Query -- Mists of Eria (fantasy romance)

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lisa01
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Query -- Mists of Eria (fantasy romance)

Post by lisa01 » September 10th, 2010, 7:33 pm

I have a query that needs to be ripped apart. Any takers? I've stared at it too long that my brain no longer functions.

Dear Agent,

College student Cal Weston’s dreams and waking visions are taking over her life, and the worst offender is Relian, a black-haired elvin male who features in too many of her dreams -- intimate, tender dreams. But these occurrences are soon the least of her worries.

Suddenly, she's no longer in her predictable world. She's in Relian's. And now she wants to know how her fate ties in with his. But most importantly, she wants to know when she can go home.

Relian has lived a life that hasn’t changed in millennia, and he likes it that way. As the prince of his people, he has his conscripted duties and a human, even a fascinating one, does not fit into them. But with the enemy horde knocking on the borders and the magic fading that keeps his land -- and Cal’s world -- alive, he might just have to find room. After all, who knows what role she may play in the survival of their worlds?

MISTS OF ERIA, a fantasy romance, is complete at 100,000 words. Set in modern-day Wisconsin and the elvin land of Eria, it’s a story of how love and acceptance can arise from even the hardest of choices.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Lisa

thewhipslip
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Re: Query -- Mists of Eria (fantasy romance)

Post by thewhipslip » September 10th, 2010, 9:58 pm

A couple comments right off the bat:
1) You've got two points-of-view going on here. Whose book is this? Both? Agents usually prefer just one character to feature.
2) You seem to be skirting around the actual story, teasing us. Well, I guess I'll just go find a query that gives me the good stuff...

Just kidding. My comments below.


Dear Agent,

College student Cal Weston’s dreams and waking visions are taking over her life, and the worst offender is Relian Worst offender at what? Is he in her visions? In her dreams? Let's be specific: Relian is haunting her dreams - and now he's taking over her life., a black-haired elvin male who features in too many of her dreams -- intimate, tender dreams He's the star of her sexy dreams. One sentence is all you need and you can cut this paragraph down.. But these occurrences are soon the least of her worries.

Suddenly, she's no longer in her predictable world. She's in Relian's. And now she wants to know how her fate ties in with hisOnly now does she want to know? She didn't want to know before? None of this is relevant in a query. We need your main character's starting situation, i.e. Cal is doing this when this happens, and then she decides to do this about it.... But most importantly, she wants to know when she can go home. Okay, you've got some sense of the conflict here. She can't get home. Lead with that. Conflict is your friend. (Yes, queries are very sadistic.)

Relian has lived a life that hasn’t changed in millennia, and he likes it that way So here's where you bring Relian into things. What happened to Cal! I was kind of starting to care about that little dreamer!. As the prince of his people, he has his conscripted duties and a human, even a fascinating one, does not fit into them How is she fascinating? Why do I care? What's your actual story here? Story is conflict. Give us some conflict.. But with the enemy horde knocking on the borders and the magic fading that keeps his land -- and Cal’s world -- alive, he might just have to find room Found it! This is coming way too late in the query.. After all, who knows what role she may play in the survival of their worlds? I hope you know - and the agent should get some kind of inkling too, otherwise you're not going to hook them. Give us some meat here.

MISTS OF ERIA, a fantasy romance, is complete at 100,000 words. Set in modern-day Wisconsin and the elvin land of Eria, it’s a story of how love and acceptance can arise from even the hardest of choices.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Okay, you've got a good start here, but no specifics. As I said, this is a tease - and queries need to be about facts. Here's my suggestion of how you might want the query to unfold:

- Cal's having dreams of Relian - and then she meets him in real life and gets stuck in his elven realm. He says she can help them fight [who's your antagonist? And here's a good spot to mention how she can help Relian - by doing what?]
- THEN we need some additional conflict. What's standing in Cal's way? Why might she not be able to help Relian's people? What choice does she have to make?
- Query done.



Sincerely,
Lisa[/quote]
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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Bartle001
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Re: Query -- Mists of Eria (fantasy romance)

Post by Bartle001 » September 10th, 2010, 10:28 pm

I'm going to have to agree with what I take to be thewhipslip's main point, that is, it's unclear to me how the heroine has any gift or ability that might stop the enemy horde. Shared dreams just confuse me on this point.

I assume that because they share dreams, their psyches are somehow linked? By accepting her love, the prince becomes whole and gains the strength to fight evil?

This is just a conjecture on how Cal fits in to all this

Without something in your query about how she does fit in ("Cal learns of a legend of an Elven soul, exiled to the world of men in human form with the Other Half Of Power—but what did that even mean?"), the story may just as well be about the Elven prince and his fight against the horde.

Make sense?

Just my two cents.

lisa01
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Re: Query -- Mists of Eria (fantasy romance)

Post by lisa01 » September 10th, 2010, 10:43 pm

thewhipslip and Bartle001, thanks for the critiques. I need to go back to the revision board. Sometimes I wonder how one little page can give me so much trouble. One thing I'm not sure about is the POV. Even on Query Shark and Agent Kristin Nelson's blog, the romance queries featured sometimes had two POV's and those were the queries they liked! And about Cal's presence in Eria, um well, she's just a normal young woman -- no super powers. It's more like a wake-up call for the elves, though they don't know that. In fact, they can't figure out way her presence there is so important. And that's the whole funny thing, she's not important except that she's human and the bond-mate of their prince. But that puts her where she needs to be: to open up minds (to be more open-minded) and find the clue that could make a difference to the fight. Her very ordinariness (is that a word?) is her power in the end, I guess.

Krista G.
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Re: Query -- Mists of Eria (fantasy romance)

Post by Krista G. » September 11th, 2010, 12:58 am

Lisa, I won't go line-by-line with this one, because I think the others have covered it pretty well. We need to know a bit more about this notion of shared dreams - how it works and why - and what effect Cal will have on this epic struggle. Also, I don't think you need the second sentence in the fourth paragraph. It only tells what the rest of the query has already shown. You can put those words to better use elsewhere.

Also, I just wanted to say I don't think two points of view are too many in a query. The problem comes when you lose the story among all the characters and differing points of view - when multiple points of view add confusion instead of clarity - but that doesn't happen here. You pass the POV baton off once, and when you're in Cal's POV, you stay there (and the same with Relian's). I think it works.

Good luck!
Author of THE REGENERATED MAN (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015)
Represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary
www.motherwrite.blogspot.com

lisa01
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Re: Query -- Mists of Eria (fantasy romance)

Post by lisa01 » September 11th, 2010, 2:39 am

Thanks, Krista G., everyone has given helpful suggestions that I'm trying out in my query. I won't lie; it's not smooth sailing. It seems like everything I incorporate becomes a cobbled mess. Even though I've been using the back space button more than any other key, I think I have made some (small) improvements. I definitely feel I'm going to have to revise this beast multiple times before it's right. Everytime I put something useful in, I end up taking something equally useful out! So when I post the next version, I hope no one expects perfection (or any where near it). It will probably be very rough, but this is actually the third draft of first query I've ever written so...

I do like the two POV's myself. The only problem with it -- I can't mention the 'enemy hoard' until I get to Relian's part, as all the elves are being very closed-mouth with Cal. Poor girl! She does found out about their enemies but not at the beginning. While this novel could stand-alone, I could make into a two or three book series. Cal and Relian's relationship is all tied up neat and tidy by the end but not their enemy problem. The 'solution' Cal found was toward the end of the book and requires going back to the earth dimension (focus would be on another couple). Yes, I know I need to mention about the book being a stand-alone in my query. I will. I just want to get the worst out of the way first.

Thanks for your review. I really appreciate it.

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