Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Query Revision 8

Face-Lift 765: Heartsouls

[Update: I just saw fairyhedgehog's post about the passing of one of EE's Minions: Bevie James. Sad times.]

Dear EE:

Over hundreds of years, the people of Maore divided their society and turned their backs on magic. The races split, and magic died and was forgotten. Now the Argents hold all the power and the more numerous Silvers live as serfs, their contact with Argents restricted.

Until someone rediscovers magic and is prepared to kill to keep it to themselves. The magic of heartsouls requires a pair of soul mates, one Argent and the other Silver. Removing the small population of Argents would eliminate any competition over power. But even the best evil plans seldom work out perfectly.

Fleeing from the first attack on Argents, Marguerite Navarre stumbles into a group of Silvers and unwittingly finds her heartsoul. One of the elite Argents, Marguerite’s life was filled with smug, boring people and endless lectures on duty. Serious and shy, she is now shown a new world by the Silvers, and their freedom fascinates her.

Marguerite is both drawn to and repelled by her soul mate. Jorge is her opposite in every way, from his enormous confidence to his complete lack of scruples. He is a flirt and a tease, hiding behind lies and evasions but, like a bee to a flower, she cannot resist his charm.

As attacks against Argents continue, blame focuses on Silvers. Marguerite is faced with anger from her race for loving Jorge. To remain with him, she must reconcile the races. Together they search for those responsible for murdering the Argents, intending to become weapons against them. To do this, Marguerite must learn the nature of her magic and trust Jorge before time runs out for her and the Argents.

Heartsouls is an epic fantasy with strong elements of romance complete at 140,000 words. It is the first of a series, with the second well on its way.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Comments

I think this version is more clear around the divide of the races, so good job there! However, there are still some sticking points for me. I'll focus on one aspect of the query and let others fill in their reactions on the rest.

The biggest issue I have is that I am still completely in the dark about what magic is and how it works in this world. Having magic seems to be a crux of the story, but other than the fact that two people can produce it, I know nothing about it. Here are some questions that would help me better understand. Are the answers really important to the query? you ask. I would say that a hint at some of the answers at least would show the reader that the story is thought through and hangs together. They would also give me a better flavor of the worldbuilding and help better define the stakes.

[Disclaimer: I also have an unfinished WIP where two soul-bonded people must come together to defeat an evil, so I'm struggling with how much needs to be revealed versus how much can safely be left out as well. :o) My draft query for it is Face-Lift 355, and may provide insight as to why this older work remains a WIP.]

What is the magic? You don't need many words for this, but what philosophy is it based on? Is it healing magic or earth magic? Is it a harmonizing magic that underlies the workings of the world or is it magic that can be called upon at need to wreak destruction?

What does rediscovering magic mean? If it requires heartsouls, is it how the magic works that's rediscovered rather than the magic itself? In this version, it sounds like the person who rediscovered it has it and can wield it. Does this person also have a heartsoul counterpart, too?

Are heartsouls unique? Can there be lots of pairs of heartsouls in this society? Or is there only one chosen pair per generation? If the magic has been forgotten, how do M and J recognize they are heartsouls and are even clued in they may have magic if they do whatever it is they have to produce it?

How does the magic work? What is it M&J must do to produce magic? Simply recognize one another as heartsouls? Join physically in some way? Do they have to be in the same room for the magic to work or can they be half a world away? And if Jorge is scruple-less, does Marguerite have to convince him somehow to actively participate in bringing magic back to the world, or can the magic be wielded by just one half of the bonded pair?

7 comments:

Michelle said...

What if I change the second paragraph to something like this:

The ancient magic of heartsouls requires a pair of soul mates, one Argent and the other Silver. The closer the soul mates are to one another, the stronger the magic of fire and air grows. Anyone in Maore may use the magic- if they can locate their heartsoul. Now someone has rediscovered the magic and is prepared to kill to keep it to themselves. They decide to remove the small population of Argents, eliminating any competition over power. Even the best evil plans seldom work out perfectly.

Thanks for all your help. The topic is so large it is hard to fit into a one page query.

Phoenix said...

That's a good explanation. I do wonder logically how the "someone" can use the magic and keep it to themselves without a soul mate, though. Unless, of course, the "someone" is Jorge. And if that's the case, then I really think you may want to consider rewriting the query to focus on that as it's a much more compelling hook than the rather (sorry) generic idea presented here.

I don't think you need the last sentence of this 'graph. It's a bit of a cliche. Besides, you're about to show us the plan doesn't work, right? No need to tell us, too.

And yes, wrestling 140K words down to 300 isn't easy ;o)

Tom said...

I am confused about how the Silvers can be serfs in one paragraph, and have such freedom in another. I can see how that might be, but it is a weakness in the logic. Perhaps rather than serfs, use another word. Prols, underclass, peasants.

Serfs were only a short step above slaves, slaves with a few rights.

Michelle said...

I though if you were in need of laughs you might like to comment on another version of the query.

Marguerite Navarre’s world has forgotten magic. Serious and shy, she is one of the governing race of Argents. Her life is filled with smug, boring people and endless lectures on duty. For longer than anyone can remember, the Argents have lived separately from the more numerous and subservient Silvers. And with that loss of connection, magic vanished.

But someone has rediscovered magic and is prepared to kill the small population of Argents to keep it for themselves. For the magic of heartsouls requires a pairing of Silver and Argent. Fleeing from an attack on her kind, Marguerite is rescued by a group of Silvers, unwittingly meeting her heartsoul match.

Delighted with the Silvers’ friendship, she is both drawn to and repelled by Jorge. He is her opposite in every way, from his enormous confidence to his complete lack of scruples. A flirt and a tease, he hides behind lies but, like a bee to a flower, Marguerite cannot resist his charm. As attacks against Argents continue, blame focuses on Silvers and threatens to tear her from Jorge. Marguerite must learn the magic of heartsouls to find those responsible for the attacks and trust Jorge before time runs out for her and the Argents.

Heartsouls is an epic fantasy with strong elements of romance at 140,000 words. It is the first of a series, with the second well on its way.

Phoenix said...

Hi Michelle: I'm not sure what happened postwise to your latest version, but it's here now.

I like this one a lot -- the words and images flow VERY smoothly now!

Just a few quite small tweak suggestions:

* I'd move the "For the magic of heartsouls" line to the beginning of the paragraph since it more logically goes with why the magic was lost in the first place.

* Change "unwittingly meeting" to "and unwittingly meets"

*Silvers' should be Silver's

* And I would change the order of the elements in the last plot sentence to something like:

To find those responsible for the attacks, Marguerite must put aside doubt and place her complete trust in Jorge in order to learn the magic of heartsouls before time runs out for her and the Argents.

Michelle said...

Thanks for all your help. Especially with the last sentence.

I got a request for a partial with the new query.

Michelle

Phoenix said...

Congratulations, Michelle!

*fingers crossed*