Mar 25, 2009

Query- Dreaming Dark (Revision 1)

Click here to read the original query.

Dear Agent,
Meredith is convinced she's a normal seventeen year-old, until smouldering but silently threatening Eirich moves into her northern Ontario town.

The problem with Eirich's arrival is that whenever they touch - which isn't nearly as often as Meredith would like – she is filled with a strange and tempting feeling of power. Meredith can't even figure out why she gets these feelings, let alone explain them to anyone. So when her best friend Ally falls hard for Eirich, Meredith decides it would be best to stay away from both of them.

To escape Ally and Eirich, Meredith starts spending time at the cottage left to her by her mother. She quickly discovers that it comes with unexpected magical protection, and learns that she's so far from normal, she's supernatural: the last member of an ancient race with the power to control and create dreams. Meredith's mother starts visiting her dreams to teach her to use these powers, but Meredith, unable to control her new strength, starts pulling wild, violent dream magic into the real world. Worse, Eirich needs Meredith's powers to revive his own ancient race, the dark counterpart to Meredith's, and he's taken Ally to get to her.

Meredith is left with a choice. If she doesn't fight Eirich with her fledging dream magic, he'll try to use his own powers to trap Ally in her dreams, feeding off her emotions and growing with power until he and his ancestors can take over the world. If she does fight, she might be able to stop him and save Ally. But if she succumbs to his dark strength and joins him they can rule together, and Meredith will be filled with the power for which she longs.

DREAMING DARK is a work of YA urban fantasy, complete at 57 000 words.Thank you for your time and consideration.

7 comments:

lucy in the sky said...

This is better. I think you could leave out the sentence "Meredith can't even figure out why she gets these feelings, let alone explain them to anyone."

You could possibly leave off the whole paragraph that starts "Meredith is left with a choice..." It mainly sums up what was said in the previous paragraph.

I would read this book!

splatter said...

"smouldering but silently threatening" is a bit too much description and kind of turned me off - something you don't want in your very first sentence!

I'm still not really drawn in by your query, which is a shame because the first bit of your story is really well written, I thought(you have a skill with dialogue that I envy!). However, I think that's more because I read the first query, and know where the story goes, rather than a comment on this query in and of itself. The vast majority of my comments here are going to be subjective - so feel free to dismiss if it doesn't fit your own vision of events, etc.

I really liked the addition of the dreams of Meredith's mother to your query. I might actually play more along that tack - dealing with the loss of her mother, beginning to dream about her, then realizing that these dreams are more than just loss - they're trying to teach her how to use the power she has. (if that's not the tack your story takes, ignore me)

Knowing that the story at least sort of opens with Meredith's mum's death, I think I'm thrown off a bit by the way this query ignores that and deals more with teenage high school drama of "does he like me, does he like her, I don't want to hurt my friends". I might phrase it instead in terms like "I've lost my mum and I just can't deal with that *and* all this high school drama - I need to take a step back" in the query. Again, this is mostly based off me having read the previous query and opening pages, not solely this query.

On to the query itself!

You say the house offers magical protection, but that doesn't seem to actually come in to play in the query at all - you don't say how it does this, for instance. (I really actually like the addition of the house in this version of the query - it makes a few things tie together in my head) I also like the end of that paragraph - describing how Meredith starts having issues with her new-found powers.

In the second to last paragraph, you say he'll trap Ally in her dreams... did you mean Ally? that threw me off a bit, as I associate dreams with Meredith at this point in the query. Maybe explaining VERY briefly that Eirich's power works with dreams too might help. (I have no right to say brief - I am way too long-winded!)

I hope at least some of that was useful... all the best!

Anonymous said...

Lucy: thanks, you're right about removing that sentence! I'm so glad you pointed that out.

Splatter: Thanks for your critique, but I actually haven't posted my first pages anywhere, so I'm not sure whose pages you're talking about.
But you're right about the confusion in the last paragraph, I think I've cleared it up. Thanks again. :)

splatter said...

wow, do I feel silly! I mushed together two stories in my head that were only moderately similar. That will teach me to crit before my coffee!

Marissa Miranda said...

and learns that she's so far from normal, she's supernatural This sentence construction feels clumsy... I know what you are getting at, but since the words don't parallel, it took me a minute to catch on. I'd probably just say: "...and learns that she's far from normal. In fact, she's supernatural: the last member..."

Meredith's mother starts visiting her dreams to teach her to use these powers, but Meredith, unable to control her new strength, starts pulling wild, violent dream magic into the real world. I don't think this is necessary. Cut it out to streamline the query and make the agent focus more on your conflict! (That's what they are really looking for in queries: conflict. =D)

And I have to say that I love the query and would adore reading the book! I think you'll make it to the bookshelves one day; especially because you have a great first novel word count and a strong hook on top of a great query, all things that will catch an agent's eye. =)

Belinda Frisch said...

I agree with Lucy on both points. I'd omit that sentence and that latter paragraph.

In addition: The problem with Eirich's arrival is that whenever they touch - which isn't nearly as often as Meredith would like – she is filled with a strange and tempting feeling of power.

I don't get this. Why does Meredith WANT to touch a) someone silently threatening (yikes) and b) someone who is the object of a friend's affection.

I would think that would breed discontent between the friends.

From this query, Erich seems an instant villain--which is fine, but we need to see why these two girls are drawn to him to counter the instant bad impression.

I think that the query gives more specifics than necessary and though I think the idea is good, if not a bit Twilight-ish, but I agree with splatter that I'm not really hooked. Yet.

I think I could be.

Belinda Frisch said...

And, just to clarify, I get the smouldering part...I just think that maybe you should "soften" Erich's image so that we don't instantly see him as bad.

There must be more reasons than just good looking to hook these girls.

I'd be curious, when does Meredith first touch him and notice his "effect" on her? That might be a specific that works into this query nicely.