This topic contains 15 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Anonymous 9 months, 3 weeks ago.
November 11, 2017 at 9:21 am #346586
Not sure if anyone is active on here, but that said, here’s my edited (well, completely redone) query.
Avery Wells has no friends, no one to help him raise his little brother, and questionable morals. But he prefers it that way. That’s why his classmates are confused when the deity known as the Lonelight chooses Avery to partake in a sacred game. A magical game that threatens to kill him and his brother.
Avery is determined to keep his brother alive, at any cost. He gains the trust of his teammates, fully knowing he may have to betray them. He aims to secretly ruin any alliances with other competing teams, so he can win the mysterious prize that may save his brother. And he hides information from the players after the Lonelight tells him the world will soon be obliterated. Avery changes when all the teams work together to defeat an all-powerful beast, opening his broken heart to the idea of friendship. That is until the Lonelight twists the game once more: the four teams must fight to the death, and the winning team, along with their home city, will survive to create the new world. Everyone else will perish.
The Lonelight then gives Avery a dark power capable of destroying cities. Avery believes his victory in the games is assured with the new ability. He sets his eyes on Luminaire, a city that houses a competing team, and a boy he felt a unique connection with. Choosing between the destruction of his friends, or the death of his brother, Avery learns the painful way that it only takes one mistake to lose everything.
LONELIGHT (97,000 words) is a young adult fantasy adventure with elements of magical realism. I’ve also included the first three chapters in the body of the email.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
November 11, 2017 at 4:47 pm #654964
I don’t usually critique queries because I haven’t gotten to that point with my own writing, so take this for what it’s worth 😕
I was interested but confused by the descriptions of the game(s). It might be better to emphasize the first game, then be more generalized about the changes that Lonelight pulls. I did like the questions in the first query, so maybe incorporating those would help show the elements without getting too long or detailed. I’d also like to see more about the world this takes place in, to give more context for the games and the concept of Lonelight.
Janet Reid just posted about query letters, and while you seem to have a pretty good grasp of queries, it might give you some ideas to mull over: https://www.janefriedman.com/conflicting-advice-youll-receive-query-letters/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+JaneFriedman+%28Jane+Friedman%29
Hope this helped some. 🙂
November 11, 2017 at 7:25 pm #654965
Thanks for the read.
Yeah, I struggled with how to describe what the game is without bogging down the letter. I wanted to hone in and focus on what the story is really about: Avery and his struggles with doing the right thing to keep his brother safe, and ultimately the consequences that follows. But I can see it helps ground the understanding by explaining the game in a clever way.
As for the question in the first query, that was more of a place holder. Adding rhetorical questions in a query letter is typically consider faux pas.
And thanks for the suggestion! I love queryshark, and encourage everyone to dig deep in that before they start writing query letters, and even after. She’s an amazing resource.
November 11, 2017 at 7:54 pm #654966
> As for the question in the first query, that was more of a place holder.
> Adding rhetorical questions in a query letter is typically consider faux
Ah, good to know. See – I learned something, too! 😀
November 11, 2017 at 8:23 pm #654967
> Crono91 wrote:
> > As for the question in the first query, that was more of a place holder.
> > Adding rhetorical questions in a query letter is typically consider faux
> > pas.
> Ah, good to know. See – I learned something, too! 😀
Haha “typically.” Even in queryshark, when she specifically says not to add rhetorical questions, added one in a query she was editing for someone as a suggestion. But in that example, I think she “knew” she was breaking the rules for style. Mine is more just breaking the rules because I didn’t know how to end it. xD
November 12, 2017 at 6:34 pm #654968
I posted the letter over on another writing forum, and they mirror your same feeling of confusion. They actually thought my first letter was a better “route” to go. So I’mm try re-writing that one.
Going to stick to maybe the first three chapters, so I’m able to actually show what’s going on, and ground it. Rather than zip through the first act, confusing readers. It’s like a suspenseful fantasy, so each chapter really does reveal new things, and ask new questions to the reader and character. It makes writing a letter tough haha.
November 12, 2017 at 7:10 pm #654969
> It makes writing a letter tough haha.
I’ve heard from more than a few writers that the query letter is much more difficult to write than the story itself!
November 13, 2017 at 4:27 am #654970
This is the current rendition haha. We shall see how it fairs!
Seventeen-year-old Avery Wells had been a joyful kid, before his parents were killed so the Academy could kidnap him. Determined to remain unnoticed while raising his little brother, Avery’s been surviving day-to-day in the spiritually rotten tropics of Tabulae. But just when he thinks his life will end as nothing but a sad tale, Avery encounters the Lonelight, a deity once thought imaginary, who offers Avery the chance to enroll in a game that will change his life. Only this magical tournament proves more dangerous than anyone expected.
Avery’s thrilled to use his new power to summon and mentally manipulate swords in the tournament. Especially when he hears the prize is the ability to change the world to their liking. With such a reward, Avery could change his little brother’s life for the better, and revive his parents. Hell, he could even improve the lives of everyone living in Tabulae by breaking down the walls that divide them into isolated city-states. However, Avery hesitates when he learns that the requirement to win is to kill the other magic-infused players. And when he develops deep connections with many players, especially a blind boy named Sol, Avery’s will to win waivers.
After hearing some of the hideous ways his fellow contestants would change the world, Avery decides if he should kill to protect Tabulae. But once Avery uncovers that the Lonelight and his prize aren’t as they appear, the game takes a more sinister turn.
LONELIGHT (97,000 words) is a young adult fantasy.
November 13, 2017 at 7:34 am #654971
Yeah, I’m liking this version a lot better. The third paragraph is a little rough – not sure if you mean “Avery decides he should” or “Avery has to decide if he should”, and the second line there seemed a bit redundant, but that was really the only speed bump for me.
November 13, 2017 at 4:30 pm #654972
Yeah, I got the same feedback that the letter was much better, but the last paragraph bumpy with that first line. Changed it to,
After learning the hideous ways his fellow competitors plan to use their winnings, Avery decides to compete to protect Tabulae. But once Avery uncovers that the Lonelight and his prize aren’t as they appear, the game takes a more sinister turn.
Why do you think the last sentence is redundant? I actually tried to leave out any hints of “this book is completely filled with twists and secrets” to not confuse the reader, and so that last sentence would be more compelling.
November 13, 2017 at 5:15 pm #654973
Might have been a hold-over from the earlier letters, but in the first paragraph, you state “Only this magical tournament proves more dangerous than anyone expected.”, and in the second “Avery hesitates when he learns that the requirement to win is to kill the other magic-infused players.”. So I guess I was thinking you’ve pretty much said the game takes a ‘sinister turn’ already. I’m wondering if maybe hinting that Lonelight has ‘yet another surprise’ type of thing, or some way putting the focus more on Lonelight than the game at this point. ??
November 14, 2017 at 12:30 am #654974
Nah, you’re right. The letter is still just too confusing.
This time I decided to focus entirely on the first three chapters for my letter. I think I managed to keep it simple, while setting up the story. Biggest problem I had was that the “prize” isn’t told upfront. It’s actually a big mystery and big reveal early on–all they’re told is that it’s a prize beyond their imagination. So of course, they imagine it. Some thinking it’s wishes. Some truly unsure. Because of that, I couldn’t just put the prize upfront in the query, because it wouldn’t really make sense for anyone to participate. But once they’re in the thick of it, they’re told–and can’t escape. Everything gets crazy.
Thus, I decided to basically write the letter the way the story is actually told, rather than cleverly figure out a way around it to fit the typical query mold. We’ll see how it turns out.
Last time I’ll focus on this letter for a bit. Imma take a break and focus on editing my book more xD
Seventeen-year-old Avery Wells is told that once a millennium a deity known as the Lonelight shows himself to host a magical game. Today is that day. And with whispers that the prize could bring his parents back to life, Avery will stop at nothing to win.
After Avery tries to prove his worth by playing a strategic game of chess with the Lonelight, he’s chosen. Avery is even bestowed with the power to summon swords. He feels his chances of winning improving, and once he’s placed in a team, the objective is set forth. The first team to slay Osiris, an ancient beast with six arms and six legs, will win. But for some reason, the Lonelight keeps the details of the prize hidden from Avery and the others. All that’s said is that it’ll be greater than any prize before it.
Avery and his team then travel across the gritty tropics of Tabulae to find Osiris and destroy it. But when one of the contending teams besiege Avery’s home city to kill him and his teammates, the game takes a sinister turn. Everyone’s convinced that the best way to keep other teams from winning is by killing them, whirling the game into chaos. And with his own team divided on the matter, Avery doesn’t know if he should challenge Osiris alone, or join his team in fighting the other players. He must decide soon, because once the Lonelight reveals that the winning team gets to be the Adams and Eves of the new world, while the rest perish—no one remains sane.
LONELIGHT (97,000 words) is a young adult fantasy.
November 14, 2017 at 2:26 am #654975
Oh, I like this version much much more than the others. Only the last line gave me pause. Something about the phrasing gives the idea that Lonelight’s final plan has already been mentioned. I’m thinking maybe just change the “once” to “when”, but I’m not sure if that makes it more of a ‘revelation’ for the query or not. ??
Anyway, good job IMHO. 😀
November 22, 2017 at 2:12 pm #654976
That first sentence tells a powerful story. Great hook.
I’m still looking through your other examples of the rest, but definitely the first sentence is a keeper IMHO.
November 27, 2017 at 8:04 am #654977
Edit: Eh, scratch that, I’m going to redo the letter xD Too much details and not enough active Avery or emotion and thoughts.
This time I’m going to focus only on the first chapter of my book, before new things get involved and make stuff complicated.
November 27, 2017 at 10:41 pm #654978
Every seventeen-year-old boy needs a simple dream, and for Avery, it’s bringing his parents back from the dead. No problem, right? Well, unless his tattered rag of a city has a time machine he doesn’t know about, Avery’s out of luck. That is until a deity known as the Lonelight appears after a millennium to host a magical game—with a prize that’ll grant his desire.
But before Avery meets the Lonelight, a previous player gives him a message: come back alive.
Unnerved by the warning, Avery clenches his teeth and walks through the door of light that leads to the deity, willing to risk his life to revive his parents. He emerges on a platform that floats miles above his city. The Lonelight offers him a preliminary game of chess, with only one rule: impress him before the last chess piece is taken, or die. Avery sits and plays, refusing to back away now.
As Avery loses chess pieces, cyan ropes of electricity dig into his body, slicing away a portion of his energy, like a scalpel to the soul. With only grit pushing him forward, Avery stares at his last piece about to be taken. If Avery doesn’t find a way to impress the Lonelight, he’ll die—but more importantly to him, he will lose his only chance to bring his parents back.
The Lonelight’s game has only begun.
LONELIGHT (98,000 words) is a young adult fantasy with plot-driven adventure.
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