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Author Topic: The Elements Query Review PLEASE READ  (Read 395 times)
keitwill
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« on: August 12, 2018, 07:12:22 PM »

Keith Williams


Dear, [Agent]

   The Elements is a story of a young revolutionary man, and his revolutionary friends, who wield the force of the elements to attempt to bring peace to a violent world. However, their path is not easy when they don’t know which people in power are good or evil. Maybe the rise of God will help decisions become clearer or will they become even more murky?

   The Elements is a thrilling and adventurous story that questions what we deem good and evil. This story is for people who enjoy pondering over philosophical questions, political drama, and magical action. Immersing into this world will force you to believe you are in romantic relationship, a sword-fighting battle, or a heated political debate.

I am a Lover of Fantasy drama, so much that I can’t seem to stop writing about it. I love to implement my knowledge of biology and psychology from college, into my stories, making them feel as if it was real.

   The Elements is a complete manuscript at 126,000 words, and is available immediately. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Keith Williams
 
Accieas@yahoo.com
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 09:17:51 AM by keitwill » Logged
TigerAsh
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2018, 08:14:45 PM »


As your query letter stands right now, it is way too vague. I have no idea what your book is about.

I suggest you try re-writing the query letter, in third person present tense, from your main character's point of view. Who is your main character? What goal do they have? What obstacles do they have to overcome to obtain that goal? What's at stake if they fail (or even succeed)?

You have about 250-300 words to say what your story is about, and show what makes it unique, so make them count!

Hopefully others will jump in and comment with reliable websites you can use to learn how to write a query letter. But in the meantime, you could check out the successful query letters thread here in the QT forums to get a better sense of what a query letter should look like.

I've posed some questions down below to hopefully help you get started with a rewrite:



Keith Williams


Dear, [Agent]

   The Elements is a story of a young revolutionary man, and his revolutionary friends, who wield the force of the elements to attempt to bring peace to a violent world. However, their path is not easy when they don’t know which people in power are good or evil. Maybe the rise of God will help decisions become clearer or will they become even more murky?

[Who is this man? Does he have a name? Does he have an occupation? Has he always had these elemental powers? What's so violent about this world? In fact, what world is this? What will happen if the man and his friends don't bring peace to this world? Why must they be the ones to do it? What's so difficult about their path to peace? Who are the people in power, and why are they hard to trust?

Side note: Do not ask questions in a query letter.]


   The Elements is a thrilling and adventurous story that questions what we deem good and evil. This story is for people who enjoy pondering over philosophical questions, political drama, and magical action. Immersing into this world will force you to believe you are in romantic relationship, a sword-fighting battle, or a heated political debate.
[None of this is necessary. These details should be alluded to/shown in your query letter (and sample pages).]

I am a Lover of Fantasy drama, so much that I can’t seem to stop writing about it. I love to implement my knowledge of biology and psychology from college, into my stories, making them feel as if it was real.
[Try refocusing your bio on your publishing credentials. If you don't have any, just say a sentence or two about you as a person (education, job, etc). You don't have to say that you love what you've written about, because that's implied.]

   The Elements is a complete manuscript at 126,000 words, and is available immediately. I am looking forward to hearing from you. [It's not necessary to say it's available immediately; that is expected. You do need to mention what genre your book is, however. Also, you should put your bio and comp titles here, in your housekeeping paragraph.] Thank you for your time and consideration.

Keith Williams
906-454-4674
Accieas@yahoo.com

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keitwill
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2018, 09:18:38 PM »

-Tiger Ash you were very helpful, i was looking at query template that was completely different from what i'm seeing a lot of on this site, here's a re write.

Keith Williams


Dear, [Agent]
   
   In a world where horses are used as the best traveling source and farming as a common career choice, political drama is unraveling. A young revolutionary senator named Accieas, finds himself going against the political evils that dictate this world. 
   
       In the mist of his political leadership, he and his brother find a fish fossil far in the distant land of Sky Republic. When Accieas consumes this dark hardened tissue-like fossil fragment, it replaces his Earth Elemental abilities with the ability of the dark force. This power is abnormal compared to other Elementalists who force either Earth, Water, Fire, or Air, depending on their birth month. 
   
     More chaos develops when his only best friend decides to run against him for political leadership. At the same time, his relationship with his first girlfriend is in trouble, and his newly discovered relative is locked away in Inferno Nation.
   
    As soon as Accieas thinks he finally found some sort of footing, the Element God rises from the dead wielding all four elements. Everyone seems to consider this a good thing, except for Accieas. There seems to be something immoral about punishing those who didn’t believe in you, Accieas thinks.
 
   The Elements is a complete manuscript at 126,000 words. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
   
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Pineapplejuice
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2018, 04:19:12 AM »


Dear, [Agent]
   
   In a world where horses are used as the best traveling source transport and farming as is a common career choice, political drama is unraveling. ( How? To who? Introduce MC in first sentence from his pov. This is too distant. ) A young revolutionary senator named Accieas, finds himself ( What happened that he is in this situation, and what exactly is the situation. 'going against political evils is too vague to tell us anything ) going against the political evils that dictate this world. 
        As an exercise, consider answering these questions:    

       Accieas is a senator of ______, his one goal is to _______ . He has always wanted to __________, and the one thing getting in his way is _________. When he meets/finds out ________ this happens: -_________.

        If you start with MC's name and talk about what they want, and try to weave a picture of the world they live in, into the query narrative, it will read more naturally.


       In the mist  midst of his political leadership, he and his brother find a fish fossil far ( far and distant mean the same thing ) in the distant land of Sky Republic. When Accieas consumes this dark hardened tissue-like fossil fragment, ( he eats it? Why? If your MC is gong to eat what is essentially a rock, you really need to explain his motivation ) it replaces his Earth Elemental abilities ( what are those? ) with the ability of the dark force ( what is that? ) . This power is abnormal compared to other Elementalists who force either Earth, Water, Fire, or Air, depending on their birth month.  ( 'force' these elements to do what? I think you should mention MC is an 'Elementalist' earlier )
   
     More chaos ( this is vague, better to be very specific about what is going on. 'More chaos' implies there was chaos before but that hasn't been established yet to me. What was going wrong before? ) develops when his only best friend decides to run against him for political leadership. At the same time, his relationship with his first girlfriend is in trouble, and his newly discovered relative is locked away in Inferno Nation.
   
    As soon as Accieas thinks he finally found some sort of footing, the Element God rises from the dead wielding all four elements. Everyone seems to consider this a good thing, except for Accieas. There seems to be something immoral about punishing those who didn’t believe in you, Accieas thinks.
 
   The Elements is a complete manuscript at 126,000 words. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
   



I think you should take your phone number off. You can use the edit button on the post.

This query is still vague I also need to feel for the MC, as his personality isn't coming across and the setting isn't either. I'm not sure what motivates him. I think maybe if you read some sucessful queries, either on this site or on other web pages, you might get more of a feel for how queries work
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 04:52:56 AM by Pineapplejuice » Logged
keitwill
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2018, 05:46:11 PM »

-Good information Pineapplejuice, I didn't even think of some the suggestions you offered.
-So here it is revised...again


Keith Williams


Dear, [Agent]
   
   A young revolutionary senator in The Earth Dynasty named Accieas, who thrives to find peace between the people, finds himself going against the political evils that dictate his gothic world. He and his friends are forced to use the wrath of their Elemental abilities to counter politicians, Kings, and Gods across their primitive world.   
   
        In the midst of Accieas’ political leadership, chaos develops when a God less group named the Black Mask terrorizes the country. He refuses to attack this rebel group, which entices his only best friend to run against him for political leadership. At the same time, his relationship with his first girlfriend is in trouble, and his newly discovered relative is locked away in Inferno Nation. He is forced to make decisions and these decisions force him into action. 
   
       As soon as Accieas thinks he finally found some sort of footing, the Element God rises from the dead wielding all four elements, controlling the world. Everyone seems to think this means peace, except for Accieas. There seems to be something immoral about punishing those who didn’t believe in you, Accieas thinks. When war arises, friends must choose the side they deem moral, with either the Element God or the Black Mask.
 
     The Elements is an Adult fantasy novel, with a complete manuscript at 126,000 words. It will appeal to those with a strong attraction to science fiction magic, adventure, and romance.  I am looking forward to hearing from you.
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Pineapplejuice
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2018, 08:33:09 PM »


Dear, [Agent]
   
   A young revolutionary senator in The Earth Dynasty named Accieas, who thrives ( I think you mean strives ) to find peace between the ( probably name the people to enrich query  ) people, finds himself ( 'finds himself' is a passive term and makes agent think your MC has no autonomy. ) going against the political evils that dictate his gothic world. He and his friends are forced ( how are they forced? Instead of saying forced, explain the situation. ) to use the wrath of their Elemental abilities to counter politicians, Kings, and Gods across their primitive world.   
   

The first sentence is improved.  Smiley But it's not clear what makes this MC a 'revolutionary senator.' What is the political situation, and what is he fighting for? Has his job been difficult since day one? How long has he been senator. I'm not saying you need all these exact details, but we need to get an idea of who is is, and what matters to him, and why it matters. We need to be able to relate to him in some way and not just get the hard facts. And his personal situation too. I'd mention the girlfriend in the first paragraph.

        In the midst of Accieas’ political leadership, chaos develops ( this a vague term. I don't know what chaos develops means in your story. Or if it's people rising up protesting, if there's a riot, burning houses down, and the senator is locked up in his place of residence, with his coworkers, plotting an escape. What is the threat of this chaos? ) when a God less group named the Black Mask terrorizes the country ( How do they do that. What are they donig? I just can't get a picture for what is happening ) . He refuses to attack this rebel group, which entices ( provokes, maybe . Entices is someone compelled by the reward of pleasure ) his only best friend to run against him for political leadership. At the same time, his relationship with his first girlfriend is in trouble ( how exactly? if you mean something like 'he finds his girlfriend Sarah in bed with his rival, say that specifically. Also name her, because the query has no names but MC ) , and his newly discovered relative ( Aunt, Uncle, why does it matter to him? Are his parents dead? Not sure it matters to the query as it doesn't seem to matter to him as you haven't told us how he feels about it )  is locked away in Inferno Nation. ( I don't know what that means )  He is forced ( who is forcing hiim? Perhaps you mean he 'decides' Terms like 'finding himself' and 'is forced to' make MC sound passive like the plot could happen regardless of whether he was there )  to make decisions and these decisions force him into action. 
   
       As soon as Accieas thinks he finally found some sort of footing, ( Why does he think that? His best friend is running for leadership against him, his girlfriend has....( I'm not sure what happened there ) and his long lost rellie is imprisoned ) the Element God rises from the dead wielding all four elements, ( this information is sprung up out of nowhere. )  controlling the world. Everyone seems to think this means peace, except for Accieas. There seems to be something immoral about punishing those who didn’t believe in you, ( what makes Accieas think the god is punishing them when everyone thinks the gods return is a sign of peace? I'm confused )  Accieas thinks. When war arises, friends must choose the side they deem moral, ( moral in what way? I have no idea what they are fighting for. In the first sentence we are told MC is revolutionary but we don't know what this means in your world, or what he is fighting for )  with either the Element God or the Black Mask. ( Ok I see , there's two god like characters...but it's layed out here too late. I think you should try to mention these earlier in a tighter fashion, and tell us what the two sides mean for the people. )
 
     The Elements is an Adult fantasy novel, with a complete manuscript at 126,000 words. It will appeal to those with a strong attraction to science fiction magic, adventure, and romance.  I am looking forward to hearing from you.



This isn't really my genre, and queries are extremely hard to write. High Fantasy is harder than the other genres to write a query for, I feel, as you have to world build and there are always so many characters ( I assume it's high fantasy. ) but having said that I think you need more character on character conflict, and inner conflict mentioned.

I'd try writing a longer query, and try not to give so much plot away because it feels like we've reached the climax of the book, at the end. It needs more tension and personal stakes. More of a story feel. How does MC feel about being senator? I don't know anything about your MC.

This reads a little better than before , but it's still stiff and not in the pov of your mc enough. There's no need for 'named' before you mention MC. That makes it feel like it's in authors pov. saying 'named' is like 'is a story that begins with', it's just not necessary.

« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 09:14:40 PM by Pineapplejuice » Logged
Pineapplejuice
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2018, 09:34:00 PM »


Dear, [Agent]
         
         Accieas, the young senator of The Earth Dynasty knows he needs to protect his people against ________ ( explain what the political evils are, how they affect his people. Say if it's seems like an impossible task, ie; how he feels ) The _____ people are primitive, vulnerable because of their _______. Historically the senator ( does this ) but Accias is different because he's ( doing this ) = showing revolutionary. Only he is not without resources. He's an elementalist, capable of _________( explain what being an elementalist means. If it's a secret gift that his enemies don't know about etc )

Accieas is breaking under the strain of responsibility. His one comfort is the love of (  ex: Sarah ). And whenever his resolve weakens, he looks into the eyes of the girl he wants to marry and start a family with, and knows The Earth Dynasty is no place for children, let alone Sarah.

The politicians, Kings, and Gods across their primitive world are seeking to __________, which is ( for example: causing famine across the land.) The people are gearing up for a revolution, only Accieas knows the dark force poisioning the minds of leaders of The Earth Dynasty, belongs to The Black Mask and can only be overcome by magic.     

         When a God less group named the Black Mask begins burning down whole villages, murdering shop keepers and looting, leaving surrounding residents without provisions. He refuses to attack this rebel group because ________, which entices his only best friend to run against him for political leadership.
   
       Accieas ( say what he does to improve the situation ) and he thinks he's finally found some sort of footing the Element God rises from the dead wielding all four elements, controlling the world by _________( possesing peoples minds, turning their enemies to stone. ) . Everyone seems to think the return of The Element God means peace, except for Accieas, because ( explain why The Elements God isn't a good thing )
 
     The Elements is an Adult fantasy novel, with a complete manuscript at 126,000 words. It will appeal to those with a strong attraction to science fiction magic, adventure, and romance.  I am looking forward to hearing from you.



Just thought I'd put this up to help you figure out the story bits that bind the plot.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 09:44:13 PM by Pineapplejuice » Logged
mgmystery
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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2018, 08:22:27 AM »

Fantasy is a really bad genre for me, so I don't have much advice. If you're looking for examples, queryshark is great. http://queryshark.blogspot.com/ Also you'll probably find plenty if you just Google "successful queries fantasy" or anything similar.

One grammar tip: Email queries don't have indented paragraphs, just a blank line between each paragraph.

Dear, [Agent]
   
A young revolutionary senator in The Earth Dynasty named Accieas, who thrives strivesto find peace between the people, finds himself going goes against the political evils that dictate his gothic world. He and his friends are forced to use the wrath of their Elemental abilities to counter politicians, Kings, and Gods across their primitive world.   
   
In the midst of Accieas’ political leadership, chaos develops when a God less Godless group named the Black Mask terrorizes the country. He refuses to attack this rebel group (This is interesting. Why? Does he agree with them?), which entices his only best friend to run against him for political leadership. At the same time, his relationship with his first girlfriend is in trouble, and his newly discovered relative is locked away in Inferno Nation. He is forced to make decisions and these decisions force (Watch for repetition. This sentence would be much more interesting if you clearly state his decisions and what action he takes.)him into action. 
   
As soon as Accieas thinks he finally found some sort of footing, the Element God rises from the dead wielding all four elements, controlling the world. Everyone seems to think this means peace, except for Accieas. There seems to be is something immoral about punishing those who didn’t believe in you (This is my favorite sentence in the query because it gives us a glimpse of Accieas' personality.), Accieas thinks. When war arises, friends must choose the side they deem moral, (This almost works for stakes, but you want to show what will happen if they make the wrong choice.)with either the Element God or the Black Mask.
 
The Elements is an Adult fantasy novel, with a complete manuscript at 126,000 words. It will appeal to those with a strong attraction to science fiction magic, adventure, and romance (This sentence is where you should mention comp titles published within the last five years.). I am looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration.

(I agree with Pineapplejuice about needing more specifics about the world you've created and the politics and magic within that world. Unfortunately, I don't know how. Queries are hard, and fantasy only makes them worse  BUT they are possible, and I think reading plenty of successful queries will really help.)
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keitwill
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« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2018, 02:59:39 PM »

-Thanks guys i'll keep everything in mind
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Pineapplejuice
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« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2018, 01:07:27 AM »

Lol, indents are my bad. I had been working on my first 50 pages again in google docs and putting indents in and it's been a while since I've been querying so I just automatically transferred my new habit. Sorry Keitwill
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ShatteredSmooth
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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2018, 08:11:45 PM »

-Good information Pineapplejuice, I didn't even think of some the suggestions you offered.
-So here it is revised...again


Keith Williams


Dear, [Agent]
   
   A young revolutionary senator in The Earth Dynasty named Accieas, who thrives to find peace between the peoplenot super clear on what exactly this means, finds himself going against the political evils very vaugethat dictate his gothic world. He and his friends are forced to use the wrath of their Elemental abilitieselemental abilities is clear, but the wrath of elemental abilities is isn't to counter politicians, Kings, and Gods across their primitive adjectives like this don't help envision the world world.   

While I love revolutions and elemental magic, I was not hooked by this opening. I know very little about the character, and the descriptions of the world are vague--  different people could interpret different ways. I want more concrete details.
   
        In the midst of Accieas’ political leadership, chaos develops when a God less group named the Black Mask terrorizes the country. He refuses to attack this rebel group, which entices his only best friend to run against him for political leadership. At the same time, his relationship with his first girlfriend is in trouble, and his newly discovered relative is locked away in Inferno Nation. He is forced to make decisions I'm not clear on how these things add up to a decisionand these decisions force him into action what kind of action? I'm lost.
   
       As soon as Accieas thinks he finally found some sort of footing, the Element God rises from the dead wielding all four elements, controlling the world. Everyone seems to think this means peace, except for Accieas. There seems to be something immoral about punishing those who didn’t believe in you, Accieas thinks. When war arises, friends must choose the side they deem moral, with either the Element God or the Black Mask.
 
     The Elements is an Adult fantasy novel, with a complete manuscript at 126,000 words. It will appeal to those with a strong attraction to science fiction magic, adventure, and romanceYou would be better off comparing it to specific books.  I am looking forward to hearing from you.


The query seems vague and does not give me a clear sense of who this character is and what kind of world he lives in. He likes peace and has elemental powerss. He has personal problems that lead to same vauge decision. And then a God pops out of nowhere. I want less adjectives, less telling, and more concrete details.
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