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Query Letter- SHADOW OF THE LION LORD (Will return critiques)

Fiction Fantasy Young Adult

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#1 FlameAlchemist

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 09:23 PM

Please scroll down for my edit of this. Thanks!

Dear Agent,

When eighteen-year-old Helios accepts a job offer from Lord Appius to be a chaperone for the noble’s son Hector, little does he suspect that in less than two months, Lord Appius will be dead by Helios’ own hand.

Thirteen at the time of his Father’s death, Hector has been seeking vengeance for three years as a soldier in the Imperial Army. When his battalion is captured by a Rebel squadron, Hector is shocked to find that among his captors stands Helios. Revenge will be in grasp--if he can only escape captivity.

Helios wants to atone for the murder of Lord Appius, but he also has to do his job as a Rebel captain--a job that includes bringing in Imperial prisoners for execution. The decision only becomes tougher when he stumbles upon a secret about Lord Appius’ murder that makes blame far more difficult to point out. Suddenly Helios himself might be on the dossier of future targets--and so might his little sister. . .

As mysteries mount and battle lines blur, both Helios and Hector are forced to consider an unlikely possibility. Should they work together?

In a land where armies clash and myths become reality, the assassination of a noble holds secrets that could determine the fate of the world. SHADOW OF THE LION LORD is a YA Epic Fantasy novel with series potential, reminiscent of John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, and the anime Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. My novel is told in multiple perspectives and alternates between the fall of three years ago, and present day. It is complete at approximately 85K words.

Thank you for your time and consideration

 



#2 LEEALLAN

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 10:50 PM

Hi FlameAlchemist! Here's my attempt to critique your query. I'm new to this too, so others may view my suggestions differently or more expertly.

 

Dear Agent,

When eighteen-year-old Helios accepts a job offer from Lord Appius to be a chaperone for the noble’s son Hector, little does he doesn't suspect that in less than two months, he will slay the Lord Appius will be dead by Helios’ own hand. himself.

(new paragraph here)

Thirteen at the time of his Father’s death, Hector (I'd suggest that this sentence begins with the protagonist, Helios) has been seeking vengeance for three years as a soldier in the Imperial Army. When his battalion is captured by a Rebel squadron, Hector is shocked to find that among his captors stands Helios. Revenge will be in grasp--if he can only escape captivity. (Is Helios the main character or is Hector? The query should be only from the point of view of the main character)

(when does Helios become a rebel? It sounds like it was 3 years ago, but then why was he a chaperone for Hector only 2 months ago?) Helios wants to atone for the  his murder of Lord Appius, but he also has to do his job as a Rebel captain--a job that includes bringing in Imperial prisoners for execution. The decision only becomes tougher when he stumbles upon a secret about Lord Appius’ murder that makes blame far more difficult to point out. (I'm sorry, you've lost me. Perhaps be more precise about the secret.) Suddenly Helios himself might be on the dossier of future targets--and so might his little sister. . .

As mysteries mount and battle lines blur, both Helios and Hector are forced to consider an unlikely possibility. Should they work together?

In a land where armies clash and myths become reality, the assassination of a noble holds secrets that could determine the fate of the world. SHADOW OF THE LION LORD is a YA Epic Fantasy novel with series potential, reminiscent of John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, and the anime Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. My novel is told in multiple perspectives and alternates between the fall of three years ago, and present day. It is complete at approximately 85K words.

Thank you for your time and consideration

 

This is a fantastic first start! I think your main problem is to identify the protagonist (I presume it is Helios) and write the query from his point of view, but still include much information about Hector. Maybe hint at why Helios killed the Lord. Is it because Helios is a rebel at the time? That's unclear to me. Determine what is the protagonist's main goal. What's stopping him from achieving that goal? Be sure that the logic of one sentence flows through to the next sentence, and so on. Best of luck! Check out my most recent query for my novel, LOVE, CATS, AND ASSASSINS. Lee Allan



#3 Springfield

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 11:33 PM

Isn't there at least one thread for this?



#4 FlameAlchemist

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 09:05 PM

Yeah. . . This was revision #3, but I forgot to put that up one the revision title.



#5 FlameAlchemist

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 09:08 PM

LEEALLAN, thanks for the review!

As for your comment about protagonists, there are multiple protagonists--like Game of Thrones. Multiple protagonists and perspectives. There are several other protagonists, but I only put two of them in the query letter. Do you have any idea how I could make the multiple protagonist thing clear? Anyway, thanks for the comments--it's really helpful, trust me! I will review your letter as well!



#6 Springfield

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 02:44 AM

It belongs in the other thread.



#7 smithgirl

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 03:44 PM

Insert line breaks between each paragraph.

 

Dear Agent

 

When eighteen-year-old Helios accepts a job offer from Lord Appius to be a chaperone his for the noble’s son Hector, little does he doesn't suspect that soon in less than two months, Lord Appius will die be dead by Helios’ own hand. This is a good hook, but wordy. You need to tighten it somehow.

 

Thirteen at the time of his Father’s death, Hector has been seeking vengeance for three years as a soldier in the Imperial Army. What? I thought we were talking about Helios? He seemed like the MC in your hook. And I thought Hector's dad was alive (he hired Hector). When his battalion is captured by a Rebel squadron, Hector is shocked to find that among his captors stands Helios. Revenge will be in grasp--if he can only escape captivity. Oh, I see, this paragraph starts after the hook. Often the hook gives kind of an overview -- like I would start reading the rest of the query to find out how it happens that Helios might kill Lord Appius. That's not clear; you need to make it clear. Also, I'm confused now re your MC. Is it Helios or Hector? Another issue: You should avoid having two main characters whose names start with the same letter. Down the road, it's likely an editor will make you change one of their names.

 

Helios wants to atone for the murder of Lord Appius, but he also has to do his job as a Rebel captain--a job that includes bringing in Imperial prisoners for execution. The decision only becomes tougher when he stumbles upon a secret about Lord Appius’ murder that makes blame far more difficult to point out.  What secret? Suddenly Helios himself might be on the dossier of future targets--and so might his little sister. . . This paragraph is too vague.

 

As mysteries mount and battle lines blur, both Helios and Hector are forced to consider an unlikely possibility. Should they work together? Avoid these questions in a query. Agents hate them.

 

In a land where armies clash and myths become reality, the assassination of a noble holds secrets that could determine the fate of the world. What noble? This is too vague to be stakes.

 

 

SHADOW OF THE LION LORD is a YA Epic Fantasy novel with series potential, reminiscent of John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, and the anime Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. My novel is told in multiple perspectives and alternates between the fall of three years ago, and present day. It is complete at approximately 85K words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration

 ​

So I was confused in your query re who is the MC. I was also confused re the details of the story.

 

Your hook is good in the sense that it makes me interested, but it doesn't work in the sense that your query just moves on from there. Your query needs to circle back to the dilemma of your hook. I thought the story would be about how Helios comes to kill Lord Appius, but in fact you never get back to that except with some vague hint. I would recommend you write the whole query with Helios as the MC -- it's mostly written like that already. Then write Hector relative to Helios, as Helios is impacted by Hector. Many novels have multiple narrators, but for your query you can only have one. It's just an issues of logistics -- not enough space. Choose one MC, focus on just him, what he wants, the obstacles he faces, the stakes if he fails. Good luck



#8 ARDavis

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 09:18 PM

Dear Agent,

 

When eighteen-year-old Helios accepts a job offer from Lord Appius to be a chaperone for the noble’s son Hector, little does he suspect that in less than two months, Lord Appius will be dead by Helios’ own hand. (The ending of this sentence had me interested. The beginning of this sentence is kind of a mess. Too many names introduced in one sentence. Break them up and establish Helios' character a bit better. Why does he take the job? What kind of life situation is he in?)

 

Thirteen at the time of his Father’s death, Hector has been seeking vengeance for three years as a soldier in the Imperial Army. When his battalion is captured by a Rebel squadron, Hector is shocked to find that among his captors stands Helios. Revenge will be in grasp--if he can only escape captivity. (And this is where you lose me. I thought Helios was the main character. His story is far more interesting TBH. Also it's revenge will be in his grasp, but I think you should just take this out entirely.)

 

Helios wants to atone for the murder of Lord Appius, but he also has to do his job as a Rebel captain--a job that includes bringing in Imperial prisoners for execution. The decision only becomes tougher when he stumbles upon a secret about Lord Appius’ murder that makes blame far more difficult to point out. Suddenly Helios himself might be on the dossier of future targets--and so might his little sister. . .(You've regained my attention again, but this is still a little too vague. I know you want to keep your secrets until someone reads the book, but I think a little tease wouldn't hurt. try to be as specific as possible without spoiling the book. Also I get why his sister would be important, but why would she be targeted? Is she Helios' only family? What is her role in his life? Also I think this letter should focus more on Helios even if you have multiple POVs. It would help pick out the important details in your story without having to fully flesh out everybody involved if that makes any sense. )

 

As mysteries mount and battle lines blur, both Helios and Hector are forced to consider an unlikely possibility. Should they work together? (This is a good sentence, but it's still a little too vague. How would they end up working together? How would Helios even begin to convince Hector to start a partnership? Also, just guessing from the fact that they're names start with an H but are they related? It has nothing to do with the importance of the letter or anything, it's just my curiosity.)

 

In a land where armies clash and myths become reality, the assassination of a noble holds secrets that could determine the fate of the world. (This sentence is too vague and generic. I'd say cut it and come up with something better. SHADOW OF THE LION LORD (85,000) is a YA Epic Fantasy novel with series potential, reminiscent of John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, and the anime Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood(As much as I love anime myself in my old @$$ age, I'd stay away from the comparison. Firstly, you're trying to sell a book not a TV Show, so try to compare it with another book, not a manga, either. Secondly, some people still view anime as a "Don't take me seriously" sign.) My novel is told in multiple perspectives and alternates between the fall of three years ago, and present day. (OK, so I had no idea this had multiple timelines. Either establish this earlier, or get rid of this line entirely and have them figure it out when they read the book.) It is complete at approximately 85K words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

So I personally think you have a decent premise, your letter just needs to tighten up. Good luck and I hope I helped. 



#9 morgan.spraker

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 09:10 PM

Dear Agent,

When eighteen-year-old Helios accepts a job offer from Lord Appius to be a chaperone for the noble’s son Hector, little does he suspect that in less than two months, Lord Appius will be dead by Helios’ own hand. I see a lot of "When happens, this character isn't prepared for y" - I like the concept and what he didn't expect, but I think finding a different way to phrase it would serve you well

Thirteen at the time of his Father’s death Is his exact age important?, Hector has been seeking vengeance for three years as a soldier in the Imperial Army. When his battalion is captured by a Rebel squadron, Hector is shocked to find that among his captors stands Helios. Revenge will be in grasp--if he can only escape captivity.

Helios wants to atone for the murder of Lord Appius, but he also has to do his job as a Rebel captain--a job that includes bringing in Imperial prisoners for execution. The decision only becomes tougher when he stumbles upon a secret about Lord Appius’ murder that makes blame far more difficult to point out I got lost here a little bit - "makes blame far more difficult to point out" was just hard to follow for me. I would make it more concise. Suddenly Helios himself might be on the dossier of future targets--and so might his little sister. . . Again, phrased awkwardly with "and so might his little sister". It just sounds awkward to me. I would rephrase and make it explicitly clear his sister is a target. 

As mysteries mount and battle lines blur, both Helios and Hector are forced to consider an unlikely possibility. Should they work together? What about "forced to consider the unlikely possibility of working together" - would make it more concise 

In a land where armies clash and myths become reality, the assassination of a noble holds secrets that could determine the fate of the world. SHADOW OF THE LION LORD  I love your title!!!! is a YA Epic Fantasy novel with series potential, reminiscent of John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, and the anime Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. My novel is told in multiple perspectives and alternates between the fall of three years ago, and present day. It is complete at approximately 85K words.

Thank you for your time and consideration

 ​

This is definitely promising! Like I said, I really love your title. I think by making phrases more concise and clarifying certain things will make it even better. Would you mind taking a look at my query here x?



#10 Phaust

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 09:46 PM

Dear Agent,

When eighteen-year-old Helios accepts a job offer from Lord Appius to be a chaperone for the noble’s son Hector, little does he suspect that in less than two months, Lord Appius will be dead by Helios’ own hand. Woah. Got dizzy there. Can you break up this sentence or take out some names?

Thirteen at the time of his Father’s death, Hector has been seeking vengeance for three years as a soldier in the Imperial Army. When his battalion is captured by a Rebel squadron, Hector is shocked to find that among his captors stands Helios, the man who killed his father. I think this is your first line. Revenge will be in grasp--if he can only escape captivity.

Helios wants to atone for the murder of Hector's father Lord Appius, but he also has to do his job as a Rebel captain--a job that includes bringing in Imperial prisoners for execution. The decision only becomes tougher when he stumbles upon a secret about Lord Appius’ murder that makes blame far more difficult to point out. Suddenly Helios himself might be on the dossier of future targets--and so might his little sister. . . very confused by now.

As mysteries mount and battle lines blur, both Helios and Hector are forced to consider an unlikely possibility. Should they work together? skip much of prior stuff. set up enough to get to this line. 

In a land where armies clash and myths become reality either leave that detail out or explain it, the assassination of a noble holds secrets that could determine the fate of the world. SHADOW OF THE LION LORD is a YA Epic Fantasy novel with series potential, reminiscent of John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, and the anime Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. My novel is told in multiple perspectives and alternates between the fall of three years ago, and present day. It is complete at approximately 85K words.

Thank you for your time and consideration

 ​

You can see and critique my latest here



#11 FlameAlchemist

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 02:23 PM

So, this is my latest edit! Please critique!

Dear Agent,

When eighteen-year-old peasant Helios becomes a chaperone for the young noble Hector, he doesn’t suspect that in less than two months, he will murder Hector’s benevolent Father under the orders of the Rebel Army.

Three years later, on a nighttime raid, Helios captures Hector. While Helios has been searching for atonement the past few years, Hector is firmly out for blood. Helios’ blood. Atonement is already hard enough, but Helios also has to do his job as a Rebel captain, a job that includes bringing in Imperial prisoners for execution--especially nobles like Hector.

Hector’s desire for vengeance is muddied by the fact that his fellow prisoners expect him, the sole aristocrat, to be a leader. And they don’t see killing Helios as part of the escape plan, let alone finding out the identity of the mysterious leader of the Rebel Army, the man who gave the orders for Helios to kill Hector’s Father.

As mysteries mount and battle lines blur, both Helios and Hector are forced to consider the unlikely possibility of cooperation.

In a land where armies clash and myths become reality, the assassination of a noble holds secrets that could determine the fate of the world. SHADOW OF THE LION LORD is a YA Epic Fantasy novel with series potential, reminiscent of John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, and Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle. My novel is told in multiple perspectives and alternates between the fall of Helios’ murder and present day. It is complete at approximately 85K words.

Thank you for your time and consideration

 



#12 BadgerFox

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Posted 23 November 2017 - 12:09 PM

So, this is my latest edit! Please critique!

 

Dear Agent,

 

When eighteen-year-old peasant Helios becomes a chaperone for the young noble Hector, he doesn’t suspect that in less than two months, he will murder Hector’s benevolent Father under the orders of the Rebel Army. [could be just me but is there any way to re-order information so that it's clearer from the start this is a fantasy epic, and I'm not just feeling like a numpty here cos I'm SUPPOSED to know these characters from an ancient Greek myth but don't...? If you can't, don't worry. But the names are so Greek-epic that until I got to the end of the query and saw the genre, I kept wondering if I was supposed to already know who these characters were. Is there any way to present the information in a differen order or slip in the name of the fantasy land so I know it's not just set in Greece or...?]

 

Three years later, on a nighttime raid, Helios captures Hector. [this sentence feels a little jarring 'til your brain catches up with it, because until you think it through, there's been no indication that Hector and Helios have been in seperate places for these three years. Of course, they are, because you don't kill someone's dad and then hang about waiting to see what they think of that. Is there any way to smooth this transition between the first paragraph and the second, regarding the location of these two young men?] While Helios has been searching for atonement the past few years, Hector is firmly out for blood. Helios’ blood. Atonement is already hard enough, but Helios also has to do his job as a Rebel captain, a job that includes bringing in Imperial prisoners for execution--especially nobles like Hector.

 

Hector’s desire for vengeance is muddied by the fact that his fellow prisoners expect him, the sole aristocrat, to be a leader. And they don’t see killing Helios as part of the escape plan, let alone finding out the identity of the mysterious leader of the Rebel Army, the man who gave the orders for Helios to kill Hector’s Father.

As mysteries mount and battle lines blur, both Helios and Hector are forced to consider the unlikely possibility of cooperation.[Awesome! A plot about enemies having to reconcile. Fascinating stuff :) ]

 

In a land where armies clash and myths become reality, the assassination of a noble holds secrets that could determine the fate of the world. SHADOW OF THE LION LORD is a YA Epic Fantasy novel with series potential, reminiscent of John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, and Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle. My novel is told in multiple perspectives and alternates between the fall of Helios’ murder and present day. It is complete at approximately 85K words.[yay! A word count that's as it should be!]

 

Thank you for your time and consideration

 

 

Overall I dont think you have much more editing to go before this is ready. There are one or two points where the information wasn't immediately clear to someone unfamiliar with the story, but overall I think you do a good job of presenting clear, lean plot details. The information you include and the ways you describe the genre are bang-on, and the central conflicts between different loyalties seem immediately interesting. Good luck to you, this query should hopefully serve you well :)


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