YA Fantasy: WYRM FIEND, a new query

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gilesth
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YA Fantasy: WYRM FIEND, a new query

Post by gilesth » December 15th, 2010, 8:39 am

After revising my novel (based on feedback from many of the wonderful writers on this board :D) I've written a new query letter. Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks :)

Dear Agent,

Chris Drake is a dragon slayer with a driver’s license. Shortly after slaying his first dragon, though, his license becomes useless because he starts growing wings. At the same time, his flesh turns scaly, long horns push their way out of his skull, and the occasional fireball bursts from his lips. As the adopted son of a dragon slayer, these transformations make Chris more than a little terrified. After all, dragons are the only creatures known by the Fraternity of Wyrm Fiends — the official dragon slayers’ guild — that can transform their physical bodies.

A ritualist from a cult that broke away from the Wyrm Fiends volunteers to help Chris discover why he’s shapeshifting. When the cultist performs a ritual on Chris’s blood, she discovers that the young man is the son a dragon and a human. Of course, Chris has trouble believing the ritualist, but as the evidence piles up, he’s forced to accept his identity and take sides in the battle between dragons and dragon slayers. He knows that if the Fraternity ever finds out what he is, they’ll kill him. And he’s sure dragons would do the same.

Despite this crisis of identity, Chris still has a job to do. In fact, a dragon who says he’s Chris’s uncle abducted the half-dragon’s best friend and partner, Yvonne. If Chris doesn’t hunt down his uncle, the ancient beast will turn the girl into a sacrificial snack. Chris must choose sides and risk revealing his true nature to the Fraternity and his best friend.


-I know it's a little rough, but my biggest concern right now (before I put too much effort into polish) is that I get a good deal of information across. Does it make sense? Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing from you.

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Re: YA Fantasy: WYRM FIEND, a new query

Post by lyndoncr » December 15th, 2010, 9:10 am

You lost me a little by the end.
My interpretation:

In your world dragons are actually shape shifters?
Chris has this ability but is only half dragon, but he's scared of his dad finding out because he'll be murdered. I'm guessing if Chris is half dragon then his dad should know, after all ... he was the one that did the hoo-haa with a bloody dragon. Unless he is one himself, in which case there's all the more reason for Chris to confide in him.

The mention of a drivers licence makes me think these events are happening in secret in our modern world, is that right? This should be clearer either way.

You say both the fraternity and the dragons would kill him. Why? The fraternity I get but if they really do cast him out why wouldn't the dragons take him in? Nobody likes "half-casts"? This makes the choosing of sides seem irrelevant as well, if neither one will have him.

The quick intro of what I imagine is the big bad is a little confusing too.

All things considered though, I am intrigued. It reminds me of a game called Divinity 2 - The Dragon Knight Saga.

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Re: YA Fantasy: WYRM FIEND, a new query

Post by gilesth » December 15th, 2010, 9:54 am

lyndoncr wrote:You lost me a little by the end.
My interpretation:

In your world dragons are actually shape shifters?
Chris has this ability but is only half dragon, but he's scared of his dad finding out because he'll be murdered. I'm guessing if Chris is half dragon then his dad should know, after all ... he was the one that did the hoo-haa with a bloody dragon. Unless he is one himself, in which case there's all the more reason for Chris to confide in him.

The mention of a drivers licence makes me think these events are happening in secret in our modern world, is that right? This should be clearer either way.

You say both the fraternity and the dragons would kill him. Why? The fraternity I get but if they really do cast him out why wouldn't the dragons take him in? Nobody likes "half-casts"? This makes the choosing of sides seem irrelevant as well, if neither one will have him.

The quick intro of what I imagine is the big bad is a little confusing too.

All things considered though, I am intrigued. It reminds me of a game called Divinity 2 - The Dragon Knight Saga.
See, this is why I didn't do more editing :D You asked the very questions I needed to hear (and I'm open to more from other folks).

In order: dragons are shapeshifters (a common feature of dragons in some of the older stories... at least some of the ones I've read, but it's not common these days). His "dad" is actually the dragon slayer that adopted him after his (Chris) mother (a human) died giving birth. Chris's bio-dad is a dragon. There's more back-story, but most of that is irrelevant to the main plot as far as a sales pitch goes.

This definitely takes place in modern times... Denver, CO to be exact, but whenever I mention the city in the letter, it comes across badly. Kinda ruins the flow of the letter. Any recommendations on how I could make the modern setting more evident? In a previous version I mentioned that one of Chris's weapons of choice is an AK-47...

And the dragons believe that humans are all just weak pests who should be forced into sacrificing their virgins to the "great and powerful lizards of the sky". To most dragons, the idea of mating with a human is disgusting, so Chris's bio-dad would be slaughtered mercilessly if he ever got caught, and Chris is considered an abomination. Worse than humans, even. I definitely agree that the "taking sides" line doesn't fit with this letter.

I'll have to ponder the final paragraph some more (it doesn't really do what I want it to, but I wanted to hear someone else's thoughts on it, too).

Thanks again!
Giles :D

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Re: YA Fantasy: WYRM FIEND, a new query

Post by Lil Tailor » December 15th, 2010, 12:34 pm

gilesth wrote:
Dear Agent,

Chris Drake is a dragon slayer with a driver’s licenseI'm assuming this means he is 16ish. But anyone 16-100+ would have a license probably.. Shortly after slaying his first dragon, though, his license becomes useless because he starts growing wings. At the same time, his flesh turns scaly, long horns push their way out of his skull, and the occasional fireball bursts from his lips. As the adopted son of a dragon slayer, these transformations make Chris more than a little terrified.The dragon slayer doesnt know he adopted a dragon? Seems like exactly the thing he would pick up on, even if he didnt know to start... After all, dragons are the only creatures known by the Fraternity of Wyrm Fiends — the official dragon slayers’ guild — that can transform their physical bodies.

A ritualist from a cult that broke away from the Wyrm Fiends volunteers to help Chris discover why he’s shapeshifting. When the cultist performs a ritual on Chris’s blood, I think you can skip the first part of this paragraph, it doesnt add anythingshe discovers that the young man is the son a dragon and a human. Of course, Chris has trouble believing the ritualist, butas the evidence piles up, he’s forced to accept his identity and take sides in the battle between dragons and dragon slayers. Hasn't he already chosen a side? The dragon slaying side? Unless he is switching sides which seems unlikely given the next sentance He knows that if the Fraternity ever finds out what he is, they’ll kill him. And he’s sure dragons would do the same.

Despite this crisis of identity,I dont like that line for some reason Chris still has a job to do. In fact, a dragon who says he’s Chris’s uncle abducted the half-dragon’s best friend and partner, Yvonne. So dragons do know about chris? Or is it a family secret? Why doesnt he go to his uncle for help? If Chris doesn’t hunt down his uncle, the ancient beast will turn the girl into a sacrificial snack. I like that line Chris must choose sides and risk revealing his true nature to the Fraternity and his best friend.
Not bad, seems kinda interesting. The middle paragraph seems bogged down with useless info at this point because the only thing thats important there is he finds out he is half dragon. Also, I think you should mention what you wrote before that he's an abomination worse than humans.

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Re: YA Fantasy: WYRM FIEND, a new query

Post by historyjunkie » December 19th, 2010, 4:08 pm

gilesth wrote:After revising my novel (based on feedback from many of the wonderful writers on this board :D) I've written a new query letter. Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks :)

Dear Agent,

Chris Drake is a dragon slayer with a major problem. Shortly after slaying his first dragon, he starts growing wings, his flesh turns scaly and horns emerge from his skull. To Chris' dismay, even the occasional fireball bursts from his lips. As the adopted son of a dragon slayer, Chris is terrified by these transformations; after all, dragons are the only creatures known by the Fraternity of Wyrm Fiends — the official dragon slayers’ guild — that can transform their physical bodies.

In an attempt to discover why he’s shapeshifting, Chris consults an outside ritualist who performs a blood origin ceremony and discovers that Chris is the son of a dragon and a human. Of course, Chris has trouble believing the ritualist, but as the evidence piles up, he’s forced to accept his identity and realizes that if the Fraternity ever finds out what he is, they’ll kill him. And he’s sure dragons would do the same.

When a dragon, claiming to be Chris' uncle, abducts Chris' best friend and partner, Yvonne, Chris knows that if he doesn't save her the ancient beast will turn Yvonne into a sacrificial snack. The time has come, Chris must choose sides and risk revealing his true nature to the Fraternity and his best friend.


-I know it's a little rough, but my biggest concern right now (before I put too much effort into polish) is that I get a good deal of information across. Does it make sense? Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Sounds like an exciting story with a really good conflict to keep the reader interested. I think the query is an amazingly good start! Here are my comments: Because you repeat the fact that Chris must choose sides, I deleted the first one and left the second as the closing 'dangler'. The part about Chris' uncle confused me the way it was worded - although I can see that it is an important point. I think you should try and stay in the present tense and may wish to consider another name for Chris. Names that end in 's' are always tricky and sometimes interrupt the reader's pace when you make them possessive. The driver's license bit probably works in the actual story but it seems unnecessary in this query. The ritualist bit was slightly wordy (cult, cultist, ritualist etc.) I hope this helps (sorry about the formatting - I am new to this site and have not quite figured out the tools).

gilesth
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Re: YA Fantasy: WYRM FIEND, a new query

Post by gilesth » December 20th, 2010, 8:29 am

historyjunkie wrote:
Sounds like an exciting story with a really good conflict to keep the reader interested. I think the query is an amazingly good start! Here are my comments: Because you repeat the fact that Chris must choose sides, I deleted the first one and left the second as the closing 'dangler'. The part about Chris' uncle confused me the way it was worded - although I can see that it is an important point. I think you should try and stay in the present tense and may wish to consider another name for Chris. Names that end in 's' are always tricky and sometimes interrupt the reader's pace when you make them possessive. The driver's license bit probably works in the actual story but it seems unnecessary in this query. The ritualist bit was slightly wordy (cult, cultist, ritualist etc.) I hope this helps (sorry about the formatting - I am new to this site and have not quite figured out the tools).

Thanks for the feedback! I like the changes you made. I'll definitely keep them in mind as I revise. :D Everyone's been so helpful. This is why I don't get very stressed over queries anymore.

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Re: YA Fantasy: WYRM FIEND, a new query

Post by gilesth » January 5th, 2011, 2:32 pm

I've made some updates over the holiday. All comments are welcome :D

Dear Agent,

Life as a modern-day dragon slayer really is as cool as it sounds. At least that’s what Chris Drake believes when he turns sixteen and finishes his training. But two days after slaying his first dragon, he starts to grows wings, scales, and horns. He even coughs up a fireball. As the adopted son of a dragon slayer, Chris is terrified; dragons are the only creatures known by the Fraternity of Wyrm Fiends — the official dragon slayers’ guild — that can transform their bodies.

Afraid to go to the man who raised him for answers, Chris turns to a dragon-worshiping cult for help. One cultist agrees to help, and she performs a ritual on Chris’s blood. Both Chris and the ritualist are shocked to learn that the young slayer is the son of a human and a dragon. Chris refuses to believe that even though his father never showed up when his mom died. Distressed and confused, Chris turns to his friends and fellow dragon slayers to help him discover what he is.

Chris’s search for answers is cut short when his partner and best friend, Yvonne, disappears. To complicate matters, an ancient dragon known for terrorizing Europe in the seventh century is making a new home in the Colorado Rockies. Because this dragon has a reputation for devouring virgins and dragon slayers alike, Chris fears the worst for his friend.

If the ritualist is right and Chris is half-dragon, then his life with the Wyrm Fiends is in danger. But with a dragon on the loose, Chris’s best friend could die.

WYRM FIEND is a Young Adult urban fantasy, complete at 53,000 words.

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Re: YA Fantasy: WYRM FIEND, a new query

Post by Lil Tailor » January 5th, 2011, 3:02 pm

gilesth wrote: Dear Agent,

Life as a modern-day dragon slayer really is as cool as it sounds. At least that’s what Chris Drake believes when he turns sixteen and finishes his training. The first two sentences don't seem to flow together for me. They also seem kinda contradictory. I also don't see how they lead in to the next sentence But two days after slaying his first dragon, he starts to grows wings, scales, and horns. He even coughs up a fireball. As the adopted son of a dragon slayer, Chris is terrified; dragons are the only creatures known by the Fraternity of Wyrm Fiends — the official dragon slayers’ guild — I like the guild name that can transform their bodies.

Afraid to go to the man who raised him for answers, Chris turns to a dragon-worshiping cult for help. I think you can still leave out the ritualist. The main thing here is that the cult tells him he's a dragon. One cultist agrees to help, and she performs a ritual on Chris’s blood. Both Chris and the ritualist are shocked to learn that the young slayer is the son of a human and a dragon. Chris refuses to believe that even though his father never showed up when his mom died. Distressed and confused, Chris turns to his friends and fellow dragon slayers to help him discover what he is. this seems like it would be conflicted. I wish it was explained better, since he is a dragon and his friends are slayers.

Chris’s search for answers is cut short when his partner and best friend, Yvonne, disappears. To complicate matters, an ancient dragon known for terrorizing Europe in the seventh century is making a new home in the Colorado Rockies. Because this dragon has a reputation for devouring virgins and dragon slayers alike, Chris fears the worst for his friend. I like this line

If the ritualist is right and Chris is half-dragon, then his life with the Wyrm Fiends is in danger. But with a dragon on the loose, Chris’s best friend could die. I don't see how these two conflict. If he is a dragon or not can't he still save his friend?

WYRM FIEND is a Young Adult urban fantasy, complete at 53,000 words.
I like it. Feels like you lost some energy and hook in this version THOUGH it feels much cleaner and is a better query. I feel like you can clean it up and add just a bit more information to make it perfect.

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Re: YA Fantasy: WYRM FIEND, a new query

Post by gilesth » January 5th, 2011, 4:51 pm

Lil Tailor wrote: I like it. Feels like you lost some energy and hook in this version THOUGH it feels much cleaner and is a better query. I feel like you can clean it up and add just a bit more information to make it perfect.
Good to know :D. I wasn't aware that I lost some of the hook, so I'll see what I can do to put some back in. I agree that the energy isn't where it should be. Thanks!

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Re: YA Fantasy: WYRM FIEND, a new query

Post by enyouse » January 5th, 2011, 5:10 pm

It seems like, maybe, there's too much information.

I think these are the only things I absolutely NEED to know to understand why I'd want to read your book:

Chris is a teenager (in our world, and dragons are secret - or in a similar world, where dragons and dragon slaying are common?).
Chris is starting to change.
The changes indicate he may be a dragon.
His adopted father slays dragons.
Chris is half dragon.
His uncle, a dragon, kidnaps the only person who has tried to help him.

Everything about the wyrm fiend guild, the ritualist, the cult that split from the guild - they distanced me from the story, a bit. Turning into a dragon in modern times, awesome. Modern times, but there are dragons, awesome. Internal modern dragon politics and religion, perhaps, a bit disorienting when you have to address them so quickly.

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Re: YA Fantasy: WYRM FIEND, a new query

Post by gilesth » January 5th, 2011, 6:32 pm

enyouse wrote:It seems like, maybe, there's too much information.

I think these are the only things I absolutely NEED to know to understand why I'd want to read your book:

Chris is a teenager (in our world, and dragons are secret - or in a similar world, where dragons and dragon slaying are common?).
Chris is starting to change.
The changes indicate he may be a dragon.
His adopted father slays dragons.
Chris is half dragon.
His uncle, a dragon, kidnaps the only person who has tried to help him.

Everything about the wyrm fiend guild, the ritualist, the cult that split from the guild - they distanced me from the story, a bit. Turning into a dragon in modern times, awesome. Modern times, but there are dragons, awesome. Internal modern dragon politics and religion, perhaps, a bit disorienting when you have to address them so quickly.
Awesome! Even during this re-write I've been having trouble figuring out what needs to be in the query and what I should leave out. This will go a long way toward helping me decide what to revise! Thanks :D

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Re: YA Fantasy: WYRM FIEND, a new query

Post by allegedauthor » January 5th, 2011, 8:32 pm

I would agree on the first two sentences not gelling with the first paragraph. HOWEVER, I think they inserted some much need voice into the query. I like your last attempt much better. You're getting there and it sounds like an interesting story!

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Re: YA Fantasy: WYRM FIEND, a new query

Post by gilesth » January 12th, 2011, 9:11 am

New update. New thoughts?


Dear Agent,

Life as a modern-day dragon slayer really is as cool as it sounds. At least that’s what Chris Drake believes at sixteen when he joins the only official dragon slayers’ guild: the Fraternity of Wyrm Fiends. But when wings sprout from his shoulders, and the occasional fireball erupts his mouth, it’s time to freak out because dragons are the only creatures known by the Fraternity to transform their bodies.

Afraid to go to his mentor for help, Chris turns to a dragon-worshiping cult to find out why he’s shapeshifting. Through a simple blood ritual, the cult learns that the young slayer is the son of a human and a dragon. Though Chris was adopted and he never met his birth parents, he refuses to believe the cultists. Instead, he turns to his friends to help him discover what he is and where he came from.

Chris’s search for answers is cut short when his partner and best friend, Yvonne, disappears. To complicate matters, an ancient dragon known for terrorizing Europe in the seventh century is making a new home in the Colorado Rockies. Because this dragon has a reputation for devouring virgins and dragon slayers alike, Chris fears the worst for his friend.

Unless Chris learns what he is and how to control his shapeshifting, the Wyrm Fiends will hunt him down and slaughter him. But if he ever wants to see Yvonne again, he must fulfill his duties as a professional dragon slayer.

WYRM FIEND is a Young Adult urban fantasy, complete at 53,000 words.

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Re: YA Fantasy: WYRM FIEND, a new query

Post by mudpuppy » January 12th, 2011, 9:07 pm

I have to warn you that I'm not the best person when it comes to querying.
gilesth wrote:New update. New thoughts?


Dear Agent,

Life as a modern-day dragon slayer really is as cool as it sounds. How about "At least that's what sixteen-year-old Chris Drake believes? At least that’s what Chris Drake believes at sixteen when he joins the only official dragon slayers’ guild: the Fraternity of Wyrm Fiends. But when wings sprout from his shoulders, and the occasional fireball erupts his mouth, it’s time to freak out because dragons are the only creatures known by the Fraternity to transform their bodies. Something about this sentence does not feel right

Afraid to go to his mentor for help, Chris turns to a dragon-worshiping cult to find out why he’s shapeshifting. Through a simple blood ritual, the cult learns that the young slayer is the son of a human and a dragon. Though Chris was adopted and he never met his birth parents, he refuses to believe the cultists. Instead, he turns to his friends to help him discover what he is and where he came fromHow about to discover his origins?.

Chris’s search for answers is cut short when his partner and best friend, Yvonne, disappears. To complicate matters, an ancient dragon known for terrorizing Europe in the seventh century is making a new home in the Colorado Rockies. Because this dragon has a reputation for devouring virgins and dragon slayers alike, Chris fears the worst for his friend.

Unless Chris learns what he is and how to control his shapeshifting, the Wyrm Fiends will hunt him down and slaughter him. But if he ever wants to see Yvonne again, he must fulfill his duties as a professional dragon slayer.

WYRM FIEND is a Young Adult urban fantasy, complete at 53,000 words.

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Re: YA Fantasy: WYRM FIEND, a new query

Post by Sanwrites » January 13th, 2011, 3:29 pm

Hi. This looks pretty good! It sounds interesting, and I really like the title. Please use 'Fiend' as much as possible. With a few changes, this should be a keeper.


gilesth wrote:New update. New thoughts?


Dear Agent,

Life as a modern-day dragon slayer really is as cool as it sounds. At least that’s what Chris Drake believes at sixteen When when he joins the only official dragon slayers’ guild: where? in the US? the Fraternity of Wyrm Fiends. But when wings sprout from his shoulders, and the occasional fireball erupts his mouth, it’s time to freak out because {dragons are the only creatures known by the Fraternity Fiends to transform their bodies. I'd like to see this more personalized to Chris. Maybe: he didn't sign up for shapeshifting.}
Afraid to go to his mentor for help, Chris turns to a dragon-worshiping cult to find out why he’s shapeshifting changing. Through a simple blood ritual, the cult Chris learns that the young slayer he is the son of a human and a dragon. Though Chris he was adopted and henever met his birth parents, he refuses to believe the cultists. Huh? Instead, he turns to his friends NAME THEM to help him discover what he is and where he came from. What friends? need some intro before this.

Chris’s search for answers is cut short when his partner Partner in what? and best friend, Yvonne, Again, we need some info before disappears. To complicate matters, an ancient dragon known for terrorizing Europein the seventh century (unless this is a big plot point) is making a new home in the Colorado Rockies. Because this dragon has a reputation for devouring virgins and dragon slayers alike, Chris fears the worst for his friend.

Unless Chris learns what he is and He's a hybrid, right? how to control his shapeshifting, the Wyrm Fiends will hunt him down and slaughter him. But if he ever wants to see Yvonne again, he must fulfill his duties as a professional dragon slayer.

WYRM FIEND is a Young Adult urban fantasy, complete at 53,000 words.
Nick Charles: "I'm a hero. I was shot twice in the Tribune."
Nora Charles: "I read where you were shot 5 times in the tabloids."
Nick Charles: "It's not true. He didn't come anywhere near my tabloids."

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