Aug 30, 2009


Dear Xxxx,

Dashiell Colourful is an extraordinary gentleman. He's charming, refined, street-smart, handsome, and a sharp dresser. He's intelligent, affable, strong and agile. To put it succinctly, he is Whiz-Bang Fantastic. As such, he is the protagonist of Whiz-Bang Fantastic, an 83,000-word fantasy novel of perfect worlds, thrilling adventures, and discoveries that could change virtually everything.

Dashiell leads a charmed life in the vibrant town of The City, a gilded place where everything is grand and amazing. He works as a haberdasher, selling the most chic wares the High Street has to offer, he has a loving wife and a talking fox for a pet, his best friend is a flamboyant stage actor, and he is admired and respected by all.

And he finds it endlessly boring!

He tries to lash out against his walk in life however he can, from soaring through the air on his aluminum "Gull" glider, to exploring the vast, untamed forest in his backyard. He's still in a rut, however, and he thinks nothing will ever change… until he meets Raleigh.

Raleigh is a young woman that Dashiell found wandering in the forest, lost and injured. She's not grand and amazing, and we probably wouldn't notice her on the street. To Dashiell, however, and to his world, she's like nothing they've ever seen before!

Raleigh's arrival in The City causes an astounding stir, and sends Dashiell and everyone close to him on a journey of perspective, realization, and self-discovery. Some, though, believe Raleigh to be a corruptive influence due to her being the complete opposite to the way of things, and no one can be sure what else may change…

Whiz-Bang Fantastic is my first completed novel, but I've been writing short stories and other novels for the better part of eight years. My writing has won me the Seamus Flynn Memorial Award, a local scholarship for artistic achievement. If you would like to read a sample of my manuscript, I would be happy to provide it. Thank you in advance for your consideration.


John Marshall


gj said...

Perfect, as the character himself realizes, is boring. The absolutely, positively last thing you want to be in a query (or a story) is boring. If the character is bored, generally the reader will be too.

Start the story (and the query) when he has an actual problem, and cut the rest. For example: his charmed life, complete with wife and kids and good looks, begins to fall apart when .....

wendy said...

You know, John, I feel the opposite to most people. I'd love to read of someone, somewhere, leading a perfect life full of joy and beauty instead of conflict, sadness, etc. However, the big thing is I'd love to know through the novel how this is achievable...or how the author thinks this may be achievable. Even though others might say this is no good as in everything human there has to be conflict, perhaps this could be a non-human world.

When I started reading your query, I got quite excited as I thought your story might be just such a one as I've been waiting for. But it wasn't. My anticipation dropped with a thud when your descripted the protagonist's attitude towards his life as bored.

It still sounds like a very imaginative and humorous work that I'd like to read.

However, for the reason already mentioned by the previous commentor, I think the word 'boriing' should be omitted.
I'd like to know more of this young woman, Raleigh. How is she so different?
And how or why does she cause an 'amazing stir'. How is she the complete opposite to the way of things. I'd like there needs to be more showing and not telling there...give an example. How or why does she send the people around her on a 'journey of perspective, realisation and self discovery'? Actually, that last quote/sentence doesn't read quite right. Perhaps you could just say on a journey of self-discovery?

RC Writer Girl said...

John, your query has good elements; it's just too long for a query.

I think you could get rid of a lot of the description of Dashiell's perfect life (as much of it is repetitive) and move directly into saying he's bored with it and wants a change.

You need to introduce Raleigh closer to the top. She's the change; she's where this story really gets going. She's what causes the problems, what starts the book's ultimate dilemma.

I think if you shorten the Dashiell description (I mean, do you need anything more than he is extraordinary; to put it succinctly, whiz-bang fantastic ?), and get to the conflict, it will read a lot better and perhaps capture the attention of an agent.

Good luck.

dolorah said...

OK, I have to ask: is this for real, John?

I've been holding my tongue for the last couple days, because I really wouldn't want to be rude; if this is a serious query.

I found the query quite funny - really liked it. But, if it's not a joke, please accept my apologies.


Anica Lewis said...

I mostly agree with RCWriterGirl - definitely an interesting query, just a bit too long. I'd also possibly rework the end of the first paragraph, if only to remove the word "virtually," which dims the excitement just a hair.

I really like the premise of a world that's so flamboyantly wonderful that an ordinary person seems scandalous, even threatening to the way of life. Sounds like a really fun read. Good luck!

Rick Daley said...

I just saw this up at EE's site. You are very brave.

I've also been subjected to the review by EE and the minions. Good luck, there's usually a lot of good advice within the cynicism!