Query--Sendek--3rd revision page 2

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Query--Sendek--3rd revision page 2

Post by charity_bradford » January 16th, 2010, 8:30 pm

UPDATE: Please scroll down to the bottom of page 2 for REVISION 3. Thank you!


Alright, here is my first draft of my query for my WIP Sendek. I think it is too long. What do you think? Any and all suggestions are appreciated.
Thanks!


Dear Mr. _________,

In a world that has chosen science over magic, one woman must learn to understand her unique talents and find the answer to her prophetic dreams to save herself and her world.

Talia Shannon is intelligent and professional, and hiding a secret that will change the course of her planet. In addition to some distinctive talents, she has dreamed of an invasion and her death since the day she was born. These dreams are the driving force behind her work for the Space Exploration Foundation (SEF). Talia receives a new assignment to travel to the city Joharadin and work with the Royalist, the military monarchy in control of the government. From the very beginning Commander Landry Sutton throws her off balance. He angers her in a way that no one else ever has with his superior persona. The Commander accuses her of being a traitor to the kingdom and a spy for one of the rebellious factions. Talia is forced to defend herself and still keep her real secret from being exposed.

Commander Sutton’s arm brushes Talia’s during a visit in which he confronts Talia about her past. This small touch establishes a connection allowing them to feel each others emotions and hear each other’s thoughts. After a short game of mental cat and mouse to learn each other’s secrets, Commander Sutton leaves Talia wondering what will happen to her. Before either can decide on the appropriate action, they are thrown into each other’s company after surviving a sabotaged tram. As more secrets are revealed, they must learn to trust one another in order to survive the challenges ahead.

The planet Sendek has chosen to follow the path of science, but its ancient history was filled with mage and dragons. They have chosen to forget this past, but the magic is still present, waiting just under the surface to reassert itself. Talia Shannon and Commander Sutton both have Mage blood and gifts they keep hidden. Both will have to learn to accept and use these skills in order to save their planet from the return of the Draguman—a human-dragon hybrid created thousands of years earlier on Sendek and then sent into exile on a distant planet by the last dragons.

Adventure and romance within a world faced with returning to a realm of magic after centuries of scientific growth, Sendek is an 85,000 word Fantasy novel, written in first person from Talia’s point of view and third person. The continuing story is in outline form and the complete history of the Draguman is in the draft stage.

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

Yours sincerely,
Last edited by charity_bradford on February 2nd, 2010, 2:06 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Query--Sendek

Post by Yoshima » January 16th, 2010, 9:56 pm

Hello, charity_bradford! I agree; it is pretty long. Here's more specific thoughts:
charity_bradford wrote:Alright, here is my first draft of my query for my WIP Sendek. I think it is too long. What do you think? Any and all suggestions are appreciated.
Thanks!


Dear Mr. _________,

In a world that has chosen science over magic, one woman must learn to understand her unique talents and find the answer to her prophetic dreams to save herself and her world.

(I think this is where you query should start.) Talia Shannon is intelligent and professional, and hiding a secret that will change the course of her planet. In addition to some distinctive talents (like what? since this is fantasy, I think you should be more specific, since the possibilities of 'distinctive talents' are endless.), she has dreamed of an invasion and her death ("and her death" isn't really necessary; I assume fatalities when you say "invasion") since the day she was born. These dreams are the driving force behind her work for the Space Exploration Foundation (SEF). Talia receives a new assignment to travel to the city Joharadin and work with the Royalist, the military monarchy in control of the government. From the very beginning Commander Landry Sutton throws her off balance. He angers her in a way that no one else ever has with his superior persona. The Commander accuses her of being a traitor to the kingdom and a spy for one of the rebellious factions. Talia is forced to defend herself and still keep her real secret from being exposed. (Um...what's her real secret? The dreams?)

Commander Sutton’s arm brushes Talia’s during a visit in which he confronts Talia about her past. This small touch establishes a connection allowing them to feel each others emotions and hear each other’s thoughts (You've kind of lost me. How is this possible? Is this an alien power or something? Is one of them not human?). After a short game of mental cat and mouse to learn each other’s secrets, Commander Sutton leaves Talia wondering what will happen to her. Before either can decide on the appropriate action, they are thrown into each other’s company after surviving a sabotaged tram. As more secrets are revealed, they must learn to trust one another in order to survive the challenges ahead.

The planet Sendek has chosen to follow the path of science, but its ancient history was filled with mage and dragons (As a reader, this really confused me. I don't know why you're just now telling me about this. This answers a lot of the why's from above, and it's also, in my opinion, the coolest part of the query. I think you should explain the world and the mage blood before you tell about Talia and Sutton's connection that way I'm not like "huh?!" when you get to it. Plus, this is the part that really hooked me.). They have chosen to forget this past, but the magic is still present, waiting just under the surface to reassert itself. Talia Shannon and Commander Sutton both have Mage blood and gifts they keep hidden. Both will have to learn to accept and use these skills in order to save their planet from the return of the Draguman—a human-dragon hybrid created thousands of years earlier on Sendek and then sent into exile on a distant planet by the last dragons. (What makes the Draguman so dangerous? I need a better sense of the stakes.)

Adventure and romance within a world faced with returning to a realm of magic after centuries of scientific growth, Sendek is an 85,000 word Fantasy novel, written in first person from Talia’s point of view and third person. The continuing story is in outline form and the complete history of the Draguman is in the draft stage. (Neat! :) )

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

Yours sincerely,
I think your story sounds compelling, but to be honest I think this query is out of order. I felt like I was missing an entire layer of the story until the very end--not a good feeling as a reader. I think explaining the world/Mage/Draguman first would help with eliminating confusion. Overall I loved the concept, and by no means does all of the red above mean that I didn't like your query; I did. It was very interesting from the get-go. There wasn't a point where I didn't want to keep reading. Great job on that!

Good luck on revisions! Sounds like a great book!

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Re: Query--Sendek

Post by Dakota388 » January 16th, 2010, 10:53 pm

charity_bradford wrote:Alright, here is my first draft of my query for my WIP Sendek. I think it is too long. What do you think? Any and all suggestions are appreciated.
Thanks!
I am a rank amateur so take my advise at your own peril. Your story sounds interesting but I feel your query needs some work (which is why were here, right?) At first glance, I think you are way to vague in places and too in depth in others. I'll try to point out a few as we go though the query.

Dear Mr. _________,

In a world that has chosen science over magic, one woman Name her heremust learn to understand her unique talents vagueand sugg.- figure out why she has dreamed of her own death since the day she was born. (Makes this line more specific and allows you to remove it in the next paragraph)find the answer to her prophetic dreams to save herself and her world.

Talia Shannon is intelligent and professional, show us these traits with your query instead of telling us she is intelligent and professional and hiding a secret that will change the course of her planet cliched. In addition to some distinctive talents vague, she has dreamed of an invasion and her death since the day she was born if you used above suggestion. These dreams are the driving force behind her work for the Space Exploration Foundation (SEF). At this point I feel you start to give a blow-by-blow account of what happens next.Talia receives a new assignment to travel to the city Joharadin and work with the Royalist, the military monarchy in control of the government. From the very beginning Commander Landry Sutton throws her off balance. He angers her in a way that no one else ever has with his superior persona. I don't think this sentence is needed with the next sentence. The Commander accuses her of being a traitor to the kingdom and a spy for one of the rebellious factions. Talia is forced to defend herself and still keep her real secret from being exposed. Seems a bit unnecessary

Commander Sutton’s arm brushes Talia’s during a visit in which he confronts Talia about her past. This small touch establishes a connection allowing them to feel each others emotions and hear each other’s thoughts. sugg.- combine previous two sentences. Something like... When Commander Sutton's arm brushes Talia's, a connection is made enabling the two enemies to hear each others' thoughts After a short game of mental cat and mouse to learn each other’s secrets, Commander Sutton leaves Talia wondering what will happen to her. Before either can decide on the appropriate action, they are thrown into each other’s company after surviving a sabotaged tram ???. As more secrets are revealed, vague they must learn to trust one another in order to survive the challenges ahead. vague

The planet Sendek has chosen to follow the path of science, but its ancient history was filled with mage and dragons. They have chosen to forget this past, but the magic is still present, waiting just under the surface to reassert itself. Talia Shannon and Commander Sutton both have Mage blood and gifts they keep hidden. Both will have to learn to accept and use these skills in order to save their planet from the return of the Draguman—a human-dragon hybrid created thousands of years earlier on Sendek and then sent into exile on a distant planet by the last dragons. The dragumans seem to be thrown in here as there has been no mention of them throughout the query

Adventure and romance within a world faced with returning to a realm of magic after centuries of scientific growth I think you could do without this sentence, Sendek is an 85,000 word Fantasy novel, written in first person from Talia’s point of view and third person. The continuing story is in outline form and the complete history of the Draguman is in the draft stage.

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

Yours sincerely,
I think you need to focus on Talia, show us what her main conflict is while giving us a peek at what makes your fantasy unique. Fantasy is the hardest queries to write but keep at it. Just try to tighten this up a bit and leave out anything that doesn't directly affect the main conflict that you are trying to portray in this query. Good luck.
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Re: Query--Sendek

Post by charity_bradford » January 17th, 2010, 1:02 pm

Thanks! I'm working on revisions now. I'm finding it hard to tell what their powers are because they fight so hard to keep them a secret for the first half of my book. :) I don't even let the reader learn of all Talia's magical talents until she reveals them to the Commander. However, I know I have to give more in this short intro to my book in order to catch an agents eye.

Thanks again. Revision two coming soon.

I do have another question. Until I posted this query I was calling my novel science fiction with a taste of fantasy, now I'm not sure what to call it. It does have fantasy elements--made up world, magic, dragons, but it is not a LoTR kind of fantasy, and it is a scientific setting--space travel and aliens as well. Do you have any idea what I should call this?
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Re: Query--Sendek

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » January 17th, 2010, 3:18 pm

They call that Science Fantasy. Bit more of a niche market. But the publisher could always decide to push it as either fantasy or science fiction. I wouldn't worry too much, as the nature of the story will be pretty clear from the query. Final decision won't be in your hands, so need to stress too much.

Best of luck.
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Re: Query--Sendek

Post by charity_bradford » January 17th, 2010, 6:25 pm

Revised Query
First, thank you Ink for the info!

Second, thank you all for the help so far. I tried to stay away from recounting scenes, which is what I want to do. :) I also tried to give more information about their magical qualities. Ok, so here is the revised version.



Dear Mr. _________,

The planet Sendek has chosen to follow the path of science, but its ancient history was filled with mage and dragons. Although they have chosen to forget this past, the magic is still present, waiting just under the surface to reassert itself.

Talia Shannon and Commander Sutton both have Mage blood and gifts they keep hidden until they meet each other. Talia Shannon has dreamed of an alien invasion since the day she was born. In these dreams she is hunted because of her ability to glean power from the sun and communicate with the trees. Commander Sutton has always been able to sense the emotions of those around him, but even he is not aware of all the gifts he possesses. From the moment they meet, Commander Sutton throws Talia off balance. He accuses her of being a traitor and a spy for the rebellious faction called the Dragnot.

The Dragnot have made contact with the aliens of Talia’s dreams, the Draguman—a human-dragon hybrid created by mage thousands of years earlier on Sendek. After being exiled from Sendek, the Draguman spent centuries trying to return to exact revenge on the human species of Sendek. Now that they have returned, Talia and the Commander must learn to trust each other and embrace their gifts in order to fight these magical creatures.

Sendek is an 85,000 word Science Fantasy novel, written in first person from Talia’s point of view and third person. The continuing story is in outline form and the complete history of the Draguman is in the draft stage.

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

Yours sincerely,
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Re: Query--Sendek

Post by Matera_the_Mad » January 17th, 2010, 10:12 pm

This is no way complete, I merely hope to touch on some points that strike me as a bit off or too wordy.

A couple of things that bug me:
Mage is a singular noun, and you seem to be using it as a colloective plural. *wince*

"Dragnot" sounds way too much like "Dragnet", or some kind of pun. I would try for a different suffix.

Talia Shannon is intelligent and professional, and hiding a secret that will change the course of her planet. In addition to some distinctive talents, She has dreamed of an invasion and her death since the day she was born. These dreams are the driving force behind her work for the Space Exploration Foundation (SEF). Talia receives a new assignment to travel to the city Joharadin and work with the Royalists?, the military monarchy in control of the government. From the very beginning Commander Landry Sutton throws her off balance. He angers her in a way that no one else ever has with his superior persona attitude. The Commander accuses her of being a traitor to the kingdom and a spy for one of the rebellious factions. Talia is forced to defend herself and still keep her real secretfrom being exposed.

Commander Sutton’s arm brushes Talia’s during a visit in which he confronts Talia about her past. This small touch establishes a connection allowing them to feel each others emotions and hear each other’s thoughts. After a short game of mental cat and mouse to learn each other’s secrets, Commander Sutton leaves Talia wondering what will happen to her. Before either can decide on the appropriate action, they are thrown into each other’s company after surviving a sabotaged tram. As more secrets are revealed, they must learn to trust one another in order to survive the challenges ahead.

The planet Sendek has chosen to follow the path of science, but its ancient history was filled with mage and dragons. They have chosen to forget this past, but the magic is still present, waiting just under the surface to reassert itself. (Could squash those two sentences into one) Talia Shannon (And why keep on with both her names when one would do?) and Commander Sutton both have Mage blood and gifts they keep hidden. Both will have to learn to accept and use these skills in order to save their planet from the return of the Draguman—a human-dragon hybrid created thousands of years earlier on Sendek and then sent into exile on a distant planet by the last dragons. (and...what happened to the dragons?)

The continuing story -- I would say "A sequel" for clarity's sake.
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Re: Query--Sendek

Post by charity_bradford » January 18th, 2010, 10:12 am

Thanks Matera_the_Mad, would you mind taking a look at the revised version? I think I fixed a lot of the things you noticed.

Thanks!
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Re: Query--Sendek

Post by Krista G. » January 18th, 2010, 10:40 am

charity_bradford wrote:Dear Mr. _________,

The planet Sendek has chosen to follow the path of science, but its ancient history was filled with mage and dragons. Although they have chosen to forget this past, the magic is still present, waiting just under the surface to reassert itself. I like the first sentence better than the second, and they both say kind of the same thing. You might consider ditching the second sentence and moving straight into the next paragraph.

Talia Shannon and Commander Sutton both have Mage blood and gifts they keep hidden until they meet each other. Why do they keep them hidden, and why do they reveal them to each other? Talia Shannon has dreamed of an alien invasion since the day she was born. As in, she's looking forward to it? Or is it more of a nightmare? In these dreams she is hunted because of her ability to glean power from the sun and communicate with the trees. Commander Sutton has always been able to sense the emotions of those around him, but even he is not aware of all the gifts he possesses. From the moment they meet, Commander Sutton throws Talia off balance. He accuses her of being a traitor and a spy for the rebellious faction called the Dragnot. The dream reference distracts from the forward action of the story. I'd just describe their respective gifts in a sentence, then move on to their relationship.

The Dragnot have made contact with the aliens of Talia’s dreams, the Draguman—a human-dragon hybrid created by mage thousands of years earlier on Sendek. After being exiled from Sendek, the Draguman spent centuries trying to return to exact revenge on the human species of Sendek. Now that they have returned, Talia and the Commander must learn to trust each other and embrace their gifts in order to fight these magical creatures.

Sendek is an 85,000 word Science Fantasy novel, written in first person from Talia’s point of view and third person. The continuing story is in outline form and the complete history of the Draguman is in the draft stage. You probably don't need to describe the novel's point of view - it should be pretty clear from any pages an agent might request. And the second sentence in this paragraph confuses me a bit. By continuing story, do you mean sequel? And is the complete history of the Draguman a companion book, like THE SILMARILLION is to THE LORD OF THE RINGS? In any case, these details probably aren't necessary to include in your query.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you. I'd get rid of the "and I look forward to hearing from you," because some of the agents you query might be of the no-response-means-no variety.

Yours sincerely,
I didn't read your earlier draft, but I'm not wild about this one. There's a lot of back story here and not a lot of present action. Because of that, I'm confused as to why the Draguman are bad, since your main characters are magical, too. Seems like they'd be on the same team.

On the whole, I like the concept (definitely sounds like something I'd like to read), but I want to know more about what happens in the story itself, not all the past history of Sendak and our MCs. Good luck with this.
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Re: Query--Sendek

Post by charity_bradford » January 18th, 2010, 5:51 pm

On the whole, I like the concept (definitely sounds like something I'd like to read), but I want to know more about what happens in the story itself, not all the past history of Sendak and our MCs. Good luck with this.
Thanks Krista, I got a similar remark on the Nano pages and as I reread the query I agree. The story is so big in my head I'm having trouble homing in on the important part to put in the query. The dreams are nightmares, and they play a huge part in the book, but perhaps that is not what I need to talk about. They keep their gifts hidden for fear of being studied and Talia tries very hard not to reveal them to Landry, but his talent makes that impossible. :) After a lot of tension and fighting words things turn toward the romantic side with them.

The theme of the series is about the choice between science and magic. Do they have to be at odds with each other or can they work together, if so how?

I wrote the Draguman's history because there is a lot that I couldn't cover in this book (or the series). They have a great story and the purpose of it was to show how they started good and then turned evil after a lifetime of horrible things thrown at them. In the end I want people to actually feel bad that they are destroyed.

I'm thinking I need to make the final decision on how I'm going to incorporate their story. My beta readers think I need to go back and work their story into the current book. *cringes* It will make this story much larger than it is and I like it as a fast paced fun ride. Am I being lazy? I can't decide if I'm being lazy because that will be a lot more work, or if I'm afraid of it slowing my pacing. I think my head is going to explode :)
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Re: Query--Sendek

Post by Dakota388 » January 18th, 2010, 8:47 pm

charity_bradford wrote:
On the whole, I like the concept (definitely sounds like something I'd like to read), but I want to know more about what happens in the story itself, not all the past history of Sendak and our MCs. Good luck with this.
Thanks Krista, I got a similar remark on the Nano pages and as I reread the query I agree. The story is so big in my head I'm having trouble homing in on the important part to put in the query. The dreams are nightmares, and they play a huge part in the book, but perhaps that is not what I need to talk about. They keep their gifts hidden for fear of being studied and Talia tries very hard not to reveal them to Landry, but his talent makes that impossible. :) After a lot of tension and fighting words things turn toward the romantic side with them.

The theme of the series is about the choice between science and magic. Do they have to be at odds with each other or can they work together, if so how?

I wrote the Draguman's history because there is a lot that I couldn't cover in this book (or the series). They have a great story and the purpose of it was to show how they started good and then turned evil after a lifetime of horrible things thrown at them. In the end I want people to actually feel bad that they are destroyed.

I'm thinking I need to make the final decision on how I'm going to incorporate their story. My beta readers think I need to go back and work their story into the current book. *cringes* It will make this story much larger than it is and I like it as a fast paced fun ride. Am I being lazy? I can't decide if I'm being lazy because that will be a lot more work, or if I'm afraid of it slowing my pacing. I think my head is going to explode :)
I have to say that what you described here makes me want to read the book. Your theme is great. If you could come up with a way to portray that in this query without telling me outright, I think it would be strong. Can you take your main character and tell only the aspect of your theme without worrying about every subplot? I think a query about Talia being torn between magic and science would be very interesting. I'm not saying that I don't like your query but there seems to be a lot to it for me to wrap my head around. I understand how big your world is, I write fantasy as well, but don't worry about every important point. As I read your query, I see a lot of interesting tidbits that I am sure are extremely important to your book but they don't seem so important to the story of the query. An example is her dreams of her own death. Cool? sure. Major part of the book, you betcha. But in the query, why is it important? I agree with a lot that Krista says. My advice is to strip down your query to one conflict that really captures the theme of the book. If it is Capt. Sutton and his relationship with Talia, then go with that and leave out the dragon people. If it is the science versus magic angle, go with that and do it from Talia's point of view. Just my opinion. On another note. If you are a first time writer, as I am, focus on this one book for your query. Don't worry about telling the agent about your other projects even if they are a part of this world. Focus on selling this 1 story and 1 story alone. Advice that was given to me that I rather liked was a single, simple sentence. ______ is a stand alone novel with series potential. On that same point, if the dragon people are so interesting and important, you should find a way to incorporate them into this novel. You may only get one chance at selling your world and you don't want to be saving the coolest parts for later. Maybe I was rambling incoherently but I hope I could help. Good luck. Remember, I am unpublished so go with how you feel.
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Re: Query--Sendek

Post by Matera_the_Mad » January 18th, 2010, 10:02 pm

Hmm, I thought I was looking at the revised version. But things get messed up because I have to zoom the font up big and then things scroll too far...you have no idea, you who can read 8-pixel high letters. Oh well.
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Re: Query--Sendek

Post by Dakota388 » January 18th, 2010, 10:09 pm

Matera_the_Mad wrote:Hmm, I thought I was looking at the revised version. But things get messed up because I have to zoom the font up big and then things scroll too far...you have no idea, you who can read 8-pixel high letters. Oh well.

I think I made the same mistake. I'll try to look at the revised one more when I have time. Sorry.
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Re: Query--Sendek

Post by charity_bradford » January 19th, 2010, 7:49 am

Matera_the_Mad wrote:Hmm, I thought I was looking at the revised version. But things get messed up because I have to zoom the font up big and then things scroll too far...you have no idea, you who can read 8-pixel high letters. Oh well.
I think I made the same mistake. I'll try to look at the revised one more when I have time. Sorry.
You guys are the best! All of you, even those not quoted. I agree with every thing you've said, so after I get the kiddos off to school I'm going to get back to work. Do you guys have queries I can look at and offer help on? It may not be worth much, but I'd love to return the favor.
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Re: Query--Sendek

Post by Dakota388 » January 19th, 2010, 9:42 am

I do. It is probably a couple of pages back called the light of epertase. I'd love your opinion. It is a fantasy as well. And far from perfect. The heading for the most recent one I posted is two queries for epertase; which one to use. I have a newer version but it is basically this one tweaked a little. Thanks ahead of time.
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