Aug 21, 2009

Query for WIND FURY: Revision #2

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read revision 1.

Alright, I'm going to preface this one with my dilemma. On the last attempt, several people noted confusion at "the North Wind" being a person, whom I later refer to as North. They suggested I refer to her as a goddess, but she isn't, in my world. She is an Aspect of Nature, born of Gaea (Mother Nature) as part of herself to rule over the North Wind. She can blow into the world as the Wind, but she also has a human form. Without getting into too much detail, that's where my problem is.

I don't want to break the rhythm of the query by having to explain all that because it's kind of a mouthful. So, any help on that issue with the info above would be GREATLY appreciated, and please let me know if I've solved the other questions, as well. Thank you SO MUCH everyone, I know it's a doozy to have to do the same ones over and over but I really appreciate your help :) -L.T.

Here's my latest version:

An unknown enemy is trying to kill the North Wind’s mortal lover, Armin, and one day, they succeed.

A change comes over North with the loss of Armin. He was the shining star in the long dark of her existence. For the eons before him, she had been responsible, dutiful--- and lonely. Now she must choose between her duty and her happiness to try to reclaim him from the Underworld and find the person responsible for his death; even if it means disobeying the ruling of the Council of Gods. But before she can try to bring him back, she will have to unlock the mystery of his past, and the fate of the gods that lies in his hands, for Armin is the Determiner of his generation--- the one who decides if the gods stay on Earth, or go back to the Oblivion from which they came. If she fails at any of the trials before her, she just may lose him forever.

WIND FURY is a 90,000 word fantasy novel exploring a world on the edge of two destinies, and the mortals and immortals who will determine its course, explore their true abilities, and uphold their honor.

The completed manuscript is available at your request. This novel will stand alone, but I already have several ideas for sequels and related story canon in this world.

I thank you for your time and consideration.


Anica Lewis said...

This sounds really neat!

I sympathize with your dilemna. I figured out pretty quickly that North was an anthropomorphic North Wind - it may just be one of those things that comes more naturally to people who read a lot of fantasy - but was unclear on the fact that she isn't a goddess. Possibly, if appropriate, you could change the ruling of the Council of Gods to the ruling of her masters, the gods or similar?

I like the addition of "unknown enemy" to the opening line, but I preferred it as two sentences without the "and."

One little copy-editor thing in the second paragraph - you can't use a semicolon to separate fragments, only things that could be stand-alone sentences. What you want after responsible for his death is just another humble comma.

RCWriterGirl said...

I still think you'd get rid of a lot of confusion by deleting "the" and saying, "An unknown enemy is trying to kill North Wind's mortal lover, Armin..."

Also, this should be broken into two sentences to read: "But before she can try to bring him back, she will have to unlock the mystery of his past. The fate of the gods ...."

Rick Daley said...


I think your concept is good, and you can make it work in the query, but you will need to re-think it again.

I would suggest a different hook. The opening hook you have here is finite and it doesn't give sense of the conflict in the story.

Read it this way:
An unknown enemy is trying to kill the North Wind’s mortal lover, Armin, and one day, they succeed. The End.

You don't want The End to fit in so snugly. You want it to hook us into further reading, not lead us to a conclusion.

Grammar nit: you have "enemy"(singular) and "they succeed" (plural).

Find the heart of the conflict. It's not that Armin is dead, because he can be brought back. The conflict is that he holds the key to her fate and there is more than unrequited love at stake.

If you pull this larger conflict into your hook, I think it may help clarify who/what North is.

I going to refrain from giving you examples, I trust you can craft a few, and I think this needs to come from you. If someone else writes your hook, it's not your voice.

Iapetus999 said...

You could just say ...the Goddess NORTH WIND's mortal lover.

I don't love the "is trying" because it doesn't say anything meaningful

An unknown enemy stalks Goddess NORTH WIND's mortal lover and kills him.

"A change" is vague and meaningless. Always be specific. Show the agent what's special/unique about your story.

Armin's loss cripples North. Unable to perform her duties and seeking revenge, she disobeys the ruling Gods and enters the underworld. If she fails at any of the trials before her, she just may lose him forever.

Just focus on what happens. No backstory. Also mention what the consequences of her decision are.

Good luck!

L. T. Host said...

Thanks everyone :)

This is really hard, haha...

I think I'm going to just shelve it for a week or so and come back to it later. I'm getting close, I think, but I just can't get it right, so time to push my energy into other things and let it simmer. :)

If anyone else comes on this though, PLEASE comment if you have a suggestion, I'll still be checking, and I appreciate any input anyone has!

gj said...

Personally, I'd go with a simplified version of your explanation, and then seque into the story. It's not all that different from a line introducing, say (and this is a cliche, so it would be more than this), the jaded detective who's on the verge of retiring. The person writing the detective story needs to establish that the protagonist is a jaded detective who's on the verge of retiring -- there's no way around it; it just has to be said. But then that person would add some little detail, like the fact that he is a button collector. Same with your North Wind. Make her an individual, and then no one will get caught up in the NW/North problem.

So, aim for something like this (but in your own voice to the extent I've changed your words): "The North Wind is an Aspect of Nature who can blow into the world as the Wind, but also has a human form with a human lover. When that lover is murdered, North is too lonely to do her duty as the wind. Instead, she [does something specific] to reclaim him from the Underworld and find the person responsible for his death."

And so on. But be more specific. The rest is pretty vague (and so was the previous stuff that I've simplified above).

Keep it simple and specific. Don't worry about the extreme details (the earth goddess), just the major ones that give us a feel for the protagonist (wind/human) and her problem (lonely without her mortal lover) and what she's doing about the problem.

scott g.f. bailey said...

"Without getting into too much detail, that's where my problem is."

No, your problem is that you assume this distinction matters in a query letter. It really doesn't. An agent will think of and refer to North as "your magical whatsis girl," not "your Aspect of Nature." Besides, you can sidestep all of it and just say, "The North Wind's human lover has been murdered." We get that she's a supernatural being of some sort. At this level, we don't care what sort.

Anyway, as gj says, most of what you've written after that bit is vague. Be specific, and cut out the cinematic language like "a world on the edge of two destinies." That phrase is meaningless.

"The North Wind's human lover has been murdered. Forbidden by the Council of Gods to find her lover's killer, North [does something specific] but [something specific] stands in her way."

And then stop, for goshsakes. Skip all the junk after "90,000-word fantasy novel." Skip the bits about sequels and spinoffs. Say thanks and stop writing.

Anonymous said...

LT I think you're close!! But I agree with Rick. I'd completely cut the first line. I *think* if you just refer to the North Wind as "her" (after you tell us she's the north wind), the reader/agent will get it. Otherwise, there are lots of great suggestions here. Good luck!

Donna Hole said...

I like your opening line (someone is trying to kill . . ) but I have to agree with Rick that it pretty much tells the whole story.

The conflict here seems to be a choice the North Wind must make - continue her all important elemental duties, or abandon the world for her own needs to rescue her lover. It is an excellent premise and I'm sure you find a way within the novel for her to accomplish both goals satisfactorily.

The important things you need to put in the query is what the central conflict is (keeping the world from natural disaster while rescuing her lover from banishment) and what the obstacles are to accomplishing both. I'm sure it is not a simple matter for her to just "choose" one or the other.

Think of it as a series of tick points on your fingers: Find the enemy(ies), thwart the evil plot to destroy the world, save the planet, and rescue her lover.

Have you read Pierce Anthony's "Incarnations of Imortality" series? "On A Pale Horse" had a similar delimna for the hero.

I think some of the confusion of the North Wind as a person is from your shortened use of her name (North) in the second paragraph. If you delete the first line, and initially describe her as "The North Wind, and elemental Incarnation" you will solve the problem without having to refer to her as a goddess, which she clearly is not. And if you're only submitting to agents who take on fantasy novels, you probably wouldn't even need that, though it's probably good to make the distinction.

As an avid fantasy reader, I usually like to know if the characters I'm reading about are Gods/Goddesses, demons, angels, incarnations, elementals, spirits; I could go on, but I bet you get where I'm going.

Good Luck! I haven't read the prior submissions, but this sounds like an excellent novel idea.

L. T. Host said...

Wow, thanks for keeping posting :)

I think I may have it... but I am going to sit on it for a while before I post it again. Make sure it really feels right to me, and then I'll put it up. Thanks again, everyone... you have been SO helpful to me!

It's really motivating and exciting to me that my premise sounds interesting to more people than just me. :)