May 13, 2010

Query- A Tale of Youth and Sorrow

Dear AGENT NAME:

I visited AGENCY NAME's website and noticed that you are interested in YA and fantasy projects. A Tale of Youth and Sorrow, my 53,400-word novel, might interest you. Its sequel, Capita Mortua, a stand-alone tale featuring returning characters and newcomers, has also been completed.

Twelve-year-old orphan and Potioneer girl Minette Bublee knows next to nothing about the Rogue, Ilona Njis; the ill-tempered, perpetually suspicious master thief who, strangely enough, has been her guardian for the past two years. Then comes the shocking revelation: that Ilona is a murderer, and possibly linked to Belphelial, a restless demon rumored to have broken free from the bonds of his ancient prison. Torn between escape and saving her only friend from spiraling further into self-destruction, Minette unwittingly opens a door into an arcane realm, where past and present intertwine, and a confrontation with a grim remnant of their world's tumultuous history transforms a young woman into a monster. With the ghosts of their yesteryears threatening to tear them apart, Minette will voyage through time to learn one of life's greatest lessons, and unlock the secrets of a power greater than any magic.

Five of my short stories were published in Malate Literary Folio (De La Salle University, Philippines) between 1997 and 2002, one of which won second place in my university's 1999 Literary Awards. A member of Writing.com, I received the 2007 WDC Wonderfuls Award for outstanding writing. In my most recent job, I was a game writer tasked with the detailed write-ups of characters, settings, and stories for games. I am currently residing in the Philippines.

I would be glad to send you my complete manuscript for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Sincerely yours,
Michael Cunanan Logarta

5 comments:

Falen said...

there's a lot going on in this query. I actually had a hard time following it in places.

Go ahead and round your word count to the nearest 1000.

The Query is more or less one big paragraph of information which makes it difficult to read. I'm also a fan of starting right with the hook for e-queries, but that's a stylistic choice and completely up to you.

"Twelve-year-old orphan and Potioneer girl Minette Bublee knows next to nothing about the Rogue, Ilona Njis; the ill-tempered, perpetually suspicious master thief who, strangely enough, has been her guardian for the past two years"

That is one loooog sentance, and it's full of names and terms which all jumbled together, making things confusing. I would break this up and trim.
For example "Twelve-year-old orphan and Potioneer girl Minette Bublee" could be cut to "Twelve-year-old Potioneer Minette Bublee".
This is because, Minette is a female name so we know she's a girl. And in the next part you tell us she has a guardian so we know she's an orphan.

I would rewrite this sentence to something like:

"All Twelve-year-old Potioneer Minette Bublee knows anout her gaurdian, Ilona Njis is he's a Rogue, ill-tempered and perpetually suspicious master thief."

Also i would lose the name of the demon. The name is never mentioned again and it's just one more name bogging things down.
Actually the demon itself is never mentioned again so i would lose it all together. Or if it's really important, bring it up again in the query.

I'm unclear if the friend Minette is trying to save is Ilona or another person.

"where past and present intertwine, and a confrontation with a grim remnant of their world's tumultuous history transforms a young woman into a monster"

I don't understand what any of this means. What remnant? How does it turn her into a monster? Literally a monster? She grows fangs and fur? Or figuratively? (she goes on a murderous rampage)

"With the ghosts of their yesteryears threatening to tear them apart,"

I also don't know what this means. Because this is a fantasy novel, i can't tell when you're speaking in literal facts. Are they real ghosts?
Though the writing is pretty, it really holds no meaning on its own. We need straight facts in a query.

Also, after all this, i don't know what the conflict is.
Why does any of this happen and why should i care about Minette? What is the choice she needs to make?
It's not clear why she would help Ilona when he's a murderer and linked to this horrible demon. Just being her gaurdian isn't enough, since you've already painted him in a negative light (he's ill-tempered, a thief and she doesn't even know why he's her gaurdian)

You may want to start over.
Start with the conflcit, what is at stake for Minette? What does she have to do, and what will happen if she doesn't do this?
Then from there, build outwards.

Your idea sounds very intriguing and even though you painted Ilona in a negative light, i already want to know more about him. He sounds awesome so i think you have a great story here. Just need a great query to get those agents to take a peek.

Also your author credentials are great, so that will help you a lot.

Good luck! I know you'll be able to craft a killer query for your novel.

Amanda said...

I agree with a lot of what Falen said, and have a few more little notes. I would move the first paragraph to the end- you want to begin with what your story is about. There are many run on sentences throughout your query- I would definitely work on paring these down. I agree that it might be interesting to hear about your writing credentials, but the thing about game writing and about your location does not really seem pertinent. You really only have one paragraph about your book, and 3 about yourself and your writing. I would also leave out the fact that you have already completed a sequel- get an agent interested in your first novel, then you can talk about the sequel when you are farther along.
Otherwise, I think your story could be interesting, I just want to know more about it!

Aleeza said...

Other than what Falen said, I think you should include what happens in the story (even though Falen stated that too!) You do state the premise, but it's important to tell the agent WHAT happens, in exact details. I think the best way to pique their interest is to show them what exactly happens, the conflict basically. Vagueness doesn't do anything like that.
Hope that helps!

Nishant said...

there's a lot going on in this query
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MementoMori said...

Thanks for your comments, they were very helpful! I'll revise this query as soon as possible. Sorry for the late reply btw, I've been swamped with work the past couple of weeks. @_@