Face-Lift 650: Hang the Thief
The author asks EE's minions "if they prefer the title HANG THE THIEF or A DEBT OWED. I am partial to HTT but the last title reflects the novel better."
Dear Evil Editor:
Magic returns to Craie and it brings the promise of unimaginable wealth and power, but nothing comes without a price, and, the price exacted for this power may be mankind’s very existence.
Herald by pulsing orbs, it is accompanied by mythical monsters of lore. Griffins, harpies and even demons ravage the countryside, while the world’s leaders race to master a power they were never meant to master before their neighbors do.
Ehlana, a street performer turned thief, lives in this world but she has very little interest in magic or for that matter anything beyond herself, until she discovers how it is being used for great evil. This information saves the life of a court official but not all the culprits are apprehended and she is sent across the continent for her safety. During her journey she witnesses the plight of the common folk who have been left to fend for themselves against the broken-beasts and criminals. She also witnesses how magic is being used for the unimaginable evil of raising the dead.
Far from home, Ehlana acquires all that she desired: fame, wealth and, yes even love, but remains restless, and eventually is haunted by nightmares. She is advised to seek meaning at a mysterious temple; advice she does not readily take until her lover is betrothed to another.
She is guided there by four warriors; three who have been sent by their deities to help her, and an unbeliever who has fallen secretly and hopelessly in love with her. He too seeks meaning for his life and believes he has found it in her.
Together they discover the orbs are gateways to hell and the price magic exacts from its users are their very souls. Gifted with the rare ability to understand any language she hears or reads, Ehlana deciphers clues hidden in ancient songs and learns how to close the gates.
But, time is against them, a betrayer is amongst them and there is a price to be paid. A price that Ehlana, a woman betrayed, may not be prepared to pay.
HANG THE THIEF is a 900,500 word fantasy. Thank you very much for your time and consideration. Per your request I am prepared to send you a full manuscript or partial.
I noticed a propensity for repeating words in both the original query and this revise. The word "world" in the original and the word "price" here. Just something to watch for. I think the revise is much clearer and you're almost there regarding Ehlana's motivation and journey toward character growth.
One thing that concerns me if I use this as a sample of your writing: you have a lot of run-on sentences and comma issues. You'll want to be sure your query letter and your manuscript are as free from errors as possible.
BTW, I love the term "broken-beasts," but I'm not sure it conveys the appropriate horror needed here. And I personally like Hang the Thief better as a working title.
Magic returns to Craie, bringing with it the promise of unimaginable wealth and power. The cost, though, may well be humanity's very existence. While Craie's leaders race to be the first to master power they were never meant to own, the magic floods the land, accompanied by strange orbs, ravaging monsters, and hellish demons.
Ehlana, a street performer turned thief, has little interest in magic -- or for that matter anything that doesn't directly affect her and her own aspirations. When she inadvertently saves a court official from assassins and is sent across the continent for her safety, she witnesses the plight of common folk left to defend themselves against monsters and criminals. The trip changes her, giving her new-found insight and empathy. So when she sees a petty lord using magic to raise the dead, the ultimate evil, she resolves to do what she can to combat the magic as opportunity arises.
Far from home, Ehlana's exotic looks and performance skills earn her all she's ever desired: fame, wealth and yes, even love. Success, though, is marred by a vague restlessness and nightmares. When her lover betroths himself to another she flees to a distant temple hoping to find enlightenment and peace. Her guides are four warriors, three of whom have been sent by their deity to help her. The fourth, an unbeliever, falls secretly and hopelessly in love with her. Together they find enlightenment of a different kind. The strange orbs, they discover, are gateways to hell -- and the magic is demanding the very souls from those who use it.
The temple provides clues for closing the gates and Ehlana is called to shed the last of her apathy to help her companions banish the gates from her world. But time is against them, a betrayer is amongst them, and there is a price to be paid. One that Ehlana, a woman betrayed, may not be prepared to pay.
HANG THE THIEF is a 100,000-word fantasy. I look forward to sending you the completed manuscript.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Query Revision 23
Face-Lift 650: Hang the Thief