Oct 3, 2011

Query: The Ash Plague (round two)

Click here to read the original query.

Dear Agent,

Assistant to the Royal Advisor, Adalmund Port returned home to Norwyn from her first job with an arrow in her shoulder and a murdered princess in her arms.

A war veteran at seventeen, Adalmund was sent to advise her country’s princess during a routine, perfectly safe peace treaty signing. Needless to say, it didn’t go as planned.

Sent back to Amleth, the country that murdered her princess, Adalmund is tasked with finding the man who ordered the attack and killing him. It’s an old law between the nations—the life of a noble for another noble life—but it doesn’t take into account the revolution brewing in Amelth. Adalmund didn’t take it into account either.

Peace is rising in Amelth. Peace, a masked man with the same magical powers as Adalmund and a desire for sweeping, if misguided, social change, is leading the revolution against the Amleth Royal Court. He also knows which Amelth prince was in charge of the military unit that murdered the Norwyn princess.

Peace wants Adalmund’s help.

Adalmund wants Peace’s information.

She also wants nothing to do with him, but Norwyn’s Royal Court strikes a deal with Peace: Adalmund’s unlimited help in exchange for a magically binding agreement that he’ll never declare war on Norwyn.

Adalmund will do anything to save her country. She’s been to war, she’s been an assassin, and she’s sacrificed her arm to save the princess.

But asking her to work with Peace might be too much.

THE ASH PLAGUE is a young adult fantasy novel of 75,000 words with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

The Girl Who Queried


Anonymous Author said...

I still can't tell what's happening. Your language is still obscuring things.

Each of your first three paragraphs starts with what I call a National Geographic sentence-- a clause or phrase that modifies the subject. This is a hint that you're still trying to cram too much info into each sentence.

The wordplays on "account" in the third paragraph and on "Peace" in the fourth are the sort of thing that obscures meaning.

Tell us what happens. Skip the backstory. What challenge does Adalmund face, and what does she need to do to she overcome it?

Anonymous Author said...

Oops, "to overcome it", I mean.

GLJ said...

I agree that this query is too unclear to be effective.

Worse, it seems very muddled time-wise. First, the inciting event has happened, then she's being sent to this other country.

First sentence:
Adalmund Port returned home

Second sentence:
Adalmund was sent

Third sentence:
Sent back to Amleth

This time-jumping makes my head spin. Spell it out chronologically, as the reader shouldn’t have to re-read in order to figure out what is going on.

This doesn’t tell us the dilemma that Adalmund faces. It is kinda in there, but I would have to spend some time figuring it out. And you don’t want the reader to get frustrated and stop reading.

KendraYoung said...

I really liked the first paragraph, "Assistant to the Royal Advisor, Adalmund Port returned home to Norwyn from her first job with an arrow in her shoulder and a murdered princess in her arms." It grabs my attention and I suspect all hell is about to break loose if someone is standing with a murdered princess in their arms.

Then I get lost in the names and jumping back in time. Would it work better to tell what happens after the princess is dead?

Consider removing some of the names from your query letter. It's too much for a reader who is not familiar with your book/world to keep straight.

1. Assistant to the Royal Advisor
2. Adalmund Port
3. Norwyn
4. Amleth
5. Peace
6. Amleth Royal Court
7. Norwyn’s Royal Court

However, I still want to know what happens after Adalmund returns home carrying a dead princess.