Sep 30, 2011


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

Had Rune Greyhawk not been digging for dragon eggs on the shore that day, perhaps his father would still be alive and New Athens saved—perhaps he would have never become an adversary to a god.

Fifteen-year old Rune was born a prince, but as the second son with no experience or clout, his station was a powerless one. Not to mention his penchant for delinquency. Because of this, he has no choice but to study abroad in the kingdom of Stone Realm on Marina's mainland. But lately he's been having a lot of strange dreams—and after his sister gives him a simple-looking stone she swears is important enough to take with him, he starts to wonder if there is a more ominous reason behind his relocation.

Now, in a time when humans have taken over the domain of gods and tamed the wildest of dragons as beasts of war, he is finding out that things are not as they seem: whether by fate or fortune, Rune is somehow tied to the thousand-year old mystery of the Arke of Aerimore, and the lost magi-ka of heaven that prophets say will be released again. Once Edome's ruthless emperor finds the ark and many nations, including Marina, join his plot to destroy New Athens, Rune has no choice but to find a way to stop the prophecy from happening. And it seems that the stone in his possession may hold the answer. Together, with the aid of his companions, he will have to uncover the mystery and just what it is that connects him to it. Even at the expense of his life and all he loves—before the rekindled flame of Aerimore destroys the world.

This is the story of man’s final stand against man—his final stand against gods.


Rick Daley said...

Sorry for the delays in posting the revisions, I was out of town on business this week and had some flight cancellations and travel delays getting home..only to find my cable modem was fried, which lead me to utter many Very Bad Words.

One thing I notice in the first revision was the word count. It changed from 157,000 word to 141,000.

My advice: if you are making dramatic changes to the manuscript, set the query aside until you are done with your revisions. The query will only serve to distract you from the primary task, which is polishing your MS and making it shine in this very tough, competitive market.

I have no doubt you can take the time and effort and make the query are making progress, but if the MS is not rock-solid, your query efforts will have been in vain.

I've had successful queries, only to have agents reject the manuscript. Trust me, once you start down the road, you don't want the path to end so suddenly! Words of experience...

GLJ said...

I'm not disagreeing with Rick, but I don't think you should wait until the manuscript is done to work on the query letter.

I have found that working on the query letter has forced me at times to make revisions to the manuscript. I've had several "oh, wait, the story would be better if I added __" moments where writing the query caused me to see holes in my plot (or opportunities to make the conflict stronger).

Actually, for my current manuscript, I started out by writing a rough query letter, just to make sure that I knew how the story would end, and to have a target to aim for.

Anonymous Author said...

All right, I'm gonna be agreeable and agree with both Rick and GLJ.

As I've watched this query letter change (including the word count) it's occurred to me that the novel probably isn't in a presentable state yet. The writer should maybe be looking at a lot more polishing and possibly some refocusing of the plot. My guess is there are some opportunities to cut excess verbiage as well.

So I agree that it can be helpful to try to write the query at this point. It's revealing some of the issues that still need to be worked out.

I won't comment much on this version of the query except to say that the phrase "had no choice but to" appears in it twice. This isn't a stylistic comment-- it looks like a story problem. If your character is continually doing things because he has no choice but to, then he lacks agency and readers won't be engaged by him.

Rick Daley said...

I'll concede points to GLJ and Anon...There is value to be gained through this exercise, but hold off on actually submitting the query until the MS is polished.

GLJ said...

This still has the same problem of too much backstory detail and not enough detail of the actual conflict. Maybe it is important that the reader know that Rune was sent to dig dragon eggs, but I don't see how it ties in.

All I get out of this is that there will be some big, mysterious conflict and Rune, being the main character, will solve it. But that is implied. You aren't telling us anything we need to know.

And, yes, if the word count is changing drastically, work on the query but don't send it out until the story is in final condition.