Thursday, June 3, 2010

Query Revision 12

Face-Lift 777: Alamandine's Song

Mandi Croach knew she was half faery, but that didn't mean much to her. Her parents were dead, and though she and her full-fae aunt ran a magical jewelry store in Philadelphia, she was nothing more than a Tufts-educated checkout girl.

In a single moment all that changes. It seems her aunt has been hiding a few things: Mom is alive, reigning as Queen of the Star Court; her son, Prince Prase, has been kidnapped; and Mandi's father didn't drown--he was murdered.

As she pursues her father's murderer, Mandi realizes there are powerful forces in Faelyn that don't want her to succeed, including her mother's new husband, the King. If she is to have any hope of getting her life back; a life made more interesting by the addition of sexy, yet sweet, Chase Ballentine; she'll need a bargaining chip--and the Prince may be the most valuable one.

Comments

With two exceptions I like the first two paragraphs:

  • I think the first paragraph should be in present tense.
  • In a single moment all that changes is too convenient. WHY does all that change? This is, I think, an important detail. Replacing "In a single moment" with the detail of that moment should be enough to take this from a vague moment to a concrete one: "But when X happens, the truths that once shaped her life suddenly change" type of thing.
The third paragraph introduces some concepts that don't add up for me:
  • I don't know why she's pursuing her father's murderer or how she knows who murdered him.
  • What does "succeed" mean? Simply finding the killer, pointing him out, or killing him? Is she a victim seeking justice by trial and jury or a vigilante? I do like how you've woven the king into that sentence, though I'm nor sure why King and Prince are capitalized when not being used as proper nouns.
  • I don't yet know what Faelyn is or how she got there.
  • Chase B seems to come out of nowhere. If he's part of her old life, he should show up in the first paragraph, which would, of course, require a complete revision as to how the first two paragraphs are set up.
  • What good will a bargaining chip do her and is she thinking about kidnapping the already kidnapped prince to use him as one? It likely makes sense in the context of the book, but I'm struggling with it here.
The semicolons setting off the Chase B phrase should be dashes, which means the part about the prince needs to be set off some other way if you keep this construct.
 
All-in-all, this version is such a marked improvement over your first version that I think you'll be able to pull off these final tweaks and wind up with a really solid query.

3 comments:

_*rachel*_ said...

This is a vibrant and lively query; I like that. But now you've cut away all the fluff, it'd be a good idea to judiciously flesh it out a little more. Start with Phoenix's questions and work from there; you could reasonable add another 50-100 words without making it too long.

Key places to tell us more: How/why she decides to track down her father's murderer (what's her initial reason/clue?), and how/why she'll use the Prince as a bargaining chip.

So often it's easy to point out what people are doing wrong; this time, I'm pointing out what you did right (mostly because I found something specific): The phrasing of the first paragraph, especially the second sentence, gives us a good idea of Mandi's personality. She sounds practical, education (but not in your face about it), and hardworking, and there's just enough wryness to those lines to suggest her personality is like that, too.

LSimon said...

Mandi Croach knows she's half faery, but that didn't mean much to her. Her parents are dead, and though she and her full-fae aunt run a magical jewelry store in Philadelphia, she's nothing more than a Tufts-educated checkout girl.

Just when things start to shape up, specifically in the form of one seriously sexy Chase Ballentine, everything gets turned upside down. It seems her aunt has been hiding a few things: Mom is alive, reigning as Queen of the Star Court; her son, Prince Prase, has been kidnapped. There is a serious question about who is next in line for the crown, and some in the Court would be happy to have both of the royal heirs out of the way.

Since everyone with real power is out looking for the prince, Mandi is asked to go fetch a weapon from a dragon. Turns out, dragons hardly ever do what they are expected to, and Wyren is no exception- he gives her the dagger, but tells her she is the only one who can wield it, then lifts the two spells that have been sitting on her head, one that altered her memories, and another to bind her powers.

Slowly, Mandi begins to develop a flicker of magic and her memory of her father walking out into Lake Naomi and never coming back is replaced by the truth- she watched as he was called out onto that lake by a strange, yet beautiful woman, and then murdered.

Desperate to know what the meaning of the murderess's last words to her, Mandi pursues the naiad, but soon realizes there are powerful forces in Faelyn that don't want her to succeed, including her mother's new husband, the King. Faced with a political machine that she cannot comprehend and a mother that does not seem to care, she realizes that if she is going to survive she will need a bargaining chip when dealing with the King--and the Prince may be the most valuable one.

*** I am afraid that I may have gone overboard on the fluffy side, I cringed as I typed the words "dragon" and "dagger" but it is the turning point in the story. ( FYI- The Door to the dragon's forge is in West Philadelphia...Totally Urban :D )

_*rachel*_ said...

Here's a try at tweaking it:

...[While] everyone with real power is out looking for the prince[why?], Mandi is asked to go fetch a weapon from a dragon[what I think you mean is that they want her out of the way, so, especially if someone wants her dead, they send her to find this dragon]. Turns out, dragons hardly ever do what they are expected to, and Wyren is no exception- he gives her the dagger [and lifts the spells binding both her magical abilities and her memory.]

[Now she remembers: her father was betrayed and murdered by the naiad living in the city sewer.]

Desperate to know what the meaning of the murderess's last words to her, Mandi pursues the naiad, but soon realizes there are powerful forces in Faelyn that don't want her to succeed, including her mother's new husband, the King. Faced with a political machine that she cannot comprehend and a mother [who] does not seem to care, she realizes that if she is going to survive she will need a bargaining chip when dealing with the King--and [if she can beat everybody else to the Prince, she'll have the most powerful one of all.]

---
Tell us why the prince is important, and maybe ground the whole thing more in its setting (ie, the naiad in the sewers).