Cursed: YA Fantasy Query

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writerly_black_cat
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Cursed: YA Fantasy Query

Post by writerly_black_cat » February 6th, 2013, 3:17 pm

Hello all! I began writing a query for my novel "Cursed" and I need help revising it. It's still in it's first draft so I'm only focusing on the meat of the query, rather than the bit about me at the end. Let me know what sounds wonky, what doesn't make sense, what you would cut, what you think I should include, etc! Thanks : )

Alderic is cursed. His sister, Princess Emmeline, is cursed as well and it’s entirely his fault. He was a prince, until the Crone cast a spell that removed the memory of him from existence, all because of a tiny threat. Now he’s a nobody, and his sister’s life hangs in the balance. If only he never went looking for that nasty witch in the first place, seeking a curse for his greatest enemy and cousin, Prince Renald of Wintergreen. But curses have a way of affecting everyone in their path, which Alderic discovers due to his carelessness.

Talfryn, the daughter of the Crone, is also cursed. Not in the literal sense, but in the way that being in Alderic’s presence is a curse in itself. Her quiet struggle of a life of obedience has been turned upside down ever since she met the ex-prince. Now she’s an accomplice, a wanted criminal sought after by the Coven, the watchmen of all wizards and witches, for the curse that has been placed upon Princess Emmeline.

What began as a personal vendetta against his cousin has turned into high treason. Alderic and Talfryn must find a way to save the princess, restore the memory of Alderic’s existence, and ultimately clear their names. This would be easier if the curse had not accidentally revealed a plot by an evil wizard trying to claim the throne for himself. And if they got along, of course.

Cursed is a 70,000 word manuscript, the genre is fantasy, and the intended audience is young adult.

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Shipple
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Re: Cursed: YA Fantasy Query

Post by Shipple » April 3rd, 2013, 9:45 pm

As I was reading, I compiled a few thoughts:
"a spell that removed the memory of him from existence, all because of a tiny threat." is awkwardly phrased and a little confusing.

Is it relevant that Prince Renald of Wintergreen is his "greatest enemy and cousin"? I'm guessing so, but if so, we'd probably like to know why. He's trying to take over the kingdom, isn't he?

I think it would be a good idea to clarify how Talfryn has helped him and put herself into so much danger.

"high treason"? How so?

You throw in a wizard in the last paragraph, and if the wizard is central to the plot, he (or she?) should probably be mentioned before the last paragraph. If he (or she?) is not, or even if you can set up the hook and stakes of your book without the wizard, I'd leave him out.

It sounds like this could be really interesting, but, if you can, it'd probably be a good idea to cut back on the number of characters you mention in your query letter and focus in on the absolutely essential main ideas. If you can figure out how, I'd also try to show your "voice" in your writing. It sounds like this book is probably somewhat humorous, but you don't really convey that well through the query letter. I'd try to bring some of that out.
"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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Quill
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Re: Cursed: YA Fantasy Query

Post by Quill » April 3rd, 2013, 10:08 pm

writerly_black_cat wrote:Hello all! I began writing a query for my novel "Cursed" and I need help revising it. It's still in it's first draft so I'm only focusing on the meat of the query, rather than the bit about me at the end. Let me know what sounds wonky, what doesn't make sense, what you would cut, what you think I should include, etc! Thanks : )

Alderic is cursed. His sister, Princess Emmeline, is cursed as well and it’s entirely his fault. He was a prince, until the Crone cast a spell that removed the memory of him from existence, all because of a tiny threat. Now he’s a nobody, and his sister’s life hangs in the balance. If only he never went looking for that nasty witch in the first place, seeking a curse for his greatest enemy and cousin, Prince Renald of Wintergreen. But curses have a way of affecting everyone in their path, which Alderic discovers due to his carelessness.

Talfryn, the daughter of the Crone, is also cursed. Not in the literal sense, but in the way that being in Alderic’s presence is a curse in itself. Her quiet struggle of a life of obedience has been turned upside down ever since she met the ex-prince. Now she’s an accomplice, a wanted criminal sought after by the Coven, the watchmen of all wizards and witches, for the curse that has been placed upon Princess Emmeline.

What began as a personal vendetta against his cousin has turned into high treason. Alderic and Talfryn must find a way to save the princess, restore the memory of Alderic’s existence, and ultimately clear their names. This would be easier if the curse had not accidentally revealed a plot by an evil wizard trying to claim the throne for himself. And if they got along, of course.

Cursed is a 70,000 word manuscript, the genre is fantasy, and the intended audience is young adult.
I found it a bit hard to follow. The explanation of it all seems a bit convoluted. There's a nice conversational voice but I wonder if that has caused some sacrifice in clarity. Maybe try it more straightforward. Don't know if that helps.

acody
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Re: Cursed: YA Fantasy Query

Post by acody » April 8th, 2013, 6:31 pm

Alderic is cursed. His sister, Princess Emmeline, is cursed as well and it’s entirely his fault. He was a prince, until the Crone cast a spell that removed the memory of him from existence, all because of a tiny threat. Now he’s a nobody, and his sister’s life hangs in the balance. If only he never went looking for that nasty witch in the first place, seeking a curse for his greatest enemy and cousin, Prince Renald of Wintergreen. But curses have a way of affecting everyone in their path, which Alderic discovers due to his carelessness.

This is the main paragraph that I feel needs to be polished. I was able to follow the others quite well, and to me a bit of mystery (the wizard for example) provokes me to want to read it. I do agree with another in this thread that the idea "cast a spell that removed the memory of him from existence" is awkward and not clear. I think the end- "But Curses .... his carelessness. " should end with something like ".But curses...path, as Alderic soon discovers." This takes the carelessness idea away- not really necessary- and it leaves a bit of mystery as to what he discovers in particular and how.

I am new at this, but hope to post my Query sometime in the near future- so I didn't want to be a "drive by". I am so glad I found this forum!!!
Amy
ACody- Kentucky
Teacher/Writer

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jdanielbatt
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Re: Cursed: YA Fantasy Query

Post by jdanielbatt » June 10th, 2013, 7:46 pm

"He was a prince, until the Crone cast a spell that removed the memory of him from existence, all because of a tiny threat."

This seems a bit long. Consider:

"He was a prince until the Crone removed all memory of him!"

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