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  1. Fiender_

    Fiender_ Active Member

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    Query Letter Query Letter for Adult Portal Fantasy

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by Fiender_, Feb 9, 2021.

    Hello! I'm looking for comments and opinions for this query letter. I've already run it through several revisions based on comments I got from a separate forum, but some more polish never (or, almost never) hurts!

    EDIT: Newest version in post #8!

    __________
    Nature-mage Madyna protects her island from the serpentine leviathans dwelling off its shores. Having studied the creatures since childhood, her expertise allows her people to co-exist with them inside the barrier that separates them all from the outside world. But when that barrier fractures, a ship encroaches upon her home: an unsuspecting cruise liner bound for Hawaii.

    The leviathans attack the vessel on sight. Madyna intervenes but barely saves a fraction of the passengers. She has long questioned her worthiness as warden of these creatures, her doubts cemented after failing to prevent the deaths of hundreds. Her guilt demands that she protect the survivors. When rescue arrives, she swiftly informs the ships how to avoid the leviathans. But the outside world knows only that the cruise ship went missing, and her warnings of the impossible creatures go unheeded.

    The leviathans strike again, and after sinking the rescue ships, they cross the barrier and make the outside world their new hunting grounds. Trapped between her conscience and the limits of her power, Madyna must to secure rescue for the cruise castaways. And she must tap her years of study to stop the colossal serpents’ rampage, lest the survivors she swore to save no longer have homes to return to.

    BENEATH THE FEET OF COLOSSI is adult fantasy from the viewpoint of a set-upon mage, tasked with keeping giant monsters from ravaging the world. Last Airbender meets Godzilla. Complete at 100,000 words, it stands alone but has series potential.

    Based out of Rochester, New York, I am a debut LGBT author. I write stories with diverse perspectives, across a broad spectrum of science fiction and fantasy genres.

    __________
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2021
  2. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

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    I am confused as to how the barrier fractured, and why Medyna feels so guilty, was maintaining the barrier her job? Or was it just looking after the creatures?
     
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  3. Fiender_

    Fiender_ Active Member

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    Thanks for reading! The situation with the barrier is definitely a big deal in the story, but it's also something I wasn't sure I had room in the query to go in depth into. :S
     
  4. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Active Member

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    I'd consider removing 'them all' and replace it with just 'them', removing 'all' which may seem redundant, but I think you may have it to emphasize 'all' as being the people AND the leviathans.

    Maybe even replace 'them all' with something like 'their fragile ecosystem'

    This looks like it's missing a verb, but I'm assuming that's just from when you transcribed it to the forum.
     
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  5. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Contributor

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    Hey,

    I wish for personal stakes. What does Madyna have to gain/loose by being a guardian? Is it just something she does? In your second and third paragraph I get a hint that she feels guilt and swore to protect, but if you tell me why it's she personally feels responsible I'll be more engaged.

    I'd consider rewording the first paragraph to emphasise Madyna's personality stronger. Show me that saving her island means something deeply personal to her instead of general, and I'll be pulling for her when you tell me about the breakout of the Leviathans.
     
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  6. Fiender_

    Fiender_ Active Member

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    Thanks, Bruce, Francis and Lifeline for commenting! Here is an updated version of the query, with some notes on my thought process below it:
    __________
    Nature-mage Madyna protects her people from the serpentine leviathans dwelling off their shores. Despite years of study and practice, she can only assuage their aggression, unable to subdue them as her people expect. The serpents lash out, killing wildlife and sinking boats. With each outburst, both Madyna and her island’s peace inch towards breaking, and they’re not alone. The barrier they rely on to prevent invasion has finally cracked, allowing the first intruder in millennia: an unsuspecting cruise liner bound for Hawaii.

    The leviathans attack the vessel on sight. Madyna’s intervention almost gets her killed and she only saves a fraction of the passengers. Hundreds dead, because of her shortcomings. Madyna’s honor and guilt demand that she get the survivors home. When rescue arrives, she swiftly informs the ships how to avoid the leviathans. But the outsider world only knows that a ship went missing. Unaware of the monstrous culprits, her warnings go unheeded.

    The leviathans sink the rescue ships before crossing the barrier to make the outside world their new hunting grounds. Trapped between her conscience and her limits, Madyna must secure rescue for the survivors under her care. And she must tap her years of study to stop the colossal serpents’ rampage, lest the survivors she swore to save no longer have homes to return to.
    __________

    My main goal here was to try injecting more of Madyna's personality and mindset into the query, though I'm worried this will only come across as a list of impersonal details. :S
    Working on that facet, I also found some room to touch on the barrier a little bit more, hopefully making it more clear that maintaining the barrier is not really Madyna's job, but the fallout from its failing does affect her.
     
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    I think the pitch is a bit on the long side. The best queries I’ve seen make the pitch in a paragraph and focus on making the editor want to get their hands on the book and read it. The intent isn’t to summarize a lot of the story, IMO. Too much summary here for my taste, and not a pitch that makes me think “wow, I need to read this.”
     
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  8. Fiender_

    Fiender_ Active Member

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    I did send out some queries with a version very similar to the last version I posted, with no success. I've come back with a new version. I tried parsing down some of the 'bigger picture' plot stuff to focus on the things that motivate the main character.

    _____
    Dear ,

    My name is [Name], and I am a debut author seeking representation for my adult fantasy novel. BENEATH THE FEET OF COLOSSI takes place on a secret Pacific archipelago where one overworked mage stands between giant monsters and the world they want to feast upon.

    Madyna is the latest mage assigned to protect her people from the serpentine leviathans in their waters. But despite years of training, she struggles to pacify their rage. The creatures lash out, slaying wildlife, sinking ships, breaking Madyna’s heart through violence she is supposed to prevent. And with the leviathans’ outbursts already escalating, a vessel happens upon her concealed home: a Hawaii-bound cruise ship with no clue of the mess they’ve sailed into.

    Madyna fears for the passengers’ lives but she is stretched too thin. She summons the elder mages to help, but their biggest concern is keeping the islands hidden from the outside world. To them, the cruise passengers are the problem… and the leviathans are the gruesome solution.

    Trapped between her loyalty and her conscience, Madyna intervenes against her own leaders. But in the resulting struggle, the leviathans discover the passage out of the archipelago. Madyna must tap her years of study to stop the colossal serpents from turning the world beyond into their new feeding grounds — lest the survivors she saved no longer have a world to return to.

    BENEATH THE FEET OF COLOSSI (100,000 words) stands alone but has series potential. I’ve included (X materials). Thanks for reading this, and I hope to hear from you!

    Sincerely,

    Brian M. Start
    _____

    EDIT: Just updated this version of the post, as there hadn't been any replies.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2021

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