If the Ancients knew what Blackwater had been through, they
would have asked someone else to save the world.
The Ancients, a race of
Phoenixian beings born of fire, and until their fall, thought to be immortal,
had prophesied that a man born of water would come to save the world from Chaos
and its minions.
I like this. It sets up some expectations for Blackwater. You don't need to explain the Ancients in the query. Keep the focus on Blackwater.
Blackwater knew the words of the prophecy all to well. He
had been forced to memorize them as a child.
was a Key Master, the last Key Master, able
to travel anywhere in the blink of an eye. All the other Key Masters have been where (you mean were here, not where)
hunted down and killed, their power thought to (too) great to be allowed to exist.
Blackwater was is walking death; his powers, coupled with the training he received
from his father, made him one of the deadliest men in the world.
Present tense provides an energy to your query that can really help.
So Blackwater IS, not Blackwater was, made him/make him
Now tucked away from the rest of the world in a forest where
time moves much slower, Blackwater wonders what good power is if you cannot
save the ones that mattered most
. So many had died trying to save him.
Blackwater’s father taught him that all life was precious, that he should
preserve life and that he should not kill, unless absolutely necessary and in
the defense of his own life.
And here you just fall off the story line in a big ol splat. "ones who matter most" "so many died" are all so non-specific as to be uninteresting. Uninteresting is death in a query.
And in fact, none of this really matters; you get to the gist of the book below.
Yet all he wanted to do was kill, kill those who had
taken the lives of so many of the people he cared about. Doing so would
disgrace his father's memory, and that was something he was not willing to do.
So here he stood, still unable to preserve the life of anyone but
In a twist of fate Blackwater finds himself in the
company of the Ancient forest god Arbor. Arbor reveals to Blackwater that the
world is dying. Blackwater learns that the only way to save the world lies
beneath it, in the underground city of Taenaria. The city is thousands of leagues
from the forest where he now resides. In order to save the world of Tuarian,
Blackwater must make a Keyway and travel to the Eastern Reaches, down into the
depths of Taenaria.
I really can't tell you how much I hate the idea of a forest god named Arbor. It's like naming a dog Dog. It's funny if you're trying to be ironic. It's not really very funny here.
In Taenaria, Blackwater’s choices go from bad to worse, when
he must weigh his life against his newly found companions. If Blackwater saves
his companions at the cost of his life, the prophecy might never be fulfilled
and Chaos will reign, if he lets them die, the world will lose the only chance
it has against the Chaos that is coming.
Because we know nothing about the companions I'm all for letting them die die die. In other words, I need something here to make me care about them. Are they sharks? Unicorn sharks? Let them live.
Fair maidens? Yea, not so much. Fair maidens are the source of much of the world's troubles.
The Key Masters Chronicles: Book I, The Last Key Master,
complete at 100,843 words, is Science Fiction Fantasy.
Thank you for your
I'm still seeing a LOT of typos here.
Typos like this are just death in a query because you're not doing this for stylistic reasons, you're just making mistakes. When I see things like too/to, and where/were I know I'll find them in the manuscript.
You simply must figure out how to handle this problem before you query further. No matter how enticing your novel sounds, this kind of mistake will mean form rejections.
This is a vast improvement from the initial query, but you've got some problems to fix here.
Dear Query Shark,
I don’t know if I can save her. I’m not sure I can save myself. I have failed so many times.My friends, my family, they all had a chance to live but I was never fast enough, never strong enough.
Because you've started with "I", my impression is you are talking about yourself. This sounds like a memoir.
Now they're gone, taken from me, their lives no longer bound to this dying land. Yet I remain, why, for what? To fulfill some Prophecy spoken four-thousand seasons ago.
Now it sounds like a memoir with religious overtones. This is where I stop reading. Two paragraphs and eight sentences. You're done.
This is a textbook illustration of why you do not write a query in the voice of your character. It's confusing. And when I am confused, I stop reading. I don't stop to try to figure it out. I don't skim past this to see what comes next. I stop reading, and go on to the next query. You'd get a form rejection from me; you'll get a vast silence from agents who practice No Response Means No.
The Ancients couldn't possibly know me, or what I’ve been through, if they did they would’ve asked someone else to save the world.
When you revise this, you should consider starting at (3). Use the character's name instead of "me" and "I". I like the phrase "if they did, they would have asked someone else to save the world." That sentence snags my attention. I'm interested to see why someone else should have been asked to save the world. (Too bad I wouldn't see it with this version of course)
Blackwater was a Key Master. Being blessed with the power to fashion magical keys, Blackwater could conjure Keyways, to travel from place to place in the blink of an eye. All the Key Masters that traversed the vast land of Taurian, have been hunted down and killed, their craft falling into myth and legend, yet Blackwater, the last Key Master, still lives.
You've got a lot of words here to say some pretty simple things: Blackwater can travel from place to place in the blink of an eye because he's a Key Master. The last Key Master; all the others have been hunted down and killed.
See the difference? You don't need all this information in the query. I'm going to assume that most of the backstory, and world building, will happen in the novel. Right now I'm keen to see whether you've got a plot, and whether the writing is taut.
Also, most queries are written in present tense even if the novel is not. Present tense gives you a boost of energy and verve here: Blackwater IS a Key Master.
Aida cannot remember her name, nor where she comes from, or how she came to be with child. Confused and afraid, she stumbles into Blackwater’s forest. Aida is taken by the Taenarians who wish to steal the magic her child carries. Blackwater must now choose whether to use his Key Magic to rescue her, or watch another innocent lose their life because he did nothing to prevent it. Traveling into the depths of Taenaria, Blackwater seeks to rescue Aida, whose womb carries the essence of rebirth and the key to saving this dying world.
oh yuck yuck yuck. Here is where I lose interest very quickly. We've gone from something that looked appealing "wrong choice to saving the world" to saving some sort of fecund damsel in distress. (I'm really over the whole damsel in distress thing, but that's probably just me)
You've set up Blackwater's choice but there's nothing at stake. He saves her and what bad thing happens to him? He doesn't save her, and what worse thing will happen? Unless Blackwater has skin in the game, it's just a series of events with no tension.
Even without the problems in (1) and (2) I'd say no to this query because there's no sense of what's at stake.
Also notice you dropped those evil Taenarians in without any explanation, and those poor doddering Ancients from (3) have disappeared.
If you think of a query as a piece of flash fiction it might help. It has to hold together as a complete entity. You don't have to spell everything out (your reader will intuit things) but the query needs to be seamless. Mentioning a character only once leaves a gap. Seamless = no gaps.
The Key Masters Chronicles: Book I, The Last Key Master, complete at 111,843 words, is commercial fiction.
It's not commercial fiction; it's SFF.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
The first thing to do is make sure your novel has something at stake. Even if you fix the query letter, it won't do you any good to send me a novel with nothing at stake. What's at stake for Blackwater needs to be clear in the first 20 pages or so. Generally I'll give a requested full about 50 pages to hook me, but you really want that to happen as soon as possible.
Once you've got the novel in shape, revise the query to remove the character's POV, and tighten up the paragraphs. Use present tense.