Sep 25, 2011

Query-The Ash Plague

Dear Agent,

The war started with a drunkard in her library and an arrow in her arm.

Seventeen-year-old Adalmund Pratt is one of the last remaining people who can see and weave the threads of magic in her plague-ravaged country, and as such, she is the newly-appointed Advisor to the Theodyn Heir. During a peace treaty signing with the neighboring nation of Amleth, an Amleth advisor drunkenly slurs in her ear that his nation is on the brink of a revolution against the royal family, and she realizes that she and the Heir of Theodyn are in enemy territory.

The attack comes before they planned. An unknown division of the Amleth army attacks and it’s an arrow through Adalmund’s shoulder and another through the throat of the Heir, who dies in her arms.

Adalmund knows that her ability remains the only chance to save Theodyn. Pushing aside her own grief and feelings of failure, she doesn’t hesitate to obey when the grieving Queen sends her to spy on the Amleth army and bring the murderous army unit to justice.

It’s not an impossible assignment until Adalmund realizes that the soldiers who attacked aren’t a part of the normal army, but are the private guards of a Prince. The only way she can succeed is to forge a precarious truce with Peace, the mysterious leader of the revolution in Amleth, and she’ll do it to save her country—even if the price of Peace is her life.

The first in a planned series, THE ASH PLAUGE is a young adult fantasy novel of 75,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

L.M. Miller

3 comments:

Anonymous Author said...

It looks like you're having trouble boiling this one down to its essentials.

I'd get rid of the log-line. The "her"s are confusing-- do they refer to the drunkard, or someone else?

Seventeen-year-old Adalmund Pratt is one of the last remaining people who can see and weave the threads of magic in her plague-ravaged country, and as such, she is the newly-appointed Advisor to the Theodyn Heir.

This sentence introduces five unfamiliar concepts:

1. Adalmund, age 17
2. threads of magic, Adalmund as last seer of
3. a country, plague-ravaged
4. Adalmund as advisor, new
5. the Theodyn Heir

At this point, I'm lost. Not a good place to be. (And I'm thinking "Theodyn" looks like "Theoden".)

The rest of the query doesn't make me less confused. It feels like you've got way too much stuffed in here.

The old advice: Reduce your story to a single sentence, no more than 20 words in length. Build your query upward from there.

Anonymous Author said...

Oh, also-- say you've got a stand-alone with series potential rather than the first in a planned series. And check the spelling of "plague" in the title.

yankinfrance said...

I too found this one confusing but for me the problem lies (as usual!) in the language -- there's a lot of complex sentences and poetic language here.

But this is best saved for the novel -- try rewriting the query in a more simple style. The query is a business letter, after all.

A simpler voice will also help you avoid improper grammatical constructions -- such as the sentence in the first paragraph that begins with "During" -- by the time you've hit the "and" after the second comma, you've changed the subject of the dependent clause.

In the second paragraph the second sentence doesn't make sense "...attacks and it's an arrow through..."

You also use "It's" again later to lead off a paragraph. I don't really like starting any sentence with "it's", but it's especially jarring to read at the beginning of a paragraph.

Try starting the query with the action that actually precipitates the war (leave out the drunkard part, it's an unneccessary detail): perhaps with the attack.

You'll have time to bring in the information about the protagonist.

Also, clear up the Theodyne confusion-- I thought this was a name, not a kingdom.