Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Query Revision 23: Redux

Hang the Thief

Gates open in the medieval/fantasy world of Craie and magic returns. Priests can heal the sick and governments race to master it, seeking unimaginable wealth and power. However, with the good comes the bad. Mythical beasts, the monsters of fairy tales, return as well, while others use magic for evil.

Ehlana, a street performer turned thief, is adrift in this world without purpose or hope for anything better. She is given the opportunity for a new life after saving a court official from assassins. The leaders behind the plot escape and Ehlana is convinced to leave the city for her safety. On her journey across the continent, Ehlana witnesses the plight of the peasants who have been left to fend for themselves against the broken-beasts, criminals and social injustice. When harpies attack her barge, Ehlana learns magic wielders are summoning the monsters and for the ultimate evil of raising the dead–abominations that are nearly invincible.

Amongst the clansmen, Ehlana's flirtatious charm and performance skills earn her all that she desires: wealth, fame and even love. Her happiness, however, is stolen by nightmares of impending doom. She travels to a mysterious temple to find meaning to her dreams and confirms what she suspects; the gates must be closed to save her world. Ehlana by using her unique gift to understand any language she hears or reads is able to decipher ancient documents to learn how. She further discovers the cost of wielding magic is the users' very souls.

Accompanied by four companions, Ehlana must complete the ritual necessary before it’s too late. However, a betrayer travels with her, a demon lies in wait and there is price to be paid.

HANG THE THIEF is 95,000 word fantasy written to stand-alone, but planned as the first of a three-part series. It is complete and I am hopeful you will want to learn more about Ehlana and her world.

Comments

I think this version is much clearer than the previous ones. There are a few places where the word choices didn't seem as crisp as they could be and where it seems we need a bit more characterization/motivation from Ehlana. In my version, I basically just tweaked what you have to sharpen the flow and make your passive sentences active.

My Revision

Gates open on the world of Craie and magic, in all its forms, returns: healing magic, summoning magic, and magic that brings back mythical beasts and the monsters of fairy tales. As the governments race to master it for their own gains, the lure of wealth and power beckons others to use it for evil.

Ehlana, a street performer turned thief, is adrift in Named City without purpose or hope -- until she inadvertently saves a court official from assassins. With her own safety now under threat, Ehlana must flee. On her journey, she sees for the first time how the peasants have been left to fend for themselves against the broken-beasts, criminals and social injustice. And when harpies attack her barge, she learns a group of magic wielders are not only the ones summoning the monsters, they are preparing to raise the dead -- abominations that are nearly invincible.

Convincing herself the outside world has little to do with her, Ehlana throws herself into forgetting it. Her flirtatious charm and performance skills earn her all that she desires: wealth, fame and even love. Until she begins having nightmares of doom that drive her to seek help from an arcane temple. There, Ehlana's unique gift to understand any written language helps her decipher ancient scrolls that confirm what she suspects: the gates must be closed to save her world. Further, it will take magic to close them -- and the cost of wielding such magic is the user's very soul.

Accompanied by four companions, Ehlana must complete the ritual necessary before it’s too late. However, a betrayer travels with her, a demon lies in wait and the price to be paid is even greater than they know.

HANG THE THIEF is a 95,000-word fantasy written to stand-alone, but planned as the first of a three-part series. I look forward to sending you the completed manuscript.

5 comments:

Wilkins MacQueen said...

Read a little clinical dear author. Your first sentence just didn't catch me. Divine Miss P's however did. She added heart. We need somehow to romance the readers in right away I think.
Her re-write is so enlightening and I'd like to read on. I bet it is a good story.
Best,
Mac

vkw said...

Phoenix, your version was perfect. By George, I think we've got it.

Queries are soooo hard. I do wonder how many books go unpublished only because querying is so hard.

Phoenix, now that my query is perfect, (thank-you, thank-you, thank-you), I am going to strongly encourage you to consider charging people for your work or taking donations.

Thank-you Mac.

Wilkins MacQueen said...

Hey vkw,
You did the writing. Divine Miss P polished it in her special way. Congrats for getting the perfect query. How about sending in a first chapter? Or send it to my blog - if I'm being presumptuous here forgive please. Would love to read on. Happy to put it on if you think you want to.
Best,
Mac
PS Keep writing.

Phoenix said...

Hah, vkw! Don't think I didn't see how cleverly you waited until after yours went up to mention charging ;o)

Maybe one day. But if I charged, it wouldn't be ethical to post the crits out publicly, and then I'd have to come up with original ideas to blog about. And for me, it's much easier to think about others' work than my own.

So right now, this is the easy way out.

Matt said...

Pay pal donations don't bring in much cash from what I hear (if that's what vkw is referring to).