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Queries and Agents => Query Review => Topic started by: knightmare560 on November 10, 2019, 01:39:55 PM

Title: KNIGHTMARE - ADULT FANTASY
Post by: knightmare560 on November 10, 2019, 01:39:55 PM
Dear (Agent Name),

Knights aren’t as chivalrous as shown in children’s storybooks.

At first glance, Tymeria is a kingdom of beautiful wineries, fair maidens, and noble knights. But beneath its beautiful vineyards is a graveyard. A graveyard for the nonhuman races and any human who dares to help them. In Tymeria, the only good elf is a dead elf.

There was a time when the powerful were hunted for preying on the powerless, hunted by the knights in the night: the Knightmares. But eighteen-year-old Jevan knows his comrades are not the same free-fighting vigilantes of old. The crusade died; its crusaders reduced to common sellswords. It’s not a desirable life – assassinations, theft, a bit of butchery, bodyguard service – but they need to eat.

When Jevan accepts a request from a wealthy family to rescue a young girl, he assumes it’s just another job. At first, all goes well. However, the kidnappers they just killed weren’t mercenaries, but members of Tymeria’s religious military organization: the Paladins. And the damsel-in-distress is really part of a rare nonhuman race with the ability to transform into a deadly humanoid wolf creature – a wolfborn.

With vengeful Paladins hunting them, and the wolfborn’s presence generating a debate that may tear them apart, the fate of the Knightmares hangs perilously in the balance more than ever before. Because they know the facts – it was the Paladins who nearly wiped out the Knightmares long ago, and their extinction is now truly imminent.
 
Told through four alternating viewpoints, KNIGHTMARE is an Adult Fantasy novel of 95,000 words with a George R. R. Martin-esque narrative and a unique twist on the werewolf genre.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,

(contact info)
Title: Re: KNIGHTMARE - ADULT FANTASY
Post by: Atg336 on November 12, 2019, 02:24:30 PM
Dear (Agent Name),

Knights aren’t as chivalrous as shown in children’s storybooks.

At first glance, Tymeria is a kingdom of beautiful wineries, fair maidens, and noble knights. But beneath its beautiful vineyards is a graveyard. A graveyard for the nonhuman races and any human who dares to help them. In Tymeria, the only good elf is a dead elf.

There was a time when the powerful were hunted for preying on the powerless, hunted by the knights in the night: the Knightmares. But eighteen-year-old Jevan knows his comrades are not the same free-fighting vigilantes of old. The crusade died; its crusaders reduced to common sellswords. It’s not a desirable life – assassinations, theft, a bit of butchery, bodyguard service – but they need to eat.

When Jevan accepts a request from a wealthy family to rescue a young girl, he assumes it’s just another job. At first, all goes well. However, the kidnappers they just killed weren’t mercenaries, but members of Tymeria’s religious military organization: the Paladins. And the damsel-in-distress is really part of a rare nonhuman race with the ability to transform into a deadly humanoid wolf creature – a wolfborn.

With vengeful Paladins hunting them, and the wolfborn’s presence generating a debate that may tear them apart, the fate of the Knightmares hangs perilously in the balance more than ever before. Because they know the facts – it was the Paladins who nearly wiped out the Knightmares long ago, and their extinction is now truly imminent.
 
Told through four alternating viewpoints, KNIGHTMARE is an Adult Fantasy novel of 95,000 words with a George R. R. Martin-esque narrative and a unique twist on the werewolf genre.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,

(contact info)

Damn. Okay, I got no wise-ass comments here. This is a pretty good query.
My only squabble is about the Knightmares--did they wipe out the non-humans because the non-humans were the powerful things hunting the meek? (See underlines above if this doesn't make sense.)
Otherwise, I see no glaring issues here.
Title: Re: KNIGHTMARE - ADULT FANTASY
Post by: knightmare560 on November 12, 2019, 09:19:04 PM
Oh the Knightmares didn't ever wipe out nonhumans, in fact they are still around. it says "nonhuman races" so there's more than one nonhuman race. Nonhuman refers to a sentient race that isn't human, such as the wolfborn, the elves, dwarves, etc.
 As for the second underlined area, I may need to reword it to prevent this kind of misunderstanding. The "powerful" means the wealthy noble humans, while the powerless are the poorest humans and the oppressed surviving nonhuman races like elves and dwarves. The Knightmares were freedom-fighters, the kind who used blood to scare the rich and powerful into thinking twice before using that power.
Title: Re: KNIGHTMARE - ADULT FANTASY
Post by: Atg336 on November 13, 2019, 12:29:37 PM
Gotcha! Specifics always help a query out. Take it from the Query Shark's blog!
Title: Re: KNIGHTMARE - ADULT FANTASY
Post by: knightmare560 on November 14, 2019, 10:12:50 AM
But I don’t know how to make this any more specific. Nobody else has made that assumption you did so I hope it’s a one time thing. I felt it was specific enough. Gah! I need more critiquing! Letters are annoying lol

Yeah planning to submit this letter to query shark after I feel I can’t add more though I doubt she’ll do mine
Title: Re: KNIGHTMARE - ADULT FANTASY
Post by: Mentha piperita on November 14, 2019, 10:23:33 AM
Dear (Agent Name),

Knights aren’t as chivalrous as shown in children’s storybooks.

I'd personally cut the above. I know you're going for the log-line thing, but I think your next set of lines is very strong and I'd personally prefer to get straight into the story.

At first glance, Tymeria is a kingdom of beautiful wineries, fair maidens, and noble knights. But beneath its beautiful vineyards is a graveyard. A graveyard for the nonhuman races and any human who dares to help them. In Tymeria, the only good elf is a dead elf.

There was a time when the powerful were hunted for preying on the powerless, hunted by the knights in the night  <---This is the only part that seems vague to me. Is there some supernatural reason why the knights only hunt at night, or is that just the best time to catch people unawares?: the Knightmares. But eighteen-year-old Jevan knows his comrades are not the same free-fighting vigilantes of old. The crusade died; its crusaders reduced to common sellswords. It’s not a desirable life – assassinations, theft, a bit of butchery, bodyguard service – but they need to eat.

When Jevan accepts a request from a wealthy family to rescue a young girl, he assumes it’s just another job. At first, all goes well. However, the kidnappers they just killed weren’t mercenaries, but members of Tymeria’s religious military organization: the Paladins. And the damsel-in-distress is really part of a rare nonhuman race with the ability to transform into a deadly humanoid wolf creature – a wolfborn.

With vengeful Paladins hunting them, and the wolfborn’s presence generating a debate that may tear them apart, the fate of the Knightmares hangs perilously in the balance more than ever before. Because they know the facts – it was the Paladins who nearly wiped out the Knightmares long ago, and their extinction is now truly imminent.

Very solid above. The only thing I'd recommend is if you could put character motivations (obviously Jevan wants to survive, but something a little more personal than that) more forward it would help me relate to the characters.
 
Told through four alternating viewpoints, KNIGHTMARE is an Adult Fantasy novel of 95,000 words with a George R. R. Martin-esque narrative and a unique twist on the werewolf genre.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

There's conflicting advice I see from agents about whether it's okay to cite a very famous book as a comp. If there was something else that you thought worked equally well, but was a more recent entry with solid sales, that might be better. If you stick with Martin I'd be more specific about how it's like his work so it doesn't sound like you're just reaching for the most famous example. Lots of SFF books have shifting narratives.
 
Sincerely,

Just two cents from someone who can't write a good query to save her life.
Title: Re: KNIGHTMARE - ADULT FANTASY
Post by: knightmare560 on November 28, 2019, 01:58:33 PM
Here's my first revision! :)


Dear (Agent Name),

There are many great tales of knights protecting people from monsters, and they’re all telling lies.

At first glance, Tymeria’s a kingdom of beautiful wineries, fair maidens, and noble knights. But beneath its beautiful vineyards is a graveyard. A graveyard for the nonhuman races and any human who dares to help them. In Tymeria, the only good elf is a dead elf.

There was a time when the wealthy powerful were hunted for preying on the powerless, hunted by the knights in the night: the Knightmares. But eighteen-year-old Jevan knows his comrades aren’t the same free-fighting vigilantes of old. The crusade died; its crusaders reduced to sellswords. It’s not a desirable life – assassinations, theft, a bit of butchery, bodyguard service – but they need to eat.

When Jevan accepts a request from a wealthy family to rescue their daughter, he assumes it’s just another job. At first, all goes well. However, the kidnappers they just killed weren’t mercenaries, but members of Tymeria’s religious military organization: the Paladins. And the damsel-in-distress is really part of a rare nonhuman race with the ability to transform into a deadly humanoid wolf creature – a wolfborn.

With vengeful Paladins hunting them, and the wolfborn’s presence generating an ethical debate that may tear them apart, the fate of the Knightmares hangs perilously in the balance more than ever. Because they know the facts – it was the Paladins who nearly wiped out the Knightmares long ago, and their extinction is now truly imminent.
 
Told through four alternating viewpoints, KNIGHTMARE is an Adult Fantasy novel of 95,000 words with a unique twist on the werewolf genre that reimagines them entirely, revitalizing them a race of noble beasts rather than cursed monsters. Wolves aren’t monsters. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,
(Contact info)
Title: Re: KNIGHTMARE - ADULT FANTASY
Post by: GlitterFox on November 28, 2019, 02:49:50 PM
I love fresh twists on werewolf lore! Hope my comments are helpful.


Quote
There are many great tales of knights protecting people from monsters, and they’re all telling lies.

I would cut this. For me, it's not quite punchy enough as a hook. I would just jump right into meat of the query.

Quote
At first glance, Tymeria’s a kingdom of beautiful wineries, fair maidens, and noble knights. But beneath its beautiful vineyards is a graveyard. A graveyard for the nonhuman races and any human who dares to help them. In Tymeria, the only good elf is a dead elf.

It's a bit risky to start with your world instead of your main character. The last line is also a little misleading, because it made me think elves were going to be a much bigger part of the story. I'd be curious to see what this looks like if you started with Jevan, e.g. "Eighteen-year-old Jevan is a Knightmare..." Overall, I feel like you can get away with fewer world-building details.

Quote
The crusade died; its crusaders reduced to sellswords.

Is this referring to a crusade against nonhuman races?

Quote
When Jevan accepts a request from a wealthy family to rescue their daughter, he assumes it’s just another job. At first, all goes well. However, the kidnappers they just killed weren’t mercenaries, but members of Tymeria’s religious military organization: the Paladins. And the damsel-in-distress is really part of a rare nonhuman race with the ability to transform into a deadly humanoid wolf creature – a wolfborn.

I got a little lost here. We get a lot of info at once, and I wonder if this paragraph could focus exclusively on the wolfborn girl, and then in the next paragraph you could introduce us to the Paladins.

Quote
With vengeful Paladins hunting them, and the wolfborn’s presence generating an ethical debate that may tear them apart, the fate of the Knightmares hangs perilously in the balance more than ever. Because they know the facts – it was the Paladins who nearly wiped out the Knightmares long ago, and their extinction is now truly imminent.

"Ethical debate" sounds maybe too contemporary? Something about it threw me. I'd also love a sense of Jevan's personal stakes, and perhaps a clearer sense of his relationship to the wolfborn. For example, is he going against the other Knightmares to protect her?
 
Quote
Told through four alternating viewpoints, KNIGHTMARE is an Adult Fantasy novel of 95,000 words with a unique twist on the werewolf genre that reimagines them entirely, revitalizing them a race of noble beasts rather than cursed monsters. Wolves aren’t monsters.

I would simplify this. You don't need to explicitly state that this is a unique twist on the werewolf genre; your query speaks for itself. Also, though I agree with you, "wolves aren't monsters" feels a little too preachy ;)
Title: Re: KNIGHTMARE - ADULT FANTASY
Post by: knightmare560 on November 28, 2019, 05:24:58 PM
Another revision! :)


Dear (Agent Name),

Monsters don’t walk among humans, they are humans. 

At first glance, Tymeria’s a kingdom of beautiful wineries, fair maidens, and noble knights. But beneath its lovely vineyards is a prison. A prison for the nonhuman races and any human who dares to help them. In Tymeria, the only good elf is a dead elf.

There was a time when nonhumans and peasants had a beacon of hope, the knights in the night: the Knightmares. But eighteen-year-old Jevan knows his comrades aren’t the same free-fighting vigilantes of old. The crusade died; its crusaders reduced to sellswords. It’s not a desirable life – assassinations, theft, a bit of butchery, bodyguard service – but they need to eat.

When Jevan accepts a request from a wealthy family to rescue their daughter, he assumes it’s just another job. At first, all goes well. However, the kidnappers they just killed weren’t mercenaries, but members of Tymeria’s religious military organization: the Paladins. And the damsel-in-distress is really part of a rare nonhuman race with the ability to transform into a deadly humanoid wolf creature – a wolfborn.

With vengeful Paladins hunting them, and the wolfborn’s presence generating a moral debate that may tear them apart, the fate of the Knightmares hangs perilously in the balance more than ever. Because they know the facts – it was the Paladins who nearly wiped out the Knightmares long ago, and their extinction is now truly imminent.
 
A tale of a land ruled by ignorance and fear, KNIGHTMARE is an Adult Fantasy novel of 95,000 words with a unique twist on the werewolf genre that reimagines them entirely, revitalizing them as a
 race of noble beasts rather than cursed monsters.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,
(contact info)
Title: Re: KNIGHTMARE - ADULT FANTASY
Post by: ducklings444 on December 01, 2019, 10:27:31 PM
Another revision! :)


Dear (Agent Name),

Monsters don’t walk among humans, they are humans. 

At first glance, Tymeria’s Tymeria is a kingdom of beautiful wineries, fair maidens, and noble knights. But beneath its lovely vineyards is a prison. A prison for the nonhuman races and any human who dares to help them. In Tymeria, the only good elf is a dead elf.

There was a time when nonhumans and peasants had a beacon of hope, the knights in the night: the Knightmares. But eighteen-year-old Jevan knows his comrades aren’t the same free-fighting vigilantes of old. The crusade (the crusade against what?) died; (you need a comma right here, not a semicolon) its crusaders reduced to sellswords. It’s not a desirable life – assassinations, theft, a bit of butchery, bodyguard service – but they need to eat.

When Jevan accepts a request from a wealthy family to rescue their daughter, he assumes it’s just another job. At first, all goes well. (Is this reallllly necessary?) However, the kidnappers they just killed weren’t mercenaries, but members of Tymeria’s religious military organization: the Paladins. And the damsel-in-distress is really part of a rare nonhuman race with the ability to transform into a deadly humanoid wolf creature – a wolfborn.

With vengeful Paladins hunting them, and the wolfborn’s presence generating a moral debate that may tear them apart, the fate of the Knightmares hangs perilously in the balance more than ever. Because they know the facts – it was the Paladins who nearly wiped out the Knightmares long ago, and their extinction is now truly imminent.
 
A tale of a land ruled by ignorance and fear, KNIGHTMARE is an Adult Fantasy novel of 95,000 words with a unique twist on the werewolf genre that reimagines them entirely, revitalizing them as a race of noble beasts rather than cursed monsters. (I like this)

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,
(contact info)

You have a great query here and especially some great worldbuilding. You said in an earlier post that it's told in 4 alternating viewpoints, so maybe that's why I'm not getting a great view on Jevan's personality through the query...the last paragraph doesn't mention him at all, and just says what "they" know. But if that's the direction you're going, that explains it. Besides a few things in the wording, I don't really have many suggestions because this seems really good. I'd be very surprised if you didn't get some hits from this.