Author Topic: Revised version of Query Letter : Before You Sleep (Dark Fantasy)  (Read 351 times)

Offline RossJMateer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
Revised version of Query Letter : Before You Sleep (Dark Fantasy)
« on: September 16, 2020, 10:46:46 AM »
 :koolaid:

Hello! I posted this Query Letter last week, and created a re-written version.

I'd appreciate any feedback I can receive! I've queried a handful of agents so far, but none with this revised version just yet. Feel free to tear it apart! Haha. Thank you!



Dear [Agent's Name],

In a world where mages reign supreme, and the fabric of space and time are fragile to say the least, Lucros is having some sleeping troubles. Not the old, tossing and turning, thoughts keeping you awake type of troubles. No, he can fall asleep just fine. It’s where he goes when he drifts away that causes concern. He finds himself in a dangerous realm. A realm with constant darkness, constant fire, and snarling beasts. Not the most peaceful place to wake up when one falls asleep. What’s worse, is that everything that happens in this dream realm, is real. With the help from a few companions and a mysterious mage, he fights to find the answers that’ll end these horrific nightmares.

Avian is a broken mage. Well, scratch that; she was broken way before she became a mage. She has hate in her soul, hate for a world that took away everything she ever loved. She spends years researching and creating the perfect spell, a spell to open a portal to distant realms. With such power, she could change her entire future. With such power, she could possibly even change her past, in the end, that’s all she really desires. That is, until she meets a familiar boy in the realms that she worked so hard to open.

BEFORE YOU SLEEP is a grim fantasy of approximately 80,000 words with series potential. Akin to the works of Joe Abercrombie, and Mark Lawrence.

I’m a young father of two, who juggles fatherhood, school, work, and writing all at the same time. Though, I’ve never been much of a juggler. This is my first novel. It was a simple idea that popped in my head one night while I was having my own trouble sleeping. After constant nudging and good support, I’ve translated the story in my head into words. Hope you enjoy and thank you for your consideration!

Sincerely,
Ross J Mateer






Revised Version! Feel free to tear it apart!!  ;D



Dear ,

It is said in the most ancient of scrolls, that the realms are endless. Realms that served different purposes. Different realms that were worshipped. Created by separate deities. Magical places, where the illogical becomes logical. The ancients referred to these realms as ‘strings’ . . .

The strings have aligned and the doors to different realms are more accessible than ever. An incredibly powerful mage attempts to gain access to these realms by creating a spell that requires the sacrifice of siblings. The sacrifice fails . . . and time itself hangs in the balance.

Lucros is having some sleeping troubles. Not the old, tossing and turning, thoughts keeping you awake type of troubles. No, he can fall asleep just fine. It’s where he goes when he drifts away that’s problematic. He finds himself in a dangerous realm. A realm with constant darkness, constant fire, and snarling beasts. Even with Lucros’ overly aloof personality, the fear cuts deep. What’s worse, is that everything that happens in this dream realm is real. With the help of a few dangerous companions, he fights to find the answers that will end these horrific nightmares. That is, until he meets a familiar girl in these realms, and learns that the stakes are higher than he ever imagined.

Avian is a broken mage. Well, scratch that; she was broken long before she became a mage. She has hate in her soul, hate for a powerful man who took everything away from her. She spends years researching and creating the perfect spell, a spell to open a portal to distant realms. With such power, she could change her entire future. With such power, she could possibly even change her past, in the end, that’s all she really desires. That is, until she meets a familiar boy in these realms, and learns that the stakes are higher than she ever imagined.

BEFORE YOU SLEEP is a dark fantasy of approximately 80,000 words with series potential. It is akin to the works of Joe Abercrombie, and Mark Lawrence.

I'm a young father of two, who juggles fatherhood, school, work, and writing all at the same time. However, I’ve never been much of a juggler. This is my first novel. I hope you enjoy and thank you for your consideration!

Sincerely,
Ross J Mateer




 :badday:
I have revised the query once more, with the suggestions that have been given so far. Hopefully this version is better, if not slightly  :) Feel free to rip it apart again!! Haha Thank you!




Dear ,

It is said in the most ancient of scrolls, that the realms are endless. Realms that served different purposes. Different realms that were worshipped. Created by separate deities. Magical places, where the illogical becomes logical. The ancients referred to these realms as ‘strings’ . . .

The strings have aligned and the doors to different realms are more accessible than ever. An incredibly powerful mage attempts to gain access to these realms by creating a spell that requires the sacrifice of siblings. The sacrifice fails . . . and time itself hangs in the balance.

Lucros Andreus is a young man who lives on the streets and steals to get by. Lately though, his dreams have been a bit unbearable. Unbearable might actually be an understatement. They’re filled with constant fire, constant darkness, and constant beasts. Danger greets him at every turn, and what’s worse, everything that happens in these dreams are real. Lucros tries to find the reason these nightmares are happening, but the answer might not be as simple as he’d hoped.

Avian Andreus is a young broken mage. She has hate in her soul . . . hate for a powerful man who took her brother away from her. With the belief that her brother is dead, she spends years researching and creating the perfect spell for power and revenge. A spell which opens the figurative door to other realms. With such power, she could change her future. With such power, she could possibly even change her past, in the end, that’s all she really desires. That is, until she meets a familiar boy in the realms, and learns that the stakes are higher than she ever imagined.

BEFORE YOU SLEEP is a dark fantasy of approximately 80,000 words with series potential. It is akin to the works of Joe Abercrombie, and Mark Lawrence.

I’m a young father of two, who juggles fatherhood, school, work, and writing all at the same time. However, I’ve never been much of a juggler. This is my first novel. I hope you enjoy and thank you for your consideration!

Sincerely,
Ross J Mateer

« Last Edit: September 30, 2020, 10:24:27 PM by RossJMateer »

Offline beckygilbert

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 43
  • Karma: 8
Re: Revised version of Query Letter : Before You Sleep (Dark Fantasy)
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2020, 01:16:14 PM »
:koolaid:



Dear [Agent's Name],

In a world where mages reign supreme, and the fabric of space and time are fragile to say the least, Lucros is having some sleeping troubles. Not the old, tossing and turning, thoughts keeping you awake type of troubles. No, he can fall asleep just fine. It’s where he goes when he drifts away that causes concern. He finds himself in a dangerous realm. A realm with constant darkness, constant fire, and snarling beasts. Not the most peaceful place to wake up when one falls asleep. (I don't think you need this, since it's pretty well implied by the previous line :) ) What’s worse, is that (Here, you could say either "What's worse," with a comma or "What's worse is that" without a comma, but not both)everything that happens in this dream realm, is real. (no comma, even though it's a "pause-ey" moment when read aloud--I think it reads that way regardless, so I'd err on the side of correct punctuation :) )With the help from (you could say "with the help of" or "with help from," but not "with the help from")a few companions and a mysterious mage, he fights to find the answers that’ll (I think this contraction might be too informal for a query) end these horrific nightmares. Maybe you could have some sort of descriptor for "companions" to make them stand out? Like, "an eclectic group of companions," or "a rag-tag group of companions," "a few loyal companions," etc.?

Avian is a broken mage. Well, scratch that; she was broken way before she became a mage. She has hate in her soul, hate for a world that took away everything she ever loved. (I think this would be more powerful if it were a little more specific: her friends? her family? her career/powers/home? It would give us a better sense of her if we knew what she lost.) She spends years researching and creating the perfect spell, a spell to open a portal to distant realms. With such power, she could change her entire future. With such power, she could possibly even change her past, and in the end, that’s all she really desires. (This is another reason why the things that she lost would probably be important to include, because I think it would be good to know more specifically why she wants to change her past. You don't have to spoil everything, just make it a little less vague.)That is, until she meets a familiar boy in the realms that she worked so hard to open. I think an important missing line here is why the "until"--i.e., what does the boy do that makes her want to stop trying to change her past?

BEFORE YOU SLEEP is a grim fantasy of approximately 80,000 words with series potential. Akin to the works of Joe Abercrombie, and Mark Lawrence. (This is a sentence fragment, which I think works in narrative voice sometimes but not for a formal part of your query. You need to add a subject + verb somehow, or else combine it with the previous sentence. "It is akin to..." would be the easiest fix, maybe.)

I’m a young father of two, who juggles fatherhood, school, work, and writing all at the same time. Though, I’ve never been much of a juggler. ("Though" is a subordinating conjunction and can't go at the beginning of a sentence with a comma after it. ;) You could use "however," a conjunctive adverb, instead if you want to keep the comma, or if you want to keep "though," you could say "...and writing all at the same time, though I've never....")This is my first novel. It was a simple idea that popped in my head one night while I was having my own trouble sleeping. After constant nudging and good support, I’ve translated the story in my head into words. Hope you enjoy and thank you for your consideration! (I don't think you need the crossed-out part, because except for maybe the trouble sleeping part, all written stories work like that, I think. :) )

Sincerely,
Ross J Mateer

Sorry for hitting you with so many nitpicky grammar/punctuation corrections!! Hope they're helpful, anyway! :)

Offline RossJMateer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
Re: Revised version of Query Letter : Before You Sleep (Dark Fantasy)
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2020, 01:24:25 PM »
beckygilbert,


Thank you so much for your response! Great insight. Everything you wrote makes complete sense! I will be applying your suggestions for sure. Even grammar and nitpicky suggestion help in so many ways!  :)

Querying and the synopsis are easily the most difficult part of the entire process :bonk: . But your suggestions will definitely help me get where I need to be! Thanks again!

Offline beckygilbert

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 43
  • Karma: 8
Re: Revised version of Query Letter : Before You Sleep (Dark Fantasy)
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2020, 02:07:44 PM »

Querying and the synopsis are easily the most difficult part of the entire process :bonk: . But your suggestions will definitely help me get where I need to be! Thanks again!

Oh my gosh, I know....and I wish I'd known about this emoji sooner!! :bonk: It expresses so much!! Haha!

I'm glad I was helpful! Good luck with the new query and everything! :)

Offline RossJMateer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
Re: Revised version of Query Letter : Before You Sleep (Dark Fantasy)
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2020, 02:19:04 PM »
Haha it really does! It really pulls the point across haha.

But thank you again!! Working on it now!!  ;D

Offline London

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 44
  • Karma: 9
Re: Revised version of Query Letter : Before You Sleep (Dark Fantasy)
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2020, 03:15:13 PM »

In a world {In a world is cliche opening I'd avoid} where mages reign supreme {likewise, if you can come up with a different phrase for reign supreme, it might be stronger}, and the fabric of space and time are fragile to say the least, Lucros is having some sleeping troubles. Not the old, tossing and turning, thoughts keeping you awake type of troubles. No, he can fall asleep just fine. It’s where he goes when he drifts away that causes concern. {I'm a bit conflicted here: I like that you're trying to work voice into this, but it feels like a lot of words before we get to anything important for the pitch}He finds himself in a dangerous realm. A realm with constant darkness, constant fire, and snarling beasts. Not the most peaceful place to wake up when one falls asleep. What’s worse, is that everything that happens in this dream realm,{no comma} is real. With the help from a few companions and a mysterious mage, he fights to find the answers that’ll end these horrific nightmares.
{I didn't find this compelling. The focus seems more on asides than the actual stakes. Take away the voice and this becomes something like Lucros's fire- and monster-filled nightmares are real. He wants to find out why. I suspect that's underselling this element. Can you focus more on the specifics and give us more sense of the plot?}

Avian is a broken mage. Well, scratch that; she was broken way before she became a mage. She has hate in her soul, hate for a world that took away everything she ever loved. She spends years researching and creating the perfect spell, a spell to open a portal to distant realms. With such power, she could change her entire future. With such power, she could possibly even change her past, in the end, that’s all she really desires. That is, until she meets a familiar boy in the realms that she worked so hard to open.
{This felt more compelling to me, but I still wanted more details and more sense of the story}

BEFORE YOU SLEEP is a grim fantasy of approximately 80,000 words with series potential. Akin to the works of Joe Abercrombie, and Mark Lawrence.

After the two paragraphs describing the POV characters, I wanted something that would tie their stories together with some kind of stakes. Right now, it ends with Avian meeting Lucros…and nothing else. I'm assuming that isn't the end of the story. Can you make their collective goal more clear? Or do they hate each other and fight?

I wonder about the voice here. It came off as jokey more than grim dark. Is this the right genre reference? I don't read much grim dark, so caveat emptor that I might be totally off base on the voice.

Offline Kjk

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 58
  • Karma: 8
Re: Revised version of Query Letter : Before You Sleep (Dark Fantasy)
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2020, 10:17:04 PM »
I'm not an expert on query letters. But I think describing the two character separately was a bit jarring. I don't know if there's a way to include both of them in just one. But jumping from one character then to another might not be appealing. I think it reads very well and I get a sense of what's the problem is.
I understand what some of the other people are saying. Some people like it when you delve into a character's motivations. I personally like the first paragraph where you describe the problem. But I do but I do think it's all very well written you just need to maybe condense it more .

Offline RossJMateer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
Re: Revised version of Query Letter : Before You Sleep (Dark Fantasy)
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2020, 05:22:02 PM »

In a world {In a world is cliche opening I'd avoid} where mages reign supreme {likewise, if you can come up with a different phrase for reign supreme, it might be stronger}, and the fabric of space and time are fragile to say the least, Lucros is having some sleeping troubles. Not the old, tossing and turning, thoughts keeping you awake type of troubles. No, he can fall asleep just fine. It’s where he goes when he drifts away that causes concern. {I'm a bit conflicted here: I like that you're trying to work voice into this, but it feels like a lot of words before we get to anything important for the pitch}He finds himself in a dangerous realm. A realm with constant darkness, constant fire, and snarling beasts. Not the most peaceful place to wake up when one falls asleep. What’s worse, is that everything that happens in this dream realm,{no comma} is real. With the help from a few companions and a mysterious mage, he fights to find the answers that’ll end these horrific nightmares.
{I didn't find this compelling. The focus seems more on asides than the actual stakes. Take away the voice and this becomes something like Lucros's fire- and monster-filled nightmares are real. He wants to find out why. I suspect that's underselling this element. Can you focus more on the specifics and give us more sense of the plot?}

Avian is a broken mage. Well, scratch that; she was broken way before she became a mage. She has hate in her soul, hate for a world that took away everything she ever loved. She spends years researching and creating the perfect spell, a spell to open a portal to distant realms. With such power, she could change her entire future. With such power, she could possibly even change her past, in the end, that’s all she really desires. That is, until she meets a familiar boy in the realms that she worked so hard to open.
{This felt more compelling to me, but I still wanted more details and more sense of the story}

BEFORE YOU SLEEP is a grim fantasy of approximately 80,000 words with series potential. Akin to the works of Joe Abercrombie, and Mark Lawrence.

After the two paragraphs describing the POV characters, I wanted something that would tie their stories together with some kind of stakes. Right now, it ends with Avian meeting Lucros…and nothing else. I'm assuming that isn't the end of the story. Can you make their collective goal more clear? Or do they hate each other and fight?

I wonder about the voice here. It came off as jokey more than grim dark. Is this the right genre reference? I don't read much grim dark, so caveat emptor that I might be totally off base on the voice.



Thank you for a response! I can definitely look into making their goal more clear, and do a little better with hooking the agent.

& yeah, I get where you're coming from with the voice. The theme is grimdark I guess you can say, or even simply dark. Lucros has a very sarcastic voice, but a lot of the themes and scenes that take place are very dark. If that makes sense lol.

Offline RossJMateer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
Re: Revised version of Query Letter : Before You Sleep (Dark Fantasy)
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2020, 05:24:04 PM »
I'm not an expert on query letters. But I think describing the two character separately was a bit jarring. I don't know if there's a way to include both of them in just one. But jumping from one character then to another might not be appealing. I think it reads very well and I get a sense of what's the problem is.
I understand what some of the other people are saying. Some people like it when you delve into a character's motivations. I personally like the first paragraph where you describe the problem. But I do but I do think it's all very well written you just need to maybe condense it more .


Thank you for your feedback!! I see that same issue. I've been trying to condense it and make describing both characters less jarring. I'll post the revised version when I finish it!! Thank you again!

Offline RossJMateer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
Re: Revised version of Query Letter : Before You Sleep (Dark Fantasy)
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2020, 07:34:54 PM »
I'm not sure the policy on commenting on your own thread lol, but I've modified the original post. Feel free to check the newly revised version!

Thank you!!

Offline London

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 44
  • Karma: 9
Re: Revised version of Query Letter : Before You Sleep (Dark Fantasy)
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2020, 11:06:51 AM »
This felt like the start to three different queries, rather than a single one. The first one felt like your pitch was the world—a vast array of realms, some of which even have different physical laws, and the realms are in danger because of spell gone away. The second is about Lucros, which you tell me, has high stakes. The third is about Avian, who meets a boy, and, you tell me, the stakes are even higher.

From the first, I assume the stakes are time, but that's really abstract. One of the things I've seen mentioned about stakes is that when they become too big, they lose impact. One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.

The approach I'd take for this is to focus on the relationship between the two characters and getting the personal stakes into the query. What's their relationship? What do they lose if time is ruined? Don't tell me the stakes are high—show me.

Offline RossJMateer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
Re: Revised version of Query Letter : Before You Sleep (Dark Fantasy)
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2020, 11:18:28 AM »
This felt like the start to three different queries, rather than a single one. The first one felt like your pitch was the world—a vast array of realms, some of which even have different physical laws, and the realms are in danger because of spell gone away. The second is about Lucros, which you tell me, has high stakes. The third is about Avian, who meets a boy, and, you tell me, the stakes are even higher.

From the first, I assume the stakes are time, but that's really abstract. One of the things I've seen mentioned about stakes is that when they become too big, they lose impact. One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.

The approach I'd take for this is to focus on the relationship between the two characters and getting the personal stakes into the query. What's their relationship? What do they lose if time is ruined? Don't tell me the stakes are high—show me.




Thank you for your response! I can see that issue too. I'm having trouble with saying just enough without giving spoilers haha, but I guess I can spoil some things. I will try to find a way to converge the plot points a little better. Your feedback helps a lot! Thank you!

Offline Miss_Madeleine

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 7
  • Karma: 0
Re: Revised version of Query Letter : Before You Sleep (Dark Fantasy)
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2020, 07:04:55 PM »
The line that says "she has hate in her soul" made me desperately want to know more. Love it.

I did have trouble making sure I understood the first paragraph: "It is said in the most ancient of scrolls, that the realms are endless. Realms that served different purposes. Different realms that were worshipped. Created by separate deities. Magical places, where the illogical becomes logical. The ancients referred to these realms as ‘strings’ . . ." I think you're saying "Each served a different purpose, and some where worshipped. Created by magical deities, they are magical places, where the illogical becomes the logical." It sounds super cool, but I definitely had to pause to make sure I understood.

Offline RossJMateer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
Re: Revised version of Query Letter : Before You Sleep (Dark Fantasy)
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2020, 07:44:39 PM »
The line that says "she has hate in her soul" made me desperately want to know more. Love it.

I did have trouble making sure I understood the first paragraph: "It is said in the most ancient of scrolls, that the realms are endless. Realms that served different purposes. Different realms that were worshipped. Created by separate deities. Magical places, where the illogical becomes logical. The ancients referred to these realms as ‘strings’ . . ." I think you're saying "Each served a different purpose, and some where worshipped. Created by magical deities, they are magical places, where the illogical becomes the logical." It sounds super cool, but I definitely had to pause to make sure I understood.



Thank you for your response! I'm glad it at least makes you want to know more! That's the point of a query letter after all lol  ;D.

I agree though! I like your suggestions! I'm working on revising it as we speak. Thank you, your feedback is extremely helpful. I'll try to make it more clear so it doesn't have to be read twice lol

Offline RossJMateer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
Re: Revised version of Query Letter : Before You Sleep (Dark Fantasy)
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2020, 10:25:30 PM »
I've revised the third variation of the query! I'd appreciate any feedback given! Thank you!