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OCEANS DEEP - YA Fantasy (edits made 5/17/18)

Fantasy Young Adult

Best Answer MICRONESIA , 18 May 2018 - 12:31 PM

I went back through the thread to find what I consider your best query. Hell, I think that third paragraph works best here as well. I will fight to my death for this version.

 

 

In the underwater kingdom of Syren, Princess Ondine is the only girl who can't swim. After losing both her legs, she is weighed down by metal prosthetics that make her an object of ridicule. But nobody makes Ondine feel inferior without her permission. She fights at the drop of a fin, and fearlessly rides her manta ray in the deadliest races, leaving even the best riders in her wake.

 

Her reckless lifestyle is an embarrassment to the royal family, but she's never cared about palace politics. Not until a border lord is murdered by agents of Nereia, and there are whispers of a traitor in the palace. When Ondine catches the king's own spymaster meeting secretly with the Nereids, she realizes the danger is closer to her family than she thought. But no one will listen to her except Drake, a handsome manta racer who would rather whisk her away than get involved.

 

Then the spymaster turns up dead, and Ondine learns just how high up the conspiracy goes. Drake urges her to leave the palace, but if she doesn't confront the real traitor now, he will kill again. And next time, the target may well be her father, the King of Syren himself.

 

OCEANS DEEP is an 80,000-word YA fantasy that should appeal to fans of a strong female lead and political intrigue, as found in Kristin Cashore's GRACELING. Nearly every creature and setting in the story is modeled after the real-life wonders that lie beneath the waves.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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#81 cmmg

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 08:57 PM

Hmm. Ok. I’m just worried that leading with the “can’t swim” line is misleading, since the story isn’t really about her being disabled and racing manta rays. Those things are elements of the story, but it’s largely a story of a girl that happens to be disabled who gets wrapped up in a conspiracy that changes her life.

 It's early enough that it reads like backstory so I think it's okay?


_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

synopsis


#82 MICRONESIA

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 09:03 PM

The January query has so much zip, so much life. It isn't bogged down in court politics. It gives us just enough story to get revved up and go...



#83 crestakaz

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 02:54 AM

Seconded. The newest version focuses way too much on small-picture details; were you not having success querying with the other version? I thought the old one was darn near perfect with all its voice and clarity.



#84 JDSmith

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 05:58 AM

I think the January version is perfect. the "can't swim" part immediately pulls you in. I think you might be overthinking it. January edition showed us the most important thing: the character. This version feels lifeless in comparison. Like, I never thought I'd be interested in reading an undersea tale until I read the January query.


I'd really appreciate help with my query: Iris Mjolnir Spawn of War

 

First 250 words here: Woooo

 

Write on!


#85 rhwashere

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 08:27 AM

Ok. That settles it. I’m definitely overthinking. I haven’t sent anything out yet. I wanted to be sure I had the best letter I could. Thanks all!

Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


#86 rhwashere

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 02:29 PM

Thanks again to MICRONESIA for talking me off the ledge (so to speak) and everyone else who helped me see that what I was trying to fix wasn't really broken. Here's a slight twist on the older versions that hopefully maintains the same spark:

 

Dear [Agent],

 

In the underwater kingdom of Syren, Princess Ondine is the only girl who can’t swim. After losing both legs, she is weighed down by the metal prosthetics needed to keep her stable in the currents. Still, nobody makes her feel inferior without her permission. She fights at the drop of a fin, rides her manta ray in the deadliest races, and doesn’t give an urchin’s spine what other Seafolk think.

 

That’s probably why no one believes that she saw the king’s spymaster meeting with agents of an enemy kingdom. No one except Antipater, one of the few people who truly understand her, and even he is hesitant to act. Ondine decides to confront the spymaster alone, only to find him dead and herself accused of murder.

 

To clear her name, Ondine must find the real murderer. However, she’s already caught in the middle of a conspiracy and sitting at the top of it is Antipater. Stopping him means killing a man who is like a second father to her. But if she doesn’t, there will be another death in the palace. And this time, it will be that of her real father, the King of Syren himself.

 

OCEANS DEEP is a 90,000-word YA fantasy that should appeal to fans of the political intrigue in Marie Lu’s THE YOUNG ELITES, and the strong female lead in Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING. Nearly all natural phenomena in the novel—from fluorescent corals to glowing sea cucumbers to underwater waterfalls—are real.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


#87 MICRONESIA

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 05:25 PM

In the underwater kingdom of Syren, Princess Ondine is the only girl who can’t swim. After losing both legs, she is weighed down by the metal prosthetics needed to keep her stable in the currents. Still, nobody makes her feel inferior without her permission. She fights at the drop of a fin, rides her manta ray in the deadliest races, and doesn’t give an urchin’s spine what other Seafolk think. Love it!

 

That’s probably why no one believes that she saw the king’s spymaster meeting with agents of an enemy kingdom. No one except Antipater, one of the few people who truly understands her, and even he is hesitant to act. Ondine decides to confront the spymaster alone, only to find him dead and herself accused of murder.

 

To clear her name, Ondine must find the real murderer. However, she’s already caught in the middle of a conspiracy and sitting at the top of it is Antipater. Stopping him means killing a man who is like a second father to her. But if she doesn’t, there will be another death in the palace. And this time, it will be that of her real father, the King of Syren himself. Hmmm. I'm gonna be completely unhelpful here, but... I still get a little bogged down in this. It lacks the sharpness, clarity and "bounce" of the opening paragraph. I think you can say it all even more quickly and simply.

 

OCEANS DEEP is a 90,000-word YA fantasy that should appeal to fans of the political intrigue in Marie Lu’s THE YOUNG ELITES, and the strong female lead in Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING. Nearly all natural phenomena in the novel—from fluorescent corals to glowing sea cucumbers to underwater waterfalls—are real.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Wasn't there a love story element too? I highly suggest you include it. Right now, it feels like Ondine only hangs out with scuzzy old men with tritons.



#88 yawriter

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 06:02 PM

Thanks again to MICRONESIA for talking me off the ledge (so to speak) and everyone else who helped me see that what I was trying to fix wasn't really broken. Here's a slight twist on the older versions that hopefully maintains the same spark:

 

Dear [Agent],

 

In the underwater kingdom of Syren, Princess Ondine is the only girl who can’t swim. After losing both legs, she is weighed down by the metal prosthetics needed to keep her stable in the currents. Still, nobody makes her feel inferior without her permission. She fights at the drop of a fin, rides her manta ray in the deadliest races, and doesn’t give an urchin’s spine what other Seafolk think.I feel like you've encompassed that sentence I crossed out in the one right after it...less words is always better anyway.

 

That’s probably why no one believes that she saw the king’s spymaster meeting with agents of an enemy kingdom. No one except Antipater, one of the few people who truly understand her, and even he is hesitant to act. Ondine decides to confront the spymaster alone, only to find him dead and herself accused of murder.

 

To clear her name, Ondine must find the real murderer. However, she’s already caught in the middle of a conspiracy and sitting at the top of it is Antipater. Stopping him means killing a man who is like a second father to her. But if she doesn’t, there will be another death in the palace. And this time, it will be that of her real father, the King of Syren himself.​ I like this version much better. It's clearer. Th only thing is it seems slow in the beginning and picks up at the end...I wish the hook drew me in quicker. I feel like somehow you could make the beginning more snappy. Great job! 

 

OCEANS DEEP is a 90,000-word YA fantasy that should appeal to fans of the political intrigue in Marie Lu’s THE YOUNG ELITES, and the strong female lead in Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING. Nearly all natural phenomena in the novel—from fluorescent corals to glowing sea cucumbers to underwater waterfalls—are real.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Query- The City's Whispers: http://agentquerycon...critique-back/ 

Query-TOOWCHM: http://agentquerycon...-critique-back/

Synopsis- The City's Whispers: http://agentquerycon...-critique-back/

First 250 words: http://agentquerycon...-critique-back/

 


#89 rhwashere

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 12:48 AM

Here we go again.

Dear [Agent],

In the underwater kingdom of Syren, Princess Ondine is the only girl who can’t swim. After losing both legs, she is weighed down by the metal prosthetics needed to keep her stable in the currents. That doesn’t stop her from fighting at the drop of a fin, however, or riding her manta ray in the deadliest races. She doesn’t give an urchin’s spine what other Seafolk think.

That’s probably why most of them don’t believe her when she catches the king’s spymaster meeting with agents of an enemy kingdom. Her trusted mentor Antipater is an exception, but even he is hesitant to act. So is Drake, a handsome manta racer who would rather whisk her away than get involved. Ondine will just have to confront the spymaster on her own.

But the spymaster isn’t the traitor. That becomes clear when she finds him dead in the cathedral. The real traitor is far closer to her heart and has already hooked her into a conspiracy that will test her loyalties like nothing before. Ondine has never felt understood by the people of Syren. To save them, she will have to turn on one of the few who does.

OCEANS DEEP is a 90,000-word YA fantasy that should appeal to fans of the political intrigue in Marie Lu’s THE YOUNG ELITES, and the strong female lead in Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING. Nearly all natural phenomena in the novel—from fluorescent corals to glowing sea cucumbers to underwater waterfalls—are real.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


#90 MICRONESIA

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 06:31 AM

Here we go again.

Dear [Agent],

In the underwater kingdom of Syren, Princess Ondine is the only girl who can’t swim. After losing both legs, she is weighed down by the metal prosthetics needed to keep her stable in the currents. That doesn’t stop her from fighting at the drop of a fin, however, or riding her manta ray in the deadliest races. She doesn’t give an urchin’s spine what other Seafolk think.

That’s probably why most of them don’t believe her when she catches the king’s spymaster meeting with agents of an enemy kingdom. Her trusted mentor Antipater is an exception, but even he is hesitant to act. So is Drake, a handsome manta racer who would rather whisk her away than get involved. Ondine will just have to confront the spymaster on her own. I don't like the future tense here.

But the spymaster isn’t the traitor. That becomes clear when she finds him dead in the cathedral. The real traitor is far closer to her heart and has already hooked her into a conspiracy that will test her loyalties like nothing before. Ondine has never felt understood by the people of Syren. To save them, she will have to turn on one of the few who does. This ending is kinda weak. I feel like it was much stronger when it ended "the King of Siren himself." Also, Drake disappears from the query. Is there a way to work him into her ultimate conflict/choice?

OCEANS DEEP is a 90,000-word YA fantasy that should appeal to fans of the political intrigue in Marie Lu’s THE YOUNG ELITES, and the strong female lead in Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING. Nearly all natural phenomena in the novel—from fluorescent corals to glowing sea cucumbers to underwater waterfalls—are real.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Al... most... there...



#91 crestakaz

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 10:57 AM

Here we go again.

Dear [Agent],

In the underwater kingdom of Syren, Princess Ondine is the only girl who can’t swim. After losing both legs, she is weighed down by the metal prosthetics needed to keep her stable in the currents. That doesn’t stop her from fighting at the drop of a fin, however, or riding her manta ray in the deadliest races. She doesn’t give an urchin’s spine what other Seafolk think. Great opening. However, I felt like it lost a bit of the punch it used to have. I checked an old version, and you had "shifting currents" (which I think it's useful info for why she needs the stability of her prosthetics), and you took out the sentence, "So what if her reckless lifestyle..." I think you should keep that in because I don't get the sense that her lifestyle is something people might scorn or find embarrassing. Since it's a new world you're creating, I didn't know that manta ray racing or fighting is frowned upon, because in that world's culture, it might be normal, expected, or even desired. I'd be cautious about getting too cut happy with your query in this section, because you're losing some world-building, clarity, and voice in the process. Those are very small details that added a lot w/o bulking up the word count.

That’s probably why most of them don’t believe her when she catches the king’s spymaster meeting with agents of an enemy kingdom  good transition. Her trusted mentor Antipater is an exception, but even he is hesitant to act. So is Drake, a handsome manta racer who would rather whisk her away than get involved. I'd still recommend cutting the names Antipater and Drake out of the query. They don't make a reappearance, so don't add much to the story. I liked your phrasing from before, "The only two who even listen...". It was clearer, more concise, more voice-y, and was even shorter by two words. Ondine will just have to confront the spymaster on her own. This feels less powerful than your previous "Ondine decides she must take matters into her own hands."   "Will just have to" reduces her agency in the story.

But the spymaster isn’t the traitor. That becomes clear when she finds him dead in the cathedral. This is clunky and less concise than your previous version "But when she goes to confront... finds him dead and herself accused of murder". "In the cathedral" is unnecessary info that doesn't even add to world-building. The real traitor is far closer to her heart and has already hooked her into a conspiracy that will test her loyalties like nothing before. Ondine has never felt understood by the people of Syren. To save them, she will have to turn on one of the few who does. This ending doesn't make sense, especially going off of what you had in previous queries about her dad maybe being the next victim. Also, the issue of Ondine not feeling understood is at odds with the opening line of her just not caring what they think. It's not apparent until you say it that her people need to be saved, and the stakes are less clear than before (what does she stand to lose if she does turn on one person? Seems like an obvious choice to turn on him to save an entire kingdom. Plus, it seems like Drake is interested in her, so there's that). In general, the stakes seem weaker now.

OCEANS DEEP is a 90,000-word YA fantasy that should appeal to fans of the political intrigue in Marie Lu’s THE YOUNG ELITES, and the strong female lead in Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING. Nearly all natural phenomena in the novel—from fluorescent corals to glowing sea cucumbers to underwater waterfalls—are real.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Personally, I think you're taking several steps back from your previous version from April. It seems like you're hitting the issue of doubting yourself and over-editing. The query was almost perfect and worked extremely well earlier--now, it reads as far more confusing, and the last paragraph has me scratching my head. Did you make some serious changes to your MS and thus the old query doesn't apply anymore? If so, then I understand you'll need to reshape your query, but if the main plot points haven't changed, I'm at a loss as to why you made some of the changes you did.



#92 rhwashere

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 11:44 AM

No, the manuscript is essentially the same. It’s probably a case of doubt and over-editing. However, it’s helpful to see which versions worked best. Thanks for the input!

Maybe I should do a poll or something... January’s version vs April vs May.

Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


#93 Charlie98501

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 12:30 PM


In the underwater kingdom of Syren, Princess Ondine is the only girl who can’t swim. After losing both legs, she is weighed down by the metal prosthetics needed to keep her stable in the currents. That doesn’t stop her from fighting at the drop of a fin, however, or riding her manta ray in the deadliest races. She doesn’t give an urchin’s spine what other Seafolk think.  Can you hint at how she lost her legs?  E.g., after losing her legs in a …. If not, I think you are still OK. But, maybe a vague reference could be cool. Otherwise, this is a nice opening!

That’s probably why most of them don’t believe her when she catches the king’s spymaster meeting with agents of an enemy kingdom. Her trusted mentor Antipater is an exception, but even he is hesitant to act. So is Drake, a handsome manta racer who would rather whisk her away than get involved. Ondine will just have to confront the spymaster on her own. Nice.

But the spymaster isn’t the traitor. That becomes clear when she finds him dead in the cathedral. The real traitor is far closer to her heart and has already hooked her into a conspiracy that will test her loyalties like nothing before. Ondine has never felt understood by the people of Syren. To save them, she will have to turn on one of the few who does.  Nice.

OCEANS DEEP is a 90,000-word YA fantasy that should appeal to fans of the political intrigue in Marie Lu’s THE YOUNG ELITES, and the strong female lead in Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING. Nearly all natural phenomena in the novel—from fluorescent corals to glowing sea cucumbers to underwater waterfalls—are real. Maybe strike “political,” and stick with just “intrigue?” I think the word “political” in a YA pitch may weigh it down. In any case, I don’t think you need it.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I think this is a great query.  I have only been on this site a few days, but it’s the strongest I’ve read so far. FYI - Although I reviewed a few of the previous posts, I'm not up to speed on the earlier versions.  But again, I think this version is very strong.   



#94 MICRONESIA

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 12:31 PM   Best Answer

I went back through the thread to find what I consider your best query. Hell, I think that third paragraph works best here as well. I will fight to my death for this version.

 

 

In the underwater kingdom of Syren, Princess Ondine is the only girl who can't swim. After losing both her legs, she is weighed down by metal prosthetics that make her an object of ridicule. But nobody makes Ondine feel inferior without her permission. She fights at the drop of a fin, and fearlessly rides her manta ray in the deadliest races, leaving even the best riders in her wake.

 

Her reckless lifestyle is an embarrassment to the royal family, but she's never cared about palace politics. Not until a border lord is murdered by agents of Nereia, and there are whispers of a traitor in the palace. When Ondine catches the king's own spymaster meeting secretly with the Nereids, she realizes the danger is closer to her family than she thought. But no one will listen to her except Drake, a handsome manta racer who would rather whisk her away than get involved.

 

Then the spymaster turns up dead, and Ondine learns just how high up the conspiracy goes. Drake urges her to leave the palace, but if she doesn't confront the real traitor now, he will kill again. And next time, the target may well be her father, the King of Syren himself.

 

OCEANS DEEP is an 80,000-word YA fantasy that should appeal to fans of a strong female lead and political intrigue, as found in Kristin Cashore's GRACELING. Nearly every creature and setting in the story is modeled after the real-life wonders that lie beneath the waves.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#95 rhwashere

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 05:45 PM

So, the one from April is quoted below. MICRONESIA quoted the one from January (post 94 above). The one from May is just a few posts back (post 89).

Which do you guys like better?

Dear [Agent],

In the underwater kingdom of Syren, Princess Ondine is the only girl who can’t swim. After losing both legs, she is weighed down by the metal prosthetics that keep her stable in the shifting currents. That doesn’t stop her from fighting at the drop of a fin, however, or riding her manta ray in the deadliest races. So what if her reckless lifestyle is an embarrassment to the royal family? She doesn’t give an urchin’s spine what other Seafolk think, not until she stumbles upon Syren’s spymaster meeting with agents of an enemy kingdom.

Ondine tries to expose the spymaster, but no one will believe the king’s wild daughter. The only two who even listen are an advisor who is hesitant to act, and a handsome manta racer who would rather whisk her away than get involved. Ondine decides she must take matters into her own hands. But when she goes to confront the spymaster, she finds him dead and herself accused of murder. To rise above her reputation as a crippled troublemaker and clear her name, she must find the real murderer, and fast. War is coming, set to begin the moment he claims his next victim: her father, the King of Syren himself.

OCEANS DEEP is an 80,000-word YA fantasy that should appeal to fans of the political intrigue of Marie Lu’s THE YOUNG ELITES, and the strong female lead in Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


#96 punitrastogi

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 03:24 AM

I think you should post the link to the three versions in your first post, to enable the readers to find them easily.

 

Let me know if you need help with that.



#97 rhwashere

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 01:24 PM

For convenience's sake, here are the three I'm trying to decide between:

 

89 - http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356842

 

94 - http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356873

 

95 - http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


#98 lnloft

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 06:06 PM

I have to agree with Micronesia, post 94 has the best query. I might not quite fight to the death for it, but I would engage in a high-stakes game of Go Fish.

 

 

I went back through the thread to find what I consider your best query. Hell, I think that third paragraph works best here as well. I will fight to my death for this version.

 

 

In the underwater kingdom of Syren, Princess Ondine is the only girl who can't swim. After losing both her legs, she is weighed down by metal prosthetics that make her an object of ridicule. But nobody makes Ondine feel inferior without her permission. She fights at the drop of a fin, and fearlessly rides her manta ray in the deadliest races, leaving even the best riders in her wake.

 

Her reckless lifestyle is an embarrassment to the royal family, but she's never cared about palace politics. Not until a border lord is murdered by agents of Nereia, and there are whispers of a traitor in the palace. When Ondine catches the king's own spymaster meeting secretly with the Nereids, she realizes the danger is closer to her family than she thought. But no one will listen to her except Drake, a handsome manta racer who would rather whisk her away than get involved.

 

Then the spymaster turns up dead, and Ondine learns just how high up the conspiracy goes. MAYBE you can elaborate a little more on this, but if it doesn't work it doesn't work, and you're okay with how it is. Drake urges her to leave the palace, but if she doesn't confront the real traitor now, he will kill again. And next time, the target may well be her father, the King of Syren himself.

 

OCEANS DEEP is an 80,000-word YA fantasy that should appeal to fans of a strong female lead and political intrigue, as found in Kristin Cashore's GRACELING. Nearly every creature and setting in the story is modeled after the real-life wonders that lie beneath the waves.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#99 Tree

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 05:40 PM

I vote for #94. This is awesome. 

 

 

I went back through the thread to find what I consider your best query. Hell, I think that third paragraph works best here as well. I will fight to my death for this version.

 

 

In the underwater kingdom of Syren, Princess Ondine is the only girl person? who can't swim. After losing both her legs, she is weighed down by metal prosthetics that make her an object of ridicule. But nobody makes Ondine feel inferior without her permission. She fights at the drop of a fin, and fearlessly rides her manta ray in the deadliest races, leaving even the best riders in her wake.

 

Her reckless lifestyle is an embarrassment to the royal family, but she's never cared about palace politics. Not until a border lord is murdered by agents of Nereia, and there are whispers of a traitor in the palace. When Ondine catches the king's own spymaster meeting secretly with the Nereids, she realizes the danger is closer to her family than she thought. But no one will listen to her except Drake, a handsome manta racer who would rather whisk her away than get involved.

 

Then the spymaster turns up dead, and Ondine learns just how high up the conspiracy goes. Drake urges her to leave the palace, but if she doesn't confront the real traitor now, he will kill again. And next time, the target may well be her father, the King of Syren himself.

 

OCEANS DEEP is an 80,000-word YA fantasy that should appeal to fans of a strong female lead and political intrigue, as found in Kristin Cashore's GRACELING. Nearly every creature and setting in the story is modeled after the real-life wonders that lie beneath the waves.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 



#100 rhwashere

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 06:29 PM

Well folks, I can't thank you enough. From what I gather, I had it right early on and have been torturing myself ever since. I'm going to make myself walk away from this. My manuscript is still being polished, but I'm going to go with the query from January when it's finished. Again, thanks to everyone who has patiently helped me through this sometimes-fun-but-mostly-painful process!


Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Fantasy, Young Adult

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