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THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS (MG Fantasy)


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#1 Calcifer

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 03:22 PM

The new revised version in post # 57

 

 

 

When twelve-year-old Maia arrives to stay at her aunt’s mansion, she thinks that the eerie feeling of being watched is just her imagination. Her biggest challenge that summer will be winning the admiration of her aunt’s handsome ward Colin, who likes fearless girls, like their neighbor Kate.

 

To prove that she is brave, Maia hides her fear of heights and agrees to go up on a trapeze with a mysterious trapeze artist at the town’s annual Summer Party. She faints and wakes up with a glowing star in her forehead. But embarrassment in front of Colin is nothing, compared to her sudden nightmares, or being stalked by a green Fairy hound, whose blood-freezing howls and glowing eyes would terrify even Kate.

 

Realizing that her life is in danger, Maia begins to search for answers, finding surprising and allies in Kate and a lonely boy, Patrick, whom she once helped.

 

They learn that Maia’s star is a mark of a Wanderer, a person born with the ability to cross into Faie. Someone has destroyed Faie’s Great Oak, whose power has kept its spirits under control. Now the Raven Goddess of Maia’s nightmares is on the loose, threatening to bring about everlasting winter to Maia’s world. As a Wanderer, Maia has to find the last surviving Seed of the Oak and plant it, before the Goddess’s power grows too strong. But to do this, she will have to face her greatest fear, and risk losing everything, including her life.


THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS Query: http://agentquerycon...-grade-fantasy/

 

THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB Query: http://agentquerycon...998-the-league/

 

 


#2 Fer

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 06:25 PM

Dear Ms.,

 

One can stand up to a bully, whether that bully is a friend, an aunt, or a powerful Nature Goddess. This is the lesson that 12 year old Maia Quinn, the 12-year-old heroine of A Mark of Adventure, must learn when she is sent away from home to live with her cruel Aunt Augusta.

 

My 75,000-word middle grade story begins with Maia’s arrival in Grunewald. The boring village in the middle of nowhere is an unwelcome change from the life in a big port city where she grew up. But Maia discovers that things in Grunewald are not as quiet as they seem when a chocolate maker invites her to his Start of the Summer Party. That night, a mysterious flying trapeze artist asks her to “take a flight with him”. As they’re swinging over a bonfire, Maia faints and wakes up with a glowing star in her forehead, while the trapeze artist vanishes without a trace.

 

This sets off an adventure, in which Maia must first stand up for a friend, who is wrongly accused of stealing her aunt’s jewelry. She then goes on to make a daring escape from the police, survive repeated encounters with a giant green hound, almost drown in a waterfall, and meet a race of immortals from the Faie Realm. She learns that there is a battle going on between two powerful Nature Spirits, which she alone has the power to stop. Now, Maia must find the strength to face her deepest fears, or else both their realms will perish in the conflict.

 

A Mark of Adventure 75.000 words is a Middle Grade story. is the first finished book in a three book series that I’m planning. It will appeal to readers of Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle and Patricia McPhillip’s The Changeling Sea. I’m contacting you because I’ve read on your website that you are seeking middle-grade fantasy fiction. I will gladly send you the manuscript at your request. Thanks for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.  

 

Kind Regards,

I have taken a shot at it. The crossed out parts are either unnecessary or needed else where in the QL, which I have written in red. Hope it helps.  :smile:


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#3 Calcifer

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 07:05 PM

Fer, this is very helpful, thanks. I can see that with these suggestions the query's going to be much tighter. Thanks again! :)


THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS Query: http://agentquerycon...-grade-fantasy/

 

THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB Query: http://agentquerycon...998-the-league/

 

 


#4 AJTaylor

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:15 PM

I think you are off to a great start here. The voice comes through strong, and both Maia's external and internal stories are clearly mapped out. I agree with Fer's suggestions, too, although I don't see a problem with mentioning this is the first stand-alone book in a series.

 

My only thought is that instead of saying you are contacting the agent because they rep middle grade fantasy, you find out something else about them and give that as your reason.

 

Sorry I can't be more helpful, as it seems really good to me.

 

AJ



#5 hhbrady

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:51 PM

You might think about finding a word other than lesson to use in your opener. Also, I think the fact that she is the only one who can stop this battle should be part of the hook - it's more important than Aunt Augusta by the sounds of it. I also agree with deleting the part about the series, agents are going to want to know it can stand on its own before they're interested in other installments. Plus: At 75,000 words A Mark of Adventure is a middle grade fantasy. Just my two cents. Good luck!

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#6 mendicant0

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:44 AM

Techincally it is custom to put your title in all caps whenever you mention it (ie. A MARK OF ADVENTURE is...) Also, 75k is a little...long it seems for a MG manuscript. Most MG stories I've heard of/read (and more experienced users, please verify this), is between 30k and 50k. Otherwise I like it. Good luck!
If you have time, I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd critique my qeury: http://agentquerycon...n-in-last-post/

#7 Calcifer

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:44 AM

I think you're confusing query with synopsis. In synopsis you have to put the names of your characters in all caps when they first appear. The title in a query is italicized and only first letters are caps. About the length - I know, I've worried about that too. But I've seen MG novels that are pretty long - 300 pages and more. (There's a bunch of first-time MG novels that came out last year and a few are almost 400 pages.) Which means ther're at least 75,000 words. So hopefully guidelines for word length are changing...


THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS Query: http://agentquerycon...-grade-fantasy/

 

THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB Query: http://agentquerycon...998-the-league/

 

 


#8 Calcifer

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 12:54 PM

I think you are off to a great start here. The voice comes through strong, and both Maia's external and internal stories are clearly mapped out. I agree with Fer's suggestions, too, although I don't see a problem with mentioning this is the first stand-alone book in a series.

 

My only thought is that instead of saying you are contacting the agent because they rep middle grade fantasy, you find out something else about them and give that as your reason.

 

Sorry I can't be more helpful, as it seems really good to me.

 

AJ

Thanks AJ! Encouraging words are always helpful and appreciated :)


THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS Query: http://agentquerycon...-grade-fantasy/

 

THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB Query: http://agentquerycon...998-the-league/

 

 


#9 mendicant0

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 08:28 PM

Hey, just checking back in here. I verified with several other members on here who've been here far longer than I have. While it is quite possible I was wrong, they did back me up. Apparently yes, you are supposed to put the titles of characters in all caps in synopsis, but also the book title in the query is supposed to go in all caps. Take it or leave it, it's your choice. But most (and I mean almost all, yours was the first query I've seen italicizing) queries do use all caps.

Just thought I'd let you know.
If you have time, I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd critique my qeury: http://agentquerycon...n-in-last-post/

#10 Renaissancegirl

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 12:44 PM

http://agentquerycon...the-ring-thief/

Hi! My corrections are in parenthesis!

 

Dear Ms.,

One can stand up to a bully, whether that bully is a friend, an aunt, or a powerful Nature Goddess. This is the lesson that Maia Quinn, the 12-year-old heroine of A Mark of Adventure, must learn when she is sent away from home to live with her cruel Aunt Augusta.

My 75,000-word middle grade (I would agree it should be YA) story begins with Maia’s arrival in Grunewald. The boring (better adjective maybe?) village in the middle of nowhere is an unwelcome change from the life in a big (replace "big" with a better adjective) port city where she grew up. But (my English teacher always told me to never start a sentence with "but". Tempting, I know.)Maia discovers that things in Grunewald are not as quiet as they seem when a chocolate maker invites her to his Start of the Summer Party. That night, a mysterious flying trapeze artist asks her to “take a flight with him”. As they’re swinging over a bonfire, Maia faints and wakes up with a glowing star in her forehead, while the trapeze artist vanishes without a trace. (well that is interesting.....)

This sets off an adventure, in which Maia must first stand up for a friend, who is wrongly accused of stealing her aunt’s jewelry. She then goes on to make a daring escape from the police, survive repeated encounters with a giant green hound, almost drown in a waterfall, and meet a race of immortals from the Faie Realm. She learns that there is a battle going on between two powerful Nature Spirits, which she alone has the power to stop. Now, Maia must find the strength to face her deepest fears, or else both their realms will perish in the conflict. (I feel, like how my editor always tells me, that you are telling and not showing in the above two paragraphs. Instead of the events sounding like a list, show the reader what is happening. Confusing, but it's the way to go.)

A Mark of Adventure is the first finished book in a three book series that I’m planning. It will appeal to readers of Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle and Patricia McPhillip’s The Changeling Sea. I’m contacting you because I’ve read on your website that you are seeking middle-grade fantasy fiction. I will gladly send you the manuscript at your request. Thanks for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.  

Kind Regards,

 

(If you have any writing experience, I'd put it in the paragraph above. Otherwise, the whole concept is unique! It's a good start!)

 

 

I'd appreciate your own corrections on my query:

http://agentquerycon...the-ring-thief/

 


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#11 Marandart

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 02:09 PM

Dear Ms.,

 

Sometimes you have to stand up to a bully, One can stand up to a bully, whether that bully is a friend, an aunt, or a powerful Nature Goddess. (Good hook!) This is the lesson that Maia Quinn, (Her name has a great ring to it.) the 12-year-old heroine of A Mark of Adventure, must learn when she is sent away from home to live with her cruel Aunt Augusta.

 

My 75,000-word middle grade story begins with Maia’s arrival in Grunewald. The boring village in the middle of nowhere is an unwelcome change from her old the life in a big port city where she grew up. But Maia discovers that things in Grunewald are not as quiet as they seem. When she is invited attends a chocolate maker invites her to his a Start of the Summer Party, That night, a mysterious flying trapeze artist asks her to “take a flight with him”. As they’re swinging over a bonfire (Is it important that they swing over a bonfire? Is the bonfire a plot element? If not, omit it.), Maia faints and wakes up with a glowing star in her forehead, while the trapeze artist vanishes without a trace.

 

This sets off an adventure, in which Maia must first stand up for a friend, who is wrongly accused of stealing her aunt’s jewelry. She then goes on to make a daring escape from the police, survive repeated encounters with a giant green hound, almost drown in a waterfall, and meet a race of immortals from the Faie Realm. She learns that there is a battle going on between two powerful Nature Spirits, which she alone has the power to stop. Now, Maia must find the strength to face her deepest fears, or else both their realms will perish in the conflict. (Ok, this whole paragraph starts to feel stale after a while. Below is my revision.)

Before she can figure out what's happened to her, she first must stand up for a friend who was framed for stealing. (We need a transition here... I'll try...) This seemingly 'normal' event casts her into a strange world of warring Nature Spirits, full of danger she couldn't have even dreamed of. Giant green hounds and immortal beings turn out to be just the icing on the cake of her adventure. What that trapeze artist did to her gave her the power to change the fate of the Faie Realm. (I'm omitting the part about the police, but feel free to include that if it's absolutely vital. But I think an emphasis on the fantasy realm is more important at this point.) Maia must find the strength to face her deepest fears, or else both their realms will perish in the conflict.

 

A Mark of Adventure is the first finished book in a three book series that I’m planning. It will appeal to readers of Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle and Patricia McPhillip’s The Changeling Sea. I’m contacting you because I’ve read on your website that you are seeking middle-grade fantasy fiction. I will gladly send you the manuscript at your request. Thanks for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.  

 

Kind Regards,

I took out a lot of details that I thought weren't important, but you know your story more than I do, so you can put them back in. I just like to avoid list summaries. "She did this, this, that, some of that, and this." That's kind of boring. We just need to know it's an epic adventure, full of [exciting fantasy element] and [different fantasy element]. Don't give away too much or else they'll get overwhelmed with details and they might feel like you're trying too hard to throw cool concepts at them, hoping one will stick. 

Hope this helps! :D


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#12 Calcifer

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:24 PM

Thank you guys, this is all very helpful and I was surprised, too. I kinda thought the third paragraph was the most interesting in the query lol. Marandart, I like your suggestion for a rewrite. Now I have a lot of stuff to rethink and rewrite. Will post another version when it's done. Thanks again, guys!


THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS Query: http://agentquerycon...-grade-fantasy/

 

THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB Query: http://agentquerycon...998-the-league/

 

 


#13 Calcifer

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 04:41 PM

Dear Ms.,

 

Sometimes you have to stand up to a bully, whether that bully is a friend, an aunt, or a powerful Nature Goddess. This is what the 12 year old Maia Quinn must learn when she is sent away from home to live with her cruel Aunt Augusta.

 

My 75,000 word middle grade story begins with Maia’s arrival in Grunewald. The small village in the middle of nowhere is an unwelcome change from her former life in a bustling port city. But Maia discovers that things are not as quiet as they seem when she attends a Start of the Summer Party and a mysterious flying trapeze artist asks her to “take a flight with him”. While swinging with him high up in the air, Maia faints and wakes up with a glowing star in her forehead, while the trapeze artist vanishes without a trace.

 

This casts Maia into a strange world of warring Nature Spirits, where she is stalked by a giant green hound and immortal beings from the Faie Realm turn to her for help. The star given to her by the trapeze artist is the mark of her power to save not just the immortals, but also her own world. That is, if she can survive the quest.

 

A MARK OF ADVENTURE will appeal to readers of Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle and Patricia McPhillip’s The Changeling Sea. I’m contacting you because I’ve read on your website that you are seeking middle-grade fantasy fiction. Please read the enclosed first ten pages of my novel. I will gladly send you the remainder at your request. Thanks for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.  

 

Kind Regards,


THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS Query: http://agentquerycon...-grade-fantasy/

 

THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB Query: http://agentquerycon...998-the-league/

 

 


#14 Marandart

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:09 PM

I think it's much improved! Better hooks, like the, "if she can survive the quest" part. Implies lots of danger. 

This sentence: "The star given to her by the trapeze artist is the mark of her power to save not just the immortals, but also her own world," seems a little stale. Like just stating facts. It's also a tad confusing. Is the star given to her because she has power, or did it GIVE her power? Might want to clear it up a little, but that's all I was hung up on. 

Also be sure to only send parts of the novel if they ask for it, but I think that's a given. 

Good improvements overall. 


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#15 Calcifer

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 06:30 PM

Thanks, Marandart! :) And I agree about the star - it's given to her because she's different from others. I need to make that more clear


THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS Query: http://agentquerycon...-grade-fantasy/

 

THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB Query: http://agentquerycon...998-the-league/

 

 


#16 Calcifer

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 12:14 PM

Please take a look at my new and updated query after the Saturday Slash at Writer Writer Pants on Fire. Thanks :)


THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS Query: http://agentquerycon...-grade-fantasy/

 

THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB Query: http://agentquerycon...998-the-league/

 

 


#17 bigblackcat97

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 02:54 PM

My thoughts:

 

 

Sometimes you have to stand up to a bully, whether that bully is a friend, an aunt, or a powerful Nature Goddess. This is what the 12 year old Maia Quinn must learn when she is sent away from home to live with her cruel Aunt Augusta. It's a goo hook, although a slight rephrase on the 2nd sentence might be in order.

 

My 75,000 word middle grade story I'd keep these kind of details in the bio section. The query needs to tell the story. begins with Maia’s arrival in Grunewald. The small village in the middle of nowhere is an unwelcome change from her former life in a bustling port city. But Maia discovers that things are not as quiet as they seem when she attends a Start of the Summer Party and a mysterious flying trapeze artist asks her to “take a flight with him”. While swinging with him high up in the air, Maia faints and wakes up with a glowing star in her forehead, while the trapeze artist vanishes without a trace.

 

This casts Maia into a strange world of warring Nature Spirits, where she is stalked by a giant green hound and immortal beings from the Faie Realm turn to her for help. The star given to her by the trapeze artist is the mark of her power to save not just the immortals, but also her own world. That is, if she can survive the quest.

 

This is still very vague - why a trapeze artist? And why would the mark actually cast her there? Is she permanently there, or moving in between that world and her own? Did the star give her the power, or has she always had it and now it's just indicated by the star? What does saving the Immortals have to do with our world, and what is the quest?


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#18 Calcifer

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 05:16 PM

Actually, this version is the oldest one, the very first one I wrote. The last updated version is at the very top. It starts with : "When twelve year old Maia Quinn arrives at her aunt’s..."


THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS Query: http://agentquerycon...-grade-fantasy/

 

THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB Query: http://agentquerycon...998-the-league/

 

 


#19 Monstress

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:42 AM

I hope this is the latest version! You've got a great story idea here, and it looks like you've made a lot of progress with your query. Here are my thoughts, take them or leave them!

 

UPDATED VERSION :

 

When twelve year old Maia Quinn arrives at her aunt’s mansion in a remote village of Grunewald, she is none too excited. With her parents away overseas, she has resigned herself to a long and dull summer, or so she thinks.(can you make this hook a little punchier? bring out your voice more)

 

The night she attends the Start of the Summer Party, a mysterious flying trapeze artist brands her with a glowing silver star and then disappears without a trace. Soon after, the wall drawings at the mansion start to come alive, warning her that Grunewald is in grave danger.

 

Now Maia is determined to learn the truth and even having a giant green hound for a stalker won’t frighten her away. She discovers that one of her ancestors was an immortal from the Faie realm, and because of this she was born a Wanderer, someone who can travel between two worlds. The immortals reveal to Maia that their race is in peril from the warring Nature Spirits, who were forced into a struggle by the thoughtless actions of a human. As a Wanderer, it is within Maia’s power to stop their conflict and bring both their worlds from the brink of destruction. That is, if she can survive the mission.

 

This sounds good! Are there any other people involved? Does she have anyone helping her, or challenging her?



#20 SteveK

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:52 AM

Dear Ms.,

 

Sometimes you have to stand up to a bully, whether that bully is a friend, an aunt, or a powerful Nature Goddess. This is what the 12 year old Maia Quinn must learn when she is sent away from home to live with her cruel Aunt Augusta.  Love the hook

 

(I would leave wc for the end - disrupts the flow of the query) My 75,000 word middle grade story begins with   When Maia’s arrival  arrives in Grunewald. ,the small village in the middle of nowhere is an unwelcome change from her former life in a bustling port city. But Maia discovers that things are not as quiet as they seem when she attends a Start of the Summer Party and a mysterious flying trapeze artist asks her to “take a flight with him”. While swinging with him high up in the air, Maia faints and wakes up with a glowing star in her forehead, while the trapeze artist vanishes without a trace.

 

This casts Maia into a strange world of warring Nature Spirits, where she is stalked by a giant green hound and immortal beings from the Faie Realm turn to her for help. The star given to her by the trapeze artist is the mark of her power to save not just the immortals, but also her own world. That is, if she can survive the quest.

 

A MARK OF ADVENTURE will appeal to readers of Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle and Patricia McPhillip’s The Changeling Sea. I’m contacting you because I’ve read on your website that you are seeking middle-grade fantasy fiction. Please read the enclosed first ten pages of my novel. I will gladly send you the remainder at your request. Thanks for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.  


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