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  1. #1
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    Query Letter: The Apprentice's Journey

    Hello everyone! I'm trying to publish my first novel, and naturally the first step is to get my query up to scratch

    I've posted this and received support from another forum, but as I've still yet to receive requests for more material I thought it'd be best to ask around here as well.

    Be brutally honest!

    ---

    Dear [Editor],

    Twenty-year-old trainee sorceress Mana is a citizen of Scrinnagen, a country of mages. Though she is the apprentice of a nobleman and potential heiress to the nation’s lordship, she is also undriven and content to avoid her studies in peace. Her idle life changes when the lordship of Scrinnagen is usurped by Morgana, who plans to declare a war of revenge upon Clareg, another nation of mages.

    Scrinnagen and Clareg waged war ten years ago, and the people remember those days bitterly. Seeing her homeland poised on the brink of war finally drives Mana out of laziness, but she and her mentor are driven out of the nation by Morgana’s followers when they refuse to support her war. Reaching Clareg is now Mana's only hope to stop short a second war before it can begin, and her time is short.

    An unfamiliar world now lay before Mana, and in her way are Morgana’s allies. Mana must somehow fight her way through her own beloved countrymen, all while forging through her feelings of homesickness and fears of ineptitude. If she’s to reach Clareg before Morgana’s forces, she’ll have to find the courage and skill to make the long journey.

    THE APPRENTICE’S JOURNEY is a 91,000 word fantasy young adult novel with series potential. I can be reached at [e m a i l a d d r e s s] or [phone number]

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sincerely,
    [My name]



  2. #2
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Lose the passive voice. I'd also lose that third paragraph - not really adding anything to the story. So something like this:

    Dear [Editor],

    Twenty-year-old trainee sorceress Mana is a citizen of Scrinnagen, a country of mages. Though she is the apprentice of a nobleman and potential heiress to the nation’s lordship, she is also an unmotivated slacker. But things change when Morgana usurps the lordship of Scrinnagen and plans to declare a war on Clareg, another nation of mages, to avenge the wrongs of a bitter war ten years ago.

    Seeing her homeland poised on the brink of war again finally shakes Mana from her laziness, but Morgana drives Mana and her mentor out of the nation when they refuse to support the war. Reaching Clareg is now Mana's only hope to stop a second war before it begins, but her time is short, and Morgana’s forces are determined.

    THE APPRENTICE’S JOURNEY is a 91,000 word young adult fantasy novel with series potential. I can be reached at [e m a i l a d d r e s s] or [phone number]

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sincerely,
    [My name]

    Is there anything else to the story? Seems kinda skimpy. What's in Clareg that will stop a war? And what's Mana's part in it?
    Last edited by John Oberon; 02-12-2015 at 07:53 AM.

  3. #3
    Rogue Mutt
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    Definitely drop the history lesson. It needs a better opening. Like In a country of mages Mana would rather sleep all day than work on her spells. But she might be the country's only hope.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Oberon View Post



    Is there anything else to the story? Seems kinda skimpy. What's in Clareg that will stop a war? And what's Mana's part in it?
    There's a lot more going on than just that, but I was worried about bogging the query down with too many details. To put it short, they're mostly just going in the hopes of warning Clareg. One of Morgana's old mentors is there as well, who they hope might be able to convince her to stop.

    This particular novel is mostly meant as a coming of age story for Mana set against a war, but if there's any future novels (as I said, series potential) it would focus more on the fact that war's just a cover for something far more sinister. I wanted to focus the first book more on Mana in case the whole series thing doesn't pan out.

  5. #5
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    Okay, I've considered both your advice and come up with this revision:

    Dear [Editor],

    Twenty-year-old trainee sorceress Mana would rather laze around than learn spells. After all, if they want to keep her cooped up in the capital city all her life, why should she play by their rules? But things change when Morgana usurps the lordship of Mana's homeland and plans to declare a war on Clareg, another nation of mages, to avenge the wrongs of a bitter war ten years ago.

    Seeing her homeland poised on the brink of war again finally shakes Mana from her laziness, but Morgana drives Mana and her mentor out of the nation when they refuse to support the war. Reaching Clareg and warning them may be Mana's only hope to stop a second war before it begins, but her time is short, an unfamiliar world lies before her, and Morgana’s forces are determined to stop her.

    And along the way, she'll learn that her isolation in the capital was far less benign than she ever imagined.

    THE APPRENTICE’S JOURNEY is a 91,000 word young adult fantasy novel with series potential. I can be reached at [e m a i l a d d r e s s] or [phone number]

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sincerely,
    [My name]

    Any further advice?
    Last edited by Raxis; 02-12-2015 at 05:52 PM.

  6. #6
    Rogue Mutt
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    You need to jazz that first sentence up a little. Don't say it has series potential; the agent/publisher will decide that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raxis View Post
    Okay, I've considered both your advice and come up with this revision:

    Dear [Editor],

    Twenty-year-old trainee sorceress Mana would rather laze around than learn spells. After all, if they want to keep her cooped up in the capital city all her life, why should she play by their rules? But things change when Morgana usurps the lordship of Mana's homeland and plans to declare a war on Clareg, another nation of mages, to avenge the wrongs of a bitter war ten years ago.

    Seeing her homeland poised on the brink of war again finally shakes Mana from her laziness, but Morgana drives Mana and her mentor out of the nation when they refuse to support the war. Reaching Clareg and warning them may be Mana's only hope to stop a second war before it begins, but her time is short, an unfamiliar world lies before her, and Morgana’s forces are determined to stop her.

    And along the way, she'll learn that her isolation in the capital was far less benign than she ever imagined.

    THE APPRENTICE’S JOURNEY is a 91,000 word young adult fantasy novel with series potential. I can be reached at [e m a i l a d d r e s s] or [phone number]

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sincerely,
    [My name]

    Any further advice?

  7. #7
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    Do you have any advice how I might "jazz up" the first sentence? I've tried thinking over adding that line about her being the only hope that you suggested previously, but that doesn't feel like it flows properly with the proceeding stuff.

  8. #8
    Rogue Mutt
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    Mana will work on being a great wizard--tomorrow. But when evil witches invade it's up to Mana to save the day.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Mutt View Post
    Mana will work on being a great wizard--tomorrow. But when evil witches invade it's up to Mana to save the day.
    I like the first line but Morgana's not a witch (technically speaking. She's the head of Scrinnagen's military prior to the story beginning.) XD

    Guess I aught to make that more clear in the query

  10. #10
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    You don't have to be technically accurate in a query (in my opinion). Find something that will catch the agent's eye without contradicting yourself too badly in the actual story. If Morgana is a witch as well as a general, go with witch.

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