Jan 26, 2011

Query - Drego's Sword (revised)

Click here to read the original query.

Dear (agent)

How much is too violent? Drego begins to confront this question and his own mixture of brutality and playfulness as he fights when he’s thrust into a quest he had never expected: to gather the three magic gems throughout his home and use them to stop dictator Gordar and his deadly assassin, Skulta.

It begins the night of Drego’s fifteenth birthday when he finds a single gem on the coast. A woman named Laurina visits him, telling him of his destiny and that he needs to leave home to gain experience. Storing the gem in his sword’s hilt, and thus infusing his sword with magic, he does as she says. For two years, he gains experience as a warrior.

But then Gordar kills the previous king and ascends to the throne, making war on other countries and sending Skulta after the remaining two gems. Drego finds one, but the other Skulta obtains, forcing Drego to head for Gordar’s castle and a likely trap.

Drego's Sword is a medieval fantasy that is 95, 000 words in length. It is the first book in a young adult series.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Ashley

5 comments:

Anonymous Author said...

Okay. I'm going to go through just the first paragraph and tell you the issues I see here.

How much is too violent?

That probably is a grammatical sentence. But it's debatable enough that the reader has to stop and think-- not what you want for your first sentence.

Drego begins to

Take out "begins to". Extra words like this slow things down.

confront this question and his own mixture of brutality and playfulness as he fights when he’s thrust into a quest

This is confusing-- try to cut it down. Brutality, playfulness, fight, thrust, quest, one after another, give the reader whiplash, but little info about the story.

he had never expected:

"Never expected" is a query cliche.

to gather the three magic gems throughout his home

Do you mean his house? I'm guessing not. But that's what it sounds like.

and use them to stop dictator Gordar and his deadly assassin, Skulta.

Stop them from what?

If I were you, I'd try to reduce the entire story to a single sentence, no more than 20 words long. Build your query upward from there. If you can't reduce it to a 20-word sentence, you need to work on your story some more.

Justin W. Parente said...

Hello Ashley,

I agree much with what the first commenter said, and there is a lot happening in this. It needs to be cut down significantly.

First, don't start the query with a rhetorical question. Agents don't like it. If you read enough blogs, they don't find it a catch at all.

Dictator also doesn't sound like a term that would come from something in medieval fantasy. Consider that. Continuing on, there needs to be more general substance to the heart of the plot you're telling.

I'm basically reading a too linear plot that ends with also a rhetorical statement. I don't know it's a trap, but you're telling me that it is and basically Drego also knows it is.

Also, the whole gem-in-a-hilt is uber medieval cliche. Just pointing it out, although you might know. However, it was pulled off in David Eddings's series, so maybe you can refresh the take.

Last, a medieval fantasy is almost never a young adult series. Medieval fantasy borders dark or adult fantasy, whereas young adult has the themes you would expect to see.

Seems like a rant, I know, but that's my gut take on this form of the query. Take from it what you can.

Justin
In My Write Mind

Ashley said...

Thanks for the feedback! I altered a bit of the wording accordingly.

Jason said...

Ashley,

I'm sure you've heard this before:

One sentence.

Tell your story in one sentence.

Build upon that one sentence.

That will help you pare this down.

Dominique said...

This query feels all over the place. Personally, I'd drop the first paragraph, because it's all stuff that isn't important in the rest of the query. Straighten and simplify.fo