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WHEN SHADOWS REFUSE TO FADE (Ya Fantasy)


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#1 ALNoelle

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 11:09 PM

REVISION IN POST #8

 

Hello All. This is my very first post, so I hope I've followed all the rules... I'm looking for critiques on my query letter. I'm happy to reciprocate! 

 

 

Dear (Agent),

 

Raquel Alexander is the first Soleian to possess all three powers of Light: She can Heal wounds, Calm minds and Protect life. Her father believed her to be touched by the divine, chosen for greatness. Except she can't be, because, for all her powers, she wasn't blessed with the simplest of human traits—courage. And only the bravest could've saved Raquel's dad from the soul-devouring Devati Shadows. Raquel isn't divine. She's cursed. And it's this wretched "curse" that made her run when her dad needed her to fight.

 

Raquel is hell-bent on joining the elite Soleian Guard—soldiers charged with Protecting the human race from the Devati Shadows—and conquering her crippling fear (and, dare she say it, avenge her father's death). But during her inaugural hunt, her plans for redemption crumble when her dad appears: alive, and working for the enemy. Even worse, he's colluding with the Devati Commander, and they have their greedy sights set on stealing Raquel's powers.

 

When the Commander kidnaps Raquel's sister, Ella, Raquel is forced to venture into the grisly Shadow World, a realm stewing with dark bargains, deadly games, and unlimited power. To find Ella, Raquel will have to summon the courage to confront her father's shady past, follow the trail of clues he left behind, and defeat the Shadows on their own turf. And she'll have to do it without succumbing to the temptations of power and glory that lured her dad. If she fails, she'll lose Ella, and maybe even herself, forever.

 

WHEN SHADOWS REFUSE TO FADE is a YA Fantasy, complete at 84,000 words, that will appeal to readers who loved (I'm still working on my comps). A full or partial manuscript is available upon request. I am writing to you because XXX. Thank you for your time and consideration. I have included XXX.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Thank you all in advance. I'm excited to connect here!



#2 Bibliophyl

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 08:14 AM

Hope I can be of help!

 

Raquel Alexander is the first Soleian to possess all three powers of Light: She can Heal wounds, Calm minds and Protect life. I wouldn't capitalize these words even if they're capitalized in your novel Her father believed her to be touched by the divine, chosen for greatness. Except she can't be, because, for all her powers, she wasn't blessed with the simplest of human traits—courage. Could streamline these two sentences a bit: "Her father believed her to be touched by the divine, but Raquel lacks courage..." or something along those lines. And only the bravest could've saved Raquel's dad from the soul-devouring Devati Shadows. Raquel isn't divine. She's cursed. And it's this wretched "curse" that made her run when her dad needed her to fight. Can streamline this too--you can just say "Raquel ran away when her dad was attacked by the soul-devouring..." I just don't think you need four sentences to convey this. Every word counts in a query! :)

 

Raquel is hell-bent on joining the elite Soleian Guard—soldiers charged with Protecting the human race from the Devati Shadows—and conquering her crippling fear (and, dare she say it, avenge her father's death). It would be great to have more of a transition from her cowardice to her change in actions. Even something as simple as "Humiliated by her cowardice, she becomes determined to..." But during her inaugural hunt, her plans for redemption crumble when her dad appears: alive, and working for the enemy. Even worse, he's colluding with the Devati Commander, and they have their greedy sights set on stealing Raquel's powers. Ooh, this is interesting!

 

When the Commander kidnaps Raquel's sister, Ella, Raquel is forced to venture [I've read that "is forced to" doesn't sound good in a query because it implies the protagonist has no agency/doesn't make choices of their own. You can say "Raquel chooses to venture..." or even just "Raquel ventures.."] into the grisly Shadow World, a realm stewing with dark bargains, deadly games, and unlimited power. To find Ella, Raquel will have to summon the courage to confront her father's shady past, follow the trail of clues he left behind, and defeat the Shadows on their own turf. And she'll have to do it without succumbing to the temptations of power and glory that lured her dad. If she fails, she'll lose Ella, and maybe even herself, forever. Nice stakes. 

 

WHEN SHADOWS REFUSE TO FADE is a YA Fantasy, complete at 84,000 words, that will appeal to readers who loved (I'm still working on my comps). A full or partial manuscript is available upon request. I am writing to you because XXX. Thank you for your time and consideration. I have included XXX.

 

Nice job, I think there's a lot of room for tightening in the first two paragraphs but it sounds interesting. Good luck!



#3 Wayfarer

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 11:22 AM

Raquel Alexander is the first Soleian to possess all three powers of Light: She can Heal wounds, Calm minds and Protect life. (Make this your introductory hook. Also, I would change the list to read simply, "Healing, Calming, and Protection." I know there's more depth to them than that, but for the query you don't need an abundance of detail, that's what the synopsis, and even more-so the actual manuscript is for. You can fudge details or fib on your query, as long as it's not completely different from your story, and it's intriguing, then that's all that matters.)

 

Her father believed her to be touched by the divine, chosen for greatness. Except she can't be. because, For all her powers, she wasn't blessed with the simplest of human traits—courage. If she was, she would have been able to save her dad from the soul-devouring Devati Shadows. But only the bravest of souls could've done that, and she is not one.And only the bravest could've saved Raquel's dad from the soul-devouring Devati Shadows. Raquel isn't divine. She's cursed. And it's this wretched curse that made her run when her dad needed her to fight.

 

To conquer her crippling fear, Raquel has been hell-bent on joining the elite Soleian Guard—soldiers charged with Protecting the human race from the Devati Shadows—and avenging her father's death (and, dare she say it, avenge her father's death)(Don't use parentheticals). But during her inaugural hunt, her plans for redemption crumble when her dad appears: alive, and working for the enemy. Even worse, he's colluding with the Devati Commander, and they have their greedy sights set on stealing Raquel's powers. (This conflict doesn't need inclusion, the sister's kidnapping is impetus enough for the plot to make sense in the query. Bogging the query down with this stealing of her power's serves only to do just that, bog it down. If you want that to be the main conflict of the query, then get rid of the sister part, or include this point of conflict in more than just this sentence. Sum it up in the ending paragraph, though I advise against it. Too much detail is harmful for a query.)

 

When the Commander kidnaps Raquel's sister, Ella, Raquel is forced to venture into the grisly Shadow World, a realm stewing with dark bargains, deadly games, and unlimited power. To find Ella, Raquel will have to summon the courage to confront her father's shady past, follow the trail of clues he left behind, and defeat the Shadows on their own turf. Yet the very temptations of power that her father succumbed to are now luring her. If she cannot resist them she will lose Ella and herself, forever.

 

 



#4 ALNoelle

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 02:29 PM

Hope I can be of help!

 

Raquel Alexander is the first Soleian to possess all three powers of Light: She can Heal wounds, Calm minds and Protect life. I wouldn't capitalize these words even if they're capitalized in your novel Her father believed her to be touched by the divine, chosen for greatness. Except she can't be, because, for all her powers, she wasn't blessed with the simplest of human traits—courage. Could streamline these two sentences a bit: "Her father believed her to be touched by the divine, but Raquel lacks courage..." or something along those lines. And only the bravest could've saved Raquel's dad from the soul-devouring Devati Shadows. Raquel isn't divine. She's cursed. And it's this wretched "curse" that made her run when her dad needed her to fight. Can streamline this too--you can just say "Raquel ran away when her dad was attacked by the soul-devouring..." I just don't think you need four sentences to convey this. Every word counts in a query! :)

 

Raquel is hell-bent on joining the elite Soleian Guard—soldiers charged with Protecting the human race from the Devati Shadows—and conquering her crippling fear (and, dare she say it, avenge her father's death). It would be great to have more of a transition from her cowardice to her change in actions. Even something as simple as "Humiliated by her cowardice, she becomes determined to..." But during her inaugural hunt, her plans for redemption crumble when her dad appears: alive, and working for the enemy. Even worse, he's colluding with the Devati Commander, and they have their greedy sights set on stealing Raquel's powers. Ooh, this is interesting!

 

When the Commander kidnaps Raquel's sister, Ella, Raquel is forced to venture [I've read that "is forced to" doesn't sound good in a query because it implies the protagonist has no agency/doesn't make choices of their own. You can say "Raquel chooses to venture..." or even just "Raquel ventures.."] into the grisly Shadow World, a realm stewing with dark bargains, deadly games, and unlimited power. To find Ella, Raquel will have to summon the courage to confront her father's shady past, follow the trail of clues he left behind, and defeat the Shadows on their own turf. And she'll have to do it without succumbing to the temptations of power and glory that lured her dad. If she fails, she'll lose Ella, and maybe even herself, forever. Nice stakes. 

 

WHEN SHADOWS REFUSE TO FADE is a YA Fantasy, complete at 84,000 words, that will appeal to readers who loved (I'm still working on my comps). A full or partial manuscript is available upon request. I am writing to you because XXX. Thank you for your time and consideration. I have included XXX.

 

Nice job, I think there's a lot of room for tightening in the first two paragraphs but it sounds interesting. Good luck!

 

Love your idea of not capitalizing the "list". The first sentenced has bugged me, and I think the combo tips between you and Wayfarer straighten this out.

 

Also love your tip on the transitional sentence on the second para. Thank you for your help!



#5 ALNoelle

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 02:33 PM

 

Raquel Alexander is the first Soleian to possess all three powers of Light: She can Heal wounds, Calm minds and Protect life. (Make this your introductory hook. Also, I would change the list to read simply, "Healing, Calming, and Protection." ​Thx for this tip. I needed something different here and you've nailed it. I know there's more depth to them than that, but for the query you don't need an abundance of detail, that's what the synopsis, and even more-so the actual manuscript is for. You can fudge details or fib on your query, as long as it's not completely different from your story, and it's intriguing, then that's all that matters.)

 

Her father believed her to be touched by the divine, chosen for greatness. Except she can't be. because, For all her powers, she wasn't blessed with the simplest of human traits—courage. If she was, she would have been able to save her dad from the soul-devouring Devati Shadows. But only the bravest of souls could've done that, and she is not one.And only the bravest could've saved Raquel's dad from the soul-devouring Devati Shadows. Raquel isn't divine. She's cursed. And it's this wretched curse that made her run when her dad needed her to fight.

 

To conquer her crippling fear, Raquel has been hell-bent on joining the elite Soleian Guard—soldiers charged with Protecting the human race from the Devati Shadows—and avenging her father's death (and, dare she say it, avenge her father's death)(Don't use parentheticals). But during her inaugural hunt, her plans for redemption crumble when her dad appears: alive, and working for the enemy. Even worse, he's colluding with the Devati Commander, and they have their greedy sights set on stealing Raquel's powers. (This conflict doesn't need inclusion, the sister's kidnapping is impetus enough for the plot to make sense in the query. Bogging the query down with this stealing of her power's serves only to do just that, bog it down. If you want that to be the main conflict of the query, then get rid of the sister part, or include this point of conflict in more than just this sentence. Sum it up in the ending paragraph, though I advise against it. Too much detail is harmful for a query.)  ​The reason they kidnap Raquel's sister (below) is to lure Raquel into the Shadow realm and make her vulnerable to attack. I used the word bait in the next sentence (see below). In your opinion, does that clear this up? 

 

When the Commander kidnaps Raquel's sister, Ella, as bait, Raquel is forced to venture into the grisly Shadow World, a realm stewing with dark bargains, deadly games, and unlimited power. To find Ella, Raquel will have to summon the courage to confront her father's shady past, follow the trail of clues he left behind, and defeat the Shadows on their own turf. Yet the very temptations of power that her father succumbed to are now luring her. If she cannot resist them she will lose Ella and herself, forever.

 

 

 

 

Thanks a bunch for your critique!



#6 JDSmith

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 05:30 PM

I pretty much agree with the others. Wish I'd gotten here sooner because all of my comments are similar to what has already been said. This query hooked me, but I think it needs to be slimmed down. Fewer details, really. I don't like "greedy" when discussing their intentions. I don't know why, but it doesn't feel right for people to be greedy for her super heavenly gifts. Unless of course they can be exploited. If so, tell us why plz


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

 

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Write on!


#7 ALNoelle

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 11:21 AM

I pretty much agree with the others. Wish I'd gotten here sooner because all of my comments are similar to what has already been said. This query hooked me, but I think it needs to be slimmed down. Fewer details, really. I don't like "greedy" when discussing their intentions. I don't know why, but it doesn't feel right for people to be greedy for her super heavenly gifts. Unless of course they can be exploited. If so, tell us why plz

 

Thanks for the help! I'm going to have to think over the "greedy" thing. Her powers are definitely exploitable, and I want to make that clear! 



#8 ALNoelle

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 07:01 PM

Dear (Agent),

 

Raquel Alexander is the first Soleian to possess all three powers of Light: healing wounds, calming minds and protecting life. Her father believed her to be touched by the divine, chosen for greatness. Except she can't be, because, for all her powers, she wasn't blessed with the simplest of human traits—courage. And only the bravest could've saved Raquel's dad from the soul-devouring Devati Shadows. Raquel isn't divine, she's cursed, and it's this wretched "curse" that made her run when her dad needed her to fight.

 

Humiliated by her cowardice, Raquel becomes hell-bent on conquering her fears by joining the elite Soleian Guard—soldiers charged with protecting the human race from the Devati Shadows—and avenging her father's death. But during her inaugural hunt, her plans for redemption crumble when her dad appears: alive, and working for Devati Commander. Even worse, they have their sights set on stealing Raquel's powers.

 

When the Commander kidnaps Raquel's sister, Ella, as bait, Raquel resolves to venture into the grisly Shadow World, a realm stewing with dark bargains, deadly games, and unlimited power. To find Ella, Raquel will have to summon the courage to confront her father's shady past, follow the trail of clues he left behind, and defeat the Shadows on their own turf. And she'll have to do it without succumbing to the temptations of power and glory that lured her dad. If she fails, she'll lose Ella, and maybe even herself, forever.

 

WHEN SHADOWS REFUSE TO FADE is a YA Fantasy, complete at 84,000 words, that will appeal to readers who loved (I'm still working on my comps). I am writing to you because XXX. Thank you for your time and consideration. I have included XXX.

 

Sincerely,



#9 IndusiumGriseum

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 12:20 AM

 

Dear (Agent),

 

Raquel Alexander is the first Soleian to possess all three powers of Light: healing wounds, calming minds and protecting life. Her father believed her to be touched by the divine, chosen for greatness. Except she can't be, because, for all her powers, she wasn't blessed with the simplest of human traits—courage. (I'd rephrase this sentence. It's a bit choppy.) And only the bravest could've saved Raquel's dad from the soul-devouring Devati Shadows. Raquel isn't divine, she's cursed, and it's this wretched "curse" that made her run when her dad needed her to fight. (You've jumped from the narrator's description to Raquel's personal feelings. You could specify that this is how Raquel feels about the issue.)

 

Humiliated by her cowardice, Raquel becomes hell-bent on conquering her fears by joining the elite Soleian Guard—soldiers charged with protecting the human race from the Devati Shadows—and avenging her father's death. But during her inaugural hunt, her plans for redemption crumble when her dad appears: alive, and working for the Devati Commander. Even worse, they have their sights set on stealing Raquel's powers.

 

When the Commander kidnaps Raquel's sister, Ella, as bait, (Why is the Commander trying to bait Raquel? My impression is that she's just a regular soldier in the Soleian Guard.) Raquel resolves to venture into the grisly Shadow World, a realm stewing with dark bargains, deadly games, and unlimited power. To find Ella, Raquel will have to summon the courage to confront her father's shady past, follow the trail of clues he left behind, and defeat the Shadows on their own turf. And she'll have to do it without succumbing to the temptations of power and glory that lured her dad. If she fails, she'll lose Ella, and maybe even herself, forever.

 

WHEN SHADOWS REFUSE TO FADE is a YA Fantasy, complete at 84,000 words, that will appeal to readers who loved (I'm still working on my comps). I am writing to you because XXX. Thank you for your time and consideration. I have included XXX.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Great revision! I would definitely add in why the Commander bothered to kidnap Ella to bait Raquel to give more context to the stakes.


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#10 ALNoelle

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 11:43 AM

Thanks to everyone who critiqued this for me! I'm heading to a writers conference in April where they will be critiquing query letters live, and I feel much more confident!

 

I'm still happy to critique anyone else's letter, so if you're reading this, let me know which one is yours!

 


 

 



#11 Kelz1990

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 11:30 AM

 

Dear (Agent),

 

Raquel Alexander is the first Soleian to possess all three powers of Light: healing wounds, calming minds and protecting life. Her father believed her to be touched by the divine, and chosen for greatness. Except she can't be, because,  But even with for all her powers, she wasn't blessed with the simplest of human traits—courage. And only the bravest could've saved Raquel's dad from the soul-devouring Devati Shadows. Raquel isn't divine - she's cursed, and it's this wretched "curse" that made her run when her dad needed her to fight.

 

Humiliated by her cowardice, Raquel becomes hell-bent on conquering her fears by joining the elite Soleian Guard—soldiers charged with protecting the human race from the Devati Shadows—and avenging her father's death. But during her inaugural hunt, her plans for redemption crumble when she finds her dad appears:  not only alive, but also and working for Devati Commander. Even worse, they have their sights set on stealing Raquel's powers. (Ooh!)

 

When the Commander kidnaps Raquel's sister, Ella, as bait, Raquel resolves to venture into the grisly Shadow World, a realm stewing with dark bargains, deadly games, and unlimited power. To find Ella, Raquel will have to summon the courage to confront her father's shady past, follow the trail of clues he left behind, and defeat the Shadows on their own turf. And she'll have to do it without succumbing to the temptations of power and glory that lured her dad. If she fails, she'll lose Ella, and maybe even herself, forever.

 

WHEN SHADOWS REFUSE TO FADE is a YA Fantasy, complete at 84,000 words, that will appeal to readers who loved (I'm still working on my comps). I am writing to you because XXX. Thank you for your time and consideration. I have included XXX.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

You've got an interesting story on your hands.



#12 ltlibrarian

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 08:17 PM

 

Dear (Agent),

 

(age?) Raquel Alexander is the first Soleian to possess all three powers of Light: healing wounds, calming minds and protecting life. Her father believed her to be touched by the divine, chosen for greatness. Except she can't be, because, for all her powers, she wasn't blessed with the simplest of human traits—courage. And only the bravest could've saved Raquel's dad from the soul-devouring Devati Shadows. Raquel isn't divine, she's cursed, and it's this wretched "curse" that made her run when her dad needed her to fight. - this feels like a bit too much backstory vs. a hook. It started well, but it's missing that hook, what are the stakes? why does she need courage? she couldn't save her dad can go in the second paragraph, but here I would suggest focusing on what she needs to do.

 

Humiliated by her cowardice, Raquel becomes hell-bent on conquering her fears by joining the elite Soleian Guard—soldiers charged with protecting the human race from the Devati Shadows—and avenging her father's death. But during her inaugural hunt, her plans for redemption crumble when her dad appears: alive, and working for Devati Commander. Even worse, they have their sights set on stealing Raquel's powers. - ohhh this is a juicy twist here, I like it

 

When the Commander kidnaps Raquel's sister, Ella, as bait, Raquel she resolves to venture into the grisly Shadow World, a realm stewing with dark bargains, deadly games, and unlimited power. To find her sister Ella, Raquel will she'll have to summon the courage to confront her father's shady past, follow the trail of clues he left behind, and defeat the Shadows on their own turf. And she'll have to do it without succumbing to the temptations of power and glory that lured her dad. If she fails, she'll lose her sister Ella, and maybe even herself, forever. - here the reason I get rid of the sister's name is 1) because it cuts down on introducing too many character names 2) it helps focus on Raquel and 3) it stops you from having to use Raquel's name so much to distinguish between which 'she' you're talking about

 

WHEN SHADOWS REFUSE TO FADE is a YA Fantasy, complete at 84,000 words, that will appeal to readers who loved (I'm still working on my comps). I am writing to you because XXX. Thank you for your time and consideration. I have included XXX.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

I hope that helps! I think you have an intriguing story here, the query just needs to be tightened up a bit more.

 

If you have time I would very much appreciate any feedback on my query here: http://agentquerycon...-critique-back/


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#13 ALNoelle

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 11:24 AM

I hope that helps! I think you have an intriguing story here, the query just needs to be tightened up a bit more.

 

If you have time I would very much appreciate any feedback on my query here: http://agentquerycon...-critique-back/

 

Oooh love the suggestion about using "sister". Makes the letter clean. Thanks for your help!



#14 kleblanc13

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 02:16 PM

 

Dear (Agent),

 

Raquel Alexander is the first Soleian to possess all three powers of Light: healing wounds, calming minds and protecting life. --Color me intrigued... Her father believed her to be touched by the divine, chosen for greatness. Except she can't be, because, for all her powers, she wasn't blessed with the simplest of human traits—courage. And only the bravest could've saved Raquel's dad from the soul-devouring Devati Shadows. Raquel isn't divine, she's cursed, and it's this wretched "curse" that made her run when her dad needed her to fight. Great first paragraph!

 

Humiliated by her cowardice, Raquel becomes hell-bent on conquering her fears by joining the elite Soleian Guard—soldiers charged with protecting the human race from the Devati Shadows—and avenging her father's death. But during her inaugural hunt, her plans for redemption crumble when her dad appears: alive, and working for Devati Commander. Even worse, they have their sights set on stealing Raquel's powers.

 

When the Commander kidnaps Raquel's sister, Ella, as bait, bait for what exactly? Raquel resolves to venture into the grisly Shadow World, a realm stewing with dark bargains, deadly games, and unlimited power. --nice evocative description of the Shadow World To find Ella, Raquel will have to summon the courage to confront her father's shady past, follow the trail of clues he left behind, and defeat the Shadows on their own turf. And she'll have to do it without succumbing to the temptations of power and glory that lured her dad. If she fails, she'll lose Ella, and maybe even herself, forever.

 

WHEN SHADOWS REFUSE TO FADE is a YA Fantasy, complete at 84,000 words, that will appeal to readers who loved (I'm still working on my comps). I am writing to you because XXX. Thank you for your time and consideration. I have included XXX.

 

Sincerely,

 

This seems like a great query. Best of luck going forward with this!






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