The author tells me she's in the process of writing this book and is pre-writing the query to help keep the plot focused (an excellent strategy! - PS). And she specifically asks: Does the plot seem strong enough as given here?
One of three royal sisters, Kindar is forced to the periphery of court life as she battles a fatal weakness. From childhood, the gods have seen fit to mark her as flawed by sending her a devastating disease. Kindar’s choke lung has everyone, including her mother, the Empress, weighing whether she has worth or whether her likelihood of dying erases her value. Fighting for every scrap of dignity, Kindar struggles to defy their predictions.
Then her older sister, and the heir, is murdered and the killer leaves behind a clue that implicates Kindar. Suddenly, she goes from insignificance to complete pariah in the space of a night. Robbed of credibility by her choke lung, she knows any efforts to clear herself will be disregarded.
With imprisonment hanging over her, a wizard approaches her with a vision of a cure. Maladonis Bin will lead her to a barren land where volcanic fumes just might heal the choke lung and leave her free to find the true murderer. The problem— the cure is through land controlled by rebels and the young wizard is a bumbling novice in his profession, his reliability unverified. Kindar must rally all her strength for a fight, not just for life, but for respect.
Kindar’s Cure is an epic fantasy with elements of romance, complete at xxxxxx words. Sample pages and synopsis are pasted below as per your request.
Thanks for your consideration.
Since the author specifically asks about plot, I have to admit I struggled with this one. I love the idea of an MC in a fantasy with an affliction that shadows her entire life. I immediately think Thomas Covenant. But from the fantasy perspective, I really don't get a sense of this world or why this story is told as a fantasy, other than the presence of a wizard. And from this description, the story certainly isn't big enough to be epic fantasy. It just doesn't go far enough beyond personal stakes for that.
In Stephen R. Donaldson's series, Covenant has to save a world not his own. Twice. And he has to do it despite his leprosy, a disease that colors the way others thinks about him and how he thinks about himself. It's high stakes and the reason the story is played out in a fantasy setting is clear.
So, going only from what the reader has been given in the query, here are the impressions I have as to what the actual story is about. If this isn't what you intend to set up in the reader's head, then maybe seeing how at least one reader is interpreting it will give you some ideas as to how to refocus the query for the greatest impact.
Kindar is trying to prove her worth. First, I'm not sure how old she is. I'm thinking she's still a teen. Second, a mention of how she's struggling to prove her worth will go a long way here. Does she feel she has to prove her worth to the court or just to herself?
There's a murder, so this sets up to be a potential mystery with Kindar having to clear herself. Intriguing. Yet, that mystery doesn't seem to be resolved. And to be frank, I'm not buying that Kindar has the wherewithall to travel an apparently very long distance through dangerous country, but isn't well enough to try to track down the killer or to figure out another way to clear herself.
Why would a young wizard who should probably be cultivating the favor of the court help out a pariah and possible murderer? What's his motivation, other than having a vision of a cure? At this point, I'm still wondering why this is playing out in a fantasy world. A wizard's vision here seems little different than a doctor's theory in "our" world.
As set up, the climax seems to be whether she's cured or not. Again, a nice personal story of triumph, but we're still at a loose end concerning the true murderer and, in the long run, why her being cured or not matters to anyone but her.
I'm also a little concerned that the whole "someone who isn't a perfectly healthy specimen can also be a vital contributor to society theme" may be undermined if she has to be cured before she can find the killer and be redeemed. This seems to be setting up that she can only prove her worth once she's well. A catch-22 that supports the idea that people with handicaps really aren't as valuable as people without. I'm sure that isn't what you're going for, but you'll need to be very careful not to leave that impression in the query reader's mind.
All-in-all, I think this story will be tricky to pull off.
So, in brief, I think what your query rewrite needs to show is:
- a clear character arc that supports the underlying theme of the story
- a hint at least that the murder mystery will be resolved
- a more grounded reason as to why this story is written as fantasy