURSES OR JUST PLAIN MAGIC A BIT EARLIER. If disaster befalls her kingdom, Deccaura could lose everything she holds dear—her homeland, her child, and her lover—for a few moments of pleasure PERFECT ENDING.

THE BEACON is a high fantasy complete at 120,000 words. It is my first novel. Thank you for your time.

hope this helped!

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