Author Topic: My Query - Eastmarch  (Read 16783 times)

Offline Andrewf

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Re: My Query
« Reply #15 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
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Offline Andrewf

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Re: My Query
« Reply #16 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.  :)
"If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion." - L. Long.

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Wolfe

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Re: My Query
« Reply #17 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
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 01:35:46 AM by Wolfe »

Offline Andrewf

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Re: My Query
« Reply #18 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.
"If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion." - L. Long.

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luvwriting

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Re: My Query
« Reply #19 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
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 03:56:42 PM by luvwriting »

Offline Andrewf

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Re: My Query
« Reply #20 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?
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 05:23:28 PM by Andrewf »
"If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion." - L. Long.

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luvwriting

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Re: My Query
« Reply #21 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
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 05:49:32 PM by luvwriting »

Offline Andrewf

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Re: My Query
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2008, 05:49:40 PM »
Thanks luvwriting...  a similar style of writing will do for me ;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 #23 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
"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
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Wolfe

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Re: My Query
« Reply #24 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

Wolfe

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Re: My Query
« Reply #25 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
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 11:09:30 PM by Wolfe »

luvwriting

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Re: My Query
« Reply #26 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

Offline Andrewf

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Re: My Query
« Reply #27 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.


"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.

luvwriting

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Re: My Query
« Reply #28 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

Offline Andrewf

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Re: My Query
« Reply #29 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
« Last Edit: September 07, 2008, 03:48:57 PM by Andrewf »
"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.