Aug 12, 2009

Query - Treandle

Cyrilla’s sheltered and insecure world seems to finally have purpose when she falls in love with Muerek, a member of the Royal Army. But when his life is threatened, the use of her forbidden magic is the only way to save him, even though it condemns her to a containment camp, locked away from everything she’s ever known. Thrust into a role that forces her to use magic she knows nothing about, her perception of the world around her is forever changed.

Muerek’s pain quickly turns to anger, nearing hatred, for the woman he once loved, but who betrayed him, and he runs from any connection with Cyrilla. Plagued by vivid dreams of lost and scared children, taken from their parents for no other reason than possessing magic, he embarks on a journey that will forever change his life long beliefs.

The Royal Army marches towards Tearnoc, bent on destroying all magic within Treandle, with or without Lord Tearle, who is supposed to keep order within Treandle. Can Cyrilla cope with the pain of losing Muerek and the overwhelming demands of her new role in order to break the containment wall’s spell in Treandle, creating shelter for those the Army wishes to destroy?

Will Muerek be able to forgive Cyrilla and accept her unconditionally, or will the anger push him over the edge and into the depths of hate?

Treandle is a 113,000 page, young adult novel, that will take readers on a journey of lost love, and all the challenges that a position of power and authority pose to one not accustom to anything but farm life. It sets the stage for a war that will determine the real evil within the kingdom of Tribidor, which will continue in subsequent novel(s).

The rest will be personalized for each agent ;o)


Thermocline said...

You've got the bones of a good query here. A little trimming of generalizations and replacing them with specifics will help. For example, why doesn't Cyrilla's life have purpose? What position does Muerek have in the Army?

If she's never been in a containment camp then it is a given that she's "locked away from everything she’s ever known."

You're giving away part of your ending by telling me, "he embarks on a journey that will forever change his life long beliefs."

Your query is very dense. Hone in on the main conflict. Pare everything else away and it will be stronger.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

If I was an agent, I would be put-off by 113,000 word (I'm sure you didn't mean page!) YA. That is way over YA length. It might work as adult epic fantasy but not YA.
Your story concept is interesting but would be better presented with specifics. Be clear. What is her magic, why is it forbidden? How did Cyrilla betray Muerek? How is his life changed? What is Cyrilla's new role? This doesn't mean make the query longer, just more specific and cut out anything not about the main plot line.
Thanks for sharing this and good luck with your rewrite.

RCWriterGirl said...

Your query is too cluttered and doesn't fit together at this point. It's like a jigsaw puzzle that's been thrown on the floor with pieces scattered everywhere.

I get a certain sense of the story, but I can't fully see the picture. You've got to put it together.

Problems you need to address:
1. I see how Cyrilla and Muerek are connected (lovers), but who is this Lord Tearle guy and how does he fit in?
2. Why does Muerek hate Cyrilla if it was her magic that saved him? It's implied that he doesn't realize this (otherwise he wouldn't hate her), but you need to expressly state why he came to hate her. What betrayal does he think she perpetrated? If that's too much to explain in a query, then leave his hatred of her out.
3. Why is Muerek going on a journey, and why is plagued by these dreams? This line adds nothing but unanswered questions to your query (and not in a good way). Get rid of it unless you want to explain what you're talking about.

At 113,000 words, this is wayyy too long for a young adult novel. Maybe ditch the word count altogether. I know you're supposed to have word count, but some agents are going to see it and toss your query in the trash (literally or the e-mail trash bin). So, it may be best to hope they like it enough in the query phase without the wordcount, and ask for a partial. (I'm told--or several agents have blogged--that they are very forgiving about missing a minor detail, such as word count, in the query if you have a compellng story.)

Lastly, when I read this query, I see a love story. All this stuff about Lord Tearle and the Royal Army and Treandle and magic is all filler. This is a story about Muerek and Cyrilla, that's set in a mythical place with lots of mythical imagery.

What you need to sell us is Cyrilla and Muerek. Sell us their love, then tell only the few tidbits that explain how they come apart, and what's at stake for them to get back together. I think you're trying too much to introduce us to the mythology. It's not the mythology that sells us. It's the love.

You may want to try to sit down and boil your book down into two to three sentences. I think that might help you streamline your query. Your book is for building your mythology; your query is for explaining the story, as simply as you can.

Good luck

AJ Richardson said...

Thanks for all the great input, I've been dreading this query process for some time now. I am still debating on if I can cut down the word length, I knew 113k was too long, but don't know what to cut.
I'll work on a re-write and post in a few days.
Thanks again!
And keep 'em coming!

TLH said...

Actually, AJ, I wouldn't too much worry about your length. It is a bit long, and if you can cut out anything extraneous I would do so. But it's also a fantasy novel and any agent representing fantasy is going to realize they are usually a bit longer than other genres. My fantasy story is 127,000 right now!

Don't chop up your world just to get published. Elizabeth Kostova's debut novel was 250,000 words and sold very well!