Oct 8, 2009


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

I've been playing with hooks and working in mention of steam technology earlier. Hopefully this meets with everyone's approval!

Dear Agent:

Moriah Rowani returns home after nearly a decade away to discover her father bleeding to death in the entrance hall of their estate. His final act was to extract a promise that she'd find her mother's diary.

Three days later, Moriah is forced from her family's home by the steam-powered might of Lord Chancellor Lucian Rombard and his soldiers, who are intent on eradicating human-nymph hybrids like Moriah and the human-satyr hybrids that pepper the city of Callarion. Moriah goes into hiding and almost immediately receives the first clue to the diary's location, one of a series of riddles designed to lead her to the lost tome.

Allies appear from all corners -- in a Chancellery major, the underground resistance, and the disbanded King's Navy -- who help her avoid capture and torture at the hands of the Brotherhood of Purity, while revealing that Moriah's not the only one who wants the diary.

For there's more inside the diary than Rombard's true scheme for the city. There's a plan that has a chance to shatter Rombard's stranglehold on the city and save Callarion from the long night it faces. A plan, in fact, that the last ten years of Moriah's life have been an integral part of.

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


skygrazer said...

I hadn't read the earlier versions so I was reading this for the first time. You have a number of interesting elements here but there's almost too much mentioned... You might want to pare it down so it's less of a synopsis - all the events and allies were a little overwhelming. I think if you pick a few of them it would have more impact.

Just an example:
Could you start off with "Human-nymph hybrid Moriah Rowani returns home..."

Then you could take the sentence in the second paragraph and simplify it a bit: "...who are intent on eradicating the hybrids that pepper the city of Callarion."

It does sound like it would be interesting, but I'd love to get more of a sense of who Moriah is.

Feel free to ignore my two cents though :)

Rick Daley said...


You're making good progress. I have a couple thoughts that came to me as I read this:

- His final act was to extract a promise that she'd find her mother's diary. I think the promise is from Moriah to her father, but at first read I thought the promise was from someone else who left him bleeding. The "was" shifts it to a time before she arrives.

- Moriah goes into hiding and almost immediately receives the first clue That sounds too easy, I would cut "almost immediately" to emphasize more of a challenge

- The third paragraph is a very long sentence. You could end it at "purity" and start the next one "It seems that..."

- Is the story about her quest to find the diary, or enacting the plan detailed in its pages? How much of the book is the battle for the city vs. the search for the diary? If the battle is half of the book, I think it should get more direct emphasis in the query.

I hope you find this helpful...Thanks for participating!

MattDel said...

Rick --

Time spent finding the diary vs. enacting the plan/Moriah getting some semblance of closure on her issues is roughly 50/50.

By that I meant the front half is all about the diary and the back half is all about enacting the plan. Particularly after Moriah reads a letter that her mother wrote to her. That's the tipping point to make Moriah care about the city.

I'll try incorporating that without going into the 300+ words range. I do love me a challenge.

I did change "was" to "is" in that instance about the diary. I keep forgetting that queries need to be written in the present tense.

And thank you, sir, for creating this resource.

Skygrazer --

You just solved my problem of how to incorporate Moriah's race up front. Of course I'm not going to ignore your two cents!

Anica Lewis said...

Definitely clearer than the last one, especially on the steampunk issue! I like it. I second the suggestions to put Moriah's species up front and to remove the "almost immediately" from her discovery of the first clue. You might also explicitly connect the Brotherhood of Purity to Rombard - assuming they are connected in the book, which it sounds to me like they are.

You might also look at the structure of the last few sentences of summary. In particular, I'd suggested changing, "A plan, in fact, that the last ten years of Moriah's life have been an integral part of," maybe to something like, "A plan, in fact, that Moriah's life has been part of for years."

Sounds great! Good luck!