Thursday, May 7, 2009

Query Hell 2: Return to Query Hell

Okay, here's an updated version of the query. I think it's better. It comes closer to actually describing the book than the previous versions of the query did. And I swear this is the last version I'll post!

Analefa Miradwen has spent the last ten years avoiding vampires and the city guard. She's not happy to learn she's attracted the attention of both, though, when a vampire mage named Magnus tries to abduct her. Magnus wants Ana's blood for its rare magic-enhancing properties, while the king's enforcer, Vincent Ondarr, wants to lock Ana in the Tower of Justice for her own protection.

Vincent suspects Magnus is trying to assassinate the king. With Ana's blood, he could do that and more. But when Vincent starts asking questions about Ana's parentage and brings in a werewolf to sniff out her secret, that her mother wasn't a human but a werepanther, Ana wonders if
Vincent's interest in her goes beyond simple protection.

Then Ana meets Rafael, leader of a group of amateur mages agitating for half-breed rights. Rafael's enthusiasm is exciting, but one of his group members may have a connection to Magnus. If she's going to stay out of Magnus's clutches, Ana needs to decide who she can trust.


Carrie Harris said...

I'm not sure if you read my comments on Aaron's query, but let me say this: I'm a nitpicker. Plain and simple. And I happen to enjoy writing queries, because I am a freak. So PLEASE take my comments with a grain of salt and disagree with any of them. The bottom line is that this is my kind of book. I love stuff like this. The real issue is whether or not this query does justice to the uniquenesses in your book.

Unfortunately, I think that the most unique element, the werepanther family history, is buried amid the details of what happens next, and it doesn't follow up or offer any teasers to the questions that immediately pop up in my head. I'm thinking something like: "Oooh! That's cool! Is SHE a werepanther! Does she have panthery abilities? Is that why she's avoiding vamps and the guard?" Teasing me with a little more info this will make me more interested.

I'd suggest upping that unique element whereever possible. "Rare magic-enhancing properties" is pretty generic. Giving us a specific there will set you apart from other queries and books out there. I also love the element about half-breed rights, and it's another uniqueness that I think you could do more with. I find the idea fascinating!

Essentially, it sounds like Ana is being pulled in different directions by people who want her for different reasons, or something to that effect, right? You refer to this at the end when I wonder if it would make more sense to have it at the beginning. As it stands, you're listing a bunch of elements and then telling us how they fit together. But if you tell me first, then I'm able to read more deeply and imagine how the trust issue might fit into each element, making the query feel more cohesive.

You've got lots of names in here, and in such a short piece, it's a little overwhelming to me, and I kept having to skim up to remind myself of who was who. Letting them stand as the vampire mage, the king's enforcer, etc. may be a better choice simply because it's easier to remember.

That's what I think, anyway. Like I said, disagree with as much as you like! Query Ninja strikes again!

K.C. Shaw said...

WOW. You really are the query ninja!

You ought to teach a class on query-writing, seriously. This is some good stuff! In fact, I've rewritten the query (again) with your suggestions in mind. Thanks so much!

If this query gets me an agent, I'm going to buy you a pony. Or a zombie. Or, well, okay, maybe I'll just eat a carton of ice cream in your honor.

Carrie Harris said...

Awww... you're so nice. I will gladly accept the honorary ice cream consumption. Do I get to make a speech before you eat it? ;)

K.C. Shaw said...

Sure. I'll even let you have a spoonful!