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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Query Letter for Mary: Channeling Miss Snark and editing for a friend.

First, I'll preface this by saying thank you to Mary for being so brave and so trusting. Getting your work publicly critiqued is always a little nerve-wracking.

Second, feel free to jump in at any time. I'm going to edit this twice. Once (in red) with my Miss Snark Hat on and a second time with my Helpful Editor Hat on (in green).

*grabs hats*

When Marian isn't helping her mother with her herbalist trade cut the word trade, try shop maybe?, she retreats to the forest. The woods hold a secret for her alone, a crying voice that echoes her own loneliness. When the forest is targeted for lumber, Marian is determined to find a way to stop it. To stop the forest? Hit enter here and start a new paragraph. Unbeknownst to her, however, the mythical Fey have their own reason for saving the forest. They take matters into their own hands and burn the village to protect the spirit of their banished goddess. Furious at the loss of her mother and home, Marian unleashes a magic she didn't know she had. Her magic becomes the one way she can have control in her life.
Okay, so this girl is lonely. Why is she lonely again? Because her mother sells herbs? I'm having trouble connecting to why I should care about her. And then the fairies go and burn the village, I think that's probably your starting catalyst and where you need to start the query.
This is a bit of a word mob. If you condense this down I think it would make a good hook paragraph. I love the emotion you put into this!
The Fey seek the hope of their race, a woman of mixed blood who can initiate the return of their goddess before their magic dies. The Enchanters fear the Fey goddess and kill every female born with magic in order to prevent her return. Marian fits the description, but only wishes to study her magic in peace. Marian must choose to either save those who killed her mother or lose the magic that has defined her.
How does it define her?

Emergence of the Fey is a 95,000 word work of fantasy. I have been a moderator and fantasy newsletter editor for over two years on Writing.com.
MSH says: Not bad, make it a little tighter and query widely.
HEH says: I like it! I want to know a little bit more about Marian and her struggles but the query sounds promising enough that I want to read.

Tomorrow I've arranged for a guest blogger to stop by and give us her feedback on query letters and some advice on what might make both the samples we've seen just a little bit better.


  1. Great to post queries and critique them! I love the idea.

  2. Thank you for the feedback, both red and green. :-) "Promising" is much better than my first draft. Lol. Will take these notes into the next draft.

    Yay, guest blogger! Not that I want someone to replace you, just excited about more query letter advice. ;-)

  3. Yes, great idea!

    Is the guest Blogger a zombie? *squeezes eyes shut and prays to the zombie gods that it is so*

  4. :o) Thanks for being a good sport, Mary.

  5. That would imply I'd actually written the query this weekend :)

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  7. Wow! I love how you pull on a Miss Snark Hat to crit.

    Guest blogger? Hmm. Could be interesting... How would that be accomplished?

  8. A zombie guest blogger?

    I'll have to see if Merc has any to spare :o)

    *snickers in general about guest bloggers*

    Emina- Our dear guest is kindly shredding and rewriting crits for Mary and myself. And then I'll post the guests bio tomorrow late. It starts, "On a dark and stormy night..."

  9. *is on the lookout for zombies*

    Shredding? *gulp*
    Glad I'm not showing anyone my query!

  10. Whee!

    Is immenslepatlely excitapated :)