Hey guys. So college happened, and I've neglected this website and my query for the last few months. It's actually been really good, since I put a lot of distance between myself and my writing. But now, I'm in the process of heavily revising Fusion and trying to prepare it for publication.
I read the query that I went round after round on, and I honestly didn't like it. It sounded flat, info-dumpy, and didn't convey the essence of my book, in many ways. I've read through all my previous drafts, and I didn't like any of them either. I know my last query got pretty positive reviews, but I've started from scratch to see if I can do better. For reference, my last query is listed below under "Try 15" (yes, this is actually the 15th draft). I'd really appreciate it if you guys would compare the two and give me feedback on which is better and why.
Men gain power from the bonds they form with beasts. These bonds also grant rage and malice, and they lead others to hunt men down like the beasts they’ve formed friendships with. Start with the MCs, so we know who the story's about. I also don't think these lines add anything that we don't get later.
Jake’s people live to hunt. Prestige, wealth, and romantic attraction are centralized around one’s ability to slay powerful creatures. But when Jake watches eight of his blade-brothers die in their attempt to hunt a mythical creature, he becomes disgusted with his people’s culture. Jake encounters a Kentlepperren on a hunt, but rather than killing the beast, he befriends it, and they begin forming a bond. For this, Jake faces the wrath of Shadow Claw—the secret rulers of most of the known world who fear the power Jake gains from his Kentlepperren. I like Jake's paragraph better in the older version. I think it's easier if we don't have the species name, since it is a bit of a mouthful. The sentence I underlined also immediately made me think of How to Train Your Dragon, and the older version didn't give me quite the same vibe. I also like how the older version compares how Jake finds strength to how his people do: good parallels in sentence structure, and succinctly laying out the cultural norms.
Lenjy’s people live to form bonds with animals. But after eight years of trying, Lenjy still can’t find a creature that will give him the time of day. When Lenjy gets desperate enough to venture from the safety of his homeland, he finally manages to bond with a Veshkar. But the sociopathic creature is dead set on using Lenjy to infiltrate and destroy Shadow Claw. The creature gives Lenjy the ability to kill other people and assume their bodies and memories. Lenjy is perpetually haunted by both the men he turns into and by a gnawing feeling that something is eating away at his morality and turning his heart black. I'm a little more back and forth on which of Lenjy's paragraphs is better. I'd probably go with a mix of both. The older one is more succinct, but I do like the ending sentence of this one. I think if you go back to Jake's old paragraph, I'd love to see Lenjy's paragraph start with the same structure of, "Lenjy verbs ABC. His people verb XYZ." I think if you can pull that off, it would set up a nice duality between the two leads.
Shadow Claw keeps the world in its clutches by controlling men and beasts through fear. As Jake fights back against the organization, he must learn to stem the destructive rage of the creature he bonded with. As Lenjy draws deeper into the organization, he must decide how dark he is willing to become in order to eradicate Shadow Claw’s darkness. This paragraph is good.
If they can succeed, they’ll create a world where men and beasts live by trust and friendship rather than by fear and brutality. This is a little weak, though.
FUSION (136,000 words) is a standalone high fantasy. The elements of emotional connection and insurrection will appeal to readers of Sanderson’s [space] The Stormlight Archive.
I am currently pursuing a degree in English from BYU-Idaho, and I work as a copy editor for the school’s online courses
(so I fix courses that say to “complete the assignment with a fiend” and to “write an outline for your essay that includes segmented body parts”). Agents know what a copy editor does, and while I see the attempt at levity, it more comes across clunky and actually made me pause for a moment to figure out if you had made a typo or not.
Thank you for your time and consideration."
Jake finds strength in his cunning and skill. His people find strength in drinking the blood of beasts. When Jake deserts their traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, he's punished by being turned into an animal as well, so his people can hunt him down. His only hope for a cure rests in working with his animal companion to discover the secrets of Shadow Claw
;, [comma] the covert organization that rules his land.
Like the rest of his people, Lenjy was desperate to bond with any animal who would take him... even a vengeful, amoral one. The lizard he bonds with is dead-set on infiltrating Shadow Claw, and will kill whoever stands in his way. The creature can shape-steal, which devours an individual and gives Lenjy their appearance. Reread this sentence. The grammar is off. Apparently "shape-steal" can devour an individual and give Lenjy their appearance, rather than that being a description of shape-stealing. Every time Lenjy shape-steals, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over.
Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls and abilities with their bonded animals. Both are perceived as threats by Shadow Claw, and must battle their arsenal of enslaved creatures, led by men who control the undead souls of their fallen prey.
If Jake and Lenjy can dethrone Shadow Claw for good, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who rebel.
FUSION (136,000 words) is a standalone work of high fantasy, set in a world with new and intricate species of animals.
Thank you for your time and consideration"