Mar 20, 2010

Query: THE WATCHERS' DAUGHTER

Dear Agent:

Eighteen-year-old Morgan Meadows has promised her Arabian mare Epona they will never be parted. Yet, she doesn't realize that while she works to build a life on a Kentucky horse farm guardians lurk in the shadows, carefully observing her until the secrets of her family can be revealed.

Keeping her promise to Epona, Morgan takes her along when she gets a chance to meet the parents she's never known. Morgan learns her father comes from a family of fallen angels known as Watchers, immortal beings searching for redemption as they strive to protect all creatures, including the creatures of a parallel world known as Gaia.

Morgan's parents left her behind as an infant because she showed no evidence of their powers, reasoning it best she live a normal, human life. Only after begging the Council (ancient rulers of the Watchers) are they able to arrange this reunion. However, to protect their secrets on Earth, the Council decrees Morgan be taken to Gaia.

In Gaia, Morgan finds herself a target of creatures who have been feeding the fire of their hatred for humanity for centuries. Their hatred stems from the abuse and neglect humans have inflicted on their world and the creatures in it, because if Earth dies--Gaia does as well. Morgan tries to convince them of the good in humanity, using her love for Epona as an example, but many believe it is a trick.

Morgan has her own magic, a magic she shares with Epona. Her powers grow with each new obstacle she faces. As visions present her first assignment as a Watcher--to find and protect the White Buffalo Calf from Sioux legend, she hopes her magic will also help her make peace with the Gaians. But when a Gaian kills her best friend, Morgan plans to use her new powers for vengeance instead.

THE WATCHERS' DAUGHTER is an 82,000word young adult fantasy complete and ready for review upon your request. I have a B.A. in English and taught college-level English courses for several years. I have been co-editor of a statewide periodical and was recently published in Modern Arabian Horse magazine.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Angela Greenlief

9 comments:

Rick Daley said...

The query is well written, but it flows more like a synopsis. I think you should remove the back-story and focus on the conflict.

The last paragraph of the story description has me confused...is this a revenge tale, or a save the world tale? One needs to be the primary plot and the other a sub-plot. Focus on the primary for the query. The other layers can shine through in a formal synopsis and the manuscript.

I also think you should include the name of the state-wide periodical.

Good luck!

Angela said...

This may sound very strange, but the "save the world" part comes closer to being a sub-plot. I was attempting to set this paragraph up to show the consequence. I've went back and forth on this a lot. I think the White Buffalo Calf element adds a unique element to the query, but it's kind of thrown into the query at the end, and it is a sub-plot. Then again--it works well with my consequence sentence.

I do totally agree-this is way too close to sounding like a synopsis.

Rachel said...

Is the horse named after Link's horse in the Legend of Zelda? 'Cause from the time I first read Epona, that is all I could think.

Angela said...

She's named after the goddess Epona from mythology (protector of horses). The name was more fitting for my novel, however, because Epona was the leader of the soul in the afterlife. (I have loved mythology ever since studying it in college). The creatures in Gaia are based on mythological creatures, which is another reason why the name fits well within the novel.

RCWriterGirl said...

I found this query really confusing. There's too much information, so much so that I can't figure out what part of the plot to focus on.

streamline this query. It's too much.

The Starving Writer said...

I'm not a horse person, so maybe that's why I don't get the whole promising a horse that you won't be parted and bringing it with you to meet your parents thing.

It just seems wierd to me. But as I said, I'm not a horse person.

The query reads like a summary. Too much stuff happening which is confusing and difficult to read.
Had to read it four times to understand what it was saying - to attempt this critique. That can't be good.

Anyways it begins to interest me when I learn that Morgan is a half or quarter angel which is the core of the story, Morgans angellic stuff. So you should lead with that and focus the query around it. Morgan meets her parents who are angels. Good hook right there.

BTW what does Morgan do in the end get revenge, save the world, or both?

Angela said...

Posting my query here has been very enlightening. Nothing helps more than to have people read your query FOR THE FIRST TIME. It gives a fresh perspective that I needed to see the real problems.

From the comments, I have surmised that I need to:

1. make it shorter
2. deal only with the main conflict
3. leave out sub-plots
4. leave out back story
5. if I leave the horse in the query, be concise on the importance
6. make my consequence more clear

Also, I believe the query needs a more interesting "voice" to the writing (as it stands it's too formal). I understand the voice should echo my writing in the novel, however.

Thank you to everyone who has commented. I am eager to read further reviews, although I'm guessing I'll see similarities in what people will say needs changed.

Emily said...

I really like the premise here but I will echo what others have said in that I think the biggest change needs to be just shortening the query so it reads less like a synopsis.

A few other suggestions/edits:

In paragraph 1 I think the comma after "yet" should come after "farm" instead. Also "lurk in the shadows" sounds a bit cliched.

In paragraph 2 my only question is what about her mother? Is her mother a watcher too? I am assuming yes due to the plural possessive in the title but I really want to know.

In paragraph 3 I think you could change the parenthetical to "after begging the ancient rulers of the Watchers..."

In paragraph 4 I think "feeding the fire of their hatred" is also a bit cliched. And "their world" was very confusing. The human's world or Gaia? Also Morgan wants to use her love for Epona as an example of the good in humanity. But, well, Epona is a horse and Morgan is at least 1/2 angel, so that seems like a bad example of "humanity's" good.

In paragraph 5 the sentence "As visions present her first assignment" was confusing. Had to read it a few times to understand it. Also what kind of magic does Morgan have? Is it watcher magic? What kind of magic do watchers/angels have?

I really liked your closing paragraph, you kept your credits very much relevant to your manuscript. Only suggestion is that I think you need a space between 82,000 and word. That's it.

Overall I like your premise and with the horse angle I can certainly see it appealing to girls. But, well is her mother an angel? I still want to know...

Angela said...

Morgan's mother is not a fallen angel. The fallen angels are males; they only have male sons (up until Morgan). But when they marry human women, their wives gain their powers, which makes them fellow-Watchers. So, a male Watcher is also a fallen angel, whereas a female Watcher is only a Watcher.

Needless to say, that is way too complicated to explain in a pitch...LOL. But I'm glad you asked, as it is a good question.

I am working on a revision that I will post soon. For those of you who may think I can't possibly come up with a revision this quickly, let me say I've re-written this query around 45 times over a three month period. The comments here have opened my eyes (sorry for the cliche) to the fact that what makes sense to me may not make sense to others, and that my pitch is too much like a synopsis. I feel like I'm on the right path to a pitch that highlights the main conflict and moral of the story. I hope. I can always hope!