Thursday, October 27, 2011

QUERY CRITIQUE #14: BLACK LACE AND THE CLOCK TOWER

Dear ____________:

(Personalized)

Eighteen-year-old Vivienne doesn't care for being Guinevere's lady-in-waiting. It’s nothing against the future queen of Camelot; she’s rather lovely. Vivienne would simply rather take to Merlin's tower to learn about the mechanics of clockwork inventions. Especially now that Lancelot's new squire, Marcus, has captured Vivienne’s heart with his violet eyes and contagious energy. As it's a rather painful situation when the object of one's affection is about to take a vow of chastity, the clock tower is by far a preferred distraction.

I think this would work better with a stronger opening hook. I also find the time cues confusing; Lancelot's "new" squire has already captured her heart and made her look for a distraction. I like this premise, though; it's out-of-the-box thinking for both the Camelot myth as well as steampunk, which is largely Victorian.

Dear Ms. Kaynak,

Eighteen-year-old Vivienne would rather study the clockwork mechanics in Merlin's tower than perform her duties as Lady Guinevere's lady-in-waiting. She needs the distraction now more than ever—Squire Marcus, with his violet eyes and contagious energy, has captured Vivienne’s heart, but he's about to take a vow of chastity.

But when the king’s sorceress sister, Morgan le Fay, threatens the kingdom, Vivienne is torn. Cursed by the sorceress, Merlin needs an apprentice’s help to create the perfect weapon: a revolutionary blend of steam-powered machinery and the mystical science of alchemy. Vivienne could help him build it, or she could give up on Camelot, return Marcus’s declaration of love, and run away with him instead. But if Marcus gives up on knighthood, Vivienne would be to blame for the consequences: disaster for Camelot and its only hope, the terrifying weapon that dwells in the secret catacombs, waiting to be awakened.

There's a LOT of info in this paragraph, and it muddles the overall plot. Distill it to the essence.

When the king’s sorceress sister, Morgan le Fay, threatens the kingdom, Vivienne must choose: she can help Merlin create the perfect weapon: a revolutionary blend of steam-powered machinery and the mystical science of alchemy, or she can return Marcus’s declaration of love and run away with him. But if she does, Camelot will lose its only hope--the terrifying weapon that dwells in the secret catacombs… which only she can awaken.

BLACK LACE AND THE CLOCK TOWER, a YA steampunk romance, is complete at 98,000-words.

Thank you,

Sincerely,

I'm intrigued enough with the unique intertwining of themes that I'd ask for pages, so I could see how strong the writing is.