Query Quibbles Again

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Trying to get a decent query together for Janet Reid’s workshop at Surrey. I know it doesn’t have to be perfect, but I’m trying to make it not quite so crude. Hopefully, I am on the right track. Heaven knows enough people have helped me birth this thing.

Dear Perfect Agent,

(Personal note about why agent is being approached.)

Gentyl longs to join her aunt’s elite cavalry, but with a bloody civil war and genocide looming, it’s a dream that could get her killed.

One hero in the family is enough and, unlike her famous aunt, Gentyl isn’t the heroic type. She just wants to be a far rider, a courier, but even that is a struggle as she fights prejudice and hatred in the military unit she enters against her family’s wishes.

With the king missing, allies who once joined forces to defeat the demon armies thirty years ago are now poised to destroy each other; just as the demon lord and his caller Lucine have planned. Gentyl and a supposedly senile wizard, with a penchant for botching spells, irritating nobles and livening things up with fireworks, stand between them and the destruction of the allies and her people.

Gentyl and the wizard join forces to unravel the mystery of dead guards in hopes of finding the missing king and preventing war in this 120,000-word epic fantasy.

I was a staff writer for Speedhorse magazine seventeen years and I’ve owned and raised Quarter Horses for years. This gives the horse aspects of the story a firm foundation.

Please find enclosed the first five pages and a synopsis.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Julie Weathers

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. laughingwolf

    tiny typo, and a bit redundant:

    “demon caller Lucine and the demon lord have planned”

    perhaps: …demon called Lucine, and his hellish lord, have planned…?

  2. Julie Weathers

    No, caller was correct, but I have made a change. Is this better?

  3. laughingwolf

    ok, now i see what you meant by ‘caller’… thx for the clarification

  4. Jessica

    Hi Julie
    I saw your post on Janet Reid’s blog and just wanted to let you know how much it touched me. I’m so sorry for the things that happened to you, especially losing your little girl.
    I hope everything goes good at the workshop.

  5. Julie Weathers

    Hey, Jessica,

    I firmly believe the trials of life can be a foundation for other things. Mirinda would have been 34 on the 18th. You would think after this long, the pain would be gone, but it never is. It lessens, but it never fades to nothing.

    Life does go on and a person learns to appreciate the good times even more.

    Thanks for your kind thoughts. I am thoroughly looking forward to Surrey.

    And, speaking of that post…ugh. That will teach me never to post anything when I am sick AND emotional.

    Julie

  6. Julie Weathers

    Hey, Tony. Thanks so much. I haven’t talked to Will yet to see what his plans are. If he’s busy, I am going to do some packing and writing.

    Still sick, so I know I’m not eating a bunch.

  7. tina gray

    Hi Julie!

    I just read your most recent post on the BookEnds, LLC. blog, and I LOVED your pony pooh analogy!

    And what you said about buying agent guides and using postie notes, etc… is so true. I’ve only been querying for close to three years, but even I had to follow that route in the beginning.

    In fact, for me it’s just been over the last year and a half that I finally found my way to blog land and started to read agent posts. The insights and advice I gleaned from them played a pivotal role in my landing my dream agent back in May.

    Oh, and I thought you handled that embittered anon writer with such savvy and aplomb. 🙂

    I understand that this road is rough, and that there are a lot of writers trying for years to catch a break, but from my experience, I hear more whining and moaning from the newbies that have only been querying for a year or so, than from those that have been in this game for almost a decade.

    I’m not trying to be insensitive to them (I haven’t been in it all that long myself), but they’re going to have to learn to roll with it and take advantage of the opportunities allotted them in this global web era, or they’re never going to be able to stick it out in the biz.

    And as to your concern over your own voice, no need to worry there. You have great voice, even in your comments (I’m an avid reader of BookEnds, and I’ve read others you’ve left–your analogies always stand out, sometimes funny, sometimes beautiful), so I don’t think you need to second guess or worry about that. Looks to me like you nailed it already. And you absolutely have the tenacity thing going for you, so it’s only a matter of time until you find that ever ellusive pony! *snort*

    BTW, your query letter sounds fantastic. I write literary fantasy and paranormals, and this premise pulled me in. Plus, I love horses but know nothing about them, so I would read it!

    You’re smart to infuse something “personal” about the agents in the first paragraph.Once I started to do that in my queries, I began to get more positive responses.

    Only one sentence read just a little rough, and it’s more of a punctuation / word choice issue than anything else: “Gentyl and a supposedly senile wizard, with a penchant for botching spells, irritating nobles and livening things up with fireworks, stand between them and the destruction of the allies and her people.”

    How about this: “Only Gentyl and a supposed senile wizard–with a penchant for botching spells, irritating nobles and livening things up with fireworks–stand between them and the destruction of the allies and her people.”

    With “only” starting off the sentence, it makes Gentyl and the wizard’s role feel more central. And the word “supposedly” has always read rough to me in almost any context (it’s kind of like got, gotten–they just don’t feel smooth and I don’t know why). I get what you’re trying to portray, that the Wizard is assumed by most to be senile but may or may not be, and I think just by saying “supposed” you can still allude to that without having the “ly” bog down the flow. I used em dashes to replace some of the commas so there aren’t so many.

    These are just suggestions! And it’s all so subjective. Just go with what your gut says.

    Well, okay then. I’ve been meaning to come over and say “Hi” for some time, so it’s nice to finally meet you! Keep up the writing!

  8. Julie Weathers

    Hey, Tina.

    Welcome and thank you so much for the suggestions.

    I was pretty lucky years ago in getting agents for both works. Unfortunately, life got in the way of my writing and I am just now getting back to it. However, I am very excited. It’s wonderful to be able to actually get a feel for different agents and what they like before you query.

    Perhaps I am being overly optimistic, but I truly do believe I will find the right one for me and my work.

    Also, thanks for the confirmation about the voice. I’ve heard before I shouldn’t worry about it, but I also hear I have problems with it, so it becomes a nagging worry.

    Happy Fourth!

  9. laughingwolf

    hope you get to spend time with him, julie… would be so nice, at this time, especially

  10. Chumplet

    Hi Julie,

    Love the query, but I’m wondering if you should mention the name of the wizard, since he seems to play such a large part in Gentyl’s quest.

    I heart horses too, as you probably already know!

  11. Julie Weathers

    Hey, Chumplet. I had his name in once and was told to take it out. It seems that’s a mixed camp. Some people don’t even want the protag named. I can’t get quite that sparse.

    Yes, I love your horse paintings. As I said, one day I will be buying some if you have any for sale.

    I’m still fiddling with the query, but for the most part I think it’s at least acceptable to take to a workshop.

    Now I just need to hurry up and finish the book.

    Julie

  12. Julie Weathers

    Tony, I took him and his girlfriend out to lunch today. He’s going over to his sarge’s tonight for barbecue and to watch fireworks.

    It was good seeing him again, but it did remind me how absolutely sad I will be when he leaves. He has been my best friend for many years.

  13. laughingwolf

    bittersweet, i’m sure… no doubt he’s been your anchor, young as he is… sounds like a great son

  14. Julie Weathers

    Yes, it’s really kind of odd in a way. He screens my rock music and burns CDs that are “Mom safe.” That’s the trouble with enjoying much of the modern rock music. They can’t seem to write a song without the language.

    We just enjoy a lot of the same things. He used to come into the house and get me so we could go sit on the fence and enjoy a particularly beautiful sunset together.

    “Mom! Sunset alert.”

    “Okay. Be right there.”

  15. laughingwolf

    i thought he’d be like that, from what you’d said earlier… blessings to both of you

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