Apr 6, 2009

QUERY- FATE'S GUARDIAN (Revision 1)

Click here to read the original query.

Attn: ,

In thirteenth century France, a wandering Troubadour kills a man in an attempt to earn the love of his abused wife, Desiree, but the Troubadour’s efforts are in vain. Unable to deal with Desiree’s rejection, the Troubadour kidnaps her and they both die in a murder-suicide. Desiree and her husband move on to reincarnate into new lives, but the Troubadour remains earthbound, trapped as a ghost.

Desperate to cross over and find Desiree, the Troubadour wanders the globe, searching for people on the brink of death and clinging to them in hope of finding a soul strong enough to carry him through the light. Most slip from his grasp and cross over without him. Occasionally his grip is tight enough to hold the soul back, and when he does he grows stronger by consuming its energy - but he also absorbs its memories, and in doing so obscures his own.

Centuries later the Troubadour’s past resurfaces when he runs into Gil Jacobs and Julie Flaherty, who are the reincarnated souls of Desiree and her husband. Gil and Julie were born into this life to find the Troubadour and bring him back, but the Troubadour has other plans - his hunger for power is stronger than his desire to live again. The resulting struggle puts Gil’s soul in peril, and Julie sacrifices herself to the Troubadour so that Gil can die and escape to the other side.

FATE'S GUARDIAN is complete at 110,000 words. It is a supernatural thriller directed toward a commercial fiction audience, and first in a series titled DESTINY'S WILL. I have been writing professionally for business for the past eight years, including technical and training manuals, copywriting, press releases, and business proposals.

I am asking for your representation because I did my research and know you are an awesome agent who represents this kind of fiction. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Regards,

16 comments:

scott g.f. bailey said...

Rick,

I think this is a really cool story, but the only reason I think that is because I remember your original query so I can put all the pieces together. This new one is almost all backstory, and I don't get any sense of drama. I see what you're doing, but I think you've gone too far away from Gil's story (unless the Troubadour is now the main character from your revisions).

Maybe start with "Gil Jacobs was murdered in 12xx by a jealous rival. He and his lover are reincarnated in the 21st century to find the wandering ghost of the murderer and take him into the live beyond. But over the centuries the murderer has forgotten who he is and has made other plans..." or something. Jump right to the point, the crux of the story and the main conflict. "One of the lovers will be sacrificed so the other can escape" or something.

Sorry if this isn't brilliantly helpful. I'm trying to be brief, which does not come easy to me!

Rick Daley said...

Scott,

I value your opinion, especially since you have a deeper familiarity with the premise. I could flip a coin between Gil and the Troubadour as the MC. It's one of the hardest aspects of the query, because it spans two lifetimes, and Gil wasn't always Gil. I'm focusing on the Troubadour now because he's a constant to the story, almost like Desmond is to and Daniel Faraday in LOST ;-)

It's a chicken / egg dilemma. The present day conflict hinges on the past, and explaining both takes too many words. I'm considering growing my hair back so I can have the satisfaction of pulling it out!

Crimogenic said...

Rick,

I'm going to agree with Scott. The way this version is written, it feels like background. Start with what Scott sguggested "Gil Jacobs was murdered in 12xx....and reincarnated". This approach brings out important plot aspects upfronts in the query.

Keep at it, you have a very interesting premise!

storyqueen said...

Rick,

This query gives me a much better idea of what your book is about than the first......what a coo-el concept! But I have to tell you, the first line confused me....when you wrote "his wife, Desiree,..." I thought it was the Troubadour's wife, not the man's wife. I had to read over several times before I figured out what was going on.

I like the fact that you have two main characters....the Troubadour and Gil. If it were me, I'd talk about the Troubadour in the first paragraph (kind of like you did), maybe ending that paragraph with his search for the soul of reincarnated Desiree. I'd skip your second paragraph altogether, then I'd talk about Gil. I like the opening of "Centuries later...." for the Gil paragraph. Maybe then a third paragraph explaining the strange connection between the two.

I think this book sounds completely fascinating.....wow!

Good Luck,

Shelley

hope101 said...

This has more to do with the story itself than the query, but it's something you might want to consider: If I understand correctly, the Troubadour kills Gil, in a previous lifetime, and then when Desiree doesn't return his love, commits murder-suicide.

If so, and perhaps this is just me, but I don't see the Troubadour as a particularly sympathetic or heroic character. Her husband may have beat her up, but he actually KILLED her. If you're leaning towards making him the main character, you're going to have to do something to set me up to be rooting for him. Either that, or I'd highly recommend changing their mode of death and making this more of a star-crossed lovers tale, with his loss of memory and her husband coming between them again and again.

Anyway, food for thought...

L Violet said...

With the usual disclaimers: this is quick and dirty, guessing at the plot events, etc., but it leans toward a briefer query with less backstory and leaves room for the present-day conflict. You would, of course, have to insert the attractive and consistent voice so evident in Revision 1.



A Thirteenth Century troubadour murders a man to claim his widow, but when she will not love him he kills her and himself. His victims reincarnate, but the troubadour is trapped as a ghost.

When, centuries later, he next meets his victims, now Gil and Julie, they are determined to bring him back with them to the light, but after an eon of consuming the souls of the dying the troubadour no longer wants love, life, or redemption: he wants only power.

In the resulting struggle...(interesting and active things happen). Julie sacrifices herself for Gil, trapping herself with the troubadour for eternity.

FATE'S GUARDIAN is complete at 110,000 words. It is a supernatural thriller directed toward a commercial fiction audience, and first in a series titled DESTINY'S WILL. Your website (or whatever) indicates you've been very successful in representing this kind of fiction. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Marilynn Byerly said...

I agree with what others said here. I really liked L. Violet's version best if you intend to include all the backstory.

It's never a good idea to tell the resolution in a query letter because it drains away the energy you've created.

Instead, you should give a sense of the possible costs--physical and emotional-- of the conflict.

Also, never start a letter with Attn. Use the standard Dear Andy Agent or Dear Mr. Agent.

Lara said...

Rick,
I like the concept of this story. Obviously I'm intrigued with what happens after we die given my own novel.
I would agree with the comments about it being too much background, needing more about the conflicts, defining the MC.
Also, is Desiree abused by the Troubadour or her husband? That was confusing to me in the first sentance.
But I would want to read it based on the plot.

Rick Daley said...

Desiree's husband abuses her, which angers the Troubadour. He kills her husband hoping to win her affection, but she is disgusted at the violence. The Troubadour is unhinged to begin with, and her rejection drives him over the edge. He tries to kill Desiree, but can't bring himself to complete the task, so he kills himself and leaves her for dead.

If you have the time, the opening pages are posted with the original query, and the deaths of the Troubadour and Desiree are in there. You'll also get a completely different flavor of the story, as the original query is positioned with Gil as the main character.

Lara said...

Rick, Thanks, I thought it read that way, with the husband being the abuser, but then it didn't make sense that in a later life they are helping each other, did Gil have a change of heart through the ages and become a better person?
I'll def read the pages.

Rick Daley said...

Who said Gil is the husband ;-)?

Lara said...

ahhhh
But in Paragraph #3 you say that Gil and Julie are the reincarnated souls of Desiree and her husband, Is that a different husband?

Rick Daley said...

Nope, same husband. It could be worded like this:

Gil Jacobs and Julie Flaherty, who are the reincarnated souls of Desiree and her husband (respectively).

That implies that Gil is Desiree and Julie is the husband. Most people assume that male is the male and the female is the female. In the story, the Troubadour does, too. I'm very careful to use this as a red herring, but also to make it clear upon a second reading that it is a misconception.

This is a twist that I don't reveal until the end. It's my Sixth Sense "Holy crap, Bruce Willis is a ghost!" surprise revelation.

Lara said...

I can see where that would be a good ending twist. The trick is how to convey the impending twist in the query.
There is so much going on with this story, it's hard to convey in a query without being confusing. Hmmmm. I'll have to think about it.

Rick Daley said...

"There is so much going on with this story, it's hard to convey in a query without being confusing."

Don't I know it! And add to the basic complexities of the plot, the questions raised about the nature of the book's spirituality. There are many layers to this story, I need to come to terms with which ones are most appropriate for the query.

Lara said...

Rick, I wrote out a few paragraphs, maybe will help spark some direction:

Gil must die to save his soul, but his old nemesis, the Troubadour, is determined to prevent this or face his own destruction.
While Gil has reincarnated through time as it is meant to be for souls, the Troubadour has been trapped by circumstances of his own evil and violence to wander the Earth a miserable and insatiable soul.
Gil and the Troubadour have haunted each others’ lives though different centuries, genders and relationships. Each is determined to destroy the other. In their current situation, Gil is fated to die in a car accident, when the Troubadour intercedes. Gil is dependent on his friend, Julie, and her special abilities to hold the Troubadour at bay long enough for Gil to defeat him through death.
Unknown to Gil and Julie, the Troubadour’s power has increased through his many brutal attempts to follow others into death and redemption. As this overwhelming energy becomes apparent, Julie is faced with sacrificing herself to save Gil.
Hope this is some help.
Thanks for the blog.