May 12, 2009

QUERY --- RAINGUN (1st revision)

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the second revision.

Rick Rivoire’s childhood was marred by abuse, neglect and loss. As a man, he doesn’t think much of its effect on him until the day his coastal hometown is attacked, by a ruthless Admiral's musketeers from one side and a gang of bloodthirsty pirates from the other. He fights back with his magic, struggling to act courageously, but he feels his apparent heroism diluted by ulterior motives. He is haunted by a memory from earlier that same day, of callously humiliating an innocent girl, and wonders: Is he allowing his past misfortunes to drag him down into permanent bitterness, or perhaps beyond, into evil?

Determined not to disappoint the valiant swordswoman who rescued him from torture as a child, Rick resolves to remake his life. His first step is to join a new cavalry regiment, just for mages. On battlefields crowded with archers and pikemen, these "Rainguns" come into their own when bad weather disables muskets and cannon, attacking from the backs of spectral mounts they conjure themselves. Will joining their mysterious ranks further Rick's plans to become better than he is? Or thwart them?

RAINGUN is an adult fantasy novel of 84,000 words. My fantasy platform includes the roles of author, editor and lead developer of many gaming supplements for the genre. These achievements were profitable, spanned several years, and received positive reviews.

Thank you for your valuable time!

8 comments:

hope101 said...

IMO, this is better. But a few suggestions:

--other than battling his own demons, is there one overarching antagonist that you can weave the query around, particularly when it comes to the climax?

--the major arc you're showing us in this query is about his internal conflict (which I like, BTW). But because it's such an integral part of your story, I think you need to put in some details about his moral dilemma at the end. So far you're getting the general story line down, but it's still too generalized. A few salient details can go a long way towards showcasing your writing and selling me on your protagonist.

--unless your book is going to lead into a product with another platform, regretfully, they won't give a hoot about all your business background. Put your effort into the query and show you have the chops to write fiction. If I've understood your credentials properly, you're unpublished in fiction, so just leave portion of the query blank and state that your manuscript is available on request and thank them for their time.

Anonymous said...

There's definitely no single "Dark Lord" in this fantasy who wants to destroy the world, no. Some fantasy agents probably consider that a prerequisite, but I've specifically avoided that.

I've only sent two queries out, and these included "synopses" that were morbidly obese. I'm a little paranoid about going on too long.

I see what you mean hope, the last 2 questions of the 2nd paragraph do pose a moral dilemma, that might have more power if I went into more detail. I'll try to change that without adding a lot of words.

hope101 said...

Keep the query letter to 250 words or less and you'll be fine. It's not just about putting more meat on the bones; it's about the cut.

Barb said...

Just a suggestion - I don't know your manuscript, so please disregard anything that's not useful. I found that your sentences are all quite long and that I lost the thread of what you were saying several times. A mix of long and short sentences may may this matter easier to grasp.

Also we had the low of his childhood, then being a hero, then low again as he feel his powers being diluted. Maybe a slide from hero to evil?

Here is a rough example of what I mean:

Rick Rivoire fights back with his magic on the day his coastal hometown is attacked. Struggling to act courageously against a ruthless Admiral's musketeers from one side and a gang of bloodthirsty pirates from the other, he feels his apparent heroism diluted by ulterior motives. After a childhood, which was marred by abuse, neglect and loss, he wonders if he is allowing his past misfortunes to drag him down into permanent bitterness, or perhaps beyond, into evil.

Determined not to disappoint the valiant swordswoman who rescued him from torture as a child, Rick resolves to remake his life. His first step is to join a new cavalry regiment. One just for mages. On battlefields crowded with archers and pikemen, these "Rainguns" come into their own when bad weather disables muskets and cannon. They conjure themselves to attack from the backs of spectral mounts. Will joining their mysterious ranks further Rick's plans to become better than he is? Or thwart them?

Also I'm not sure why his plans would be thwarted by joining this regiment. He seems to be doing something to improve himself and then that question is tacked on. (Apologises if I have missed something obvious).

It sounds like a great story and something I would be interested to read - good luck with it.

Anonymous said...

I must remember that, hope. The "cut" of the words in the query must be prime rib (I'm not a big steak guy, but I love the analogy).

Barb, that's very useful --- I have a weakness in clinging to the strictly chronological. The "slide from hero to evil" is better, since this progression is actually far more central to the story than the mere passage of time.

Both of you have touched on the "moral dilemma" about how the hero's plans might be thwarted by joining the regiment. That's something I now see I must explain.

It's a kick going through this with you all. I've never had such valuable discourse packed into such short bursts of time. This site is awesome!

MitMoi said...

I think Hope101 and Barb have done an amazing job of pointing you in a good direction. Here's my $0.2 to their $10.00.

struggling to act courageously, but he feels his apparent heroism diluted by ulterior motives.This is far to general. It's okay (from what I've read) to be very specific in the query. This is where some more prime rib can be added - instead of hot-dog filler. ;)

Best of luck - this has come a long way. Good job of integrating editorial suggestions.

siebendach said...

Thank you, I certainly FEEL like it's come a long way! Can't wait to start the next revision.

Rick Daley said...

I'm glad that you are getting a benefit from this site, hearing that certainly makes all of the time I spend moderating it worthwhile!

Thanks Hope, Barb, Mit, and everyone else who lurks, submits, and comments!