Query Gyllada's Riddle

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sarahdee
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Query Gyllada's Riddle

Post by sarahdee » April 11th, 2011, 12:38 am

I hate queries.

This is my very first attempt, probably riddled with mistakes but I'd love a little feedback before I work on it too much. I've tried to make it slightly comedic, to follow the tone of the WIP.

Is it working at all? Does it say enough about the story? Should I just rip it up and start again?

***

Mags hates planning, organising or anything that requires sitting still for five minutes. As a ‘police woman’ for a secret society of witches, it is a good thing she has Henri, her best friend and almost step father there to help her as she battles dragons, retrieves stolen magical artefacts and rounds up mischievous imps.

Henri loves books, maps, well thought out lists and spends most of his time saving Mags from trouble.

Their current assignment has landed them in Little Sutton, England which in 1925 is actually the least magical place on the planet. Their mission is to find someone. Someone very important. Problem is they don’t know who that person is, why they should be found, or where they are hiding.

Things get even more hairy when Mags’ evil sister turns up. She's already killed off the rest of the family and given half a chance, will blast Mags to tiny pieces.

Mags and Henri are helped in their tricky quest by Jacob, a local boy who drinks the wrong tea: yet another one of Mags’ spells gone wrong.

Gyllada’s Riddle is a paranormal mystery of 75,000 words.

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Quill
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Re: Query Gyllada's Riddle

Post by Quill » April 11th, 2011, 11:08 am

sarahdee wrote:
Mags hates planning, organising or anything that requires sitting still for five minutes. As a ‘police woman’ for a secret society of witches, it is a good thing she has Henri, her best friend and almost step father there to help her as she battles dragons, retrieves stolen magical artefacts and rounds up mischievous imps.

This is okay. There's an odd juxtapose between "police" and "dragons" begging the question of what time period we are in, or if you are describing a character who time-travels in the course of her work. Maybe clarify somehow.

I think "step father" should be one word.
Henri loves books, maps, well thought out lists and spends most of his time saving Mags from trouble.
This doesn't seem essential, but it works. Especially since you go on to say "Their assignment".
Their current assignment has landed them in Little Sutton, England which in 1925 is actually the least magical place on the planet.
Good, but I'd say "seems the least magical place" rather than "is actually". This puts it more in their perspective rather than a narrator's, and makes it less absolute.
Their mission is to find someone. Someone very important. Problem is they don’t know who that person is, why they should be found, or where they are hiding.

Good idea. I think it could be presented better. How about "Their mission is to find someone very important, but they don’t know who that person is, much less where might be hiding.
Things get even more hairy when Mags’ evil sister turns up. She's already killed off the rest of the family and given half a chance, will blast Mags to tiny pieces.
Again, good, but a bit rough. How about "Then Mag's evil sister turns up. She's already killed off the rest of the family and is looking to blast Mags to pieces."
Mags and Henri are helped in their tricky quest by Jacob, a local boy who drinks the wrong tea: yet another one of Mags’ spells gone wrong.
Omit this, as we do not need to know of this secondary character here.

Perhaps add something about the central dilemma, presumably the riddle or solving or dangers of the "tricky quest", to heighten the query further at the end.

Overall it reads well, is succinct, and sounds interesting.
Gyllada’s Riddle is a paranormal mystery of 75,000 words.
Be sure to put the title in ALL CAPS.

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wilderness
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Re: Query Gyllada's Riddle

Post by wilderness » April 11th, 2011, 4:21 pm

sarahdee wrote: Mags hates planning, organising or anything that requires sitting still for five minutes. As a ‘police woman’ for a secret society of witches, it is a good thing she has Henri, her best friend and almost step father there to help her as she battles dragons, retrieves stolen magical artifacts and rounds up mischievous imps. The second sentence is a bit long, I think you could break it down to flow better. Also, not sure police woman needs to be capitalized.


Henri loves books, maps, well thought out lists and spends most of his time saving Mags from trouble. Cute description, but I'm kind of confused about how he is her almost step-father. Usually when there is a setup like this, I'm expecting a romance to occur between the characters. If it's not a romance, let's say he's helping her so that they can bond or something, maybe try to include some of the subtext.

Their current assignment has landed them in Little Sutton, England which in 1925 is actually the least magical place on the planet. I think you'd want to tell us the setting in the first paragraph. Their mission is to find someone. Someone very important. Problem is they don’t know who that person is, why they should be found, or where they are hiding. Okay, so what *do* they know? I'm looking for how they got started on this assignment in the first place.

Things get even more hairy when Mags’ evil sister turns up. She's already killed off the rest of the family and given half a chance, will blast Mags to tiny pieces. Motivation for Mags' sister? Right now it seems random.

Mags and Henri are helped in their tricky quest by Jacob, a local boy who drinks the wrong tea: yet another one of Mags’ spells gone wrong. Jacob seems thrown in there and not central to the plot. Also, not sure you want to add another character anyhow.

Gyllada’s Riddle is a paranormal mystery of 75,000 words.
Okay, so it sounds like you've got some cute details and a good voice. However, I'd like the query to be organized a bit more conventionally: 1) Premise 2) Goal 3) Conflict. Right now we don't really know what is the crux of it all. Hope that helps!

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sarahdee
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Re: Query Gyllada's Riddle

Post by sarahdee » April 12th, 2011, 10:28 pm

Thanks for the comments.

Jacob is quite central. Mags and Henri are a long formed evil kicking partnership. They meet Jacob on arrival to the village and he then becomes a main character and possible love attraction for Mags. And he ends up saving the day!

So bearing that in mind, should I still leave him out or maybe mention him earlier when I bring the other two main characters into it?

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Quill
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Re: Query Gyllada's Riddle

Post by Quill » April 12th, 2011, 11:07 pm

Leave him out.

akila
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Re: Query Gyllada's Riddle

Post by akila » April 13th, 2011, 6:57 pm

Mags hates planning, organising or anything that requires sitting still for five minutes. As a ‘police woman’ for a secret society of witches, it is a good thing she has Henri, her best friend and almost step father there to help her as she battles dragons, retrieves stolen magical artefacts and rounds up mischievous imps. I am a little confused by this. How old is Mags? Is she a time traveler? I am having a problem with Henri being her best friend and almost step father. My thought is that if he is her best friend and he starts dating and then decides to marry her mother, she should be kind of irritated. I know I would be very ticked off if my best friend started dating my mom. Am I missing something here?

Henri loves books, maps, well thought out lists and spends most of his time saving Mags from trouble. To me, the last part of this sentence seems to indicate that he cares for her --- perhaps more than as a step-daughter.

Their current assignment has landed them in Little Sutton, England which in 1925 is actually the least magical place on the planet. Their mission is to find someone. Someone very important. Problem is they don’t know who that person is, why they should be found, or where they are hiding. I would revise the first sentence to: "Their current assignment lands them in 1925 Little Sutton, England, perhaps the least magical place on the planet." And, I think you could cut out "least magical place on the planet" and replace it with a description --- i.e. "a place where the women refuse to part their hair in braids for fear of being branded witches." (Sorry - that was very random, but hopefully you get my gist.)

Things get even more hairy when Mags’ evil sister turns up. She's already killed off the rest of the family and given half a chance, will blast Mags to tiny pieces. I like this part. It's a bit rough, as Quill mentioned, but this part seems to be where the drama gets really juicy.

Mags and Henri are helped in their tricky quest by Jacob, a local boy who drinks the wrong tea: yet another one of Mags’ spells gone wrong. If Jacob is a central character, I would include him in earlier --- perhaps, when you first mention that their mission is to find someone. Right now, he seems like an afterthought but if he is important to your story, definitely introduce him earlier.

Gyllada’s Riddle is a paranormal mystery of 75,000 words.

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Re: Query Gyllada's Riddle

Post by AllieS » April 14th, 2011, 11:17 pm

Mags hates planning, organising or anything that requires sitting still for five minutes Yeah, I think you should scrap this sentence and start with the next one, obviously including Mags' name in there. It starts right with the secret society of witches, which is interesting.. As a ‘police woman’ for a secret society of witches, it is a good thing she has Henri, her best friend and almost step father there to help her as she battles dragons, retrieves stolen magical artefacts and rounds up mischievous imps. I also have to wonder: how old is Mags? The relationship with her almost step-father seems a little strange.

Henri loves books, maps, well thought out lists and spends most of his time saving Mags from trouble. This is cute, but I feel as though it could be redone without all the sugar and spice. I like the last bit about saving Mags from trouble.

Their current assignment has landed them in Little Sutton, England which in 1925 is actually the least magical place on the planet. I agree with wilderness that setting should be up front. Their mission is to find someone. Someone very important. You could combine this into one sentence. Problem is they don’t know who that person is, why they should be found, or where they are hiding. I like this line.

Things get even more hairy when Mags’ evil sister turns up. She's already killed off the rest of the family and given half a chance, will blast Mags to tiny pieces. Why?

Mags and Henri are helped in their tricky quest by Jacob, a local boy who drinks the wrong tea: yet another one of Mags’ spells gone wrong.

You end out of the blue. There needs to be something about the central conflict, choices, etc. I get to the end of this line and expect to read how it will all come together. Also there are some spelling mistakes, but you can clean those up. Otherwise, interesting idea. Hope this helps!

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sarahdee
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Re: Query Gyllada's Riddle

Post by sarahdee » April 16th, 2011, 9:10 am

akila wrote: How old is Mags? Is she a time traveler? I am having a problem with Henri being her best friend and almost step father. My thought is that if he is her best friend and he starts dating and then decides to marry her mother, she should be kind of irritated. I know I would be very ticked off if my best friend started dating my mom. Am I missing something here? [/color]
No she is a witch, so in her 90s (which is young to her kind)

In this world witches don't marry but Henri was in a relationship with Mags' mother until the evil sister blasted her away. Now, as he thought the love of his life (the mother) would want, he helps Mags in her missions and tries to keep her safe in a completely non pervy way :) Actually the back story is Mags, her mother and Henri always worked together and they have carried on without the mother.

Do I need to put all that in the query, it seems like an info dump?

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Re: Query Gyllada's Riddle

Post by akila » April 17th, 2011, 11:08 am

Sarahdee - Ahhh, I totally get it now. So, the reason that he is her "almost step-father" is because he was going to marry her mother and then Mags' sister killed the mother. So, they're both mourning for the mom and hate the sister, right?
Mags hates planning, organising or anything that requires sitting still for five minutes. As a ‘police woman’ for a secret society of witches, it is a good thing she has Henri, her best friend and almost step father there to help her as she battles dragons, retrieves stolen magical artefacts and rounds up mischievous imps.

Henri loves books, maps, well thought out lists and spends most of his time saving Mags from trouble.

Things get even more hairy when Mags’ evil sister turns up. She's already killed off the rest of the family and given half a chance, will blast Mags to tiny pieces.
Okay, so what about something like this, ". . . it is a good thing she has Henri to help her as she battles dragons, retrieves stolen magical artifacts, and rounds up mischievous imps. Henri loves books, maps, well thought out lists, and Mags' mother. Mags' evil sister (maybe name her here) has killed off Mags' mother and Henri will do anything to save Mags from being blasted to tiny pieces by [name of sister.]" Obviously, that's really rough but I think it explains the interrelationship without feeling like an info dump. Obviously, Mags' evil sister is the villain so it sets up from the beginning the villain's role in this whole story.

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