1. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,429
    Likes Received:
    4,410

    Query Letter Urban Fantasy Crime Query

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by Mckk, May 29, 2020.

    I don't have a title yet, so I'm just calling it by my MC's name. Below's the query:

    ----------------------------

    Lynx is an urban fantasy crime completed at 80k words.

    Detective Lynx Wu would stop at nothing to hunt down the Magician, a woman who steals and bottles the rarest of magic for sale to whomever is willing to pay - and there are a lot of people willing to pay from the city's underbelly scum, including the Jujus, men possessed by vengeful, ferocious animal spirits. It wasn't until Lynx's own brother was attacked by them that he realises how obsessed he is with the hunt - yet, much as his brother would like time with him, Lynx can't put his job on pause.

    The Jujus had appeared en-masse after an animal fighting ring burned down. They want to overrun the city, punish humans for all the pain they’d wrought on living creatures weaker than them. But for that, they need more. They need magic. And who better to visit than the Magician?

    What neither side knows is, the Magician is Sutyu Lam, a girl who can no longer stand the violence the Jujus are raining upon the city and, in turn, on the people she loves. By contacting Lynx with an anonymous tip, she unwittingly enters his personal world. Beneath the detective is a man whose passion she admires, the same passion driving him to hunt her criminal persona.

    It’s only a matter of time before he finds out. Meanwhile, the Jujus turn their attention to Lynx, the detective who is simply too meddlesome to ignore.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2020
  2. Steve Hill

    Steve Hill New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2020
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    What do you think of this?

    Detective Lynx Wu will stop at nothing to capture the Magician, a woman who steals and sells the rarest of magic to whomever is willing to pay - mainly to the city's underbelly scum. It isn't until Lynx's own brother is attacked by the Jujus, men possessed by vengeful, ferocious animal spirits that he realises how obsessed he is with this hunt.

    The Jujus appeared en-masse after an animal fighting ring burned down. They want to overrun the city and punish humans for all the pain they inflict on living creatures weaker than themselves. But to do that, they need magic. And who better to visit than the Magician?

    Unbeknownst to Lynx or the Jujus, the Magician is a girl called Sutyu Lam. She can no longer stand the violence the Jujus are raining upon the city and on the people she loves. By contacting Lynx in secret, she unwittingly enters his personal world. She admires his passion - the same passion that drives him to hunt her down.

    It’s only a matter of time before Lynx discovers Sutyu Lam’s true identity. As he searches for her, the Jujus turn their attention to him, the detective who is simply too meddlesome to ignore.
     
  3. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,429
    Likes Received:
    4,410
    @Steve - thank you for your thoughts and the effort you must have put to rewrite that. I can see why you made those choices, esp the first paragraph. Yours is smoother, but at the same time I don't see an obvious link between the Magician and the Jujus immediately with the way it's rephrased. Any thoughts on how I could remedy that? Or maybe you think the link is clear enough? I can't tell, 'cause I obviously know they're linked.

    Thank you again!!

    ETA: I'm implementing everything barring just one line btw. Your version is good! What on earth am I talking about? I'm plain copy and pasting this into my files. I feel bad lol. But thank you!
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2020
    Medazza likes this.
  4. Veloci-Rapture

    Veloci-Rapture Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2018
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Ohio
    That's a jawbreaker of a sentence. While long compound sentences are generally fine, in a query letter you've only got so much time to catch an agent's eye. A super-long opening sentence doesn't make that task any easier. I agree with Steve in that this sentence needs to be reworked.

    Also, pay attention to the phrase "there are a lot of people willing to pay from the city's underbelly scum". It took me three re-reads to figure out that you meant that there are a lot of people, who are scum, and who are from the city's underbelly, that are willing to pay. That construction is really clunky and confusing. Compare the original to: "The city's underbelly has a lot of scum willing to pay." That's still not great, but it's much easier to understand quickly.

    If you wanted to keep this sentence as-is, you'd need a colon after "Jujus". I wouldn't keep the sentence as-is, though. I'd specify that the Jujus are members of the scum of the city's underbelly as its own sentence.

    The last half of that sentence is unnecessary, unless there's a major choice Lynx has to make (with stakes for either option) between pursuing the case and spending time with his brother. If Lynx just can't, as it seems in this sentence, then it's not a choice and there's no reason to have it here. We assume that a man would want to support his brother in a time of trauma; it would only be notable enough for the query if Lynx didn't want to, for some reason, or if there's a consequence involved for not doing so.

    En masse is not hyphenated.

    The second sentence of this paragraph has a vague pronoun reference: "They want to overrun the city, punish humans for all the pain they'd wrought on living creatures weaker than them". The first "they" in this sentence is referring to the Jujus, and the reader is going to naturally assume that all the rest of the "they"s and "them"s are also referring to the Jujus. But the rest of the "they"s are referring to humans. It's another sentence that requires a second read-through to get.

    "But for that, they need more." More what? It can't be more magic; you've already implied the Jujus don't have magic at all, so they can't have more magic. But that's what the construction of this sentence makes it sound like, and the reader is apt to think they've hit a plot hole in the query letter. Consider: "But for that, they need something more than just brute strength. They need magic." or "But for that, they need more magic." Be more specific.

    The way this is phrased, I'm under the impression that the name Sutyu Lam is supposed to mean something to me. This is set up as some sort of reveal. But while it may be a reveal in the story, in the query it's contextless and meaningless. Either give the Magician's name the first time you mention her, or just omit it entirely.

    I like this plot. This is enticing. This is where the story really gets started; I'd start the query letter here. I was going to try to give an example, but after a few false starts I realized that The Magician isn't the MC here, and I was apparently framing her in that role. As far as this query letter is concerned, The Magician is the most enticing character. She's got choices she has to make and stakes for those choices. You need to make Detective Lynx equally intriguing as a character, or else The Magician is going to steal the spotlight in the manuscript.

    Or maybe it's not too late to make The Magician your MC? She certain seems to have more of the qualities of such than Lynx does. Either get Lynx's qualities onto the page here, or maybe consider shifting the focus of the manuscript itself.
     
  5. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,429
    Likes Received:
    4,410
    Thank you for your in-depth analysis. This is an old version that I realised wasn't as good as it could be after I decided to look further into plot structures and such. The manuscript is finished and onto the beta-reading stage now, and I have rewritten the query here, if you're interested:
    https://www.writingforums.org/threads/lynx-urban-fantasy-crime-own-voices-looking-for-betas.166665/

    I do have a habit of making everyone but the MC interesting - certainly hope I've avoided doing that this time lol. I agree the Magician is an enticing character - she's a major POV character in the actual book :) Happy to have you beta read if you feel up for it - I need someone with an eye for detail like this and willing to take the time to comment! I promise you my prose is far cleaner than my query! Happy to make it first 50 pages with no obligation to continue, if you wish.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice