Author Topic: My Query - Eastmarch  (Read 22339 times)

Offline Andrewf

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My Query - Eastmarch
« 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
« Last Edit: September 22, 2008, 04:33:21 PM by Andrewf »
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Orpheus

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Re: My Query
« Reply #1 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

 

Wolfe

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Re: My Query
« Reply #2 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
« Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 08:28:18 PM by Wolfe »

Offline david13

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Re: My Query
« Reply #3 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?
David

Wolfe

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Re: My Query
« Reply #4 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
« Last Edit: August 19, 2008, 05:13:56 AM by Wolfe »

Offline Andrewf

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Re: My Query
« Reply #5 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.

"If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion." - L. Long.

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Ask about eBook versions if required.

Wolfe

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Re: My Query
« Reply #6 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
« Last Edit: August 19, 2008, 09:25:57 AM by Wolfe »

Offline Andrewf

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Re: My Query
« Reply #7 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
« Last Edit: August 19, 2008, 12:25:46 PM by Andrewf »
"If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion." - L. Long.

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Offline ma100

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Re: My Query
« Reply #8 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?

Wolfe

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Re: My Query
« Reply #9 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
« Last Edit: August 19, 2008, 03:35:48 PM by Wolfe »

Offline Andrewf

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Re: My Query
« Reply #10 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
"If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion." - L. Long.

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Offline Andrewf

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Re: My Query
« Reply #11 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
"If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion." - L. Long.

Tales from the Circle - A charitable read. http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=1146002
Ask about eBook versions if required.

Offline sonofdenis

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Re: My Query
« Reply #12 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

Wolfe

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Re: My Query
« Reply #13 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?   ::)
« Last Edit: September 04, 2008, 06:19:52 AM by Wolfe »

Wolfe

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Re: My Query
« Reply #14 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
« Last Edit: September 04, 2008, 06:31:25 AM by Wolfe »