Query - MG Fantasy

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Shipple
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Query - MG Fantasy

Post by Shipple » December 22nd, 2012, 11:17 am

Alright, so I have received some wonderful feedback on my query in these forums, but in my last post I kept debating between two different queries, and I think it got confusing for all of you (and me). Now I've settled on the one I'm sending out, and I just want a fresh start (boy, wouldn't we all love a fresh start with the querying process sometimes), so here it is:


When twelve-year-old Eric Ortega wakes up in an unfamiliar bedroom hooked up to hospital machines, he freaks out. His day goes from scary to unreal when a centaur clip-clops in and introduces himself as Eric's healer, and his sister brings in her new husband - who has wings!

Eric's so angry that his sister made this huge, life-changing deal for him. She arranged for the mysterious All Races Council to save him, and in exchange Eric has to live in the crazy town of Birch Stew, forget about his mother, and pretend like it's okay that the Council's "cure" stripped away half his memories.

Eric didn't agree to the Council's rules, and he won't abandon his mother. When his attempts to jump-start his memory fail, Eric convinces his only friend in town to help him run away and search for his mom. What he doesn't realize is that the evil being that haunts his dreams is still out there . . . and would love to reunite with him.

Complete at 65,000 words, TRAPPED IN BIRCH STEW is a MG fantasy, and I have started plotting anther book set in the same world. It is a fun novel that uses a very light hand to touch on important themes like discrimination and the environment.* Thank you for your time and consideration.


*I do not always include the part about themes, but I realized that since I have a main character with a Hispanic name, some agents would like to see a little diversity in action and that this aspect of the book might make it a little more meaningful to some agents.
"Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." - J.K. Rowling (an awesome opening line)
Me: http://sarahhipple.blogspot.com/ and http://shipple.tumblr.com/

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wilderness
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Re: Query - MG Fantasy

Post by wilderness » December 26th, 2012, 8:16 pm

I can tell you've worked on this query. The specific details are good, but I feel it maybe has too much going on. Hope my comments help.
Shipple wrote:
When twelve-year-old Eric Ortega wakes up in an unfamiliar bedroom hooked up to hospital machines, he freaks out. His day goes from scary to unreal when a centaur clip-clops in and introduces himself as Eric's healer, and his sister brings in her new husband - who has wings! Intriguing opening, and it has a middle grade voice. Good.

Eric's so angry that his sister made this huge, life-changing deal for him. She arranged for the mysterious All Races Council to save him from what?, and in exchange Eric has to live in the crazy town of Birch Stew, forget about his mother, and pretend like it's okay that the Council's "cure" stripped away half his memories. Hmm, there is a lot going on here. What is special about the town Birch Stew (is it simply that fantastical creatures live there?) I'm not getting a great picture of what the All Races Council is or the main rules of the world that are stopping Eric from leaving and going home from to his mother.

Eric didn't agree to the Council's rules, and he won't abandon his mother. When his attempts to jump-start his memory fail, Eric convinces his only friend in town to help him run away and search for his mom. What he doesn't realize is that the evil being that haunts his dreams is still out there . . . and would love to reunite with him. Hmm, although the evil being and Eric's missing memories all seem intriguing, I'm wondering if this query needs a bit more focus. I'm not sure how those things relate to his problem of leaving the town. Do you have a one-sentence log line that identifies the main conflict?

Complete at 65,000 words, TRAPPED IN BIRCH STEW is a MG fantasy, and I have started plotting anther book set in the same world. It is a fun novel that uses a very light hand to touch on important themes like discrimination and the environment.* Thank you for your time and consideration.

jenad
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Re: Query - MG Fantasy

Post by jenad » January 3rd, 2013, 2:10 pm

I would definitely elaborate more on the second paragraph. It seems a bit vague. What's the life-changing deal? What's the All Races Council and what are they saving him from? And what exactly is Birch Stew?

I see where you're coming form with the query, though. As writers, we always have our ideas so clear in our heads, but when it comes time to sum everything up in a query, it becomes difficult to explain!

Best of luck!

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Shipple
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Re: Query - MG Fantasy

Post by Shipple » January 9th, 2013, 10:26 am

You guys are right. Here is my revised query:


Twelve-year-old Eric's brain and body had been taken over by an evil cacodemon, so his sister hunted down the only people who could help him - the supposedly mythical winged Sentinels. But in exchange for their help, Eric has to live in their town, give up the human world, and pretend like it's okay that his "cure" stripped away half his memories, including all memory of his mother.

Despite being trapped in the town of Birch Stew, with crazy and creepy creatures on all sides, Eric isn't going to give up on his memories or his mother. His attempts to jump-start his memory fail, so Eric convinces his only friend to help him fly away and search for his mom. What he doesn't realize is that the cacodemon is still out there . . . and would love to reunite with him.

Complete at 65,000 words, TRAPPED IN BIRCH STEW is a MG fantasy. Eric Ortega follows in the footsteps of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, and I have started plotting anther book set in Eric's world. Thank you for your time and consideration.
"Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." - J.K. Rowling (an awesome opening line)
Me: http://sarahhipple.blogspot.com/ and http://shipple.tumblr.com/

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wilderness
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Re: Query - MG Fantasy

Post by wilderness » January 9th, 2013, 11:17 pm

Yes!!! I think this is a much stronger, focused query. Thumbs up!
Shipple wrote:
Twelve-year-old Eric's brain and body had been taken over by an evil cacodemon, so his sister hunted down the only people who could help him - the supposedly mythical winged Sentinels. But in exchange for their help, Eric has to live in their town, give up the human world, and pretend like it's okay that his "cure" stripped away half his memories, including all memory of his mother. Great! Perfectly sets up the premise and the conflict.

Despite being trapped in the town of Birch Stew, with crazy and creepy creatures on all sides, Eric isn't going to give up on his memories or his mother. The last part feels repetitive from the first paragraph. His attempts to jump-start his memory fail, so Eric convinces his only friend to help him fly away and search for his mom. What he doesn't realize is that the cacodemon is still out there . . . and would love to reunite with him. Great also. Obstacles conveyed. Not sure what a cacodemon is, maybe a little description for it is in order.

Complete at 65,000 words, TRAPPED IN BIRCH STEW is a MG fantasy. Eric Ortega follows in the footsteps of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, and I have started plotting anther book set in Eric's world. Thank you for your time and consideration.

writerly_black_cat
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Re: Query - MG Fantasy

Post by writerly_black_cat » February 5th, 2013, 2:06 pm

So hopefully these comments are helpful, I just wrote down whatever questions popped into my head. There's definitely a lot of good stuff going on here and I like the tone of the query, I'm just trying to wrap my head around the story presented.

Twelve-year-old Eric's brain and body had been taken over by an evil cacodemon, so his sister hunted down the only people who could help him - the supposedly mythical winged Sentinels. But in exchange for their help, Eric has to live in their town, give up the human world, and pretend like it's okay that his "cure" stripped away half his memories, including all memory of his mother. I want to see a bit of description on the cacodemon, just so I understand what Eric's up against, and maybe why the cacodemon wants him. I'm also curious as to how his sister hunted down the mythical winged Sentinels, is she magical in anyway to be able to do that, and succeed? Or do Sentinels look out for children? What's their business, I want to know a bit about how they can help).

Despite being trapped in the town of Birch Stew, with crazy and creepy creatures on all sides, Eric isn't going to give up on his memories or his mother. His attempts to jump-start his memory fail, so Eric convinces his only friend to help him fly away and search for his mom. What he doesn't realize is that the cacodemon is still out there . . . and would love to reunite with him. I would love to hear about one of his attempts to jump-start his memory, even if it's just hinted at, it definitely sparks interest. Also, I'm having trouble believing that he wants to search for his mother if he remembers nothing about her. Without any memories of her, wouldn't he have no emotional connection to her or the idea of a mother? Maybe if he had a fragment of a memory of his mother, that could entice him to find out more, or to feel the void that has been left in his memories. And why is the cacodemon so interested in him? Maybe if there was a bit of descriptive language about the cacodemon in the beginning of the query, you could throw in a hint as to why this cacodemon or cacodemons in general do this sort of thing.

Complete at 65,000 words, TRAPPED IN BIRCH STEW is a MG fantasy. Eric Ortega follows in the footsteps of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, and I have started plotting anther book set in Eric's world. Thank you for your time and consideration. This is just a thought...I don't know how I feel about the wording here...follows in the footsteps of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. I understand that you mean it is similar to those books, but I don't see the similarity in their journeys besides the fact that Eric goes on a magical journey and he happens to be a young boy.

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