- By: Jessica Faust | Date: Sep 07 2011
By repeated request we’ve started Workshop Wednesday. It will definitely play out through 2011, and beyond that we’ll just have to see. We’ve received well over 200 queries at this point, but we are choosing at random, so don’t be afraid to participate as per the guidelines in our original post.
For anyone wanting to comment, we ask that you comment in a polite and respectful manner, and we ask that you be as constructive as possible. If you can be useful to the brave souls who submitted their query and comment on the query, that’s great. Please keep any anonymous tirades on publishing or other snarky comments to yourself. This is and should remain an open and safe forum for people to put themselves and their queries out there so that everyone can learn. I’m leaving comments open and open to anonymous posters, as I always have; don’t make me feel the need to change that policy.
And for those who have never “met” Query Shark, get over there and do that. She’s the originator of the query critique, the queen, if you will.
Dear Ms. Faust,
Daphne knew something was wrong when she started sleepwalking, sleep-stalking and (apparently) sleep-eating.
This opening sentence is fine, but that’s about it. It lacks any real punch and I have to say there’s nothing really different or hooky about sleepwalking, etc. In fact, it is sort of like opening a book with a dream. It happens so often (at least we see it so often) that it lacks the power writers are hoping for.
She soon discovers her nocturnal wanderings are not an undiagnosed psychological condition, but the first sign of her other nature. Daphne is one of the Ulv, shapeshifters descended from Norsemen blessed by the gods. As if discovering she can turn into a wolf isn’t bad enough, Daphne has to face the fact that her father’s death wasn’t a hunting accident and her grandfather was responsible.
I think rather than explaining the Ulv as “shapeshifters descended from Norsemen” you’d be better by getting more specific about Daphne instead. What kind of shapeshifter is she? I don’t think we need the history, we need the now.
Daphne begins digging into the past while attempting to control her second nature and avoid her grandfather’s assassins. He wants to be Overking of all the Ulv, and he’ll kill anyone who get’s in his way, including the actual heir–Daphne.
After reading this I wonder if we need the opening line at all? Can you instead focus on Daphne’s discovery and her need to escape her grandfather? That seems to be the hook of the book, not the fact that she’s sleepwalking.
I also think I’d like a better sense of the world here and, ultimately, there’s nothing in this query that really makes it jump out for me. Sadly, I feel that might be true of the book. There’s nothing that makes this sound different in today’s market.
BLOODLINES is a YA contemporary fantasy novel of 50,000 words.
What concerns me most about this is that at no time in your query did I have any sense that this was going to be YA. This came as quite a shock actually and, possibly because of that, the word count seems too short for this kind of story as well. Ultimately, in reading your query I got no sense of a YA voice or that Daphne could be a YA character. She felt way too old.
Thank you for your time and consideration.