Dec 12, 2009

Query-Raising Kain: Diseased God (Revised)

Click here to read the original query.

Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for my 48,000 word YA fantasy novella RAISING KAIN: DISEASED GOD.

The day he turns six-years-old Apophis Kain learns he is destined to become the Aspect of the Earth, he just has to survive the training to get there first.

Being the sun of a sky god and the Aspect of the Moon, as well as the crown prince of Atlantis and transforming into a dragon means that Kain must be destined for greatness. He just didn’t realize greatness meant living naked in the woods, having his aunt, Terra Gaia the current Aspect of the Earth, as the worlds hardest tutor, or meeting the deranged diseased god, Pestilence.

Training to be the Aspect of the earth and fighting to overcome his headstrong pride is hard enough, but when Pestilence shows up it becomes a fight for his life. One he may not be able to win. Failure means life as a new version of the diseased god, and destruction of the material plane.

I am a student of history and literature at Concord University, I have published one short story with Concord University’s publication, Reflexes.

I would be happy to forward the complete manuscript at your request, and I thank you for your time and consideration.


Ryan Smith


Matt said...

How is an agent supposed to get excited about your book when you can't even properly punctuate your query letter? Sorry if this is harsh, but if this query letter represents your writing level, you probably shouldn't be writing novels.

Suzan Harden said...

Hi Ryan,

There's a lot of gerunds and passive verbs in your query. By using more active verbs, you can give your story a sense of urgency.

Be specific on why Pestilence wants Apophis out of the way and what exactly the danger is to Apophis.

Leave out the list attributes in paragraph 3. Stick to the most important one.

Raising Kain sounds like an enteresting story. The query just needs some polish.

Best wishes. said...

Congratulations! This is so much better than your first query!

You're almost there. Okay, you have run a couple sentences together to shorten things. Oops. No big deal, but fix it. :-)

Your second paragraph should be two sentences.

My main concern is that you call your work a novella. That could be a place where many agents stop reading. Serioulsy stop reading.

Since you're writing YA you're truly very close in word count to a regular, though shorter, novel. 50,000 words would do.

Please, please consider more story for your work. A few thousand words isn't that much (and don't go padding what you already have - pacing is critical in YA!). One little new story arc or well-integrated subplot?? It's worth the trouble, I think.

And then you would be in the main line with agents and editors and your terrific fictional concept and the world you create will become the focus of interest. You just might win a few "submit fulls" with this!

RC Writer Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RC Writer Girl said...

Let's start with the beginning. Because it's YA, I think you'd do best just to call it a novel at 48K, too. YA is always going to be shorter than adult literature. So, I think 48K will fly.

Second, this is confusing because you don't explain it. What is an Aspect of the Earth? You've got to define that if you want the agent to keep reading. If they can't understand your story, they're not going to keep reading.

On some level, I think you'd be better off axing the second paragraph and going straight into the third, which is a little more lively and interesting (living naked in the woods is good).

Again, you've got this Aspect of the Earth thing, though. If you don't want to explain what it is, or it's so unimportant as it's not worth explaining, leave it out. If it's important to know, explain it.

Also, you'v got to explain what's going on with Pestilence. You say, he "shows up." Showing up makes me say: so what? Him showing up shouldn't lead to what you say in your next sentence. Pestilence does something more than show up. Does he threaten to kill Apophis? Does he chase Apophis through the forest? Showing up is a weak choice of words. Tell us what Pestilence does that leads Apophis to believe he has to fight for his life. Provide some motive for Pestilence as well. Good villains need a good motive for why they're out to get the good guy. What does Pestilence want?

Good luck.

dolorah said...

Uhmm, I liked it.

When I started reading the other comments, I questioned my perceptions. I caught a couple punctuation errors, but as an adult, I thought: yeah, I'd read this. I read Pierce Anthony's Incarnations series and watched CLASH OF THE TITANS when I was in my 20's.

I guess my most helpful comment is I'm way older than your intended audience, I don't normally read or write YA or MG, but I liked the concept.

But, being "the" sun of a sky god sounds like he is, perhaps, the only sun God, whereas "son" of a sky god gives credit to all aspects of THE diety. And not "the" aspect of the Moon, but "An" aspect of the moon gives your story more license for deviation from accepted mythology.

You could weave these mythologies to create your own world. Perhaps you have, but your query is too "conforming" to bring those unique aspects of your novel plot into light for your target audience.

Now, becaue I'm well versed in fictional mythology, I don't need a lot of explaination of the Gods, or earthly aspects of Gods. Pestilence, Ra, Luna; they are all familiar to me.

But my understanding is that MG and YA is targeted to about 2 to 4 years above the age of the protagonist. So - if your protagonist is 6 years old, you're looking at what a 8 - 10 year old would know about mythology.

Talk to your prospective agent (in the synopsis of the query) as if he were 10 - 12 years old.

An excellent story concept Ryan.