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Black Blood (YA Fantasy)


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#1 sri.1209

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Posted 28 June 2018 - 08:44 PM

Please edit my query. I will edit back if you let me know.

 

Dear Agent,

 

Seventeen-year-old Mahi has both traits the Kingdom of Ashokya fears above all else. She is a Harami, a child of mixed castes; she is also part Black Blood.

 

Like every child born in Ashokya, Mahi's caste defines her destiny. Born into the royal family, Mahi must marry a member of the Kshatriya--Royal--caste, and become the Maharani of Ashokya, when she turns of age.

 

However, the night before Mahi's eighteenth birthday, the night before her coronation, one dark secret she learns from her past changes everything she knew, or thought she knew, about her family: Mahi's mother had an extramarital relationship with a man of Black Blood, who is her biological father. In other words, Mahi is directly part of the Black Blood lineage, also known as the Forbidden Caste.

 

Almost two decades ago, it was widely rumored and believed that those of Black Blood possessed abnormal and dangerous abilities; some even claimed they had the power to summon Lord Shiva and converse with him. Convinced that a connection with the Gods could threaten his reign over Ashokya, the Maharaj ordered the execution of every Black Blood in the community, murdering hundreds of families.

 

Even though Mahi is first in line to the throne of Ashokya, she has no doubt in her mind that the discovery of her mixed lineage would lead to brutal imprisonment or imminent death.

 

Stripped from the only reality she ever knew, Mahi must hide or learn to control a series of strange abilities that present themselves to her, including a powerful connection to the almighty Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi.

 

Mahi also wields a terrifying, yet powerful, ability thought to have been lost for many centuries, even amongst those of Black Blood: the ability to see the future.

 

BLACK BLOOD is a 75,000 word young adult fantasy that takes a fantastical spin on the Indian hierarchical caste system and Hindu mythology

 

Diversity is very important to me as a reader and a writer. I’ve noticed that many books in the YA market fail to explore the traditions of India and the strength and vulnerability of Indian females. As an immigrant from Southern India myself, I wanted to bridge this gap and write about a place that is close to my heart. BLACK BLOOD is my first novel.

 

I’ve read on your manuscript wish list that you are currently looking for young adult fantasy, diverse voices, and strong female characters. For this reason, I believe BLACK BLOOD would be a good fit for your list.

 

Thank you for your time and attention,

 

(Signature)



#2 RegE

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 01:27 AM

Please edit my query. I will edit back if you let me know.

 

Dear Agent,

 

The color of your blood defines your destiny

 

The Kingdom of Ashokya is divided into six, very distinct blood lines. The poor servants, peasants, merchants, and farmers are of brown blood. The aggressive, often violent, soldiers and guards are of red blood. Peaceful caretakers, healers, and scholars are of green blood. The nobility class and royal advisers are of purple blood, while members of the royal family itself are of golden blood.

 

The sixth and final blood line is black blood or forbidden blood. Almost two decades ago, the Maharaj of Ashokya had ordered the execution of every black blood in the kingdom, as they were believed to possess abnormal and dangerous abilities.

 

Intermixing between blood lines is strictly forbidden; Mutts, or children of mixed blood types, are kept in confinement since birth, a cruel punishment to those who chose love or lust over blood

 

All of the above needs to be cut because it is world building / info dumping and doesn't belong in a query. A query should start with your protagonist. 

 

Seventeen-year-old Mahi is first-in-line to the throne of Ashokya and of golden blood (becoming queen somehow gives her golden blood, or she already has it? This is not clear because of the way your sentence is structured).  Like everyone else in the kingdom, Mahi’s entire life is determined at her birth (How is her life determined? This is where you could insert the info about blood types): when she is of age, Mahi must marry a member of the royal family and become the Maharani of Ashokya.

 

However, one dark secret Mahi learns of from her past changes everything: Mahi’s mother had an extramarital relationship with a man of black blood, who is her biological father. In other words, Mahi is a (Are there dogs in your world?) Mutt; she's also part black blood.

 

Stripped from the only reality she ever knew, Mahi must choose where her loyalties lay: the crown of Ashokya or her direct blood line.

 

Soon enough, Mahi must (Don't use must twice) fight a battle she is not ready to fight (Why must she fight a battle? Do her biological family have the power to take on the crown? These stakes are not clear at all), with the consequences being certain death.

 

BLACK BLOOD is a 75,000-word young adult fantasy inspired by India. 

 

Diversity is very important to me as a reader and a writer. I’ve noticed that many books in the YA market fail to explore the traditions of India (In your query it is not clear that this is a story about India at all, so this falls flat. Maybe if you make a  direct comparison from blood olour to the caste system that already exists??? Is that the link? )and the strength and vulnerability of Indian females. As an immigrant from Southern India myself, I wanted to bridge this gap and write about a place that is close to my heart. BLACK BLOOD is my first novel.

 

I’ve read on your manuscript wish list that you are currently looking for YA fantasy, diverse voices, and strong female characters. For this reason, I believe BLACK BLOOD would be a good fit for your list.

 

Thank you for your time and attention,

 

(Signature)

 

My problem with this is that it is athat the entire thing is a cliche. I immediately thought of Red Queen or Red Rising when reading this. It's such an over used  trope: he colour of your skin, eyes, blood etc denotes your social status. I read another query on Absolute Write just the other day, where the colour of the characters fingers indicated their powers. This could work if you give it an original spin. The fact that your novel takes place in India is def this unique spin, but it's not made clear in your query. If you can make the point that blood colour relates to caste and why, this could be a unique, fantastical take on the Indian hierarchical system. Right now, I'm not getting that at all. 



#3 Bkrasnik

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 02:25 PM

Please edit my query. I will edit back if you let me know.

 

Dear Agent,

 

Like every child born into the Kingdom of Ashokya, seveteen-year-old Mahi's blood status or caste defines her destiny. Born into the royal family, Mahi must marry a member of the golden blood status, the royal caste, and become the Maharani of Ashokya when she turns of age. (This is good background information, but I would include this after you give us an engaging hook.)

 

Mahi’s kingdom is divided into six, very distinct blood lines or castes. The poor servants, farmers, and merchants are of brown blood or the Untouchable caste. The aggressive, often violent, soldiers and guards are of red blood or the Shudra caste. The peaceful caretakers, healers, and scholars are of green blood or the Vaishya Caste. Priests and other religious officials are of white blood or the Brahman Caste. The nobility that rule over Ashokya and members of the royal family itself are of golden blood, or the Kshatriya Caste. (Instead of going into detail about all the castes, I would only focus on the castes that are going to be relevant to your main character, and delete the rest.)

 

The sixth and final blood line is black blood or the Forbidden Caste. Almost two decades ago, the Maharaj of Ashokya had ordered the execution of every black blood in the kingdom, as they were believed to possess abnormal and dangerous abilities. (Interesting!)

 

The night before Mahi’s eighteenth birthday, the night before her coronation, one dark secret she learns from her past rocks everything she knew, or thought she knew, about her family: Mahi’s mother had an extramarital relationship with a man of black blood, who is her biological father. In other words, Mahi is an Unwanted, a child of mixed castes; she is also part black blood.

 

Stripped from the only reality she ever knew, Mahi must decide where her loyalties lay: the crown of Ashokya or her direct blood line. She also needs to hide or learn to control a series of strange abilities that present themselves to her (I like this, but this is only mentioned briefly at the end--I think you should flesh this out more because this is what will make your book more unique), with the consequences otherwise being certain death.

 

BLACK BLOOD is a 75,000 word young adult fantasy that takes a fantastical spin on the Indian hierarchical caste system.

 

Diversity is very important to me as a reader and a writer. I’ve noticed that many books in the YA market fail to explore the traditions of India and the strength and vulnerability of Indian females. As an immigrant from Southern India myself, I wanted to bridge this gap and write about a place that is close to my heart. BLACK BLOOD is my first novel.

 

I’ve read on your manuscript wish list that you are currently looking for historical fiction, diverse voices, and strong female characters. For this reason, I believe BLACK BLOOD would be a good fit for your list.

 

Thank you for your time and attention,

 

(Signature)

 

 

 

Your query has a sound logical flow and I understood everything from beginning to end which is a really huge thing, because most other queries are confusing and hard to follow. I would delete the extra detail about the caste's (which I point out above) and use a few extra sentences to flesh out something that makes your book more unique than the others. Otherwise, good job!


Have a moment to offer up some very much appreciated feedback? :)

My Young Adult Dystopian Query: http://agentquerycon...ate-on-post-15/


#4 RegE

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 11:02 PM

Hi again! I reread your query and saw that you do talk about the caste system relating to blood in the exposition paragraphs. So I'm sorry my previous comment didn't address this. If you could somehow weave this info into the main body of your query (that I suggested) then I think you could come up with something really great. Looking forward to seeing your next version :) 



#5 NCruz

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 03:35 PM



Please edit my query. I will edit back if you let me know.

 

Dear Agent,

 

Seventeen-year-old Mahi has both traits the Kingdom of Ashokya fears above all else. She is a Harami, a child of mixed castes; she is also part Black Blood.[Try combining sentences into one that has fewer words.]

 

Like every child born in Ashokya, Mahi's caste defines her destiny. Born into the royal family, Mahi must marry a member of the Kshatriya--Royal--caste, and become the Maharani of Ashokya, when she turns of age.

 

However, the night before Mahi's eighteenth birthday, the night before her coronation, one dark secret she learns from her past changes everything she knew, or thought she knew, about her family: Mahi's mother had an extramarital relationship with a man of Black Blood, who is her biological father. In other words, Mahi is directly part of the Black Blood lineage, also known as the Forbidden Caste.[Cut down the word count. You have a clear idea here, and it doesn't need as much padding.]

 

Almost two decades ago, it was widely rumored and believed that those of Black Blood possessed abnormal and dangerous abilities; some even claimed they had the power to summon Lord Shiva and converse with him. Convinced that a connection with the Gods could threaten his reign over Ashokya, the Maharaj ordered the execution of every Black Blood in the community, murdering hundreds of families.[This is too much backstory in the query. If you need to include background info, keep it short.]

 

Even though Mahi is first in line to the throne of Ashokya, she has no doubt in her mind that the discovery of her mixed lineage would lead to brutal imprisonment or imminent death.[Again, you can cut the word count. ex: Though Mahi is first in line to the throne, she has no doubt that the discovery of her mixed lineage would lead to imprisonment or imminent death.]

 

Stripped from the only reality she ever knew, Mahi must hide or learn to control a series of strange abilities that present themselves to her, including a powerful connection to the almighty Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi.

 

Mahi also wields a terrifying, yet powerful, ability thought to have been lost for many centuries, even amongst those of Black Blood: the ability to see the future.[End with the stakes. If she doesn't succeed, what happens? End on a powerful note that will make the agent want to find out what happens next.]

 

BLACK BLOOD is a 75,000 word young adult fantasy that takes a fantastical spin on the Indian hierarchical caste system and Hindu mythology[I can see the Indian background working in your favor, so you might want to consider putting this at the top of your query. Agents on the lookout for diverse stories will perk up immediately.]

 

Diversity is very important to me as a reader and a writer. I’ve noticed that many books in the YA market fail to explore the traditions of India and the strength and vulnerability of Indian females. As an immigrant from Southern India myself, I wanted to bridge this gap and write about a place that is close to my heart. BLACK BLOOD is my first novel.[This is what makes your story unique. It might have similarities to RED QUEEN and other fantasies, but it's diverse.]

 

I’ve read on your manuscript wish list that you are currently looking for young adult fantasy, diverse voices, and strong female characters. For this reason, I believe BLACK BLOOD would be a good fit for your list.

 

Thank you for your time and attention,

 

(Signature)



#6 W.P.

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 02:02 PM

Dear Agent,

 

Seventeen-year-old Mahi has both traits the Kingdom of Ashokya fears above all else. She is a Harami, a child of mixed castes; she is also part Black Blood. ((Ooooh! Nice hook. I like the content, but I think it could be written in a way that has more impact. I think trimming it down would help. Something simple would do, like: Mahi's existence is the King of Ashokya's greatest fear: a Harami, a child of mixed castes, and part Black Blood. not the best example, but it shows what I mean.))

 

Like every child born in Ashokya, Mahi's caste defines her destiny. Born into the royal family, Mahi must marry a member of the Kshatriya--Royal--caste, and become the Maharani of Ashokya, when she turns of age.

 

However, the night before Mahi's eighteenth birthday, the night before her coronation, one dark secret she learns from her past changes everything she knew, or thought she knew, about her family  ((unnecessarily wordy. The paragraph would be stronger if you got to the point as soon as possible)): Mahi's mother had an extramarital relationship with a man of Black Blood, who is her biological father. In other words, Mahi is directly part of the Black Blood lineage, also known as the Forbidden Caste. ((this reads as repetitive. we know she's half Black Blood. that's what the previous sentence says. the only relevant information is actually "the forbidden caste" which you could add in the first sentence, to make your hook stronger. ))

 

Almost two decades ago, it was widely rumored and believed that those of Black Blood possessed abnormal and dangerous abilities; some even claimed they had the power to summon Lord Shiva and converse with him. Convinced that a connection with the Gods could threaten his reign over Ashokya, the Maharaj ordered the execution of every Black Blood in the community, murdering hundreds of families.

 

Even though Mahi is first in line to the throne of Ashokya, she has no doubt in her mind that the discovery of her mixed lineage would lead to brutal imprisonment or ((the sentence is stronger and more powerful without this. Death alone has so much impact"))) imminent death.

 

Stripped from the only reality she ever knew, Mahi must hide or learn to (("and")) control a series of strange abilities that present themselves to her, including a powerful connection to the almighty Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi.

 

Mahi also wields a terrifying, yet powerful, ability thought to have been lost for many centuries, even amongst those of Black Blood: the ability to see the future.  ((I feel like the last two sentences fall flat. They are exposition, telling us what her powers are. But that is not enticing. Conflict and stakes are. That's why all queries end with the stakes. Cause that's what makes us go "I ned to read this and find out what happens!"))

 

BLACK BLOOD is a 75,000 word young adult fantasy that takes a fantastical spin on the Indian hierarchical caste system and Hindu mythology

 

Diversity is very important to me as a reader and a writer. I’ve noticed that many books in the YA market fail to explore the traditions of India and the strength and vulnerability of Indian females. As an immigrant from Southern India myself, I wanted to bridge this gap and write about a place that is close to my heart. BLACK BLOOD is my first novel.  ((not needed. implied. agents will only think you have published anything before, if you say so.))

 

I’ve read on your manuscript wish list that you are currently looking for young adult fantasy, diverse voices, and strong female characters. For this reason, I believe BLACK BLOOD would be a good fit for your list.

 

Thank you for your time and attention,

 

(Signature)

 

 

 

​Very interesting premise. :) I think some things could be trimmed here and there. But I think the main focus should be the ending: it's not working as well as the rest of the query. It falls flat because it ends withe exposition. Exposition isn't fun. Only for the writers themselves. 

 

I hope this was helpful. :) If you have the time, could you please take a look at my query as well?  http://agentquerycon...-back/?p=358070



#7 Ajax

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 06:02 AM

Dear Agent,

 

Seventeen-year-old Mahi has both traits the Kingdom of Ashokya fears above all else. She is a Harami, a child of mixed castes; she is also part Black Blood. (This is a weak hook. It tells me who the protagonist is but doesn't explain why she's feared by the whole kingdom. A hook needs to show the big picture.) 

 

Like every child born in Ashokya, Mahi's caste defines her destiny. Born into the royal family, Mahi must marry a member of the Kshatriya--Royal--caste, and become the Maharani of Ashokya, when she turns of age. (This is a backstory and sounds like filler within the query.) 

 

However, the night before Mahi's eighteenth birthday, the night before her coronation, one dark secret she learns from her past changes everything she knew, or thought she knew, about her family: Mahi's mother had an extramarital relationship with a man of Black Blood, who is her biological father. In other words, Mahi is directly part of the Black Blood lineage, also known as the Forbidden Caste. (I like the twist, but you still haven't explained why the Black Blood are seen negatively or how exactly Mahi's fate would be impacted here.) 

 

Almost two decades ago, it was widely rumored and believed that those of Black Blood possessed abnormal and dangerous abilities; some even claimed they had the power to summon Lord Shiva and converse with him. Convinced that a connection with the Gods could threaten his reign over Ashokya, the Maharaj ordered the execution of every Black Blood in the community, murdering hundreds of families. (This needs to come up early in the query.) 

 

Even though Mahi is first in line to the throne of Ashokya, she has no doubt in her mind that the discovery of her mixed lineage would lead to brutal imprisonment or imminent death. (You need to rearrange the query to make events follow a liner pattern instead of alternating between backstories and Mahi's arc.) 

 

Stripped from the only reality she ever knew, Mahi must hide or learn to control a series of strange abilities that present themselves to her, including a powerful connection to the almighty Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. (How is her connection vital to the story? What kind of connection? Be more specific.) 

 

Mahi also wields a terrifying, yet powerful, ability thought to have been lost for many centuries, even amongst those of Black Blood: the ability to see the future. (Just add the word 'foretelling' to Mahi's list of powers in the previous paragraph. You can also use this ability to mention a more alarming peril and how Mahi has greater things to fear than her own execution.)

 

BLACK BLOOD is a 75,000 word young adult fantasy that takes a fantastical spin on the Indian hierarchical caste system and Hindu mythology

 

Diversity is very important to me as a reader and a writer. I’ve noticed that many books in the YA market fail to explore the traditions of India and the strength and vulnerability of Indian females. As an immigrant from Southern India myself, I wanted to bridge this gap and write about a place that is close to my heart. BLACK BLOOD is my first novel.
 

(Never explain to the agent why you have written the book or what you want to accomplish with it. It sounds unprofessional, preachy, and desperate. Save this section for discussion with the agent during the call and when they offer you representation.) 

 

I’ve read on your manuscript wish list that you are currently looking for young adult fantasy, diverse voices, and strong female characters. (Good personalisation. Shows that you have done research. However, you can refine it and pinpoint what exactly in your manuscript matches the agent's MSWL beyond the keywords.) For this reason, I believe BLACK BLOOD would be a good fit for your list.

 

Thank you for your time and attention,

 

(Signature)

 

You need to rearrange events in a chronological order and add higher stakes at the end. 

Good luck. 






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