Feb 11, 2010

Query - Descent into Darkness - Revision 1

Click here to read the original query.

Dear Agent,

When Aiden’s ability to use the dangerous and forbidden art of Dark Magic spontaneously manifests during an intense argument with his fiancée, his dream to marry and start a family is torn asunder. Betrayed to the Church by the woman he loves and sentenced to a lifetime of imprisonment, Aiden finds salvation in the least likely of places: the Shadow, the dreaded evil army that seeks to bring chaos and destruction to the land.

But in order to achieve his revenge, Aiden has to face challenges beyond just acquiring the pieces of the key that will free the Shadow Lord from Hell. His ex-fiancée joins the forces of the very Church he is fighting against, and a heated rivalry soon forms between Aiden and the ruthless commander of the Shadow himself, both for the power they both desire—and for love.

DESCENT INTO DARKNESS is a 129,500 word work of fantasy. It is the first in a series of two books, the second of which is currently in progress. Thank you for your consideration.



Piedmont Writer said...

Wow, what an amazing transformation. Excellent job! Just three little things --

Take out the But you begin paragraph two with and start the sentence with "In order..."

Take out the first both in the last sentence "both for the power they both desire..." The first one makes the second redundant.

Third paragraph -- Take out "It is the first in a series..." sentence. Agents don't care right now if you have a second book, they want one book to be able to stand alone. And when you get the "call" that is when you tell them you have a second book already in the works.

Great job! Good luck.

Lynn Colt said...

This is a great query now! I agree with the tweaks Piedmont Writer suggested. Another couple minor tweaks:

Take out 'dangerous and' in the first sentence. It's redundant, since we can assume it's dangerous b/c it's forbidden and called Dark Magic. Similarly, take out 'evil' in the last sentence of the first paragraph; we know it's evil b/c it's dreaded and b/c it wants to bring chaos to the land.

Second sentence of second paragraph: change 'has to' to 'must' or 'will'; it makes the sentence stronger and cuts out a word. Also cut out 'heated' in the next sentence, b/c every rivalry worth its salt is heated. Overuse of adjectives is a query-killer (and manuscript killer) so use them sparingly. Might want to think about that in the manuscript itself, too.

I really like the concept, it sounds like a fabulous book! Good luck :)

Piedmont Writer said...

Natalie -- And you were right about fiance - fiancee. I should have noted that, I used to speak and write French as a kid but it's been a long time. I don't know if an agent/editor would know that. Same thing with blond/blonde -- e= female.

Emily said...

First of all, I would like to commend you as this revision is definitely a step in the right direction. Now I know that the Shadow is an army!

I think a couple of things could still be improved and strengthened. What is this ability he possesses? How does it manifest itself? Does his head spin all the way around? Does he have a sneezing fit? Right now it's a bit too generic, I think you need something concrete, some imagery to make this stand apart.

Also, I still have no idea what the setting is. I am guessing now that this is High Fantasy, in which case this requires world-building which is definitely a detail that needs to be included. But now, for all I know, this could take place in the past, the future, on the Moon, on Mars. It could be Earth present day and the Scientologists are fighting against the dark reincarnation of Xenu. You need to give some idea of setting. This also goes towards genre, as fantasy has many subsets. Is this High Fantasy? Urban Fantasy? Although many agents list "Fantasy" as an area they have interest in, oftentimes they are looking for a specific sub-genre. Know where your novel fits into that genre so you can shop it around to the right people.

The reason I am commenting however, is because I am legitimately interested. I think you might have a great story here, but without a great query, no agent is going to look twice. Make sure your first impression doesn't do you a disservice. And if I sound harsh, I apologize, and remember these are only my suggestions, take them with a grain of salt.

Best of luck-

Dominique said...

Great. There's certainly a lot of tension here, and the brevity does you great credit. I might suggest expanding the second paragraph to include a bit more info. Maybe more about what happens since he and the fiancee are on opposite sides of the war.