My Writers Circle

Writing => All the Write Questions => Topic started by: Andrewf on August 18, 2008, 03:01:35 PM

Title: My Query - Eastmarch
Post by: Andrewf on August 18, 2008, 03:01:35 PM
I know this is being cheeky and jumping on the band wagon, but I want to see if I have managed to learn anything from the various query letters being reviewed.

This is mine for my novel with no name...  I will be adding more specifics when they are actually written. At the moment I only have an outline for the rest of the book.





Dear [agent]


After waking in an unknown warehouse with no memory of his past, Max must battle to gain clues to his identity and recover the memories taken from him.  At the end of this journey of discovery, he must choose between the life he knows and the past he doesn't.

[name] is a ##,000-word fantasy novel, similar to Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity. It takes place over # years in the port city of Eastmarch.


Thank you for your time.




Thank you for your time ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Orpheus on August 18, 2008, 06:35:37 PM
is a ##,000-word fantasy novel, similar to Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity

Let's hope it sells similar to Bourne... just remember your friends when you're rich, that's all I'm saying. Apart from that, I think your query letter sucks, needs a little tweaking.

 :D :D :D :D

Wolfe

Orph

 
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on August 18, 2008, 08:25:57 PM
Without seeing the core materials (this includes the title, word count, and genre), I'm reluctant to offer advice because pieces are missing.

But...

After waking (prepositional gerund phrase) in an unknown (telling) warehouse with no (negative use - revise) memory of his past (this sounds cliché), Max must battle (must he?) to gain clues to his identity and recover the memories taken from him (We're assuming they're taken then?  You don't hint this at all - Reminds me more like a bad night out with the boys) (I'm not reading a strong conflict.  Sounds like he needs to seek medical or police help)At the end of this journey of (of number three) discovery (massive telling cliché), he must choose between the life he knows and the past he doesn't (biggest cliché yet) (This is no resolution).

[name] is a ##,000-word fantasy (fantasy?  Nothing read so far sounds like fantasy) novel, similar to Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity. (You really shouldn't compare your fantasy novel to a thriller) It takes place over # years in the port city of Eastmarch. (That's nice with the specifics, but I'm not seeing a connection or reason you tell this)

(Nothing about you?)


Thank you for your time. (good)

Welcome to the world of query letters.  ;)

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: david13 on August 19, 2008, 04:46:26 AM
Isn't this putting the cart before the horse?

I reckon you should write at least a complete first draft before even thinking of the query letter.

What would be the use of the perfect query letter if you had nothing to back it up?
By having a go at the query letter now, aren't you just putting off actually writing the book?
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on August 19, 2008, 05:08:04 AM
Isn't this putting the cart before the horse?

I reckon you should write at least a complete first draft before even thinking of the query letter.

What would be the use of the perfect query letter if you had nothing to back it up?
By having a go at the query letter now, aren't you just putting off actually writing the book?

This is a valid point.  I used to believe this as well, but now believe the opposite can be true.

I believe you should write your query letter as you write your novel now.  The query letter will give you focus on your novel and act as a checklist:

1. What's the main conflict?
2. What's the theme or premise?
3. Can I sum it all up in three lines?

The query letter should change as you continue the story.  But don't give it too much attention.  Because you focus on the novel work, the query gets 'cold' and you get to reread it later with fresh eyes.  Errors you didn't see before, now glare at you.

Again, this is good.

Too many times, writers rush a query letter to get their work out there.  And it shows.  Rushing leads to many rejections.

Once you edit and polish the novel, your query letter should be almost complete as well.  Both grow at the same time, and both change too.  On a side note, it also produces less stress on the writer.

Finally, always remember the query letter should reflect the author’s voice.  Many agents says, "The writing in a query letter displays the author’s best writing."

Harsh, perhaps.  But it's the standard.  And it's a good reason to write both at the same time.

Just don't send out the query until polishing and editing wraps up!  And don’t be wishy-washy in your queries on the boards either. ;)

Edit:  Plus I believe Andrew's attempt is to gauge if he's learned anything about queries.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on August 19, 2008, 05:22:14 AM
Well at least I got that thinking correct...or mostly ;)

And how do you describe a negative without using one?  Hope mine works  :-\

"Tales of Eastmarch" is my working title...


Dear [agent]


Max wakes in the city of Eastmarch with a hole in his mind. He discovers his memories were removed as punishment for a crime and works with a talent broker to gain clues to his identity and recover the memories taken from him. When his final task is complete he must choose between his past and his present for the future.

Tales of Eastmarch is a ##,000-word fantasy novel that takes place over # years in the port city of Eastmarch.

I am a finalist in the Wordclay short story competition of 2008 and am a member of My Writers Circle.

Thank you for your time.

Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on August 19, 2008, 09:06:33 AM
Max wakes (Can you use a better verb?) in the city of (consider in - unless you believe it's pivotal the reader knows it's a city.  If so, show it instead.  I would assume it's a town, city, or nation otherwise) Eastmarch with a hole in his mind (I'm not crazy about this hook - sounds too artsy). He discovers his memories were removed (passive and telling) (plot hole: if he has no memories, he wouldn't do this much less 'discover' this.  That's not common behavior for amnesiacs.  Better make this clearer) as punishment for a crime (more telling) (So ... he deserved to have his memories removed because he's a criminal.  That what you imply with this gem. Sure you want to do this?) and works with a talent broker (Come again? This is the most intriguing line so far) to gain clues to his identity and (as, for, and, with, and - see a problem?) recover the memories taken from him. When (not crazy about this phrase) his final (telling) task is complete (passive) (comma needed here) he must (why must he?) choose between his past and his present for the future (that made no sense at all - too vague).

Tales of Eastmarch (CAPS ALL the title) is a ##,000-word fantasy (I haven't read anything that makes me believe this is fantasy so far) novel that takes place over # years (this specific isn't helping you because the story appears shorter than you make it.  I believe it's because the conflict point lacks novel-worthy from your query.  Marking the amount of years in this case makes it sound dragged out) in the port city of Eastmarch (I believe at this point, it's a given where it takes place.  Don't you?).

I am a finalist in the Wordclay short story competition (Wordclay Short Story Contest is the proper name with capitalizations - Yes I looked it up.  Don't let an agent catch you with your pants down like that) of 2008 and am a member of My Writers Circle. (That's nice, but it's not a writing credential.  If only it were that easy) (I would like to see more credits)

(No comparison to anything on the market?  No experiences to say why you're the writer for this work?)

Thank you for your time. (good)


You need to address the conflict.  I'm not reading anything so far that makes me believe it's novel-worthy from your query.  Also, nothing hints fantasy.  Please address these items and try again.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on August 19, 2008, 10:19:18 AM
Ok... no writing credentials at the moment, although i am working at getting some short stories published so i hope to have more at the time this query is needed.
Also going to try and find a contemporary comparison to add in later.

beginning to wonder if i am learning anything about these things...   this is harder than writing the story
:D



Dear [agent]

Max wakes with a pounding headache, no memories and a magical tattoo on the back of his hand. His nurse, 'Kitten', takes him to a talent broker to gain employment. With the completion of his first job, he is rewarded with a clue to his previous identity and missing memories. When all his tasks are done and his past misdeeds unearthed, he is forced to choose between his past and his present lives.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. [Comparison to similar contemporary novel]

I am a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008. [insert other writing credits when achieved]

Thank you for your time.


Wolfe. Thank you for your time ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: ma100 on August 19, 2008, 10:35:30 AM
Good for you Andrew. Learn where you can.

Just a quickie does he have to have a comparison to another novel Wolfe, I mean is it required by agents?
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on August 19, 2008, 03:22:15 PM
Good for you Andrew. Learn where you can.

Just a quickie does he have to have a comparison to another novel Wolfe, I mean is it required by agents?

Good question.

No, a comparison to another novel isn't necessary.  But here's what it tells agents:

1. Placement in the bookstore.
2. Target audience.
3. Marketability.
4. Researched.
5. Business savvy.

Again, not required.  But these simple items show agents a lot more than one would think.  Of course, nothing in a query letter is required except title, genre, and word count when I think about it.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on August 19, 2008, 03:28:50 PM
Of course, nothing is a query letter is required except title, genre, and word count when I think about it.

Wolfe


Wouldn't exactly entice the agent if that was all it was... ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on August 20, 2008, 04:14:52 AM
How's this amended version? 


Dear [agent]

Max wakes with a pounding headache, no memories and a magical tattoo on the back of his left hand. His nurse, ‘Kitten’, takes him to a talent broker to gain employment. With the completion of his first job, he is told his memories were wiped as punishment for a crime. Convinced of his innocence, he works to uncover the truth about his past life. With his innocence proved and his memories about to be restored, he must choose between his past and his current life.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. [Comparison to similar contemporary novel]

I am a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008.

Thank you for your time.



Wolfe, thank you for your time ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: sonofdenis on August 20, 2008, 05:10:06 AM
This is based on a template I downloaded...

Dear Ms Whoever
May I please send you my novel, Finding Zoe Dawes, for your kind consideration? It is approximately 60,000 words in length and is a contemporary story, telling of the  effect on the mind of the central character, Tom Bentley, when his wife commits suicide.  Tom embarks on travels with his old friend Rag Bowman, which take him to Europe and Jupiter.  It is aimed at the same market as that of Ben Elton and Nick Hornby, although there is tiny slice of fantasy thrown in which is a used as a literary device rather than a central theme.

I have written a number of short stories which have been published mainly on websites such as Fiction on the Web and My writer's cicle. This is my first work of fiction, but I have two other novels with similar backgrounds in mind.

I enclose a sae and look forward to hearing from you. Perhaps you will let me know whether you would prefer to see a synopsis and specimen chapters, or the entire book.

Yours sincerely

Matt Langford
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 04, 2008, 06:18:01 AM
Next query victim! ;)

Dear Ms Whoever Remember to place space between the greeting and the hook.  Don't forget that comma or colon after this too)

May I please send you my novel, Finding Zoe Dawes, for your kind consideration? (given)It is approximately (wordy) 60,000 words in length (wordy) and is a contemporary story, telling of the effect on the mind of the central character, Tom Bentley, when his wife commits suicide.  (Show don't tell this) (This is not a good way to open a query letter) Tom embarks (find a better word) on travels with his old (wordy) friend Rag Bowman (don't recommend adding this character in a query letter as I'm not reading a need for him here), which take him  (wordy) to Europe and Jupiter (That's nice.  Where's the conflict?)It is aimed at the same market as that of (Too wordy.  Consider similar to) Ben Elton and Nick Hornby (And what books do these authors write?  Are they current?), although there is tiny slice of fantasy thrown in which is a used as a literary device rather than a central theme (telling).

I have written a number of short stories which have been published mainly on websites such as Fiction on the Web and My writer's cicle.  (Sorry, but writing on writer's boards isn't a credit) This is my first work of fiction, but I have two other novels with similar backgrounds in mind. (Never talk about other works or reveal this as your first work)

I enclose a sae and look forward to hearing from you. (Most agents will figure this out) Perhaps you will let me know whether you would prefer to see a synopsis and specimen chapters, or the entire book. (Perhaps this is a given too?   ;) Delete it)

Yours sincerely (Sincerely is more than enough and is considered the most professional)

Matt Langford

Sorry, but it needs major work.  Please revise and post your new query.

Wolfe

Edit:  Oh great.  Did I just critique the wrong letter?   ::)
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 04, 2008, 06:27:25 AM
Okay, let's torture the right guy this time.   :D



Max wakes with a pounding headache (not seeing a reason for this), no memories (This hook alone could work) and a magical tattoo on the back of his left hand (somewhat interesting, but too telling I think). His nurse, ‘Kitten’, takes him to a talent broker to gain employment (Not seeing a reason for this). With the completion of his first job, he is told (passive - consider discovers or another action verb) his memories were wiped (passive) as punishment for a crime (potential plot hole - how does he know this?). Convinced of his innocence, (telling) he works (weak verb - revise) to uncover the truth (cliche) about his past life (consider the much stronger - himself). With his innocence proved and his memories about to be restored, he must choose between his past and his current life. (Don't give away endings in queries)

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. (excellent) [Comparison to similar contemporary novel] (I want to see this comparison please)

I am (I'm) a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008. (You might want to consider waiting to see where you place.  The specifics are good.  Winning is better)

Thank you for your time. (good)

Interesting, but let's see the revised version.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 04, 2008, 07:17:54 AM
Good to see you back Wolfe...   Been wondering where you'd gone to ;D

Right...  let's see about redoing this letter  ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 05, 2008, 10:24:41 AM
Another go...  ;D


Dear [agent],

What are we, if not the sum of all our memories? However, Max wakes with none of his.
Faced with a life without a past, he allows his nurse, Kitten, to take him to a broker of talents to gain employment. When his first task is done, he is given vital information - his memories were wiped as punishment for a crime. Each task brings payment - a morsel of the truth about his past.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. [Comparison to similar contemporary novel]

I am a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and [more credits when achieved]

Thank you for your time.


Thank you for your time, Wolfe.  :)
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 05, 2008, 09:28:08 PM
What are we, if not the sum of all our memories?
(No rhetorical questions in a query letter - especially one with a cliché) However (But or delete), Max wakes with none (watch the negative jargon) of (wordy) his. (Watch the strange spacing here)
Faced with a life without a past (cliché), he allows (this is the wrong verb) his nurse, Kitten (I see the female agents collectively roll their eyes at this name), to take him (this sounds odd - allows her to take him? Unless you're going for sexual hints, edit this) to a broker of talents (talent broker) to gain employment (wordy - consider something simple like 'get a job'). When his first task is done (remove the phrase to make more action oriented), he is given (passive) vital information (consider a stronger noun instead) - his memories were wiped (passive) as punishment (redundant prepositional phrase - potential passive) for a crime (given). Each task brings payment - (incorrect long dash) a morsel of the truth (cliché) about his past.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. (excellent) [Comparison to similar contemporary novel] (I still want to see this comparison, please)

I am (I'm) a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and [more credits when achieved]

Thank you for your time. (good)

I didn't like the direction this went.  Besides the many clichés, the pacing and language is too passive, questionable, and just plain odd.  Nothing stated raises enough intrigue to warrant a request.  Again, focus on the main conflict and the protagonist ... and try again.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 06, 2008, 02:08:05 PM
Wolfe,

I understand from your previous reply that the comparison book shows the following:
1. Placement in the bookstore.
2. Target audience.
3. Marketability.
4. Researched.
5. Business savvy.


But does the story need to be similar in any way? 
I originally chose Bourne Identity because the protagonist in that also has no memory and must find clues to his past.
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 06, 2008, 03:31:38 PM
I know you're waiting for Wolfe to reply, Andrew, so just ignore me, but I can't help jumping in here to say at the very least it should be in the same genre.
The Bourne series is Thriller/Action, while you've placed your novel in Fantasy. Presumably, you will be targetting your query to an agent who specializes in Fantasy, so if you're comparing your ms to the Bourne Identity they're going to know at once (or at least, assume) it's not going to fit their list.


luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 06, 2008, 04:08:09 PM
luvwriting, That's one of the things i'm learning ;D

Initially thought it was a comparison to a similar plot line...   

Now i understand it's more for placement etc but is plotline still a factor?
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 06, 2008, 05:44:35 PM
I think Wolfe is the best person to answer that, Andrew. All I know is that in the UK it's more a case of finding a couple of books with a similar style of writing to compare yours to. If you imply that yours has a similar plot they're just going to think "why would I be interested in something similar, when I want something original?"
You could say, most chick-lit novels have very similar plots, that's why they all fit in the chick-lit genre. But they are distinguished by different styles of writing.


luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 06, 2008, 05:49:40 PM
Thanks luvwriting...  a similar style of writing will do for me ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 06, 2008, 05:56:26 PM
Once more into the breach...   ;D


Dear [agent],

Max wakes with no memories. Faced with no past, he is taken to a talent broker to get a job and get on with living. The reward for his first job is the knowledge that his memories were magically taken as part of the sentence he is serving. With each task completed, he is told more of his past. With the promise of full restoration - if he survives.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. It is similar to “The Kingless Land” by Ed Greenwood.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and [more credits when achieved]

Thank you for your time.



And thank you for your time ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 06, 2008, 10:46:28 PM
Wolfe,

I understand from your previous reply that the comparison book shows the following:
1. Placement in the bookstore.
2. Target audience.
3. Marketability.
4. Researched.
5. Business savvy.


But does the story need to be similar in any way? 
I originally chose Bourne Identity because the protagonist in that also has no memory and must find clues to his past.

When you compare other works to your own, you want the comparison to be as similar as possible.  So yes, you want the plotline and the genre to be in the same vein.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 06, 2008, 11:06:00 PM
Dear [agent],

Max wakes with no (can you make this a positive instead?) memories. (not crazy about this hook) Faced with no (again, too many negatives) past, he is taken (passive) to a talent broker to (repeating prepositional phrases with 'to') get a job and get (repetition with the word 'get') on (get on is a weak word choice - choose another) with living (sounds cliché). The reward for his first job is (sounds like authorial telling here) the knowledge that his memories were magically taken (passive adverbial phrase) (yep, telling) as part of (choose a single word for these three) the sentence he is serving (potential passive). With each task completed (sounds like telling again), he is told (passive) more of (wordy) his past. With the promise of full restoration (sentence fragment) (sounds too flowery) - (is this suppose to be a long dash?) if he survives. (this sounds trite and predictable)

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. (excellent) It is similar to “The Kingless Land” (You italics other works from different authors - no quotes) by (passive) Ed Greenwood.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and (good)[more credits when achieved]

Thank you for your time. (good)


Your author's telling voice invaded your query.  When you do this, you've indirectly removed the reader for the potential story and turned it into hand leading.  Also, the passive voice and word repetition needs to go.  I would also like to see more conflict and tension.  Right now, it reads as if  he has a medical or magical condition a trip to your local doctor or magician could cure.  Not seeing a reason he must go the long route to get an answer.

Beware the common sense answer that kills your story.  So, the local authorities mind wipe a potential criminal and return him to the streets without any supervisor?  How come Max can't just turn to a local or check the town crier for the answers? Wouldn't it be the hot topic on everyone's lips?  Ask yourself:  If you had no memories, what would you do?  And if I found out it was punishment, wouldn't you go to the authorities and ask what you did?

Just some thoughts to consider.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 07, 2008, 10:46:50 AM
Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I'll ask anyway:

I'm learning a lot from your query reviews Wolfe - being based in the UK I've only had to do synopsises and covering letters to date - but one thing that confused me in the review above is picking out 'authorial telling'. Is this a bad thing in queries? UK-style synopsises, in comparison, are all about authorial telling - the author is telling the agent what the story is about; there is no room for showing.
If it is a bad thing, what would be the alternative?



luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 07, 2008, 12:43:04 PM
Try again...  ;D


Dear [agent],

Max wakes with his memories missing. He is told they were magically taken as punishment for a serious crime and will be returned at the end of his service to the crown.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and [more credits when achieved]

Thank you for your time.


Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 07, 2008, 02:56:44 PM
Quote
Max wakes with his memories missing. He is told they were magically taken as punishment for a serious crime and will be returned at the end of his service to the crown.


That looks too short to me, but perhaps the fact that it makes me want to know more is a good thing.



luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 07, 2008, 03:04:13 PM
Yeah I know...


I took out all the bits Wolf doesnt approve of and that's pretty much all I'm left with for the central theme...

The rest are details, and I'm not sure they should be in the query or not.


Edit:  I've found more on writing queries so you can ignore the last try... and watch this space ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 08, 2008, 05:00:30 AM
Ok... here's my next attempt ;D


Dear [agent],

After waking with his memories missing, Max learns they were magically taken in punishment for murder and he must covertly work for the Queen to have them returned. He is placed under the command of Aran, a city magistrate, and is given assignments to complete for each piece of his past. He rescues a noble’s daughter from kidnappers, unearths a smuggling ring and exposes a corrupt magistrate while discovering his own conviction is suspect.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and [more credits when achieved]

Thank you for your time.



Thank you for your time. ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 08, 2008, 12:39:53 PM
Ok, I'm going to be honest, here. This tells me practically everything I need to know about the plot, but unfortunately there's nothing in there to hook me. Maybe this is what Wolfe means by "authorial tell".
Is this a good illustration of the difference between a US style query and a UK synopsis? Add a little more about the character and include the the ending and it would be fine for a UK synopsis.


luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 08, 2008, 03:08:51 PM
I was under the impression that even UK agents will want a query letter to hook them before they would look at a synopsis...

Am I wrong?
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: ma100 on September 08, 2008, 03:12:28 PM
I am under the same impression Andrew
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 08, 2008, 03:15:47 PM
I was under the impression that even UK agents will want a query letter to hook them before they would look at a synopsis...

Am I wrong?


Yes. The majority of UK agents don't bother with queries. There are a few who ask you to send an email first asking if they are accepting submissions before you send one (and in such cases you could word it like a query), but most people ignore this and send their submissions* anyway.

(*ie, covering letter, one page synopsis, and first 3 chapters)


luvwriting


I suspect that queries have developed because US agents are happy to recieve submissions by email, while most UK agents still prefer snail-mail.
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: ma100 on September 08, 2008, 03:18:05 PM
Ooo does that mean we don't have to write one of these torturess things? ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 08, 2008, 03:21:51 PM
You think queries are bad, ma, you should try synopsises!  :P :)



luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: sonofdenis on September 08, 2008, 03:24:38 PM
Are you sure that's how you spell 'synopsises'?

Are there any good threads on how to write a synopsis?  I'm having nightmares about the query letter thanks to this forum, let alone the synopsis!
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: ma100 on September 08, 2008, 03:26:56 PM
Waaaaaaaaaa :'( :'( :'( That's worse?? So really Luv what Andrew shoud be doing is a synopsis unless he is sending it to America.
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 08, 2008, 03:40:38 PM
Actually that would be good...   I'm finding writing the synopsis easy... 

Of course... cutting it down to 500 words once it's done will be a different matter. ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: eric on September 08, 2008, 03:55:08 PM
luv

i believe it's "synopses" my dear

i think it sounds like "dropsies" but spells like "frogses"

go figure
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 08, 2008, 04:55:08 PM
Quote
Waaaaaaaaaa    That's worse?? So really Luv what Andrew shoud be doing is a synopsis unless he is sending it to America.

Yes, pretty much, ma.  :-\
 
Query writing is useful practice if you have to write a back cover blurb for your novel - some publishers make you do it yourself. And when you come to publicise your novel, you might well be asked to sum up it up in a couple of lines. It's all good practice.


I admit to having no idea how to spell the plural of synopsis, so thank you eric for the clarification. I will have to jot it down on a post-it note for when I forget. :)


luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: eric on September 08, 2008, 07:50:32 PM
whenever I do that, luv, and I do it a lot, I lose the post-it note!   :D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 08, 2008, 09:49:42 PM
I don't have much experience in the UK market as far as agents.  I know a few posters are from the UK, so I hope they can answer that question.

Authorial invading is another symptom in the showing versus telling problem.  With 'invading', the authors stop their prose and say indirectly, "Look at this passage.  Notice how I used more colorful language to impress you with my skills as a writer?  Also, I know you won't understand what this means, so let me explain."  Whenever passages draw the reader from the story, there's a good chance the author 'invaded' the prose.

It's a mistake to avoid.


Dear [agent],

After waking (prepositional gerund phrase - potential passive influx) with his memories missing (dislike the way this opens), Max learns they were magically taken (passive adverbial phrase) in punishment for murder (telling) (comma here) and he must covertly work (find a stronger verb instead - no adverb) for the Queen to have them returned (prepositional past participle passive phrase). (this hook doesn't work) He is placed (passive) under the command of Aran, a city magistrate, (don't need to know this)and   is given (passive) assignments to complete (finish) for each piece of (wordy) his past . He rescues a noble’s daughter from kidnappers, unearths a smuggling ring and exposes a corrupt magistrate while discovering his own conviction is suspect. (tell, tell, tell - this is no resolution and not needed)

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. (excellent) It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land. (Would like to see a little more here)

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and [more credits when achieved] (good)

Thank you for your time. (good)


Didn't care for this query.  The passive voice dominates.  Also, I'm not feeling this conflict.  It's pedestrian the way you offer it to the agent.  There's no urgency, excitement, or need to ask for more.  Your query must create excitement.  Otherwise, it's going nowhere.

You're making this way too hard.

Let's start with the opening line.  Most choose to start with a hook, but a setup works if done well.  This line is the most important in almost all cases.  It sets the tone, style, and voice for not only your query, but also your manuscript for agents.  You don't want to screw this one.  An opening line that wanders, dry and bored, means instant rejection.

Let's look at you 'hook' or first sentence:


After waking with his memories missing, Max learns they were magically taken in punishment for murder and he must covertly work for the Queen to have them returned.


This is a snoozer.  The opening is a prepositional phrase that takes place outside the action.  The adverbs try to give more power to weak verbs.  And the two passive terms give it the Kiss of Death.

Hooks are power statements.  They intrigue and place the reader in the conflict.

There's no place like home is a hook and not to mention the theme in The Wizard of Oz.  Let's try that.  Give us the power theme in your book in twenty-five words or less.

We'll work from there.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 09, 2008, 05:23:34 AM
;D

And that time I was following the advice of the How to Write a Query article on this site:
http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx


Back to the drawing board, I guess.  ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 09, 2008, 12:12:17 PM
Oh god, Andrew, those sample queries were littered with cliches. Please avoid that site.
I know I keep harping on about him, but far better to check out Nathan Bransford's blog instead (and not just because I think he's gorgeous! ;) ).
http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/ (http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/)


And: Thanks, Wolfe, for the clarification about authorial telling. :)


luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: eric on September 09, 2008, 01:54:35 PM
I'm sorry, luv, I only listen to advice from total babes.   8)
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 09, 2008, 05:34:01 PM
In that case, I will try to find some babes for you, eric. ;)



luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 09, 2008, 05:38:12 PM
LOL Luvwriting :D


Give us the power theme in your book in twenty-five words or less.

We'll work from there.

Wolfe

Okay...  My central theme is...

We are nothing more than the sum total of our memories.


I originally started this story after reading this quote (although I’ve no idea where I read it first)
“What are we, if not the sum of all our memories?”

That prompted me to write the story that I put up here for review. (It’s in the gallery on the earliest pages)
There were some good comments and encouragement to continue from where that part stopped...  to make it into a full book length story.
And so, here we are ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 10, 2008, 02:24:19 AM
We are nothing more than the sum total of our memories.

Now, make it tighter.  Remove all the extra words and fluff.  I'll mark them.

We are (use a non-linking verb) nothing (negative clause) more than the sum total of our memories.

Once you say this statement in its clearest form, you'll have your hook.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 10, 2008, 05:27:24 AM
Wolfe, I can see why you crossed out “sum”, given I was repeating it with “total”, but why did you remove the “of”?

The following five lines are my tightened versions, and to be honest I don’t know which is best...  Although I do like the first and fourth ones.


We equal the sum of our memories.

We equal the total of our memories.

We equal the whole of our memories.

We equal our entire memories.

We equal our whole memories.
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 10, 2008, 10:00:26 AM
The word 'of' is a indirect word for possession or even the subject hidden.  Consider making the subject 'memories'—not we—and you'll see what I mean.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 10, 2008, 10:45:45 AM
How's this one?

Memories form our personalities.
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 10, 2008, 10:51:30 AM
Just personality?  ;)

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 10, 2008, 10:56:45 AM
How about...

Memories define us.


actually... i like that ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 10, 2008, 11:40:09 AM
I like that last one Andrew, but I wouldn't leave it hanging as a complete sentence. May be better to begin the quey something like:

Memories define us, but Max....
If memories define us then Max is in deep shit....
If we are defined by our memories then Max is in deep shit....



luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 10, 2008, 12:12:24 PM
I won't leave it hanging luvwriting...    just sorting out the central theme...  but I think we're getting there ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 10, 2008, 03:11:32 PM
There's your hook.  And a good one.  Luv does have a good point, but if you flesh it out make sure you don't lose the statement's strength.  Afterwards, follow the same technique you did with the hook and ask:  What's the book's main conflict?

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 10, 2008, 03:38:39 PM
Thanks Wolfe.

I will work on the hook. 

Would Max trying to get his memories back be conflict enough?
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 10, 2008, 04:08:13 PM

Would Max trying to get his memories back be conflict enough?


Something you might consider:
Why would Max want his memories back? Ok, 'our memories define us', but how does he know he's not better off without them? Maybe the conflict comes from within him - he starts to wonder if he really wants all his memories back, but then has no choice but continue his tasks and be rewarded with increasingly horrible and unwanted old memories, if he is to prove/remember his innocence......anyway, just a thought.


luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 10, 2008, 04:28:09 PM
Something you might consider:
Why would Max want his memories back? Ok, 'our memories define us', but how does he know he's not better off without them? Maybe the conflict comes from within him - he starts to wonder if he really wants all his memories back, but then has no choice but continue his tasks and be rewarded with increasingly horrible and unwanted old memories, if he is to prove/remember his innocence......anyway, just a thought.
luvwriting

If you wake up with no memories at all of who you are, surely your first reaction would be to want to know who you are and how and why you lost your memory.

As the story progresses, Max learns about his past but doesn't recover his memories.
He isn't given the opportunity to have them back until the end.
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: eric on September 10, 2008, 06:41:49 PM
Hi Andrew, best of luck with this thing, it's your fellow query-sufferer Eric over here.  Just a comment on your latest note:

If you wake up with no memories at all of who you are, surely your first reaction would be to want to know who you are and how and why you lost your memory.

I rather wonder, if I woke up with no memories at all, whether I would have the slightest curiosity about why and how I lost my memory, since I would not remember losing it.  I am also pretty sure I would not care who I was, since that question normally does not come up.  I am me, after all.  Just a thought FWIW.
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 10, 2008, 06:57:35 PM
Quote
If you wake up with no memories at all of who you are, surely your first reaction would be to want to know who you are and how and why you lost your memory.

Possibly, but the suspense would come in attempting to find out how I lost my memory. There is only suspense in knowing who I was, if the information is not particularly welcome.

Not entirely relevant, but, if someone came up to me and said "In a past life I was a ticket collector" I'd say "Uhu", but if they said "I used to be Lizzie Borden," I'd, well, run a mile for a start. ;)


Luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 11, 2008, 07:03:53 AM
How's this one...


Dear [agent],

Our memories define us, but Max wakes with his missing. Desperate to uncover his past, he learns that his conviction for murder – which resulted with the removal of his memories – was political and unjust. He works to overturn the conviction and have his memories returned, but must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and have had two short stories included in The Orpheus Tales anthology published by Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.



;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 11, 2008, 07:20:25 AM
Quote
Our memories define us, but Max wakes with his missing. Desperate to uncover his past, he learns that his conviction for murder – which resulted with the removal of his memories – was political and unjust. He works to overturn the conviction and have his memories returned, but must decide between his new life and the old.

I liked "but must decide between his new life and the old".

How about:

If our memories define us then Max is in deep trouble when he discovers his are missing. A conviction for murder resulted in their removal, and he must now fight to prove his innocence if they are to be returned. But, as events unfold, he is forced to choose between his new life and the old.

"if they are to be returned" - alternatively: "if he is to get them back".
Leave out the fact he woke up  and found he had no memories, as that is a cliched opening.
Apologies for the cliched 'as events unfold', but I don't know the plot well enough to put something more relevent in there.



luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 11, 2008, 07:56:21 AM
How about this one...


Dear [agent],

Our memories define us, and Max is desperate to uncover his past because his memories are missing. He learns that his conviction for murder – which resulted with the removal of his memories – was political and unjust. He struggles to overturn the conviction and have his memories returned, but must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and have had two short stories included in The Orpheus Tales anthology published by Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.



 ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 11, 2008, 09:45:14 AM
Ok, I've done my best so I'm going to leave Wolfe to be the final arbiter on this one.

So, what'll it be, Wolfe? Mine or Andrew's, or neither. :)



luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: eric on September 11, 2008, 02:41:24 PM
Before Wolfe applies his expertise, let me just comment that Andrew's whole first sentence is telling and full of abstractions (they would be considered abstractions in poetry, anyway).  Sorry, Andrew.  Of course it is hard to avoid being abstract when your main concept is an abstraction, but I think it would be good to try. 

I like luv's version better, except for the unfolding events.
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 11, 2008, 09:45:33 PM
Let me say this, and I hope I don't step on any toes.  Again, this is my humble opinion.

I strongly recommend no one write anyone else's queries.  Yes, this includes taking prose to help the author with suggestions.  You can prod, stomp, kick, and scream to persuade the writer in the right direction, but do not write it.

Three reasons:

1.  It doesn't help the writer become better at his or her craft if someone else does it.

2.  It doesn't speak in the novel's voice.

3.  It doesn't prepare the writer for the career of editing, rewriting, and revision they'll need to do on their own.


I know this is a touchy subject.  I know my peers believe it flattering to have their examples used directly in the query, but believe me when I say it's not going to help them in the long-term.

Now, this said, I believe Luv's version is good and Eric makes an excellent point.  Yet, Andrew, you have to ask yourself what you want your query to say about your novel.


Dear [agent], (good)

Our memories define us, and Max is desperate (passive) to uncover his past because (telling starts here) his memories are missing (passive) (except the intro, the rest is telling). He learns that (wordy) his conviction for murder – which resulted with the removal of his memories – (telling) was political and unjust (conjunctive potential passive phrase and telling). He struggles to overturn the conviction and have his memories returned (passive pronoun split verbal tense), but must decide between his new life and the old. (last line after 'but' shows potential)

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel.  (excellent) It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land. (good) (I'd like to see a little more.  Why did you write this?  What's the message or theme?)

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and have had (passive - consider the active word: wrote) two short stories included (wordy) in The Orpheus Tales anthology (Anthology should be capitalized if part of the title) published by Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.  (good)

(I want to see your choice of closer)


Again, I'm not seeing a driving conflict.  I believe it's there, but you need to sum it up in twenty-five words or less.  Again, the main conflict and that's it.  Here's a hint:  What's stopping him from making his goal?  Where's the antagonist?

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 12, 2008, 08:09:36 AM
Ok..  Given that the query should reflect the novel it is for...  should it be in the same POV as the novel?


I'm wondering if part of the trouble might be that the story is in 1st person, but I'm writing the query in 3rd.
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 12, 2008, 08:12:35 AM
No, the story portion in the query remains third person.  The rest is first person since it's you.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 12, 2008, 08:22:41 AM
Unfortunately, there's not one single overriding antagonist (unless I do some re-writing ;D).

You could think of this as 7 stories, each about 10,000 words long, with the same central protagonist and general idea, but the antagonist in each is different.

The only thing that remains constant is Max's determination to complete the job to get his reward - more infomation.
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 12, 2008, 12:29:27 PM
I take your point, Wolfe :) yes it is good for the query writer to learn to do it for themselves. I'm not sure I agree with the 'write it in the novel's voice' as often it is being written in the 'author's voice', ie, the query so short that the 'novel's voice' is completely submerged.
Also, I've noticed that sometimes query writers will strip out everything you've flagged up as bad, but not replaced it with anything particularly new. I hope, in such instances, it is helpful to them to be shown another way of wording the query.



luvwriting

Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 12, 2008, 12:41:39 PM
Unfortunately, there's not one single overriding antagonist (unless I do some re-writing ;D).

You could think of this as 7 stories, each about 10,000 words long, with the same central protagonist and general idea, but the antagonist in each is different.

The only thing that remains constant is Max's determination to complete the job to get his reward - more infomation.

Maybe the hook is in the ending, then, Andrew?


Luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 12, 2008, 01:52:30 PM
I take your point, Wolfe :) yes it is good for the query writer to learn to do it for themselves. I'm not sure I agree with the 'write it in the novel's voice' as often it is being written in the 'author's voice', ie, the query so short that the 'novel's voice' is completely submerged.
Also, I've noticed that sometimes query writers will strip out everything you've flagged up as bad, but not replaced it with anything particularly new. I hope, in such instances, it is helpful to them to be shown another way of wording the query.



luvwriting



I find the opposite true.  Extraordinary writers find the words to display not only the novel's voice in the word choices, but the exact word choices.  Those writers hit the best-seller list because their voice soars without hindrance.  They know their story and they're going to let it sing.  Granted, with editing galore.

In almost every case, this shows in the first sentence in all their fiction works.  Instant, intriguing hooks that demand the reader continue.  This leap isn't a huge stretch for a query.

A great agent once said to a new agent, "The writing gets no better than the query letter."  This mantra is fact to agents.  You not only must display your skill in the letter, but your voice and the story all in one.

Always remember, this is just my opinion.  So, if anyone believes I'm off my rocker, I'll step back and let others guide instead.  I know I can appear scary with my fiendish edits, but I do this to guide writers in the right direction and to train them into seeing this.  Oh yes, you'll see it again.  And again ... and again.

I figure they're afraid to add or change ideas, but why be afraid?  I'm just some unknown guy on the Internet.  Hehe.

And if you're afraid: Get over it quick and ready your thick skin.   ;D  Agents, editors, and critics smell blood from miles away.  If you think I'm harsh or scary, you haven't seen the worse yet.  But they'll be on sticky notes...

Promise.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 12, 2008, 03:24:28 PM
Quote
Extraordinary writers find the words to display not only the novel's voice in the word choices, but the exact word choices

Ah, therein lies the problem, though, Wolfe. Apologies now to everyone, but we are not dealing with 'extraordinary writers' here. Such writers - such natural talents; the Rushdies, Amis's, Banville's - would not need any help from the likes of us, and by 'us' I mean a third party who can see the wood for the trees.
Rather, we are the Dan Brown's of the writing world, capable of earning $millions if we were ever to hit it lucky with plot equivalent of The Da Vinci Code, but not Man Booker winners.
I can just imagine Dan Brown's queries - like his novels - full of cliched cliff hangers.

Quote
"The writing gets no better than the query letter."  This mantra is fact to agents.

I have read some dire synopses written by some very good novelists, so I'm afraid I don't believe that one necessarily follows the other. Which is why I think writers should be given all the help they need to re-word the query, even if that means writing it for them.
Yes, I agree, it is vital to get the query right if you want the agent to read the novel, but, tbh, the novelist is not necessarily the best person to write it.


luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: eric on September 12, 2008, 03:35:28 PM
I think Wolfe is getting the better side of this argument, but that may have to do with his reference to the American experience, with which I have more familiarity, rather than the UK version that luv mentions.

I think it is unfair to characterize all MWC writers as occupying this or that niche in the writing hierarchy.  You may think of yourself as a wanna-be Dan Brown, luv, but I would have to ask you to speak for yourself.  That isn't me.  I may not succeed at what I do, but I won't be trying to crank out useless junk just to make a buck. 

On the poetry side, we have had a very wide range of talents, from highly successful both artistically and commercially to complete crap-doggerel me-oriented teenage-angst wrist cutters.  On the novel side, I helped with and know of literary-quality pieces that are now out on the market, and of course there is a wide range of more pot-boiler things, as you say. 


And I have to say Wolfe is talking about publishers and agents in general--not the underbelly of pulp fiction.  You are essentially saying that MWC writers don't deserve good advice, because their stuff is too trashy to merit it.  I think this is wrong on two scores.  I talk about the writers themselves below; as to the agents,  I know there is a surprising unanimity among American literary people about what's necessary to make a good presentation, and I think we are very lucky to have Wolfe's insight into that.

As far as dire synopses being written by very good writers, the need for putting one's best foot forward presumably decreases dramatically with success.  The people seeking help with their synopses here are all-first time writers who need to get their respective foots in doors.

I think it's a complete myth that great writers like Rushdie have natural talents that do not need the kind of trench-work we do here.  I've known several great writers (5 or 6 anyway) and one thing they shared in common is hard, hard work.  In an essay I read the other night, Rushdie talked about writing copy to support himself.  The people on this site don't just play, some of them work, and that work might someday pay off.  Else why bother, really--just to have a good time?

Personally, I think your views are more idiosyncratic than UK oriented.  How it could possibly be better for a writer to have his query ghosted, when it is the writing in the book that will ultimately count, escapes me.  Surely this thought is more yours than the British market's in general, is it not?
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 12, 2008, 04:32:11 PM
Yes, well I did tend my apologees before stating my case - and of course, it is only my opinion which can be dismissed without my taking offence. I was only trying to be a realist, and it was in response to Wolfe's 'extraordinary writer's' comment. And you say yourself "The people seeking help with their synopses here are all-first time writers who need to get their respective foots in doors."
Wolfe provides that help in one way - and tbh, eric, you don't seem to be learning from it - and I provide feedback in another way. Again, I won't take offense if people prefer Wolfe's method.
Not sure if there's anything else to add, other than I don't think Dan Brown writes trash.... <ducks as various readers lob their doughnuts at me> :)

Quote
Surely this thought is more yours than the British market's in general, is it not?

There is a thriving business of writing synopses for novelists in the UK. I'm not in the business, I hasten to add, but just do it as a favour for friends, as they do it for me. But one could equate it to copywriters in advertising. If you can turn a good phrase, then why not sell your experience to help a good, jobbing, novelist get a foot on the ladder?
You also say yuorself that Rushdie wrote copy to support himself (I assume that's in the advertising business). It's not much of a stretch of the imagination to think such expereince would have put him in good stead to get his mss noticed with the agents. Without it, who knows? He might still be languishing in the slush pile.



luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: eric on September 12, 2008, 04:38:13 PM
Well, I certainly wasn't taking offense, only stating my own view of the matter, and I appreciate your ideas and concerns.  As far as learning from Wolfe, I think I have progressed greatly and have worked diligently, but you're entitled to your opinion even though it's demonstrably wrong in this respect in my humble view.   :)  Even so, I do thank you for your contributions about my query, with most of which I have agreed.

Regarding the synopsis-selling in the UK, I wasn't aware of that and you make a good point.  My book is not the sort of book that would be susceptible to that sort of thing, I fear.  But I am sure others who wish for a hackneyed (!) phrase or two might find it handy.

About Rushdie, yes indeed.  My point being only that we all have to start somewhere, wherever that might be.
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 12, 2008, 04:40:24 PM
:)

Good luck with the query writing, eric. I will put my oar in as and when I think I may be of help.


luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: eric on September 12, 2008, 04:43:52 PM
as always I completely welcome and appreciate your faithfully attending to my misery.
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 13, 2008, 03:24:30 AM
Let me say this and I will drop the topic for all-time:  No writer, no writer, starts extraordinary.  It takes years, sometimes decades, for a writer to find the voice and skill needed to make it in mainstream publishing.  Some take more, some take less, but don't believe for one second any best-seller didn't struggle hard to get there ... well, except the celebrities ... but it's another topic.

Every single person I respond to has this potential.  All of them.  I don't judge because I believe in their abilities.  If I didn't, I wouldn't bother trying to give back as I move forward.

Now here's the thing:  You never know who is behind the handle or who it may be.

On my old stomper ground, and Cathy can back me on this, you had agents, published and best-selling authors, and other notables post.  What sticks out in my mind is one poster who struggled with her manuscript and query letter until it sang.

And that manuscript and query letter was Water for Elephants.

Don't discount anyone's abilities.  They might surprise you.

Now ... where's that new query?   ;)

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 13, 2008, 05:23:57 PM
Another try... ;D



Dear [agent],

Our memories define us, but Max's memories are missing. He covertly works for the crown, uncovering his past to discover he was unjustly convicted for murder, and struggles to recover his missing memories. With his conviction pardoned and his memories returned, he must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories included in the anthology The Orpheus Tales published by Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,



;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 13, 2008, 06:13:16 PM
Much better, imo.

Quote
Our memories define us, but Max’s memories are missing. He covertly works for the crown, uncovering his past to discover he was unjustly convicted for murder, and struggles to recover his missing memories. With his conviction pardoned and his memories returned, he must decide between his new life and the old.

uncovering his past to discover
'uncover-' and 'discover' are the same thing. Could be shortened to: 'where he discovers'

, and struggles to recover his missing memories.
This comes across as tacked on to the end of the sentence. It needs to be in it's own sentence, with something added onto the end. eg, As he struggles to recover....

With his conviction pardoned and his memories returned
I would avoid wording it as a conclusion - you are aiming to keep the suspense going within the query.
eg, However, if he manages to get his conviction pardoned.......will he decide....?


luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 13, 2008, 06:24:39 PM
and another... ;D



Dear [agent],

Our memories define us, but Max's memories are missing. He covertly works for the crown while uncovering his past, finding he was unjustly convicted for murder. He struggles to recover his missing memories and get the conviction pardoned, but must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories included in the anthology The Orpheus Tales published by Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,




;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 13, 2008, 07:14:17 PM
Quote
Our memories define us, but Max's memories are missing. He covertly works for the crown while uncovering his past, finding he was unjustly convicted for murder. He struggles to recover his missing memories and get the conviction pardoned, but must decide between his new life and the old.

You were very close before, but this one is not so good.
You've lost the bit that links the missing memories to the reason they were taken and the method of their return.

Howabout:

If our memories define us, then Max’s is in deep trouble when he finds that his are missing. Covertly working for the crown, he discovers he was unjustly convicted for murder, and so begins his struggle [fight?] to get his conviction overturned and his memories restored. But, if successful he will be forced to choose between his new life and the old.



luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 13, 2008, 07:38:20 PM
A different first bit...


Covertly working for a Crown's magistrate, Max - whose memories are missing - finds he was unjustly convicted for murder. He struggles to recover his lost memories, prove his innocence and get the conviction reversed while knowing nothing of his past. He learns that our memories define us and must decide between his new life and the old.
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 14, 2008, 10:24:22 AM
Which one of these two?



Dear [agent],

Our memories define us, but Max’s memories are missing. He covertly works for a Crown’s magistrate, uncovering his past to find he was unjustly convicted for murder. He struggles to recover his missing memories and get the conviction reversed, but must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land, and takes place within the port city of Eastmarch.
I wrote this to explore what might happen if someone's memories were removed, and what choices they might make. It was inspired by the quote, "What are we, if not the sum of all our memories?"

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories included in the anthology The Orpheus Tales published by Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,



Or



Dear [agent],

Covertly working for a Crown's magistrate, Max - whose memories are missing - finds he was unjustly convicted for murder. He struggles to recover his lost memories, prove his innocence and get the conviction reversed while knowing nothing of his past. He learns that our memories define us and must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land, and takes place within the port city of Eastmarch.
I wrote this to explore what might happen if someone's memories were removed, and what choices they might make. It was inspired by the quote, "What are we, if not the sum of all our memories?"

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories included in the anthology The Orpheus Tales published by Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,



;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: eric on September 14, 2008, 12:29:56 PM
From my personal point of view, I vastly prefer the second one.  I think it still needs more work, but it is light years ahead of the first.  But then what do I know?  (That's a rhetorical question)
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 14, 2008, 09:10:42 PM
I'm not seeing the difference between the two other than somantics.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: eric on September 14, 2008, 11:46:43 PM
I am all about semantics.

The first one strikes me as completely passive, and concerned about Max's memory but not much else:

Our memories define us, but Max’s memories are missing.

He ... [ is ] uncovering his past to find (etc.) 

He struggles to recover his missing memories (etc.)

[He] must decide between his new life and the old.


The second one is more active, and concerns itself with concrete things like Max's case:

[Max] Covertly work[ s ] for a Crown's magistrate,

Max ... finds he was unjustly convicted for murder.

He struggles to ... prove his innocence and get the conviction reversed


I would cut the passive, telly, abstract parts of the second version that talk about Max's memory:

- whose memories are missing -

He struggles to recover his lost memories

He learns that our memories define us and must decide between his new life and the old.


I would probably leave in one reference to the memory thing:

while knowing nothing of his past.

I don't know, I bow to your query expertise as always Wolfe but I just don't see that Andrew will ever get to a viable query while going on about abstract topics.

It could be that the two versions have a distinction without much difference and that they're both equally bad in the big picture.  I was merely thinking that the second one seems less bad, and can go more easily to the progressively less bad side of things.



Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 15, 2008, 04:35:39 AM
Eric:
The trouble is that the main conflict is not his unjust conviction but the fact that his memories were removed and he is now doing his best to recover them.



Wolfe:
Ok... but you haven't critiqued the queries themselves  ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 15, 2008, 05:57:56 AM
Pick one then.  ;)

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 15, 2008, 06:08:57 AM
Ok... this one 



Dear [agent],

Our memories define us, but Max’s memories are missing. He covertly works for a Crown’s magistrate, uncovering his past to find he was unjustly convicted for murder. He struggles to recover his missing memories and get the conviction reversed, but must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land, and takes place within the port city of Eastmarch.
I wrote this to explore what might happen if someone's memories were removed, and what choices they might make. It was inspired by the quote, "What are we, if not the sum of all our memories?"

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories included in the anthology The Orpheus Tales published by Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,



;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 15, 2008, 07:48:31 AM
Dear [agent], (good)

Our (as opposite to mine - redundant) memories define us, but Max’s memories are missing (passive, telling, and doesn't work combined ... but I know a way it can ... consider opposites...). He covertly works (consider a stronger verb) for a (the?) Crown’s magistrate (Is this a proper title?  If so capitalize) , uncovering his past to find he was unjustly convicted for murder (passive adverbial telling and where's the conflict?) He struggles to recover his missing memories and get the conviction reversed, but must decide between his new life and the old (And?).

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. (excellent) It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land, and takes place within (in - no double prepositions ... even disguised ones) the port city of Eastmarch. (Which is where?) (What happened to the spacing here?  Remember ... the little things make an impression too.)
I wrote this (This? Remember, the last noun reflects the pronoun.  You wrote the port city of Eastmarch.  Use a specific here) to explore what might happen (wordy - again be specific or delete this phrase) if someone's memories were removed (passive), and what choices they might (hedging) make. (this sentence fumbles around and makes you sound like you're uncertain about why) It was inspired (passive) by (passive) the quote, "What are we, if not the sum of all our memories?" (I wouldn't say your novel was inspired from a quote.  Agents will interpret this to mean you're flighty) (Still not reading a valid reason you're the writer for this work)

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories included (wordy verb-prepositional) in the anthology The Orpheus Tales published by (wordy - consider: from) Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time. (good)

Sincerely, (excellent)


Now I'm going to scare you even more.  Fantasy is the hardest genre for a new novelist to enter.  Agents and editors for fantasy demand a new premise or unique idea.  So, your novel better show more than a criminal chasing his memories.  The theme and premise must be deeper than that ... much deeper.

Show us.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 15, 2008, 08:05:24 AM
How about the other one then ;D



Dear [agent],

Covertly working for a Crown's magistrate, Max - whose memories are missing - finds he was unjustly convicted for murder. He struggles to recover his lost memories, prove his innocence and get the conviction reversed while knowing nothing of his past. He learns that our memories define us and must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel. It is similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories in the anthology The Orpheus Tales from Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,


Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 15, 2008, 02:16:55 PM
Now I'm going to scare you even more.  Fantasy is the hardest genre for a new novelist to enter.  Agents and editors for fantasy demand a new premise or unique idea.  So, your novel better show more than a criminal chasing his memories.  The theme and premise must be deeper than that ... much deeper.

He's not a criminal...  he was convicted unjustly for political reasons.  ;D


The theme... as I've said before...  is that our memories define who we are, they shape every decision we make.

In your opinion, is that deep enough? Different enough?

Because if it's not, tell me now and i'll put this aside and work on something else :)

Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 15, 2008, 02:40:05 PM
He's not a criminal...  he was convicted unjustly for political reasons.  ;D


The theme... as I've said before...  is that our memories define who we are, they shape every descision we make.

In your opinion, is that deep enough? Different enough?

Because if it's not, tell me now and i'll put this aside and work on something else :)

That's the thing:  It's not my place to tell you the premise or theme is good enough.  It's your job in the query to convince agents it is.  If you have doubt, you might want to consider why.

Just my humble opinion.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 15, 2008, 02:45:54 PM
That's the thing:  It's not my place to tell you the premise or theme is good enough.  It's your job in the query to convince agents it is.  If you have doubt, you might want to consider why.

Just my humble opinion.

Wolfe

That's just it... I think it is enough. ;D

But considering your previous comment, "The theme and premise must be deeper than that ... much deeper." You were either trying to tell me that in your opinion the theme wasnt strong enough, or that it wasn't coming through on the query.

Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 15, 2008, 02:54:44 PM
The latter.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 15, 2008, 03:00:10 PM
Aha...  ;D

Right then... back to work ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 16, 2008, 09:47:12 AM
Let's try this one...  :)



Dear [agent],

Memories define us, but blank memories won't stop Max uncovering his past when his only clue is a tattoo on the back of his left hand. Each clandestine deed earns Max another piece of the memory puzzle, eventually finding an unjust conviction for political ends. With old memories in hand, Max must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel, similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories in the anthology The Orpheus Tales from Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,



;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 16, 2008, 11:21:12 AM
I see you've been talking of themes. I'm not sure if this is any help, but the following blog post from Nathan Bransford may be worth a read:

http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/2008/06/do-you-have-plot.html (http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/2008/06/do-you-have-plot.html)

Also, Nathan warns that the theme of the novel should be clear from the plot:

http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/2008/09/things-i-dont-need-to-know-in-query.html (http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/2008/09/things-i-dont-need-to-know-in-query.html)


As for your latest example, the tattoo is too much detail, and I'm not sure the Agent will appreciate the pun 'memories in hand'. Probably best to save the word count for a jucier piece of plot.

luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 16, 2008, 11:32:08 AM
As for your latest example, the tattoo is too much detail, and I'm not sure the Agent will appreciate the pun 'memories in hand'. Probably best to save the word count for a jucier piece of plot.

luvwriting

Fair enough on the tattoo, that can be dropped.  But the memories in hand is no pun... that's literal  ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 16, 2008, 11:48:59 AM
dropped the tattoo...



Dear [agent],

Memories define us, but blank memories won't stop Max uncovering his past. Each clandestine deed earns Max another piece of the memory puzzle, eventually finding an unjust conviction for political ends. With old memories in hand, Max must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel, similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories in the anthology The Orpheus Tales from Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,



;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 16, 2008, 11:54:26 AM
Check your syntax. The way the second sentence is written it implies it is the clandestine deed that has found the unjust conviction, rather than max.



luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 16, 2008, 11:59:59 AM
I did wonder about that one :D



Dear [agent],

Memories define us, but blank memories won't stop Max uncovering his past. Each clandestine deed earns Max another piece of the memory puzzle where he eventually finds an unjust conviction for political ends. With old memories in hand, Max must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel, similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories in the anthology The Orpheus Tales from Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,


Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 16, 2008, 12:18:11 PM
Quote
where he eventually finds an unjust conviction for political ends

- you don't make the point that this is Max's unjust conviction; it could be anyone's

You know the expression 'kill your darlings'? Well that is what yuor phrase 'memories define us' has become. You are starting with this and trying to write the query around it.
Start with the plot; add the suspense and the conflict; then see it there's still room for it.

As Nathan says, the theme should be clear from the plot. I would say the theme is clear from the fact he has lost his memories; he tries to find them; then he must decide who he really is when faced with the choice of the old life provided by his old memories, and the new life he's made in the meantime.
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 16, 2008, 12:28:36 PM
- you don't make the point that this is Max's unjust conviction; it could be anyone's

You know the expression 'kill your darlings'? Well that is what yuor phrase 'memories define us' has become. You are starting with this and trying to write the query around it.
Start with the plot; add the suspense and the conflict; then see it there's still room for it.

As Nathan says, the theme should be clear from the plot. I would say the theme is clear from the fact he has lost his memories; he tries to find them; then he must decide who he really is when faced with the choice of the old life provided by his old memories, and the new life he's made in the meantime.

Actually, I've never heard that expression before today  ;D

But I see what you mean and will try it that way round ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 17, 2008, 04:53:20 AM
luvwriting, this is the central plot pared down to a single line...  ;D

Convicted for murder and sentenced to serve the Crown with his memories magically removed, Max struggles to uncover his past, the details of his crime and why his memories were taken.
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 17, 2008, 12:35:56 PM
It's Wolfe who likes them pared down, Andrew. Personally I like a little more meat on the bones ;) :)

Quote
Convicted for murder and sentenced to serve the Crown with his memories magically removed, Max struggles to uncover his past, the details of his crime and why his memories were taken.

When Max is convicted for murder and sentenced to serve the Crown, he must also surrender his memories as part of the punishment. As Max struggles to uncover his past, the details of his crime and why his memories were taken, he finds he must choose between his past life and the new one.



luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 17, 2008, 02:57:47 PM
LOL You said you wanted the central plot ;D  I didn’t mean for that to be the whole query ;D

I’m not sure about showing the conviction right at the beginning, that part isn’t revealed until the end of the first section.  Should it stay?
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: SteveJ on September 17, 2008, 03:08:41 PM
Dear Agent,

I am the Mighty Mr Andrew, and you want my book, believe me; so gimme lots of money.

Love,
Mr Andrew, Celebrity Chef and Scientist ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 17, 2008, 03:13:36 PM
LMAO   :D :D :D

Thanks Mr Steve...   but I was thinking more along the lines of something like this... ;D



Dear [agent],

Max is convicted for murder and sentenced to serve the Crown with his memories magically removed. After serving his time and uncovering his past, the details of his crime and why his memories were taken, Max learns he must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel, similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories in the anthology The Orpheus Tales from Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,



;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: eric on September 18, 2008, 01:24:19 AM
Hi Andrew, just a reality check, why would the Crown want a convicted murderer working for it?

(I am assuming you have believably justified the magical memory removal.)
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: sonofdenis on September 18, 2008, 01:38:48 AM
Quote
Dear Agent,

I am the Mighty Mr Andrew, and you want my book, believe me; so gimme lots of money.

Love,
Mr Andrew, Celebrity Chef and Scientist   


 :o

 ;D

Dear agent.

Gimme.

Now!

Regards, any old journalist (went to Eton)
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 18, 2008, 06:35:23 AM
Hi Andrew, just a reality check, why would the Crown want a convicted murderer working for it?

(I am assuming you have believably justified the magical memory removal.)

LOL, The trouble is, that's the information the protagonist digs up during the course of the story. And to explain that would explain a large part of the plot.  ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 18, 2008, 07:23:54 AM
And again  ;D



Dear [agent],

Max is convicted for murder and sentenced to serve the Crown with his memories magically removed. While serving his time, Max uncovers his past, the details of his crime and why his memories were taken. Finally, he must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel, similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories in the anthology The Orpheus Tales from Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,



;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 18, 2008, 11:53:37 AM
Now that version works for me. The only two words I'd consider changing are 'magically' - can't explain it, but it just sounds so pat every time I read it; like: 'Poof! Alakazam! Now you see your memories, and now you don't'.
And 'Finally', gives the same feeling as the phrase 'in conclusion'.


luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 18, 2008, 11:59:44 AM
How's this one?



Dear [agent],

Max is convicted for murder and sentenced to serve the Crown with his memories removed by magic. While serving his time, he uncovers his past, the details of his crime and why the memories were taken. At the end, he must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel, similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories in the anthology The Orpheus Tales from Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,




;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 18, 2008, 12:26:25 PM
Ummm, ok, let me reword that -

And 'At the end', gives the same feeling as the phrase 'in conclusion'.


Try not to make it sound like the last chapter, as that kills the element of suspense in any potential hook.


luvwriting
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 18, 2008, 12:27:48 PM
LOL


But it is in the last chapter  ;D ;D



let me have another look when I get home ;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 18, 2008, 12:47:55 PM
LOL


But it is in the last chapter  ;D ;D




You know that. I know that. Just don't tell the Agent. :)


Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 18, 2008, 05:13:34 PM
I suspect that the agent will know it too luvwriter...  ;D




Dear [agent],

Max is convicted for murder and sentenced to serve the Crown with his memories removed by magic. While serving his time, he uncovers his past, the details of his crime and why the memories were taken. Then he must decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel, similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories in the anthology The Orpheus Tales from Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,



;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: luvwriting on September 18, 2008, 07:16:42 PM
It sounds a bit flat. Can you jazz it up a bit?
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 20, 2008, 07:21:05 AM

Dear [agent], (good)

Max is convicted (passive) for murder and sentenced (split-conjunctive passive verb) to serve the Crown with his memories removed by (passive) magic. (Three passive passes in the first sentence spells instant rejection for most agents. The telling overkills... and this in your hook. Revise.) While serving his time (Hidden and telling gerund phrase), he uncovers his past (telling), (incorrect punctuation) the details of (wordy) his crime and why the memories were taken (passive) (sounds too bizarre, telling, and disconnected). Then (if you use then to start a sentence, a comma must follow - missing punctuation) he must (hedging modifier - consider a stronger word or rephrase the word decide) decide between his new life and the old (incorrect sentence structure - the 'and' makes the last phrase reads like this: his the old. Also, it sounds cliché).

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel, (correct comma use, but not needed) similar to Ed Greenwood's The Kingless Land. (And? Nothing else?)

I'm a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008 and wrote two short stories in the anthology The Orpheus Tales from Salvatore Publishing in 2008. (excellent) (I would like to see something more here. If not, separate the sentences to make the credits look longer.)

Thank you for your time. (good)

Sincerely, (excellent)


Watch the passive voice. You don't want to stumble in the first sentence. Hell, you don't want to stumble at all. Revise and consider the conflict further. Again, I would like to see a theme and so do agents.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: eric on September 20, 2008, 02:16:16 PM
Not to intrude, and I am sorry to be so negative, but I think the bottom line is that I just don't see a conflict in this one at all.
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Margarett on September 20, 2008, 05:13:37 PM
Maybe you could name both stories in the book that were published, seperately. Because both had to get entry by standing alone so they are of equal value in your credits.  So you do have three accomplishments. Brag as much as you can here without going over board. This will help you sell yourself if not the book.  It will also have to stand alone on its merits also. However you having already passed the first three hurdles we the beginners still have to cross.  You now are a professional. Tell them about it proudly.
 
Just my thoughts on the subject.

Toss them away if you chose.

Good luck and congratulations!!
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 20, 2008, 05:20:37 PM
Never thought of listing both short stories seperately  ;D

I like that idea, thanks Margarett.  :)
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Andrewf on September 21, 2008, 05:13:50 PM
One last try before I go back to writing the story itself and the synopsis...



Dear [agent],

Convicted for a murder he ‘knows’ he didn’t commit and with his memories wiped, Max is forced to serve the Crown as a covert agent for the reward of information. With no memories to guide him, Max struggles to learn why his memories were taken, while being hampered by a corrupt government minister. He is then pressured to decide between his new life and the old.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel, similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008. I also have two short stories, “Surgical Strike” and “Causality Loop”, in the anthology The Orpheus Tales from Salvatore Publishing in 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,



;D
Title: Re: My Query
Post by: Wolfe on September 21, 2008, 08:25:30 PM
Riverdances in...


Convicted for a murder he ‘knows’ (Don't use quotes here—choose stronger nouns and verbs to make the point without the punctuation tricks) he didn’t commit (grand cliché) and with his memories wiped, Max is forced (passive) to serve the Crown as (adjective clause doesn't work and signals wordiness) a covert agent (choose a stronger, single noun - consider: spy, thief, etc.) for the reward of information (wordy and sounds odd). With no memories to guide him (repetition - you already said his memories were wiped in your first sentence), Max struggles to learn why his memories were taken (passive and repetition #3), while being hampered by (don't think I've ever seen a passive string like this: while being hampered by) a corrupt (telling) government (double adjective string) minister. He is then (wordy) pressured (passive) to decide between his new life and the old. (cliché)

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel, similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land. (good) (So ... why'd you write this?  Show the agent more.)

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008. (excellent) I also have (consider a more active verb: wrote, contributed) two short stories, “Surgical Strike” and “Causality Loop”, (No quoting your works) in the anthology The Orpheus Tales from Salvatore Publishing in 2008 (consider: this year).

Thank you for your time. (good)


You're making the plot portion much too difficult, so let's play a game.  Let's pretend I'm an editor for TV Guide.  We're going to publish your book and make it into a made for TV movie.  I need you to give me an exact statement that will interest the audience.  You know ... like in our magazine.  Must be short, to the point, and intriguing.  You have three lines. Fail and it's curtains on your writing career.

Do it.

Wolfe


Riverdances out...
Title: Re: My Query - Eastmarch
Post by: Andrewf on March 26, 2009, 08:04:56 AM
And so I return... Like a bad penny...  with another attempt at this query letter...   :-\





Dear [agent],

With no memories to guide him, Max must learn his place in the world, and who to trust, while searching for his past. The one who took his memories is determined to stop Max interrupting their careful schemes. Max searches throughout Eastmarch for his prize and must decide who he will be when faced with the choice of his old life and new.

TALES OF EASTMARCH is a ##,000-word fantasy novel, similar to Ed Greenwood’s The Kingless Land, and explores how our memories define every choice we make in life.

I’m a finalist in the Wordclay Short Story Contest of 2008. I have contributed two short stories, Surgical Strike and Causality Loop, to the anthology The Orpheus Tales from Salvatore Publishing in 2008 and another short story, Christmas Wishes, in the 2008 Christmas anthology A Writers Christmas.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,


Title: Re: My Query - Eastmarch
Post by: Wolfe on March 26, 2009, 02:43:32 PM
Wow. Blast from the past!  I can't believe I Riverdanced...

Anyway, same critiques as before or do you want to focus on something specific?

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query - Eastmarch
Post by: ma100 on March 26, 2009, 02:47:35 PM
Wow. Blast from the past!  I can't believe I Riverdanced...

I can  ::)
Title: Re: My Query - Eastmarch
Post by: Wolfe on March 26, 2009, 02:51:46 PM
LOL
Title: Re: My Query - Eastmarch
Post by: Andrewf on March 27, 2009, 08:34:43 AM
Wow. Blast from the past!  I can't believe I Riverdanced...

Anyway, same critiques as before or do you want to focus on something specific?

Wolfe

Yes please... your standard #7, please ;D
Title: Re: My Query - Eastmarch
Post by: Wolfe on March 27, 2009, 04:47:00 PM
Check your PMs.

Wolfe
Title: Re: My Query - Eastmarch
Post by: Andrewf on March 27, 2009, 05:22:35 PM
Thank you Wolfe ;D
Title: Re: My Query - Eastmarch
Post by: Wolfe on March 27, 2009, 05:25:21 PM
Good luck.  :)

Wolfe