Jul 20, 2010

Query- Fledgling

In Fledgling, a perilous and legendary world is slowly unfolding for Chance Morgan, a high school senior who has successfully hidden his powerful ancestral gift- until he meets Ana Hughes, a quiet girl cloaking a secret of her own. This completed 90,000 word, young adult urban fantasy is the first in a series.

Set apart from other eighteen-year-olds, Ana knows she is different. A severe health condition smothers her future and she yearns to feel normal. When she moves to a new town and meets Chance, an anti-social senior who sees past her guise, the two are forced to reconcile their rules about love and friendship. As Ana grows increasingly suspicious of Chance’s animal-like senses and surprising healing ability, he is forced to risk either losing Ana or revealing his astonishing secret life. But once Chance’s grandfather exposes a dangerous secret of his own, it begins unraveling the rules of a world Chance thought he understood- placing all of their lives in jeopardy.

As a mother of a child born with heart defects, I was inspired to create a strong character that could rise above her physical disabilities, while telling a story laced with humor, romance and action. A second book is in outline format now with a planned third book in the series that continues Chance and Ana’s adventures.

Thank you for your time and consideration,



Rick Daley said...

The general form and length is great, but I think you can tighten the query up a bit.

The first line is your hook, but it's too long. I think it would be stronger if you give some hint of the powers and secrets. You don't want to be vague, you want the agent to think "Wow, I would love to read a book about a young man who can (insert one: fly, control the weather with his mind, live forever, etc.)"

An ancestral gift could be a sword, a ring, some socks (thanks grandma), or a superpower.

Who is the protagonist? From the first paragraph I would think Chance, but the second paragraph starts with Ana.

You say the two are forced to reconcile their rules about love and friendship but don't give an indication as to what those rules are.

Overall, I think the story description is too vague. It kind of reads like back-cover copy, but it doesn't show me anything about the world you created.

I don't think you should mention the series. Make this book stand on its own.

For your bio, I think you can leave out the details that inspired the story and the "telling" description of the story itself. I think this part of the word count would better serve you if you used it to clarify the details of the plot.

Good luck, I hope you find something useful in my comments!

Anonymous Author said...

I agree with everything Rick said.

Even if the story actually has two POV characters, you want to stick to just one for your query. Choose which one, and then see the other only through your POV character's eyes.

The phrase "anti-social senior" snagged me because the two concepts seemed so unrelated... something that might work in a novel but not in a query letter.

You've got the info that you consider this a series in there twice... I'd omit the ref at the beginning.

And yes, stay away from any backstory about why you wrote the book--I always figure we can save that for when we're interviewed for The Daily Show or Publisher's Weekly.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your feedback.
I have been struggling about how to approach the query when I follow two characters POV. The beginning curiosity of the story is the reader trying to figure out what is wrong with Ana and what Chance is hiding... so I wasn't sure if I should give it away in pitch.
This query letter is beginning to leach away my sanity :)

gj said...

Ditto to the comments that it's too vague. Go ahead and give things away in the query. That's what a query is for, unlike back-cover copy, which can be more coy.

B.E. Sanderson said...

I think this could be a book I'd want to read, but the query needs a little tweaking to really show how awesome the story is. Rick's suggestions are spot on.

Good luck. I look forward to seeing this one in print. =o)

Ralene said...

I also agree with most of the comments above. The one thing that I might disagree with is the suggestion to leave out the part about what inspired the story. I think that by putting that in, you show the agent/editor why you are the one to write this story (at least Ana's POV). It tells them you'll bring a level of realism that others may not b/c you've been there.

Anonymous said...

This is my revised version- I hope it reads better. Thank you for your feedback.

Fledgling, is a completed 90,000 word, young adult urban fantasy.

Eighteen-year-old Chance Morgan has a secret—but he’s not the only one.

Chance has everything he could want. With his Navajo grandfather as a guide, he successfully hides his growing ancestral powers as the concealed world of shapeshifting unfolds before him. He discovers his abilities are far more intoxicating than wasting time with small town friends, having no interest in complicating his life any further. But when Ana Hughes, the new girl at Clark Fork High, tries going undetected, he can’t help but notice her… even if he doesn’t want to.

Quiet and introspective, Ana’s sad green eyes pull Chance in, shattering his preconceived rules against love and friendship. The opaque scar rising up her sternum and an irregular heartbeat trigger his instinct to protect her and he knows she’s hiding something. But as their trust grows, Ana also becomes suspicious of his animal-like senses and miraculous healing ability. And he is forced to risk either losing her or revealing his astonishing secret life.

On graduation night his grandfather reluctantly exposes a gruesome family secret. Then a nameless cousin appears who unravels a world Chance thought he understood-- placing all of their lives in jeopardy.

As a mother of a child with heart defects, I have lived through the stress and fear associated with it and was inspired to create a character who could rise above her physical disabilities.

Thank you for your time and consideration,