Does she really like to think she's an assassin? This sounds a little 'flip', a bit casual for the seriousness of her trauma.Nicole Zoltack wrote:Dear Agent:
Lorna McCloud likes to think she's an assassin for the money and because she's good at it.
Technically I think a reason (being a noun) cannot be "because". The reason would more properly be "her trauma".But the real reason, because she was traumatized after witnessing her father's murder, is one she longs to keep buried.
Also,I would think her trauma would have been incurred during the murder, not after witnessing it. .
Also, "longs to keep buried" may not be the strongest way to say this. "Longs" seems passive, invoking hope rather than an active stuffing of her emotions, which is probably closer to the dynamic regarding her assassin persona.
Good plotting by the way, but this may best be broken into two sentences. Otherwise there is some awkwardness ("a lead brings her closer when she is captured") and a whole lot of ground covered here.A fresh lead in the cold case brings her closer to discovering her father's murderer when she is captured by the Paranormal Intelligence Agency (PIA).
1. What seems like a major plot point is glossed-over. Elaborate: what is this ability, and of what use is it. How does it figure in the story?There she learns she has the ability of shadow manipulation.
2. Ability to (manipulate shadows); an ability is not of...
This is our first clue that we are probably not in modern times on Earth, and seems abrupt. Any way to clue us in earlier?She flees to Creigh, where the country's king, Alaric,
Without context this seems odd, like saying President Obama has a bounty on his head. Is the king not on the throne at this time? If not, what is the situation?has an enormous bounty on his head.
Again, this is quite clipped, and needs context. Is it that easy to get next to a king? Falls for him like a young girl might fall for a singing idol? Or do they actually date?Instead of killing Alaric, Lorna falls for him.
The assassin? Is he expecting her?When he learns that she is the assassin, he wants nothing to do with her.
"Wants nothing to do with her" is weak. Who would? It's obvious.
This doesn't sound like a very strong linkage. Not sure I understand any direct linkage at all, actually.However they are linked -- her father and his killer visited Creigh before Alaric’s grandfather discovered the island.The island's original inhabitants had been killed, most likely by the same man who later murdered Lorna's father.
Can these backstory elements be clarified and slanted to highlight more clearly the present conflict?
Why? How? Who is this Alaric besides "king"?Alaric is now willing to help Lorna on her quest for revenge.
Also, "quest for revenge" kind of lays there, being unspecific and cliche.
Though rhetorical questions usually aren't the strongest way to reveal plot in a query, some of these work fine. Not sure about the forgiveness, though. What does the king need to forgive Lorna for in her past? What does Lorna feel the need to forgive herself for? Killing people? If so, I'm not sure you've laid the groundwork for such internal soulwork. Maybe more emphasis is needed earlier on her dichotomy: killing while stuffing emotions. As mentioned before, that part is treated somewhat casually above.Will Lorna ever find the killer? And the PIA -- what do they want from Lorna? Has her assassin lifestyle doomed her to a life without love? Will Alaric forgive Lorna for her past? More importantly, will Lorna be able to forgive herself?
This doesn't come across as urban at all. There are mentions of island and none of city.HIDDEN IN SHADOWS is a 96,000-word urban fantasy novel.