1. Knightmare

    Knightmare New Member

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    Query Letter KNIGHTMARE (Adult Fantasy)

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by Knightmare, Nov 10, 2019.

    Dear (Agent Name),

    Knights aren’t as chivalrous as shown in children’s storybooks.

    At first glance, Tymeria is a kingdom of beautiful wineries, fair maidens, and noble knights. But beneath its beautiful vineyards is a graveyard. A graveyard for the nonhuman races and any human who dares to help them. In Tymeria, the only good elf is a dead elf.

    There was a time when the powerful were hunted for preying on the powerless, hunted by the knights in the night: the Knightmares. But eighteen-year-old Jevan knows his comrades are not the same free-fighting vigilantes of old. The crusade died; its crusaders reduced to common sellswords. It’s not a desirable life – assassinations, theft, a bit of butchery, bodyguard service – but they need to eat.

    When Jevan accepts a request from a wealthy family to rescue a young girl, he assumes it’s just another job. At first, all goes well. However, the kidnappers weren’t mercenaries, but members of Tymeria’s religious military organization: the Paladins. And the damsel-in-distress is really part of a rare nonhuman race with the ability to transform into a deadly humanoid wolf creature – a wolfborn.

    With vengeful Paladins hunting them, and the wolfborn’s presence generating a debate that may tear them apart, the fate of the Knightmares hangs perilously in the balance more than ever before. Because they know the facts – it was the Paladins who nearly wiped out the Knightmares long ago, and their extinction is now truly imminent.

    Told through four alternating viewpoints, KNIGHTMARE is an Adult Fantasy novel of 95,000 words with a George R. R. Martin-esque narrative and a unique twist on the werewolf genre.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sincerely,
    (Contact info)
     
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  2. Zachary Phoenix

    Zachary Phoenix Member

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    "Knights aren’t as chivalrous as shown in children’s storybooks." - I don't personally have anything against things like this, but agents will probably see it as more of a movie log line than anything else. And they might roll their eyes. You might want to just cut it and start at the Tymeria paragraph.

    This depends on the person reading it, so it's fairly subjective, but a lot of people will probably tell you to start with your main character. We don't meet your main character until nearly halfway through the query. I give more leeway to this, however, because it's a Fantasy novel, and the world and setting in Fantasy novels are often just as featured as characters.

    When it comes to the format of this letter I can find nothing to critique. It's a good length. It doesn't meander. We know what the conflict is and what's at stake for the MC. So that's good.

    The term "wolfborn" made me roll my eyes. There's nothing inherently wrong with it. But it immediately made me think this was just another tween/twilight-like story with werewolves and a girl who falls in love with the misunderstood monster, etc. Like a mix between Mistborn and Twilight. That may not be at all what your book is like, but you should know that when I read "wolfborn," that's exactly the image that gets conjured up in my mind. Perhaps it wouldn't be too hard to change the name of it? Maybe something a little less derivative.

    WHOA! 4 POV's, and Adult Fantasy, and it's only 95k words? I think this would be a big red flag for agents. Fantasy's, especially Adult Fantasy's, tend to be in the 130k word mark, or more. If I were an agent, I would assume that there just wasn't enough story in this story. With 4 POV's, and all the world-building you need to do in a Fantasy novel, I would think it should be much longer and more fleshed out. An agent might still read some pages if they're interested, because the query letter itself is pretty solid, but I'm sure they would have an eagle-eye out for any indication in the writing that it's not quite where it needs to be.

    Overall, good query letter. I'd make sure the story you have is enough...
     
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  3. Richach

    Richach Active Member

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    I am not mad keen on the first paragraph, it is a bit shopping list like. This information is important but it needs cutting to the bone. Second paragraph has a tongue twister regarding knights - nights. Not sure that works.

    From the third paragraph onward I really like the feel of the letter and I warmed to it very well. All in all I dont think you are far off with this. I would be tempted to almost bullet point the key info in the first two paragraphs - then make a short paragraph out of the bullet points. If that makes sense.

    I agree with ZP that the title about chivalrous knights is a bit cringy.

    All in all I like this. Good luck!
     
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  4. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer Active Member

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    My only thought is that wolves have been done to death. What about a different animal? A "tigerborn" or "lionborn" or.... No offense, there could be a good story here but "wolves" and "wolfborn" does make me skim the blurb on the back cover and put the book down. Surely some cultures have other human/animal hybrids? Your fantasy world could play around with that....

    Good luck!
     
  5. Knightmare

    Knightmare New Member

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    Actually there are others. I mention nonhuman “races” so there’s more than one. Elves and dwarves count as nonhumans, yes but there is also a race of anthropomorphic reptilians called saurian, actually look more like a humanoid dragon, but no wings or fire. One makes an appearance in the book as well. Not sure how I can mention that in the letter tho as it’s not a key component of this story. And my use of wolves is due to how sick I am of how wolves are used as symbols of evil. Werewolves need to be reimagined properly as a species. Not some cursed or infected human that for some reason kills everything in sight when it changes like a monster. Wolves aren’t like that. The werewolf genre has been missing something I’ve searched for and then I decided I would do it myself. Humans are monsters, wolves are not.
     
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  6. Richach

    Richach Active Member

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    Love your passion about your book @Knightmare. You just need to draw people into the book in the first instance.
     
  7. Knightmare

    Knightmare New Member

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    Yeah, hence why I’m working on the query letter :)
     
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  8. Zachary Phoenix

    Zachary Phoenix Member

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    "And my use of wolves is due to how sick I am of how wolves are used as symbols of evil. Werewolves need to be reimagined properly as a species. Not some cursed or infected human that for some reason kills everything in sight when it changes like a monster. Wolves aren’t like that. The werewolf genre has been missing something I’ve searched for and then I decided I would do it myself. Humans are monsters, wolves are not."

    I'm totally on board with your messaging here. Couldn't agree more.

    It's difficult to add things into a query letter that give more nuance to the story. Such as the elves, dwarves, and Saurian. I'm having trouble with that myself in my letter. How do I give a nuanced description of why the religious people are so bad, and not have it come off as generalization, when I'm told the query letter can only be so long? The whole point of using nuance is so you don't have to fit the thought into a quick, short sentence. So, yeah, it's kind of annoying that we have to write a concise query letter, but then have people say it's not detailed enough.
     
  9. Knightmare

    Knightmare New Member

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    Here's my first revision. :)


    Dear (Agent Name),

    There are many great tales of knights protecting people from monsters, and they’re all telling lies.

    At first glance, Tymeria’s a kingdom of beautiful wineries, fair maidens, and noble knights. But beneath its beautiful vineyards is a graveyard. A graveyard for the nonhuman races and any human who dares to help them. In Tymeria, the only good elf is a dead elf.

    There was a time when the wealthy powerful were hunted for preying on the powerless, hunted by the knights in the night: the Knightmares. But eighteen-year-old Jevan knows his comrades aren’t the same free-fighting vigilantes of old. The crusade died; its crusaders reduced to sellswords. It’s not a desirable life – assassinations, theft, a bit of butchery, bodyguard service – but they need to eat.

    When Jevan accepts a request from a wealthy family to rescue their daughter, he assumes it’s just another job. At first, all goes well. However, the kidnappers they just killed weren’t mercenaries, but members of Tymeria’s religious military organization: the Paladins. And the damsel-in-distress is really part of a rare nonhuman race with the ability to transform into a deadly humanoid wolf creature – a wolfborn.

    With vengeful Paladins hunting them, and the wolfborn’s presence generating an ethical debate that may tear them apart, the fate of the Knightmares hangs perilously in the balance more than ever. Because they know the facts – it was the Paladins who nearly wiped out the Knightmares long ago, and their extinction is now truly imminent.


    Told through four alternating viewpoints, KNIGHTMARE is an Adult Fantasy novel of 95,000 words with a unique twist on the werewolf genre that reimagines them entirely, revitalizing them a race of noble beasts rather than cursed monsters. Wolves aren’t monsters.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sincerely,
    (Contact info)
     
  10. Knightmare

    Knightmare New Member

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    An even better revision, or at least I hope so.


    Dear (Agent Name),

    Monsters don’t walk among humans, they are humans.

    At first glance, Tymeria’s a kingdom of beautiful wineries, fair maidens, and noble knights. But beneath its lovely vineyards is a prison. A prison for the nonhuman races and any human who dares to help them. In Tymeria, the only good elf is a dead elf.

    There was a time when nonhumans and peasants had a beacon of hope, the knights in the night: the Knightmares. But eighteen-year-old Jevan knows his comrades aren’t the same free-fighting vigilantes of old. The crusade died; its crusaders reduced to sellswords. It’s not a desirable life – assassinations, theft, a bit of butchery, bodyguard service – but they need to eat.

    When Jevan accepts a request from a wealthy family to rescue their daughter, he assumes it’s just another job. At first, all goes well. However, the kidnappers they just killed weren’t mercenaries, but members of Tymeria’s religious military organization: the Paladins. And the damsel-in-distress is really part of a rare nonhuman race with the ability to transform into a deadly humanoid wolf creature – a wolfborn.

    With vengeful Paladins hunting them, and the wolfborn’s presence generating a moral debate that may tear them apart, the fate of the Knightmares hangs perilously in the balance more than ever. Because they know the facts – it was the Paladins who nearly wiped out the Knightmares long ago, and their extinction is now truly imminent.

    A tale of a land ruled by ignorance and fear, KNIGHTMARE is an Adult Fantasy novel of 95,000 words with a unique twist on the werewolf genre that reimagines them entirely, revitalizing them a race of noble beasts rather than cursed monsters.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sincerely,
    (Contact Info)
     
  11. Knightmare

    Knightmare New Member

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    (Ugh! There was a TYPO and I don't see how I can edit the above post so I reposted my revision with the typo fixed.)

    Dear (Agent Name),

    Monsters don’t walk among humans, they are humans.

    At first glance, Tymeria’s a kingdom of beautiful wineries, fair maidens, and noble knights. But beneath its lovely vineyards is a prison. A prison for the nonhuman races and any human who dares to help them. In Tymeria, the only good elf is a dead elf.

    There was a time when nonhumans and peasants had a beacon of hope, the knights in the night: the Knightmares. But eighteen-year-old Jevan knows his comrades aren’t the same free-fighting vigilantes of old. The crusade died; its crusaders reduced to sellswords. It’s not a desirable life – assassinations, theft, a bit of butchery, bodyguard service – but they need to eat.

    When Jevan accepts a request from a wealthy family to rescue their daughter, he assumes it’s just another job. At first, all goes well. However, the kidnappers they just killed weren’t mercenaries, but members of Tymeria’s religious military organization: the Paladins. And the damsel-in-distress is really part of a rare nonhuman race with the ability to transform into a deadly humanoid wolf creature – a wolfborn.

    With vengeful Paladins hunting them, and the wolfborn’s presence generating a moral debate that may tear them apart, the fate of the Knightmares hangs perilously in the balance more than ever. Because they know the facts – it was the Paladins who nearly wiped out the Knightmares long ago, and their extinction is now truly imminent.

    A tale of a land ruled by ignorance and fear, KNIGHTMARE is an Adult Fantasy novel of 95,000 words with a unique twist on the werewolf genre that reimagines them entirely, revitalizing them as a race of noble beasts rather than cursed monsters.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sincerely,
    (Contact Info)
     
  12. Vernalire

    Vernalire Member

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    I'm not the best critique but keep it up. I like the concept!
     
  13. Knightmare

    Knightmare New Member

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    Um...thanks but you read the wrong one lol. That's the old version. THIS is my most recent revision.


    Dear (Agent Name),

    Monsters don’t walk among humans, they are humans.

    At first glance, Tymeria is a kingdom of beautiful wineries, fair maidens, and noble knights. But beneath its lovely vineyards is a prison. A prison for the nonhuman races and any human who dares to help them. In Tymeria, the only good elf is a dead elf.

    There was a time when nonhumans and peasants had a beacon of hope, the knights in the night: the Knightmares. But eighteen-year-old Jevan knows his comrades aren’t the same free-fighting vigilantes of old. The crusade died; its crusaders reduced to sellswords. It’s not a desirable life – assassinations, theft, a bit of butchery, bodyguard service – but they need to eat.

    When Jevan accepts a request from a wealthy family to rescue their daughter, he assumes it’s just another job. At first, all goes well. However, the kidnappers they just killed weren’t mercenaries, but members of Tymeria’s religious military organization: the Paladins. And the damsel-in-distress is really part of a rare nonhuman race with the ability to transform into a deadly humanoid wolf creature – a wolfborn.

    With vengeful Paladins hunting them, and the wolfborn’s presence generating a moral debate that may tear them apart, the fate of the Knightmares hangs perilously in the balance more than ever. Because they know the facts – it was the Paladins who nearly wiped out the Knightmares long ago, and their extinction is now truly imminent.

    A tale of a land ruled by ignorance and fear, KNIGHTMARE is an Adult Fantasy novel of 95,000 words with a unique twist on the werewolf genre that reimagines them entirely, revitalizing them as a race of noble beasts rather than cursed monsters.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sincerely,
    (Contact Info)
     
  14. Richach

    Richach Active Member

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    I think the revised efforts are much better.

    Just a suggestion would you consider scrapping the first paragraph for something like this:

    'The only good elf is a dead elf,' Old Tymerian saying.

    'Monsters do not walk among humans, they are humans,' Old Elven saying.


    Am I right in thinking that the humans and elves don't get along? If so this instantly shows this dynamic. It also gives a sense of age, history and depth to your story.

    If you intend to keep the first paragraph as it is, maybe consider making it less wordy. You mention prison twice in three words. Maybe grammatically that is fine. Other members may correct me that it sounds fine, but to me, it sounds like the second time you use the same word prison, you are having another bite at what you were orginally trying to say.

    Might I suggest this change also:

    There was once a time of hope, of Knights in the night....

    No need to say nonhumans. It kind of begs the question, what are the nonhumans? That could be seen as intriguing or just plain confusing depending on the Agents perception. I would not risk letting them making up their own mind. Always give them clarity and you maintain control.

    I am not sure I would draw attention to Jevans age (18). There simply is no need at this stage. Without the explanation of the story, it sounds unlikely that he would know the free fighting vigilantes of old. He may know of them but not actually know them.


    Please feel free to ignore these suggestions. Just Ideas that might help or convince you to stay with your own words. :)
     
  15. Vernalire

    Vernalire Member

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    Dear (Agent Name),

    Monsters don’t walk among humans, they are humans. I like this.

    At first glance, Tymeria is a kingdom of beautiful wineries, fair maidens, and noble knights. This will flow now! But beneath its lovely vineyards is a prison. A prison for the nonhuman races and any human who dares to help them. In Tymeria, the only good elf is a dead elf. This elf part still seems out of place. Maybe you can list what a non human is… so to speak… “a prison full of Ogres, monsters, elves and other nonhuman races” then put that… I like it, just seems random to me.

    There was a time when nonhumans and peasants would the peasants be the nonhuman? had a beacon of hope, the knights in the night: the Knightmares. But eighteen-year-old Jevan knows his comrades aren’t the same free-fighting vigilantes of old. The crusade died; its crusaders reduced to sellswords. It’s not a desirable life – assassinations, theft, a bit of butchery, bodyguard service – but they need to eat.

    When Jevan accepts a request from a wealthy family to rescue their daughter, he assumes it’s just another job. At first, all goes well. However, the kidnappers they just killed weren’t mercenaries, but members of Tymeria’s religious military organization: the Paladins. And the damsel-in-distress is really part of a rare nonhuman race with the ability to transform into a deadly humanoid wolf creature – a wolf born. Well done here. Pretty cool concept. And seems like a bit of lore can be played with.

    With vengeful Paladins hunting them, and the wolfborn’s presence generating a moral debate that may tear them apart, the fate of the Knightmares hangs perilously in the balance more than ever. Because they know the facts – it was the Paladins who nearly wiped out the Knightmares long ago, and their extinction is now truly imminent. I’m confused by this or maybe I’m over thinking it, but it has vengeful earlier yet it says the Paladins almost wiped them out. The way it’s worded to me confuses me.

    A tale of a land ruled by ignorance and fear, KNIGHTMARE is an Adult Fantasy novel of 95,000 words with a unique twist on the werewolf genre that reimagines them entirely, revitalizing them as a race of noble beasts rather than cursed monsters. I am a huge fan of rashomon effects! This sounds like a great one!

    Thank you for your time and consideration.
     

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