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  1. #1
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    Query Critique - Middle Grade/Fantasy

    Hello All. After almost a year-long hiatus, I've decided to have my Query Letter reviewed again. As always, any comment is much appreciated.


    Dear Agent,

    Jack Disor used to spend his free time devouring fantasy books; now he's trapped in a world where Earth is considered a fairytale.

    On the eve of Jackís eleventh birthday, rumors begin to spread of a pagan ruin found in the forest near his tiny city. While his scientist parents dismiss such folklore, he sneaks out to see it before the superstitious locals tear it down. But what he uncovers is a passage to the world of Zajitar, and no way of returning home.

    At first, Jack is awestruck by Zajitarís lakes in the sky, kilometer-high castles, and a moon hovering only dozens of feet off the ground. He befriends a lovelorn shape-shifter and her prophetess sister who tell him that Zajitar is in the midst of a centuries-old war between magic and technology.

    As the war intensifies, Jack's only hope of ever getting home is a soldier slowly turning to stone. But when the warring leaders discover that he is from the mythical world of 'Earth,' the war suddenly becomes all about him.

    THE BOY FROM EARTH is a 59,000-word middle grade fantasy with crossover potential to young adult fantasy.

    Thank you for reading my query letter.

    Sincerely,
    Me



  2. #2
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    It looks pretty good to me. "Tiny city" grates as a non sequitur. I'd get rid of "tiny." It has no importance in the query letter, and the actual term for a "tiny city" would be a village.

    To give a letter a "hey, here's the story's conflict" jolt I'd also get this concept into the introductory sentence: "when the warring leaders discover that he is from the mythical world of 'Earth,' the war suddenly becomes all about him." ("Earth" should be in double quotes, by the way, unless it's inside a passage that already has double quotes encasing it).
    Last edited by Gary Kessler; 02-15-2012 at 12:36 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member C Bets's Avatar
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    THE BOY FROM EARTH is a 59,000-word middle grade fantasy with crossover potential to young adult fantasy.

    That line is perfect, imo. Don't change a thing.

    The rest? Hmmm... Needs tightening up and clarification. For instance,

    On the eve of Jack’s eleventh birthday, rumors begin to spread of a pagan ruin found in the forest near his tiny city. While his scientist parents dismiss such folklore, he sneaks out to see it before the superstitious locals tear it down. But what he uncovers is a passage to the world of Zajitar, and no way of returning home.

    Couldn't you get right to the point here without the extra by saying:

    On the eve of Jack __________'s eleventh birthday, he uncovers a passage to the world of Zajitar, a pagan ruin. When Jack leaps through the vortex, he has no way of knowing he's now trapped and unable to return home.

    Just a suggestion. I hate to do rewrites for people, but for me it's an easier way of communicating what I'm trying to get across.

    Something to chew on. I'm sure others will have more input for you. A good start, though. Good luck to you!
    Cindy

    And be at peace... the universe is unfolding as it should

  4. #4
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    Better than the original, Cindy, but what's the core action of the story (the hook is the reverse world thing, which is interesting)? Isn't it that he gets centerpieced in a war, not that he's transported to another world? I'm suggesting that go up front, as it will be what is of most interest to agents/publishers (after seeing that there's a hook).

  5. #5
    Senior Member C Bets's Avatar
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    Oh, I was just using that particular paragraph as an example of tightening things up a bit, that's all. Not intended to be the hook. You're right - certainly the war would be the main aspect of the story. And, I did like the reference to the Earth being considered a fairytale; interesting tidbit that could be used to your benefit if placed correctly.
    Cindy

    And be at peace... the universe is unfolding as it should

  6. #6
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    Dramatic and powerful. I like your query.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    Hi Lyle. Pretty good query. Take a look at Gary's and Cindy's suggestions, and I think it will be ready. Good luck.

  8. #8
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    Thanks everyone!

    Gary and C, will definitely consider your suggestions and I will re-write. Have a nice long weekend (not sure if the US has this Monday off like Canada) :-)

  9. #9
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    Yes, the United States has Monday as a holiday too. I'm retired, though, so I don't get holidays.

  10. #10
    Senior Member C Bets's Avatar
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    Well, it's technically a national holiday (President's Day), but SOME OF US still have to go to work cuz it's not recognized there.
    Cindy

    And be at peace... the universe is unfolding as it should

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