Sunday, January 17, 2010

Query Review--by Yoshima

Hello, charity_bradford! I agree; it is pretty long. Here's more specific thoughts:

Dear Mr. _________,

In a world that has chosen science over magic, one woman must learn to understand her unique talents and find the answer to her prophetic dreams to save herself and her world.

(I think this is where you query should start.) Talia Shannon is intelligent and professional, and hiding a secret that will change the course of her planet. In addition to some distinctive talents (like what? since this is fantasy, I think you should be more specific, since the possibilities of 'distinctive talents' are endless.), she has dreamed of an invasion and her death ("and her death" isn't really necessary; I assume fatalities when you say "invasion") since the day she was born. These dreams are the driving force behind her work for the Space Exploration Foundation (SEF). Talia receives a new assignment to travel to the city Joharadin and work with the Royalist, the military monarchy in control of the government. From the very beginning Commander Landry Sutton throws her off balance. He angers her in a way that no one else ever has with his superior persona. The Commander accuses her of being a traitor to the kingdom and a spy for one of the rebellious factions. Talia is forced to defend herself and still keep her real secret from being exposed. (Um...what's her real secret? The dreams?)

Commander Sutton’s arm brushes Talia’s during a visit in which he confronts Talia about her past. This small touch establishes a connection allowing them to feel each others emotions and hear each other’s thoughts (You've kind of lost me. How is this possible? Is this an alien power or something? Is one of them not human?). After a short game of mental cat and mouse to learn each other’s secrets, Commander Sutton leaves Talia wondering what will happen to her. Before either can decide on the appropriate action, they are thrown into each other’s company after surviving a sabotaged tram. As more secrets are revealed, they must learn to trust one another in order to survive the challenges ahead.

The planet Sendek has chosen to follow the path of science, but its ancient history was filled with mage and dragons (As a reader, this really confused me. I don't know why you're just now telling me about this. This answers a lot of the why's from above, and it's also, in my opinion, the coolest part of the query. I think you should explain the world and the mage blood before you tell about Talia and Sutton's connection that way I'm not like "huh?!" when you get to it. Plus, this is the part that really hooked me.). They have chosen to forget this past, but the magic is still present, waiting just under the surface to reassert itself. Talia Shannon and Commander Sutton both have Mage blood and gifts they keep hidden. Both will have to learn to accept and use these skills in order to save their planet from the return of the Draguman—a human-dragon hybrid created thousands of years earlier on Sendek and then sent into exile on a distant planet by the last dragons. (What makes the Draguman so dangerous? I need a better sense of the stakes.)

Adventure and romance within a world faced with returning to a realm of magic after centuries of scientific growth, Sendek is an 85,000 word Fantasy novel, written in first person from Talia’s point of view and third person. The continuing story is in outline form and the complete history of the Draguman is in the draft stage. (Neat! :) )

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

I think your story sounds compelling, but to be honest I think this query is out of order. I felt like I was missing an entire layer of the story until the very end--not a good feeling as a reader. I think explaining the world/Mage/Draguman first would help with eliminating confusion. Overall I loved the concept, and by no means does all of the red above mean that I didn't like your query; I did. It was very interesting from the get-go. There wasn't a point where I didn't want to keep reading. Great job on that!

Good luck on revisions! Sounds like a great book!
Yoshima on the Nathan Bransford Forums