Rowan hears the clinking of the iron shackles binding her wrists and curses herself for her foolishness. It is her own fault she is trapped in this holding cell in the castrum of Eboracum. Her consuming thirst for vengeance has landed her in this pit of darkness that reeks of human filth and despair. The stench is overwhelming; it is the stink of her failure. She has twice failed to kill the man responsible for the death of her adoptive father and the annihilation of her tribe: the Bishop Claudius.
She can see the barest traces of light squeezing through the gaps in the door. When that portal opens, she will meet her death. The question is will she die by the hands of Roman legionnaires or will Claudius deal with her personally? Only she knows the truth about him. The foundation of power he has carefully built through deceit and murder could crumble if she opens her mouth.
A small ember of hope flares in her breast. There is another weapon at her disposal, one more powerful than forged steel. She was born with the ability to move objects without touch, but there is a darker side to this power, a black gift she has kept
ROWAN OF THE MOOR is historical (with paranormal elements) complete at 100,000 words. It is a stand alone novel set in fourth-century Roman occupied Britain and written from
There's a big difference between 16 and 4 points of view. The alternative is to NOT mention the number at all.
This is a LOT better than the previous iteration. It clearly needs some polishing up (ember of hope?) but this is much closer to where you want to be. Good work.
Rowan may have been gifted with foresight and telekinetic abilities, but she must hide these curses under the guise of a boy. (Why?) Brittani and Romans may have coexisted somewhat peacefully for nearly three centuries, but Rowan's kind has been hunted near to extinction. (Why?) If she were exposed as a druid, even worse a female druid, her life would be forfeit. (Why?) If the Romans she lives among knew she could kill with a mere thought, they would never rest until she has been destroyed, or worse, enslaved and used for selfish gain. (AHA!)
You see from the insertions above that it isn't until the very last sentence that you actually tell me something enticing. In other words, start with that. Start with where the protagonist has a problem with something at stake.
You've also got some really clunky writing going on here: If the Romans she lives among for starters.
After she has a horrific vision of death and names the powerful Bishop Claudius as the murderer, she is exiled by her adoptive father. Hurt and angry Rowan represses her abilities and searches for her mother's people. She finds an abandoned village, a half-mad uncle, and even more questions about her past. When she discovers she was sired by Claudius, she believes herself to be tainted, evil, and sinks into a deep depression until a visit from a familiar apparition snaps her back to life.
There's a puzzling failure of logic here: "she represses her abilities." If she can repress her abilities why doesn't she do it long before the stakes got so high?
What familiar apparition?
And so far, she doesn't seem to be in much danger.
Rowan follows Claudius to the Roman city of Eboracum. She will stop at nothing to avenge her slain family and the man who had adopted her, even if she must commit murder and unleash a power she secretly fears and cannot control. Death would be preferable than failure, especially if Claudius carries out his plans for Britannia.
What? I thought Rowan was hanging out in the woods with the mad Uncle? And when did Dad kick the bucket?That's the problem with too many events in a query: you don't have enough room to connect the dots. You end up with a string of events not a plot. That's what you've got here, and it's the reason this would be a form rejection.
ROWAN OF THE MOOR is a Historical (with paranormal elements) single novel of 100,000 words and takes place in fourth-century, Roman occupied Britain.
I like the original version much better. This is a mess. It's full of events but no stakes. Rowan doesn't seem all that interesting beyond her ability to kill people with a single thought, which she doesn't appear to know how to wield with with any degree of control, or wouldn't Claudius be like dead already?
The first version was something I haven't seen a lot of. This version feels like last week's yogurt.
I'm not going to tell you what to do; it's up to you.
For the life of me, I can't seem to write a query from the main character's POV. I've tried it from the antagonist's side and find that I like this much better:
Claudius has always gained what he desired through murder and manipulation. Disguised as a priest, the former druid claws his way to through the Christian church in only a few years.
If he's disguised, he's not an actual priest. If he's working his way up the church hierarchy, the
He is now a bishop and sought after by the rich, Roman peerage of Britannia for his wondrous ‘miracles’. Claudius cannot help but laugh. These sheep do not know the difference between God’s work and dark magic. He is now bored and covets a new title: archbishop to the Roman city of Eboracum. When he kills the previous possessor of that position, Claudius realizes he made a mistake when he allows a boy who witnesses the murder to live.
He knew he should have killed that brat when he had the chance. This boy, Rowan, is not a he, but a she … and Claudius’ bastard daughter. She is a bandrui, a female druid, driven to avenge her clan and her adoptive father all whom he had helped destroy years ago. She is a formidable enemy with power that surpasses his own- and this is a battle he cannot afford to lose. He has no choice; she must die. When she is gone, all of Britannia will bow to him, just as before.
I didn't know all of Britannia bowed to him before. Surely that's his goal, not what has already happened?
ROWAN OF THE MOOR is a Paranormal/Historical (with romantic elements) single novel of 100,000 words and takes place in fourth-century, Roman occupied Britain.
You've got three categories here. And since I'm absolutely positive that Rowan and Claudius are not the romantic element, you can surely leave that out.
I thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
I think this is a pretty good query letter as it stands. The paranormal stuff is going to move it off my request list but I can see someone reading pages on this pretty easily.
But your note at the start makes me pause. If you can't write about the main character (and you don't say who it is but my guess is Rowan) you might need to think about the book differently. Maybe Claudius is the main character. He's certainly interesting enough. And he thinks he's the hero of this story, no doubt.
Query letters can do a lot of things, including make you crazy, but one of the unexpected things is it can reveal problems with the actual novel.
If Claudius is the main character we'll certainly need to understand why he is doing what he's doing and he'll certainly need to do some character development. You might need another pass at the novel with this re-focus in mind.
Your problem here isn't the query.
***my lack of knowledge of the 4th Century church is pretty clear here. Commenter caught it.