Query "Blood of Ihdun' YA Urban Fantasy

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stardog911
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Query "Blood of Ihdun' YA Urban Fantasy

Post by stardog911 » February 13th, 2010, 7:04 pm

Grateful for any input. Thanks
Revised query at bottom of thread.


Dear Agent,

Kat, a modern, seventeen year old girl from Seattle, is surprised to discover the immortal fey living among us. The fey have been here since time began, hiding among mortals. Living with us, sharing our dreams, loving us, never letting us see their true nature. Some protect us, wanting mortals to reach their full potential, while others hate us, viewing mortals as locusts covering the land, destroying it. Kat cannot unmask them though, for she is awakened to the knowledge that she is one of them.
Soon, Kat’s life is in mortal danger from Mori’quessir, Dark Elves, led by Jian, a sadistic follower of the Dark Lord. Jian knows that Kat is the only one who can disrupt her plans to release the Heru Mori from his chains, chains that have kept him from utterly perverting the world with his evil influence for millennia.

Kat is Tel Tinu en’Meiva, The Daughter of Balance that the Amrun’quessir, the Elves of Light have been waiting for and she is destined to keep the Dark Lord bound. Kat is not mortal as she has always believed, but actually a daughter of both the light and dark. She finds strength she never knew she had and friendships worth dying for as she walks paths that will lead to either her utter destruction or her eternal victory. The greatest knowledge she gains is that it’s the choices we make in our lives and not the circumstances of our births that determine who we are destined to be.



BLOOD OF IHDUN is a completed 109,000 word young adult urban fantasy. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Last edited by stardog911 on April 26th, 2010, 4:05 pm, edited 11 times in total.

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PoppysInARow
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Re: Query "Blood of Ihdun'

Post by PoppysInARow » February 13th, 2010, 7:25 pm

stardog911 wrote:[/color]
Dear Agent,
I chose to submit my work to you because you are the agent for my favorite author, Jane Doe and you are totally awesome.

Seventeen-year- old Kat has spent every holiday at her Grandmother’s Estate in Ogden, Utah, but the last couple of years, she can’t even think of going there without feeling sick. She can’t understand why she feels this way, it’s almost as if something happened the last time she visited, but she can’t remember what. When she finds out her Grandmother is dying and asking for her, she is forced to return.This is all very general. Skip straight to the grandma dying. As she journeys home, an unseen foeTell us exactly what attacks. BE SPECIFIC. Is it gargoyles? Evil cheerleaders? Psyco lawnmoers? attacks her and she finds herself fighting to stay alive. She is almost overcome as powers hidden within her are awakened. Suddenly she is imagining voices and dreaming about people she has never met and then she discovers that her Grandmother has been blocking her memories of the past. Feeling betrayed by those she loves Why? Because her grandmother hid things from her?and overwhelmed by the truthsWhat truths? they have hidden, she runsWhere? away hoping to come to terms with her new life. She finds herself beset by an ancient enemyWhat enemy? so evil and conscienceless that it will stop at nothing to destroy Kat and the people she loves most.Why? Does she have something she want? Kat must accept who she is meant to be and learn to trust in others in order to prevail in the battle that began before time was.

Blood of IhdunAll caps. is a completed 108,000 word urban fantasy aimed at young to mid aged women, although men will enjoy it as well. It is filled with humorous situations, mostly delivered by Kat's four year old sister. I am an expert at these situations because I am a mother of five and have experienced many of them myself. This is my first novel. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Start over. This is WAY too vague. You want to be as specific as possible.

Focus on answering the following questions:
1) What does your MC want?
2) What does she have to do to get it?
3) What will happen if she doesn't get it? (Stakes)

Good luck. :)
Insert Witty Signature Here.

Lunetta22
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Re: Query "Blood of Ihdun'

Post by Lunetta22 » February 13th, 2010, 7:36 pm

It could be interesting, but the plot description is too vague. I'd like to know who or what the ancient foe is. I'd like to know what powers are awakened in her. I don't get a sense of humorous situations at all from the plot desciption. I'd like to know why the ancient powerful foe is so set against her. How is she a threat to it?

The last paragraph
Blood of Ihdun is a completed 108,000 word urban fantasy aimed at young to mid aged women, although men will enjoy it as well. It is filled with humorous situations, mostly delivered by Kat's four year old sister. I am an expert at these situations because I am a mother of five and have experienced many of them myself. This is my first novel. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Should probably just consist of the word count, and thanking the agent for their time and consideration. You don't need credentials to write, and the agent doesn't need to know that this is your first novel.

Hope that helps...I'm not very good with queries.

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Re: Query "Blood of Ihdun'

Post by stardog911 » February 14th, 2010, 2:31 am

Thanks for the feed back! Let me know about the revision!

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Re: Query "Blood of Ihdun'

Post by bunderful » February 14th, 2010, 2:44 am

Dear Agent,
I chose to submit my work to you because you are the agent for my favorite author, Jane Doe and you are totally awesome.

I wouldn't start it this way - just go right into it.

When seventeen year-old Kat finds out her (dying) Grandmother is dying and asking for her, she is forced to return to her family’s ancestral home. On her way there, an unseen man attacks her and she is able to counter with unexpected strength and speed, easily defeating him (just like that? Maybe split the sentence. it seems a bit too easy.) She is almost overcome as powers hidden within her are awakened and a world of magic suddenly opens before her. Thinking she is losing her mind, I think this is obvious, just start from here: Kat begins to hear voices and dreams about people she has never met. Kat can’t help but feel betrayed when it is revealed that her Grandmother has been blocking her memories of the past. (Again - make it active don't tell us she feels betrayed, that's obvious when you tell us that the Grandmother has been blocking her memories) She is informed that she is Tel Tinu en’Meiva, the Daughter of Balance, the one spoken of in prophecy. Also, it is made known to her that the man she has known as her father, isn’t. (You don't need this sentence either just start from here:) Her father is actually an elf Lord, which means that she is elven as well. The Mori’quessir, the Dark elves and their allies want her dead for she is the only one who can restore balance to the world before the forces of the Dark Lord overcome all. Kat finds that she must come to terms with who she is meant to be and learn to trust in others in order for light to prevail in the battle that began before time was, but all she really wants is to return to her normal, teenage life! (And so how does she deal with this? a little more info. does she run away? hide? )

Blood of Ihdun is a completed 108,000 word urban fantasy. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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Re: Query "Blood of Ihdun'

Post by lachrymal » February 14th, 2010, 8:20 am

Just a few suggestions:
break up that one big paragraph into a few smaller sections. It looks like one big, unwieldy block of text right now.

Several of the sentences are written in passive voice, and should be active:
"it is revealed to her"
"is is made known to her"
"she is informed that"
I think that is three sentences in a row where the heroine is just a passive recipient of information. You want her to be active. It's also a heck of a lot of detailed info at once, like you're trying to list it all. As a previous critique suggested--if there's any way to show that all of this is happening instead of just telling us, it will make this query a lot more powerful.

The last sentence that includes "comes to terms with" seems a little general and cliched. I think you could integrate these ideas into the rest of the query (by showing us how she's reacting to all this crazy news, and her crazy powers, and her crazy parentage) and we wouldn't miss that sentence at all. Showing us how all of that is going down will allow you to reveal your unique voice, and give an agent a sense of how the book might read. Again--as said in a previous critique--the more specific you can be, the more interesting it is, and the more it makes your query stand out from the rest.

stardog911
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Re: Query "Blood of Ihdun'

Post by stardog911 » February 14th, 2010, 5:28 pm

you guys are awesome! I really apreciate all the help. =)

lachrymal
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Re: Query "Blood of Ihdun'

Post by lachrymal » February 15th, 2010, 7:02 am

I think the structure of the query is better now. It's in a more active voice (although some of that passivity still lingers: "Memories reveal that..." still puts the heroine in that passive recipient of info role).

So, the lingering issue I see with your query is that it is still really vague. Even when you are specific (like when you give names to stuff, like Dark Elves and Daughter of Balance), I still have no idea what the action looks like. To you, this is obvious, because you are neck-deep in your book and can read between all the lines you write. But for me (and an agent), this query is all I have. And right now, it's not enough.

Paragraph 1: ancestral home (that sounds kinda fancy, by the way. I read below and see it's Ogden, Utah) and unseen man--really general. (By the way, is he really unseen? She sends him running and still doesn't see him? How does she do that? And if she sees him, don't call him "unseen.") The final sentence in this paragraph is full of the kind of language you see in fantasy queries, I think, what with powers awakening and a "world of magic" opening. If there's any way you can write this in a way that lets me picture what that is specifically?

Paragraph 2: You're giving me labels for what she is, what her father is, and what the villian is (and I can't tell if her father and the villian are one and the same), but I still can't picture it. What exactly does Balance mean? What does it do to her? Why do those nasty dark elves care? Again, for someone unfamiliar with the exact plot of your book, this reads very cliched and general, but gives almost no real information (e.g., "betrayal rips through her", "foundations of trust", "Balance must be restored", "Dark Lord overcomes all", etc.). How's she going to restore Balance--tapdance naked in the middle of the street? Eat 50 eggs in one sitting? Climb Mt. Everest without oxygen? Meditate on her navel?

Paragraph 3: Again, this is a lot of general phrases strung together. I have no real sense of Kat--right now, she's the most generic of characters. I have no idea how she's reacting to going from average teenager to mythic elf-foe, except that she wants a "normal life".

I know getting specific is really, really hard to do without making the query twice as long (heck, I've got my own stack of rejections to prove it; I'll post the revision some day and you can tear it to shreds, and thanks in advance), but this is your only chance to show an agent all the things that are special about your book, and your voice. Remember that they get up to 100 queries a day, and if yours is going to stand a chance, it's got to be different, unique, interesting. Keep trying!

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Re: Query "Blood of Ihdun'

Post by ddegreeff » February 15th, 2010, 5:32 pm

You must have received some solid help, because this is a pretty clean little query. A couple thoughts: I know it says they're elves pretty quickly afterward, but just a few words giving a bit more clarity on how her grandmother was blocking her memories would be helpful, and I'm guessing that given the Urban Fantasy genre that this is set in a modern, regular sort of world, but if you could clarify when this is the case or if we're looking at a Middle Earth-type situation earlier on in the letter, I think it could prevent some confusion.
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stardog911
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Re: Query "Blood of Ihdun'

Post by stardog911 » February 16th, 2010, 1:42 am

Try this, hopefully more detail, less vague! =D

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Re: Query "Blood of Ihdun'

Post by stardog911 » February 17th, 2010, 10:17 pm

Please Critique my revision! Check out the prologue as well!

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Re: Query "Blood of Ihdun'

Post by CoachMT » February 19th, 2010, 6:12 pm

stardog911 wrote:When seventeen year-old Kat finds out her dying Grandmother is asking for her, she is forced to return to her family’s estate in Ogden, Utah. Waiting for her flight, a man attacks her and she is able to counter with unexpected strength and speed even though she can’t see him, only sense him. This is awkward to me. If it's a man, why can't she see him? the "able to counter" is too passive. Wounding her attacker, and sending him fleeing, Kat is astonished to see a wound she received miraculously heal before her eyes.

Kat imagines (hears?) voices and her dreams are troubled by people she has never met. She finds out that her Grandmother has been using her own elven gifts to block Kat’s memories of the past. Feeling betrayed, she doubts her Grandmother’s love which sends her into a fevered dream where all of the forgotten memories crash over her.

She is abruptly awakened to incredibly heightened senses including strength and agility beyond belief. Awkward again, strength and agility aren't senses. Her world spins when she finds out that fairies, elves , goblins and every conceivable fairy tale being exists in our modern times. I don't think this sentence is necessary and interrupts the sentences on either side which go together. Kat discovers that her father is actually a Mori’quessir, a Dark elf Lord and that she is Tel Tinu en’Meiva, the Daughter of Balance; the one spoken of in Quessir prophecy who will tip the scales of balance to the side of good once more.

A Mori’quessir known as Jian wants the Dark Lord (her father?) free from his bonds, for his rewards will be vast. She will stop at nothing to destroy Kat, for Kat is the only one able to keep him from breaking free of his prison.

Kat is forced to deal with psychotic goblins, invisible assassins, a poisonous hallucinogenic and two men vying for her attention, all in the short space of a week. Whatever happened to her normal, teenage life? She’s afraid that life will never be the same again! I'd end with the previous thought, maybe "So much for her normal teenage life" or something.
As with everything, these are just one person's opinion, but hopefully they'll help you polish further!

Lunetta22
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Re: Query "Blood of Ihdun'

Post by Lunetta22 » February 19th, 2010, 9:21 pm

The newest version looks better. Definitely agree with Coach's edits. :) Does this story take place in Ogden Utah because you live there? I'm just curious because I live in Provo, and there's a conference here in April.

stardog911
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Re: Query "Blood of Ihdun'

Post by stardog911 » February 20th, 2010, 10:00 pm

lol no I don't live there. Just looked rock stairways up on the net, one in Ogden came up and I loved the scenery! A friend of mine lives in Ogden. She just finished her mission. :)
As to the query, I will get to work on a revision on monday or tomorrow night. When I re-read it, I found the same things as you. Thanks for your help! Give me a couple of days to repost and same for the prologue.

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Re: Query "Blood of Ihdun'

Post by Lunetta22 » February 20th, 2010, 10:03 pm

So I see! Provo's better. ;)

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