Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dark Visions Query

And another try at this query. Here it is.

Dear Agent,

After Aaron failed the Ordeal – the final test to become a magician, those with the lesser side of magic – he lost everything he ever held dear.

Abandoned by the people he once thought loved him and clinging to the edge of sanity, twenty-five-year-old Aaron forsakes magic entirely. But when magic begins to fade from the world, his father tracks Aaron down, and forces him to learn to control his gift of foresight. As Aaron’s visions intensify, they reveal a war that will wipe all magic from the planet, including the last living wizard... his grandfather.

Every effort Aaron makes to change the future only leads him closer to the wars that loom on the horizon. Somehow he must find a way to stop them – but that means embracing his birthright, facing a dragon he fears may eat him, and becoming a wizard himself.

Great. More magic. Just what he didn’t want.

DARK VISIONS is a fantasy novel completed at 99,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Rachel Hert


  1. my niece, your sister-in-law, Ailene referred me to your blog. I, too, am a writer, and I know how you feel. stories grab us by the ankles and pull us in, and before we know it, it is our own reality. Fantasy is my favorite genre. i like this post and the promise of a good story.

    She suggested that you might be interested in my writer's blog. we have about a dozen or so writers that are a part of it. we post our stories and read and comment on the stories of others. we post a new topic the 1st of each month. short stories, poetry, excerpts from longer stories are all welcome. if you are interested check it out.

  2. Hi Rachel,

    Looks like you're new to blogging so I'll be as helpful as I can with your first blogfest. First paragraph works fine, but IMHO, cut the last sentence off. It adds nothing, and if anything. It's stating the same as the previous sentence, just worded shorter.

    I'm going to ignore the second two paragraphs, as they seem solid enough right now. But here's just some thoughts. What is it about the father that makes him want to bring Aaron back? Is it his own pride for having a son who wants to quit? Seems that way, but you might want to spice it up more to entice me further. Remember, that's the whole theory behind a query: to entice the agent.

    While I love the voice in the last paragraph about "the dragon being nice," it's too elementary. Just word it differently, but keep the spunk of Aaron seeing being eaten before the fact a gift.

    Hope this helps,

    In My Write Mind

  3. Welcome to the blogosphere Rachel! It's a great place and I hope you'll feel welcome here.

    Seems like I'm following Justin or Elena around today. I agree with Justin about dropping the last sentence in your first paragraph because you don't need it.

    I really liked the idea, but asked many of the same questions Justin did. And if the grandfather is the last wizard, what happened to all the others? Who is testing Aaron?

    When I read this I thought it sounded like a YA book and was surprised it wasn't. I think that is because your voice is so lighthearted. Not a bad thing, but feel free to add some grit to it.

    Hope to see more of you around this writing world.

    My Writing Journey

  4. Hi,

    Welcome to the crazy world of blogfesting.

    Although the task of a writing a good query letter is all about conveying plot and introduction of lead characters within one page, this is your window of opportunity. The old adage of "less is more" is not first order of a a query. Think "More than less" because you have to reveal all the vital elements, yet still keeping the query succinct!

    There are elements missing in this query - as mentioned above by Justin and Charity. It's a case of recycling what works, avoidance of tautology, and threading in the missing elements. Hope that helps. ;)


  5. Welcome to blogging, Rachel. I concur with earlier comments and nothing new to offer. I think the premise is pretty interesting. So after you tighten it up, should be ready for querying.

  6. LOL, unfortunately, I have nothing else to add! I totally thought this was a YA, too, and that last line, while funny, didn't add to anything. Sorry I don't have more. Good luck!

  7. We are all rookies in some ways, Rachel. Read as many interviews with the agent to whom you're submitting as possible. Shape your query to fit the personality of that agent.

    Personally, I think humor is never a bad way to end a query. Leave the agent with a smile. The agent is weary, eye-sore, and looking for something out of the ordinary. Give it to her.

    Be concise like a TV Guide summation, break up the long paragraphs, and write it in the voice of your novel. I wish you great luck in your publishing dreams. Roland

  8. I thought you did a great job. The voice made me think it was a YA novel but if so its a bit long. I think you've got a great premise here and its something I would definitely read!

  9. I've got to agree with everyone else. I totally thought this was YA when I read it.

    And I really agree with what Justin said about the last dragon paragraph. I like it, but try tweaking it a little and it can be a lot better.

    All in all, you did a pretty awesome job and I'd love to read your book :)

  10. Notsure how to reword tha last sentence. Any suggstions would be appreciated.

  11. Hi Rachel. It sounds like an intriguing novel and this is a pretty good query for it.

    I'd just flag a few small points

    It does seem incongruous to have a test to become a wizard when there is only one left alive. (suggests that the process is automated!!)
    I agree with everyone else about losing last sentence of P1
    Isn't his birthright to be a wizard? In which case P3 repeats itself! The reference to the dragon eating him is what makes the piece seem YA. To an adult, it is not the eating that we fear so much as the being lacerated, torn apart, seared by flames and disembowelled (not necessarily in that order!) Remember that the voice of your query should match if possible the voice of your novel.

    As for the last sentence, it did make me smile. Which is great, but really only if it is a comic novel (or one that has a lighter touch). If your novel is a life and death struggle where you are putting your MC through the wringer, it would be out of place.

    Hope these thoughts help!

    If it any encouragement, I have re-written my query twice since people started commenting!

    All the best


  12. You've already received some great feedback so I'll be brief. How exactly Aaron damaged by magic? Why is his father so passionate about Aaron learning to control his magic? What is the difference between a magician and a wizard? And if this is YA, then the closing is fine, otherwise I would delete the Great. More magic paragraph.

    All in all, this sounds like a great story. Good luck!

  13. Hi Rachel, I'm making me rounds to everyone this week. Sorry I missed the original version, but I'll take a go at your revision.

    Personally, I'd like to see Aaron's name appear early in the introductory sentence. Possibly think about rewording it slightly so we identify with Aaron first and the Ordeal/magician thing second. After Aaron failed the Ordeal – the final test to become a magician; those with the lesser side of magic – he lost everything he ever held dear.

    The overall sound of the query does come across as YA. If it is then you should label it as a YA Fantasy. If not, then maybe throw in a reference to Aaron's age to ground the reader. "Abandoned by the people he once thought loved him and clinging to the edge of sanity, twenty-four-year-old Aaron forsakes magic entirely." (For instance)

    Otherwise, I think you have some good stuff here to work with. And welcome to the blogosphere!

  14. I like Tracy's version of the first line. You also need a few more commas: But when magic begins to fade from the world (add comma) his father tracks Aaron down, drags him back to the magicians, and forces him to learn to control his gift of foresight. As Aaron’s visions intensify (add comma) they reveal a war that will wipe all magic from the planet, including the last living wizard... his grandfather.

    This version is much better!

  15. Thank you Tracy and Nicole. Your comments are invaluable. i'll repost momentarily.
    Thank you everyone for helping me get to this point.

  16. Oh, I like the premise of this book. It sounds very interesting. You have some really good feedback already.

    And as far as the 'dragon' line. just switch eat him to something more visceral. You're tryting to evoke fear in the adult reader so give them some stronger verbs. How would you feel if a you were facing a dragon?

    I love the last line of the piece. If the book hinges on humor and intensity then leave it, if not you may want to maintain the voice of the novel and drop it.


  17. Hello! New follower and fellow query blogfester here.

    I love the premise of this book. I would read it.

    I really only have a couple of things I would change about it (we all have that, at least):

    P1 - It threw me a little when you added, "those with the lesser side of magic." I don't think you need it. If you feel it's important, rework it to fit it in.

    P2 - You say, "when his father tracks Aaron down." It makes it seem like Aaron is a third party. You should just say, "when his father tracks him down."

    P3 - You say, "leads him closer to the wars that loom on the horizon." Just make that, "leads him closer to the wars looming on the horizon. Instead of saying the dragon will EAT him, just say DEVOUR him.

    After that, start querying in the new year. Go to the Query Tracker, make a list of agents and start from the bottom. You might get feedback along the way that will help you wow the agent at the top of your list.

    Great luck to you!