I am trying to be polite and encouraging, because I do think you've got the potential for a cool story. But these are the facts:Joel Q wrote:
DJF881, You are correct that agents must make assumptions based on the query. Nathan could probably expand on that.
Agents can hack through about 50 queries in half an hour. They request materials from fewer than 2% of submissions. Draw whatever conclusions you want from that.
Many of the submissions agents receive are for incoherent, poorly-written books. If your query isn't a standout, then agents will not take time to look at the manuscript. If your query letter is catchy and stylish and clear, they'll assume your manuscript is. If your query letter is confusing, they'll assume your manuscript is also confusing.But I, and every writer, must believe that an agent will make the assumption that the writers have done the research (as I have done on both the coal mining industry in Colorado and the theology behind my plot points). The agents most also assume that the manuscript has been proof read, critiqued and rewritten to make it a logical story line with believable events. A query letter cannot contain the details behind every plot point that may or may not make complete sense in one sentence or phrase. The synopsis is the next step to reveal the plot and motives in the manuscript.
The query should encapsulate the central plot or conflict of the book, it should demonstrate that you have a strong voice and it should contain a hook that catches the reader's attention. Somebody like Nathan gets between five hundred and a thousand queries every month. He'll pull, at most, two or three clients out of the slushpile in a year. Your book needs to be the single best thing that crosses his desk, or you're rejected. You don't get the benefit of the doubt, you don't get a mulligan and close doesn't count.
If your manuscript is polished to a high sheen, logical throughout, and tight as a drum, maybe you just need to rework your query. But the disparate and confusing elements of your query probably indicate similar issues with the manuscript. You should consider posting your query and first chapter in the Show Your Work forums at AbsoluteWrite. There are a lot of agented and published writers there, who know what they are doing. They will offer you on-the-point criticism that you may find helpful, if you're predisposed to accepting criticism and willing to do work on your book. I promise you, your book needs work.
Illogical elements, people who do things that are out-of-character, and implausible events are story problems. They break a reader's suspension of disbelief and readers are not indulgent. Your fantasy world has to have an internal set of rules. Stuff has to make sense. Your query has a lot of elements that make no sense:Almost every story has at least one twist or element that would not work in reality. That's one of privileges of being a writer, making something different work in a creative way to bring the reader into the world in your mind.
It doesn't make sense that a condemned murderer would be pardoned and released to hunt down his former associates. It doesn't make sense that fallen angels' plan to disprove the existence of God would involve pretending to be vampires while killing miners in a remote Colorado town. If the miners are trying to slay the demons, it makes no sense that the bounty hunter would be in conflict with them. It isn't clear what the bounty hunter's mission to hunt down the gang has to do with the demons. It doesn't make sense that trusting a demon should be necessary.
Nothing in your plot, as you describe it, seems to follow from the other events.
Consider, in contrast, the following very short synopsis for a variation on your theme:
See, there is a coherent story synopsis in 115 words. The protag's problem makes sense. The central conflict is clear, and it's even a little bit funny. There's a clear connection between the protag's quest and the town full of demons. If you can't do something like that with your story, you're probably not going to get positive responses.Jon Blair has a hell of a problem. His smooth, sweet-talking former friend Gabriel has skipped town, owing lots of money to a mobster named Paulie "Power Drill" Satriano. Jon vouched for Gabe, so if he can't track down the deadbeat within two weeks, he's likely to wind up learning how Paulie got his nickname.
The trouble is, Gabe is an ancient demon, and he's holed up with a bunch of his infernal buddies someplace in Colorado. They're having a good time up there, turning coal-miners inside out and beer-bonging human blood, so Gabe isn't particularly interested in going back to Chicago to make good on his debt. And Jon is running out of time.
Don't count on it.
Let's face it, given the short amount of words/space that writers have with a query letter, a lot of assumptions must take place. And hopefully the agents will make the positive assumptions, unlike yourself.