Echtra : Blood Magick - query letter!

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Wandaduplooy
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Echtra : Blood Magick - query letter!

Post by Wandaduplooy » February 18th, 2010, 8:44 am

I had two rejections with this letter – please give constructive criticism
Agent X


17 February 2010

Agent X,

One night Connor Riley finds himself wide-awake, unable to explain what woke him—and then the headaches start. Over the next few days, he tries to figure out why the waitress who disappeared the same night seems so familiar and why he is plagued with visions depicting her death. In the grips of excruciating pain, he finds himself in a dark alley interrupting a standoff between strangers. He fears that if the headache does not kill him first, the hostile violet-eyed youth would. Astonishingly they do not pursue Connor as he flees the alley, his headache gone for the first time in days.

A traumatized Connor returns home only to find that the strange evening has not ended yet, when he is told that his father, who died when he was only three, was not human. Determined to discover the truth of his origins and find explanations for the events of the preceding days, Connor flies to New York, guided only by the name of a company his father left with his mother, with instruction to contact them if anything strange happens—but only as a last resort.

He willingly leaves all he knows behind; discovering that magick is his legacy and that taking on the mantle of his father’s duty will forever stain his future with blood. Every shocking truth he unravels reveals only more questions, ending with the uncovering of a truth so startling, so horrific that it forces him to re-evaluate everything he thought he knew and believed.

In the end, he realises that stumbling in the dark is sometimes easier than facing the light of truth.

I am thus seeking representation for my fantasy adventure novel, “Echtra: Blood Magick”, complete at 82 786 words. I have two sequels planned, “Echtra: Fire Storm” and “Echtra: Alliances”. I also have two parallel storylines planned that link into the Echtra series. Please note that I am not just seeking representation for my first novel, but also for all subsequent projects

I xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sincerely

W du Plooy
wandaduplooy@gmail.com

lachrymal
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Re: Echtra : Blood Magick - query letter!

Post by lachrymal » February 18th, 2010, 9:05 pm

This story sounds quite interesting! However, the query is a bit confusing. In general, I suggest you shorten many of the sentences, make sure as many as possible are in an active voice, and make a few things more specific.

One night Connor Riley finds himself wide-awake [no hyphen needed here, I think], unable to explain what woke him—and then the headaches start. Over the next few days, he tries to figure out why the waitress who disappeared the same night seems so familiar and why he is plagued with visions depicting [how about just "visions of"] her death. In the grips of excruciating pain, he finds himself in a dark alley interrupting a standoff between strangers. He fears that if the headache does not kill him first, the hostile violet-eyed youth would [ "will" instead of "would" to match the tense in the sentence. Is the youth one of the strangers? is the waitress one of the strangers?]. Astonishingly they do not pursue Connor as he flees the alley, his headache gone for the first time in days. [that sentence is confusing. Why is it astonishing that they don't pursue him? Aren't they busy having a standoff? The sentence is also a comma splice--maybe make a new sentence starting with "His headache is gone..."]

A traumatized Connor [How about "Traumatized, Connor..."] returns home only to find that the strange evening has not ended yet, [end sentence here, and start the next with "He is told..." However, if you could make that sentence active instead of passive, it might be better. Who tells him?] when he is told that his father, who died when he was only three, was not human. Determined to discover the truth of his origins and find explanations for the events of the preceding days, Connor flies to New York, guided only by the name of a company his father left with his mother [his father left his mother a company, or just the name of a company? This sentence could read either way], with instruction to contact them if anything strange happens—but only as a last resort [As is, this sentence is really long. Could you break it into two? And they tell him to contact them if "anything strange happens" but "only as a last resort" sounds a little contradictory].

He willingly leaves all he knows behind; [I think you just need a comma here, not a semi-colon] discovering that magick is his legacy and that taking on the mantle of his father’s duty will forever stain his future with blood. Every shocking truth he unravels reveals only more questions, ending with the uncovering of a truth [this is an oddly passive phrase--How about starting a new sentence with "Connor uncovers a truth so strange..."] so startling, so horrific that it forces him to re-evaluate everything he thought he knew and believed [this is really vague].

In the end, he realises that stumbling in the dark is sometimes easier than facing the light of truth [I like this!].

I am thus [no need for "thus"] seeking representation for my fantasy adventure novel, “Echtra: Blood Magick”, complete at 82 786 words [round to 83000]. I have two sequels planned, “Echtra: Fire Storm” and “Echtra: Alliances”. I also have two parallel storylines planned that link into the Echtra series. Please note that I am not just seeking representation for my first novel, but also for all subsequent projects [I strongly suggest you delete this sentence. The agent agrees to represent you for this book, and not your other books. Many of their blogs emphasize this--one book at a time, and it sounds kinda presumptuous if you say you want representation for "all subsequent projects".]

Wandaduplooy
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Re: Echtra : Blood Magick - query letter!

Post by Wandaduplooy » February 18th, 2010, 10:54 pm

Thank you for all your sugesstions. I will read and edit my letter and post it again!!! Passive Phase holds a part in writing or am I wrong? I conveys a different mood than acive phase and plases more emphasis om tha action?

Wandaduplooy
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Re: Echtra : Blood Magick - query letter!

Post by Wandaduplooy » February 20th, 2010, 12:15 am

I guess this is as much help as I am going to get! Thank you for the suggestions. The reason why I mentioned the subsequent projects is because I want a agent who will stand with me through it all... I want to be in a partnership, a marraige and I prefer one partner—not one for every novel. I want to be with him/her until I am old and grey! I want to sent him / her a draft back from the afterlife about a ghost who can't stop writing ! So that is why I added the line..

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Bryan Russell/Ink
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Re: Echtra : Blood Magick - query letter!

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » February 20th, 2010, 3:59 pm

I think multiple books is just the basic expectation on the part of agents for fiction writers. I don't think you need to state it.

Best of luck.
The Alchemy of Writing at www.alchemyofwriting.blogspot.com

Limari
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Re: Echtra : Blood Magick - query letter!

Post by Limari » February 21st, 2010, 11:32 am

Hi Wanda :) I just read your query and the suggestions provided, and one more occurred to me. Have you thought about personalizing your query? "Dear [agent]: I am seeking your representation because [insert personalization here]." Hahahaha I suck at this... Anyways, for me it would be:

"Dear Ms. Reamer:

I have been your fan since I read Carolyn Mackler's The Earth, My Butt and other Big Round Things ..."

I hope this helps!

jessicatudor
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Re: Echtra : Blood Magick - query letter!

Post by jessicatudor » February 21st, 2010, 2:26 pm

Part of the trouble for me is that the events you mention are sort of disjointed, and seem to be just the set up of the story. I'm guessing the bulk of the action is Connor going to New York and what happens there, but that's glossed over. I don't see how this story is any different from an average Joe who discovers a world of magic, and I can't tell if this is YA or adult. What's the conflict? The line about stumbling in shadows is good because it suggests darker things (and the blood mentions) but as written, it all seems kind of generic. I need to know more about the crux of your story, not its set-up.
'The world is but canvas to our imaginations.' - Thoreau

KaylingR
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Re: Echtra : Blood Magick - query letter!

Post by KaylingR » February 22nd, 2010, 9:09 am

Hey Wanda! If you're looking for more feedback, I'll do my best. Take what's of use and ignore the rest. :) I use examples because that's the way my brain works, but there just things I'm throwing out to illustrate what I'm saying. I don't mean that you should use them specifically.
Determined to discover the truth of his origins and find explanations for the events of the preceding days, Connor flies to New York, guided only by the name of a company his father left with his mother, with instruction to contact them if anything strange happens—but only as a last resort.
This is where your story really begins. Everything that comes before is set-up. Start your query here and tighten it up as much as possible.

"Haunted by nightmares and headaches, Connor Riley flies to New York in search of contact his dead father left for him 'if anything strange happens--but only as a last resort." Something like that.
He willingly leaves all he knows behind;
cut willingly
discovering that magick is his legacy and that taking on the mantle of his father’s duty will forever stain his future with blood.
A semicolon connects two sentences that are related, but this is not a sentence. It can't stand on its own. "He discovers a family legacy of magick and blood."
Every shocking truth he unravels reveals only more questions, ending with the uncovering of a truth so startling, so horrific that it forces him to re-evaluate everything he thought he knew and believed.
Telling not showing. What is the startling truth? What did he know or believe? Without any specifics this doesn't really mane anything to me.
In the end, he realises that stumbling in the dark is sometimes easier than facing the light of truth.
I don't think you need this at all.

Right now, what I know of your story is guy has headaches and nightmares, goes to NY and discovers something bad. I don't know what his decision is, or who or what he must overcome. A few well chosen specifics will help me understand what happens (plot) and why I should care (stakes). Right now I don't have enough information to know whether I would be interested in reading on or not.

Hope this helps!

-K.

Wandaduplooy
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Re: Echtra : Blood Magick - query letter!

Post by Wandaduplooy » February 23rd, 2010, 6:36 am

Thank you for al your feedback! I will take it all into consideration!

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