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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Need some feed back on query letter

   
Author Topic: Need some feed back on query letter
Jed Anderson
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I am contacting you because I have written a science fiction novel. The title of it is Return of the Gods. I am in the progress of finishing another novel and am also developing a sequel to the story I am now submitting.

Ancient Mayan scriptures were found that told of a war in the stars the caused their Gods to leave this world. They created a calendar to count down to the time when their Gods would return.

Orion Samson was born from parents who had been stolen by the Gods and then cast away. He killed his first God in defense of his sister at the age of seventeen. He now leads of group of people who have been born with the same heritage, and who the people of the land call Arcs. He has been forced into a role that he does not want. The lives and futures of many are in his hands. He must step out of his own shadow as the Godlsayer, and take the charge that he is destined for. He must fight against the beings that calls themselves Gods. He must end the terror of those that would enslave mankind under a blanket of fear and death. Those that would steal children and turn them into weapons.

My name is Jed Anderson and I am a twenty-six year old Marine Combat Veteran. I spent two years as sports journalist for a newspaper and have had a short creative nonfiction story published in an online magazine called Cre8here.com. I have had essays and articles published, and have also written storyboards and screenplays for short films, a documentary, and music videos, along with the script for the short film.

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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by Jed Anderson:
I am contacting you because I have written a science fiction novel. The title of it is Return of the Gods. I am in the progress of finishing another novel and am also developing a sequel to the story I am now submitting.

This paragraph is largely unnecessary. The agents know you're querying because you've written something. Start with the interesting stuff--your story.

Also, only pitch one story at a time.

quote:
Ancient Mayan scriptures were found that told of a war in the stars the caused their Gods to leave this world. They created a calendar to count down to the time when their Gods would return.
IMO lose the "were found that". Those words don't add anything and the opening is already passive enough. Can you rephrase it to be active? eg. "Archaeologists found (or deciphered) . . . " Besides, you only have about 250 words. Don't waste any.

quote:
Orion Samson was born from parents who had been stolen by the Gods and then cast away. He killed his first God in defense of his sister at the age of seventeen. He now leads of group of people who have been born with the same heritage, and who the people of the land call Arcs.
Okay, I feel like I need a little transition here to ground me. Am I in ancient Yucatan or sometime close to now? And where? What relation does that first paragraph have to this one?
quote:
He has been forced into a role that he does not want. The lives and futures of many are in his hands. He must step out of his own shadow as the Godlsayer, and take the charge that he is destined for. He must fight against the beings that calls themselves Gods. He must end the terror of those that would enslave mankind under a blanket of fear and death. Those that would steal children and turn them into weapons.
Edit carefully. It should be "call themselves gods".

There are a lot of sentences here that all mean the same thing. He's killed a god, he's leading other people who want to kill gods, he's got to fulfill his destiny. Pare all of that down to one or two sentences and then tell me why he has to kill gods. What is so horrible about these "gods"--and be specific. This is where a telling detail or two about your world can make a huge difference.

Also, there's absolutely nothing wrong with using contractions in a query. The style should, as much as possible, be similar to the style and "voice" of your novel.

And now, this is the place where you put in a bit of housekeeping: The title of your book, the genre, and approximate word count.

quote:
My name is Jed Anderson and I am a twenty-six year old Marine Combat Veteran. I spent two years as sports journalist for a newspaper and have had a short creative nonfiction story published in an online magazine called Cre8here.com. I have had essays and articles published, and have also written storyboards and screenplays for short films, a documentary, and music videos, along with the script for the short film.
Something about yourself is good, but this is a little too much. Your age and military status (Thank you for your service, btw.) aren't relevant. Pick just one or two of the publication credits that are the best or most relevant.

The most important things to include:

1) Who is your main character and why should we care about him?
2) What choices does he have to make?
3) What are the consequences of his choice? What are the obstacles he has to overcome?

In general, a query should cover the story roughly up to the inciting incident and not much further.

Hope this helps. Queries are the third hardest thing to write--synopses and pitches are worse.

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Jed Anderson
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What genre would this type of story fall under?
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Meredith
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You call it science fiction above. That sounds about right to me.
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