Dragon

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johydai
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Dragon

Post by johydai » February 11th, 2010, 6:31 am

Hi, guys!

NOTE: THE LATEST REVISIONS ARE POSTED AT THE END.

There seems to be a lot of great advice on these forums, so I thought I'd run this past you guys. Please feel free to be brutally honest. Thanks in advance for your help, it really means a lot. And if you need me to return the favor, just ask.
_______________________

When the all-powerful King Joseph of Embero informs Nadine, a headstrong seventeen-year-old peasant, that she must marry the prince she loathes to satisfy the queen’s dying wish, she decides to flee.

Tool of prophecy, armed with the Divine Art of controlling water, Nadine is summoned by the White Witch Evangeline. Nadine reluctantly accepts the task of protecting the Rebellion’s greatest treasure, the Last Dragon, against the bloodthirsty armies of Embero. Aided by an aspiring soldier and his sister, Nadine begins her perilous journey across the world of Earthea to join the Rebellion.

As Nadine gets to know the dragon, she discovers that he is half-human and falls in love with him. She dreams of a future with the man behind the beast--if they can survive that long.

King Joseph's fear of death is rivaled in intensity only by Nadine's love for the dragon. He burns a path across the world of men to obtain the dragon’s golden vein--a filament in the dragon’s heart--that has the power to grant its consumer immortality.

Directed by his father, Prince Kellan is given the singular task of capturing the girl and the dragon she loves. But the prince has secrets and aspirations of his own: by day he may be his father’s right hand man, but by night he accompanies Nadine as the Last Dragon.
____________________

Johydai
Last edited by johydai on March 6th, 2010, 7:05 pm, edited 7 times in total.

Krista G.
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Re: QUERY: THE LAST DRAGON

Post by Krista G. » February 11th, 2010, 9:55 am

johydai wrote:When the all-powerful King Joseph of Embero informs Nadine, a headstrong seventeen-year-old peasant, that she must marry the prince she loathes to satisfy the queen’s dying wish, she decides to flee.

The jump to the next paragraph needs a better bridge. There's nothing to connect her decision to flee with Evangeline's arrival.

Tool of prophecy, armed with the Divine Art of controlling water, Nadine is summoned by the White Witch Evangeline. Nadine reluctantly accepts the task of protecting the Rebellion’s greatest treasure, the Last Dragon, against the bloodthirsty armies of Embero. I'm wondering why she refuses King Joseph's task, but accepts Evangeline's. Why didn't she just run from the White Witch, too? Or can she not run from this more powerful being? In either case, it could probably use a mite more explanation. Aided by an aspiring soldier and his sister, Nadine begins her perilous journey across the world of Earthea to join the Rebellion.

As Nadine gets to know the dragon, she discovers that he is half-human and falls in love with him. She dreams of a future with the man behind the beast--if they can survive that long.

Again, this transition seems a little choppy. You might want to use some bridging phrase or sentence to better link the two paragraphs.

King Joseph's fear of death is rivaled in intensity only by Nadine's love for the dragon. He burns a path across the world of men to obtain the dragon’s golden vein--a filament in the dragon’s heart--that has the power to grant its consumer immortality.

Directed by his father, Prince Kellan is given the singular task of capturing the girl and the dragon she loves. But the prince has secrets and aspirations of his own: by day he may be his father’s right hand man, but by night he accompanies Nadine as the Last Dragon. This is the sentence that made me sit up and care about this query. It works well as a cliffhanger ending, but it's too bad I had to wait until the end of the query to get it. I'm wondering if there's a way to work it in farther up, but that's just me thinking out loud. You might play with it a bit, see what you come up with, but I think it works all right at the end, too.
On the whole, I really liked this idea. The query reads quite well (not something that every fantasy query does) and has some appealing characteristics. That said, there's not a ton of voice here, nothing to really draw me in - until the very last line, as I mentioned already. If you could inject a little more flavor into this, that could be enough to carry us through the query until we get to that great sentence at the end.

Good luck!
Author of THE REGENERATED MAN (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015)
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Emily White
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Re: QUERY: THE LAST DRAGON

Post by Emily White » February 11th, 2010, 1:26 pm

I'm going to second Krista's points. I think with better transitions and a tad bit more detail into why Nadine does the things she does will make this query very good. As it is, I skimmed through it until I got to the last line and then I was like, "wait, wait, WHAT?" I of course had to go back and read everything more thoroughly, but it still just didn't pop like that last line did.
Find out about ELEMENTAL, my YA Space Opera (available June 21, 2011) on my blog and ELEMENTAL's facebook fan page

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Emily White
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Re: QUERY: THE LAST DRAGON

Post by Emily White » February 11th, 2010, 1:48 pm

johydai wrote:Hi, guys!

There seems to be a lot of great advice on these forums, so I thought I'd run this past you guys. Please feel free to be brutally honest. Thanks in advance for your help, it really means a lot. And if you need me to return the favor, just ask.
_______________________
Hmmm...let me see...I'll try to help with the transitions, but be warned--I'm not very good at this querying thing. I'll just try to vocalize my thoughts and see what you can get from it.

When the all-powerful King Joseph of Embero informs Nadine, a headstrong seventeen-year-old peasant, that she must marry the prince she loathes to satisfy the queen’s dying wish, she decides to flee. Reading this the first, second, and finally third time, I was pretty confused as to why the queen would want a peasant to marry her son and why that had much significance to the story besides forcing Nadine to flee. With a bit of thought, I realized it must be because the mother knows about her son's true parentage (obviously) and would probably know that Nadine is mentioned in prophecy. However, this took a lot of thinking on my part and I would imagine an agent, with a lot less time to delve into the secrets of your book would not bother to make the connection on his own. Therefore, the first paragraph seems meaningless when compared to the rest of the query. A tiny bit more info, such as the queen's knowledge of the prophecy or desire to save her son might be a bit helpful.

Tool of prophecy --with that in mind, this phrase would make more sense and not seem like two separate stories--, armed with the Divine Art of controlling water, Nadine is summoned by the White Witch Evangeline. Nadine reluctantly accepts the task of protecting the Rebellion’s greatest treasure, the Last Dragon, against the bloodthirsty armies of Embero. Aided by an aspiring soldier and his sister, Nadine begins her perilous journey across the world of Earthea to join the Rebellion.

As Nadine gets to know the dragon, she discovers that he is half-human and falls in love with him. She dreams of a future with the man behind the beast--if they can survive that long.

King Joseph's fear of death is rivaled in intensity only by Nadine's love for the dragon. I don't really understand what that sentence has to do with the rest of this paragraph. I don't have any concept of Nadine's intense love because you only mention in passing that she does love him, therefore it's not a good comparison. I'd say instead, "King Joseph's intense fear of death leads him to burn a path across..." He burns a path across the world of men to obtain the dragon’s golden vein--a filament in the dragon’s heart--that has the power to grant its consumer immortality.

Directed by his father, Prince Kellan is given the singular task of capturing the girl and the dragon she loves. But the prince has secrets and aspirations of his own: by day he may be his father’s right hand man, but by night he accompanies Nadine as the Last Dragon. This last bit is great. I, personally, wouldn't change a thing.

I hope my little thoughts help. If they only work to confuse, then by all means, ignore them. :)
____________________

Johydai
Find out about ELEMENTAL, my YA Space Opera (available June 21, 2011) on my blog and ELEMENTAL's facebook fan page

Nicole Zoltack
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Re: QUERY: THE LAST DRAGON

Post by Nicole Zoltack » February 11th, 2010, 7:01 pm

I agree with the others, if you work on the paragraph transitions, this query will be much stronger. Also, I'm curious, why does the king want a peasant to marry his son? I'm sure there is a reason why, and you might want to include that in the query. Just my opinion, ignore if you want.

Serzen
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Re: QUERY: THE LAST DRAGON

Post by Serzen » February 12th, 2010, 1:33 am

Foremost, sorry I don't have a lot of time to analyze tonight. I totally hate not being able to give more attention to something as important as Getting It Right, but I wanted to try and touch on a few things.

Let me suggest that there is no issue with paragraph transitions from my point of view. Each of them is self-contained and divulge information on what amounts to a "need-to-know" basis. This is a blurb, a pitch, it doesn't have to, from where I'm sitting, flow like a narrative; it needs to convey necessary data.

That said, I'm intrigued by Emily's comments re: adding more about whycome the queen wants her son wed to a peasant. Not because I feel the need to explain what the Royals do (they're royal, they don't need to explain) but because it raises points I hadn't considered. My first read through led me to assume "Queenie like Nadine because she was a maidservant whom she wanted to see get ahead" or "Queenie is from the same village, she wants to continue to help her people, Nadine is the only one of marrying age" or other various and sundry Nice Thoughts. Never once did it cross my mind that the Queen had carnal knowledge of a dragon. Hm... So it's interesting. If two people can jump to such wide conclusions, it might be worth considering whether you want to direct people towards a particular one. Don't give it all away, just give a push.

It is true that the depth of love Nadine knows for the dragon isn't explicitly stated, but I drew upon what scant knowledge I have of the workings of a teenage female mind to conclude that Nadine wouldn't be humming the wedding march if she wasn't feeling Something Special. This I would put down to a personal choice: do you feel that enough feeling is conveyed by the statement of "dreaming of a future"? If so, leave it; otherwise, manipulate it.

My final parting shot would have to be: If you add more words, be careful not to also introduce mistakes. But that's what the boards are for, helping you find any that might creep in.

~Serzen
Il en est des livres comme du feu de nos foyers; on va prendre ce feu chez son voisin, on l’allume chez soi, on le communique à d’autres, et il appartient à tous. --Voltaire

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johydai
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Re: QUERY: THE LAST DRAGON

Post by johydai » February 12th, 2010, 9:15 am

LATEST QUERY
_________________

When the all-powerful King Joseph of Embero informs Nadine, a headstrong seventeen-year-old girl, that she must marry the prince she loathes to satisfy the queen’s dying wish, she decides to flee.

Tool of prophecy, armed with the Divine Art of controlling water, Nadine is summoned by the White Witch Evangeline. Nadine reluctantly accepts the task of protecting the Rebellion’s greatest treasure, the Last Dragon, against the bloodthirsty armies of Embero. Aided by an aspiring soldier and his sister, Nadine begins her perilous journey across the world of Earthea to join the Rebellion.

As Nadine gets to know the dragon, she discovers that he is half-human and falls in love with him. She dreams of a future with the man behind the beast--if they can survive that long.

King Joseph's fear of death is rivaled in intensity only by Nadine's love for the dragon. He burns a path across the world of men to obtain the dragon’s golden vein--a filament in the dragon’s heart--that has the power to grant its consumer immortality.

Directed by his father, Prince Kellan is given the singular task of capturing the girl and the dragon she loves. But the prince has secrets and aspirations of his own: by day he may be his father’s right hand man, but by night he accompanies Nadine as the Last Dragon.
_________________

Thank you.
Last edited by johydai on February 13th, 2010, 1:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

Ghost in the Machine
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Re: QUERY: THE LAST DRAGON

Post by Ghost in the Machine » February 12th, 2010, 9:29 am

Hi Johydai,

What, I leave for a few days and all the critiques have moved? That was weird. Okay on with the comments.

When the all-powerful King Joseph of Embero informs Nadine, a headstrong seventeen-year-old girl, that she must marry the prince she loathes to satisfy the queen’s dying wish, she decides to flee.

Comment: I’m echoing some other opinions, but there is a big hole here that should be addressed. What is the connection between the queen and peasant Nadine? Did the queen see her in a vision or was Nadine her servant? Why does the queen want Nadine to marry her son?

Tool of prophecy, armed with the Divine Art of controlling water, Nadine is summoned by the White Witch Evangeline. Nadine reluctantly accepts the task of protecting the Rebellion’s greatest treasure, the Last Dragon, against the bloodthirsty armies of Embero. Aided by an aspiring soldier and his sister, Nadine begins her perilous journey across the world of Earthea to join the Rebellion.

Comment: The last sentence is not helping your query. Epic journeys with faithful sidekicks are a staple of science fiction from Lord of the Rings to The Wizard of Oz. I’m sure this journey is a significant part of your book, but it’s not unique. Now waterwarper is unique. Again, I encourage you to illustrate this power. Tell us how waterwarping helps Nadine protect the dragon.

As Nadine gets to know the dragon, she discovers that he is half-human and falls in love with him. She dreams of a future with the man behind the beast--if they can survive that long.

King Joseph's fear of death is rivaled in intensity only by Nadine's love for the dragon. He burns a path across the world of men to obtain the dragon’s golden vein--a filament in the dragon’s heart--that has the power to grant its consumer immortality.

Comment: For a smoother transition I would switch the order of the first sentence to:

Nadine’s love for the dragon is rivaled in intensity only by King Joseph’s fear of death.


Directed by his father, Prince Kellan is given the singular task of capturing the girl and the dragon she loves. But the prince has secrets and aspirations of his own: by day he may be his father’s right hand man, but by night he accompanies Nadine as the Last Dragon.

Comment: This paragraph is good. I still wish I had a better picture of how Kellen is human by day with his dad and trapped in the dragon at night with Nadine. But maybe it’s too complex to handle in a query.

Final Thoughts: The first two paragraphs need work, the last three are in good shape. Overall, I still think you are holding back on this query, which is not good. You need to reveal the details clearly, not hint at them. I’ll try an analogy. Your book is like a field of gorgeous flowers. In this query, the first two paragraphs merely hint at the color or scent of the flowers. You need to pluck the actual flower, figuratively speaking, and mail it to the agent. The last three paragraphs are flowers.

Okay, enough of the quasi-zen yammering.

Ghost in the Machine

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christi
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Re: QUERY: THE LAST DRAGON

Post by christi » February 12th, 2010, 9:31 am

Ghost, you make me giggle so much.
Would you sign my story for a Klondike bar?

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johydai
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Re: QUERY: THE LAST DRAGON

Post by johydai » February 12th, 2010, 2:18 pm

Ghost, I like your analogy.

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Re: QUERY: THE LAST DRAGON

Post by bcomet » February 12th, 2010, 3:38 pm

When the all-powerful King Joseph of Embero informs Nadine, a headstrong seventeen-year-old girl, that she must marry the prince she loathes to satisfy the queen’s dying wish, she decides to flee.

Note: I still don't understand why the king wants his son, the prince, to marry Nadine. Is it because she is gifted with the ability to see into the future or control water? What will that do for him or the kingdom? What is the king's urgency and motivation?

Tool of prophecy, armed with the Divine Art of controlling water, Nadine is summoned by the White Witch Evangeline. Nadine reluctantly accepts the task of protecting the Rebellion’s greatest treasure, the Last Dragon, against the bloodthirsty armies of Embero. Aided by an aspiring soldier and his sister, Nadine begins her perilous journey across the world of Earthea to join the Rebellion.

I don't understand "Tool of Prophecy." Does Nadine have a tool of prophecy? Are these innate gifts or weapons she carries?
How does prophecy or the ability to control water (although very cool) equip Nadine for protecting the dragon? Why does she join the rebellion? What is the rebellion all about? Who is the White Witch Evangeline?


As Nadine gets to know the dragon, she discovers that he is half-human and falls in love with him. She dreams of a future with the man behind the beast--if they can survive that long.

This is the most compelling concept for me. I want more of this.

King Joseph's fear of death is rivaled in intensity only by Nadine's love for the dragon. He burns a path across the world of men to obtain the dragon’s golden vein--a filament in the dragon’s heart--that has the power to grant its consumer immortality.

Now I'm really confused. What is going on with King Joseph's "fear of death?" Is he sick? It would make more sense that he is ill in the first paragraph along with a reason why he thinks his son's union with Nadine will remedy that.

Directed by his father, Prince Kellan is given the singular task of capturing the girl and the dragon she loves. But the prince has secrets and aspirations of his own: by day he may be his father’s right hand man, but by night he accompanies Nadine as the Last Dragon.

I like the conflict here, but how does Prince Kellan get to be on both sides? Is his mother on the other side?

I see a lot of really cool things in this story. It's probably all there. I think this query letter will be stronger when it gets a bit more organized, which I know all too well myself, can be hard when the whole novel might tell it and you have to condense it into a few paragraphs. Hope my input helps. Looks like a great read!

_________________

Thank you.[/quote]

MaryAnn
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Re: QUERY: THE LAST DRAGON

Post by MaryAnn » February 12th, 2010, 4:15 pm

You had me until the last line,

"...but by night he accompanies Nadine as the Last Dragon."

Sounds like Prince Kellan is with his father and that both are far away from Nadine. How does Prince Kellan transform into the dragon and arrive at her side by evening?

Which half is human? Assuming it's the top--has Nadine never seen the prince? If yes, why doesn't she recognize him when he is half prince half dragon?

If the king and the prince are so close to Nadine that the prince can change into half man half dragon by night and be with her, why doesn't Nadine get captured?

How does she get to know the dragon? I mean he is the prince right? If he's the prince (and the dragon) he'd be with his father until ordered to find Nadine yet it seems that the dragon is with Nadine from the start? As if in two places at once.

Is the prince she loaths Prince Kellan, again--does his human face appear different when attached to the dragon? I don't get this.

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Re: QUERY: THE LAST DRAGON

Post by jessiecoon » February 12th, 2010, 5:00 pm

Overall, I thought it was intriguing but here are the specifics:

When the all-powerful King Joseph of Embero informs Nadine, a headstrong seventeen-year-old girl, that she must marry the prince she loathes to satisfy the queen’s dying wish, she decides to flee. It is funny that you describe Nadine as a "headstrong seventeen-year-old girl"- an earlier version of my query had the same exact description....so I am pretty sure that is firm evidence of it not being unique enough. I know the age is important so I wouldn't necessarily drop that, but perhaps the adjective "headstong" is just too common and agents see it all the time. Almost every heroine is headstrong, what makes this heroine so unique?

Tool of prophecy, armed with the Divine Art of controlling water, Nadine is summoned by the White Witch Evangeline. This sentence is awkward to me, "Tool of prophecy"- is she a tool of prophecy? Does she have an actual tool of prophecy? Nadine reluctantly accepts the task of protecting the Rebellion’s greatest treasure, the Last Dragon, against the bloodthirsty armies of Embero. Aided by an aspiring soldier and his sister, Nadine begins her perilous journey across the world of Earthea to join the Rebellion.

As Nadine gets to know the dragon, she discovers that he is half-human and falls in love with him. She dreams of a future with the man behind the beast--if they can survive that long. I like this part. The perilous love story always pulls me in the most.

King Joseph's fear of death is rivaled in intensity only by Nadine's love for the dragon. He burns a path across the world of men to obtain the dragon’s golden vein--a filament in the dragon’s heart--that has the power to grant its consumer immortality.

Directed by his father, Prince Kellan is given the singular task of capturing the girl and the dragon she loves. But the prince has secrets and aspirations of his own: by day he may be his father’s right hand man, but by night he accompanies Nadine as the Last Dragon. Even though I really like this twist, I really don't understand how he can be by his father by day and with her by night if she is traveling the world. I know it will most likely be obvious in the book and the point of the query isn't to explain how everything works. But at the same time, it just doesn't make sense to me and makes me feel like there is a disorganized plot (even if there isn't).
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Re: QUERY: THE LAST DRAGON

Post by NicoleLee » February 12th, 2010, 5:00 pm

I personally really like your story. I think you need to add a few lines to let the agent know how many words, is this a series, name the genre, even if it's apparent. Why are you querying the specific agent you are querying?

Overall I am intrigued to see the final product when you get published :)

-Nicole Rivera

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johydai
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Re: QUERY: THE LAST DRAGON

Post by johydai » February 13th, 2010, 2:28 am

LATEST QUERY

This might be easier. I decided to include a couple notes. If you could help me apply them and clarify them in the query, I would appreciate it.

Notes:
1. Nadine is chosen to marry the prince simply because the dying queen asked for it to be that way, and the Prince, though ruthless and impulsive, he loves Nadine.
2. The dragon/prince is not a mixture of human and beast. He can transform back and forth between a dragon and a prince.
3. The prince usually spends daylight hours with the Embers and at night he joins Nadine as a dragon.
If you need anything else, please just send me a private message and I'll try to clarify it.

Thank you.
____________

Dear [Agent Name],

When the all-powerful King Joseph of Embero informs Nadine, a headstrong seventeen-year-old girl, that she must marry the prince she loathes to satisfy the queen’s dying wish, she decides to flee.

Tool of prophecy, armed with the Divine Art of controlling water, Nadine is summoned by the White Witch Evangeline. Nadine reluctantly accepts the task of protecting the Rebellion’s greatest treasure, the Last Dragon, against the bloodthirsty armies of Embero. Aided by an aspiring soldier and his sister, Nadine begins her perilous journey across the world of Earthea to join the Rebellion.

As Nadine gets to know the dragon, she discovers that he is half-human and falls in love with him. She dreams of a future with the man behind the beast--if they can survive that long.

King Joseph's fear of death is rivaled in intensity only by Nadine's love for the dragon. He burns a path across the world of men to obtain the dragon’s golden vein--a filament in the dragon’s heart--that has the power to grant its consumer immortality.

Directed by his father, Prince Kellan is given the singular task of capturing the girl and the dragon she loves. But the prince has secrets and aspirations of his own: by day he may be his father’s right hand man, but by night he accompanies Nadine as the Last Dragon.

EMBERO: THE LAST DRAGON, a YA fantasy novel is complete at 100,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,
Name
Last edited by johydai on February 15th, 2010, 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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