Soothsayers have long predicted an empress would produce three daughters, and one would rise as the savior of her people. For middle princess, Kindar Stefanous, that kind of vague drivel lags a distant second to her own troubles.
From childhood, the gods marked her as among the flawed by inflicting her with a wasting disease of cough and slow suffocation. Kindar’s choke lung has everyone, including the empress, speaking to bypass her for her healthy sisters, and the empress has a raw talent for stinging comments.
When her elder sister is murdered on her wedding night, the killer hides behind concealing magic and leaves a clue to implicate Kindar. In the space of a night, Kindar loses a sister and moves from insignificance to suspect. Her protests of innocence are drowned by the stigma of the choke lung.
Banishment looms over Kindar, but she’s no limp dishrag. A novice wizard approaches with his own prophecy and she seizes the opportunity. Maladonis Bin will help her search for a barren land where volcanic fumes might provide a cure, a cure which can make her credible in her hunt for the killer. The journey will take her slogging through territory overrun by rebels while trusting solely in Bin’s motives. With prophecy calling and the murderer at large, Kindar must rally her strength for a fight, not only for life and throne, but respect.
Kindar’s Cure is a 115,000 word fantasy.
Thank you for your consideration.
So, I'm going to send you back to your previous version as being, IMO, the better of the batch. The writing style in it was more natural. Here, it feels forced: "speaking to bypass her" (which I had to read a couple of times to understand and I'm still not a fan of), "raw talent for stinging comments," "protests of innocence drowned by the stigma of choke lung" (which, frankly, is a bit of a "huh?" for me -- isn't damning evidence enough on its own to drown out protests of innocence?).
And to be honest, I don't think this version is any clearer than the last one. I know how daunting pulling all the details into a such a short space can be. But take a look at the comments you've left for the previous versions to help explain the story. The writing there is straightforward and clear. I think you're a little intimidated by the query and your natural writing style goes out the window trying to make the query concise yet cover all the bases. Trust me, you aren't the first to get caught in this trap ;o) But just being yourself is what will give your query voice and make it stand out -- in that good way you want it to.
Also, in those comments, you leave a tidbit that's never made into your query versions, but that could be important to include. Note that in the versions we've seen, we get a prediction that a daughter will become a savior. Check. What we don't get is what that daughter will be saving her people from. I don't get a sense of urgency or even concern about what's going in the broader arena.
Don't get me wrong. I love that there is a focus on personal stakes here; so often that's what's missing from epic fantasy. Since the prophecy bit plants this in epic territory, I think we either need a follow-through on the prophecy or it needs to be droppped entirely. And honestly, even with the tidbit more you've given us in your comments -- that Kindar discovers the mines that provide the kingdom's wealth are played out -- I'm not at all clear on why all that is wrapped up in prophecy. Give some thought as to whether the prophecy needs to be mentioned here or whether you can safely oust it from the query, keep the story here small and focused, and have Kindar come through as a hero in her own right -- and leave the broader prophecy to the synopsis and book.
One more sentence to re-examine is "Maladonis Bin will help her search for a barren land where volcanic fumes might provide a cure, a cure which can make her credible in her hunt for the killer." The search isn't for the barren land, it's for the volcano, so think about narrowing it to just that. And I don't think it's actually the cure that will make her credible. It's being cured. A subtle difference but important.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Query 38: Redux 2