Friday, October 4, 2013

Query Critique #1

Good morning, everyone!

Today I'm posting the first in a series of query critiques. I plan on posting one every Friday, so please check back. Thanks so much to the authors for the use of their queries! Okay, on to the critique...


In the realm of Wyverndawn, a wizard’s height is the mark of his power, and shrinking one inch is disastrous for twelve-year-old Gerald. This is a really good first line. Looking to gain an inch or two, Gerald decides a little landscaping is just what his village needs. I wasn't sure what this sentence has to do with the spell (in the following sentence). The spell has something to do with landscaping? But the spell he bought - from a guy who knows a guy - is a tad more powerful than even he anticipates. Nice. The resulting earthquake breaks off a chunk of Wyverndawn from the rest of the realm allowing Vabalaz, a highly dangerous wizard, to escape from prison. 

A red-faced Gerald is banished from his village and, to complete his shame, shrinks another inch; two more and he’ll join his father as a Royal Equine Poop Disposal Coordinator. Is shrinking the punishment for all wrongdoing and for everyone? I also don't think you need to mention that he'll be working with his father. Gerald’s love of shiny wizarding objects leads him straight to a golden amulet that could be the answer to his problems. How did he learn about the amulet? But when Vabalaz discovers it may also be the key to creating his dream wizard realm, the hunt is on. How would this affect Gerald and his people? It seems like that would be a bad thing. 

Gerald’s hopes of returning home hinge on repairing the damage to Wyverndawn and thwarting Vabalaz’s plans.  But he could really do without fighting off bumbling bandits, dealing with a very smelly Orcling and evading a female elven assassin. I don't think you really need this sentence. The rest of the query sets up the conflict, and stakes fairly well. Failure could mean Gerald’s next spell might very well be his last. The last line works well, too. Overall, I think this a pretty solid query. 


Kara said...

I've seen this query in several different contests, and every time I see it I'm like HOW IS THIS NOT A BOOK YET? Carl, my son will be the right age for this book in a few years- you better make it happen by then! I think Jordy's comments are just what it needed to be tightened up.

Carl Hackman said...

Hi Jordy, thanks for the critique, I really appreciate the tips to tighten it further. It is rare that we have the privilege of an agent's thoughts on a query and it really does help.

Hi Kara, thanks for the comments. I always appreciate an extra set of eyes, and comments, on the MS. If you would like a pdf of GERALD just give me a shout.

Michelle 4 Laughs said...

This query just keeps getting better and better! Good luck, Carl!

Carl Hackman said...

Thanks Michelle, and once again, congrats on your representation :) I can't wait to see it in print..

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