Query - By the Sword (YA Fantasy) - 3rd Revision

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michelleimason
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Re: Query - By the Sword (Fantasy) - 1st Revision

Post by michelleimason » June 13th, 2011, 12:51 pm

I agree this version is stronger but there are still some things you can work on. I really like the last part of the first paragraph, but I'm still not sure about the beginning. "Lives to kill" is a little cliche, and I would like to know where she's from. Something like: "As a knight of _____, eighteen-year-old Talya is destined/trained/(some better word) to kill Malinorian soldiers. And Malinor's new young general, Jalarn, is a the top of her list." In the second paragraph, I'd also like to see more about how she wins. If she's ultimately going to fall for this guy, you don't want him to seem weak. And does the haunting vision involve him? In the last section, give a little more of a hint about the circumstances that bring Talya and Jalarn closer. Is he in the jail questioning her?

I definitely think you can have something be Christian fantasy. After all, there's C.S. Lewis and Tolkein. And from those examples, you can use symbolism to imply it's God and the devil instead of actually calling them that, as it does take a reader out of the fantasy world a bit. However, that all depends on how you execute it, which we can't tell from a query letter. Whether you want to label it as Christian really depends on where you want to market your story. Much stronger this time!

saraflower
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Re: Query - By the Sword (Fantasy) - 2nd Revision

Post by saraflower » June 15th, 2011, 7:46 am

Here is my third attempt.
Dear Agent,

Eighteen year old Talya`s main goal is to help her country bring down the Malinorian Empire. And Jalarn, the empire`s new young general, is at the top of her list of enemies to kill. Not only has Jalarn murdered Talya`s king, he almost killed her. Twice.

A prophet`s word sends Talya to Hunter Forest on what is supposed to be a peaceful mission. She finds Jalarn there. After a gruelling sword fight, Talya wins. But her plan to slit his throat does not go as planned when she removes his battle mask and recognizes him to be the same boy as the one in her haunting visions. She spares his life and flees, but Jalarn`s men catch up to her.

When Talya awakens in a prison, she is confronted by Jalarn. He wants her to make a decision to follow Malinor in the upcoming war, or die. But as Talya`s faith in God grows and she shares it with Jalarn, they become closer. The problem is, there are no secrets in a castle full of magic. And Malinor has zero tolerance for traitors.

By the Sword is a young adult Christian fantasy novel that is 70,000 words in length.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

michelleimason
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Re: Query - By the Sword (Fantasy) - 1st Revision

Post by michelleimason » June 15th, 2011, 10:42 am

The one thing that still stands out to me is that the vision isn't mentioned until she removes Jalarn's mask. I think in an earlier version you brought it up before the prophet sends her off. It seems to come out of nowhere in this version. Otherwise, I think this is very solid. Good luck!

saraflower
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Re: Query - By the Sword (Fantasy) - 1st Revision

Post by saraflower » June 16th, 2011, 7:09 am

Thanks michelle. :)

saraflower
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Re: Query - By the Sword (Fantasy) - 1st Revision

Post by saraflower » June 16th, 2011, 7:20 am

I worked on putting Talya`s voice in this query, and I put some more detail into it. Hope this one is a keeper. :)

Dear Agent,

Eighteen year old Talya`s main goal is to help her country bring down the Malinorian Empire. And Jalarn, the empire`s new young general, is at the top of her list of enemies to kill. Not only has Jalarn murdered Talya`s king, he almost killed her. Twice.

Gut wrenching, lifelike nightmares of a young boy interrupt Talya`s focus. It doesn`t help when a visiting prophet reminds her of her blood lust problem and tells her that God has called her on a dangerous mission to Hunter Forest days before the battle. Talya agrees to go when she finds out that Jalarn will be there. They run into one another and, after a gruelling sword fight, Talya wins. But her plan to slit his throat does not go as planned when she removes his battle mask and recognizes him to be the same boy as the one in her haunting visions. She spares his life and flees, but Jalarn`s men catch up to her.

When Talya awakens in a prison, she is confronted by Jalarn to make a decision to follow Malinor in the upcoming war, or die. But as Talya`s faith in God grows and she shares it with Jalarn, they become closer. The problem is that there are no secrets in a castle full of magic. And someone is on to them.

By the Sword is a young adult Christian fantasy novel that is 70,000 words in length.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Anna Geletka
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Re: Query - By the Sword (Fantasy) - 1st Revision

Post by Anna Geletka » June 16th, 2011, 7:40 pm

Definite improvements in this new version! My thoughts in blue.

Eighteen year old Talya is a knight who lives to kill soldiers of the Malinorian Empire. She especially hates their new young general, Jalarn. Not only has Jalarn murdered Talya`s king, he almost killed her. Twice.

A prophet`s word sends Talya to Hunter Forest, where she meets Jalarn. They fight and she wins. When Talya removes Jalarn`s battle mask to slit his throat, memories of a haunting vision tug at her conscience. She spares his life and flees, but Jalarn`s men catch her. This is all dry, pretty basic stuff. Connect sentences more and include some detail. 'A prophet's word sends Talya to Hunter Forest, where she meets Jalarn in combat. [is Hunter Forest an important place? You may want to get rid of the name if it isn't.] Her skills prevail [or something, depending on your scene], but as Talya removes Jalarn's battle mask to slit his throat, memories of a haunting vision convince her to spare his life. She flees - right into the arms of Jalarn's men.'

When Talya awakens in a Malinorian prison, she is faced with the decision to follow Malinor in the upcoming war, or die. Things become more complicated as Talya and Jalarn begin to develop feelings for one another. Again, you can give some details to expand on this just a bit. How and why do the two begin to fall for each other? Give some hint as to what changes Talya's mind about Jalarn.

By the Sword is a young adult Christian fantasy novel that is 66,000 words in length. I've never heard of a young adult Christian fantasy novel, but hey, why not? Could be difficult to find an agent to rep it, though.

Overall, reasonably interesting, but give us some details to set this book apart from others with similar plots.

saraflower
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Re: Query - By the Sword (Fantasy) - 1st Revision

Post by saraflower » June 16th, 2011, 11:57 pm

Thanks a bunch, Anna! :)

saraflower
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Re: Query - By the Sword (Fantasy) - 1st Revision

Post by saraflower » June 19th, 2011, 10:21 pm

I want to thank everyone again on here for all your help. I hope this one is getting close. :)

Dear Agent,

Eighteen year old Talya`s main goal is to help bring down the Malinorian Empire. And Jalarn, the empire`s new young general, is at the top of her list of enemies to kill. Not only has Jalarn murdered Talya`s king, he almost killed her. Twice.

Talya`s plan to march into battle is interrupted when a visiting prophet tells her that God has called her on a peaceful mission to Hunter Forest. In the forest, Talya runs into Jalarn. After a gruelling fight, Talya`s skills prevail, but as she removes his battle mask to slit his throat, memories of a haunting vision convince her to spare his life. She flees – right into the hands of Jalarn`s men.

When Talya awakens in a prison, Jalarn orders her to make a decision to follow Malinor in the upcoming war, or die. But as Talya`s faith in God grows and she shares it with Jalarn, they become closer. When Jalarn begins to show curiosity in Talya`s God, he is no longer a heartless monster in her eyes. The problem is that there are no secrets in a castle full of magic. And someone is on to them.

By the Sword is a young adult Christian fantasy novel that is 70,000 words in length.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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