Thursday, February 10, 2011

Query 54: Redux

How to Tempt a Faerie
(Renamed from The Forbidden Fruit of Faerie)

When Taren’s kid brother suffers a fatal accident on his watch, the seventeen-year-old is trapped in a never-ending spiral of grief. And his parents? They’re too wrapped up in their deteriorating marriage to notice. (As usual.) Desperate to improve his situation, shy Taren does something he’d normally never do: he reaches out to Elora, the enigmatic transfer student who can’t seem to fit in. If he can make a connection with another outcast, maybe it will give him something to look forward to, not to mention assuage his guilt.

Unfortunately, Elora isn’t interested in connecting. But hey, the girl’s got reasons for being secretive. So while she confesses that she’s run away from home, she fails to mention “home” is the Unseelie Court, and she didn’t so much “run” as “fly”. And when she says her family is cruel, she leaves out the fact that her mother is the tyrannical Unseelie Queen. Oh, and the part about needing a gullible human’s blood to bind the Queen, a binding that will allow her to overthrow the Unseele Court? She doesn’t even mention that.

Now it’s a race to see who will hurt Taren first: the beautiful faerie living right under his nose, or the Dark Courtiers hell bent on thwarting her plans. Either way, he's in too deep to get out, unless he can convince Elora she's not better off alone. But to do that, he'll have to tempt the temptress.

"How to Tempt a Faerie" is a 75,000-word YA urban fantasy. Thank you for your time.


Hmm. I have to admit that, for me, the voice in this version is more annoying than grabbing. It seems more an after-thought here. And since this author writes the actual stories in better voice than this, I think diluting it down as it comes across here is doing the novel a dis-service. I would either ramp it up or ditch it.

I do like the natural transition between the first and second paragraphs. That's a nice touch. And the new title is better, but it still seems maybe too breezy for a story I'm seeing as darker. But I'm far from expert when it comes to titling ;o).

Overall, though, if I were going into this version of the query cold, I'm not sure I would understand the plot. And Elora comes off as being a manipulative bitch. Overthrowing the Unseelie Court is so underplayed that I'm left to wonder if that really means she wants to kill her mom and take over as the Dark Queen herself. So Taren convincing Elora she's not better off alone throws a twist into the book that I don't think you intend (oooh, but what an idea for another book!). I don't see Elora as being a sympathetic character here; I only know she should be because I've read the previous versions. I think we need to see Elora being as desperate to lure a human to her world so she can save her people as we see Taren needing a balm to ease his grief.

My Version

Seventeen-year-old Taren can't escape the grief and guilt that threaten to consume him after he fails to save his kid brother [from a boating accident]. His parents are no help, wrapped up as they are in their own grief and a deteriorating marriage. Desperate for something to latch onto and a person to connect with, normally shy Taren reaches out to Elora, an enigmatic transfer student who, like him, can't seem to fit in.

Unfortunately, Elora isn't interested in connecting, even though needy Taren is just who she's looking for. She's a runaway -- or rather a flyaway -- from the Unseelie Court where her tyranical mother rules, here in Taren's school for only one purpose. The Dark Court has been suppressing the fey for a millenium and a revolution is brewing. The common fey are willing to follow Elora if she can bind the Queen so they can overthrow the Court. That binding, though, requires the blood of a human, willingly given. She only has to play Taren long enough to manipulate him into giving his life to free her cherished fey.

What neither of them expect is to fall in love -- and that's a complication. Taren's in too deep to get out now and Elora may no longer be able to follow through on her commitment to the fey. In any event, the Dark Courtiers are on to Elora's plan and they -- and her mother -- aren't about to give up their Court without a fight.

HOW TO TEMPT A FAERIE is a completed 75,000-word YA urban fantasy. Thank you for your time.


chelsea said...

Flyaway! Ha! Love it.

I was afraid this version was a little too cutesy for the subject matter. The good news? I actually had fun writing it, which hasn't happened with this particular query in a while. (Or maybe ever).

I think I see what I'm missing here. I've explained Taren better (I hope) but I've left out vital info about Elora in the process. Her paragraph needs to be longer, and make her seem less, ya know, evil. I can work with that.

Ultimately I need to use the last paragraph to explain the irony of the situation: Taren is so desperate to connect that he overlooks some of Elora's strangeness -- a strangeness that could get him killed -- while Elora is so determined NOT to trust a human that she overlooks the fact that he might actually help her if she explains her situation. For the record, she needs a decent amount of his blood for the spell, but if he is cooperative (i.e. not thrashing about while it happens) he will likely survive.

As always, I appreciate your superb insight and, of course, your compliments about my writing ability. I cannot thank you enough :)

Lauren K said...

I agree Elora's motivation needs to be explained better but I did like parts of this query. The voice was a little much sometimes but I think some of it can stay if it matches the tone of the book. I like the bit about Elora flying away from home.

chelsea said...

Thank you Lauren! I'm glad that some of the voice was okay, because I do want to keep a hint of teenage voice in it. Just not too much. I appreciate your thoughts :)