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Oct 23 2016

Seeking Query Feedback

It is so much easier to spot the errors of others. I’ve gotten quite good (I hope) at helping other writers improve their query letters. Today, I offer an opportunity to turn the tables. Long-time followers of this blog have seen bits of my query letter attempts and excerpts of FRACTIONS OF EXISTENCE, so there’s no new information revealed in this. It breaks a few rules, it came out longer than I like, and I’m still not sure that I won’t just self-publish. My ego seeks the validation of an agent at least liking my query letter. It’s a skill, writing these things, and it’s one that I’m determined to master. With that in mind, for the sake of my education, please comment with any constructive criticism.

THANK YOU


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FRACTIONS OF EXISTENCE is a new adult dark urban fantasy which has 99,000 words intent on leaving readers asking, “What are they?” Because of his love for humankind and sense of duty to maintain humanity’s existence on Earth, XAVIER DOYEN aims to prevent THE EYES IN THE SHADOWS from bringing about the apocalypse, but is hampered by a missing resource that would make his team powerful enough to win. Xavier pursues the goal of winning GWENDOLYN WRIGHT’s heart because he believes that she is that missing resource and that their love will compel her to be part of the team, but his pursuit is hindered when her father arranges Gwendolyn’s engagement to TRED FERGUSON.


The widower Tred wants to remarry to give his children a mother, but while his betrothed looks good on paper, in person she’s a mess who vomits on herself from nervousness, throws tantrums, has difficulty with dress codes, and has sexual expectations that he hadn’t intended to fulfill. To top it all off, his fiancé, Gwendolyn, has an unescorted outing with Xavier, who is a stranger to their social circle.


Gwendolyn (aka: Wend, Candra) pursues the goal of winning Xavier’s love after he leaves because she decides that he was wrong, that she isn’t happier without him. She’s meek and provincial, but braves traveling alone from southern California to New York City in her beat-up old car, turning her back on her family to seek out an uncertain future. She has no idea about being a missing resource.


The Eyes in the Shadows want to free humanity from the prison of Earth by bringing about the apocalypse, but Xavier and his team have always been able to stop them. They believe that all they need is to separate, capture, and destroy one of those team members. They don’t know that Gwendolyn is already separated, and that her quest will lead her straight into their NYC trap.


The characters are based on a rarely shared legend that the Grandfathers have passed down for thousands of years. I grew up on the original lands of the Lenni-Lenape tribe and attended Penn State as an Honors and Scholars student. I won publication in the Creative Writing Institute’s “WRONG!: A themed anthology 2014.” My popular-vote winning story entered in Signum University’s Mythgard Institute’s 2015 creative writing contest is published in “The Soul of Wit” anthology (Oloris Publishing). I serve the writing community as a team member of Operation Awesome.



Thank you for your time and consideration.
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3 comments

  1. L. Diane Wolfe

    Agents might want something different than publishers. But as a publisher, my first thought is that as a query letter, it’s too long, and that’s just because of the first intro paragraph. (Most agent queries don’t explain anything – they just dive right into the 3 paragraph synopsis.) Many might say your last paragraph is too long, but I like knowing the background experience of an author. To me, that’s a big plus.
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    1. J Lenni Dorner

      Thanks for the feedback. I agree that it is way to long.
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    2. J Lenni Dorner

      Thanks for the feedback. I agree that it is way too long.
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