Query Help- FORSAKEN

Share your blood sweat tears query for feedback and lend your hard-won expertise to others
notw
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Query Help- FORSAKEN

Post by notw » January 8th, 2010, 8:01 pm

Hi all,

Below is a copy of my query. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I also had a questions, what would you do in the section where you put information about yourself if you are 21, have no prior publications or degree that will help sell yourself?


Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for my 30,000 word YA fantasy novel with romantic elements. FORSAKEN (still working on the title).

For 15-year-old Anna, her identity has always been found in her parents and the life she lived right outside the small town of Litchfield. All of that is about to change. Her birthday which should have brought celebration and fond memories, ends up being the very day she wishes she could forget as everything she loved and held dear is stripped away.

The only thing Anna has to cling to for an answer is an old withered letter addressed to Frayowyn. It is in her journey that Anna befriends Tormod, a man much like her father and through their friendship a picture of the past emerges linking her parent’s sudden death to the throne of Ilian. Just as answers are in the reach of her grasp, Anna is confronted with a new problem, Frayowyn. Anna is thrown into another world different than anything she had seen growing up. It is the lifestyle of the rich and royal. It is here that Anna learns of her mother’s past and it is here that she is thrown into the same situation her mother chose years ago, the fight between love or family.

Thanks for your time and consideration. I’ve pasted the first page below and look forward to your response.
Sincerely,
Me

Yoshima
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Re: Query Help- FORSAKEN

Post by Yoshima » January 8th, 2010, 9:30 pm

As someone in the same boat as you (except still unable to buy my own liquor), I omit the "about me" section except for saying that I'm unpublished and can make a mean apple pie. Here are my thoughts as I was reading:
notw wrote:Hi all,

Below is a copy of my query. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I also had a questions, what would you do in the section where you put information about yourself if you are 21, have no prior publications or degree that will help sell yourself?


Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for my 30,000 word YA fantasy novel with romantic elements (don't tell me there's romantic elements. let the body of the query do the talking.). FORSAKEN (still working on the title).

For 15-year-old Anna, her identity has always been found in her parents (I'm not sold on "found in." maybe "defined by" would be better?) and the life she lived right outside the small town of Litchfield. All of that is about to change. Her birthday which should have brought celebration and fond memories, (no comma) ends up being the very day she wishes she could forget as everything she loved and held dear is stripped away. (I think it would add more drama to the conflict here if you stopped at "forget." Or, since you've got some space to work with, could you tell us what happens to strip away everything she loves? It sounds like an important event we should know more about.)

The only thing Anna has to cling to for an answer (...an answer to what happened on her birthday? but what happened on her birthday?) is an old withered letter addressed to Frayowyn (sounds like a Lord of the Rings name. Who is she?). It is in her (Anna's? Frayowyn's?) journey that Anna befriends Tormod, a man much like her father and through their friendship a picture of the past emerges linking her parent’s sudden death (wait, her parents died?) to the throne of Ilian (I thought we still in Litchfield...when did the setting change?). Just as answers are in the reach of (don't need "the reach of") her grasp, Anna is confronted with a new problem, Frayowyn. Anna is thrown into another world different than anything she had seen growing up. It is the lifestyle of the rich and royal. (what am I supposed to be getting from this sentence? I think you mean me to see that there's king and queens and parties and stuff, but could you show me instead with something more specific to your unique world?) It is here that Anna learns of her mother’s past and it is here that she is thrown into the same situation her mother chose years ago, the fight between love or family. (You use "it is" a whole lot in this paragraph. I would rephrase to use more active language, plus it'll help bring more life into your world (and your query!).)

Thanks for your time and consideration. I’ve pasted the first page below and look forward to your response.
Sincerely,
Me
I think explaining Frayowyn would help A LOT in keeping me from getting confused. I had no idea where I was in the second paragraph setting wise, either. It was almost frustrating because it sounds like a really cool world but I couldn't get there. Give me a path to follow. Also, where's the romantic elements? Especially since you said it at the beginning, I was expecting to see more romance. I think the main thing here is that you weren't specific enough. I know it's so hard to be specific in fantasy worlds because there's a bajillion things that need explaining, but tell us enough so that we aren't floudering. Best of luck revising. I hope this helps you! :)

Madaboutstories
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Re: Query Help- FORSAKEN

Post by Madaboutstories » January 9th, 2010, 1:02 am

notw wrote:Hi all,

Below is a copy of my query. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I also had a questions, what would you do in the section where you put information about yourself if you are 21, have no prior publications or degree that will help sell yourself?


Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for my 30,000 word YA fantasy novel with romantic elements. FORSAKEN (still working on the title).

For 15-year-old Anna, her identity has always been found in her parents and the life she lived right outside the small town of Litchfield. All of that is about to change. Her birthday which should have brought celebration and fond memories, ends up being the very day she wishes she could forget as everything she loved and held dear is stripped away.

The only thing Anna has to cling to for an answer is an old withered letter addressed to Frayowyn. It is in her journey that Anna befriends Tormod, a man much like her father and through their friendship a picture of the past emergesThis is a little unclear-how does he know her past? linking her parent’s sudden death to the throne of Ilian. Just as answers are in the reach of her grasp,I agree this is awkward wording Anna is confronted with a new problem, Frayowyn.I thought this was always her quest for the truth-why is this now a new problem? Anna is thrown into another world different than anything she had seen growing up. It is the lifestyle of the rich and royal. It is here that Anna learns of her mother’s past and it is here that she is thrown into You've used 'thrown into' already-rephraze.the same situation her mother chose years ago, the fight between love or family.Awkward-don't most love their family?

Thanks for your time and consideration. I’ve pasted the first page below and look forward to your response.
Sincerely,
Me
I admit I'm quite confused by the query story line, but I'll have a go:

Living a humble, simple life, Anna is looking forward to the celebration of her fifteenth birthday, but instead her parents are murdered. Desperate for answers, Anna pursues the only lead, a letter addressed to Frayowyn, in Ilian. Journeying there, she meets Tormod, a man who reminds her of her father, a man who has tidbits to share of her past and the death of her parents.(Now is he friend or foe? I'm not sure). There is a confrontation regarding or with Frayowyn that catapults Anna into the royal world. Is she infiltrating to find information? Is she just awkward because she doesn't fit in? She learns her mother had to choose between this world and the world Anna grew up in. Is that why the parents were killed, because she rejected the kingdom? Which will Anna choose?


Hope this helps!
To read a story is to breathe life into society-real or imagined, yet the imagined comes out of the truth.

Laura Hyatt

notw
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Re: Query Help- FORSAKEN

Post by notw » January 9th, 2010, 2:02 am

Yoshima and Madaboutstories,

Thank you for your comments! I will definitely be going over the suggestions and post my revision later :)

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Re: Query Help- FORSAKEN

Post by Krista G. » January 9th, 2010, 2:34 am

notw wrote:Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for my 30,000 word (That's pretty short...) YA fantasy novel with romantic elements. <---Change this period to a comma FORSAKEN (still working on the title). I agree with Yoshima: Strike the phrase "with romantic elements," since there is no YA-fantasy-with-romantic-elements genre.

For 15-year-old Anna, her identity has always been found in her parents and the life she lived right outside the small town of Litchfield. All of that is about to change. Her birthday which should have brought celebration and fond memories, ends up being the very day she wishes she could forget as everything she loved and held dear is stripped away. This paragraph is kind of clunky and, when you get right down to it, doesn't say all that much. Generalized statements are the death of queries, and this paragraph has a few of them: "ends up being the very day she wishes she could forget," "everything she loved and held dear is stripped away." Why does she want to forget it? How are these things stripped away? A lot of YA manuscripts could be summed up this way - what makes yours unique?

The only thing Anna has to cling to for an answer is an old withered letter addressed to Frayowyn. It is in her journey (What journey? Why is she going on a journey?) that Anna befriends Tormod, a man much like her father and through their friendship a picture of the past emerges linking her parent’s sudden death to the throne of Ilian. This sentence is a little cumbersome. Short, straightforward sentences are easier on an agent's brain. After explaining why she has to set out on a journey in the first place, try something like, "Anna befriends Tormod, a man much like her father [in this and this and this way]. From Tormod Anna learns that her parents' sudden death is linked to the throne of Ilian, [a brief explanation of what that is]." Just as answers are in the reach of her grasp (This phrase is clunky and vacuous. What answers? And can't they just be within reach or within her grasp?), Anna is confronted with a new problem, (<---Change this comma to a colon) Frayowyn. Anna is thrown into another world different than anything she had seen growing up. How? Why? It is the lifestyle of the rich and royal. It is here that Anna learns of her mother’s past and it is here that she is thrown into the same situation her mother chose years ago, the fight between love or family. More extra words and empty phrasing. Try something like, "Here Anna learns the secret of her mother's past--[whatever that secret is]--and faces the same choice her mother made: love or family." Even that's still pretty rough, but hopefully that gives you an idea of what I mean.

Thanks for your time and consideration. I’ve pasted the first page below and look forward to your response. I'd cut out the "look forward to your response" part, because the sad truth is, you might not get one.
Sincerely,
Me
In sum: Tighten up your prose, and remember that your job in a query is to set your book apart from everything else on the market. Right now, this sounds pretty formulaic - and even as I say that, I'm sure you're screaming at the screen, "But there's this and this and this!" So tell me about those things. Tell me what makes FORSAKEN special. If you do that, and streamline your sentences, this could work.

Good luck!
Author of THE REGENERATED MAN (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015)
Represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary
www.motherwrite.blogspot.com

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Re: Query Help- FORSAKEN

Post by KappaP » January 9th, 2010, 8:29 am

Hey! As a young un myself, this is what we have to keep in mind: there's no age requirement for writing a good book. That said, the younger you are and the less qualifications you have, the more people are going to need to be convinced that we have something worthwhile. As the young and unpublished, our queries have to be TIGHT to show that, yes, we're young and, yes, we're unpublished but hot damn can we tell a good story. Don't highlight your weaknesses-- if you don't have publications or degrees, don't mention it. Certainly don't apologize for it. Let your writing do the talking, that's what you're here to sell. Okay!


Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for my 30,000 word YA fantasy novel with romantic elements. nope. fantasy or romance. pick a category. all good books have elements of multiple categories, but for the sake of a query and an agent, pick one. Yours is fantasy. FORSAKEN (still working on the title).

For 15-year-old Anna, her identity has always been found in her parents and the life she lived right outside the small town of Litchfield. i had to read this sentence a few times b/c of its structure. "15 year old Anna's identity has always been tied to her parents and her life in the small town of Litchfield. All of that is about to change. cliche, change it. Her birthday which should have brought celebration and fond memories, ends up being the very day she wishes she could forget as everything she loved and held dear is stripped away. First, this sentence read really awkward. Second, WHY does she want to forget it?!?! What happened?! This seems like where the story begins and I'm not at all grabbed by it when you just say "and then she lost everything." HOW did she lose everything and WHY do I care? That's what's important.

The only thing Anna has to cling to for an answer tooooo.... what? is an old withered letter addressed to Frayowyn. It is in her journey that Anna befriends Tormod, a man much like her father and through their friendship a picture of the past emerges linking her parent’s sudden death to the throne of Ilian. I think this is where you lose me for good. There's structural and grammatical problems here AND major name dumping (Frayowyn.... Tormod.... Ilian.... no no no. Too many for a query.) See below for more thoughts on this part. Just as answers are in the reach of her grasp in the reach of her grasp is not a phrase. "In reach" or "within grasp", Anna is confronted with a new problem, Frayowyn again-- WHY? What's the issue here? Who is this Frayowyn? Why is he/she/it a problem?. Anna is thrown into another world different than anything she had seen growing up. It is the lifestyle of the rich and royal. It is here that Anna learns of her mother’s past and it is here that she is thrown into the same situation her mother chose years ago, the fight between love or family.

Thanks for your time and consideration. I’ve pasted the first page below and look forward to your response.
Sincerely,
Me

Okay, I'm going to throw down brutal honesty because I think we all deserve it. I read this query and had no idea what the story was about. I could figure out that there's a girl named Anna who loses her parents and life for an unnamed reason in an unnamed conflict and for some reason has to go find a being named Frayowyn.... we don't know where or why. She goes on a journey, there's a throne in a place named Ilian I've never heard of and Frayowyn ends up being a problem. What DONT I know? a) Why I should care about Anna. b) What any of the conflicts are. c) What the stakes are. d) the choices Anna has to make. e) the fantasy element-- is Ilian a different world? What is it? Because, in fantasy, you cannot assume that the reader has ANY idea where/when/what your world is. I mean, I can assume that Ilian is a city in Ohio and your query gives me 0 reason to believe otherwise.

What I think you're doing here is trying to set up a sense of intrigue for the agent-- you want there to be mystery enough left in the plot so that they want to read more. But you are leaving out extremely critical parts of the story that don't make me curious, they make me think the story has holes (which I'm sure isn't the case.) Would you be intrigued by a query that reads "Once, there was a girl named Anna and something bad happened to her, so she had to go somewhere to find someone and figure something out?" No. And, without details, that's what this query is. Tell me, off the bat, what happens to Anna on her birthday.

On her 15th (or 16th?) birthday, Anna's world is torn apart when her parents are _______ by ______ and she is left only with an old withered letter to help her understand why.


I'm going to ask you some questions and try to see if this helps you fill in the details and string them together into a query:
1. Who are the two MOST critical characters? Who is it impossible to understand the story without knowing who they are? (My thoughts, off the bat, is that it sounds like Anna and Frayowyn who appear to be the pro/antagonist). Mention those two characters by name and then no one else (Ilian, too, we need to know where this takes place). Otherwise it is a name dump.
2. What moment sets the action into motion? Start your query here.
3. What are the KEY details about your world? Mention some of them so the reader has a context of where they are reading about/what rules apply.
4. What is Anna's core conflict? You mention love and family-- but I don't get a sense of WHY she's conflicted between those. Why is she? Why are the at odds with each other? Tell me.
5. What are the stakes? If Anna chooses love (ps, love with who?) what happens to her family? Vice versa.

This is what needs to be in your query. I need to know WHO, WHERE, WHAT and WHY. Leave out everything else. And write you're query like you're explaining it to a friend (for the record, I was stumped until that's what I did-- someone asked "what is your book about?" and I said "Oh, it's about blah blah blah.... oooooh! that's a query!)

Good luck and I look forward to seeing your revision!
www.patchesandsara.blogspot.com

Not a writing blog... at all.

notw
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Re: Query Help- FORSAKEN

Post by notw » January 9th, 2010, 11:12 am

Krista and Kappa,

Thank you! You guys have given me a lot of good advice to consider as I start over.

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shadow
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Re: Query Help- FORSAKEN

Post by shadow » January 9th, 2010, 8:06 pm

Let me give this a shot!

Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for my 30,000 word YA fantasy novel with romantic elements. You don't need a new sentence line for the title. FORSAKEN (still working on the title).

For 15-year-old Anna, her identity has always been foundI just don't get how she finds her own identity in her parents? in her parents and the life she lived right outside the small town of Litchfield. All of that is about to change. Her birthday which should have brought celebration and fond memories, ends up being the very day she wishes she could forget as everything she loved and held dear is stripped away. A bit of an awkward sentence structure.

The only thing Anna has to cling to for an answer is an old withered letter addressed to Frayowyn. It is in her journey that Anna befriends Tormod, a man much like her father and through their friendship a picture of the past emerges linking her parent’s sudden death to the throne of Ilian. Rework that sentence. It does not read well. Just as answers are in the reach of her grasp, Anna is confronted with a new problem, Frayowyn. Anna is thrown into another world different than anything she had seen growing up. It is the lifestyle of the rich and royal. It is here that Anna learns of her mother’s past and it is here that she is thrown into the same situation her mother chose years ago, the fight between love or family.

Thanks for your time and consideration. I’ve pasted the first page below and look forward to your response.
Sincerely,
Me


Good Luck! Oh and about your age, I am younger than you and I am just going to put that it is my first novel! What else is there to put while I am in high school? Writing does not have an age limit. Actually I personally think that achieving while you are young is the best path in life because you have the rest of the years to enjoy!
~Shadow~
All things writing, visit my blog http://arielemerald.blogspot.com/

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Holly
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Re: Query Help- FORSAKEN

Post by Holly » January 10th, 2010, 10:32 am

notw wrote:Hi all,

Below is a copy of my query. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I also had a questions, what would you do in the section where you put information about yourself if you are 21, have no prior publications or degree that will help sell yourself? You can enter writing contests, plus you can take online writing workshops that aren't too expensive.

Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for FORSAKEN, my 30,000 word YA fantasy. (You should cut the rest of the sentence -- a fantasy is always a novel, so you don't want to say it twice) with romantic elements. FORSAKEN (still working on the title).

For 15-year-old Anna, her identity has always been found in her parents and the life she lived right outside the small town of Litchfield (I would change this from a passive to an active sentence... for example, Fifteen-year-old Anna has always found her identity in her parents etc.) All of that is about to change. Her birthday, (add a comma) should have brought celebration and fond memories, ends up being the very day she wishes she could forget as everything she loved and held dear is stripped away. (this last sentence is a cliche.. you need to tell us what happens)

The only thing Anna has to cling to for an answer is an old withered (a letter might be wrinkled, but I doubt it would be withered. That's an adjective people use for organic things, like skin) letter addressed to Frayowyn (who is this and what is his/her relationship to Anna?). It is in her journey (to where, and why) that Anna befriends Tormod, a man much like her father, (needs a comma) and through their friendship a picture of the past emerges linking her parent’s sudden death to the throne of Ilian (I would shorten this sentence). Just as answers are in her reach (cut the reach of her grasp), Anna is confronted with a new problem, Frayowyn. Anna is thrown into another world different than anything she had seen growing up. (Unclear. You need to tell us who Frayowyn is) It is the lifestyle of the rich and royal. It is here that Anna learns of her mother’s past and it is here that she is thrown into the same situation her mother chose years ago, the fight between love or family.

Thanks for your time and consideration. I’ve pasted the first page below and look forward to your response. (I would not say this)

Sincerely,
Me
Good luck to you, Keep working on your craft. Writing is like painting or making furniture. There's a lot to master. I enjoyed reading your letter. Thanks for posting it.

notw
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Re: Query Help- FORSAKEN

Post by notw » January 10th, 2010, 3:25 pm

Revision:
Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for FORSAKEN my 30,000 word (still working on draft) YA fantasy.

Over the past forty years, the land of Echin has experienced unjust bloodshed at the hands of the usurper King Segreth but his reign of terror is coming to an end. The prophecy that has long been foretold is coming to fruition, and will be answered by the unlikeliest person, a sixteen year old girl.

Anna’s birthday should have been a day of fond memories and presents, instead it marks her parent’s brutal murder. While in her anguish, she finds an old stained letter addressed to a mysterious woman, the grandmother she never knew. Anna journeys to the capital of Ilian in search of answers her grandmother may hold. On her way she befriends fellow traveler Tormod. Through their friendship Anna learns of Echin’s past history that has long been forgotten and the possible connection between her parent’s sudden death and Lord Segreth.

Upon arriving in the capital and meeting her grandmother, Anna is ushered into a world of lavish parties and banquets with the King. It is at one such banquet she meets the prince, who becomes away for her to escape her grandmother’s clutch at least for a short while. Little does Anna realize that it is the King who plotted her parent’s murder.

Reliving her mother’s past, forces Anna to choose between Tormod or the Prince and her family. Picking love means she will lose the only thing she has ever cared about, family. In choosing family it may cost her, her very soul. Anna’s choice could change history. Will she choose to answer the prophecy that has long been foretold or will she become another fading light of memories past.

(My info)

Thanks for your time and consideration. I’ve pasted the first page below.
Sincerely,
ME

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Hilabeans
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Re: Query Help- FORSAKEN

Post by Hilabeans » January 10th, 2010, 7:34 pm

I'm going to list my thoughts as I read the letter. I hope it helps. :)
I am seeking representation for FORSAKEN my 30,000 word (still working on draft) YA fantasy. (SCREECH! Agents don't want to be queried with unfinished manuscripts. I'm sure you know this, but I felt it needed to be said. Also, seeking representation is implied. Personally, I don't think you need it.)

Over the past forty years, the land of Echin has experienced unjust bloodshed at the hands of the usurper King Segreth but his reign of terror (cliche) is coming to an end. The prophecy that has long been foretold (awkward - could be reworded) is coming to fruition, and will be answered by the unlikeliest person, a sixteen year old girl.

Anna’s birthday should have been (Change to present tense - her birthday should be...) a day of fond memories and presents, instead it marks her parent’s brutal murder. While in her anguish, she finds an old stained letter addressed to a mysterious woman, the grandmother she never knew. Anna journeys to the capital of Ilian in search of answers her grandmother may hold. On her way(,) she befriends (a) fellow traveler (named) Tormod. Through their friendship(,) Anna learns of Echin’s past history that has long been (Feels a little redundant. You ended the first paragraph with the same "has long been".) forgotten and the possible connection between her parent’s sudden death and Lord Segreth. (That seems like a stretch. What would cause her to make the connection?)

Upon arriving in the capital and meeting her grandmother, Anna is ushered into a world of lavish parties and banquets with the King. (Why?) It is at one such banquet she meets the prince, who becomes a(insert space)way for her to escape her grandmother’s clutch at least for a short while (Her grandmother is evil? Clutch makes me think villain.) . Little does Anna realize that it is the King who plotted her parent’s murder.

Reliving her mother’s past, (remove comma) forces Anna to choose between Tormod or the Prince and her family. Picking love means she will lose the only thing she has ever cared about, family. In choosing family (,) it may cost her, (remove comma) her very soul (her soul is on the line - since when? or are you being figurative?) . Anna’s choice could change history. Will she choose to answer the prophecy that has long been (reword "has long been" - it is now very redundant) foretold or will she become another fading light of memories past. (Nice. Like the fading light. If it's a question, it should have a question mark. Also, have you read any of Nathan's post about asking questions like this in queries? If not, you should take a look. He advises writers to refrain from using rhetorical questions.)

(My info)

Thanks for your time and consideration. I’ve pasted the first page below.
hhs

Website - http://www.hilaryheskett.com | Blog - http://www.hilaryheskett.blogspot.com

"The two most powerful warriors are patience and time." - Tolstoy

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Dankrubis
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Re: Query Help- FORSAKEN

Post by Dankrubis » January 10th, 2010, 9:30 pm

Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for FORSAKEN my 30,000 word (still working on draft) YA fantasy. I agree with Hilabeans on everything here- fiction queries are for finished products only and 'seeking representation' is obvious. Also, 30,000 words? Is this a novella? I'm sure it's been mentioned, but I haven't read your queries or critiques prior to this revision.

Over the past forty years, the land of Echin has experienced unjust bloodshed I'm bothered by 'unjust bloodshed.' All bloodshed is unjust, depending on the POV. at the hands of the usurper King Segreth I think there should be a comma here? but his reign of terror is coming to an end. The prophecy, that has long been foretold, is coming to fruition, i don't think there should be a comma here? and will be answered by the unlikeliest person, Comma doesn't read right here. Think about a dash or semi-colon. a sixteen year old girl.

Anna’s birthday should have been a day of fond memories and presents, Ditch the comma and put a period. Instead it marks her parent’s brutal murder. While in her anguish, she finds an old stained letter addressed to a mysterious woman, the grandmother she never knew. I like the idea of a mysterious grandmother, but the way you've worded this throws me off a bit- You introduce a mysterious woman, then you declare that it's her grandmother. Well we know who she is now, not so mysterious anymore! Maybe introduce the grandmother first, then explain how mysterious she is. Anna journeys I don't like 'journeys' here. A journey is a long trek filled with adventure. 'Goes' or 'travels' may work better. to the capital of Ilian in search of the? answers her grandmother may hold. On her way she befriends fellow traveler Tormod. Through their friendship Anna learns of Echin’s past history that has long been forgotten and the possible connection between her parent’s sudden I'd axe sudden. Unless they died of some long, drawn-out disease, I imagine most deaths are sudden. death and Lord Segreth.

Upon arriving in the capital and meeting her grandmother, Anna is ushered into a world of lavish parties and banquets with the King. It is at one such banquet she meets the prince, who becomes aspace!way for her to escape her grandmother’s clutch at least for a short while. Okay- first off, you're telling us that her grandmother has her clutches on her. But what's more important is that she's spending time with the prince. In the next paragraph, you talk about how she now needs to choose between love and family, but we don't know who she loves! Is she in love with Tormod? The prince? If it's the prince, mention it here. It'll make the next sentence pop more. Little does Anna realize that it is the King who plotted her parent’s murder.

Reliving her mother’s past, You haven't told us anything about her mother's past, so you can't use it as a description. Oh, this all probably has to do with the prophecy, right? You haven't told us any details about the prophecy, therefore everything in this paragraph is difficult to grasp. How does choosing love mean she won't have a family? How does choosing family cost her her soul? How does her decision change history? If you give us more specifics about all of this, then this paragraph intrigue us and make us want to read more. forces Anna to choose between Tormod or the Prince and her family. Picking love means she will lose the only thing she has ever cared about, family. In choosing family it may cost her, her very soul. Anna’s choice could change history. Will she choose to answer the prophecy that has long been foretold or will she become another fading light of memories past.Question mark.

(My info)

Thanks for your time and consideration. I’ve pasted the first page below.
Sincerely,
ME

I pride myself on being as honest as possible with people, so I apologize if what I'm about to say causes you any distress. You're not ready for query stage of publication. Imagine that publishing novels is like basketball. I can tell, from your obvious imagination, that you've got the height. But you need to focus on drills. Work on dribbling. Making effective passes. Free throws. Three-pointers. You need to read novels. Read as many novels in your desired genre as you possibly can. Read King's On Writing. Read the The Elements of Style by Srunk and White. Take some creative writing classes at a local community college. Join a writers group. If you're serious about this, (which I imagine you are, since you wrote a freakin' novel) you need to put a lot of effort into it before you have a shot at the big leagues. Good luck.

Madaboutstories
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Re: Query Help- FORSAKEN

Post by Madaboutstories » January 10th, 2010, 10:52 pm

Hi Notw,

I disagree with Dankrubis wholeheartedly. Query letters can be a tricky thing. Cutting down a whole book into it's essence, while creating intrigue, interest and showing writing prowess is certainly hard for all of us, hence the forum. While it could use some tightening, I find your writing style engaging and I am interested in your story.
So, while thinking about your story, try summing it up in a few sentences and then expand from there. The examples of good queries on Nathan's list are all succinct enough to be told in a few sentences, but with enough detail to entice. A query should kind of be like reading a tv guide version of a movie-give the gist and reasons why the characters are compelling.
To read a story is to breathe life into society-real or imagined, yet the imagined comes out of the truth.

Laura Hyatt

notw
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Re: Query Help- FORSAKEN

Post by notw » January 11th, 2010, 1:11 am

Hilabeans and Dankrubis,

Thanks for the input! Sorry for the confusion guys, I am not planning on sending this to any agents now. I am just trying to get a head start on writing my query since I know it is one of the hardest things to do.

Dank- I actually did 2 years of CWG(Christian Writers Guild). I am hoping to continue when money allows but going to college full-time and paying for CWG gets a little costly :-P BTW you did not cause me any distress. I don't mind hearing honest opinions.

Madaboutstories- Thanks for the encouragement. :) I came across this site two days ago, so I haven't looked at everything yet but will definitely look at them!

notw
Posts: 79
Joined: January 7th, 2010, 4:36 pm
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Re: Query Help- FORSAKEN

Post by notw » June 18th, 2010, 1:32 am

Here goes another round. :)

Revision 3

Dear Agent,

Over the past forty years, the land of Echin has experienced bloodshed at the hands of the usurper King Segreth, but his sadistic reign is coming to an end. The prophecy that has been foretold is coming to fruition and will be answered by the unlikeliest person, a sixteen year old girl.

Anna’s birthday should have been a day of fond memories and presents. Instead it marks her family’s brutal murders at the hands of brigands. In her search for answers, Anna discovers an old stained letter addressed to the grandmother she never knew.

Upon her arrival at her grandmother’s, she is ushered into the lifestyle of the rich and unwittingly meets the man who orchestrated her family’s murders, King Segreth. When Anna befriends his son, she is faced with a dilemma, to either settle down in her new home or to forsake this lifestyle and solve the mystery surrounding her parent’s past.

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