Jun 2, 2009

Query - The Chosen Ones

Dear Mr. Agent:

When fifteen-year-old Katie discovers she’s not totally human, but a mixture of elf, human, werecat and fey, her first instinct is to run and hide. Finding out that she’s not the only one and there’s another just like her only makes it worse. She doesn’t care that she was chosen to battle the dark fey, who are intent on universal domination. She just wants to be normal. That is, until she discovers that she can teleport across galaxies using her mind and alter the weather on a whim. She reluctantly makes a deal with her creators to battle the dark fey in exchange for training her to use her powers.

Her exuberance is ruined when she meets Jack, the other chosen one. He’s arrogant and sarcastic, and he refuses to listen to her. He loves the fact that he’s part alien because he never wanted to be normal. To him, starting fires and bending time are just perks. Jack is the opposite of Katie in almost every way and his easy going style grates on her nerves.

Now Katie and Jack must put aside their differences and learn to work together. They have agreed to help a pride of dragons battle against their rivals who are intent on civil war. Only it’s not just dragons they will be fighting, but an enemy far more destructive.

The Chosen Ones is a 100,000-word work of fantasy intended for young adults. This is our first novel. Please find enclosed the first five pages, pursuant to your submission guidelines.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Natalie and Rick


siebendach said...

Looks like a good story. My opinion about the query is that it has too much plot and not enough character.

You mention a lot of exotic, wild stuff, and imply a lot of twists and turns in the story. That's good, lots of people expect and like that in their fantasy stories. But I don't know enough about Katie or Jack yet to want to follow them for a few hundred pages.

At the beginning of paragraph 2, I don't see how Katie's exuberance can be ruined, because at the end of paragraph 1 it looks like she's not the least bit exuberant, just bitterly resigned to an unwelcome fate.

As for Jack, I don't think that an arrogant, sarcastic guy who enjoys starting fires with his magical powers qualifies as "easygoing".

Somehow, I have a gut feeling that you make it work in your story just fine. But I don't think it shows in this query letter.

We fully expect a 15-year-old girl to "want to be normal", or a fantasy heroine to have to "put aside differences" with someone and work together with them against a common enemy. Maybe if you cut some plot specifics out, and replaced them with some opinion or action of Katie's that makes her stand out? Show us why you like her, and I think we'll get to like her too. Now I just feel a little sorry for her.

Natalie N. said...


Thank you so much for your input. This is a totally new draft of the query for me because everyone said it didn't describe the plot enough. I guess I haven't found the right balance between plot and character description yet.

Part of my problem is I don't like Katie, I like Jack. The co-author (my husband) rewrote her in the story because I made her too snarky and mean. I was a 15-y/o girl once though, and I know how snarky and mean girls can be! I guess I'm going to have to get to know her better to find her redeaming qualities and showcase those.

Thanks again!

folksinmt said...

I think you have an interesting story. And what fun to write with your husband! How many couples can say they do that?

It seems like I have seen a lot of queries about a hero with new-found powers who doesn't want said powers, but then uses them to tackle the bad-guy. I'm not saying your book is not original, but maybe you could approach it in a different manner in your query so it doesn't sound like the others. Really focus on what makes your book different from other like books, and downplay the similarities.

Nathan Bransford had a good post today on originality. Even if something is well written, an agent will pass if they have already seen the idea.

Good luck!

cherrytart said...

You've already got some useful feedback, but I want to add one thing: by how you've set up the query, this reads like a romance. If Jack is just her sidekick, he doesn't deserve the amount of space he gets.

So spend more time on your true antagonist. Good luck!


siebendach said...

Hmm . . . I don't want to leave another long comment before seeing another version. Just one thing, though: showcase Katie's most interesting qualities --- those don't necessarily have to be redeeming qualities. If you've managed to find a way for her to be "mean and snarky" in a way that readers might find fun, by all means show that off!

Natalie N. said...

Katie isn't the hero - Jack and Katie both are. They were created to be a team and work together. The book switches between POV for each of them until they are together. I can't make the query just about Katie because the book isn't just about Katie. It spends almost equal time on both of them.

I'm going to revamp the query and try again. Thanks for all your help guys!