Crunch Time

It’s crunch time. So what am I doing? Being seduced by John Simpson’s darned fantasy character quiz.

Sigh. I have no will power.

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?I’m Galadriel

Possessing a rare combination of wisdom and humility, while serenely dominating your environment you selflessly use your powers to care for others.

Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.

Galadriel is a character in the Middle-Earth universe. You can read more about her at the Galadriel Worshippers Army.

The pitch.

Sixteen-year old Gentyl dreams of joining her aunt’s elite cavalry unit. A demon lord and a sorceress have kidnapped the king to trigger a civil war, but a senile-acting sorcerer recruits Gentyl to solve a string of murders — and to find the king, before the kingdom is destroyed.

Dear Mr. or Ms. Agent,

(Personal note about why agent is being approached.)

I’m seeking representation for PALADIN’S PRIDE, my 135,000-word epic fantasy about a sixteen-year-old girl who dreams of qualifying for her aunt’s elite cavalry unit.

Allies who joined forces thirty years ago to defeat the demon armies are now poised to destroy each other, just as the demon lord and the sorceress planned when they kidnapped the king. Gentyl just wants to get through two years in the military academy and apply to the cavalry. It’s going to be a long two years in an academy that doesn’t want women. Most people especially don’t want M’Eiryn women since the king’s M’Eiryn guard was blamed for the kidnapping. Hope of ever advancing fades, when she’s assigned to guard a senile-acting sorcerer with a penchant for irritating nobles, botching spells and livening things up with fireworks. She realizes he isn’t as senile as he acts after he recruits her to help him find the king, but each new clue only leads to another body.

Now someone is trying to add them to the list of unsolved murders.

I was a journalist with Speedhorse magazine for seventeen years and I’ve owned and raised Quarter Horses for years. This gives the horse aspects of the story a firm foundation. I also directed Porch Light Prison Ministries for six years and wrote inspirational short stories for the bi-monthly newsletters.

Thank you.


Julie Weathers


  1. So happy you saw that quiz — especially recognizing its potential as Julie-bait. 🙂

    You could do a LOT worse than Galadriel.

    I can see some VERY MINOR things to tinker with in the pitch and the query but don’t want to detail ’em w/out checking with you first. For all I know, between last week’s Snoopy dance, this week’s pain meds, and the upcoming Surrey thing, you may be maxed out on, well, pretty much anything business-of-writing at the moment.

  2. Umm, John that is why I posted them. I had hoped someone would volunteer their thoughts.

    Yes, that was indeed Julie bait. You know me too well.

    I have one shot with the pitch and the query and right now I don’t know how to do any more to them so all suggestions are appreciated.

    Something odd is going on. I keep getting signed out of blogger and it isn’t recognizing my main account.

  3. Re: Blogger… I did notice that you’d changed email accounts at least a couple times (for the obvious reasons) in recent weeks. Because Blogger is tied to Google, which is where your account is “held,” maybe that’s why??? Does Blogger know about your new email address(es)?

    Will send you something about the VERY MINOR things sometime between now and tomorrow morning.

  4. Laughs,

    Not slow on the uptake, at all.

    I’m still checking the email you have for me. Not sure why they are doing all this switching but I did contact them. It irritates me.

  5. In the WIP, there’s a secondary character named Julia Marie Slottbinder. The combination of the name and the absence of an avatar threw me temporarily into an inter-dimensional hole in the space-time continuum, or something like that.

    However, I see you’re now back. As YOU. And need I add, Whew.

  6. Hey JW!

    I like the sound of this query, but I want more. Your plot is 120 words. Your bio is 101 words. Too much bio, not enough plot.

    The first sentence is awkward and seems to be in the wrong order. I think it’s because you’re trying to be succinct here – which is not a bad thing. It’s a lot of information in one sentence and that info can get lost when it’s too compact. You have room to be a little more expansive.

    Then you can more seamlessly tie the first and second sentences together. Show that the people are war mad or something and that leads to Gentyl wanting to sign up – for the glory and excitement or whatever it is that’s driving her.

    Then maybe add a little bit about how she realizes the old wizard isn’t senile. More show might be nice. I wouldn’t call the sorceror senile-acting. At that point, she thinks he’s senile. It’s part of her disappointment.

    I’m also missing what’s at stake for her. It seems like you infer a lot of it with that last quick sentence.

    The demon lord and sorceress are two different people. Adding ‘the’ before sorceress would help make that clear.

    Do we need to know about the academy here? She wants to be in the cavalry. The academy is the means to the end, but not the true goal. And it seems like the major part of the story is post academy, or at least the academy isn’t a factor any more.

    The main issue I think you have here is that it’s too tight.

    The pitch has lost your flavor.

    How about something along these lines (though this still needs work):

    The king has been kidnapped and civil war is imminent. Sixteen-year-old Gentyl dreams of joining her aunt’s elite cavalry unit to prove what?. Instead, she gets saddled with a senile sorcerer with a penchant for irritating nobles, botching spells and livening things up with fireworks. Only the sorcerer isn’t as senile as he seems. He recruits Gentyl to solve a string of murders and find the king before the kingdom is destroyed.

    Or maybe she still wonders if he’s senile when he says he can find the king? Does she have that conflict?

  7. Wow. That’s a long post. More succinctly. Please tell me who Gentyl is and why all this matters to her. I think that’s the heart of your story.

    And all of this is just my opinion.

  8. Sarah, yes, my bio started out being one sentence. Barbara Rogan wanted me to add more. The theory being something unusual would pique the agent’s attention enough to look at the pages. She’s read my first pages and said at that point she would be demanding a read. Too bad she’s a retired agent.

    Even so, I agree it’s too long.

    I’m getting ready for work now, but will be commenting more completely when I get home if I’m not too zonked.

  9. Ok, I am going to make a few more comments while the bath runs.

    Sarah, yes the academy is important. She remains with them until the end of the book and most of her adventures take place connected with the academy. The success of the women’s unit in the final battle earns them a permanent spot at the academy.

    She realizes very quickly he isn’t senile, but he does put on a grand show of being senile so no one will pay attention to what he is doing. Namely, trying to solve the murders in an effort to find the king.

    The pitch has lost your flavor.


    All I have heard is get rid of everything else and boil it down to one succinct paragraph.

    Gentyl doesn’t really dream of glory or excitement. Her father was a far rider or courier with the cavalry and her aunt is a war hero and the leader of the unit. It’s just something she’s always wanted to do even though her family doesn’t want her to go into the military.

  10. So is this like National Velvet meets The Lord of The Rings? Or what kind of description similar to this works as an elevator pitch?

    Yes, the pitch needs to be succinct. And the sole purpose of the query is to get your pages read.

    I think what might work more though is Gentyl’s journey. What about her or what about your voice hooks the reader?

    To me, the way this is currently worded, it sounds like her assignment happens after the Academy stint is over. How does she get an assignment while in the Academy?

    Is Gentyl defying her father and aunt? How strong are their objections? Does she believe the assignment is their way of trying to keep her safe, that they interefered with her education to make things go their way?

    What is the conflict, other than the war? Or is this really an action book and the emotional growth is a sub-plot?

    As for the bio – the horse stuff is interesting. The headstrong stuff is commonplace.

  11. lol… i’m a yoda… go figger! 😛

    i see a few things to fix, too:
    ‘staff writer at… for 17 years…’

    and agree, more of the pitch, please

    and yeah, lose the reid bit, not remotely funny… at least to me

  12. Hi Julie, I saw your query on EE’s blog a while back and like what you’ve done with it here. I do think that Sarah’s tightened plot paragraph has more punch to it.

    I’m also headed for Surry (and Janet’s master class!) and haven’t spent nearly enough time reworking the queries. Spent some time on pitches, but still trying to narrow down which one to pitch. See you there.

  13. Sarah,

    Paladin’s Pride is an epic fantasy about a sixteen-year-old girl named Gentyl who dreams of joining her aunt’s elite cavalry unit. A demon lord and a sorceress kidnapped the king to create a civil war, but a senile-acting sorcerer recruits Gentyl to solve a string of murders and find the king before the kingdom is destroyed.

    That’s the pitch.

    National Velvet meets Lord of the Rings? Not really.

    I would hesitate to compare it to anything as it would probably offend people if I did.

    How does she get an assignment while in the Academy?

    It’s tradition to assign cadets to the wizard. In this case, he has requested her because she is the keeper of the Siren Song sword.

    Her parents paid for her to attend the healing academy where she would be safe from the approaching war. They don’t realize she was mistakenly assigned to the military academy based on her aunt’s fame.

    Part of the conflict is that she is a girl in Tamarland, her mother’s homeland, where women are expected to be wives and mothers. Women warriors are common in her father’s homeland. So, there is prejudice against women in the military. There is prejudice against her because she is half M’Eiryn and the demon lord and sorceress set it up so it looks like the king’s M’Eiryn guard betrayed him

    There just isn’t room to go into all of that in the query.

  14. ol… i’m a yoda… go figger! 😛

    Another Yoda!

    i see a few things to fix, too:
    ‘staff writer at… for 17 years…’

    What is wrong with staff writer?

    and agree, more of the pitch, please

    and yeah, lose the reid bit, not remotely funny… at least to me

    Oh, as I said at the top, I didn’t have intentions of keeping it in. However, in the Janet Reid bookroast we were shooting the bull and I told her I looked forward to her workshops at Surrey. She said talk was cheap, bring $20 bills, baaaaby.

  15. Jill, I hadn’t worried about the query because I was signed up for Janet’s master class. Then I got accepted into Jack Whyte’s class, which is going on at the same time.

    Please take good notes. I’m thrilled about being in Jack’s class, but I really need help with the query.

    See you in Surrey. I will be the chunky redhead with boots and the deer in the headlights look.

  16. There may not be room in your query now, but all of that is what sets your book apart from the others in this genre. You’re good at writing succinctly. I think it would be worth it to include some of this in your query.

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