Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Feedback Request

 The author of the query featured just below this post would like feedback on this new version:

Zae Mir leads the spell-dancers ordered to magically assist the army opposing the enslaving conqueror Thaeredn Khatsz. Khatsz possesses god-like powers and commands formidable supernatural beings. To counter them, the dancers hope to recruit similar beings, unfortunately unpredictable, along their march.

One of Khatsz's closest henchmen sees in Mir a tool to further their own treacherous agenda. [Is "their" referring to the henchman with a plural pronoun, or is it referring to the Khatsz army? Technically, it would refer to Mir, the most recently mentioned character.] Masquerading as one of these beings, they help him rescue a fellow dancer, evade capture, and survive attacks. [I know it's no crime to use plural pronouns in place of singular nouns these days, but it's making this confusing. "They help him" means the henchman helps Mir (him instead of them), but why does one henchman get a plural pronoun (they instead of him) while one spell Dancer gets a singular pronoun (him instead of them)? It could just as easily be "he helps them" or "they help them." Does this henchman have a name? "Bob helps Mir" would be clearer.] [Also, I don't like "these beings" when no beings were mentioned in the previous sentence. Maybe end the first paragraph with: "But Khatsz's closest henchman, impersonating one of these supernatural beings, infiltrates Mir's troupe in order to further their/his/her/its own treacherous agenda." That pretty much eliminates the second paragraph.]

Then betrayals within the army [which army?] put Mir and the other dancers on the front line. And inadvertently reveal how close to Khatsz the henchman is. Mir is severely injured protecting his fellows, kept alive but held powerless by the henchman. Playing along with this traitor may be the army's only chance to defeat Khatsz--or lead to [could make] Mir himself complicit in their defeat.

[Ending with Mir facing the crucial decision: should he play along with Bob the traitor or risk losing the war? is good, but being alive but powerless is not. I'd remove the middle sentence of that paragraph, and replace it with something like: "Mir realizes he can't trust Bob, but wonders: can he use him?"

If all this leaves your plot summary feeling a bit short, add a few more details, maybe about spell dancing. 

I don't know how far into the book this summary goes. If the book covers an entire war, this query seems like it's covering just the first few chapters, which might be problematic.


Anonymous said...

Hey author, congratulations on finishing your book.

This version does look like an improvement over the previous, so keep going--you'll get there.

What the brilliant EE said. Also, you might want to include a few details about Bob's agenda.

Good Luck

query writer said...

Thank you EE and anonymous. I was wondering if it needed a bit more detail.

EE, Bob getting found out and becoming more directly involved thereafter is a bit after the midpoint of the book. The story is more focused on Mir's involvement in the war than the war itself, although he is directly involved in a couple of important battles and taking down Cat at the end. I was actually more wondering if I was covering events that were happening too late since I've heard that the query should cover the first few chapters.

Evil Editor said...

Not sure where that first few chapters "rule" came from. Here's what should be in the query:

1. Who's the main character? What's her situation? What's her goal?

2. What's his plan to reach that goal? What obstacles prevent his reaching it? What's his Plan B? What decision must he make that could make or break his mission?

3. What's at stake? i.e. What will happen if they fail? If they succeed?

If all that is covered in the first few chapters, great. Usually it takes longer, like maybe two thirds of the book. Of course every book is different; this is just a general template.