Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Feedback Request

The author of the book featured in Face-Lift 1324 requests feedback on the revision below:

Dear Agent,

Seventeen year old Rajani prefers practicing her martial arts to practically anything else except traveling in a caravan across the desert. Far-off places and unfamiliar faces are just the kind of adventure she’s looking for, but as a princess she’s rarely allowed outside the royal gates much less the city. [I feel a song coming on.

Martial arts training and faraway places,

Crossing the desert and strange-looking faces,
Travel and judo and and wild happenings:
These are a few of my favorite things.]

When her father is betrayed and murdered, Rajani fears she’ll be next and flees the city. She hides amid a caravan and plots her revenge. But revenge won’t come cheap and though her skills are considerable Rajani is no match for those who want her dead. She needs money and lots of it. [What's the main thing she needs money for?]

She meets Anthony, the leader of an expedition on the track [trail] of a mythological beast rumored to hoard large quantities of gold, and agrees to accompany him on his quest in exchange for a share of the treasure. [She needs to do more than accompany him if she wants a share. Assist? Aid? Support?] [Also, if the treasure is a rumor and the beast is a myth, I'm not sure how big a commitment I'd want to make to this expedition.] [Has she left the caravan? I'm not sure we need the caravan in the query. She can just flee the city and meet Anthony.]

It’s an uneasy partnership as their very different cultures clash. She earns the respect of the team members when her fighting skills save the day. [From what?] Tentative friendships arise [form] when she agrees to teach [teaches] these skills to some of the team members including Anthony. They’re soon operating as a cohesive unit, but Rajani finds herself wishing for a little one-on-one time with Anthony.

As her feelings for Anthony deepen, Rajani wonders if he would share her affection [Is he returning her affection now?] if [he] knew of her plans to – slowly and painfully - kill those responsible for her father’s death. And while she is willing to pay the price of vengeance with her life, must it be at the expense of her heart? [That sounds good, but on closer examination it seems to say she's willing to die as long as it doesn't mean losing Anthony.] 

Desert Gold is a young adult fantasy novel complete at 82,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.



If Rajani needed money to hire mercenaries to help her get revenge, she now has a cohesive unit of trained fighters, and presumably there's treasure enough behind the royal gates.

The first paragraph doesn't have much besides revealing that Rajani practices martial arts.

 It's an improvement, but maybe you can work with something like this:

When her father is betrayed and murdered, Princess Rajani fears she’ll be next and flees the city to plot her revenge. But revenge won’t come cheap. She'll need money, and lots of it, to hire an army of mercenaries.

She meets Anthony, the leader of a treasure-hunting expedition and agrees to aid him in his quest in exchange for a share of the treasure. It’s an uneasy partnership as their cultures clash, but she earns the respect of the team members when her martial arts skills help drive away some desert marauders. Friendships form when she teaches her skills to Anthony's team. 

As she and Anthony grow closer, Rajani wonders if she would lose his affection if he knew who she was, knew of her plans to – slowly and painfully - kill those responsible for her father’s death. She was willing to risk her life for vengeance, but is she willing to risk her love? 


Anonymous said...

The first paragraph seems to contradict itself. You say she rarely leaves the palace, let alone the city, so I'm wondering how she's spent so much time in caravans that she prefers doing so. I'd also expect that a princess traveling with a caravan would be relatively coddled and not have the experiences any normal person would go through.

When you say amid a caravan, I don't get an image of her traveling with them, more one of ducking in between tents and camels while guards search for her. As some of EE's comments point out, be careful of your word choices.

When you say the creature they're hunting is mythical, I suddenly wonder why she agrees to go on what's likely to be a wild goose chase when she has practical goals like killing someone who's not also going with them.

I'd suggest comparing EE's version to yours, particularly how his leaves out information that raises questions.

endlessedits said...

This version is much better than the first one. My only question is why Anthony would agree to let Rajani in on the cut of gold. How does she aid him? Maybe he witnesses a demonstration of her talent early on?

I only bring this up because it seems unlikely that any treasure hunter would willingly add random people to his own caravan, thereby decreasing his share of gold and the shares of his other men.

Sounds like this query is coming together though! Good luck!