Thursday, September 30, 2010

4 Query Letter #23

Query Letter #23
Rak M Nay & Sangay Glass
Title: Arcanom: The Forgetful Future
Genre: Y/A Fantasy Novel and Manga Series

Dear Ms. LaPolla

Sorry, but I have to quote your blog post because it had me in stitches, and it perfectly reflects the moment when kids realize they’re reaching adulthood. You said, "If 16 is supposed to be this great and wonderful age, and I don't feel any different, then what the hell is 17 going to feel like?" Caught in the middle of a very grown up war, the high school students of Arcanom feel the same because they’re wedged between being eligible to fight while still being treated like kids.

In Arcanom: The Forgetful Future, a Y/A modern time travel fantasy, 138,000 words that will appeal to older readers of His Dark Materials and Harry Potter...

The future seems bleak when Allix dreams a classmate must die by her hand to prevent a bloody conflict between sorcerers and the ordinary people of Earth, but it’s only a dream, right?

Perhaps, let’s start at the beginning.

Allix has great expectations after she’s taken from her Ukraine homeland on the Black Sea and sent to Arcanom’s military academy to become a warrior sorceress. However, her childish fantasies about magical realms and casting spells soon dissolve into a grim reality. Magic is hard work, boys are still goofy, fairies fart, and young mages are dying in a multiple world political war over Earth’s fate.

Allix knows things won’t get better. She’s been to the future and seen what it’s like, according to what the people in her dreams keep telling her. By the time she discovers the deceptive true purpose of her dreams, the window of opportunity is closing. She finds herself forced to choose between killing a classmate to save millions or taking a risk to save everyone.

The future will never be the same once Allix and her new friends unite to change destiny before it changes them forever.

As a writer, I use my experiences as a psychiatric nurse and a mom with two learning disabled (LD) teenagers to address really tough issues for teens and help parents and caregivers teach LD kids social and life skills in my two web series, Teen Angst: Truce and Colorful Minds. I’ve published several inspirational true stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Haurah Magazine.

My co-writer and genius behind the Arcanom series is Brazilian Y/A author and comic book creator, Rak M Nay. He and I are also developing a manga series for Y/A and M/G reluctant readers and colorful kids based on the Arcanom characters, called, Arcanom Quests.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for your time. Have a Great Day!

4 comments:

  1. Jeez, I already see where I went wrong from the first paragraph. I admit I was high on pain killers because I broke my wrist the day I posted.

    Yes, I do research my agents but you should never sound like you stalk them, but I still think that line from her blog was sooo cute. It’s just not appropriate.

    Plus, by the time I’m done editing the word count will be dropped significantly, so I really should put the number reflecting the edit and not the original.

    I also never thought about how to present a co-authorship.

    So I’ll try this.

    Dear Ms. LaPolla

    The future seems bleak when Allix dreams a classmate must die by her hand to prevent a bloody conflict between sorcerers and the ordinary people of Earth.

    I’d like to submit for your review the character-driven Y/A modern time travel fantasy, Arcanom: The Forgetful Future. At 90,000 words, the world of Arcanom will appeal to older readers of His Dark Materials and Harry Potter.

    Fifteen-year-old Allix has great expectations after she’s taken from her Ukraine homeland on the Black Sea and sent to Arcanom’s military academy to become a warrior sorceress. However, her childish fantasies about magical realms and casting spells soon dissolve into a grim reality. Magic is hard work, boys are still goofy, fairies fart, and young mages are dying in a multiple world political war over Earth’s fate.

    Allix knows things won’t get better. She’s been to the future, at least that’s what the people invading her dreams keep telling her. By the time she discovers the deceptive purpose of her dreams and the people in them, the window of opportunity is closing. She finds herself forced to choose between killing a classmate to save millions or taking a risk to save everyone.

    The future will never be the same once Allix and her new friends unite to change destiny before time changes them forever.

    In Arcanom: The Forgetful Future, co-authors Rak and Sangay use their combined expertise to build strong characters from humble beginnings in this coming of age story about accountability, compassion, teamwork and having faith in yourself.

    Arcanom is also fun because the genius behind the novel is Brazilian Y/A author and comic book creator, Rak M Nay. Growing up with a learning disability, Rak has always strived to create intelligent fantasy that would be enjoyable and accessible to readers of all abilities.

    Sangay Glass uses her experiences as a psychiatric nurse and a mom with two learning disabled (LD) teenagers to address really tough issues for teens and help parents and caregivers teach LD kids social and life skills in her web series, Teen Angst: Truce and Colorful Minds. She has also published several inspirational true stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Haurah Magazine.

    The Rak Nay Sangay team is currently developing a manga series for Y/A and M/G reluctant readers and colorful kids based on the Arcanom characters, called, Arcanom Quests.

    We look forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks for your time. Have a Great Day!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You buried the lede! And it's really good.

    I'd forget all that quoting her blog stuff upfront -- sounds too suck-uppy and delays getting to your story. (Also, don't start with an apology! If you have to apologize, don't do it.)

    If you want to use the blog quote, I'd put it near the end, maybe in a bit about how you'd be such a great fit because the bit on the blog is where your characters fit in -- or something like that. Ditto the Harry Potter mentions.

    What I'm trying to get at is you have a great story idea and in your earlier queries you put that right up front. Don't lose that.

    I'd start with: The future seems bleak, etc. Lose the next paragraph about starting at the beginning -- you don't need gimmicky segues to get my attention.

    How about after that saying something like: In Arcanom: The Forgetful Future, a 138,000-word Y/A modern time travel fantasy, Allix has great expectations etc.? Then I think you can tighten up the next three paragraphs into two.

    The information about your personal experience is good, but the first sentence goes on a little too long. A good trick is to try and read it out loud. If you run out of breath, it needs to be broken up. (Of course this trick does not work for Olympic swimmers and opera singers!)

    You have a great plot idea, and I think it would be a real page-turner of a book. Trust in the story, young sorceress! :)

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  3. LOL ... wow, you're quick with the edits -- you made them even before I suggested them!

    I apologize because my first set of comments were based on the first query you posted. The second is so much better.

    Just one quibble .. you reference yourself and the co-author by last names before you tell me who you are. You also jump from third person to first (co-authors, we). I think you two bring an interesting perspective (I'd love to know how you met). I don't need your whole bios right away, but you can use your first and last names on first reference and then tell me your story.

    I think this is a very cool story idea. I look forward to reading it when it's published. Good Luck!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you! I was wondering how to address the co-author thing. I couldn't find a reference. I shall trim and reconfigure based on your much appreciated suggestions. Thanks a million!

    Our story is pretty unusual. I met Rak while he was being bullied in a writer's forum.

    Censorship in Brazil was going to ruin Arcanom, so he wanted to find an American writer to help him translate it and sell it here. The bullies were telling him good luck with that because his English sucked(and it did)and nobody would get past the first paragraph.

    Since I grew up and city full of 1st generation immigrants, I was familiar with broken English and verb mishaps. So, I said lemmie see your first three chapters. If I like it, we'll talk, if not, I'll walk.

    I offered him a co-author contract after reading the first chapter. The babblefish translation was awful but the story is brilliant.

    The manga series was just fate because we both love manga and had the same idea of creating accessible age-appropriate materials for older LD kids.

    ReplyDelete

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