Monday, July 12, 2010

Query Critique--Help Wanted

Queries. Oh, the nightmare! The necessary evil we must survive to catch that coveted agent. I have two and am working on a third one. My goal is to try a few different approaches, find what works the best for intriguing, hooking, and reeling in the agent of my dreams. I'm trying to follow that standard set of "rules", but I'm not super happy with it. That's why I'm going to write a third one that breaks a few of those rules.

Anyway, here are the first two. Please help me out by answering a few questions in the comments.
  • Which do you like better? 
  • Why?
  • What's missing?
  • What doesn't work?
  • Feel free to make any other comments you think will be helpful in this thought process.

Thanks!

Query #1 (Written months ago):
Dear _______,

Talia Shannon feels safe within her scientific world, but her very essence is magical. From birth she has been able to absorb energy from the suns rise, communicate with the natural world around her, and receive prophetic dreams. Fearful of discovery, she keeps her talents hidden while trying to reconcile the two halves of her life. Shortly after beginning a new work assignment, Talia is accused of treason by a commander in the Royalist army. Commander Sutton comes dangerously close to her secret and accidentally reveals his ability to sense other people’s emotions. Talia must learn to trust Sutton in order to save their world from the real traitors—the Dragnot.

The Dragnot have made contact with the aliens of Talia’s dreams. This race of beings, created by a mage from Sendek's past, has returned with superior science and technology to claim the planet as their own. Talia unwillingly finds herself leading a revival of magic with Sutton’s help in order to give the people of Sendek a fighting chance.

Sendek is an 85,000 word Science Fantasy novel. A complete manuscript is available at your request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Query #2 (Written this past Weekend):
Dear _______,

As her nightmares of invasion and death become reality, a lonely scientist embraces forgotten magic to save her world from an ancient evil.

Talia Shannon bears the mark of the mage—colored eyes in a sea of brown. In a world that turned its back on magic in favor of science, she dedicated herself to becoming the top researcher and engineer at the Space Exploration Foundation. Unable to warn the military, she has spent her life searching the stars for the scaly creatures that haunt her prophetic dreams. Her hope? To outrun her destiny.

A loner by habit and out of need to hide her magical talents, Talia’s life is turned upside down by a commander in the Royalist army. Bearing the mark of the mage, he has secrets of his own to protect. Together they must survive the invasion, wake a dragon, raise an army of new mage, and learn the spell to save their planet from the Draguman. This race of creatures, created by a mage from Sendek's past, have returned with superior science and technology to claim the planet for themselves.

When science fails to protect their way of life, magic becomes their only hope.

Sendek is an 84,000 word Science Fantasy novel. A complete manuscript is available at your request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
 And yes, the word count did go down about a thousand words after all the revisions.