Query - Wanted: Chosen One, Now Hiring (Fantasy) [REVISED]

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NHWriter
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Query - Wanted: Chosen One, Now Hiring (Fantasy) [REVISED]

Post by NHWriter » February 12th, 2010, 8:58 pm

So I spent an hour studying the five queries Janet Reid has give a thumbs up to at Query Shark, gutted my original query, and created this revision:

Dear Query Shark

Nashau was just sacked after thirty years as the Baron d'Bluefield's minister of prophecy. He got the baron’s son and heir killed. All across the Seven Kingdoms, prophecies are failing, chosen ones are dying, and prophets are taking the blame. If Nashau doesn’t find a chosen one and fix whatever’s gone wrong, he’ll never find work as a prophet again.

Podome just fled his job as the Duke d’Hillsborough’s minister of prophecy after getting the duke’s son and heir killed. Together he and Nashau head north in search of the chosen one that can break their curse, the descendant of legendary Count Pelier. They find Bastin the Bold, notorious flimflam man and potential chosen one. Is it shenanigans or is he the heir they’re looking for? They don’t care enough to take the time to find out. The duke’s assassins are hunting them. They need to break the curse before it’s too late. If it’s all a flimflam and the prophecy kills Bastin, they’ll just hire another chosen one and try again until they get it right.

WANTED: CHOSEN ONE, NOW HIRING, is a 150,000-word fantasy about the anguish of losing one’s job and the desperate things a person will do to get it back. Readers of Lois McMaster Bujold’s CURSE OF CHALLION will enjoy this story.

I have previously published DANGEROUS DENIZENS for Kenzer & Co (2003). as well as 33 role-playing PDF releases for Kenzer and Wizards of the Coast (2004-2008). In 2000, my ten-minute play Jigsaw was performed in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. You can learn more about me and my writing at my website, http://josephlselby.com.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Joseph L. Selby
http://josephlselby.com
[other contact information]

Dear Agent

Nashau was just sacked as the Baron d'Bluefield's court prophet. Bastin is a flimflam man that's never held a job in his life. All across the Seven Kingdoms prophecies are failing, chosen ones are dying, and prophets are taking the blame. But Nashau has a vision and a plan how to break the curse and get his job back. All he needs is a chosen one dashing, daring...and dumb enough to take the job.

Nashau seeks out his colleague, Podome, recently sacked as the Duke d’Hillsborough’s court prophet. Nashau names him pathfinder, appointed by heaven to lead them to the chosen one. They must find the lost heir of Count Pelier before word spreads that prophets have lost their foresight and are leading their chosen ones to their deaths, before the mob demands justice. What they find is a flimflam man masquerading as the count himself, his alewife girlfriend running away from home, and a trio of cultist assassins determined to stop them.

The prophet, his pathfinder, his chosen one, and his chosen one’s girlfriend must plumb the depths of the capital’s catacombs to make an offering at an ancient altar before their pursuers kill them or their own secrets unravel their quest from within. Failure spells death, but if they succeed, they will save their profession and their careers.

WANTED: CHOSEN ONE, NOW HIRING, is a 150,000-word fantasy that mixes humor, a robust setting, the personal anguish of losing one’s job, and the desperate things a person will do to get it back. Readers of Lois McMaster Bujold’s CURSE OF CHALLION will enjoy this story.

I have previously published DANGEROUS DENIZENS for Kenzer & Co (2003). as well as 33 role-playing PDF releases for Kenzer and Wizards of the Coast (2004-2008). In 2000, my ten-minute play Jigsaw was performed in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. You can learn more about me and my writing at my website, http://josephlselby.com.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Joseph L. Selby
http://josephlselby.com
Last edited by NHWriter on February 18th, 2010, 12:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.

snlemon
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Re: Query - Wanted: Chosen One, Now Hiring (Fantasy)

Post by snlemon » February 12th, 2010, 11:28 pm

This is, IMO, to long and the first line makes my eyes glaze over immediately. I honestly can't even get past bbasbabsbaASSDS without wanting to click the backspace.

What might help you pare this down is to cover what your MC really wants, what is preventing him from getting it and what he stands to lose. Keep the names to a minimum...try using just your MC's name and see how that goes.

another excercise to do is get your whole query to five sentances...one for setup, three for conflict and one for ending, while keeping in mind the questions above and your own voice.

Good luck!
There is no such thing as good writing, only good re-writing.

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NHWriter
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Re: Query - Wanted: Chosen One, Now Hiring (Fantasy)

Post by NHWriter » February 13th, 2010, 9:04 am

What exactly is bbasbabsbaASSDS?

The query for my current solicitation is much shorter. On Kristen Nelson's blog, she posted a query that caught her attention and I was surprised at the length. So for my WIP, I wrote the above to see how it compares.

Thank you for your comments.

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Re: Query - Wanted: Chosen One, Now Hiring (Fantasy)

Post by snlemon » February 13th, 2010, 10:08 am

sorry, I didn't mean to offend you at all. I couldn't type your name without scrolling back and forth several times to get the spelling right.

I wasn't trying to say your query is not intresting, I was trying to say...it doesn't matter if it's the most riveting material in the world, you're loosing your reader in the first sentance by tripping them over long unconnected names. Of course you know who your MC is and where he is coming from, but for an outside reader there is no connection and the brain stumbles many a times trying to mentally get through that Baron d'Bluefield's (hehe I found the copy and paste. my bad!). Obviously that is not a very hard name, it's just causing a stutter that detracts from your writing/query/story.

KWIM?

There isn't anything you need to take as far as advice, I'm just letting you know what happens in my brain when I read this, assuming that an agent is going to be just as detached and quick reading.


And the last setance about your book ( mixes humor, a robust setting, the personal anguish of losing one’s job, and the desperate things a person will do to get it back.) You don't need to tell thisme your book is those things, you need to show me in your description!

Longer isn't better, even the longest most complex book in the world can be boiled down to an accurate one sentance...in a query you get four or five, so make them really show what makes your book special!!!

Again, just my two cents!!!
There is no such thing as good writing, only good re-writing.

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Re: Query - Wanted: Chosen One, Now Hiring (Fantasy)

Post by Lunetta22 » February 14th, 2010, 12:40 am

I really like the idea, I think it sounds like a lot of fun. But I think that 150,000 words is probably too long for the book. I tripped a bit over this sentence here:
The prophet, his pathfinder, his chosen one, and his chosen one’s girlfriend must plumb the depths of the capital’s catacombs to make an offering at an ancient altar before their pursuers kill them or their own secrets unravel their quest from within.
I'm not sure what you mean by "plumb the depths of the capital's catacombs". I am picturing, well, plumbing. I might try a different word like explore, or traverse, or navigate...but that's just me.

Good luck with this!

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Re: Query - Wanted: Chosen One, Now Hiring (Fantasy)

Post by NHWriter » February 18th, 2010, 12:26 pm

I shortened the query considerably and it's better for it. The names will remain as a matter of context. Any agent I send this to will rep fantasy and won't be turned off by the names. As the genre goes, those names are incredibly simple. Plumb the depths is an idiom, but I've scratched it. I took the wrong direction trying to build off a single paragraph that makes good BCC. While a good suggestion on Kristen Nelson's part, I don't do it properly to turn it into a good query. That might be a problem with my current solicitation. I think the query is weak.

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Re: Query - Wanted: Chosen One, Now Hiring (Fantasy) [REVISED]

Post by CoachMT » February 18th, 2010, 2:32 pm

NHWriter wrote:Nashau was just sacked after thirty years as the Baron d'Bluefield's minister of prophecy. He got the baron’s son and heir killed.

Podome just fled his job as the Duke d’Hillsborough’s minister of prophecy after getting the duke’s son and heir killed.
The opening of the second paragraph threw me — I thought I'd gone through a time warp back to the first, they are so similar. How does a prophet get an heir killed and why does it happen so frequently? Is a chosen one a noble son or something else? Not clear to me.

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