Friday, October 22, 2010

Query Critiques #25 and #26

I've got two from Nicole:

Dear Ms. Agent:


When fifteen-year-old Alexia finds a portal, she discovers the mystical, but real, Land of Imagining.
Many fantasy novels have portals--can you give a word or two that makes yours unique?


Alexia is drawn to this world -- it's far more fascinating than the worlds in her stories. Her aspirations to become a best-selling novelist are forgotten when she learns she is an All-Knower. The rest of the peaceful, magical All-Knowers are in terrible danger. The Head Demon seeks to enslave and kill them, determined to rule the Land of Imagining.
This is a strong premise--you have a magical world and a conflict between good and evil.  I have to say, though, that novels about characters who write novels tend to send up red flags with agents.


A magic pen unleashes Alexia's hidden power: everything she writes with the pen comes true, giving only Alexia the ability to protect the All-Knowers as their Chosen One. Scared, Alexia hates her new power, worrying she is too inexperienced to wield it correctly.
I think this magic pen component is your strongest hook--I recommend leading with it.
When fifteen-year-old Alexia writes with a magic pen, everything she writes comes true. 


After discovering a portal to the mystical Land of Imagining, Alexia learns she is an All-Knower. The rest of the peaceful, magical All-Knowers are in terrible danger. The Head Demon seeks to enslave and kill them, determined to rule the Land of Imagining. Alexia's hidden power with the magic pen makes her the Chosen One--the only person who can protect the All-Knowers from the demon--but she has no idea how to actually use it.   


After the Head Demon steals the pen and kidnaps her family, Alexia confronts her fear and travels to the Land of Imagining. The Head Demon wants her dead, but Alexia only cares about her family and her people. To save everyone, Alexia must locate the demon's secret lair and secure her pen before the Land of Imagining becomes the Land of Terror.
I recommend tightening this.
After the Head Demon steals the pen and kidnaps her family, Alexia must locate the demon's secret lair and secure her pen before the Land of Imagining becomes the Land of Terror.


ALEXIA'S PEN is a 78,000-word fantasy YA standalone novel with series potential.
Good.


I am the author of a fantasy romance series, The Kingdom of Arnhem -- Woman of Honor (2009) and Knight of Glory (2010) published with Desert Breeze Publishing. I have also sold nine short stories for anthologies, including Mertales by Wyvern Publications, and many collections by Pill Hill Press. I have a blog with over 220 followers. 
Excellent bio.


Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely, 


XXX XXXX

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Dear Ms. Agent:


Traumatized by witnessing her father’s brutal murder, Lorna masters her feelings of powerlessness by becoming an assassin.
Now THAT'S a hook! Don't change a word.


Lorna soon discovers she can create and hide in shadows, giving her a distinct advantage over her targets; however her father’s killer remains elusive. With no leads, Lorna accepts assignments including a small island king with a high price on his head. King Alaric is everything Lorna isn't — noble, kind, good. When she falls for Alaric, Lorna distances herself from her assassin lifestyle but cannot escape her past. A mass gravesite on the island provides clues to her father's murder and why people want Alaric dead. 
This is good--I recommend a little bit of tightening, though. I know what you mean by a "small island king," but I keep picturing a short man.  
Lorna discovers she can create and hide in shadows. While this gives her a distinct advantage over her targets, her father’s killer remains elusive. With no leads, Lorna accepts an assignment to kill an island king with a high price on his head. King Alaric is everything Lorna isn't--noble, kind, and good. When she falls for him, Lorna distances herself from her assassin lifestyle but cannot escape her past. A mass gravesite on the island provides clues to her father's murder and why people want Alaric dead. 


As Lorna grows closer to finding her father’s murderer, she struggles to master her shadow power. But enacting her revenge would destroy any chance Lorna has of being with Alaric, leaving Lorna torn between murder and love. 
I recommend tightening the first part of this, too.
Lorna grows closer to finding her father’s murderer, but enacting her revenge would destroy any chance she has of being with Alaric--leaving Lorna torn between murder and love. 


HIDDEN IN SHADOWS is a complete 97,000-word paranormal romance standalone novel with series potential.
Good.


I am the author of a fantasy romance series, The Kingdom of Arnhem – Woman of Honor (2009) and Knight of Glory (2010) published with Desert Breeze Publishing. I have also sold nine short stories for anthologies, including Mertales by Wyvern Publications, and many collections from Pill Hill Press. I have a blog with over 220 followers.


Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely, 


XXX XXXX

Good job!  I'd ask for pages.