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THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS (MG Fantasy)


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#41 LittleJoni

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 02:48 PM

Dear Agent,

 

Twelve-year-old Maia Quinn never imagined that a simple visit to the her family’s hometown could turn into a race to stop unending winter I'd end the hook right here, I don't know if we need to know she's part Faie yet– until she learns that she is part Faie.

 

While staying with her aunt at her family’s mansion in Grunewald, Maia meets a mysterious trapeze artist at the town’s annual May Day party. During the strange encounter, Maia falls off a trapeze, faints, and wakes up with a glowing star in her forehead. As if this alone was not  wasn't reason enough for worry, she also starts having dreams that warn her Grunewald is in danger. Worse still, she is being stalked by a giant green Fairy hound that terrifies even her fearless friend, Kate. I like this paragraph a lot, it sets up the story well

 

Deciding not to let the hound frighten them, Maia and Kate “borrow” a hunting gun from Kate’s dad and set out to find and kill it. Except that you said in the previous paragraph that the hound terrifies them.  That leaves me wondering what changed their minds? Instead, the hound leads them into Faie, where Maia learns that she is a descendant of that realm.

 

Faie is in trouble: someone has awoken the Goddess of Winter, and she is gathering her strength to end summer forever. Oh, sounds like the white witch from Naria!  (that's not a bad thing, by the way, I love Narnia) Being a child of two worlds, Maia is the only one who can stop the Goddess, and the using a key to this is hidden inside Maia’s family mansion. Since the realms of people human? "people" sounds a little awkward, it's too general of a term and Faie are interconnected, saving Faie equals saving Maia’s own world. But she has until the end of Midsummer night to act, or else her world will turn to an icy desert.  Since Maia is a child of both world, saying "Maia's own world" and "her world" isn't clear enough.  Specify which of Maia's worlds she is motivated to save and why (I know you mean the human world/our world, but maybe tie it into saving her famly and friends, all of whom would be here and not in Faie)

Most of my suggestions in red are merely that, suggestions.  A few of them are even nit-picky, you can take them or leave them.  Overall I really like this a lot, this story sounds like fun to read and I think you've done good work on your query.  I know how frustrating it is, my own query is making me tear my hair out.  But you're getting there, you're close I think.  I'd focus on that last paragraph the most, for clarity's sake and which world is which, etc.  Good job, don't give up!


Newest Query:

TIME GUARDIAN

 

Older Queries:

THE BELIEVER

THE MYSTIC ROAD


#42 Calcifer

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 04:31 PM

Joni,

Thanks! I wasn't sure I liked the Faie part of my hook either, but couldn't decide how to improve it. Somehow it didn't occur to me to just delete it:) Do you think the sentence works well on its own? I know the hook's supposed to grab the agent's attention. Is it 'grabby' enough, do you think? I thought my conclusion was pretty solid by now, guess I have some more work to do on it. But it's really nice to hear that I might be getting close, though, like maybe there's a light at the end of this long dark query tunnel. Thanks again so much for the help and support :)

 

Calcifer


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

 

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

 

 


#43 LittleJoni

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:07 PM

Joni,

Thanks! I wasn't sure I liked the Faie part of my hook either, but couldn't decide how to improve it. Somehow it didn't occur to me to just delete it:) Do you think the sentence works well on its own? I know the hook's supposed to grab the agent's attention. Is it 'grabby' enough, do you think? I thought my conclusion was pretty solid by now, guess I have some more work to do on it. But it's really nice to hear that I might be getting close, though, like maybe there's a light at the end of this long dark query tunnel. Thanks again so much for the help and support :)

 

Calcifer

I'm no expert on hooks, but it did compel me to keep reading.  Hopefully others will critique and give you more opinions.  And just to be clear, I do think your conclusion is solid as far what it says, I only think you need to tidy it up a bit and work on some of the wording, that's all...minor stuff. ;)


Newest Query:

TIME GUARDIAN

 

Older Queries:

THE BELIEVER

THE MYSTIC ROAD


#44 BrianicaDaye

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 01:50 AM

I love fairies and I can't wait to read this book. I thought Joni made great suggestions on your revision. I only have one other question. I am a little confused that the realm is called faie and she's part faie. I guess I'm just thinking of it as if someone had said human is in trouble. It might make more sense if you gave it another name so it would be like earth the human realm is in trouble. Even though I know it makes since when you think I'm human and living in the human realm. I just have a hard time with the human is in trouble part.

I love it though and I think you are right there which makes me very jealous since I have only just started writing my first revision of my query and still have miles to go.



#45 Calcifer

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 09:26 AM

Thank you again, Joni, and Brianica. I'll try to rethink the wording here.

 

And Brianica, I'd be glad to read and comment on your query if you have it up yet. Just send me the link :)


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

 

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

 

 


#46 BrianicaDaye

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 10:19 AM

Thanks here's the link http://agentquerycon...my-first-take/#



#47 Yuffie

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 01:52 PM

I think this is a pretty solid query! The only lines that put me off were: "As if this alone was not reason enough for worry, she also starts having dreams that warn her Grunewald is in danger. Worse still, she is being stalked by a giant green Fairy hound that terrifies even her fearless friend, Kate." The flow is a bit rough here because you're throwing all these seemingly unrelated problems at us in a laundry-list-type fashion. From my understanding, the Fairy hound is just a subplot or a transition to get her from the real world to Faie, and for querying purposes, it's irrelevant. It's just clutter for the query that can easily be cut and not detract from our understanding of the main plot: Faie is in danger from the Goddess of Winter. That's what the query should focus on, not the hound.

 

Also, we're missing the motivation of the Goddess and Maia. What are the stakes? Why does the Goddess want to end summer forever? (that's probably self-explanatory, but then that's a pretty 1-dimensional villain... She needs some kind of motivation behind her actions.) And why does Maia care about what happens to Faie? What's her motivation for stopping the Goddess? She can't just be going along with this adventure like a programmed robot. What does she get out of this whole ordeal if she stops the Goddess (other than summer time)? Why is summer so important to Maia? Just a few words of detail there would really flesh out her character and personality.

 

Hope this helps some!


I'd really appreciate some feedback on my query for Guardian Redemption: http://agentquerycon...t-high-fantasy/


#48 Calcifer

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 08:58 AM

Thanks Yuffie, I'll think about your suggestions!


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

 

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

 

 


#49 Calcifer

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 06:44 PM

Most recent version of my query. I'd love to know what you guys think. Thanks!

 

 

Twelve-year-old Maia Quinn never imagined that a visit to her family’s hometown could turn into a race to stop unending winter. Then an invitation to a party changes all that.

 

While staying with her aunt at her family’s mansion in Grunewald, Maia meets a mysterious trapeze artist at the town’s annual May Day party. During the strange encounter, Maia falls off a trapeze, faints, and wakes up with a glowing star in her forehead. As if this wasn’t reason enough to worry, she's now having dreams warning her that Grunewald's in danger. Worse still, she is being stalked by a giant green Faerie hound that terrifies even her fearless friend, Kate.

 

Convinced that the warnings in Maia’s dreams are about the hound, Maia and Kate resolve not to let their fear of it stop them. They “borrow” a hunting gun from Kate’s dad, and set out to find and kill it. Instead, the hound leads them into Faerie, where Maia learns that she is a descendant of that realm.

 

Faerie is in trouble: someone has awoken the Goddess of Winter, and she is gathering her strength to end summer forever. Being a child of two worlds, Maia is the only one who can stop the Goddess, using a key hidden somewhere inside Maia’s family mansion. Since the realms of humans and of Faerie are connected, saving one means saving the other. But Maia has until the end of Midsummer night to act, or else everything she loves will turn to an icy desert.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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

 

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

 

 


#50 StephanieTRoss

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 10:08 PM

Twelve-year-old Maia Quinn never imagined that a visit to her family’s hometown could turn into a race to stop (an? the?) unending winter. Then an invitation to a party changes all that. (Uh, what? First there was a race to stop winter, now there's a party. You just went "exciting" to "boring". And a little "confused")

 

While staying with her aunt at her family’s mansion in Grunewald, Maia meets a mysterious trapeze artist at the town’s annual May Day party (Okay, now I get the party. Still not sure how it connects. I think you could cut a few things. I skimmed down. The aunt's never mentioned again. Cut her. May Day happens every year so we don't need to know that it's annual) . During the strange encounter, Maia falls off a trapeze, faints (Do you mean she falls off the trapeze and hits her head hard? I wouldn't call that faint.), and wakes up with a glowing star in her forehead. As if this wasn’t reason enough to worry, she's now having dreams warning her that Grunewald's in danger. Worse still, she is being stalked by a giant green Faerie (Didn't know Faeries existed before this point? Did Maia? If not, don't bring it up so casually) hound that terrifies even her fearless friend, Kate.

 

Convinced that the warnings in Maia’s dreams are about the hound, Maia and Kate resolve not to let their fear of it stop them. They “borrow” a hunting gun from Kate’s dad, and set out to find and kill it (Dude, they're twelve). Instead, the hound leads them into Faerie, where Maia learns that she is a descendant of that realm. (So before this is all set-up?)

 

Faerie is in trouble: someone has awoken the Goddess of Winter, and she is gathering her strength to end summer forever. Being a child of two worlds, Maia is the only one who can stop the Goddess, using a key hidden somewhere inside Maia’s family mansion. Since the realms of humans and of Faerie are connected, saving one means saving the other. But Maia has until the end of Midsummer night to act, or else everything she loves will turn to an icy desert. (This last paragraph is all the cool stuff. I learned query writing to be: hook, set-up, conflict, consequence. I feel like the whole thing was set-up and then conflict and consequence were stuffed into the last paragraph. This is the stuff you hinted about in the hook in the first paragraph. You could probably cut some of the set-up.)



#51 Calcifer

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 12:04 PM

Thanks Tiffanie!

 

Sorry that this is such a late response. I was away for a month and didn't get to this site until now. Will be thinking about your suggestions as I start working on the next version. Thanks again!

 

Calcifer


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

 

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

 

 


#52 January11555

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 02:51 PM

Hi Calcifer -- I am not an expert, but I think the wording is 'someone has awakened the Goddess of Winter'

 

Sounds like a neat premise! Good luck with the query.


Jan


#53 Calcifer

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 01:56 PM

Thanks Jan, didn't see this before. And I think you're right, it's "awakened", thanks for noticing!  


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

 

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

 

 


#54 Yuffie

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 03:53 PM

Most recent version of my query. I'd love to know what you guys think. Thanks!

 

 

Twelve-year-old Maia Quinn never imagined that a visit to her family’s hometown could turn into a race to stop unending winter. Then an invitation to a party changes all that. This line sounds pretty irrelevant. The first line was very snappy, and this ruins the flow. Consider cutting.

 

While staying with her aunt at her family’s mansion in Grunewald, Maia meets a mysterious trapeze artist at the town’s annual May Day party. During the strange encounter, Maia falls off a trapeze, faints, and wakes up with a glowing star in her forehead. As if this wasn’t reason enough to worry, she's now having dreams warning her that Grunewald's in danger. Worse still, she is being stalked by a giant green Faerie hound that terrifies even her fearless friend, Kate.

 

You've got an unfortunate case of "character soup". We've been introduced to 1. Maia, 2. aunt, 3. trapeze artist, 4. Faerie hound, 5. Kate. And that's just the first paragraph. Try to pare down your focus to just Maia and the Goddess of Winter, because I'm very lost as to what's happening by the 2nd paragraph, just because there are so many characters and things being introduced at once.

 

Convinced that the warnings in Maia’s dreams are about the hound, Maia and Kate resolve not to let their fear of it stop them. They “borrow” a hunting gun Is the fact that they steal a gun and steal it from Kate's dad important? Doesn't seem like it. Only the most crucial details should be in the query. The rest is clutter. from Kate’s dad, and set out to find and kill it. Instead, the hound leads them into Faerie Why does the hound lead them to Faerie? Wasn't it stalking her?, where Maia learns that she is a descendant of that realm.

 

Faerie is in trouble: someone has awoken the Goddess of Winter Why did this unnamed person awaken some evil goddess in the first place?, and she is gathering her strength to end summer forever again, why? I said this before, but the goddess sounds very one-dimensional. Being evil for the sake of being evil. Why does she want to end summer forever?. Being a child of two worlds, Maia is the only one who can stop the Goddess What does being a child of two worlds have anything to do with stopping the Goddess? And why is she a child of two words? there has to be a good reason for this, as it's the basis of your entire plot. You can't simply say, "She's just a special snowflake." There has to be a reason, a motivation behind everything in the novel, otherwise your readers will be hard-pressed to believe any of it., using a key hidden somewhere inside Maia’s family mansion Sounds like a deus ex machina. The magical key that just happens to be the only way to stop the evil goddess just happens to be in Maia's mansion, and she just happens to be a "child of two worlds" whatever that means. It sounds extremely contrived. Like these things are just happening because you need them to happen for the plot, not because there's a legitimate in-story reason. Hopefully you did explain these things in-story, but it's not reflecting in the query. Since the realms of humans and of Faerie are connected, saving one means saving the other. But Maia has until the end of Midsummer night to act why the deadline? Again, sounds contrived, like that deadline was just thrown in for the sake of creating urgency. Is there a reason why Midsummer is so special and relates to all this winter goddess stuff?, or else everything she loves will turn to an icy desert. I'm not liking 'icy desert". How about "icy wasteland"? That makes it seem worse, too. people can live happily in the desert, so the stakes wouldn't seem too high like that. But it's hard to live in a wasteland.

 

 

 

 Hope this helps!


I'd really appreciate some feedback on my query for Guardian Redemption: http://agentquerycon...t-high-fantasy/


#55 Calcifer

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:16 AM

Dear Agent,

 

Twelve-year-old Maia Quinn has heard her mother say that Grunewald, their family’s hometown, is just magical. Now she finally gets to see for herself what all the fuss is about. Only, the part about Grunewald’s magic may be more than just gushing.

 

And the timing of Maia’s arrival might not be as accidental as she thinks.

 

The ancient family mansion hides dangerous secrets. Like the fact that the caretaker is a kobold, a powerfully magical creature, who’s feeling mighty angry about being unappreciated.

 

Maia learns that the kobold and a local chocolate maker have struck an unholy alliance and begun a spell to release the Raven Spirits. Trapped by Maia’s ancestors in a parallel realm, the mansion is the seal on their doorway. Releasing them puts Grunewald in deadly peril, but only a Quinn can open the doorway, and the kobold’s plan is to use Maia for the final stage of the spell.

 

Fortunately, Maia’s not alone. Three unlikely friends come to her aid – Patrick, a boy everyone believes is a thief; Teigh, a giant green hound who terrorizes the community; and Kate, whose bravery is surpassed only by her recklessness. Together, they must outwit the kobold and seal the doorway again, before the end of the shortest night of the year is over and the spell is made final.  

 

THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS is a middle grade fantasy, complete at 72,000 words.


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

 

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

 

 


#56 cecampanile

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 03:22 PM

Dear Agent,

 

Twelve-year-old Maia Quinn is about to discover that her family's ancient family mansion in Grunewald hides dangerous secrets. I moved this line from below as your hook. It seemed like such a vivid line, I thought it might work better...

 

She's has heard her mother say that Grunewald, their family’s hometown, is just magical. Now she finally gets to see for herself what all the fuss is about. Only, the part about Grunewald’s magic may be more than just gushing.  (This is an awk sentence - I get what you are saying, but can you rephrase a touch?)

 

And the timing of Maia’s arrival might not be as accidental as she thinks.

 

Like the fact that  Maia is about to meet the caretaker, who is actually a kobold, a powerfully magical creature,. Unfortunately, he's who’s feeling mighty angry about being unappreciated.

(Maybe combine the line above with this paragraph?)

Maia learns that the kobold and a local chocolate maker have struck an unholy alliance and begun a spell to release the Raven Spirits. Trapped by Maia’s ancestors in a parallel realm, the mansion is the seal on their doorway. Releasing them puts Grunewald in deadly peril, but only a Quinn can open the doorway, and the kobold’s plan is to use Maia for the final stage of the spell.

 

Fortunately, Maia’s not alone. Three unlikely friends come to her aid – Patrick, a boy everyone believes is a thief; Teigh, a giant green hound who terrorizes the community; and Kate, whose bravery is surpassed only by her recklessness. Together, they must outwit the kobold and seal the doorway again, before the end of the shortest night of the year is over and the spell is made final.  

 

THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS is a middle grade fantasy, complete at 72,000 words.

 

Sounds like a great story!  The title is wonderful! I hope these suggestions help. You've been a truly great help for me with my query - thanks! And best of luck! :)



#57 Calcifer

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 05:34 PM

Cecampanile, thanks a lot for your suggestions, they were very helpful! :)  Here's an updated version of the query:

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Twelve-year-old Maia Quinn is about to discover that her family's ancient mansion in Grunewald hides dangerous secrets.

 

Maia's heard her mother say that Grunewald, their family’s hometown, is a magical place. Now she finally gets to see for herself what all the fuss is about. Only the part about magic may be quite literal, and the timing of Maia’s visit may not be as accidental as she thinks.

 

The mansion’s caretaker is actually a kobold, a powerfully magical creature, wrathful over being unappreciated. He and a local chocolate maker have struck an unholy alliance and begun a spell to release the Raven Spirits. Trapped by Maia’s ancestors in a parallel realm, the mansion is the seal on their doorway. Releasing them puts Grunewald in deadly peril, but only a Quinn can open the way, and the kobold plans to use Maia for the final stage of the spell.

 

Fortunately, Maia’s not alone. Three unlikely friends come to her aid – Patrick, a boy everyone believes is a thief; Teigh, a giant green hound who terrorizes the community; and Kate, whose bravery is surpassed only by her recklessness. Together, they must outwit the kobold and seal the doorway again, before the shortest night of the year is over and the spell becomes final.  

 

THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS is a middle grade fantasy, complete at 72,000 words.


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

 

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

 

 


#58 cecampanile

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 12:34 PM

Yippee - glad the hook idea works for you! :)



#59 LittleJoni

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 01:53 PM

Dear Agent,

 

Twelve-year-old Maia Quinn is about to discover that her family's ancient mansion in Grunewald hides dangerous secrets.  I'm torn on this hook.  To be honest, I don't like when queries focus on secrets, however you spell out those secrets below so it's not like that's really the focus.  Still, I think this hook could be more grabby if you didn't say secrets, but were more specific about what the mansion is hiding while still keeping it short and punchy. 

 

Maia's heard her mother say that Grunewald, their family’s hometown, is a magical place. Now she finally gets to see for herself what all the fuss is about. Only the part about magic may be quite literal, and the timing of Maia’s visit may not be as accidental as she thinks. This last sentence...I'm not sure about it, but I can't decide what exactly it is I'm not sure about.  I know, that's no help at all...sorry!  I just think it can use some tweaking.

 

The mansion’s caretaker is actually a kobold, a powerfully magical creature, wrathful over being unappreciated. He and a local chocolate maker have struck strike (I suggest keeping this all in the present) an unholy alliance and begun begin a spell to release the Raven Spirits. Trapped by Maia’s ancestors in a parallel realm, the mansion is the seal on their doorway. Releasing (you used "release" earlier in this same paragraph, for such a small space I suggest picking a different word either here or there) them puts Grunewald in deadly peril, but only a Quinn can open the way, and the kobold plans to use Maia for the final stage of the spell. I like the content of this paragraph :)

 

Fortunately, Maia’s not alone. Three unlikely friends come to her aid – Patrick, a boy everyone believes is a thief; Teigh, a giant green hound who terrorizes the community; and Kate, whose bravery is surpassed only by her recklessness. Together, they must outwit the kobold and seal the doorway again, before the shortest night of the year is over and the spell becomes final.  I like this, good stakes. :)  There are a lot of names though, you might consider leaving Patrick, Teigh, and Kate's names out, just use their descriptions.

 

THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS is a middle grade fantasy, complete at 72,000 words.

 

It's a lot of red, but I'm not suggesting as much change as it looks like.  I like this query a lot!  I think it's very close. :)  Hope this helps a little.


Newest Query:

TIME GUARDIAN

 

Older Queries:

THE BELIEVER

THE MYSTIC ROAD


#60 Calcifer

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 02:30 PM

Joni, huge thanks for your comments. I also wasn't sure if using the names was a good idea. Here's a new version with some more tweaks and a slightly changed hook:

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Twelve-year-old Maia Quinn's heard her mother say that Grunewald, their family’s hometown, is a magical place. Now she finally gets to see for herself what all the fuss is about. Only the part about magic may be quite literal, and the timing of Maia’s visit might not be coincidental.

 

The family's ancient mansion holds many secrets: wallpaper images inexplicably spring to life, eerie eyes that stare at one out of the darkness. And the caretaker is actually a kobold, a powerfully magical creature, who’s feeling vengeful over being unappreciated.

 

The kobold’s tricked the local chocolate maker into helping him initiate a spell to release the Raven Spirits. Trapped by Maia’s ancestors in a parallel realm, the mansion is the seal on their doorway. Freeing them puts Grunewald in deadly peril, but only a Quinn can open the way, and the kobold plans to use Maia for the final stage of the spell.

 

Fortunately, Maia’s not alone. Three unlikely friends come to her aid – a boy everyone believes a thief; a mysterious giant green hound who’s been terrorizing the town; and a girl whose bravery is surpassed only by her recklessness. Together, they must outwit the kobold and seal the doorway again, before the shortest night of the year is over and the spell becomes final.  

 

THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS is a middle grade fantasy, complete at 72,000 words.


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

 

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

 

 





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