Thursday, November 11, 2010

Query 32: Redux

All Things Together for Good

Anaiiya is beginning to suspect she isn’t human. When she sings, the river boils and mysterious rockslides plague the cliffs. When she’s angry, her eyes glow with an otherworldly light and hunks of stone crumble to powder in her hands. Even her adopted gargoyle family fears her after she blacks out during a skirmish with murderous zealots and wakes up in a pool of her enemies’ blood.

These strange events are only the beginning. When a sorcerer reveals the truth behind Anaiiya’s conflicting natures, it alerts her deranged but powerful families to her presence. The parents who tried to murder her as a child now war for her allegiance in a conflict that will change the world forever. Now all the histories of all the worlds hinge on whether Anaiiya chooses to rule humanity…or save it.

Comments

To be honest, I'm not a fan of this revised version. It's vague about what the conflict is and a bit confusing all around otherwise, IMO. It feels all flash and no substance.

However, I AM impressed that it's a TRUE revision and that you are playing with completely different versions to figure out which one works best. That's the absolutely smart thing to do.

So many people write the original version and then get stuck on it, simply changing a word or two here or there hoping that will help when in fact it really needs a complete re-envisioning.

Anaiiya is beginning to suspect she isn’t human.

"is beginning to suspect" is kind of a weak way to start a query, especially for such a strong story. A nice bold, declarative sentence right out of the gate would work better to set tone and expectations.

When she sings, the river boils and mysterious rockslides plague the cliffs.

I really like the river boiling. But why single out the rockslides as being mysterious? Isn't the boiling river mysterious, too? And "plague" in this context feels like you're trying a bit too hard with your writing.

When she’s angry, her eyes glow with an otherworldly light and hunks of stone crumble to powder in her hands.

You're describing her, but in a telling, not showing-her-in-action way. If you put this into context with plot, it would be even more revealing.

Even her adopted gargoyle family

Who adopted whom? This could mean she's mom to a bunch of little gargoyles. Without more to go on, the reader doesn't know.

fears her after she blacks out during a skirmish with murderous zealots and wakes up in a pool of her enemies’ blood.

The problem with this is that the gargoyles don't fear her because she blacks out and wakes up. I don't think we need those details. We need to know that she single-handedly and unarmed(?) slaughters a pack of blood-thirsty zealots without even knowing how she did it. Although maybe the zealots should be called something else here since we don't know why they're being referred to as murderous zealots.

These strange events are only the beginning.

The repetition of "beginning" for this new paragraph doesn't work. This is filler and drags the pace of the query down a bit.

When a sorcerer reveals the truth behind Anaiiya’s conflicting natures,

A reader going in cold will not recognize what you mean by "conflicting natures" here -- at least not in a concrete way.

it alerts her deranged but powerful families to her presence. The parents who tried to murder her as a child

That she has family (in fact, more than one) is sprung on us rather suddenly. And that they couldn't kill a child then somehow lost her makes them seem rather inept instead of powerful.

now war for her allegiance in a conflict that will change the world forever. Now all the histories of all the worlds hinge

I don't understand the phrase "all the histories of all the worlds". It sounds cool, but I'm clueless as to how history can hinge on an act in the present, not to mention I haven't been prepared that there are multiple worlds involved.

on whether Anaiiya chooses to rule humanity…or save it.

We need to be clear how ruling and saving humanity are mutually exclusive here. Some monarchies are benevolent and some leaders have been credited with saving a people.

2 comments:

Joe G said...

I like the first line, actually. It makes me think, "Well, why is that?"

But then you follow this up with things like, when she sings, the rivers boil or whatever.

It's like... "Um, duh?"

Matt said...

The protagonist comes across as a Mary Sue. Focusing more on the character's development and less on the action could correct that.

The concept of a girl tasked with defending gargoyles in the day is interesting, though I find myself wishing she were just a human.