Sep 3, 2009

QUERY -- CALLARION AT NIGHT

Dear Agent:

Moriah Rowani has spent more than a decade angry at her mother for leaving in the middle of the night, a note to her father the only record of the disappearance. On her runaway mother's orders, her father sent her to the Senro -- a tracking school lauded for placing students in every court around the word -- and a prestigiuous riding school in the desert nation of Budur. Moriah returns, skilled and full of rage, ready to forget the woman who birthed her ... until the day her father is killed. His final words are "find the diary."

She follows her father's orders and begins searching, using all her skills taken from the Senro in the hunt. Moriah must duck the death squads of the Chancellery Guards and Brotherhood of Purity, who are intent on capturing her because she is a half-nymph; an affront to all they hold dear. With the help of allies both in and out of the underground resistance, she discovers that the diary holds secrets able to bring down the Lord Chancellor himself -- the architect of the hell the city-state of Callarion has become.

My steampunk fantasy novel, CALLARION AT NIGHT, is complete at 100,000 words. Thank you for taking the time to consider my submission.

5 comments:

RCWriterGirl said...

This sounds like ais really good book. The query is interesting and succinct.

The only problem I have with it is the mother. I don't understand what the mother has to do with the diary.

If the mother isn't relevant to the diary, then maybe start your query with the father's final words. Something like: "Moriah Rowan returns from the elite school where she's been trained as a top-tier bounty hunter and tracker looking forward to spending time with the father who raised her alone. Instead, she finds him bleeding to death. His final words are, 'find the diary.'"

That gets you into the story without involving this mother who is never mentioned again and seems to be irrelevant to the rest of the tale.

If the mother is important, say why. And mention her again in the query at the end (she realizes the diary holds a secret that will bring down the chancellor and bring back the mother who was forced to leave....).

Also, if you're going to keep mention of the mother in, you shouuld know it is confusing why the father would follow the mother's orders when she ducked out on the family. I'm not saying you have to explain why, but it might be nice to acknowledge this is weird. Say something like, "Despite his wife's disappearance, Moriah's father follows his wife's request to enroll his daughter in Senro, a prestigious tracking school..."

Again, only do this if the mother is necessary. A lot of stuff with the mother sounds like backstory. What we really need to know is this lady knows how to track and her job now is to "find the diary."

Anyway, sounds like an intriguing plot. Good luck.

Gina Logue said...

I’ll admit that I’m not familiar with fantasy genre and don’t have any idea what Steampunk is. So if I were you, I wouldn’t consider my comments with too much weight. I agree with RCWriterGirl about Moriah’s mother.

Sentence 1 – remove “in the middle of the night” because it makes it sound like she wouldn’t have been angry if her mother left in the morning.

Sentence 2 – fix two spelling errors “world” and “prestigious”. Did her father sent her to two different schools? the Senro and a prestigious riding school? Because that’s how this reads to me.

Sentence 3 – if she’s full of rage, I don’t think she’s ready to forget.

Sentence 5 – “mother’s orders” was used in sentence 2 so I don’t think you want to use “father’s orders” here. What are her skills? Tracking and riding? “all her skills” sounds too general. Is she searching or is she hunting? Choose one.

Sentence 6 – this sentence made no sense to me. Does this have anything to do with her father’s death or the diary?

Moriah must duck the death squads of the Chancellery Guards and Brotherhood of Purity, who are intent on capturing her because she is a half-nymph; an affront to all they hold dear.

Sentence 7 – Did Lord Chancellor have anything to do with her father’s death? If yes, I think you should make that connection known earlier when her father tells her to find the diary. And it sounds like her father’s death and the diary had nothing to do with her mother, so maybe leave her mother out of the query.

Good luck
Gina

Dominique said...

When you started with the mother leaving, I assumed it was a YA types story about forgiveness and love. Then the next sentence threw me for a loop. I felt like the surprise drew me out of your query. You might want to have the genre more up front.

MattDel said...

Hi RCWriterGirl and Gina --

Thanks for your comments!

The diary was written by Moriah's mother, which is why she's important to the story. And yes, the Lord Chancellor did have a hand in killing Moriah's father. He was an obstacle.

The father follows the mother's orders from the note she left him. Suffice it to say, sending Moriah to those schools is tremendously important to the mother. It gets explained in the novel, but I don't know if it would be worthwhile here.

Sentence 6 was my attempt to introduce the antagonists the reader sees most often, so they are important.

Oh, and Gina -- Steampunk is basically Victorian Era-level technology that can do everything modern-day tech can do. That's the quickest way to describe it.

Again, thank you both for the commentary!

P.S. And to Gina for picking out the spelling errors *hides face in shame*

MattDel said...

Dominique --

I'll take that into consideration when revamping this. I don't know if I'll state the genre up front necessarily ... I might just end up rewriting that first sentence to make it appear less YA.