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Tranquility Query


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#1 robhyx

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 08:51 AM

Greetings! Any and all feedback, please!

 

Dear Agent,

 

Dart is a young boy, growing up in a quaint native village, and his life is about to change forever.

 

When a fire claims his home and his father, the villagers are forced beneath the surface. There they form a resistance against the conquering race known as the Adelians.

 

Years pass, Dart grows, and so do his abilities. For he is a prophet—an extension of the mighty sun goddess, Aris Above, and he can drawn energy from her rays. Not until he crosses paths with a brilliant, yet self-absorbed, scholar that he realizes the potential of his power.

 

But that scholar, an Adelian named Parzei Bronzefield, is a kingdom away. And she is busy deciphering an ancient formula inscribed in a cryptic shorthand. A formula her superiors think is a recipe for fuel, but in reality it's  much, much worse. For it's part of an ancient religion, a prayer, a gateway. The key to releasing an imprisoned god. And an entity—a prophet of a different kind of faith, one of ancient alchemy—will stop at nothing to get it.

 

I am a software engineer with a physics background. Coming from a science background, I enjoy when it accompanies world-building. I believe you'll see that in TRANQUILITY, a fantasy novel with a series potential complete at 100,000 words.

 

Best,

 

Rob Hicks



#2 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 09:08 AM



Greetings! Any and all feedback, please!

 

Dear Agent,

 

Dart is a young boy, growing up in a quaint native village, and his life is about to change forever. [This hook line is a 5/10 for me. It's a bit cliched, and it doesn't tell us much about the MC or give us a reason to care about him. Perhaps add a descriptor or two: "restless young boy"... or up the emotional stakes: "Dart is a restless young boy who resents the quiet life in his quaint native village. Only when it is attacked and razed to the ground does he realize how much he took for granted -- and that revenge has become the new focus of his existence."]

 

When a fire claims his home and his father, the villagers are forced beneath the surface. There they form a resistance against the conquering race known as the Adelians. [A bit generic. Beneath the surface, how? Into caves, or tunnels they dig themselves? Is the resistance successful, or just hanging on, clinging to the edges of survival? Again, it's a matter of upping the stakes. :) ]

 

Years pass, Dart grows, and so do his abilities. For he is a prophet—an extension of the mighty sun goddess, Aris Above, [love this name!] and he can drawn energy from her rays. Not until he crosses paths with a brilliant [remove comma] yet self-absorbed [remove comma] scholar that [should probably be "does"] he realizes [remove "s"] the potential of his power.

 

But that scholar, an Adelian named Parzei Bronzefield, is a kingdom away. And she is busy deciphering an ancient formula inscribed in a cryptic shorthand. A formula her superiors think is a recipe for fuel, but in reality it's [extra space here, remove] much, much worse. For it's part of an ancient religion, a prayer, a gateway. The key to releasing an imprisoned god. And an entity—a prophet of a different kind of faith, one of ancient alchemy—will stop at nothing to get it. [If she's a kingdom away, how does Dart encounter her? Instead of "worse", which is a generic word, perhaps substitute something like "more devastating" or "more destructive" or "catastrophic".]

 

I am a software engineer with a physics background. Coming from a science background, I enjoy when it accompanies world-building [this is an odd turn of phrase, I'm not quite sure what you mean?]. I believe you'll see that in TRANQUILITY, a fantasy novel with a series potential complete at 100,000 words. [I would cut down this paragraph quite a bit. Your job as a software engineer doesn't really bear on your novel, at least as far as I can tell. Ditto your background in physics; to express pleasure in world-building is a bit self-indulgent. I would simply end the query with: "TRANQUILITY is a fantasy novel, compete at 100,000 words, with ongoing series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration."]

Best,

 

Rob Hicks

 

Overall it's a good first effort. Take another kick at the can -- I look forward to seeing your next iteration! :) Best of luck to you!



#3 Arait

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 11:04 AM

For the most part, I found this clear and understandable, following the right template. I just wasn't thrilled by it. Maybe because Dart just disappeared from the query? I'm not sure.

You start a lot of sentences with conjunctions. It's probably not a good idea to break that rule so many times in a query.

"BUT that scholar, an Adelian named Parzei Bronzefield, is a kingdom away. AND she is busy deciphering an ancient formula inscribed in a cryptic shorthand. (This one doesn't even sound like a standalone sentence.) A formula her superiors think is a recipe for fuel, but in reality it's much, much worse. (This doesn't feel like a complete sentence.) FOR it's part of an ancient religion, a prayer, a gateway. The key to releasing an imprisoned god. (This isn't a complete sentence.) AND an entity—a prophet of a different kind of faith, one of ancient alchemy—will stop at nothing to get it."

The grammar faux pas I mentioned above are acceptable when done once in a blue moon for dramatic effect. You probably don't want to do it that many times.

#4 Temeraire

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 12:12 PM

Dear Agent,

 

Dart is a young boy, growing up in a quaint native village, and his life is about to change forever. We generally always assume that a protagonist's life is going to change forever, so this needs to be more specific. What is he changing from? What causes it? This is a good place to show some character - "Dart is a headstrong shepherd boy with dreams of being a fire-eater"

 

When a fire claims his home and his father, the villagers are forced beneath the surface What surface? Is there an underground complex already in place?. There they form a resistance against the conquering race known as the Adelians. So was the fire on purpose? The wording doesn't connect any of these instances. I would suggest something like "When the Adelians attack Dart's home and kill his father, the remaining villagers retreat underground to the nuclear bunkers (or whatever) to form a resistance against the enemy" 

 

Years pass, Dart grows, and so do his abilities. For he is a prophet—an extension of the mighty sun goddess, Aris Above, and he can drawn energy from her rays. Not until he crosses paths with a brilliant, yet self-absorbed, scholar that he realizes the potential of his power. THIS is where it sounds like your story actually begins. 

 

But that scholar, an Adelian named Parzei Bronzefield, is a kingdom away. So how they did meet? What connects them? And she is busy deciphering an ancient formula inscribed in a cryptic shorthand. A formula her superiors think is a recipe for fuel, but in reality it's is much, much worse. For it's part of an ancient religion, a prayer, a gateway. All three? The key to releasing an imprisoned god. And an entity—a prophet of a different kind of faith, one of ancient alchemy—will stop at nothing to get it. 

 

I am a software engineer with a physics background. Coming from a science background, I enjoy when it accompanies world-building. I believe you'll see that in TRANQUILITY, a fantasy novel with a series potential complete at 100,000 words. 

 

I don't get who is the protagonist here, Dart or Parzei, or how they're connected. I assume Dart is the prophet of a different faith, but why will he stop at nothing to get the formula? The formula summons a god, but then what? What actually happens in the plot? What are the stakes here? What do Dart and Parzei have to lose and to gain? 

 

I know it's difficult to be specific because you don't want to be spoilery, but you really need more specificity here. As I understand it, the main story is that Parzei has a formula and Dart wants it. But what personal journeys are they going on? What character arcs are happening? If you can give a hint of what those are, you'll have a much more enticing query.


If I've helped you with your query, I'd love if you would take a look at mine! 

 

UNICORN (gothic fantasy) 

Query letter 


#5 PureZhar3

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 12:26 PM

Greetings! Any and all feedback, please!

 

Dear Agent,

 

Dart is a young boy, growing up in a quaint native village, and his life is about to change forever.​ Not a good hook. Nothing unique, nothing dangerous. Too generic to be interesting

 

When a fire claims his home and his father, the villagers are forced beneath the surface. ​why? There they form a resistance against the conquering race known as the Adelians.

 

Years pass, Dart grows, and so do his abilities. For he is a prophet—an extension of the mighty sun goddess, Aris Above, and he can drawn energy from her rays. Not until he crosses paths with a brilliant, yet self-absorbed, scholar that he realizes the potential of his power. ​not a sentence

 

But that scholar, an Adelian named Parzei Bronzefield, is a kingdom away. And she is busy deciphering an ancient formula inscribed in a cryptic shorthand. A formula her superiors think is a recipe for fuel, but in reality it's  much, much worse. For it's part of an ancient religion, a prayer, a gateway. The key to releasing an imprisoned god. And an entity—a prophet of a different kind of faith, one of ancient alchemy—will stop at nothing to get it.

 

I am a software engineer with a physics background. Coming from a science background, I enjoy when it accompanies world-building. I believe you'll see that in TRANQUILITY, a fantasy novel with a series potential complete at 100,000 words.

 

Best,

 

Rob Hicks

Well, I have a lot of questions. The connections between all of this is lacking. How are Dart and Parzei connected? Why did you have to start when he was a young boy? How did he cross paths with a scholar that was a kingdom away? Who is the prophet of a different faith? You need to dig more into the specifics, and focus on building tension


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#6 robhyx

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 08:00 AM

Thanks for all the feedback. I see where a lot of the ambiguity is coming from, and I have a general question: 

 

Should the query be limited to the contents of the book being pitched, or can it involve future overarching plot details? The manuscript was originally > 200k, but I didn't think an agent / publisher would entertain a book that long, so I split it in half. 

 

The overarching story is about religions, their prophets, and their rise against one god who is trying to break free from his imprisonment (with the help of the entity eluded to above, who is not Dart by the way), but most of that is obvious in the first book. It's similar to Stormlight Archive, how the various radiants are scattered but don't cross paths right away. So, initially, it's just three prophets: Dart, Parzei, and the third entity named Varak. The first two don't know what they are, and like I said above, it takes Parzei to realize what Dart is—which she deduces from her research as a scholar. The latter is something else altogether and is essentially the antagonist. The Adelians are just the conquering race who settled the land and enslaved the natives who were living there. 

 

I'm struggling with how to limit the contents of the query. I'm also struggling with how to talk to the two main story lines that don't really cross for most of the story. It's similar to Game of Thrones, in terms of how there's the Essos story line and the Westeros story line.



#7 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 09:45 AM

Thanks for all the feedback. I see where a lot of the ambiguity is coming from, and I have a general question: 

 

Should the query be limited to the contents of the book being pitched, or can it involve future overarching plot details? The manuscript was originally > 200k, but I didn't think an agent / publisher would entertain a book that long, so I split it in half. 

 

Nope, keep it to the current book. An agent isn't interested in a sequel for a book that might not end up selling. What you COULD do is, in the final line of the query where you give the novel length and genre, say: "is a XXXXX word [genre] novel with the potential for a sequel."

 

The overarching story is about religions, their prophets, and their rise against one god who is trying to break free from his imprisonment (with the help of the entity eluded to above, who is not Dart by the way), but most of that is obvious in the first book. It's similar to Stormlight Archive, how the various radiants are scattered but don't cross paths right away. So, initially, it's just three prophets: Dart, Parzei, and the third entity named Varak. The first two don't know what they are, and like I said above, it takes Parzei to realize what Dart is—which she deduces from her research as a scholar. The latter is something else altogether and is essentially the antagonist. The Adelians are just the conquering race who settled the land and enslaved the natives who were living there. 

 

You don't need any of that in this particular query.

 

I'm struggling with how to limit the contents of the query. I'm also struggling with how to talk to the two main story lines that don't really cross for most of the story. It's similar to Game of Thrones, in terms of how there's the Essos story line and the Westeros story line.

My advice is to pick the biggest storyline and concentrate on that. It will make for a stronger query, and you can include the second storyline in your synopsis. :)



#8 robhyx

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 08:42 PM

I rewrote it and kept it to just one story line. 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Parzei is a self absorbed scholar working to decode a formula of long forgotten alchemy. The formula, an artifact of an ancient civilization, is a recipe. It converts a precious teardrop-shaped rock, named aetherstone, into fuel.

 

Only that's not all it does.

 

In reality, the formula is a gateway. It's the key to releasing an imprisoned god, and that god's lone acolyte, an entity named Varak, will stop at nothing to get it.

 

Unbeknownst to her, Parzei is being spied on. Varak has bought loyalty from people within the university. Some crave drugs, while others long for things far more perverse.

 

She works, and a drug-addicted groundskeeper watches as withdrawal threatens his sanity. Thankfully, the formula is almost complete; testing the hypothesis is all that remains. Then, when it proves true, the twitching groundskeeper reports the favorable news.

 

Sadly, the meeting goes awry for the groundskeeper, because Varak means to end this farce. With the formula decoded, his purpose is near completion. All he has to do now is obtain it, actualize it, and free the imprisoned.

 

The only way out for this god is through—through a spreading black hole lined with rows upon rows of teeth the size of swords.

 

TRANQUILITY is a fantasy novel with a series potential complete at 100,000 words.

 

Best,

 

Rob Hicks



#9 smithgirl

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 04:43 PM

Dear Agent:

 

Parzei is a self absorbed scholar working to decode a formula of long forgotten alchemy. The formula, an artifact of an ancient civilization, is a recipe. It converts a precious teardrop-shaped rock, named aetherstone, into fuel. This doesn't work as a hook. Your hook needs to be snappy and pull us into the story.

 

Only that's not all it does. Oh, it looks like you're trying to add some snappiness here. Don't do that. Hook is all one sentence/paragraph.

 

In reality, the formula is a gateway. It's the key to releasing an imprisoned god, and that god's lone acolyte, an entity named Varak, will stop at nothing to get it. You need to write your query from the MC's POV.  Add the backstory in the context of your MC.

 

Unbeknownst to her, Parzei is being spied on. Parzei is a woman? Because of the name ambiguity, you need to define her gender early on, Varak has bought loyalty from people within the university. Some crave drugs, while others long for things far more perverse. What?

 

She works, and a drug-addicted groundskeeper watches as withdrawal threatens his sanity. What? This comes from nowhere. Thankfully, the formula is almost complete; testing the hypothesis is all that remains. What is the hypothesis? How will it be tested? Then, when it proves true, the twitching groundskeeper reports the favorable news. What? What does the secret formula for opening a gateway have to do with a drug-addicted groundskeeper? It sounds like she made him some drugs so he can stop tweaking.

 

Sadly, the meeting What meeting? With whom? Who is this groundskeeper? Why is he/she important?  goes awry for the groundskeeper, because Varak means to end this farce.What farce? With the formula decoded, his purpose is near completion. All he has to do now is obtain it, actualize it, and free the imprisoned. Who are the imprisoned? Why are they imprisoned?

 

The only way out for this god is through—What is the dash for? through a spreading black hole lined with rows upon rows of teeth the size of swords. What? I don't understand this. And who is the MC? Parzei or Varak?

 

TRANQUILITY is a fantasy novel with a series potential complete at 100,000 words.

 

Hi Robyhx.  So after reading your query, I'm afraid I have no clue what your story is about. I'm not even sure who the MC is -- Parzei or Varak. You need to go back and focus on making your query a clear sequence of events, each of which follows logically upon the next. It's just that right now there is no clear sequence of events, and there is a lot of information that seems unrelated. Like who is the groundskeeper? Why is he/she important? What does the groundskeeper have to do with the formula? Also, what happened to the fuel aspect? Why is Varat even working on this formula?

 

You might be trying to get too much story into your query. Your query must convey the crux of your story, the bare essentials. You have to scale back so the information that does get included can be fully clarified. Your query can have mystery but not confusion. You should read other people's queries and see how they do it. Rewrite your own query so that it moves from point a to point b. This happens, then this.

 

I'm sure everything here seems clear to you, since you know the story so well, but to an outsider it's not clear at all.

 

Query writing is very hard so don't be discouraged. Go back, simplify, start again. Good luck!

 

 



#10 smithgirl

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 04:59 PM

Dear Agent:

 

Dart is a young boy, growing up in a quaint native village, and his life is about to change forever. I agree this is a weak hook. If nothing changes, why would we read the book?

 

When a fire claims his home and his father, the villagers are forced beneath the surface. Why are all the villages forced underground just because a fire claimed his own home and father? There they form a resistance against the conquering race known as the Adelians. Are the Adelians responsible for driving them underground?

 

Years pass, Dart grows, and so do his abilities. For he is a prophet—an extension of the mighty sun goddess, Aris Above, and he can drawn energy from her rays. If he is underground, how does he get rays of sun? Not until he crosses paths with a brilliant, yet self-absorbed, scholar that he realizes the potential of his power.

 

But that scholar, an Adelian named Parzei Bronzefield, is a kingdom away. Then how did he cross paths with her? And she is busy deciphering an ancient formula inscribed in a cryptic shorthand. A formula her superiors think is a recipe for fuel, but in reality it's  much, much worse. Sentence fragment but good at conveying your point.  For it's part of an ancient religion, a prayer, a gateway. It's the key to releasing an imprisoned god. And an entity—a prophet of a different kind of faith, one of ancient alchemy—will stop at nothing to get it. How does this issue relate to the Adelian's resistance? How does it relate to Dart? Can he stop the entity because of his powers? Does Parzei need to teach him to use his powers so he can stop the entity and -- what? Save his people? Win the resistance? Get his father returned to life?

 

So I looked at this earlier query, and although it's not perfect, it's dramatically better than the one I just critiqued. I can see the basis of a story here. I would work from this first query and:

 

1. Rework your hook.

2. Clarify the relationship between the Adelians and the villagers.

3. Clarify the last paragraph: you need to connect Parzei and the formula to Dart's story.

 

Good luck!



#11 PureZhar3

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 05:47 PM

I would have to agree with Smithgirl. Keep up the good work!


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#12 robhyx

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 07:01 PM

Dear Agent:

 

Dart is a young boy, growing up in a quaint native village, and his life is about to change forever. I agree this is a weak hook. If nothing changes, why would we read the book?

 

When a fire claims his home and his father, the villagers are forced beneath the surface. Why are all the villages forced underground just because a fire claimed his own home and father? There they form a resistance against the conquering race known as the Adelians. Are the Adelians responsible for driving them underground?

 

Years pass, Dart grows, and so do his abilities. For he is a prophet—an extension of the mighty sun goddess, Aris Above, and he can drawn energy from her rays. If he is underground, how does he get rays of sun? Not until he crosses paths with a brilliant, yet self-absorbed, scholar that he realizes the potential of his power.

 

But that scholar, an Adelian named Parzei Bronzefield, is a kingdom away. Then how did he cross paths with her? And she is busy deciphering an ancient formula inscribed in a cryptic shorthand. A formula her superiors think is a recipe for fuel, but in reality it's  much, much worse. Sentence fragment but good at conveying your point.  For it's part of an ancient religion, a prayer, a gateway. It's the key to releasing an imprisoned god. And an entity—a prophet of a different kind of faith, one of ancient alchemy—will stop at nothing to get it. How does this issue relate to the Adelian's resistance? How does it relate to Dart? Can he stop the entity because of his powers? Does Parzei need to teach him to use his powers so he can stop the entity and -- what? Save his people? Win the resistance? Get his father returned to life?

 

So I looked at this earlier query, and although it's not perfect, it's dramatically better than the one I just critiqued. I can see the basis of a story here. I would work from this first query and:

 

1. Rework your hook.

2. Clarify the relationship between the Adelians and the villagers.

3. Clarify the last paragraph: you need to connect Parzei and the formula to Dart's story.

 

Good luck!

 

Thank you. This is all really good, and helps me figure out where ambiguity is.

 

I have a question about #3. What if they don't meet in the first book? Is it all right to go a bit into the broader, overarching plot (just a sentence)? If not, I guess I'm looking for how you'd pitch something like G.R.R. Martin's GoT. He had the Westeros and Essos storylines where they didn't cross. 

 

I split the MS in half because of length, and they don't cross paths until halfway through the second book. I'd love to pitch the whole thing, but I was told 220k words is way too long. 

 

To answer some of you questions:

 

Yes, it is rays of the sun, and they don't reach him underground. It's addressed. When he's in his bedchamber, he feels weak and sluggish but doesn't know why. The entire village had to live underground because there were too many of them to form an illegal settlement. They would be picked up by Adelian patrols. The formula doesn't relate to the resistance. The resistance is more a red herring, world building fodder. It's a means for Dart to be bitter and hate his oppressed life. 



#13 PureZhar3

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 07:47 PM

Thank you. This is all really good, and helps me figure out where ambiguity is.

 

I have a question about #3. What if they don't meet in the first book? Is it all right to go a bit into the broader, overarching plot (just a sentence)? If not, I guess I'm looking for how you'd pitch something like G.R.R. Martin's GoT. He had the Westeros and Essos storylines where they didn't cross. 

 

I split the MS in half because of length, and they don't cross paths until halfway through the second book. I'd love to pitch the whole thing, but I was told 220k words is way too long. 

 

To answer some of you questions:

 

Yes, it is rays of the sun, and they don't reach him underground. It's addressed. When he's in his bedchamber, he feels weak and sluggish but doesn't know why. The entire village had to live underground because there were too many of them to form an illegal settlement. They would be picked up by Adelian patrols. The formula doesn't relate to the resistance. The resistance is more a red herring, world building fodder. It's a means for Dart to be bitter and hate his oppressed life. 

 

Is Dart your main character? If they (Parzei and Dart) don't meet until the second book, how does Dart discover his powers? If you can build a query around him solely (or Parzei solely, although Dart seems to be the main and perhaps more interesting MC) that would be best. Maybe don't try to cover as much in the query. Focus in on what his current stakes are at the beginning of the novel, and how they grow. 


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#14 robhyx

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:14 PM

Is Dart your main character? If they (Parzei and Dart) don't meet until the second book, how does Dart discover his powers? If you can build a query around him solely (or Parzei solely, although Dart seems to be the main and perhaps more interesting MC) that would be best. Maybe don't try to cover as much in the query. Focus in on what his current stakes are at the beginning of the novel, and how they grow. 

 

I consider them equal, but I suppose Dart gets a bit more POV time. He doesn't discover them really; he more takes them for granted. His powers are subtle; he's strong and agile in battle, and people accept him as a warrior that shouldn't be crossed. He does, however, wonder why he's weaker at night and below ground. I agree that Dart himself is more interesting, but Parzei's story *feels* more intriguing (at least to me). There's also a lot to Varak's powers that are interesting and aren't in there, but if I write it from the Parzei / Varak / Formula story line, the first chapter is Dart, and an agent might be like, WTF? There's no mention of this guy in the query. 



#15 PureZhar3

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:26 PM

I consider them equal, but I suppose Dart gets a bit more POV time. He doesn't discover them really; he more takes them for granted. His powers are subtle; he's strong and agile in battle, and people accept him as a warrior that shouldn't be crossed. He does, however, wonder why he's weaker at night and below ground. I agree that Dart himself is more interesting, but Parzei's story *feels* more intriguing (at least to me). There's also a lot to Varak's powers that are interesting and aren't in there, but if I write it from the Parzei / Varak / Formula story line, the first chapter is Dart, and an agent might be like, WTF? There's no mention of this guy in the query. 

​A few thoughts there:

1) Do you have a synopsis up? A synopsis might help us figure out what you should include.

​2) What's his actual storyline until they meet, then? I know all his backstory, but I don't feel as if I know anything about Dart's plot?

​3) It may be... I think it turns me off currently because it's so high-minded and big-picture that it feels more as if I'm reading about a creation myth rather than a story plotline, if that makes sense.

​4) I wouldn't worry too much about the agent questioning starting with Dart if you focus on Parzei, so long as you get to her at some point within the first few chapters. Because books are written in a variety of different ways, and there are prologues and lots of subplots, and a variety of other things, I would imagine that most agents wouldn't be too phased by a book that starts with something that isn't part of the outlined query. After all, if they want to know exactly who they're going to meet and what the subplots are before reading, they'll request a synopsis.


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#16 robhyx

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:36 PM

​A few thoughts there:

1) Do you have a synopsis up? A synopsis might help us figure out what you should include.

​2) What's his actual storyline until they meet, then? I know all his backstory, but I don't feel as if I know anything about Dart's plot?

​3) It may be... I think it turns me off currently because it's so high-minded and big-picture that it feels more as if I'm reading about a creation myth rather than a story plotline, if that makes sense.

​4) I wouldn't worry too much about the agent questioning starting with Dart if you focus on Parzei, so long as you get to her at some point within the first few chapters. Because books are written in a variety of different ways, and there are prologues and lots of subplots, and a variety of other things, I would imagine that most agents wouldn't be too phased by a book that starts with something that isn't part of the outlined query. After all, if they want to know exactly who they're going to meet and what the subplots are before reading, they'll request a synopsis.

 

Thanks for the info, and that's a good point in #4. Haha, I'm not really sure what to make of #3, but I think a synopsis is a great idea and would clarify a lot. Let me post that up (once I write one).



#17 PureZhar3

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:41 PM

Thanks for the info, and that's a good point in #4. Haha, I'm not really sure what to make of #3, but I think a synopsis is a great idea and would clarify a lot. Let me post that up (once I write one).


Haha sorry for not clarifying #3! I think I’ve been staring at too many words recently. Anyway, with #3 I was referencing how you felt that Parzei’s story was the more intriguing. That was my thoughts on her plot line. Hopefully that clarifies it!

If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#18 smithgirl

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:45 PM

I just want to clarify, that you can't include any info in your query that is not in your first book. You can only query one book at a time, and it's essential that each book in your series be standalone  -- i.e. you can read the first without the second and the second without the first.

 

I didn't know what GoT is (I realize now it's Game of Thrones -- not a Game of Thrones fan). It looks like the first book was published in 1996. That was a very long time ago and publishing has changed since then. In most cases now, a publisher will only take the first book in a series. Based on sales of the first book, they will make a go/no-go decision for the second book. So when you write your query, you have to keep everything to only the first book.



#19 rhwashere

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 12:07 AM

Just taking a look at this thread for the first time. A lot of good advice has been given already, and it can feel like a lot to sort through and incorporate, but here are a few fundamentals:

1. Your query should typically only focus on act 1 (or first 25-30%, etc) of the novel you are pitching. In act 1, you should have introduced your main character, thrown an inciting incident at him/her that starts the journey, and end that act with some sort of crisis. That’s traditional formula. You don’t have to follow it, but it’s a formula because it works. If you can’t find a way to make an exciting query letter out of act 1, then you need a better act 1, because that’s where your readers will either be pulled in or put the book back on the shelf.

2. So, that brings me to exciting query letters. You have to make us care about your MC (and we need a clear idea as to who that MC is; is it Dart or Parzei?). All the world building is important for the novel, but if there’s no interesting character arc, there’s no story. The query should focus on the MC. You make us care about the MC by showing us what he wants, what threatens or stands in the way of that thing, what crucial choice does he have to make, and what does he stand to lose by making or not making said choice. Again, it’s formulaic but it works.

3. If you’re stuck, study successful queries. You can do that here, on writersdigest.com, or the QueryShark blog (FTWs). Almost all of them follow the above two suggestions.

Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...eep-ya-fantasy/





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