Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Query Critique: Fantasy

I agree that the material in this email can be posted and critiqued on the BookEnds Literary Agency blog. I give permission for it to be archived for the life of the blog.

Dear Query Queen:

Sworn off family in-fighting and rivalries, Apollo has spent the last decade in Portland, Maine, incarnated as research scientist Dr. Paul Archer.  Family’s not the only thing Apollo’s sworn off  he’s also done with women (of the mortal ilk), and most of all, Pantheon, a chess-like game the gods play with human lives.  So when Venus drops by unannounced, demanding that Apollo repay a debt dating back to the Trojan War by helping her pull off a move in the game, Apollo’s intention is to execute the move, wipe the slate clean, and get right back to work in the lab.   

What Apollo doesn’t expect is how much the pawn, college senior Theresa DiPaulo reminds him of his late mother Leto.  Or how Theresa’s implication in the game revives his long-buried feelings of guilt and failure stemming from Leto’s deicide at the hands of his stepmother  in the very round of Pantheon in which he came into Venus’s debt.  Nor does he expect how compelled he feels to intervene to save Theresa from the same fate.  As the game unfolds, and the parallels to that long-ago round of Pantheon mount up, Apollo gets sucked deeper and deeper in, until he can no longer run from the intrafamilial conflict he left behind when he abdicated Olympus and took refuge DownEast.  Apollo’s got a plan  if only Theresa would open up and let him in, if only she’d stop trying to protect him, if only she loved him back, pulling it off would be so much easier.

I am seeking representation of Playing God, a contemporary fantasy with a romance component, complete at 125,000 words.Playing God picks up where mythology leaves off, bringing the petty and not-so-petty grievances of the gods, their slights and affairs and ambitions, to play out in the modern world.  Zeus, Hera, Ares, Artemis and Mercury all engage, playing for the fate of not just Theresa, but the world.  While Playing God stands alone, I envision it as the first in a series about the Pantheon games, and I have a draft of the next episode.  

I am an attorney (Harvard Law School), real estate broker, and proud alum of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, the prototype for the college Theresa attends, and where much of my novel is based.

As directed by your website, I am including the first few pages of my manuscript below.  I’d be happy to send you the manuscript upon request.  I appreciate your consideration, and look forward to hearing from you soon.



You should know that this is typically not my type of story. I like fantasy, but tend not to gravitate toward stories this closely set in mythology. For that reason I would pass on this. I'm only telling you this to give you an idea of how truly subjective this business can be.

That being said, I think this is a strong query. I really only made edits to tighten this.




Elissa M said...

I think it's a strong query as well, and I'd likely buy this book even though I prefer epic fantasy.

Good luck with this!

AJ Blythe said...

I had to look up deicide, although I imagine that you'd be submitting to agents who rep this genre, and therefore would probably know this already.

I love fantasy, but more the David Eddings end of the spectrum. But your query sounds intriguing (I like the Pantheon games aspect). Good luck with it!