Feb 22, 2010

QUERY- The Brigid

This is too long and not focused enough, but I can't see how to fix it.

In this 80,000 word urban fantasy, The Brigid, one man's lack of faith in his unseen heritage may be the weakness that destroys the entire world, starting with those closest to him.

They are brothers. Twins. They live in the white world, but a piece of them belongs to their mother's people, the Nez Perce. Caleb accepts that piece of himself, but Mika's doubts haunt him. In spite of what his brother thinks, it's intuition that sometimes guides Mika, not the spirit guide he courted in his adolescence.

Into their lives comes Brigid, a beautiful woman with no memory and enemies—and friends—who stretch the brothers' credulity. Creatures like the beautiful but terrifying Tuatha de dannan and the wee man who smokes a dragonbone pipe and who just might be a leprechaun. These creatures aren't even from their heritage, but the twins' spirit guides won't let turn their backs no matter how unbelievable all this is. They can't, because the magic that has been locked away in various pocket worlds for nearly two millennium is flooding back into the world through dangerously wide-open portals created by those who want to reclaim this world, but whose recklessness threatens to destroy everything in an explosive chain reaction. And behind it all, the dragons of Brigid's world laugh at how easy humankind is to manipulate.

In order to save not just the world of the mysterious stranger, who both brothers are starting to fall in love with, but their own world as well, Mika must learn to believe and Caleb must learn to see his own worth outside of his brother's shadow.

Thanks to anyone who has any ideas.

10 comments:

Piedmont Writer said...

You're right, it's too long and not focused enough. I think I see where you want to go so I'll throw my two cents in and see what happens.

#1) I don't think the story (query) really starts until the sentence, "They can't, because the magic that has been locked away in various pocket worlds for nearly two millennium is flooding back into the world through dangerously wide-open portals created by those who want to reclaim this world, but whose recklessness threatens to destroy everything in an explosive chain reaction."

This is definitely a run-on sentence and needs to be broken up but here is where I found the conflict.


#2) "Mika must learn to believe and Caleb must learn to see his own worth outside of his brother's shadow." This is a very powerful sentence and more along the lines of the hook I believe.

You need to somehow take the first paragraph and blend it with the above sentence. Cut and blend.

I understand that Brigid is the impetus that starts this whole ball of wax rolling, but other than her, there are too many others people in that paragraph. Take out the Tuatha de Dannan, and the leprechauns. I also see how you wanted to make the Twins help everyone, even if they're not of their own heritage, but in the query they're just confusing.

Answer these three questions with one sentence each answers --

Who is the MC (who are the MC's)? See #2 above.

What is their conflict? See #1)above.

What is their motivation to get to the goal? What must they do? I don't know, I haven't seen that here yet. do they shoot people with laser guns, eat every last turnip on the planet, smoke a way their enemies? Don't know. I think that needs to be explained a little bit more.

I hope that helps and doesn't confuse you to much more. I look forward to seeing the revised edition. Good luck.

Emily said...

I don't think length should be your biggest concern here. I had a difficult time following the logical progression of the query.

The first paragraph you claim that the story is about "one man's lack of faith in his unseen heritage may be the weakness that destroys the entire world, starting with those closest to him" (I think this is too vague to be effective)

But then, rather that talk about one man, you introduce twins. Without giving us names so I can only assume Mika and Caleb are the twins. The "They" that starts off paragraph two comes out of nowhere. Also why is "Twins." a stand alone sentence? I think we need some information on the Nez Perce, otherwise all we have is a foreign name with no meaning.

Onto paragraph 3, the first sentence needs to be re-worked since when I read it the first time I thought Brigid had no memories and no enemies. And "stretch the brothers' credulity" is an awkward turn of phrase. I think you could cut the next two sentences without really losing anything since I don't understand how the maybe leprechaun or Tuatha de dannan (careful, the name is Gaelic but reminded me strongly of Willow) fit into the story. The next sentence caught me like an unexpected right hook. Pocket worlds? And are these portals dangerous, or dangerously wide-open because the latter sounds strange. Who wants to reclaim "this" world? What world is it? What recklessness? What chain reaction explosive or otherwise??

And then there were dragons. Again I just don't follow the logical progression at all. Not to mention we get dragons thrown into the same sentence that we discover Brigid is from another world. And apparently these are manipulative dragons...

Okay. Queries are hard to write, I have certainly struggled with mine as well. But right now I think this is more confusing than illuminating. I think you might need to go back to the drawing board on this one. Piedmont Writer gave good advice, focus on what the story is centered around and be specific.

Good luck!

Pen said...

I agree with the thoughts of the others here. Simplify. Simplify!

Yes, your world(s)is strange and different but trying to tell us to much about it just creates confusion. Less is More.

You need to tell us the Who? What? When? Why? and How? of the story centered around your MCs. Answer these questions clearly and succinctly and your query should come together in a much tighter form.

Good luck. I look forward to reading the new version.

David F. Weisman said...

I agree with Pen above, but I think How is key to the other questions. How will his belief help save the world? That will start us learning who and what he is, and what his brother will need to do.

Emily said...

Here is a suggestion on how you can shorten and tighten the query:

[Mika and Caleb are twins. They live in the white world but a piece of them belongs to their mother’s ancient shamanistic people, the Nez Perce. While Caleb accepts that piece of himself Mika struggles to come to terms with his heritage.

Into their lives comes Brigid, a beautiful woman from another world. But with her comes a threat to all worlds connected by the mysterious portals.

In order to save Brigid’s world as well as their own, both brothers must conquer their own shortcomings. Mika must learn to trust the spirit guides of the Nez Perce and Caleb must learn to see his own worth outside his brother’s shadow.]

This is only a suggestion as I am really guessing on some of the plot. But reworked like this I can see the two key elements that are missing.

1) What or who is the antagonist? The threat? Is it the laughing/manipulative dragons? The leprechaun? What is at risk here, HOW are their worlds in danger? Also, how do the brothers stop the threat? Not figuratively, literally.

2) What is the setting? What is the "white world"?? You claim this is urban fantasy, do they live in a city? I get no sense of place and as this sounds like epic fantasy world building should not be ignored.

I hope this helps!

Dominique said...

In this 80,000 word urban fantasy, The Brigid, one man's lack of faith in his unseen heritage may be the weakness that destroys the entire world, starting with those closest to him.

They are brothers.

Who are 'they'? You're not drawing me in. You're just confusing them. That annoys me.

Twins. They live in the white world, but a piece of them belongs to their mother's people, the Nez Perce.

While I feel okay assuming you mean racially white, my mind did venture off into a world of people composed of white marble. Or, you know, just entirely white is hue. Probably not what you were hoping for.

Caleb accepts that piece of himself, but Mika's doubts haunt him.

By 'piece of himself' do you mean the interracial part? Or is there some other connotation I'm missing. After your first hook, I'm wondering if you mean some magical superpower or something.

In spite of what his brother thinks, it's intuition that sometimes guides Mika, not the spirit guide he courted in his adolescence.

It sounds like Mika sounds totally chill with being white, if he's going with intuition and not with a spirit guide. I'm sort of confused about how this all fits together.

Into their lives comes Brigid, a beautiful woman with no memory and enemies—and friends—who stretch the brothers' credulity. Like the beautiful but terrifying Tuatha de dannan

that term means nothing to me. You might want to tack on an explanation for people who won't understand that.

and the wee man who smokes a dragonbone pipe and who just might be a leprechaun. These creatures aren't even from their heritage,

By 'their, I assume you mean to twins's, but it's not as clear as you want it to be.

but the twins' spirit guides won't let turn their backs no matter how unbelievable all this is.

Okay, some of this is also unclear. Fewer pronouns would probably help.

They can't, because the magic that has been locked away in various pocket worlds for nearly two millennium is flooding back into the world through dangerously wide-open portals created by those who want to reclaim this world, but whose recklessness threatens to destroy everything in an explosive chain reaction. And behind it all, the dragons of Brigid's world laugh at how easy humankind is to manipulate.

In order to save not just the world of the mysterious stranger, who both brothers are starting to fall in love with, but their own world as well, Mika must learn to believe and Caleb must learn to see his own worth outside of his brother's shadow.

I think your chief issue here is clarity. If you can make this clearer, I think it'll save you a bunch of words.

Emily said...

@ Dominique

I too was a bit puzzled by the phrase "white world." My mind did not even go to racially white, but a whole world of white marble spires, and bridges. Pretty, if boringly monochromatic.

Stephanie said...

I feel like this is missing a lot of specificity. I was trying to clean it up & rewrite it but there's just not enough information. We don't have surnames for your main character(s) and we don't know who "those who want to reclaim this world" are. I don't know who's doing what, who wants what and what's going on.

My assumption is that your hook might be something like: Mika (Surname) doubts the power of his Nez Perce heritage until he and his twin brother are faced with a challenge.

This query is an easy fix. Just fill it with hard information, especially plot points, and trim out the rest.

Lisa Amowitz said...

Nez Pearce is a tribe of Native Americans so that really threw me, along with the genre of urban fantasy. Things seem a bit mixed up to me. I'm sorry, but with a query that is all over the place like this, I'm wondering what shape the ms is in. I'm afraid an agent might come to the same conclusion.

j said...

Thanks everyone for your input. I'll wrestle this back to the drawing board and see if I can fix it.