Oct 13, 2009

QUERY - THE LOST CHILDREN CHRONICLES

Thanks to everyone over at my blog for helping me streamline this:

When thirteen-year-old Kevin McDonald is abducted to the netherworld, he must befriend his goblin kidnappers and elude an army of vampires if he ever wants to see his family again.

Given his indomitable spirit and the magical power of his soul, Kevin just might be able to do it. One slight problem. Every time he casts a fireball or commands the sun to appear, the rash of goblin-skin that started on his arm spreads a bit more across his body. Without magic, the vamps will capture and turn him, but if he uses too much before he finds his way back home, he’ll become a monster anyway.

THE LOST CHILDREN CHRONICLES is a 70,000 word MG fantasy set in a netherworld filled with dark creatures, darker intents, and one courageous boy who will do everything he can to save himself, his fellow abductees, and even some of his kidnappers from damnation. [Personal info, etc].

13 comments:

Dominique said...

Oh my god, I must have this book now. If I were an agent, I would be demanding further pages immediately.

AjFrey said...

This is shiny! I'm really impressed. Great job!

Donna Hole said...

Bane, I am among your biggest fans, and am pleased as punch to read you have a blog. I read this there first, and came here to reply.

And, I haven't forgotten; I will use your name as a character in a novel, short story, something, when I actually start writing again. You did say you accept credit card payments for the use of your name . . .

But, on to the critique.

It has a strong start in the first paragraph - the hook. Definitely catchy, and introduces the main character, his age and the central conflict. UH, surviving a vampire attact while posing as a goblin; correct?

The second paragragh doesn't live up to the hook. I like the first line "Given his indomitable spirit . ." but the rest doesn't really convey Kevin's magical power, or how it could save him and his family, or what they need saving from.

Why is Kevin kidnapped by goblins? What do they hope to gain by his abduction? How does Kevin's powers factor into his abduction, and how do those powers, or the lack of them, fit into the salvation of his family? What danger is there to his family if Kevin doesn't learn to control (use) his powers?

Before his abduction, did Kevin even suspect he had magical powers? How did having those powers affect his family/social life? What is at stake for Kevin, his family, or the world if he doesn't escape his goblin kidnappers?

You intimate that everytime he uses his "powers", his skin becomes more goblinish. Is there a way to use his powers for good - or are goblins not really the bad guys in this story? Are Vamps good guys? bad guys? What is Kevin's definition of a "monster"?

It seems Kevin has only two choices if he succeeds: become a goblin or a vampire, and neither choice seems good.

And what of these "abductees?" You don't mention them in the body of the query, only as an afterthought in the word count. How do they play into the plot of this story? Is any one of them brave enough to help Kevin in his quest, or do they just wait for salvation, and why? What do they need saving from, and why is Kevin the only person to save them?

And, uhm, I don't know; is 70,000 words really something an MG reader will enjoy? Get through? I'm only going by my own 11 year old, who, I admit, doesn't like reading and thinks "chapter books" are the worst kind of torture.

Oh, but I've heard rumor of other children his age, at his school, who really like to read.

Sorry, it's late (or early 3:20 am california time) and I have to go to bed. How did it get so late (early)? Thanks for sharing this. Cool concept.

.........dhole

Gina Logue said...

I agree with Donna, this query brings up questions.

Why was Kevin abducted? Because of his magical power? How did he get his power? What do his goblin kidnappers want? What do an army of vampires want? Why do they want to “turn him”?

The idea of his skin turning into goblin-skin is cool and creepy and irresistible.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I like it. It seems to have the essentials. I'm admittedly a newbie at this, but I would think the fact that the query raises so many questions is a good thing. Wouldn't that be what would make the agent ask for more?

Bane of Anubis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bane of Anubis said...

Thanks, everyone, for the comments. And thanks, Rick, for linking to my blog.

Donna (re: character name - LOL - recognition is more than enough payment ;), Gina, I'm definitely going the short route on the query. There are lots of questions raised, and hopefully (as Anon suggested) they're ones that make the agent want to read more, or at least ask for a synopsis that provides more answers.

I do have longer versions that give more insight into the story (though still leave questions ;), but I'm not as happy w/ the flow on them.

I'll probably start sending a form of this one out into the ether fairly soon and will let you know if it has any success or not.

And, yeah, 70k is a bit on the long side, though there's supposedly more leeway for fantasy.

Victoria Dixon said...

Hi, Bane. Incredibly strong closing lines.

To fix other problems, "airbrush" in answers - don't get too heavy handed. Kevin's magical power to shed the light of his indomitable will might save him.

Try to keep in mind, you only need three sentences: 1. Character and setting. 2. Character's problem. 3. Consequences of failing to solve problem.

You've got all of that, you just need a few specifics. Best wishes! There's something of the Curdy books here.

Bane of Anubis said...

Victoria, more specificity is something I'm always plugging,so thanks for the reminder :)

Rick Daley said...

I think this query tells enough about the story. I may have specific questions about what happens in the book, but I know what the book is about. That's what the query needs to convey, and this accomplished it.

I'm comfortable with the way you described his magical power. Casting fireballs, commanding the sun to appear...potent weapons against vampires.

I like the juxtaposition where he must befriend his goblin kidnappers. It's more than the Helsinki Syndrome. The vamps are the uber-bad guys, and the old adage "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" comes into play.

And I only linked to your blog so people can read my comments there.

Just kidding ;-)

Bane of Anubis said...

Rick, that's the issue w/ these darn things... you never know what's too much/too little and then it all depends on a person's taste... ultimately, I guess why you wanna write the query in as similar a style as possible to the story...

Thanks again for creating TPQS and for providing your time and efforts.

And your comments, regardless of topic, somehow manage to put a smile on my face. Thanks again!

RCWriterGirl said...

I liked this query. I thought it gave enough detail, without being confusing or overly long. It whet the appetite just enough.

I don't do MG, so my only concern was it seemed a bit dark and scary for MG. But, I have no idea what's appropriate for MG. That's my uninformed opinion.

Other than that, hats off to you. I think you captured things succintly and tantalizingly.

Anica Lewis said...

I like this query - especially the tension of Kevin's transformation and the image of the goblin skin.

I would like to see why the goblins abducted Kevin, and maybe a little more about why he has magical powers and whether he knew that before his abduction. Also, I'm not a big fan of the phrase "his indomitable spirit and magical power of his soul."

I felt like the "damnation" kind of came out of nowhere at the end. Are you damned if you become a vampire? Is that what it means? You might be more specific about what he's saving them from. Also, as someone pointed out already, the "fellow abductees" show up kind of late to the party.

The story sounds awesome! Best of luck!