Jul 25, 2011

Query-Illusion (Revised)

Click here to read the original query.

Smart-mouthed visual artist Maya McAdam lives on post apocalyptic Earth, where magi and humans coexist in a precarious compact. One of the magical guilds has bargained with an arch-demon (Ba’al) to bring down another guild. Maya avoids magic as much possible, but then her paintings start to animate, her old nightmares return and she wakes covered in blood. When the law start pursuing her, she realizes it isn't because she hasn't registered her newfound magic.

Unbeknownst to her, she's Ba’al’s daughter, and her illustrations create doorways to other worlds, revealing her presence to her father. One of her pictures admits Resheph, a warrior warlock who's been hired to kill her. His task is frustrated by her apparent innocence and the invasion of Earth by demonic beasts, unleashed by her father to bring down the magical elite.

Maya joins forces with Resh and crosses realms; on a quest to discover the source of her magic and the reason for her incarnation.

She must dodge demons, magical guilds and dear old dad in order to restore balance to the dimensions, retrieve her warlock lover from hell, and redeem her own soul.

‘Illusion’ is a complete 105,000 urban/dark fantasy manuscript. My publishing history includes several short fiction stories to paying markets. I’m currently undertaking a Masters of Creative Writing at Adelaide University.

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my query letter.


Anonymous Author said...

The opening would sound much better without the first four words.

Dy said...

Thanks Anon.

Anonymous said...

yankinfrance here...

You lose me with "post-apocalyptic" and "magi". Unless you're planning on explaining how our Earth can suddenly become a place where magical powers exist (and I don't believe you can), this is not a post-apocalyptic novel. (I'm a big fan of that genre, so maybe I'm too much of a stickler).

So I'd leave this part out, at least at the beginning.

I think the problem you're having here is that you're trying to bring in too many of the novel's elements into the query. It becomes quite confusing,quite fast, especially since most of the two first paragraphs are really just backstory.

Instead, try to lure the reader into the suspense of the novel -- and use only those elements that will make the suspense more intriguing. Even if this means simplifying somewhat, or a lot.

So start with the action, i.e., Maya's illustrations create doorways to other worlds, unleashing an invasion of the Earth by demonic beasts, sent by her own father to destroy the magi... Maya joins forces with Resh to discover the source of her magic (and presumably thwart Ba'al's plans, not simply to find the 'reason for her incarnation').

I'd beware of such precious phrases as "precarious impact" and "incarnation" -- these belong in the novel itself, perhaps, but are not appropriate for the query. At any rate, they read as precious.

Especially since you break voice in the fourth paragraph, with things like 'dear old dad' and 'warlock lover from hell' -- I don't think the cheekiness serves your purpose here, because this is not meant to be a humorous novel, right?

I just read the original query -- to me, this is just a mild rewrite of that one. I suggest you throw both out and start from scratch.

The most fascinating part of the querying process is challenging yourself to look at the novel differently from the way you've been seeing it for all those months or years of writing it. Right now you don't have 105,000 words -- you only have 250. Make every single one count.

By the way, in case you don't know of it, be sure to go through the archives of the Query Shark blog. It's like bootcamp for query-writing.

Dy said...


The MC is sarcastic and humorous at times. The setting is dark and postapocalyptic for half the novel. You're right... she does move off world to thwart her father.

I went through the archives before posting and it is a great site,.

Thanks for your reply.