Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Entry 44

Genre: YA Fantasy

For your consideration is STRANGE SOBRIQUET, my 95,000-word novel of young adult fantasy adventure set in an alternate early-twentieth century Europe.

What if you were a teenager, capable of drawing strength from the latent energy in your world -- and others -- but could literally be remembered for no more than 15 minutes? What would make you care enough to continue on as a hero?

This responsibility of protector could prove too much for sixteen-year-old Gabriel. An assistant to the world’s greatest Warden, the boy's been sheltered for years, his parents' identities kept secret and his gifts untapped. That is, until the day cloaked men, bearing the mark of a long-extinct evil called the Sundu, attempt to kidnap the King's strong-willed daughter. During a routine errand for his master, Gabriel intercepts the Sundu and thwarts the kidnapping.

But the princess is not the only one under attack. The Sundu target all of the Cirri Children, prophets with a gemstone birthmark of royalty, in the hopes of harvesting the children's stones and unlocking an evil that will complete their return.

While the King deploys the Wardens and other allies on a mission to save the children, Gabriel is ordered to stay behind. Nearly everyone fears what will become if he discovers his powers -- all the pedigreed scholars and wizards unable to see the lines, let alone the ends, of his future. It is only after the King learns of Gabriel's budding romance with the princess that he is sent out with the others. His aim may be to rescue the children, but once outside the care of those who had protected him, he'll need all his abilities just to salvage his own identity.

I’m an award-winning marketing communications professional, which I believe could be an asset in marketing STRANGE SOBRIQUET. Furthermore, my fiction has received recognition from Writers of the Future. And I’m a graduate of Viable Paradise, where I studied with scifi and fantasy luminaries, including Patrick Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi.

I appreciate you reading the query for STRANGE SOBRIQUET and considering representation. The full manuscript is available at your request.


  1. Just a note, I've read that starting a query off with a rhetorical question is bad form. You've got an interesting voice, but the query could stand to be shorter and less vague.

  2. I agree rhetorical questions are frowned upon, plus the questions make me wonder about portions of your manuscript. For example how can he not be aware of his powers if no one remembers him after fifteen minutes or how can he have a budding romance, if she can't remember him. It may not kick in until he embraces his powers, but this still causes more questions that would likely lead to a rejection.

    Try tightening up the query a little bit--focus on Gabriel's mission, and what is causing him to lose his identity.

    The story sounds intriguing, but I need to understand it more. Good luck!

  3. Agree about the rhetorical questions. The problem with them is that the reader is always tempted to give a snarky response.

    I know space is limited, but I'd love to get more of a sense of what this alternate Europe is all about. How does it diverge from our world? For example, "set in an alternate early-twentieth century Europe where WWI never happened and kings and queens still hold absolute power."

    Also, please be clearer on what Gabriel's power is, because I think you have a really interesting concept there, but I'm not sure how exactly his power works.

    Best of luck!

  4. I agree with the others. Lose the rhetorical questions. You need to work that information into the body of the query. Also, I found myself wanting to skim by the time I hit the third paragraph, with a whole lot of story left to go. There's too much information here.

    I would stick to the bare bones of Gabriel's story. This revision will probably be too minimal for your taste, but it might be a starting point:

    "In an alternate past, sixteen-year-old Gabriel didn't know he had the power to draw latent energy from the world until he was at the right place at the wrong time and rescued a princess--one of the Cirri Children. Now the king has deployed Gabriel and the rest of the Wardens to save the other Cirri Children, and keep Gabriel away from pursuing romance with his daughter.

    Unsheltered in the world for the first time, Gabriel must use all his abilities to save not just the Cirri, but himself."

    Like I said, very minimalist, but you need to be able to pare any story down to just a few sentences if necessary.

    Best of luck to you!

  5. Jamie Weiss ChiltonMay 10, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    I recommend omitting the questions in your first paragraph, and working in the relevant information another way.

    I'd like to see this plot boiled down more to its essence. I know it's very tricky to do that with a complex fantasy world, but there's so much detail in this query it's a bit overwhelming.

    Nice work -- a bit more streamlining and you're there.


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