Are you getting excited about #FicFest? I know I am! In honor of this first annual manuscript contest, a few of the mentors (incluyendome a mi) are giving away a query critique each day leading up to submission day (that's April 25th guys, its sooooo soon!) For more details, check out my posts here and here, and the hostess with the mostest Tiffany Hofman's post here.
Technical difficulties means this one is running a tad late, but here is....
Day 2 #QueryHelper Critique
First thoughts: Great length of query and simple, straight forward salutation, if a little funny.
Dear Wise Mentors:
As an unregistered dream spy, [C1] Delania Mather knows the danger in marrying someone she can’t trust. [C2] Every night, she drinks tinctures to send her into a deep sleep that will suppress her abilities. Without the herbs, the dreams of her family, friends and neighbors would invade her mind. She’d see their fears and desires, and they just might recognize her presence there, which would be dangerous for someone who hasn’t registered her psychic ability. [C3] Yet, medicating herself unconscious every night would make her husband suspicious – if she agreed to marry anyone.
Unsure how to wiggle free from an impending proposal and protect her family from the punishment of being unregistered[C4] , Delania boards a ship destined for the Fog, an all-encompassing entity that induces madness when sailors pass through it. She survives the madness desperate to return home[C5] , but the ship is attacked by an enemy fleet from a war-mongering nation. She expects to be held captive, but the King welcomes[C6] her into the political intrigue of his court, inviting her to spy on his people’s dreams for his own gain. [C7] Agreeing could mean accepting the exploitation she spent her whole life hiding from, but appeasing the King could also be her ticket home.[C8]
DREAM SPY is an 88,000-word YA fantasy that can best be described as REIGN with magical abilities to spice up the rivalry and romance. The novel won the 2013 PennWriters Novel Beginnings Contest and will appeal to fans of Maria V. Snyder and Melissa Marr.[C9]
As for me, I hold a PhD in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Letters in Creative Writing from the University of St. Andrews. I teach and conduct scholarly research on composition, literature, and creative writing, and I’m a member of Backspace, Sisters in Crime, and PennWriters.[C10]
Thank you for taking the time to consider my request.
[C1]This is a great hook! It makes the read wonder what a dream spy is, why she isn’t registered, and why the society makes dream spies register in the first place.
[C2]Okay this line makes me immediately think adult fiction, so you might want to add Dalania’s age in this sentence so it settles firmly in the YA category in the mentor/agent/editors mind.
[C5]This is confusing because she just boarded the ship to get away and know she survives to come back home? Why the change of heart? It may be easier to just say that she gets attached by the enemy fleet while aboard.
[C6]You do a great job of not giving us too many characters in this query, but I sort of want to know the king’s name.
[C8]I think the stakes are great, but this sentence lacks tension/urgency. Also, why does she want to go home when she just ran away? Maybe a snippet on that will help make her situation seem more dire.
Final thoughts: This query feels heavy and the stakes need some urgency. BUT it has an intriguing plot and won an award already. I could easily see #FicFest mentors fighting over this one.
Thank you Tamara for trusting me with your work!
If you'd like to get your query under the #QueryHelper's critical eye, be sure to check out this post and enter the rafflecopter giveaway for you chance to be chosen!
All #PCFest posts for PB writers will be in the comments on Monday's post. You are welcome to comment however you like, though if you are specifically searching for a CP, you should make sure to include your critiquing style, maybe some favorite authors of yours, what sort of critique you are looking for, etc. You don't have to be entering Ficfest to post in the #CPFest.
Come on back tomorrow for our next #CPFest critique!