Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Query 82: Redux

Erhistaut

Dear Agent,

Seventeen-year-old Heiren Delaire hates her foolish father for setting off after the legendary sword, Erhistaut. That is, until a demon-possessed captain kills him and murders their king.

Now, Heiren wants revenge. Even if it means she must hunt down Erhistaut to get it. She joins forces with a magic-wielding peasant boy and a young palace guard to find the sword that demons forged in the days before they were cast from the earth. If Heiren can find the sword, its power will destroy the demon captain.

When the demon, Arawn, realizes her quest, he sets the country aflame in his rage. The power of angels protects Heiren, but the demon will torture her friends to keep her away from the sword.

Fortunately for Arawn, the sword has an ability of which Heiren does not know; if she finds Erhistaut before she learns how to wield it, the demons will be able to come back through the sword’s power. All of them.

They’ll come back to destroy the world.

ERHISTAUT is a 71,500-word fantasy novel for young adults. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Comments

Another true re-envisioning of how to revise a query, so kudos for taking that step, author! The MC's goal and the stakes at hand are a lot clearer in this version. There are a couple of stumbling points for me, but this is, I think, the version to work from.

Seventeen-year-old Heiren Delaire hates her foolish father for setting off after the legendary sword, Erhistaut. That is, until a demon-possessed captain kills him and murders their king.

A good start overall, IMO.

Maybe change "That is, until" to "That's before"?

If the demon possessing the captain is Arawn, I don't think for query purposes we need to know Arawn possessed some captain before killing folk. That introduces a walking body that's just another layer of complication.

Now, Heiren wants revenge. Even if it means she must hunt down Erhistaut to get it. She joins forces with a magic-wielding peasant boy and a young palace guard to find the sword that demons forged in the days before they were cast from the earth. If Heiren can find the sword, its power will destroy the demon captain.

If the demons have been cast from the earth, how is Arawn here now? If possessing a human is a loophole there, it seems they haven't actually been cast away.

When the demon, Arawn, realizes her quest, he sets the country aflame in his rage. The power of angels protects Heiren, but the demon will torture her friends to keep her away from the sword.

This is where I start losing the thread of the demon's motivation. Daddy was seeking the sword and he was killed. OK. I assumed the king was murdered for some political type reason that didn't have anything to do with the sword, but maybe not? Still, the demon didn't go on a rampage. Why does a group of teens looking for the sword send him into such a rage?

The angels come as a bit of a surprise written this way. My bigger question here, though, is why the angels are protecting Heiren but not her friends? Is there something about Heiren that has the angels bodyguarding her and Arawn firestorming?

Fortunately for Arawn, the sword has an ability of which Heiren does not know; if she finds Erhistaut before she learns how to wield it, the demons will be able to come back through the sword’s power. All of them.

It sounds like having Heiren find the sword ASAP would be in Arawn's best interest. So that's another reason why I don't understand why he's trying to STOP her. Seems he would be trying to hurry her along so she doesn't accidentally run into someone who knows how it needs to be wielded. I'm assuming the demon doesn't know where the sword is either.

They’ll come back to destroy the world.

I like this ending.

ERHISTAUT is a 71,500-word fantasy novel for young adults. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

5 comments:

Wilkins MacQueen said...

The holes Phoenix mentions are the ones that were niggling me.

Is the palace guard necessary in the query?

When the demon, Arawn, realizes her quest, he sets the country aflame in his rage. This sentence is a clunker.

When demon Arawin learns Heirin is close to finding Erhistaut he goes on a fiery rage across the land hoping Heirin will perish before she finds the sword.(Or something.)

The 4th paragraph takes me back to the logic problem. Awan should want to her to find the sword, assuming he'll be head demon when the others return.

If the others returning are a big problem for him you may want to outline that. Gives a better reason for not wanting the sword to be found.

As an aside, I'm pretty impressed with the quality of the revisions appearing of late.The writers that are able to sort out problems and come out stronger and clearer have been working hard. The process as tough as it can be has positive results.

Stephanie Diaz said...

Thank you, Phoenix and Wilkins, for your thoughts :) Already working on clearing things up a bit.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Overall this is good. The last part especially pulled me in.

The beginning is a little muddy for me. Names that are hard to pronounce at first sight and the "him" and "their" with unclear antecedents. Him is most likely the foolish father - though the sword gives the father some competition, especially the way it's referred to later. But their? Is the king also the king of the demon possessed captain?

Calling the father foolish is telling rather than showing. And why is dad foolish for going after a legendary sword?

I think I'm being nit picky, but it was really hard for me to read the beginning. I had to start over and go real slow.

Anyway, here are my thoughts on a revision.

Seventeen-year-old Heiren Delaire wants revenge, even if it means she must hunt down the legendary sword, Erhistaut, to get it. She joins forces with a magic-wielding peasant boy and a young palace guard to find the sword that demons forged in the days before they were cast from the earth. If Heiren can find Erhistaut, its power will destroy the demon, Arawn, who killed her father and murdered the king.

The power of angels protects Heiren, but Arawn will torture her friends to keep her away from the sword. Fortunately for Arawn, if Heiren finds Erhistaut before she learns how to wield it, the demons will be able to come back through the sword’s power. All of them.

They’ll come back to destroy the world.

Wilkins MacQueen said...

Sarah,
Very cool upshot/take. Smooth.

Wilkins MacQueen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.