Query: UNDER A DEAD MOON, fantasy

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Bohemienne
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Query: UNDER A DEAD MOON, fantasy

Post by Bohemienne » March 24th, 2011, 12:39 pm

Powerful magic comes easily to Lady Fierine Calloun, the daughter of the late, great Archmage Calloun. She’s too clever to have the magic burned out of her, and too wealthy to be relegated to an undermage’s life, fueling the Empire’s factories. Smart mages know to avoid the darker magic of long-imprisoned demons, who can only breach their mountain prison to wreak havoc under a Dead Moon.

But the prison’s seals are weakening—Fierine witnesses it herself. The First Emperor banished the demons, and acknowledging the prison’s flaws is tantamount to treason. Fierine knows there must be a better way to hold the demons at bay—and she finds it in their own dark magic.

As revolution brews in the factories and the Emperor launches a war at sea, Fierine and a cabal of like-minded mages devise a plan to save the Empire from its demons once and for all. But the dark magic comes with a heavy price, and everywhere Fierine turns, she finds the ruby-eyed Inquisitor who’s sworn to kill any mages who take their magic too far. Fierine must choose between her privileged life chasing her father’s legacy, and the promise of a new Empire—one forged with dark magic that might kill her before she can decide.

UNDER A DEAD MOON is a 108,000 word fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of Patrick Rothfuss and Amanda Downum with its intricate magical system, unusual setting, and complicated ethical questions.

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Thanks in advance for feedback!

glj
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Re: Query: UNDER A DEAD MOON, fantasy

Post by glj » March 24th, 2011, 3:55 pm

Powerful magic comes easily to Lady Fierine Calloun, the daughter of the late, great Archmage Calloun. She’s too clever to have the magic burned out of her, and too wealthy to be relegated to an undermage’s life, fueling the Empire’s factories. Smart mages know to avoid the darker magic of long-imprisoned demons, who can only breach their mountain prison to wreak havoc under a Dead Moon.

Your first sentence introduces us to Fierine and tells us she has powerful magic. Sentence two implies that she and her magic must be dealt with in some way. This seems to need a transition. Why the focus on dealing with/getting rid of Fierine? There is some motivation/conflict missing here.

The imprisoned demons seem to play a big part, judging from your title. But why they are imprisoned is not given.

But the prison’s seals are weakening—Fierine witnesses it herself. Could you show this? Would certainly introduce an element of danger. The First Emperor banished the demons, and acknowledging the prison’s flaws is tantamount to treason. Fierine knows there must be a better way to hold the demons at bay—and she finds it in their who is the "their"? own dark magic.

As revolution brews in the factories and the Emperor launches a war at sea, Fierine and a cabal of like-minded mages devise a plan to save the Empire from its demons once and for all. But the dark magic comes with a heavy price, and everywhere Fierine turns, she finds the ruby-eyed Inquisitor who’s sworn to kill any mages who take their magic too far. Fierine must choose between her privileged life chasing her father’s legacy, and the promise of a new Empire—one forged with dark magic that might kill her before she can decide.

UNDER A DEAD MOON is a 108,000 word fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of Patrick Rothfuss and Amanda Downum with its intricate magical system, unusual setting, and complicated ethical questions.

I'm not completely clear what the motivations and conflicts are between the various characters. The basic conflict seems to be Fierine versus demons versus the empire versus dark magic. So Fierine must resort to dark magic to battle demons and save the kingdom, but then that puts Fierine in danger? I'm not sure I have it right.

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Re: Query: UNDER A DEAD MOON, fantasy

Post by AllieS » March 25th, 2011, 4:17 am

Powerful magic comes easily to Lady Fierine Calloun, the daughter of the late, great Archmage Calloun. The words "powerful magic" to me can mean a whole lot. Maybe it's because I've read a lot of fantasy queries lately, but I automatically want to know some details about what kind of "magic" this is. She’s too clever to have the magic burned out of her Like glj said, this is a little disconnected from the first sentence. For starters, you can have magic burned out of you?, and too wealthy to be relegated to an undermage’s life, fueling the Empire’s factories. Smart mages know to avoid the darker magic of long-imprisoned demons, who can only breach their mountain prison to wreak havoc under a Dead Moon.

But the prison’s seals are weakening—Fierine witnesses it herself. The First Emperor banished the demons, and acknowledging the prison’s flaws is tantamount to treason. Fierine knows there must be a better way to hold the demons at bay—and she finds it in their I'm assuming you mean the demons' magic, but you should make this clearer. own dark magic.

As revolution brews in the factories and the Emperor launches a war at sea, Fierine and a cabal of like-minded mages devise a plan to save the Empire from its demons once and for all. But the dark magic comes with a heavy price, and everywhere Fierine turns, she finds the ruby-eyed This piece of detail seems unnecessary for a query. Inquisitor who’s sworn to kill any mages who take their magic too far. Fierine must choose between her privileged life chasing her father’s legacy, and the promise of a new Empire—one forged with dark magic that might kill her before she can decide.

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wilderness
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Re: Query: UNDER A DEAD MOON, fantasy

Post by wilderness » March 26th, 2011, 4:24 pm

Bohemienne wrote:Powerful magic comes easily to Lady Fierine Calloun, the daughter of the late, great Archmage Calloun. She’s too clever to have the magic burned out of her, and too wealthy to be relegated to an undermage’s life, fueling the Empire’s factories. Smart mages know to avoid the darker magic of long-imprisoned demons, who can only breach their mountain prison to wreak havoc under a Dead Moon.

But the prison’s seals are weakening—Fierine witnesses it herself. The First Emperor banished the demons, and acknowledging the prison’s flaws is tantamount to treason. Fierine knows there must be a better way to hold the demons at bay—and she finds it in their own dark magic.

As revolution brews in the factories and the Emperor launches a war at sea, Fierine and a cabal of like-minded mages devise a plan to save the Empire from its demons once and for all. But the dark magic comes with a heavy price, and everywhere Fierine turns, she finds the ruby-eyed Inquisitor who’s sworn to kill any mages who take their magic too far. Fierine must choose between her privileged life chasing her father’s legacy, and the promise of a new Empire—one forged with dark magic that might kill her before she can decide.

UNDER A DEAD MOON is a 108,000 word fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of Patrick Rothfuss and Amanda Downum with its intricate magical system, unusual setting, and complicated ethical questions.
I like it -- there is some beautiful writing here and you've painted an interesting world. I like "ruby-eyed Inquisitor"; it's great to incorporate your writing style and voice in the query.

What is a Dead Moon? What is the price of using dark magic? In particular, that seems important -- it is the crux of the conflict. Strengthen the conflict, and I think you have a great query.

Also not sure that "chasing her father's legacy" is the right wording. Wouldn't she just be taking advantage of her father's legacy by living a privileged life?

Great start!

kveenly
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Re: Query: UNDER A DEAD MOON, fantasy

Post by kveenly » March 26th, 2011, 5:27 pm

Bohemienne wrote:Powerful magic comes easily to Lady Fierine Calloun, the daughter of the late, great Archmage Calloun. She’s too clever to have the magic burned out of her Is it normal to have magic burned out of you in this world? Or is the text referring to the practice of burning witches? But it seems in this world magic is accepted (the mention of a "great Archmage"). Could be clarified further. , and too wealthy to be relegated to an undermage’s life, fueling the Empire’s factories Who is fueling the Empire's factories? Confused here because not sure what the noun is. . Smart mages know to avoid the darker magic of long-imprisoned demons Why are we being told this now? Is the Lady avoiding the darker magic of demons? What kind of magic does she have? The world-building could be clarified a bit further , who can only breach their prison in the mountain to wreak havoc under a Dead Moon.

But the prison’s seals are weakening—Fierine witnesses it herself. The First Emperor banished the demons, and acknowledging the prison’s flaws is tantamount to treason This is a bit confusing -- could be developed/explained further. Or consider phrasing it this way: But it's dangerous and treasonous to question the strength of the prison, which was formed by the First Emperor . Fierine knows there must be a better way to hold the demons at bay—and she finds it in their own dark magic.

As revolution brews in the factories What are these factories? What kind of work do they do? They were mentioned earlier but I kind of ignored it figuring it wasn't important. Also, why is there a revolution brewing in the factories? and the Emperor launches a war at sea against whom?, Fierine and a cabal of like-minded mages devise a plan to save the Empire from its demons once and for all The threat of the demons isn't really coming through -- I thought their prison was weakening, but the demons themselves weren't dangerous yet. If they are dangerous, perhaps convey that further. . But the dark magic what dark magic? perhaps say "the dark magic they use to defeat the demons" comes with a heavy price, and everywhere Fierine turns, she finds the ruby-eyed Inquisitor who’s sworn to kill any mages who take their magic too far. Fierine must choose between her privileged life chasing her father’s legacy, and the promise of a new Empire—one forged with dark magic.

UNDER A DEAD MOON is a 108,000 word fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of Patrick Rothfuss and Amanda Downum with its intricate magical system, unusual setting, and complicated ethical questions.
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I find the story appealing, but I think the stakes could be clarified further. That is, we should understand from the start that the Lady's world is one in which magic is monitored carefully and where revolutionary sentiment is brewing. Once we get a sense that this is a politically-charged world, I think it'll be easier to understand that this is a story in which the Lady is taking huge political and personal risks.

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Bohemienne
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Re: Query: UNDER A DEAD MOON, fantasy

Post by Bohemienne » March 28th, 2011, 8:44 am

Thanks so much, everyone, for the thoughtful replies! I'm working on a new draft, and will post it when I'm finished.

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