Query Letter BlogFest

Posted December 12th, 2010 by in Uncategorized / 11 comments

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I am quite the newbie when it comes to blogging. When people talk about blogfests, a blank look crosses my face. So, I’ll make this quick and easy.

Jodi Henry is having a Query Blogfest that runs through December 18.  You can sign up here LINK.  There are prizes involved, one of which includes a free query critique from the freelance editor Lynnette Labelle. Above all, you’ll get to read some great blogs and meet new people : )

Below is my YA query. Go ahead and rip it to shreds!

Dear Ms. Agent,

Seventeen-year-old Avikar always dreamed of being an adventurer, but after his brother’s accidental death, he stays home and accepts life as a stable boy.  When his sister Jeslyn is kidnapped, the fear of losing another sibling sends him on a journey to rescue her.  After failing to save his brother two years ago, he just can’t fail again.  To find her, though, he must take on an unlikely ally–the man who kidnapped her.

His search for Jeslyn leads him to Eden–a secret paradise ruled by a young, half-human lord named Lucino.  Lucino has a hobby of collecting pretty girls, and his men are out on his latest request.  However, his desire to have the prettiest bride makes Jeslyn the only girl worthy.

In order to reach Jeslyn, Avikar will have to face an ancient guardian snake, seductive dark haired beauties, and a battle in which he is hopelessly outnumbered.  He’ll have to overcome his fears, and stop second guessing himself or he’ll never see his sister again.

WINDS OF CHANGE is a complete, 65,000 word YA fantasy novel with series potential

I don’t have any fancy credentials, unless not dying in the first few chapters of a Choose Your own Adventure book counts.

Sincerely,

Eliza Tilton

elizafaith13@gmail.com

11 Responses to “Query Letter BlogFest”

  1. Dan

    This is a very good query. That 1st paragraph is terrific – inciting indent, motivation, conflict and complication. You almost don't need the rest of the letter.

    Some suggestions:

    Your query isn't too long at all, but you could tighten the second paragraph – "His search leads him to Eden, a secret paradise ruled by Lucino, a half-human with a penchant for pretty girls and his eyes on Jeslyn." Or something like that.

    Also, overcoming fears and not second guessing yourself is kind of vague. That could apply to nearly every protagonist in literature. Maybe he has a specific fear; maybe he has a shortcoming that causes his to second guess himself.

    Anyway, I really like it. You have really good start here. Good Luck!

    Dan

  2. Justin W. Parente

    Hi Eliza,

    I'm going to go paragraph by to give advice.

    P1: This is mostly solid. You give protag and conflict from the start, but a few suggestions for paring. Maybe say: "After Jeslyn is kidnaped, he leaves the stable life behind to save her. But, his ally in her search is an unlikely one–the man who took her." The rest about losing another sibling is common.

    P2: Maybe: "Lucino's hobby of collecting beautiful girls is unsettling, more so when Jeslyn is shown as his latest treasure."

    P3: I think you can approach those last paragraph differently. I'm not much liking the sound of must do this, and this, conquer this to get this. If you get me. Be broad about his quest here. Other battles are small compared to the heart of Lucino taking Jeslyn. Use more in the final breath of the query to show Avikar's motivation.

    It's a good query to start. I love the last sentence. You probably shouldn't use it, but keep it now for amusement.

    Best,
    JWP
    In My Write Mind

  3. Elena Solodow

    If his brother was kidnapped, how was his death accidental? I think you also need to explain who's doing the kidnapping…

    I don't understand how he's allying with the man who kidnapped his sister…

    So is Jeslyn the only pretty girl around? I'm wondering if the brother was kidnapped by the same people. I would tie the two together somehow.

  4. Rachel

    Seventeen-year-old Avikar always dreamed of being an adventurer, but after his brother’s accidental death, he stays home and accepts life as a stable boy. When his sister Jeslyn is kidnapped, the fear of losing another sibling sends(I WOULD CHANGE THIS WORD TO SOMETHING MORE ACTIVE. OBVIOUSLY HE CHOOSES TO GO.) him on a journey to rescue her. After failing to save his brother two years ago, he just(DELETE JUST) can’t fail again. To find her, though, he must take on an unlikely ally–the man who kidnapped her.

    His search for Jeslyn leads him to Eden–a secret paradise ruled by a young, half-human lord named Lucino. Lucino has a hobby of collecting pretty girls, and his men are out on his latest request(: JESLYN) However, his desire to have the prettiest bride makes Jeslyn the only girl worthy.(THE REST OF THIS CAN BE SAID IN SYNOPSIS OR STORY. WE ONLY NEED TO KNOW HE'S AFTER JESLYN, NOT SPECIFICALLY WHY.)

    In order to reach Jeslyn, Avikar will have to face an ancient guardian snake, seductive dark haired beauties, and a battle in which he is hopelessly outnumbered. He’ll have to overcome his fears, and stop second guessing himself or he’ll never see his sister again.(THIS ENTIRE PARAGRAPH IS TOO PASSIVE. GET RID OF WILL HAVE TO AND REPLACE WITH MUST OR OTHER SIMILAR WORDS.)
    YOU'RE GETTING THERE. KEEP AT IT.

  5. Dominic de Mattos

    The story sounds exciting and the query is pretty good as it stands, but I would venture to make a few suggestions

    P1 The motivation is just as strong without "After failing to save his brother two years ago, he just can’t fail again." Even if guilt is a motivator in your book, it doesn't add anything to the query.

    P2 I loved the use of half human leaving us to guess the other half. Brilliant. I was slightly unconvinced by "request". As a lord surely he issued a "command" or his men were out satisfying his latest demand, something like that.

    I'm not sure how you second guess yourself! If he is spoiling his own chances because he is doing something wrong, can't you find some way to use this as the conflict?

    Hope these thoughts help

    :Dom

  6. Eliza Faith

    Thanks everyone! I had a lot of help from the people over at the query tracker forum.

    Great suggestions : )

    Dan: Avikar's brother died while under his watch. Ever since that day, he lives a very mundane existence. He's constantly questioning himself because if he can't save Jeslyn, he'll never be able to face his parents again… it's so hard to figure out what to put into the query.

    Elena: Your not the fist person to question the alliance with the kidnapper. Trying to explain how that comes about is a little difficult…

    Rachel: I agree, the last paragraph feels weak. I'll play around with it.

    Dom: Thanks! No one has ever commented on the half human part

    thanks again for all your great suggestions!

  7. Nicole Zoltack

    I like this query. Just a few nit-picky things:

    After failing to save his brother two years ago, he just can’t fail again. (You use failing and fail in the same sentence)

    Lucino is half-human. What's his other half?

    I think your closing needs to be a little stronger. Other than that, this query is pretty good. Family means a lot to me so reading a story about siblings is something I like.

  8. Chris Phillips

    Great job. I can see you put a lot of effort into it. I like where the suggestions are sending you. The one point that I noticed in particular was in P1 where you use the verb sends. Should change that to something more active like launches, vault, or catapults, or something more forceful . The last sentence is clever, but statistically will be found more as a nuisance than clever to agents, but I'm guessing you weren't really going to use it (just nod.)

  9. Dawn Embers

    Well done. I am intrigued by the story because I want to know exactly how he befriends the kidnapper and everything else mentioned in the story. It's nice to see one a query by someone I don't know who has a character I can see liking and wanting to read about. The start is strong and while there may be room for tweaking in the rest of the query, I think you are quickly heading in the right direction.

    Good job and good luck!

  10. Patricia A. Timms

    I think this is a great query. I didn't even go through the other comments above because I don't see why you couldn't send this query the way it is.

    Great job! Hope to see you out there querying early in the new year.

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