One page Query letter, Critque and help welcome.

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Jul 3, 2008
A few Notes before you read if you will:

I would like you to be honest on your opinions and really do appreciate any who is willing to read this. KEEP IN MIND, I have wrote this as a sales pitch (as that is the general consensus of a Query letter if I am not mistaken) and do not wish to offend anyone.

If you write and you have Elves/Thieves or anything of that matter it is not a dis to you in any way. I am trying to make my point, I hope not to say anything in it that reflects on anyone else's writing :).

On another note, I am completely new to writing query letters so honest critique would be a boon. Thank you very much, I appreciate your time in reading this. Also please keep in mind this prints out to 1 full page, I am thinking that may be too much, though if that is all the Agent requests, is this good?

Dear (Agent)

I am seeking representation for my three-part fantasy adventure novel, “Pathway's of a Hero,” book one subtitled “Facing Corruption.” I have finished writing and editing the first book and I am currently working on the sequel.

I believe a story should have elements that make it unique, with a good strong plot, and also a nice side of mystery, adventure and heroism never hurts. Though, in fantasy, I have noticed that some things are rarely explained. For instance, “What makes magic work and what different ways are there to use it?” This part of my work takes readers on the inner workings of magic. There is also a whole new way, within this story, in which magic is applied in a more “physical” sense.

Allow me to add another. Do we often see in fantasy something different than sword & sorcery, or even cunning and guile? Where the characters could literally wield their soul through the blade, yet still have you know how this works in an interesting way? Wouldn't it be nice if this was all wrapped up with rich characters and none of the same old, sometimes nearly flat, minor characters? With a nice deep plot, bigger picture and interesting story?

Enter, Pathway's of a Hero: Facing corruption. This book, at it's heart, battles with corruption and what it can do to anyone, set in a rich fantasy setting. It shows the horrid truth of corruption in an outwardly manner as well as inwardly. This story also shows the power of having faith and determination. Hunt (the hero of the story) is of a “common bloodline” and inexperienced in life being only in his earlier twenties. Now, imagine a place where any “commoner” was not worth much of anything. Where a wall was built that kept all out and just as importantly “all in” the land.

Now try to imagine young Hunt finding out from his father “Peter” that he was sought after since birth, sought after to be killed for a foul sacrifice that would affect all the lands. Finding out that he would have to leave and go on a dangerous journey to be trained illegally as a Warrior of the White Blades. Then imagine, even after all this, that the once Holy Order of the White Blades had become corrupt, and by the very figure that seeked Hunt's death. The plots and stories for every other character stretches just as deep, and the things that come to light will either shape the future lands of Bestel, or destroy them.

I personally believe the market now holds plenty of great fantasy stories. Though, I also believe that a lot of these fantasy stories are filled with the same tired old things. While some ideas in a story are good, there are some that are way too common, “Elves & Thief's ring a bell?” I believe the market appreciates new ideas and different concepts that are good. I also believe the market is willing to accept the familiar, but with a twist. This story contains both, with a great plot and a generous helping of surprises.

Some about me: I have been writing for awhile now, but have never thought about getting a book published. The reason? I wanted to wait until I had a story that was alive and flowing. I wanted it to be better than good, I wanted it to be better than great, I wanted it to be fantastic! I react to criticism not with a grain of salt but with a will to improve. I have scrapped entire chapters, even if I was proud of them, because of others respected opinions who would honestly say: “This is very good, but I don't think it's very great.” Afterwards it always comes out better. So, I cannot bring the credentials of what many people can, but I can bring, determination and the will to improve and learn.

I would like to thank you for your consideration of this story and your time.I look forward to hearing from you soon and, if willing on your side, a new friend & partner. Best Wishes, Sean Patrick.
I think it's important that, rather than try and convince the agent your novel stands apart from the rest by literally telling them, you allow them to decide. One thing you never want to do is come off as if you're trying to subvert the genre and its archetypes; Rowling did this with her Harry Potter series, and it did nothing but garner negative press.

Keep it simple and intriguing without insulting the genre which you're trying to break into.
A brief bio, some background information and a synopsis. That's all you should need. Explaining that your book is good because everyone else's is rubbish is only going to annoy people.
You might want to have a gander at a thread in the pubishing forum entitled "Query Letter Questions".

...for some reason this posted before I was finished typing! I was also going to say that this draft doesn't really give a clear idea of what your book is actually about. And I would completely scrap the over use of "imagine this" - I very much doubt a publisher or agent is going to want to be told what to think from a query letter. As Commonmind said, they will make up their own mind. I get what you're trying to do, but it's far too flowery for a query letter, and I don't understand your overuse of quotation marks. Cut to the meat and save the exposition for the prose, because that's where you prove that your story is not good or great, but fantastic.
You might want to have a gander at a thread in the pubishing forum entitled "Query Letter Questions".

...for some reason this posted before I was finished typing! I was also going to say that this draft doesn't really give a clear idea of what your book is actually about. And I would completely scrap the over use of "imagine" - I very much doubt a publisher or agent is going to want to be told what to think from a query letter.

Definitely - there's some really great folks helping me out over there. One recommended I pick up a free ebook at entitled: How to Write a Great Query Letter, by Noah Lukeman.

I'm still learning the art, but that's a text to read and study.
Good advice from everyone so far. For what it's worth, here's my two cents (guessing worth 2c, but with inflation???)

You need a hook, synopsis, bio, closing - that's it. The query you've listed doesn't really tell what your story is about.

The hook is similar to a one sentence blurb.

The synopsis should be nearly the entire story spelled out in one paragraph.

Don't forget your bio, but stick with whatever pertains to your writing, ie. credits, education, etc.

Thank the agent for taking time tor ead your letter.

Put title, word count and contact information at the top. (oh, and don't bother with your opinion of your book - obviously you think it's good)
As you have said. I shall scrap the entirety of it and push another once more. I will rewrite it and see where it takes me, if I pride myself in one thing it is that I do not ignore others advice and think, "oh I know it's good, what do they know!" especially if it is more than one!

So what I got so far from all these posts are:

Cut to the meat and save the exposition

I need a hook, synopsis, bio, closing in my Query letter, that's it.

Take a look at other areas of the forums like "Query Letter Questions"

It's far too flowery for a query letter.

Anything else that may help in this process. Remember I am here to learn and will take heed to anything that is helpful info. While I have written before, like I said in my first post I have never Query lettered. Thanks so far for the very helpful and professional responses.
Sounds about right. Just keep on plugging away and good luck finding your agent and with getting published. We'll all be waiting to see how it turns out.
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