Query Critique--Aurumenas REVISED (again)

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CoachMT
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Re: Query Critique--Aurumenas REVISED (again)

Post by CoachMT » February 16th, 2010, 12:48 pm

I would agree with much of what aspiring has to say above. My impression was of a lot of unnecessary words. Also, personal pet peeve here: she exists, so she is not "mythical". That's a word that gets overused, and incorrectly in most cases, in my opinion.

Second paragraph, my question was: Who had she come to love? She was in prison and just escaped. Did someone help her? Is that who she's found to love? I realize the universe-encompassing importance of her destiny, but people can't really relate to that. They do understand love, however, and I think you should highlight this aspect further.

Just my two cents, hope some of it helps!

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Emily White
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Re: Query Critique--Aurumenas REVISED (again)

Post by Emily White » February 16th, 2010, 2:30 pm

Excellent! I was hoping someone would shred it to pieces! Thank you! I'll be back with the revised version soon.
Find out about ELEMENTAL, my YA Space Opera (available June 21, 2011) on my blog and ELEMENTAL's facebook fan page

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johydai
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Re: Query Critique--Aurumenas REVISED (again)

Post by johydai » February 16th, 2010, 2:54 pm

Here are my thoughts:
1) Being in this solitary confinement for 15 years, how did she learn to talk, etc?
2) If she can control 3/4 elements, why not the element of earth?
3) Why does Manoo want to eat her? or am I interpreting "tasty meal" wrong?
4) Her being the Destructor sort of makes her sound like the bad-guy of the story. Maybe just say that she finally becomes an Auri.

Well, that's all that stood out to me.
Johydai

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marilyn peake
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Re: Query Critique--Aurumenas REVISED (again)

Post by marilyn peake » February 16th, 2010, 4:24 pm

Emily,

I love both fantasy and science fiction, and your book sounds fascinating to me! My understanding about query letters is that they need to be as tight as possible. I think yours has been getting tighter with revisions. Sometimes it’s easier to tighten up a query letter that’s already been tightened up a bit. I don’t know how to cross out words here, so I put a version with my suggestions below the query letter where I explained my suggestions in red – I hope that’s not too confusing:

Dear (Insert Name):

--Personalized (non-creepy) paragraph to connect with agent--

Fifteen out of the seventeen years of Nathadria’s life have been spent in imprisonment, leaving her body a skeletal waste. [I think starting out with “Fifteen out of the seventeen” makes your first sentence vague, less direct than starting out with the main character, and is somewhat of a tongue twister. I think starting out with something like “Seventeen-year-old Nathadria” might draw the reader in more quickly.] Years of solitary confinement in an interstellar ship have convinced her that her life is meaningless and without purpose. [I would leave out “Years of” because it sounds too repetitive after using the word “years” or "year" in the previous sentence.] But when by divine miracle she finds the chance to escape, she steps into a life she never imagined. [I think “But when by” sounds vague, not direct. And the sentence structure here can be made more direct. Also, “a way” might be more action-oriented than “the chance”.] A destiny dictated for her thousands of years ago begins playing out the moment she takes her first breath of freedom. [I would leave out the previous sentence because it sounds somewhat cliché and isn’t necessary.] Over the course of a few days she is confronted by two truths. [I would leave out the previous sentence because it isn’t necessary.] She is [I would replace "She is" with "She's".] an Auri—a mythical being blessed by the Creator, El, to manipulate the elements of water, air, and fire. And despite her dilapidated [The word “dilapidated” is usually used to describe an object like an old house; it means “decayed”. I would use something like “weakened”.] body, she’s the most powerful human being in the galaxy, destined to destroy a fallen angel with a god complex--Manoo. [In the previous two sentences, you have two different kinds of dashes. I would use the same type of dash, or maybe colons.]

With millions of soldiers, war ships [“war ships” should be “warships” – a compound word], and gliders swarming in around her, Nathadria must learn to utilize her special talents in order to save herself and the ones she has come to love. [I would make the previous sentence more direct – “swarming” doesn’t fit so well with warships, as it suggests annoying insects.] But behind the scenes and without Nathadria’s knowledge, her destiny becomes mangled up in the plots and schemes of a power-hungry revolutionary and an angry zealot who both want to see her dead. [The previous sentence is very confusing to someone who hasn’t read your book.] And so it happens that the one man she chose to trust completely, [comma can be removed here] betrays her and sends her off to Manoo who plans to turn her into a tasty meal. [“turn her into a tasty meal” sounds too light; I would use something more serious, less joking and cliché.] It is then [comma needed here] as she stands face to face [“face to face” should be spelled “face-to-face”] with her true enemy [comma needed here] that she becomes the Destructor.

My XX,000 word epic fantasy novel, AURUMENAS, rife with energy weapons, interstellar war ships [“war ships” should be “warships” – a compound word] , and teleporting fairies, explores how reliance on others can get you through much, but the true discovery of oneself [Would “one’s self” be more powerful here, more of an emphasis on the self?] can get you through anything.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Emily White (Ready to ship those brownies as an extra incentive to sign me :) ) [I would leave out the comment after your name, as I’ve read many times online that agents don’t like these sorts of jokes in a query.]

Here's the revised version:

--Personalized (non-creepy) paragraph to connect with agent—

Seventeen-year-old Nathadria spends fifteen years in solitary confinement aboard an interstellar ship. Her body becomes a skeletal waste, and she’s convinced that her life is meaningless and without purpose. By divine miracle, she finds a way to escape and steps into a life she never imagined. She's an Auri—a mythical being blessed by the Creator, El, to manipulate the elements of water, air, and fire. And despite her weakened body, she’s the most powerful human being in the galaxy, destined to destroy a fallen angel with a god complex—Manoo.

Surrounded by millions of soldiers, warships, and gliders, Nathadria must learn to utilize her special talents in order to save herself and the ones she has come to love. Her destiny is shaped by the plots and schemes of a power-hungry revolutionary and an angry zealot who both want to see her dead. And so it happens that the one man she chose to trust completely betrays her and sends her off to Manoo who plans to kill her. It is then, as she stands face-to-face with her true enemy, that she becomes the Destructor.

My XX,000 word epic fantasy novel, AURUMENAS, rife with energy weapons, interstellar warships, and teleporting fairies, explores how reliance on others can get you through much, but the true discovery of one’s self can get you through anything.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Emily White
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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