Alamandine's Song Query

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Quill
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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by Quill » July 14th, 2010, 9:08 pm

LSimon wrote:Going a different direction- Lemme know what you think.
I like this direction.
To say that Alamandine “Mandi” Croach takes life as it comes would be an understatement.
Couldn't you simply say, "Alamandine “Mandi” Croach takes life as it comes"? The way you have it makes me stop and think, not being sure what you are saying. I don't think you want anybody stopping and thinking at the beginning of your query.
She chose her college because that was where her father taught before he died. Her mother left her a jewelry store, so that is where she works. She accepts the existence of faeries because nothing else explains her aunt's abilities and eccentricities or the gorgeous messenger that literally pops in and out of her life.
This flows very nicely and gives mucho info without seeming to try.
All that "going with the flow" starts to dry up when lies start floating to the surface. Her mother isn't dead- she is ruling as Queen of the Star Court. Mandi isn't without magic- she has had her powers blocked. Her father didn't drown- he was murdered. Mandi herself may be in line to be queen.
This is also good but needs work.

1. Clarify "Queen of the Star Court". Is it a whorehouse downtown? A motel out on the highway?

2. Best to put the two "queen" thoughts together somehow rather than coming back to queen at the end of the paragraph.
When faeries start showing up in Philadelphia asking her for favors and messing with her life; Mandi is faced with a decision. Her first thought is to play dumb and weak.
Replace semi-colon with comma.

Either tell us what the decision is about or omit and seam together: "...and messing with her life, her first thought is to play..."
To let it be water under the bridge. To pretend all the lies are truth. That would be simpler and far safer, since
None of this is clear to me, and all of it sounds generic and cliche.

someone is eliminating possible heirs to the Star Court's throne.
Okay here is a good plot point. Be good to place "Star Court" in context, though. Is it in this dimension? In the United States?
The half-brother she never knew existed has been kidnapped, and all the evidence indicates that her father's murderer is responsible. Getting involved in faery politics is dangerous- putting both her life and heart on the line.
More good plot points, but not sure what she is afraid of, or how she would be involved? Can you elucidate her exact choices and role in these complications?
She is stepping into the deep-end, and for Mandi, it is sink or swim.
This again is generic and cliche. A sentence or two of specifics would finish this with a bang.

You start really strong and then it begins to fragment. I think you can strengthen and clarify the back end of this query to make it as good as the opening. I particularly like how you weave the info in in this version. How you let us know she's in Phillie, for example. I think we could use a wee bit more of that (for Star Court, for example), and some more specifics about Mandi's plight.

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OneChoice1
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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by OneChoice1 » July 15th, 2010, 12:28 am

LSimon wrote:Going a different direction- Lemme know what you think.


I wanted to come with fresh eyes, so I didn't read the other versions yet. Hope you don't mind. BTW, I'm critiquing as I read along.


To say that Alamandine “Mandi” Croach [Even if I've seen this done before, I like you introduce her nickname.] takes life as it comes would be an understatement. She chose her college because that was where her father taught before he died. Her mother left her a jewelry store, so that is where she works. [By that, you mean her mother died too?] She accepts the existence of faeries because nothing else explains her aunt's abilities and eccentricities or the gorgeous messenger that literally pops in and out of her life. [I enjoyed how you flowed from ordinary to accepting the existence of faeries. :D But I think you can go a step further and be more specific than "abilities and eccentricities."]


All that "going with the flow" starts to dry up [Can you create a stronger way of saying this?] when lies start floating float to the surface. Her mother isn't dead- she's ruling as Queen of the Star Court. [Is "Star Court" the world for the faeries? If so, you can say something like: "Her mother isn't dead--she's the Queen of the faeries."] Mandi isn't without magic- she has had her powers blocked. [Why?] Her father didn't drown- he was murdered. Mandi herself may be in line to be queen. [It makes sense that Mandi may be next in line to be queen. Unless she has a brother?]


[In the previous paragraph, I see how the sentences about her mother not being dead, Mandi's magic being blocked, and Mandi possibly being in line to be queen fit together. IMHO, the sentence about her father actually being murdered doesn't. I get that it's a secret that has surfaced, but still...]


When faeries start showing up in Philadelphia asking her for favors and messing with her life, [Why? What can she do for them when her magic's blocked?] Mandi's faced with a decision. [Oo, what's the decision?] Her first thought is to play dumb and weak. [?] To let it be water under the bridge. [?] To pretend all the lies are truth. [Okay, I think I see what you're going for, and I like it. You're adding sentence after sentence (all basically starting with "To [verb]..." to build up the drama and emotion? However--whether that's what you went for or not--these sentences aren't spiced up enough.] That would be simpler and far safer, [Try something that packs more of a punch than "simpler and far safer."] since someone is eliminating possible heirs to the Star Court's throne. [Is this why the messager has been popping up a lot? Because Mandi's life is in danger?]


The half-brother she never knew existed has been kidnapped, and all the evidence indicates that her father's murderer is responsible. [I feel overwhelmed.] Getting involved in faery politics is dangerous- putting both her life and heart on the line. [Whoa, what?] She is stepping into the deep-end, and for Mandi, it is sink or swim. [So is the person who wants to kill off Mandi, the same person who kidnapped her brother and murdered her father?]


I really like your 1st paragraph, but by the end of your query, I feel there are a lot of things competing to be the main conflict in your query. I was told I had a lot going on in my query, too. Maybe it's not that you have a lot going on, it could just be the way you laid it out. I'd really like to see your rewrite. God bless!


*Edited: I agree with Quill about how you can rephrase the very 1st sentence.
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LSimon
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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by LSimon » July 15th, 2010, 12:29 pm

It's long, but Let me know what you think!

To say that Alamandine “Mandi” Croach takes life as it comes would be an understatement. She chose her college because that was where her father taught before he died. Her mother left her a jewelry store, so that is where she works. She accepts the existence of faeries because nothing else explains her aunt's abilities and eccentricities or the gorgeous messenger that literally pops in and out of her life.

All that "going with the flow" starts to dry up when secrets and lies start floating to the surface. Mandi isn't without magic- she has had her powers blocked. Her father didn't drown- he was murdered. Her mother isn't dead- she is ruling as Queen of the Star Court in Faelyn and since the line of royalty is carried by the female line, Mandi may be in line to be queen. The half-brother she never knew existed has been kidnapped, and all the evidence indicates that her father's murderer is responsible.

When faeries start showing up in Philadelphia asking her for favors and messing with her life; her first thought is to play dumb and weak. To let it be water under the bridge. That would be simpler and far safer.

Someone is eliminating possible heirs to the Star Court's throne, but that same someone killed her father. Can she really ignore the fact that her father's killer is still out there and has stolen a fourteen year old boy? When Mandi is freed from her magical block, she finds that she has the tools to take on her own life- but taking on a deranged faery is a leap.

Getting involved in faery politics is dangerous-and all the lies have left her not knowing who to believe. She decides to have faith Hayune, her faery messenger, and step into the deep-end. For Mandi, both her life and heart are on the line and it's sink or swim.

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Quill
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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by Quill » July 15th, 2010, 10:25 pm

LSimon wrote:It's long, but Let me know what you think!

To say that Alamandine “Mandi” Croach takes life as it comes would be an understatement. She chose her college because that was where her father taught before he died. Her mother left her a jewelry store, so that is where she works. She accepts the existence of faeries because nothing else explains her aunt's abilities and eccentricities or the gorgeous messenger that literally pops in and out of her life.

All that "going with the flow" starts to dry up when secrets and lies start floating to the surface. Mandi isn't without magic- she has had her powers blocked. Her father didn't drown- he was murdered. Her mother isn't dead- she is ruling as Queen of the Star Court in Faelyn and since the line of royalty is carried by the female line, Mandi may be in line to be queen. The half-brother she never knew existed has been kidnapped, and all the evidence indicates that her father's murderer is responsible.
Two paragraphs of setting and backstory, normally not the best way to open a query but it's well done and there's a lot to tell. Good going. Now on to the action:
When faeries start showing up in Philadelphia asking her for favors and messing with her life; her first thought is to play dumb and weak. To let it be water under the bridge. That would be simpler and far safer.
Query falls down here. We need specifics about why the fairies are there, what favors, what messing, what is it that she is treating as water, and simpler and safer than what?

Or eliminate this paragraph and cut to the heart of the matter.
Someone is eliminating possible heirs to the Star Court's throne,
How does this tie into the faeries showing up in Philly?
but that same someone killed her father.
How does she or we know this?
Can she really ignore the fact that her father's killer is still out there and has stolen a fourteen year old boy?
Better to state the info than ask it rhetorically.
When Mandi is freed from her magical block,
Awkward wording, freed from her block. Is it really her block or someone else's control that was placed on her? Also, the term "magical block" could mean several things, even though you did mention it above.
she finds that she has the tools to take on her own life-
What does it mean to "take on her own life"?
but taking on a deranged faery is a leap.
What deranged faery would she be taking on? Why? A leap in what way? Is leap the same as challenge, it isn't clear what you mean by leap. Leap of faith? How?
Getting involved in faery politics is dangerous-
Is she getting involved? In what way? Why? How is it dangerous?
and all the lies have left her not knowing who to believe. She decides to have faith Hayune, her faery messenger,
Decides to have faith? Wouldn't it more accurately be "put faith in"? Also, missing word after "faith".
and step into the deep-end.
Of what, a pool? Politics? A murder investigation? Have you told us anything about her mission in this story? What is she trying to do?
For Mandi, both her life and heart are on the line and it's sink or swim.
On what line? Sink or swim where?

LSimon
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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by LSimon » July 15th, 2010, 11:52 pm

So you don't think that her being a princess and possibly the next heir to the throne is enough reason for the faeries to start showing up? And you don't think that her father being murdered and her brother being kidnapped is a good reason for her to think she is in danger?

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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by katbrauer » July 16th, 2010, 5:10 am

LSimon wrote:It's long, but Let me know what you think!

To say that Alamandine “Mandi” Croach takes life as it comes would be an understatement. She chose her college because that was where her father taught before he died. Her mother left her a jewelry store, so that is where she works. She accepts the existence of faeries because nothing else explains her aunt's supernatural abilities and eccentricities or the gorgeous messenger that literally pops in and out of her life.

All that "going with the flow" starts to dry up (I'm not a fan of this phrasing. Though I get what you're going for, I think it could be stronger.) when secrets and lies start floating to the surface. Mandi isn't without magic- she has had her powers blocked. Her father didn't drown- he was murdered. Her mother isn't dead- she is ruling as Queen of the Star Court in Faelyn and since the line of royalty is carried by the female line, Mandi may be in line to be queen. The half-brother she never knew existed has been kidnapped, and all the evidence indicates that her father's murderer is responsible.

When faeries start showing up in Philadelphia asking her for favors and messing with her life; her first thought is to play dumb and weak. To let it be water under the bridge. That would be simpler and far safer. After all, getting involved in faery politics is not just confusing, it's downright dangerous.

Too bad she can't. Someone is eliminating possible heirs to the Star Court's throne, but and that same someone killed her father. And Mandi is next on the list. Can she really ignore the fact that her father's killer is still out there and has stolen a fourteen year old boy?When Mandi is freed from her magical block, she finds that she has the tools to take on her own life- but taking on a deranged faery is a leap.

Getting involved in faery politics is dangerous-and all the lies have left her not knowing who to believe. She decides to have faith Hayune, her faery messenger, and step into the deep-end. For Mandi, both her life and heart are on the line and it's sink or swim.
I struck out a lot of this, mostly because I think that it's unnecessary--it can be inferred by the other bits and pieces you've gotten from the query. And I especially think you should end with Mandi's life being in danger, because that's a pretty solid hook. You do a great job in paragraphs 1 and 2 developing the set-up and Mandi's character (and also the potential romance with the messenger bloke), but I think the plot is lost in your attempts to explain it.

Read this to yourself and decide if the changes work for you. If you adjust the query again, I'll probably take another look. :) Still, I like this one a lot better than the first!
:) Kat
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Quill
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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by Quill » July 16th, 2010, 10:27 am

LSimon wrote:So you don't think that her being a princess and possibly the next heir to the throne is enough reason for the faeries to start showing up?
It wasn't clear to me why they are starting to show up. I would like to see it stated more clearly in the query.
And you don't think that her father being murdered and her brother being kidnapped is a good reason for her to think she is in danger?
Where do you tell us that she thinks she is in danger? Is she in danger? If so, I would like to feel her peril -- and her dread -- come through in the query. Phrases like "deep end" "sink or swim" "putting her life and heart on the line" don't convey enough info or emotion for me.

It sounds like a great story, a nifty juxtapose of modern and faery life, with intrigue and internal conflict a'plenty. I would like to see the highlights of this story presented in a higher (clearer) light.

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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by LSimon » July 19th, 2010, 12:56 pm

To say that Alamandine “Mandi” Croach takes life as it comes would be an understatement. She chose her college because that was where her father taught before he died. Her mother left her a high-end jewelry store in Philadelphia, so that is where she lives and works. She accepts the existence of faeries because nothing else explains her aunt's abilities and eccentricities or the gorgeous messenger that literally pops in and out of her life.

All that "going with the flow" starts to dry up when Mandi learns that life she's accepted- it's all built on lies. Mandi isn't without magic- she has had her powers blocked. Her father didn't drown- he was murdered. Her mother isn't dead- she is ruling as Queen of the Star Court in Faelyn- and since the line of royalty is passed down through the women's side, Mandi may be heir to the throne. The half-brother she never knew existed has been kidnapped, and all the evidence indicates that her father's murderer is responsible.

When Mandi is freed from her magical mental block, she finds that getting involved in faery politics is dangerous. But Hayune- her handsome faery messenger- earns her trust and she decides to dive into the deep end. For Mandi, both her life and heart are on the line- and it's sink or swim.

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