Thursday, October 21, 2010

Query Critique #22

Query #22 - Janet 

Dear Ms. Agent, 

Unable to ride a horse or wield a sword, seventeen-year-old Prince Bob—a.k.a. Prince Charming's little brother—is as steeped in failure as his brother is in success. Getting left behind in the face of war shouldn't shock him. And it wouldn't have if Charming (his ever encouraging brother) hadn't been the cause.
I've made a couple of word changes, but I like the hook. 
Unable to ride a horse or wield a sword, seventeen-year-old Prince Bob--Prince Charming's little brother--is as steeped in failure as his brother is in success. Getting left behind in the face of war shouldn't shock him. And it wouldn't have if Charming hadn't been the cause.

Humiliated and sent to drum up militia, Bob's out to prove himself, and hopefully lose his nick name (Prince Boob) along the way. But with villagers ready to mutiny and mysterious mishaps wreaking havoc on the soldier's unit, Bob realizes just how in-over-his-head he is. He's certain Charming would have handled the situation with ease.
Nice. I've suggested some minor tightening.  
Humiliated and sent to drum up militia, Bob's out to prove himself--and hopefully lose his nickname (Prince Boob) along the way. But with villagers ready to mutiny and mysterious mishaps wreaking havoc on the soldier's unit, Bob realizes just how in-over-his-head he is. 

When Bob stumbles on a traitor, then learns of the enemy's imminent attack on the town, the once-mutinous villagers turn to him for leadership. His chance has finally come, but Bob has other things to worry about. Like the enemy's plot to kill his father. 
Good development of the conflict. I've made some minor modifications to the grammar and punctuation.  
When Bob stumbles on a traitor and learns of the enemy's imminent attack on the town, the once-mutinous villagers turn to him for leadership. His chance has finally come, but Bob has other things to worry about--like the enemy's plot to kill his father. 

With the future of the nation in his hands, and his father's life on the line, failure is not an option. It's just all Bob has ever known. 
This is three clichés in a row, but they seem to work since you're playing on the last one in particular. If you can re-word the first two, though, I think this will be stronger. 

The Other Prince is a fantasy novel for young adults of 108,000 words. Fans of Shannon Hale's Princess Academy, and Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted will enjoy this spin-off of Snow White. 
The first sentence reads awkwardly, and you have an extra comma. You've picked some good comps, but, since you have a male MC, you might want to find a comp that appeals to a teen boy audience, as well. 
The Other Prince is a fantasy novel for young adults.  It is complete at 108,000 words. Fans of Shannon Hale's Princess Academy and Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted will enjoy this spin-off of Snow White. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely, 

XXX XXXX

I like the premise--it's a fresh take on an old story, and I think the kid-in-his-big-brother's-shadow aspect will be a strong selling point. 

8 comments:

Janet Johnson said...

You are so nice to critique so many queries! Thank you for the suggestions and thank you for your time. I really appreciate it. :)

Carole Anne Carr said...

Yes, this must be very helpful to so many people.

Emily White said...

This story sounds *really* cute! Prince Boob! Ahahaha!

kimysworld said...

I think this sounds great! I would love to read it!

Lisa_Gibson said...

Great query and great re-work. Sounds like a fun story. Prince Boob, poor guy. :)
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Guinevere said...

I love the sound of this query - it's definitely a book I would buy!

Victoria Dixon said...

Janet, this ROCKED. This gives story and voice (Prince Boob!!). Well done.

With the last paragraph, I'm wondering if you can play off the conflict he ends up with over who to save.

Bob can save his father, or his country; protecting them both isn't possible, but neither is failure.

Ok. That sucked. I really liked the bit with "that's all he's ever known," or however you said it. But I would try to juxtaposition the conflict at the end of the novel.

Great job summing it up!

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