Monday, June 26, 2017

Query Critique Winner

Nicole was lucky #8 this time around!  Here is her query:

Teen bounty hunters Annora and Hellion are scratching a living in the forsaken streets of The Borderlands, still bruising from the bounty that got away.

Annora’s maimed hand is a constant reminder that outlaw, Gabian Zola, is still leaving a string of female victims in his wake because she failed to stop him.

When they learn that Gabian has come out of hiding to compete in an upcoming blood tournament, Annora and Hellion decide to risk their chances of survival and pursue him once again. Recruiting a runaway girl with her own cryptic bounty notice, they set out across the savage desert to claim the bounty that got away.

The girls join a dozen mercenaries and outlaws to joust, race, and duel, all the while plotting to capture their target. But when Gabian begins to pick the competitors off one by one, it’s clear the hunters are about to become the hunted.

Surrounded by enemies, with secrets unravelling, the friends must fight to survive a world driven wild with bloodlust.

CHASING BLOOD & SCOUNDRELS is complete at 70,000 words, and is a young adult fantasy novel told in multiple points of view. It is standalone with series potential.

REBEL OF THE SANDS meets Mackenzi Lee’s #BygoneBadassBroads, CHASING BLOOD & SCOUNDRELS features LGBT+ elements and may appeal to fans of Susan Dennard and Ryan Graudin.

This manuscript was selected as a 2016 Pitch Wars novel.

And here is my critique:

Teen bounty hunters Annora and Hellion are scratching a living in the forsaken streets of The Borderlands, still bruising from the bounty that got away. [This is a great opening, but expand a bit here and give us a few details about the bounty who got away.] 

Annora’s maimed hand is a constant reminder that outlaw, Gabian Zola, is still leaving a string of female victims in his wake because she failed to stop him. [Clarify here with a sentence or two.  Is Gabian murdering women??  That is the impression I get from this.]

When they learn that Gabian has come out of hiding to compete in an upcoming blood tournament [What is a blood tournament?  And why would he risk coming out of hiding to compete?  What is the reward?], Annora and Hellion decide to risk their chances of survival more body parts and pursue him once again. Recruiting a runaway girl with her own cryptic bounty notice, they set out across the savage desert to finally claim the bounty that got away their prize. [I got rid of "the bounty that got away" here because it sounded too repetitive.]

The girls join a dozen other mercenaries and outlaws to joust, race, and duel, all the while plotting to capture their target. But when Gabian begins to methodically pick the competitors off one by one, it’s clear the hunters are about to become the hunted. that Annora and Hellion are more the hunted than the hunters.

Surrounded by enemies, with secrets unravelling, the friends must fight to survive a world driven wild with bloodlust.

CHASING BLOOD & SCOUNDRELS is complete at 70,000 words, and is a young adult fantasy novel told in multiple points of view. It is standalone with series potential.

REBEL OF THE SANDS meets Mackenzi Lee’s #BygoneBadassBroads, CHASING BLOOD & SCOUNDRELS features LGBT+ elements and may appeal to fans of Susan Dennard and Ryan Graudin. [Love, love, love these comps--great job!]

This manuscript was selected as a 2016 Pitch Wars novel.

This query is in really great shape, so way to go Nicole!  She does a great job of concisely describing the story and drawing readers in, however, you'll see in my comments that I thought there were moments that were a bit too concise.  

Succinct, clear prose is something I love, but when writing a query, be careful that you don't overdo it.  You don't want to ramble on and on, but you do want enough description so that the reader can get a sense of what the manuscript's will feel like and also have enough details to fully understand what the story is about and what is at stake.

Nicole, I hope this critique is helpful!  Everyone else, feel free to chime in with comments below!

9 comments:

  1. What a great query and critique! So helpful!!

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  2. Both the query and the critique are great. One thought, should it be "scratching out a living" in line one?

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  3. Love the query and love that an agent would take the time for a great critique.

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  4. Wow, this is so helpful, both to see what's working and what needs a little more development. Great job, Nicole! And thank you, Carrie!

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  5. Query sounds amazing. Never would have thought to include the thoughts that Carrie gave. Just goes to show how fine tuned an agent's eye for queries is.

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  6. This sounds amazing! I love #BygoneBadassBroads and want to read this! Good luck!

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  7. Brianna LespinasseJune 26, 2017 at 1:26 PM

    I'm intrigued! Great query and really helpful critique!

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  8. That is interesting--it's nice to see the line between too much and not enough explained.

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  9. I agree with all your thoughts Carrie. All the best Nicole.

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