QUERY: MAGE STORM Middle Grade Fantasy--Revised

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Meredith
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QUERY: MAGE STORM Middle Grade Fantasy--Revised

Post by Meredith » January 6th, 2011, 1:03 pm

I've been absent for a while, polishing up this project and working on a couple of others.
Dear Agent:
The only traces of magic left in Rell's world are the violent, semi-sentient mage storms made up of the ashes of the magic-wielders killed in the great war.

Or so Rell believes until a mage storm infects him with magic he can’t control. The magic ebbs and flows with his emotions, protecting those he cares about one day and starting fires the next. Fire in particular comes with anger and his big brother has always had a knack for getting under Rell's skin. His only hope of returning to a normal life is to find someone who can help him learn to control the magic.

He soon learns that magic isn’t as dead as people think and genuine help isn’t as easy to find as Rell hoped.

Rell follows rumors of a teacher, but what he finds in Trav is a cult leader. When Rell witnesses the death of another student, he realizes Trav is killing off anyone capable of really learning magic--and he's next on Trav’s list. Forced to flee, Rell can’t forget the friends he left behind. Somehow, he has to learn enough to return and free the others.

That is, if Trav doesn’t catch him first, because Trav doesn’t let anyone with real magic live long enough to challenge him.

MAGE STORM is a 58,000-word upper middle grade fantasy, potentially the first of a series. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first five pages per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time.
I'll be back a bit later to look at some of the new queries that have been posted while I was away and offer what I can.
Last edited by Meredith on January 6th, 2011, 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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allegedauthor
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Re: QUERY: MAGE STORM Middle Grade Fantasy

Post by allegedauthor » January 6th, 2011, 2:02 pm

Meredith wrote:I've been absent for a while, polishing up this project and working on a couple of others.
Dear Agent:
The only traces of magic left in Rell's world are the violent, semi-sentient mage storms made up of the ashes of the magic-wielders killed in the great war.

Or so Rell believes until a mage storm infects him with magic he can’t control. The magic ebbs and flows with his emotions, protecting those he cares about one day and starting fires the next. Fire in particular comes with anger and his big brother has always had a knack for getting under Rell's skin. His only hope of returning to a normal life is to find someone who can help him learn to control the magic.

He soon learns that magic isn’t as dead as people think and genuine help isn’t as easy to find as Rell hoped.

Rell follows rumors of a teacher, but what he finds in Trav is a cult leader. When Rell witnesses the death of another student, he realizes Trav is killing off anyone capable of really learning magic--and he's next on Trav’s list. Forced to flee, Rell can’t forget the friends he left behind. Somehow, he has to learn enough to return and free the others.

That is, if Trav doesn’t catch him first, because Trav doesn’t let anyone with real magic live long enough to challenge him.

MAGE STORM is a 58,000-word upper middle grade fantasy, potentially the first of a series. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first five pages per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time.
I'll be back a bit later to look at some of the new queries that have been posted while I was away and offer what I can.
I would look at your hook line again. To me, it's not enough to stand on its own. It would be cool if you could insert some voice into it. Imagine Kristin Nelson only getting to read that ONE sentence. Would she believe this novel to be middle grade? Would she be enticed to read more? BUT THE REST OF THE QUERY I ABSOLUTELY LOOOOOVE! Love the idea that a teacher is really a cult leader intent on destroying anyone with magical capabilities. You present your conflict well and I care enough about Trav to want to read more. VERY hard to make people connect with your MC in a query and you did a wonderful job. I would read this in a second. You might want to leave out the comment "potentially the first of a series." Agents like to know your novel can stand on its own. Check for any missing commas and such but otherwise GREAT JOB!

Krista G.
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Re: QUERY: MAGE STORM Middle Grade Fantasy

Post by Krista G. » January 6th, 2011, 7:23 pm

Meredith wrote:Dear Agent:
The only traces of magic left in Rell's world are the violent, semi-sentient mage storms made up of the ashes of the magic-wielders killed in the great war. I agree with allegedauthor that this opening line, while interesting, is a little heavy-handed, especially for an MG query.

Or so Rell believes until a mage storm infects him with magic he can’t control. One possible way to consolidate this introduction: "Rell doesn't believe in magic--until a mage storm infects him with magic he can't control." Just a thought. The magic ebbs and flows with his emotions, protecting those he cares about one day and starting fires the next. Fire in particular comes with anger, and his big brother has always had a knack for getting under Rell's skin. "Fire in particular comes with anger" reads a little awkwardly to me. His only hope of returning to a normal life is to find someone who can help him learn to control the magic.

He soon learns that magic isn’t as dead as people think and genuine help isn’t as easy to find as Rell hoped. This feels a little clunky to me (and a little redundant). Here's another idea: "Too bad the only teacher in the realm [or whatever sort of word would fit your world best] also happens to be a cult leader." Again, just a thought.

Rell follows rumors of a teacher, but what he finds in Trav is a cult leader. When Rell witnesses the death of another student, he realizes Trav is killing off anyone capable of really learning magic--and he's next on Trav’s list. Forced to flee, Rell can’t forget the friends he left behind. Somehow, he has to learn enough to return and free the others.

That is, if Trav doesn’t catch him first, because Trav doesn’t let anyone with real magic live long enough to challenge him. I just found that last clause redundant, which is why I crossed it out.

MAGE STORM is a 58,000-word upper middle grade fantasy, potentially the first of a series. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first five pages per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time.
Like allegedauthor, I really like the sound of this. It could be a little dark for middle grade, though. Is there a particular reason you decided to make it MG and not YA?
Author of THE REGENERATED MAN (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015)
Represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary
www.motherwrite.blogspot.com

Meredith
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Re: QUERY: MAGE STORM Middle Grade Fantasy

Post by Meredith » January 6th, 2011, 7:45 pm

Thanks.

Newer Version, pared down a little:
Dear Agent:

The only traces of magic left in Rell's world are the violent, semi-sentient mage storms made up of the ashes of the magic-wielders killed in the great war.

Or so Rell believes until a mage storm infects him with magic he can’t control. The magic ebbs and flows with his emotions, protecting those he cares about one day and starting fires the next. His only hope of returning to a normal life is to find someone who can help him learn to either control the magic or get rid of it.

Rell follows rumors of a teacher but finds a cult leader, Trav, instead. When Rell witnesses the death of another student, he realizes he's next on Trav’s list. Forced to flee, Rell can’t forget the friends he left behind. Somehow, he has to learn enough to return and free the others.

That is, if Trav doesn’t catch him first, because Trav doesn’t let anyone with real magic live long enough to challenge him.
MAGE STORM is a 58,000-word upper middle grade fantasy and potentially the first of a series. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first five pages per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time.
Krista G: It reads MG. So beta readers have told me and I agree. It's perhaps not quite as dark as it sounds here. Certainly no darker than THE GRAVEYARD BOOK--probably not that dark.
MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com

Emily J
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Re: QUERY: MAGE STORM Middle Grade Fantasy

Post by Emily J » January 6th, 2011, 7:58 pm

Meredith wrote:Thanks.

Newer Version, pared down a little:
Dear Agent:

The only traces of magic left in Rell's world are the violent, semi-sentient mage storms made up of the ashes of the magic-wielders killed in the great war. this sentence is still a bit unmanageable, especially for a hook, the very first impression of the query. Just count the number of prepositions in the sentence, there are way too many. Simplify, simplify simplify! (btw the idea of a semi-sentient storm is REALLY cool)

Or so Rell believes <-- transition is a bit awkward until a mage storm infects him with magic he can’t control. The magic ebbs and flows with his emotions, protecting those he cares about one day and starting fires the next. His only hope of returning to a normal life is to find someone who can help him learn to either control the magic or get rid of it.

Rell follows rumors of a teacher but finds a cult leader, Trav, instead. When Rell witnesses the death of another student, he realizes he's next on Trav’s list. <-- next on his list is a bit cliche, can you find another way to say that? Forced to flee, Rell can’t forget the friends he left behind. Somehow, he has to learn enough to return and free the others.

That is, <-- not a fan of this transition either if Trav doesn’t catch him first, because Trav doesn’t let anyone with real magic live long enough to challenge him.
MAGE STORM is a 58,000-word upper middle grade fantasy and potentially the first of a series. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first five pages per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time.
Well first of all welcome back! I was gone myself for a few months. I think you did a really good job with the length of this query. I think the plot description is good, we have enough to interest us but not too much to bog us down in unnecessary details. Really I would just suggest working on that first sentence. I think it's still not quite where it needs to be.
Best of luck!

notw
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Re: QUERY: MAGE STORM Middle Grade Fantasy--Revised

Post by notw » January 13th, 2011, 3:52 pm

Meredith,

I think this query looks really good! It definitely has me interested in your story. Good luck with the querying.

Mel
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Re: QUERY: MAGE STORM Middle Grade Fantasy--Revised

Post by Mel » January 14th, 2011, 1:10 pm

Dear Agent:
The only traces of magic left in Rell's world are the violent, semi-sentient mage storms made up of the ashes of the magic-wielders killed in the great war.I agree with everyone else, this sentence doesn't work. And really, I don't think you need it.

I'd start here. Where the story starts. Something like....Eleven-year-old Rell has been infected with magic he can't control. TOr so Rell believes until a mage storm infects him with magic he can’t control.The magic ebbs and flows with his emotions, protecting those he cares about one day and starting fires the next. Fire in particular comes with anger and his big brother has always had a knack for getting under Rell's skin. His only hope of returning to a normal life is to find someone who can help him learn to control the magic.

He soon learns that magic isn’t as dead as people think and Butgenuine help isn’t as easy to find as Rell hoped.

Rell follows rumors of a teacher, but what he finds in Trav is a cult leader. When Rell witnesses the death of another student, he realizes Trav is killing off anyone capable of really learning magic--and he's next on Trav’s list. Forced to flee, Rell can’t forget the friends he left behind. Somehow, he has to learn enough to return and free the others.

That is, if Trav doesn’t catch him first.because Trav doesn’t let anyone with real magic live long enough to challenge him. I agree that this sounds redundant.

MAGE STORM is a 58,000-word upper middle grade fantasy, potentially the first of a series. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first five pages per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time.
Overall, I think this is really strong and I think the story sounds amazing. Good luck.

Meredith
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Re: QUERY: MAGE STORM Middle Grade Fantasy--Revised

Post by Meredith » January 14th, 2011, 6:20 pm

The latest version:
The only traces of magic left in Rell's world are the violent, semi-sentient mage storms made up of the ashes of the magic-wielders killed in the great war.

At least that's what Rell believes until a mage storm infects him with magic he can’t control. The magic ebbs and flows with his emotions, protecting those he cares about one day and starting fires the next. His only hope of returning to a normal life is to find someone who can help him learn to either control the magic or get rid of it.

Rell follows rumors of a teacher but instead finds a cult leader, Trav. When Rell witnesses the death of another student, he realizes he's next on Trav’s list. Forced to flee, Rell can’t forget the friends he left behind. Somehow, he has to learn enough to return and free the others.

That is, if Trav doesn’t catch him first, because Trav doesn’t let anyone with real magic live long enough to challenge him.

MAGE STORM is a 58,000-word upper middle grade fantasy and potentially the first of a series. I have enclosed a synopsis and the first five pages per the instructions on your website.

Thank you for your time.
This one has gotten one rejection, one request for partial, and three still out in its first week. :D
MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com

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