Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Query 74: Redux

The Desmona Child

Dear Agent,

Marine Desmona is shocked when Duke Sinclair asks for her hand in marriage, and is even more so when strange abilities begin to manifest shortly thereafter. Intent on understanding why a duke is interested in her, Marine snoops for answers and uncovers a dangerous family secret tracing back to Atlantis. But she has more immediate problems - in Adara, the use of magic is outlawed and she could be burned alive if her powers are discovered.

Duke Sinclair, after his own magic is exposed, reveals his true goal: use Marine to breed a child with god-like immortality and inhabit its body. Marine’s refusal sparks a struggle that proves she has access to unlimited power – but no control. In a demonstration of cruelty, Sinclair murders Marine’s mother and threatens to kill her father if she doesn’t submit to his demands. Marine yields and finds herself chained and helpless, her new magic unresponsive.

When rescued by a servant, Marine flees her home hoping to learn how to master her gifts and free her father. The distant island of Atlantis, where magic-users are honored and revered, is the only place she can hide while Duke Sinclair is on his quest for everlasting life. Marine is hard-pressed to conceal her magic and sidestep the interest of everyone she encounters on the way to Atlantis, but freedom awaits her if she can outrun the duke… and her unpredictable magic.

THE DESMONA CHILD is my 106,000 word stand-alone fantasy novel. A sequel, and the fall of Atlantis, is currently in the works.

Comments

Much clearer! There are still a couple of points that can be clarified a bit more and some refining to go, but it's certainly on its way.

Marine Desmona is shocked when Duke Sinclair asks for her hand in marriage, and is even more so when strange abilities begin to manifest shortly thereafter. Intent on understanding why a duke is interested in her, Marine snoops for answers and uncovers a dangerous family secret tracing back to Atlantis. But she has more immediate problems - in Adara, the use of magic is outlawed and she could be burned alive if her powers are discovered.

I think the two thoughts in this paragraph would be better served presented separately. As it is, we have a shocking development followed by a more shocking one. Marine focuses on the less-shocking one but can't do anything about it because the more-shocking one is more immediate. So the reader is left asking why she focused on the less-shocking one to begin with.

After they share a single dance, Marine Desmona is shocked when the Duke of Sinclair asks for her hand in marriage. Why choose her? A little snooping uncovers a dangerous family secret with its roots in Atlantis that may be the answer. But when strange abilities begin to manifest, Desmona faces a more immediate problem: In Adara, magic is outlawed, and she could be burned alive if anyone finds out what she's becoming.

Duke Sinclair, after his own magic is exposed, reveals his true goal: use Marine to breed a child with god-like immortality and inhabit its body.

discovered/exposed/reveals all coming so near one another really called attention to themselves.

Won't the duke now be burned alive if he's exposed his magic? Or did he reveal his power only to Marine? "conceive" rather than "breed"?

Marine’s refusal sparks a struggle that proves she has access to unlimited power – but no control. In a demonstration of cruelty, Sinclair murders Marine’s mother and threatens to kill her father if she doesn’t submit to his demands. Marine yields and finds herself chained and helpless, her new magic unresponsive.

"Yields" seems to infer the duke impregnates her. Is that true? If so, it seems to be a major plot point that should be confirmed here.

When rRescued by a servant, Marine flees her home hoping to learn how to master her gifts and free her father. The distant island of Atlantis, where magic-users are honored and revered, is the only place she can knows to hide while Duke Sinclair is on his quest for everlasting life. Marine is hard-pressed to conceal her magic and sidestep the interest of everyone she encounters on the way to Atlantis, but freedom awaits her if she can outrun the duke… and her unpredictable magic.

THE DESMONA CHILD is my 106,000 word stand-alone fantasy novel. A sequel, and the fall of Atlantis, is currently in the works.

This is a good way to handle the possibility of a sequel. However, I wasn't clear about the phrase "and the fall of Atlantis." Do you mean the sequel focuses on the fall? When I first read it, I was expecting the bit between the commas to be the title of the sequel.

7 comments:

Wilkins MacQueen said...

Wow, much better,I mean WAY gooder. Sorry for a nit, I think Batgirl mentioned the Duke OF Sinclair, Divine Miss P used it in her notes, the OF is important.

:to sire a child with god-like immortality to inhabit its body

"yield" has me wondering too

"to" has more purpose than "and"

delete "hoping", stronger without it

So much better. Congrats. Not often this happens. Don't switch to decaf.

Anonymous said...

*sighs and drinks more coffee*
I hate queries.

This is the product of non-stop revision and I am soooo glad it is an improvement! I will work on clarifying the details I left ambiguous, and then Query Shark will have her turn to chomp on it.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for commenting, Phoenix and blog community! Your advice and observations are priceless!
- A.M.Supinger

vkw said...

This is much clearer, just a few things I noticed.

Tell us why Marine is shocked about a proposal - is she a servant, a peasant, a 3rd daughter of a minor lord. . .

Then . . . maybe somehting like her wedding plans are interrupted when she begins to develop magical abilities

I'm just not sure a young woman would go "i wonder why he wants to marry me" the young woman would be "yeah for me" or "how in the heck do I get out of this unwanted marriage."


"In a demonstration of cruelty" isn't right. In an attempt to coerce her into marrying him by

AA said...

Much better!

Just so you know, I also wondered why the Duke isn't burned alive for revealing his powers. Maybe he just reveals them to the mc.

Otherwise, this clears up almost all the questions I had about the original.

Jo-Ann said...

Other than wondering why Marine doesn't blackmail the Duke (stop harassing me and my family or I'll blow the whistle on your magical powers - and I'm mad enough and desperate enough to risk my powers being revealed in the process), I think the query works.

BTW the version that was on the Query Shark a few days ago was a really early version, yeah? This is much better!

newmancht said...

This was an enormous improvement. The early versions were really tough to follow (probably a lot like mine!). I saw a couple areas that seemed easy to clean up a bit. For ex, in the 2nd paragraph, I'm wondering if something like this would work better?:

After Duke Sinclair's own magic is exposed, Marine learns his true goal: spawn a child with god-like immortality and selfishly inhabit its body. Marine’s refusal sparks a struggle proving she has unlimited power – but no control.

Next, "in a demonstration of cruelty" seems to me to be automatically implied by his murderous actions, making the phrase redundant. Also, it appears you could make this MUCH more active and draw me, the reader, in; sooo....

But the ruthless Sinclair won't be denied, murdering Marine’s mother and threatening to kill her father if she doesn’t submit. Desperate and out of options, Marine yields, finding herself chained and helpless.

Likewise, the last paragraph seemed to be lacking any real pace and didn't really show the apparent ominous undertones of the story. See if this helps:

Marine's fortunes turn when she is rescued by a servant, fleeing to the only place she can hide from the Duke - the distant island of Atlantis, where magic-users are honored and revered. Hoping to master her gifts and free her father while Sinclair is on his quest for everlasting life, Marine is desperate to conceal her magic and sidestep the interest of everyone she encounters along the way. Freedom awaits if she can just outrun the duke… and her unpredictable magic.

One last thing...are you really sure you want to use that name? I mean, every time I read it I see an image in my mind of some tough dude in camo's hoisting an M-16. :) Hope I helped here...

Ryan Mueller said...

Great job. This is a lot better. You should watch for passive voice, though. Look for places where you use "to be" and "to have" verbs, both in the query and in the manuscript. (ctrl+F works wonders for this)

Obviously, you shouldn't delete all of them, but if you can think of a more active way to phrase a sentence, use it.

For example, "Intent on understanding why a duke is interested in here" could become: "Intent on understanding the duke's interest in her."

This also saves two words. You don't need to go crazy and fix every construction because sometimes switching to active voice can make it sound worse, but most of the time, I find I like the sentences better once I've changed them.

Just a few suggestions. I like the sound of your book.