Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #61

THE LAST QUEEN
YA High Fantasy
110,000 words

Query


Elian is a sixteen-year-old Human enslaved by Wolfmen in the dangerous and unforgiving Darklands. He is not expecting his life to change when he attends the wedding of his master Theron, son of the Wolfman leader, to the Elven princess Araminta. He couldn’t be more wrong.

In the Darklands, Elves and Wolfmen have been at war for thousands of years, and Humans have been serving them for even longer. Already an endangered species, the Free Humans from the southern White Plains don’t look kindly on the new alliance between their powerful neighbors. As they strike and turn the wedding feast into a bloodbath, the two ruling castes are annihilated and Elian chooses to save Theron and his fascinating young wife. On the morning of the Red Night, the Darklands awaken to death and desolation. Swept away by the war and its aftermath, Elian is torn between his desire for freedom and his allegiance to his former master. In a land now ruled by a Human king and where everyone worships the new God of Light, it is ultimately his love for Araminta that will decide his fate.

Araminta is the last Elven queen, yet she is also the only one who has ever taken notice of him. But her mere existence is a threat to the Human king. For her, the race for survival has just begun and Elian will stop at nothing to protect her identity – and her life.

THE LAST QUEEN is a 110,000-word YA High Fantasy stand alone novel with series potential.



First 150 words:

The door slammed open behind Araminta and she felt a hand press against her mouth. A powerful force pinned her to her bed and she struggled, letting out a muffled moan.
“Araminta, no!”
The voice was just an urgent whisper, but she recognised the softness of Zelia’s tone somewhere behind it. The young woman was bent over her to lock gazes with her. Her husband was the one holding Araminta.
Araminta calmed down as she realised that the man against her was her brother. Kellan’s dark eyes were focused on the door as he was keeping her still and silent. It was only then that she heard the sounds. Outside her bedchamber, the Castle was under attack. Orders were being shouted, walls and doors smashed down, swords clashed against one another, horses whinnied in pain and people screamed or died at every corridor’s turns.
“Don’t talk,” Kellan mouthed before releasing her.

6 comments:

Bluestocking said...

Your query, while maybe a bit too detailed in places, sounds really interesting, with lots of opportunities for conflict. I like the idea of having your character go from slave to free, and have a lot of emotional baggage to deal with.

I was really excited about this story until I reached your opening. I found a lot of miscues there and some clumsy wording. But with some patient revisions, I think you'll get there. I've included my suggested edits and my questions below:

The door slammed open behind Araminta and a hand pressed against her mouth. A powerful force pinned her to her bed and she struggled, letting out a muffled moan. [Is she on her stomach or back? Is she blinded by bedding? Is the person on top of her too? Sensory details? Specify.]

“Araminta, no!”

She recognised the softness of Zelia’s tone in the urgent whisper.

The young woman was bent over her to lock gazes with her. [I don't understand the choreography of this. Did the person holidng Araminta force her over to see Zelia? Or is Zelia crouched down to make eye contact with her?]
Her husband was the one holding Araminta. [Which "her" since you have two females in this scene...]

Araminta calmed down [can you say something more here? racing heart, breathing slowed, muscles relaxed etc.] as she realised the man restraining her was her brother. Kellan’s dark eyes were focused on the door as he was keeping her still and silent.[How can she see this if he hasn't let go of her yet?] It was only then that she heard the sounds. Outside her bedchamber, shouted orders echoed on stone, walls and doors smashed down, swords clashed against one another, horses whinnied in pain and people screamed or died at every corridor’s turns. [she can hear all of this from her room? The details here are specific but if she's in your traditional medieval castle, she wouldn't be able to tell exactly what's going on, only that it's bad]
“Don’t talk,” Kellan mouthed before releasing her.

You open with action and conflict, but it gets a bit muddied after that. I realize I critiqued this very closely, but please know I want to help make this all the stronger.

Best of luck.

Brittany Pate said...

I think you have a great query here if you can tighten it just a little. The second paragraph is really long compared to the other two and there are so many details and unknown words that it gets a little confusing.

I noticed quite a few uses of 'was' and 'were' in the first 150. If you can make it more active instead of passive, I think you'll have a very powerful beginning. All in all, I think this is a great premise and sounds like an interesting read!

Mike Paulson said...

I felt that your query was fairly well done. As already mentioned, the second paragraph could be tightened up a bit. The sentence "On the morning of the Red Night, the Darklands awaken to death and desolation." could be eliminated, in my opinion, without losing any required information or intrigue.

Also, I notice that you mention at the end of the second paragraph that Elian is also in love with Theron's betrothed Araminta. You might want to mention that higher in the query, as it almost gets lost. On the other hand, you could have meant Theron's love for Araminta, in which case rewording is necessary to make that clear.

As for the first 150 words, the instant action definitely catches the reader's eye, which is good. I'm not sure that the use of was and were is necessarily a bad thing, as I can picture Araminta being and experiencing these things passively. I'd still run through it one more time, though, just to tighten up where you can.

Excellent premise though, and it certainly caught my attention.

TerriKRowe said...

I liked the idea of the twist-of the human captive. It sounds like an engrossing story.

Raewyn Hewitt said...

Your query looks great. But I agree you could easily lose the sentence "On the morning..." without effecting the flow.

The biggest difficulty I had with the first 150 words, like Bluestocking, was with orientation. At first I thought she was standing with her back to the door, but then wondered if she was aready in bed. However if she was in bed wouldn't she be able to see her attacker? It might pay to clarify.

Also it might help if Kellan told her the castle was under attack and then she could hear the noises, smell smoke or see a light out of the window - not usual for that time of night?

On the plus side you start right in the action and the premise sounds really good!

Michelle 4 Laughs said...

A lot of space in your first 150 goes toward establishing relationships. Is it crucial we know who is married to who or related to who at this point? That could come out gradually as the chapter progresses. Just a thought.