Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Pitchwars Mentor Bio/Wishlist 2017




Photo of myself, wearing goofy hat and made as small as possible. And yes this post is recycled.


Qualifications:


And so begins the brag-fest. Let's get this part over:

First, the oh-so-astonishing and exciting bio:


Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two college-going kids. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, Picture Book Party, and Sun versus Snow. Her Birth of Saints trilogy, starting with Grudging (November 17, 2015) and Faithful (November 15, 2016) and Steadfast (December 2017)  is published by Harper Voyager. Another epic fantasy, Kindar's Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing.

Find me on twitter at @Michelle4Laughs


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I'm a fan of all things SFF. I'm into Star Wars, Star Trek, Hunger Games, all the Marvel movies and even the DC movies. I mourned when Agent Carter got cut and laughed my ass off at the first Sharknado. I'm your girl for a Terminator marathon or Firefly or Supernatural. I'm a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan and don't care what it costs to go to the World Series (again). I love football--BEARS!--but turn up my nose at basketball unless my son is there. I'm a bookworm and always have a book going. 

As for music, I'm more on the classic rock or even current rock side rather than pop. I like Styx and Billy Squier, Robert Plant, Theory of a Deadman and yes, even Nickelback.   

Moving on.


I'm not going to fill this post with gifs. I'm not going to shout and boast. Simply put, I know contests. I know agents--lots of agents. I've hooked many writers up with their agents through contests--or helped them on their way so they could do it themselves.


Many of them are now PitchWars mentors. They are very talented writers, and I'm thankful I happened to spot them.

If you don't know, I'm the host of Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, New Agent and Sun versus Snow as well as Picture Book Party. I also post interviews with agents on my blog to help querying writers. I've been running contests for five years.

My contests have resulted in dozens of success stories and many books. Check out this Goodreads list of books that came out of my contests. I've read thousands of entries and know what works to catch an agent's eye in contests. I can spot unique.


All four of my adult mentees from two years of Pitchwars have signed with agents. (They are with New Leaf and The Kimberly Cameron Agency). 

I'm an expert with query letters. I can help you polish it and give it voice that will help you long after the contest is over. Let's face it, adult-age entries don't do so well in contests (that's proven), but that's a different story when it comes to querying after a contest ends. I know what to do if you get an offer and I can help you while you're on submission.

You want the real-deal mentor, then you want me. (Sorry other mentors.)


I. 


SPOT. 

WINNERS.

Enough said. I humbly drop the mic and walk away.


My Editorial Style:

I prefer to work by email or chat. I'm not a fan of talking on the phone. I don't ask for a synopsis, but you will need one for the agents. I always remember that this is your baby and the ultimate decision on changes is yours.

I tend to ask for partials and then a full during submission. This might hurt me, but I won't be giving feedback unless I request addition pages. I just don't have time because of my other contests.

You can probably tell from this post that I'm pretty straightforward. I'll come flat out and tell you what I think needs improvement.

I usually start my final mentees with line edits and big picture notes on the full manuscript as their first task using track changes in Word. We do as many rounds as necessary. Then we move on to working on query letters and pitches as those take less time.

I'll stick with you after the contest is over to get you signed with an agent. I can offer advice when you do get that Call. I'm also looking for mentees that become critique partners and help mentor my contests. 

What am I looking for?





This year, like last, I am mentoring in the adult category. 


And I'm being very selective in what I'm looking for: fantasy and a few types of science fiction (light science fiction, dystopian/post apocalypse).

I want adult fantasy and especially adult epic fantasy, though I'll look at all other kinds of fantasy. (And truthfully, only one of my three picks over the lasts two years has been an epic fantasy.) That's urban fantasy, contemporary fantasy, historical fantasy, magical realism, steampunk, gas-light, dark fantasy each and every kind of sub-genre of fantasy. If you have a thriller or mystery with strong speculative fiction elements, I could go for that (and have two years ago).


Don'ts:


-I do like some romance, but I'm not your person if your story includes tons of it. If the MC bats her eyes and moons over guys/girls a lot, it's not for me. I don't like romance as the main plot in fantasy. I do enjoy it as a sub-plot. 


-The romance I do like tends to be a will they/won't they attraction. Think Luke and Lorelei in the early seasons of Gilmore Girls. 

-I'm not your person if your word count is over 130,000 or under 70,000.

-I'm probably not your person if you have vampires or werewolves or Fae as the main plot, but you never know. I picked a book about Fae that I loved for a contest and it sold in a Big 5 deal! (Yep shamelessly namedropping.) So I'm not a huge fan of paranormal.

-I prefer no love triangles unless they are done very well, low-key, or have a unique take. I like romance stories but I don't mentor them.

-I'm not a big fan of ghosts or assassins but a small amount of them in a plot can be fun.

-I'm fond of anti-heros and rascal (especially male) characters, but I'm not your person for whiny/bitchy or complaining main characters. Save that for YA.

-I'm not your person if you believe your manuscript is practically perfect as is. You have to be willing to revise--not huge, rewrite-the-whole-thing revisions, but some. That could mean cutting chapters or whole sections.

-If you have graphic sex scenes and aren't willing to tone them down, please try someone else.

-I'm okay with killing off characters. I do that, too. I'm not okay if they are your main (POV) characters.  I quit GOT in the second book because when Ned Stark bit the dust. It is about the characters for me, not the country.

-Extremely dark fantasy is probably not for me. Nor is very intense emphasis on a modern-type military. I prefer my military of the more historical type. 

-I'm probably not going to spend time checking out a mentee bio. I just get too busy for that unless I request a full.

DOs:

-I do want unique concept and settings. Something that stands out of the crowd. That can mean diversity! (I hope!)


-Some romance is great. As long as it isn't the MC's only focus.

-I keep a special eye out for diversity--any type of diversity and ownvoices. I will be tagging entries with diversity and passing any that aren't for me to other mentors, if this is allowed.

-I will consider dystopian or post apocalypse, but I'm not the best for other types of hard science fiction as I don't read as much of that. I've seen a few space opera that I loved but let other mentors have them.

-I want magic and big worlds. Though my own magic systems are usually subtle.

-Humor will hook me every time. I love characters who joke during the bleak times. (I probably should have put this first.)

-I want characters with secrets they're hiding and lots of backstory that comes out gradually, not in the first chapter. (Also really key for me.)

Some of my favorite authors include: Brandon Sanderson, Kate Elliott, Michael J. Sulllivan, Robert Jordan, Kristen Britain, Jim Butcher and more.


If you have something like the Green Rider series, I want to see it. If you are into WoT (if you know what this means, you're my kind of writer) and The Dresden Series, I want to see it. 


Please make sure you are sending adult fantasy my way. Don't waste a mentor slot sending YA or MG fantasy. Due to the contest structure, I'm restricted to the adult category. I'll just delete any YA or MG or NA.

On a side note, I know it's hard to pick a mentor when you only get to send four or six subs. It will be difficult to pick just one mentee. I'm looking for something I really love as I MUST stick to one mentee this year. (Someone stop me if I try and go for two.) I hope you'll choose me to help you.

If in doubt or you want to know more about my editorial style, ask me on twitter (@Michelle4Laughs) or in the comments. 


Here are the "other" adult mentors:



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Monday, July 17, 2017

Getting the Call with Ash Van Otterloo

My favorite type of success story--one that came from our contests! Let this bit of inspiration follow you into Pitchwars and the fall contests. Here's the story from Ash.




I put the finishing touches on my MG fantasy manuscript CATTYWAMPUS in late May of 2016, spent July-Sept in rounds of revisions with notes from my beta readers and critique partners. Right before I started my first round of queries, on a whim, I noticed a blog schedule for #NoQS and entered the story. Having entered contests a few times before, I knew it would be a fun experience and hoped to snag helpful feedback before I leapt into the query trenches.


When my name popped up on Mike’s team list, I promptly exploded with excitement. My second stroke of luck was being paired with the clever Kate Foster as my mentor, who I’d received a bit of constructive feedback from in a past contest with a shorter project. (A good reminder to us all to receive constructive criticism gracefully, even in rejection!) We polished my query and pages, and it got a significant amount of requests.


By the end of October, I found myself on the phone chatting with the incomparable Lauren Spieller. I’ll admit it: I had instant agent-crush. Besides being fun to chat with, she asked all the clarity-bringing questions about plot development, was enthusiastic and straightforward (swoon), and asked for an R&R, along with suggestions for sensitivity reads. Why, hello, sweaty palms. Obviously, I was eager to give it a whack.


I worked hard on revisions, found some amazing sensitivity readers, and resubmitted in March. Another R&R. And y’all. I am so grateful for last round of revisions, too, because that’s where I truly found my protagonists (and discovered an underground bunker of feelings to pour into the manuscript.) I re-submitted and got a phone call. THE phone call. (Dun, dun, dunnnnn!)


When I answered my cellphone, Lauren offered me representation with Triada Us. Only barely did I manage to refrain from shrieking directly into the receiver. As before, Lauren was supportive and excited about the story, and had great thoughts for final revision notes. After recovering from a round of omygodomygodomygod, I was eager to accept. I’d researched agencies and MG agents thoroughly, and this was indeed my dream representation. A couple of days later, I officially accepted the offer and went out with my family to celebrate with pizza.


My final thoughts: Writing can be lonely, sometimes. There are moments (months) when you have to be the one who believes in your work, even though part of you worries you might be wasting your time. And when the opportunity to make a helpful connection comes, even in the form of a constructive “no”, tackle it and suck every bit of wisdom from it. Learn, and be kind to yourself. And don’t give up.

____________________________________________

Ash Van Otterloo lives just outside of Chattanooga with her long time best friend and four wild forest-children. She's regarded fondly by her two cats, and, like a cat, she enjoys people who offer her good food regularly. Whether or not she's a witch is a topic for gossip among her neighbors. The ones, at least, that she's not yet turned into newts.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Roundup of Posts with Writing/Editing/Querying Advice

I've done a lot of posts filled with advice. Some of them are rather old. Most were written after I noticed trends from a contest. All are completely buried and hard to find unless you use the editing label. But all are still relevant. 

So I thought I'd make a general list of the different blurbs on writing and querying advice. 

I highly recommend the posts on filtering and hyphens. Also the post on punctuation for a tag or beat. Those are problems I see on entries every year. 

I hope these are helpful! 

General Advice:
Quick twitter advice
Reading in your Genre
List of SFF subgenres
Subjectivity of the First 250 Words

Editing/Writing Advice:
Writing in Layers
Be Aware of Creating Reader Expectations
Comma Mistakes
Making Characters Likable
Character Motivation
Tips for Writing a Strong Fantasy
Ellipses and Em Dashes
Compound Adjectives- hyphens
Types of Conflict
Avoid Filtering
Throwing Crutch Words in the Trash
The Difference Between a Tag and a Beat
Qualifiers Weaken Your Sentences
Plugging Plot Holes
Editing Tips for the Big Picture

Query Advice:
Nix the Rhetorical Questions
Frequent Query Mistakes
Creating a Super Query
Vague Plot in a Query



My blog also has close to 80 interviews with literary agents (you can also find them in the blog sidebar.) old and new and a host of Getting the Call stories meant to inspire and inform about querying. 

Summer Query Extravaganza 2017 Number 8

Welcome to the Summer 2017 Query Extravaganza! 

In honor of Pitchwars and summer, I thought I'd do a few query letter breakdowns. Call me crazy, but I love to dig into a query letter.

Please remember this is just one person's opinion. It's also subjective as everything is in publishing. I'm pointing out what jumps out to me. Others may catch other things.

I'm finishing up the critique marathon with two more as the mentor blog hop starts on Wednesday!  

The query without my notes:


Dear [Agent]:

Seventeen-year-old Ilycia Robert is no stranger to losses from the centuries-old curse which put the Princess Rose to sleep, crippled her village by drought, and imprisoned the kingdom within a wall of thorns. Her brother led the excursion to break the curse four years earlier and never returned. Ilycia has a family to feed and can't be bothered to wait for a suitor to save her.

With help from her best friend Val, she earns money by masquerading around the kingdom as the knife-throwing La Marque. But after her win at an illicit tournament goes awry and Ilycia and Val are caught by armed forces, Val is forced to lead the next excursion.

Now Val's on his way to certain death. Ilycia falls apart until Val's brother Emeric devises a plan to help Val through the magic-ravaged kingdom. Too bad Emeric is the boy who once charmed his way under Ilycia's skirts and dumped her shortly thereafter. What's worse, Emeric's plan requires both Ilycia and his new fiancée.

Vowing to save Val no matter her personal cost, Ilycia joins the excursion. All they have to do is survive through the magic lands until they reach the castle so Val can bestow a kiss on the princess. But in waking her, the friends find what they think they know about the curse may not be the truth.

REIGN OF THORNS is an 89,000-word young adult fantasy with series potential. A retelling of Sleeping Beauty, it will appeal to fans of Sarah J. Maas.  

Thank you for your consideration.


Sincerely,


And with my crazy notes:

Dear [Agent]:

Seventeen-year-old Ilycia Robert is no stranger to losses (I was going to say what losses, but you follow up with them. Good.) from the centuries-old curse which put the Princess Rose to sleep, (You might end the sentence here just because it's getting long.) crippled her village by(with?) drought, and imprisoned the kingdom within a wall of thorns. Her (A little unclear whose brother this is. It could be Princess Rose's.) brother led the excursion to break the curse four years earlier and never returned. Ilycia has a family to feed and can't be bothered to wait for a suitor to save her. (I like the personality at the end of this.)

With help from her best friend Val, she earns money by masquerading around the kingdom as the knife-throwing La Marque. (I'm unsure doing what. How does this earn money? Explaining will go a long way to taking away my confusion with the rest of this paragraph.) But after her win at an illicit tournament goes awry and Ilycia and Val are caught by armed forces (So? Is it illegal for women to enter?), Val is forced to lead the next excursion. (But Val was caught too. I assume Val is a woman, short for Valerie. What sort of excursion? I thought they were at a tournament. Those aren't the same? All sorts of confusion here.)

Now Val's on his (Oh, Val is a man.) way to certain death. Ilycia falls apart until Val's brother Emeric devises a plan to help Val through the magic-ravaged kingdom (Oh, you mean an excursion to break the curse. That's the punishment?). Too bad Emeric is the boy who once charmed his way under Ilycia's skirts and dumped her shortly thereafter (I think maybe you should put this part about being dumped into the first paragraph. That way Emeric doesn't appear to come out of nowhere near the end of the query.) What's worse, Emeric's plan requires both Ilycia and his new fiancée. (I'm not sure we need to know this last part. There are plenty of characters already. You don't want character soup. Limit the number to three or four in a query.)

Vowing to save Val no matter her personal cost, Ilycia joins the excursion. All they have to do is survive through the magic lands until they reach the castle so Val can bestow a kiss on the princess. But in waking her, the friends find what they think they know about the curse may not be the truth. (Clunky wording. I'm not sure I can do better. the friends find the curse may not be what everyone expects. Or the curse is more complicated than everyone thought. Or the friends find the curse has an unexpected twist.

 Again you end the query without a choice the mc must face or without what bad thing will happen if she fails. I think you need some sort of choice and stakes here.

I suggest two avenues. You can scale back on outlining the story and make the choice be about whether Ilycia will go on the excursion. Or you can shorten other parts in the query a little and put in the choice Ilycia must make here when the curse is discovered.

I'm torn on which would be better. Maybe try both. On one hand the twist in the curse is your escalation of the plot and the unique part about the story. A very good thing to have. On the other hand, revealing they make it to the princess is somewhat of a let down. You'd have to get to that information sooner(middle paragraph). Maybe take out the whole subplot about knife throwing and just say her best friend Val is forced on the next excursion. No need to explain why. That would save a lot of confusion about that part of the query and get you to the twist in the curse sooner.)

REIGN OF THORNS is an 89,000-word (solid word count number) young adult fantasy with series potential. A retelling of Sleeping Beauty, it will appeal to fans of Sarah J. Maas.  

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Lots of notes here because there is much to discuss.

I think you have a section to this query that just causes a lot of confusion (2nd paragraph and parts of the 3rd). Easier to cut it out and skip over it. A query doesn't have to tell the whole plot. Only the important parts. The important part is her best friend has to go on the next excursion after she lost her brother that way. Of course she'll want to save him. You don't have to detail why.

Then the escalation of your obstacle is almost buried at the end (the curse). And it's also the unique part of your plot. Cutting the second paragraph will give you more room to talk about the twists of the story and let you add some stakes and choices the mc must make.

Don't be afraid to try out a query where you reveal the twist to the curse. It's not that part you want to hide from an agent. It's THE CHOICE the mc makes about solving that obstacle that you want to keep secret. Does she go one way or another at the end. That's the outcome you hide or don't include in the query, along with how it all turns out. 

The real curse is the juicy bit that could make an agent sit up and take notice.

Good luck!     

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Summer Query Extravaganza 2017 Number 7

Welcome to the Summer 2017 Query Extravaganza! 

In honor of Pitchwars and summer, I thought I'd do a few query letter breakdowns. Call me crazy, but I love to dig into a query letter.

Please remember this is just one person's opinion. It's also subjective as everything is in publishing. I'm pointing out what jumps out to me. Others may catch other things.

I'm finishing up the critique marathon with two more as the mentor blog hop starts on Wednesday!  

The query without my notes:

SKALDSDOTTIR'S SAGA follows the story of two exiled viking lovers, Wytha and Lae, as they traverse a haunted forest searching for a bounty that will convince their leader to pardon them. The novel combines the fast pace of Bernard Cornwell's The Last Kingdom series with the dark, quirky humour, and uncanny mystery of Twin Peaks. Complete at 123 000 words, Skaldsdottir's Saga is set in a world based on pre-Christian Scandinavia, and is told from three perspectives. [INSERT PERSONALIZATION]

The road home is paved with poor decisions.

Wytha Childkiller's first was committing the crime that got her exiled, but she'll be damned if she'll share the details of what she did with anyone, even her lover, Laeaflaetha. Now stripped of ship, titles, wealth, and homeland, Wytha, Lae, and the motley band of misfits who follow them, must find a gift worthy of their chieftan's forgiveness, or be landlocked forever.

The search for a gift leads Wytha and Lae into the heart of a dense wood, where the stories Wytha learned at her uncle's knee are no mere legends. After capturing a princely hostage the group travels homeward, but along the way Wytha's band is attacked by spectral barrow-wights called draugr. Black as night's own shadow, long-limbed and faceless, the draugr can separate skin from bone with a touch, and send one of Wytha's men into a slumber from which he cannot wake.

Seeking someone with the knowledge to cure their friend, Wytha and the others enlist the help of a mad widow who claims to know a path through the woods, but as danger continues to dog them in the form of the draugr, Wytha questions whether one of her own people may be summoning the spirits.

I wrote this novel after my research into the Viking world showed evidence of diverse populations nowhere near as homogeneous as may be expected. As a trans author, I am always in search of stories that feature incidental rather than forced diversity, and SKALDSDOTTIR’S SAGA was written in the spirit of illuminating and reclaiming queer history.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

And with my crazy notes:

SKALDSDOTTIR'S SAGA follows the story of two exiled viking lovers, Wytha and Lae, as they traverse a haunted forest searching for a bounty that will convince their leader to pardon them. (Again totally subjective, but I'm not a fan of telling about the story in the genre/word count paragraph. It just doesn't feel like the place for it. I would certainly skim it in a contest. You can get in that this is a Viking story in one of the sentences below. Everything else is covered in your other paragraphs.)The novel combines the fast pace of Bernard Cornwell's The Last Kingdom series with the dark, quirky humour, and uncanny mystery of Twin Peaks. Complete at 123,000 (Right at the top of the word count for adult fantasy. Which brings me to another problem: where's the genre?) words, Skaldsdottir's Saga(Capitalize and italic every time you use your title.) is set in a world based on pre-Christian Scandinavia, and is told from three perspectives(Good to know.) . [INSERT PERSONALIZATION]

The road home is paved with poor decisions. (Interesting.)

Wytha Childkiller's first was committing the crime that got her exiled, but she'll be damned (good character personality) if she'll share the details of what she did with anyone, even her lover, Laeaflaetha. Now stripped of ship, titles, wealth, and homeland, Wytha, Lae, and the motley band of misfits who follow them, must find a gift worthy of their chieftan's forgiveness, or be landlocked forever. (I'm intrigued. We've got a unique obstacle and motivation. The setting is different than the usual story.)

The search for a gift leads Wytha and Lae into the heart of a dense wood, where the stories (I would give a taste of what kind of stories. Horror stories? For me, this falls a little flat. It's missing a sense of danger.) Wytha learned at her uncle's knee are no mere legends. After capturing a princely hostage (from another tribe? what sort of hostage?) the group travels homeward, but along the way Wytha's band is attacked by spectral barrow-wights called draugr. Black as night's own shadow, long-limbed and faceless, the draugr can separate skin from bone with a touch, and sendsends one of Wytha's men into a slumber from which he cannot wake. (Good stuff. But I'm wondering about danger to their hostage. Maybe work in that Wytha fears losing the gift she went to so much trouble to procure. That would take this back around to the wider story.)

Seeking someone with the knowledge to cure their friend, Wytha and the others enlist the help of a mad widow who claims to know a path through the woods, but as danger continues to dog them in the form of the draugr, Wytha questions whether one of her own people may be summoning the spirits. (Good, you have escalation. But you are missing the choice Wytha must make and what happens if she fails here at the end. And that's one long-ass sentence. You might break it up because when someone's been reading a lot of queries long sentences can get fuzzy.)

I wrote this novel after my research into the Viking world showed evidence of diverse populations diversity, the population nowhere near as homogeneous as may be expected. (Something off about this sentence. I think you need to rephrase.)   As a trans author, I am always in search of stories that feature incidental rather than forced diversity., and SKALDSDOTTIR’S SAGA was written in the spirit of illuminating and reclaiming queer history. (So is this ownvoices? You are hurting your cause if it is and you don't claim it. And still no genre? That's a problem.)

Thank you for your time and consideration, (My idea of the perfect closing.)

There's a lot to like in this query for me. It's got the lots of unique touches and world building. There's a sense of character personality, including stubbornness. The motivation is clear.

Make sure you connect how being attacked in the forest comes back to their larger quest. Perhaps by using the threat to their hostage. And clear up the character choice and what will happen if she fails. Also don't forget to list the genre somewhere. 


Good luck! 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Summer Query Extravaganza 2017 Number 6

Welcome to the Summer 2017 Query Extravaganza! 

In honor of Pitchwars and summer, I thought I'd do a few query letter breakdowns. Call me crazy, but I love to dig into a query letter.

Please remember this is just one person's opinion. It's also subjective as everything is in publishing. I'm pointing out what jumps out to me. Others may catch other things.

If you want to be invited to take part in the next batch of query feedback, you'll have to pitch in. Leave a comment with your thoughts on the query below. I'll be inviting those who comment most often to submit their query letter.

That means leave feedback below in the comments on this post and the other query letters in this group to be considered for my next batch.   

The query without my notes:

Dear (Agent),

I hope to interest you in A THOUSAND YEARS TO WAITa YA alternate world fantasy featuring a mystery of otherworldly proportions and a headstrong female protagonist with the power to solve it.

At 18, Moreina di Bianco is a young healer who believes in medicine, not magic, even while possessing a second sight she can't fully explain. So when a talisman and a thousand-year-old prophecy choose Reina to reawaken an ancient magic and find a way to end a war, she must reconcile her beliefs and learn to master the magic. Reluctant to accept help, Reina’s only company on her journey is her estranged and mysterious childhood friend, Quinn D’Arturio, and a dashing captain who claims to be her protector. There’s just one problem with her new companions. They, too, are featured in the prophecy. But what woman wants a suitor, let alone two, when she’s busy defeating an evil general, ending a war, finding the true king, and rightfully seating him on the throne?

A Thousand Years to Wait, a 99,000 word fantasy, is the second novel I’ve completed, but the first I’ve written with the intention of doing something other than stashing in a desk drawer. While I have degrees in subjects completely unrelated to creative writing, writing has long been my true passion. Growing up, I was strongly influenced by the world-building talents of Anne McCaffrey and C.S. Friedman and quickly fell in love with both dragons and magic. Comparable titles might include Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass or White Hart by Sarah Dalton. As requested, I have included the first ten pages of my manuscript and a synopsis below. I would be happy to provide you with a partial or full manuscript upon request. Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon.


Best Regards,

And with my crazy notes:

Dear (Agent),

I hope to interest you (Totally subjective but I feel like saying "I hope" lacks confidence. It does suggest humbleness, but I'm not sure that outweighs the other. I'd be more direct. TITLE is a YA alternative...)  in A THOUSAND YEARS TO WAIT,(italics) a YA alternate-world (I don't think this is a true subgenre. Sound more like epic fantasy) fantasy featuring a mystery of otherworldly proportions and a headstrong female protagonist with the power to solve it.

At 18(Spell it out. Eighteen-year-old), Moreina di Bianco is a young healer who believes in medicine, not magic, even while possessing a second sight she can't fully explain. So when a talisman (what sort?) and a thousand-year-old prophecy (Agents and editors can be wary of another prophecy story. You might want to minimize that.)  choose Reina to reawaken an ancient magic (what kind?) and find a way to end a war, she must reconcile her beliefs and learn to master the magic. Reluctant to accept help, Reina’s only company on her journey is her estranged and mysterious (Why is she mysterious?) childhood friend, Quinn D’Arturio, and a dashing (Dashing is always good. :-)  captain who claims to be her protector. There’s just one problem with her new companions.: They, too, are featured in the prophecy. (But what/who is trying to stop Reina? What is the obstacle she must face? How does the situation get worse?) But what woman wants a suitor, let alone two, when she’s busy defeating an evil general, ending a war, finding the true king, and rightfully seating him on the throne? (Why does she need a true king? How is the war specifically bad? Why does she have to do any of this? What happens if she fails?)

A Thousand Years to Wait,(capitalize) a 99,000 word fantasy (Keep the genre the same. I'd just go with epic fantasy.), is the second novel I’ve completed, but the first I’ve written with the intention of doing something other than stashing in a desk drawer. While I have degrees in subjects completely unrelated to creative writing, writing has long been my true passion. (I think this is okay for Pitchwars, but I wouldn't send it to agents.) Growing up, I was strongly influenced by the world-building talents of Anne McCaffrey and C.S. Friedman and quickly fell in love with both dragons and magic. Comparable titles might include Fans of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass or White Hart by Sarah Dalton might enjoy this story. As requested, I have included the first ten pages of my manuscript and a synopsis below. I would be happy to provide you with a partial or full manuscript upon request. (Understood. It just takes up room.) 

Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon consideration.


Best Regards,

It's never a good thing when the story part of the query is smaller than the bio and genre information paragraphs. Agents and Pitchwars mentors want to know about the story. The rest is icing on the cake. But we need to know the details of the cake first. You want to get the unique ingredients of the plot in front of the reader.

1st paragraph should set up the characters and the obstacle they face. 2nd paragraph details the obstacle and expands on it. Goes into how the situation gets worse. The 3rd paragraph gives the stakes and what bad thing that will happen if the MC fails. The third paragraph also details the choice the MC faces. She can save the world but she might lose her friends sort of thing. 

There's just not enough about the plot or characters here yet. Expand and give details and the choice and this will be more compelling. 

Good luck and I hope this helps.