Thursday, June 4, 2009

Query letter #9: Nisha G

Well, in between one commenter saying that doing these query letters is a waste of time and a couple of other people telling me that my punctuation is old-fashioned, I almost gave up on the whole exercise! But that wouldn't be fair to the folks who've valiantly sent in their query letters - obviously some people don't think it's a waste of time. I did receive more than 10 letters so I may do the 'excess stock' at a later time - but for now, we're almost home. I should say that critiquing these letters in detail may not necessarily help anyone but there are some elementary things that lots of authors get wrong and they're the sorts of things that can be fixed quite easily, as they're usually the result of the author simply being too close to their own work to spot what's missing or what's not working.

Dear Agent,

I am writing regarding my debut novel ‘A Curious Competition’. Aimed at children between 8-12 years of age, this is the first novel of at least three in a fantasy series entitled ‘The Magic’. [A good, clear opening - it lets me know that there's a series planned, and in fantasy that's usually a good thing; in children's books it's a nice thing, but not always what publishers want to hear.]

Queen Aazma has lived without Magic
[Why the capital M? Maybe it's a fantasy thing ...] for thousands of years; and now she wants it back [Why does she want it back? What has happened to her without it?]. But she must find the anointed to do this, and so she creates a competition to lure him into her trap. Thus begins Cicada’s journey as one of five children who, unknown to them, are destined to return Magic into the world. Within the moving walls of a castle hidden in the depths of a cave, Cicada is thrust into supernatural challenges beyond his means. According to the prophecy; [no semi-colon here - no punctuation at all is neeed] a single key will release Magic and the one to release it will forever rule the land. Queen Aazma is sure Cicada knows where to find the key and is holding his and his friends’ lives ransom until he hands it to her.

Narrated by Magic [Is Magic a person? Now I'm confused - you said 'it' above - if Magic is magic - a force, not a person, how can it narrate?], but told from Cicada’s perspective, A Curious Competition and subsequent novels in The Magic series follow Cicada as he develops the courage and understanding to fulfil his destiny, save his friends, and stop the Queen’s evil plans. [This plot description is clear and solid, apart from my confusion about Magic.]

As both a reader and writer I enjoy watching vibrant characters grow through the actions and events in their lives; ultimately illustrated through their relationships and their heightened sense of self-fulfilment. I have written 'A Curious Competition' with this in mind; the intention being to create a fast paced story that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
[Great - love to hear this sort of information as it gives me an insight into the author beyond 'the credits'.]

I have day-dreamed and written for as long as I can remember, but somehow I have spent my adult life to date working in corporate business environments. Two years ago I came to realise this should not stop me from writing and thus began my journey with ‘A Curious Competition’. My passion
[Another word that is underutilised in query letters - passion rocks! We need more passion!] is in writing quirky stories for children and fantasy novels for all ages [good - lets me know what to expect from your writing - this story will be quirky]. In addition to the second instalment of The Magic series, I am currently working on a short children’s story intended for the Puffin Aussie Chomps series, and the first novel in an adult fantasy series. [It's good to mention that you're working on other novels, as it lets us know that you're working on other stories while you're waiting to hear about this one - publishers usually like to hear this too.]

I understand you must receive many submissions daily and I am sincerely grateful for your time in considering mine.
[You don't need to be sincerely grateful, but I do appreciate the mention of 'many submissions daily' - that lets the agent know that you understand that we won't be speedy and aren't likely to call us twice a day until you get an answer.] If requested, I would be delighted to send you a sample or complete manuscript of my novel. I can be contacted at any time on 0421 XXX XXX or at this email address.

Kind Regards,

Nisha G

No comments: