Jul 23, 2009


NOTE: We've recently had a query for an untitled work, this one is new, not a revision. It was submitted on the 21st. I've been out of town on business for the past few days and I didn't have the opportunity to get it posted right away.
- Rick

This is a longer draft of my query as posted on my blog, but I wanted more breathing room and to see what the general reaction would be. Thanks in advance to anyone who takes a look! Also, I'm only including the plot summary paragraphs as those are the hardest for me.

For eons, the North Wind has blown upon the Earth, returning home after each day to an empty, icy palace on a lone mountain in the arctic tundra. Her existence is only punctuated by occasional visits from other immortals, but her life is one led by duty, not by joy. That is, until one day, when a young mortal named Armin shows up on her doorstep asking for aid for his family. She helps him, not expecting to ever see him again, but the next year, at the same time, he returns—this time not for her help, but for her company.

Thus begins a long friendship that eventually blossoms into love. North tries not to think about his mortality, but the issue is forced on her one day when a game in her palace nearly turns deadly. She relaxes when it’s over, and Armin is still alive, but her relief doesn’t last long. Someone is out to get her, or Armin, and they will do whatever it takes to succeed.

This event sparks a journey of love, loss, pain and anger that North has never before felt as an immortal. She is ripped apart and pieced back together by her quest for answers, employing the special skills she possesses to get her means. In the end, Armin’s fate becomes far wider than just that of her lover, and his destiny intertwined with that of all the gods. North has to pick a side; will she choose her heart, or her responsibility?

[UNTITLED] is a 110,000 word fantasy novel exploring a world on the edge of two destinies, and the mortals and immortals who will determine its course, explore their own true abilities, discover their pasts, and uphold their honor.


Matthew Delman said...

I'm not tremendously clear on the conflict here. How does the North Wind figure out that someone's out to get her and Armin? I know it's tied to the game, but how can this unnamed game turn deadly enough to possibly kill someone?

Also, I think you can easily trim bits from this. For example:

"The North Wind has blown upon the Earth for eons, returning home to an icy palace where she lives alone. Until the day a mortal man, Armin, appears at her door asking for help."

We don't need to hear about the other immortals at all in the context of this query. They're not important to the main thrust of the tale -- only North and Armin are.

Lori Folkman said...

First off, I have to say--in jest--no title? Nothing? A 110,000 word book takes quite a while...maybe over a year. Could you imagine having a one-year old child without a name? Give that poor baby a name already!

I think your query is a bit too wordy. Your descriptions probably work in the novel, but there isn't time for that in the query. Jump right in to the conflict. Really focus on what makes your novel different from the rest.

Good luck!

froggfeathers said...

I feel your untitled pain, btw.

IMO, your query wanders a bit. Hone it down to the key points. Main character, antagonist, catalyst event, conflict, goal and loss.

You tell us about North Wind, your protag and in doing so we get a feel for the book. That is good. It could be shorter, though.

We then find out about Armin, but not who he is or why we will care about him. No one wants to read a love story that is the *happily-ever-after*. We want to read how they got there.

Next, we hear about the conflict without actually getting any information. Someone is out to get her? Someone who? Why?

My suggestion is to go back and follow the pattern: protag, antag, catalyst, conflict, goal and loss. It will help keep all of the extraneous stuff out of your query. You can save all of those sidebars for the book itself.

Hope it helped. By the way, I like the idea of the North Wind being the main character.

L. T. Host said...

Thanks everyone, I appreciate it. (This is mine.)

Matt: The other immortals are *very* important in the story. I've been struggling a lot between what information to include in the query and what to leave out, guess I didn't make it clear enough or missed the mark.

folksinmt: I have a working title, but it's really old, and I haven't thought about it in a long time. I decided to submit without it because I didn't want to cloud the query since I'm not even sure if I'm keeping it or not. Mostly just trying to get a feel for my query in general, am still revising the manuscript :)

froggfeathers: That formula helps a lot. I'll try again with that.

General question: What level of suspense should I shoot for in the query? I know in the synopsis you're supposed to explain everything, but can you play things close to the vest in a query? Or should I just out and out spill it?

Thanks again, everyone. I do appreciate it.

Rick Daley said...


In your query you should show as much of the story as it makes sense to show. I probably hit the peak of vagueness there, but that's the only way to say it. Don't play things close to the vest as a strategy. Agents deserve to see your hand, because they are going to make the bet that they can sell you to an editor. If you leave things out because you are able to convey the essence of your story without them, that's fine for the query.

The synopsis, however, should not leave anything out. Twists, subplots, etc. should be revealed.

L. T. Host said...

Thanks, Rick...

Re: your most recent post. If it would make things easier, can you edit the title of my query to WIND FURY? That's my working title. Sorry to have caused confusion.

Thanks again :)

Rick Daley said...


No worries. I updated the title to the post.