Jan 8, 2012

QUERY: Coming of the Dukebarr

Dear *****,

Everyone believes in the Creator. Everyone, that is, except Cara.

Cara, a rebellious and stubborn thirteen year old, has recently decided that there is no Creator. Her beliefs, however, are considered high treason and grounds for exile in her small town. Desperate to protect his daughter, the High Priest of the village assigns an apprentice priest to babysit his daughter and help to recover her faith.

Needless to say, Cara isn’t pleased. But her anger is quickly forgotten when foretold signs of a coming apocalypse, the Dukebarr, begin to appear. Cara finds herself questioning her beliefs in the face of these events as her society begins to crumble around her. Will her faith, or lack of it, be able to prevent the destruction of her village?

COMING OF THE DUKEBARR is a completed 40,000 word fantasy for middle grade readers. I have one published short story in Byline Magazine.

Thank you for your time and consideration.




Kelsey (Dominique) Ridge said...

I'm a little confused on the plot elements here. While I can understand the conflict present in her interpersonal relationships if her family and friends are religious and she is not, I wonder how she can continue to doubt in the face of a religious apocalypse. That would seem like some particularly glaring proof. You might want to explain her continued doubts in the absence of apparent evidence.

Faraci said...

Thanks for the help! I really appreciate your comments.

To answer your question...

She continues to doubt when the signs are appearing. She's kind of in denial, unable and unwilling to see the "truth." When the apocalypse hits 2/3 of the way through the book she hesitantly starts believing, but a couple small plot elements make her start doubting again.

Should I explain the additional plot of why she starts doubting? That will add a considerable amount of length to the query, as I will have to explain a bunch of the background subtleties of the land, mechanics of magic, and also explain what she suspects the Dukebarr to really be.

Anonymous Author said...

This looks like an interesting story idea, but it's not really coming through in the query.

I'd drop the first two sentences. They contradict each other, and they don't tell anything that isn't repeated later on. (I know all the query instruction sites say you need a log line, but believe me-- I've now sold eight books without using one log line. You don't need a log line.)

Now, the second paragraph doesn't make the stakes clear. First you tell us Cara's facing exile, then she gets a babysitter-- does that mean her treason hasn't been discovered yet?

(Don't tell me the answer to that question. Just rewrite the query.)

The next paragraph is a bit of a disappointment-- does it all come down to Cara's faith, or is Cara actually going to *do* something to prevent the apocalypse?

(Again: Don't answer my question; rewrite the query!)

I was pretty surprised to come to the end and find that this was middle grade. While an apocalyse as the stakes is okay for middle grade, exploring religion is much more of a YA thing, developmentally speaking. And right now your query is making Cara's religion appear to be the main stakes.

gj said...

What does Cara DO?

She believes (or disbelieves) a lot, but other than that, as far as I can tell, she sits on her sofa and watches the apocalypse approach.

What does she DO?

Anonymous said...

I have to agree. This sounds like YA to me. Even though 40K is a bit short for YA, I'd still pitch it as YA given the subject and age of protagonist.