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Baldr the Dead (Fantasy) by DT919


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#1 lnloft

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 07:08 PM

(Posting on behalf of DT919)

 

Hi everyone, 

 

Any comments on the following would be appreciated - it's my first attempt at writing a novel and my first attempt at writing a query.

 

(And thanks to LNLOFT for all the help to people like myself who want to join Agent Query Connect but can't right now).

 

Thanks!

 

---

 

Dear [Cool Agent Person]

 

My book tells the story of the Viking god Baldr, the god who dies.

 

What would you do if you were warned that your fiancée was not only going to eat you on your wedding night but would go on to murder your whole village? Baldr decides that the best thing to do is to remake reality into one in which he isn’t so engaged. He teams up with the young goddess Hel for a quest that involves romance, murder and a fountain of exploding fermented fish. 

 

BALDR THE DEAD is 93,000 words long and explores the story of a minor figure from Viking mythology. It is a coming-of-age fantasy narrative like Patrick Rothfuss’s ‘The Name of the Wind’ told with a distinctive narrative voice comparable to that of Susanna Clarke.

 

I am currently a researcher of Old Norse religion at [place]. I have published an [academic textbook about Old Norse religion and written a bunch of pieces online about pop culture]. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

DT919


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.


#2 CarterT

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 10:59 PM

I've tried the 'what would you do if...' hook for a query before; it didn't go well. Don't get me wrong, I like what you wrote, but query letters for a lot of agents (and editors) are like a game whose rules you need to play by, and they are going to expect very specific things. Feel free to buck the system, your writing is witty, but make sure that is the battle you want to fight. 

 

You could say something like: Warned that his fiancee would eat him and murder his whole village on their wedding night, Baldr does what any sane man would - he goes on a quest to reshape reality. 

 

(You can make it better than that). 

 

Next, generally speaking, you can have up to 3 or so paragraphs to lay out a bit about your character and your plot. People will always want to know about your MC (main character) so they can connect with him. We (as readers) tend to root for people, not for stories, if you know what I mean. So, give us a bit more about Baldr and what makes him somebody we want to spend time with. But, balance that against giving us a taste of what's going to happen in the story, and what the stakes are. 

 

What are the 3 things people always quote are needed? Something like goals, stakes, and consequences of not succeeding (while working in a bit about your MC to make us like him). 

 

Basically, above, you only give us 1/2 a paragraph about what your book is about. I chuckled reading it, but it doesn't give me enough to make me want to read the whole book. And you're trying to get an agent to invest their time, blood, sweat, and tears in fighting for this book. So, give them a little more to make them want to get in the ring. 

 

(PS - Feel free to take a look at my latest one. Not saying it's better, but it'll give you an idea about structure, maybe. http://agentquerycon...-adult-fantasy/



#3 lnloft

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 06:37 PM

(On behalf of DT919)

 

Hi CarterT,
 
Thanks for the feedback. I've gone through multiple iterations of this query at this point (without sending it off to many agents or ever getting very comfortable with it), so I suppose I've just boiled it down too far at this point and need to pull back out again. I appreciate you pointing that out and your other advice, and I'll have another go, starting from the basics again.
 
Thanks for the link to your own query as well. I'm sure it will be useful and I'll see if can think of anything constructive to contribute about it as well.
 
Cheers!

Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.


#4 CarterT

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 07:52 AM

Hey, one other very important thing I forgot:

 

Everybody has an opinion, and not all of them are good (mine included/especially). So, end of the day, it's your story, go with what feels right for you. 



#5 lnloft

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 06:15 PM

(Posting on behalf of DT919)

 

Thanks CarterT for all your comments. I've tried to address them, especially bringing out the stakes a bit more, while retaining some of the structure recommended on the intro to queries thread on this message board. Maybe I have too many hooks? And my book name is still terrible? Any comments are greatly appreciated anyway.


Dear [agent name],

My novel tells the story of the Viking god Baldr, the god who dies.

Baldr’s world is coming to an end. The bees know it. The stars know it. All the harbingers of the future know it. Before Baldr can do anything about Armageddon, though, he’s got problems closer to home: his fiancée is a spy. And a cannibal. She’s a cannibal spy with plans to murder Baldr’s whole village. Not permitted to leave his home and with only the help of his one-time enemy, the goddess Hel, Baldr has one, magical shot at ending his engagement .

All the gods will die. Baldr will die before most of them. But will he save his village first?

BALDR THE DEAD is a 93,000-word long adventure. A love story. A tale of divine warfare, riddling witches and exploding fish. Like Patrick Rothfuss’s ‘The Name of the Wind’, it is a coming-of-age fantasy narrative, but told with a distinctive narrative voice comparable to that of Susanna Clarke.

While I’m not currently an Old Norse god, I do research them at [bio details].

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.


#6 Lucian

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 11:19 PM

Hi DT919,

 

While I'm not the most experienced at query letters, I can give you my opinion and maybe it will be of some use to you. Take everything I say with a fistful of salt, it's merely the impression I get when reading the query and some thoughts on what I would do to improve it.

 

 

 

Dear [agent name],

My novel tells the story of the Viking god Baldr, the god who dies. I personally love viking stories, so this hook works for me. But I think you should consider changing the hook to also suit other types of people.

Baldr’s world is coming to an end. Nice. The bees know it. The stars know it. Maybe it would be better to stop here with the list of things that know the end is coming. You don't need the next sentence. There's plenty of impact here and I think that the more you hammer this particular nail, the more of that impact is lost. These 3 sentences are also a good hook I think--with some rework. All the harbingers of the future know it. Before Baldr can do anything about Armageddon, though, he’s got problems closer to home: his fiancée is a spy. And a cannibal. She’s a cannibal spy with plans to murder Baldr’s whole village. I think that for people not familiar with Baldr, you need to give more details about him. Why is a god living in a village? What are his powers? Right now, all we know is that he's the god that dies. Also, if the world is coming to an end, why care about the village so much? If the end of the world isn't stopped, his village is destroyed anyway. Not permitted to leave his home and with only the help of his one-time enemy, the goddess Hel, Baldr has one, magical shot at ending his engagement . 

All the gods will die. Baldr will die before most of them. But will he save his village first? Again, this is the end of the world type thing, so even if he saves the village, won't it be destroyed anyway?

BALDR THE DEAD is a 93,000-word long adventure I have some problems myself with genre, so I'm not one to judge, but are you sure long adventure is a thing?. A love story. A tale of divine warfare, riddling witches and exploding fish. Like Patrick Rothfuss’s ‘The Name of the Wind’, it is a coming-of-age fantasy narrative, but told with a distinctive narrative voice comparable to that of Susanna Clarke.

While I’m not currently an Old Norse god, I do research them at [bio details].

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

I think the premise is awesome, but the query needs more details. It seems kind of short to me. Queries are supposed to be short, but I think you can add more words. If you stick to within 250-270 words, I think you'll be fine. There's a lot of rich content you can pack into your query. It's just my opinion, but I think you'll add more nuance with more detail.

Again, I'm also just starting, so listen to other opinions as well, then make up your own mind. But I hope my comments will help you along the way. Keep at it and good luck!

 

Regards,

Lucian


Please check out my query if you have the time. I greatly appreciate honest feedback.

http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=360969


#7 lnloft

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 04:55 PM

(Posting on behalf of DT919)

 

Hey,
 
Thanks for all those comments. I feel a bit silly about one of them - I should have put a hyphen between "word" and "long" to make "a 93,000-word long adventure" make more sense - but I appreciate all of them and I'll try to take them into account. I'll try to have a look at your own query over the next few days as well - from just glancing at it and from the comments you supply, though, you seem pretty good at this.
 
Cheers

Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.


#8 Lucian

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 10:56 PM

Hi DT919,

 

I can't believe I didn't consider the 'long adventure' bit to be part of the word count. :)))

It's kind of funny now.

 

Regards,

Lucian


Please check out my query if you have the time. I greatly appreciate honest feedback.

http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=360969


#9 CarterT

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 12:23 PM

Hey, I like how you filled it out, and still managed to keep your voice in it!

 

Sorta general comment/question based on what Lucian is saying, but the end of the world kind of nulls the rest of the stakes. Is it really far off? Is it something, the village in isolation can escape? Why would Baldr be working to to save the village if they are all going to die anyway? So, what can his act of saving them accomplish? Does it save them from eternal torment (as opposed to the flash-fry apocalypse kind?)? I think that might be a missing link we need. 

 

Also, I've got a new query up if you have a minute.

 

Thanks!






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