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This week we have a query for a YA fantasy. My inline comments are to the side, with overall thoughts at the end. As always, this is all just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
UPDATE (1/31, 9 AM): Melissa has posted a revised version of her query in the comments. Take a look and let her know what you think.
|How can an archangel be seventeen?|
|I'd move this to the top or the bottom|
of the query.
|Long paragraph. Maybe split it up.|
At first I thought this meant that
archangels have parents.
If she wasn't returned, does that
Lucifer's rebellion is over?
Lucian feels like he comes out of the
blue to me. And his secrets are too
vague for me to follow.
Chrysalis is my first novel. I’m a stay at home mother and have been writing privately for friends and family for many years.
|It's up to you whether you want to |
write a sequel for a story that hasn't
sold, but as far as the query goes,
just say it has series potential.
I think there's an intriguing story here (if you're not sick of angel stories, which I'm not; but I've heard agents tire of it in the past so watch out). But I think it gets lost behind what looks to me like an amateur query (sorry).
Lots of these problems are structural and easily fixed. For example:
- The logline paragraph that repeats information stated later in the query. I've talked about this before.
- Citing word count down to the exact word (generally round to the neareast thousand).
- Telling what the story's about instead of letting the query show it (e.g. "[It's] about a girl discovering the incredible truth," etc).
- Big Block of Text.
- Superfluous information in the conclusion paragraph (mostly stuff that agents assume is true).
I like the concept of a teenager who doesn't realize she's really an archangel (and it makes a lot more sense than a 17-year-old archangel :-). That's your hook. And I guess William's arrival and the attempts on her life are the inciting incident.
But then the query gets a bit vague. It brings up a character that sounds like he's always been there, but feels like he came out of nowhere. And this character has a secret, but we don't get to know what it is.
Now, you don't necessarily need to tell us the secret, but the way this is written now, not knowing the secrets makes her sadistic choice meaningless to us. She has to choose between "love and loyalty," but who's love? And loyalty to whom? "One wants her heart. One wants her soul." But which is which? And why?
This is where you need to get specific. If we don't understand the protagonist's choice, then we can't care, no matter how much we want to. What makes a choice really sadistic is when the reader understands what goes into the choice, and they still have no idea what they would choose if it were them.
That's my opinion, anyway. What do the rest of you guys think?