May 12, 2010

Query--The Middle Princess

Dear [Agent Name]:

Princesses are born into a life of privilege, glamour and prestige—but sixteen year old Fortuna, the fourth girl out of seven daughters, realizes that fairy tales discriminate against all middle princesses and unless she does something about it—nothing will ever change.

Fortuna spends her time breaking the mold of a princess by creating disasters in the castle, pulling pranks on her sisters, and sneaking into sword practice, but it isn’t enough. Seven princes have disappeared and Fortuna, along with her sisters and their kingdom, take the blame for the disappearance. While the Barriers may prevent attack from outside the kingdom, they won’t prevent it from shattering within.

Resolved to prove she’s more than a prankster middle princess Fortuna sets out on a quest to find the missing princes. But she can’t even make it past the castle gates without Aaron, a handsome master swordsman, catching her, and she wonders if she is doomed to middle princess mediocrity.

Aaron, to protect Fortuna from harm, leaves with her and they make their way to the fairy kingdom. Fortuna’s determined to prove that middle princesses are worthy of fame. With her focus set solidly on finding the missing princes and saving the kingdom, she loses sight of what is right in front of her—Aaron. And when she finally realizes that, she must choose to follow her heart or return home a hero.

I am seeking representation for THE MIDDLE PRINCESS, a YA fantasy, complete at 88,000 words. Fans of Gail Carson Levine’s ELLA ENCHANTED and M. M. Kaye’s THE ORDINARY PRINCESS will enjoy the humor of THE MIDDLE PRINCESS.

I would be happy to send you the partial or complete manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.


Shanna Blythe


Suzan Harden said...


First of all, this is a really cool premise! I love stories that twist the fairy tale mold. The query just needs a little polish to really shine.

The first sentence - delete that first phrase since it states the obvious. Start with "Sixteen-year-old Princess Fortuna. . ."

Why does Fortuna take the blame for the missing princes? Are they her cousins and everyone thinks this is one of her practical jokes? What do the Barriers have to do with the plot? And why would Fortuna's kingdom shatter from within?

Why is Fortuna doomed to mediocrity when she is caught sneaking out by Aaron? Why does Aaron go with Fortuna instead of locking her up for her own safety? Why is Fortuna so determined to prove she's worthy of fame? Why is Aaron more important than finding the princes?

There's a lot of questions that either need to be answered or the cause of the question needs to be eliminated.

Like I said, you've got a great premise. Also your voice is clear in this query. You need to find a way to keep the "doomed to middle princess mediocrity" line. *grin* Just work on boiling down the query to the essential elements: Fortuna wants x, she does y to get x, but z happens to stop her, and build from there.

Best wishes on your submissions.

Pen said...

I agree with Suzan.

Plus it's a little wordy and could do with being pared back a bit. There are quite a few "extra" words cluttering up your sentences that could be removed.

This is a great start and the story sounds like a lot of fun. Good luck.

Nicole said...


What a fun concept! You create a vivid picture of Fortuna's personality. I think you just need to clarify the plot a little more.

I agree with all of Suzan's questions. For example, I'm guessing the missing princes are from another kingdom - let us know that for sure so we don't wonder if they're actually Fortuna's brothers :)

Tighten up the first three paragraphs so you have room to give us some specifics on the stakes after her journey begins. I think you're close. Best of luck!

Anonymous said...


What a fun book! Your query really captures an upbeat, quirky voice -- which I bet is the same great voice in your novel.

I had some of the same questions as the previous posters. So many times, when a query raises questions, it's a red flag. But in your query, those questions made me want to read the novel.

The only thing that did trip me up was Aaron catching Fortuna but still allowing her to leave the castle. It made me think, "Well, he went along because otherwise this is a short story!" :) I would suggest taking out some of the details in this part of the query to make it flow a bit better.

Again -- great story, great voice. Don't tighten so much that you edit out the fun spirit of your novel.

Just my two cents -- I'm certainly no expert. Good luck, Shanna!


Shanna Blythe said...

Thanks so much everyone! I've gone back and started revising. This query has been TOUGH to write. Sheesh. I can write a novel, but a one page letter ABOUT my novel? And making it SO interesting with the voice of the novel, etc? NO!

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