May 19, 2009

QUERY --- RAINGUN (fifth revision)

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.
Click here to read the second revision.
Click here to read the third revision.
Click here to read the fourth revision.

Everyone thinks Rick Rivoire’s a hero. He faced down ruthless musketeers and pirates attacking his hometown, so why wouldn't they? But he’s a heel! Earlier that same day, he brutishly humiliated an innocent girl, then begrudged her the credit she got for her own bravery. Rick struggles daily to rise above the childish spite from his own past abuse and romantic disappointments.

Rick needs to escape to a new life! He’s offered a place in a new cavalry regiment, one just for mages. When bad weather sidelines muskets and cannon, the “Rainguns” stay deadly, striking with magic from conjured steeds of shadow. But dangerous times are coming, and it will be hard to keep above the fray as the army’s factions form and turn against each other. Will joining the mysterious ranks of the Rainguns further Rick’s plans to better himself? Or will religious strife and conflicting loyalties force him to compromise his soul?

RAINGUN is an adult fantasy novel of 84,000 words. Thank you for your valuable time!


jbchicoine said...

I'm better at knowing what I like than isolating what doesn't work and why, so bare that in mind as I offer the following comments.

I know you've been working on an opening hook, and for me, I think you've hit it this time around. I really like the way you've reworked the first paragraph, adding the line,'But he’s a heel!', alluding to my favorite line, 'Earlier that same day, he brutishly humiliated an innocent girl, then begrudged her the credit she got for her own bravery', highlighting his moral dilemma.

I also prefer the more consice ending to the second paragraph, by way of two questions. I think they better highlight what's at risk.

What started out in your first post as a lot of information to sort through, I believe this query has made some outstanding progress, tempting me to read outside my genre--no easy feat there!

Anonymous said...

Attracting a non-fantasy reader with my fantasy query is an amazing compliment! Thank you so much!

Jabez said...

I like your concept a lot, but I'm not sure this version of your query is the best.

First of all, this most recent version has a different voice from your others. The use of all the exclamation points following short sentences, and all the questions, give it a breezy, over-caffeinated voice that contrasts with what seems like the more serious tone of your other versions. And it seems to conflict with the serious internal conflicts of the main character. Of course, if your ms actually uses that voice, then great; you want the query to reflect it. But if not, as I suspect from your earlier queries, I don't think it's a great fit.

Also, I suggest including more detail, which would increase your showing-to-telling ratio. (You can afford to add some detail, since your query isn't all that long.) In particular, you keep saying that Rick "brutishly humiliated an innocent girl." Instead of doing that, it would be more powerful -- and more illuminating about Rick's character and internal dilemma -- to say exactly how he humiliated her. Then you don't need to say it was brutish because we'll know.

Jabez said...

A few other thoughts: I think having a fantasy protagonist who is a former torture victim who is struggling with the aftereffects is a good feature of your concept that you should keep in the query. I might even lead with that, since it helps explain Rick's demonstration of heroism and cruelty on the same day at the beginning of your book.

I also think you should add back in somewhere before the Raingun regiment the fact that Rick is a magic user. Your current draft just says he "faced down" pirates, then says he's offered a position in a regiment for mages, and I think a reader might stumble over that for a second before she puts together that he's a mage himself.