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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mary's Query- advice From Our Guest

Mary's Query: When Marian isn't helping her mother with her herbalist trade, she retreats to the forest. The woods hold a secret for her alone, a crying voice that echoes her own loneliness. When the forest is targeted for lumber, Marian is determined to find a way to stop it. Unbeknownst to her, however, the mythical Fey have their own reason for saving the forest. They take matters into their own hands and burn the village to protect the spirit of their banished goddess. Furious at the loss of her mother and home, Marian unleashes a magic she didn't know she had. Her magic becomes the one way she can have control in her life.

The very first paragraph should be a hook, not a mini synopsis. Shoot for one or two sentences that will grab the attention of the reader (agent or publisher). Also, I'm a bit confused at what you're telling us here... Does Mary know of the Fey? How did Mary loose her mother and home? Did they live in the village with the Fey? Say your manuscript is being published and you are given two sentences or less to put on the back cover to get customers/readers to buy your book. TWO sentences. What are you going to say that'll intrigue the people who pick up your book?

The Fey seek the hope of their race, a woman of mixed blood who can initiate the return of their goddess before their magic dies. The Enchanters fear the Fey goddess and kill every female born with magic in order to prevent her return. Marian fits the description, but only wishes to study her magic in peace. Marian must choose to either save those who killed her mother or lose the magic that has defined her.

Enchanters? Who are they and why does it matter to them if the goddess returns? Why do they fear her? And why does Marian have that choice? What's stopping her from choosing both? This paragraph should be the mini synopsis. Your WHOLE book in a paragraph.

Emergence of the Fey is a 95,000 word work of fantasy. I have been a moderator and fantasy newsletter editor for over two years on Writing.com.

This paragraph should be your bio. Focus on YOU. What part of the world are you from? I like how you mentioned your credits - kudos! It would help if you'd put Writing.com in italics. The next paragraph is about your manuscript. Title should either be underlined or bolded. You should state the word count, genre, and what audience it is aimed at. "work of fantasy" sounds a bit rough to me.

Sample rewrite:
Dear (agent/publisher); When Marian's forest retreat is targeted for lumber, she is determined to save the grand trees and her mythical friends. The Fey of the enchanted wood seek the one hope for their race; a woman of mixed blood who can initiate the return of their beloved goddess before their magic dies.

The Enchanters are (enter here why they are the evil, etc). They fear the Fey goddess because (enter why), and strive to kill every born female with magic to prevent her return. Marian fits their description perfectly and is in more of a pickle than she ever thought.

I have been a moderator and fantasy newsletter editor for over two years on the accredited Writing.Com. (add whatever else you'd like to say about yourself, but keep in mind that it should be related to writing) Emergence of the Fey is a 95,000 word fantasy novel, geared for Young Adults (or whatever age group you choose).

Thank you for your time and consideration.
(full name)
(phone number best for contact)


  1. I really appreciate this critique. It has shown me so much about the structure of a query letter.

  2. And I apologize about the little spacing SNAFU. It looked right in previews but didn't publish with the line breaks. That was my fault.

    I think you're query is a lot closer than mine, Mary. Are you getting ready to send the book out?

  3. Working through edits still, but hopefully getting close to ready.

  4. I think the basic structure will help you much more than the sample rewrite.
    Good luck with edits. :)

    Who critted the queries? I want their number... Terrible job with the rewrites.

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