Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » New Query, City of Magi

   
Author Topic: New Query, City of Magi
micmcd
Member
Member # 7977

 - posted      Profile for micmcd   Email micmcd         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi Everybody,

I've been quiet on the forum for a little while, but I'm diving back into my online literary contacts to re-energize and re-engage, so you'll see me a lot more often now. I have a new query that I wrote for City of Magi, and I was wondering what you fine ladies and gentlemen thought.

---- Begin Query ----
Grayson Kearney has been a spy since he was six years old. He is a magus and a synesthete, an abandoned orphan, a hero, a legend in the streets, and a shadow. The one thing he can never pass up is the perfect puzzle, and the murder of one of the Republic of Astosen’s greatest heroes hooks him. Inside that puzzle he finds the noble Zia Locke, daughter of the victim, fighting to establish her own military career in her father’s impressive footsteps even as she grieves for her loss. Together, they find that the plot goes deeper than either of them imagined, with enemies from without and within. The Valanian empire had plans to take back its former territory, and Zia’s father’s death is but one step along the path that leads to them recapturing the world’s only source of magi stones, Astosen’s greatest natural resource and their key to independence.

The empire has help, including Grayson’s greatest vulnerability, the family that cast him out as an infant for the high crime of being born in the wrong order. Grayson has to overcome his hatred for the father than abandoned him, his blind love for the sister to whom he can never tell his true identity, and the machinations of the most powerful military in the world to keep his country safe.

City of Magi is a work of fantasy set in a magically-powered industrial society, and is the first book of a trilogy.

Posts: 499 | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by micmcd:
Grayson Kearney has been a spy since he was six years old. He is a magus and a synesthete, This is an interesting aspect of Grayson. Just a word of warning here, though. I've had agents specifically reject FIRE AND EARTH (formerly SEVEN STARS) because they don't know what a berserker is. Synesthete might have the same effect. You have to assess how important that aspect, which you can't possibly explain in the confines of a query, is. an abandoned orphan, I know what you mean, but it sounds redundant. a hero, a legend in the streets Hmm. Maybe "underground" or something similar rather than streets. It's more accurate, plus, it sounds odd for a spy to be a legend and doesn't match the next descriptor, "shadow". , and a shadow. The one thing he can never pass up is the perfect puzzle, and the murder of one of the Republic of Astosen’s greatest heroes hooks him. Inside that puzzle he finds the noble Zia Locke, daughter of the victim, fighting to establish her own military career in her father’s impressive footsteps even as she grieves for her loss. Together, they find that the plot goes deeper than either of them imagined, with enemies from without and within. The Valanian empire had has plans to take back its former territory, and Zia’s father’s death is but one step along the path that leads to them recapturing the world’s only source of magi stones, Astosen’s greatest natural resource and their key to independence. You mention enemies from within and without, but only describe the external enemy. Really, in the story, the betrayal from the inside is more important. I suggest something on the order of "An ambitious man is in league with the Valanian Empire . . . "

The empire has help, including Grayson’s greatest vulnerability, the family that cast him out as an infant for the high crime of being born in the wrong order. Grayson has to overcome his hatred for the father than abandoned him, his blind love for the sister to whom he can never tell his true identity, and the machinations of the most powerful military in the world to keep his country safe. This is all really subplots, which don't belong in the query--or synopsis. Stick to the main plot.

City of Magi is a work of fantasy set in a magically-powered industrial society, and is the first book of a trilogy.

The three "C's" of queries are:
Character
Conflict
Choice

You've got the character (although Grayson is a very complex character and you've barely scratched the surface). The overarching conflict is at least sketched out. What's missing are Grayson's choices. What does he have to risk or give up to pursue this puzzle and its solution?

Good luck with this.

Posts: 3935 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
micmcd
Member
Member # 7977

 - posted      Profile for micmcd   Email micmcd         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks Meredith. I'm submitting this for the Pitch Wars competition, so I'm trying to shake up my old query. I slimmed it a bit and also added a tiny bit more focus on Zia. That last part is partly because she deserves it in the story, and partly because... well... all the judges, mentors, and everybody else involved are women who say they're looking for a romantic element to the story. I feel a wee bit of pressure to make sure they know there's a woman that's very important to the story, and that she's awesome. I also went ahead and cut the book in half (I still hate that) so I can submit it at what is also thought to be a too-long length of 150K (better than 275K)

quote:

Grayson Kearney has been a spy since he was six years old. He is a magus, an orphan, a shadow, and a genius. The one thing he can never pass up is the perfect puzzle, and the murder of one of the Republic of Astosen’s greatest heroes hooks him. Inside that puzzle he finds the noble Zia Locke, daughter of the victim, fighting to establish her own military career in her father’s impressive footsteps even as she grieves for her loss. Together, they unravel the threads of a plot that threatens the very existence of the republic.

An ambitious member of the old Astosenian nobility plans to overthrow the fledgling democracy and take back the throne, and he isn’t above using Astosen’s former colonizer, the Valanian empire, to do it. He tempts the Valanians with an offer that they can’t trust, but also can’t refuse: control of the world’s only source of magi stones, Astosen’s greatest natural resource and their key to independence.

Grayson has lived his life in the shadows. Zia has lived hers in the light. Together they have to find a way that exists between honor and deception, each risking the very core of who they are to save their beloved home, Dein Astos, the city of magi.

City of Magi is a work of fantasy set in a magically-powered industrial society, and is the first book of a trilogy.



[ December 04, 2012, 08:41 AM: Message edited by: micmcd ]

Posts: 499 | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
micmcd
Member
Member # 7977

 - posted      Profile for micmcd   Email micmcd         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
(Edited other posting)
Posts: 499 | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
History
Member
Member # 9213

 - posted      Profile for History   Email History         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like it. Clear, concise, and intriguing--exactly what I imagine a good query to contain (along with your intended market and manuscript length).

You've captured my interest in your two young and diametrically opposite protagonists, their antagonists, and their world of politics and magic.

I'd ask for sample chapters. [Smile]

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

Posts: 1419 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grumpy old guy
Member
Member # 9922

 - posted      Profile for Grumpy old guy   Email Grumpy old guy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
micmed, a far better query, and it hints at the source of the conflict without giving the whole story away. However, you may want to think about changing some of your 'statements' into questions. For example:

Thrown together, can they unravel the threads of a plot that threatens the very existence of the republic?

Just a thought.

Phil.

Posts: 672 | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy old guy:
micmed, a far better query, and it hints at the source of the conflict without giving the whole story away. However, you may want to think about changing some of your 'statements' into questions. For example:

Thrown together, can they unravel the threads of a plot that threatens the very existence of the republic?

Just a thought.

Phil.

No, don't do it. Agents hate rhetorical questions.
Posts: 3935 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grumpy old guy
Member
Member # 9922

 - posted      Profile for Grumpy old guy   Email Grumpy old guy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Meredith, really?

Phil.

Posts: 672 | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy old guy:
Meredith, really?

Phil.

Suggest reading a few of Query Shark's posts. (Although not right now. Her blog seems to be acting up. [Frown] )
Posts: 3935 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grumpy old guy
Member
Member # 9922

 - posted      Profile for Grumpy old guy   Email Grumpy old guy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Then, all I can say is, thank the supreme whoever that agents will be extinct in a few years. In Oz (Australia) I can directly submit a MS to two major, mainstream publishers without the need of an agent to 'intercede' on my behalf, so long as it isn't YA fiction. Fantasy is fine, but not that particular 'style' of fantasy. A by-product of the indie E-publishing craze I think

Phil.

Posts: 672 | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JeanLG
Member
Member # 9995

 - posted      Profile for JeanLG   Email JeanLG         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi Micmed, I'm hooked by the first sentence! Great intro. I am eager to learn more about all that he is and does. I get a little lost when the Valerian Empire comes up. Maybe clarify the main players a little? Definitely interested in plot and setting.
Posts: 12 | Registered: Dec 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2