#22 Query Corner: ‘MIRADEN’S FOLLY’

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Morgan’s Query Corner:

Answering Your Query Quandaries

MIRADEN’S FOLLY is a YA fantasy.

When the devilish ashenkin steal the wrong child, Miraden, a young ranger, volunteers to rescue the chieftain’s younger daughter. All he wants is to earn her big sister’s favor. What he gets is a lot more complicated.

NOTE: If you submit your query to me (morgan.s.hazelwood@gmail.com), and you are selected for inclusion, I will give you a high-level review, in-line feedback, and my own draft of your query. If this is your query, feel free to use or ignore as much of the advice and suggestions as you wish.

[Disclaimer: Any query selected for the page will be posted on this website for perpetuity. I am an amateur with no actual accepted queries and a good number of form rejections. This does not guarantee an agent or even an amazing query, just a new take by someone who’s read The Query Shark archives twice and enjoys playing with queries.]

Overall Impression:

Nice elven fantasy! The query has got the formatting and pacing just right!

Things to think about

  1. Make sure you’re not making the women sound like McGuffins – objects to be won. Be sure to emphasize their agency or you’ve got a bad 80s RomCom.
  2. If you have 2 main characters, give them each a paragraph! (if you have more is where it gets tricky)

Original:

[my comments are in blue/italics/brackets]

Dear Agent,

Aspiring ranger, Miraden is in love with Ceychell, the chieftain’s daughter. After she turns him down for the millionth time, he nearly loses hope. But when her sister Kyradel–who adores Miraden–is abducted in the night by ashenkin, Miraden jumps at the opportunity to save her in hopes to gain Ceychell’s favor. [Oh! Here’s the inciting incident!] 

Miraden sends letters back to Ceychell accounting his journeys and affection. [Is the story partially epistolary? That can be a selling point] Ceychell continues to reject his love, but as she finally understands her true feelings for him, it transforms her from a cold bitter teenager into a young leader taking her father’s place as village chieftain [Really? His love is the catalyst? Not her own growing up?]. Despite her efforts to return letters to Miraden, they fail to reach him. 

Once Miraden is on the verge of closing an Ashengate and rescuing Kyradel, he loses focus of his original quest to earn Ceychell’s favor and is left with bitter resolve. He rescues Kyradel and on the journey home, he realizes he’s falling for a companion who has accompanied him on his quest.   [Whoops! The first 3 times I read this, I thought that he’d gone solo, and was falling for Kyradel. Just realized it was a group adventure] Just before returning to his village, he receives a love letter from Ceychell and is left with a choice: embrace the woman he’s loved his entire life, or continue to battle the ashenkin with his new love interest [Love interest? She doesn’t get a description of her own?]. 

Miraden’s Folly is a YA Fantasy novel professionally at 85k words [‘professionally’ is assumed] with potential for series [not quite proper English].   

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Q22


My Revision:

Dear Agent,

When Miraden volunteers to help rescue the chieftain’s younger daughter, Kyradel, from the ashenkin that abducted her, his priority is gaining the favor of her big sister, Ceychell. The [describe them a little: humanoid/monstrous/cultists] ashenkin recognize the value of their hostage. As the rescue party journeys, Miraden sends letters back to Ceychell accounting his journeys and affection.

At first, Ceychell is only concerned with her sister’s loss, ignoring the emotional comments in Miraden’s letters. As she steps up at home to help her father run the village [maybe be more explicit? starts to sit on her father’s council/steps up to help with harvest, since so much of the village is off to rescue her sister/helps deal with the aftermath of the growing ashenkin attacks], she begins to value the skills and care Miraden put, not only into the village but is using to save her sister. Realizing her feelings have shifted, she writes back to let him know that his advances are finally not only welcome but encouraged. 

Miraden is disheartened by Ceychell’s silence, but nothing will prevent his rescue of Kyradel, who has always been fond of him [cut this subordinate clause if Kyradel isn’t the love interest]. On the journey home, Miraden realizes he’s falling for the rescue party’s [other ranger/warrior]. Days out from the village, Ceychell’s letter finally reaches him. Miraden is forced to choose: embrace the woman he’s loved his entire life, or continue to battle the ashenkin with the [warrior/ranger] who’s always had his back. 

Miraden’s Folly is a YA Fantasy novel complete at 85,000 words with series potential. [Any comps? Either books it’s similar to, or authors?] I write from the [Blah blah, area]. When not writing, you can find me [interesting tidbit.] 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Q22


***

I clearly still had a lot of unanswered questions in that draft! I just plain didn’t know enough about the story, so Q22 wrote back, with their new version!

 

Dear Agent,

The devilish ashenkin keep parents awake each night as children continue to disappear. Young ranger Miraden volunteers to rescue the chieftain’s daughter, Kyradel, from the ashenkin to gain favour of her sister, Ceychell.  As the rescue party journeys, Miraden sends letters back to Ceychell accounting his adventure and affection.

At first, Ceychell is consumed with grief and ignores the emotional recounts of Miraden’s letters. As she rises to her own challenges, she begins to value Miraden’s lasting impact, not only on the village but the hero he reluctantly is becoming. Realizing her feelings have rekindled, she makes every effort to return letters, but each effort is thwarted.

Miraden grows bitter from Ceychell’s silence, but his mission remains true and when his party storms the ashengate, he rescues Kyradel. On the voyage home, Miraden realizes he’s falling for a mage in his party. Days out from the village, Ceychell’s most heartfelt letter finally reaches him. Miraden is forced to choose: embrace the woman he’s loved his entire life or continue to battle the ashenkin with the mage who’s had his back and shares his new affection.

Since you represented [BOOK], I thought you might be interested in this book since, like [CHARACTER], Miraden is an unlikely hero in a fast-paced adventure with high stakes and unexpected transformation. Miraden’s Folly is a YA Fantasy novel complete at 85,000 words with a series potential. Large tech companies such as NetApp have published 18 technical whitepapers/expert blogs I’ve written in the past year. I live in [CITY] with my wife and daughter.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Q22


***

But then it started to get a little long. So, we had another couple passes and this is where we ended up.

Dear [AGENT]

When the devilish ashenkin steal the chieftain’s daughter to be one of their sacrificial children, Miraden a young ranger, volunteers to help rescue her. Hoping to gain the favour of her sister, Ceychell, he sends letters to Ceychell recounting both the rescue party’s adventures and his great devotion for her personally.

At first, Ceychell is consumed with grief and resents the affectionate content of Miraden’s letters. As she rises to aid her grief-stricken parents in their duties, she starts to value not only Miraden’s lasting impact in her village but also the hero he’s becoming. Accepting her growing fondness, Ceychell tries her best to reply to his letters, but is continually thwarted.

Bitter at Ceychell’s silence, Miraden nonetheless stays true to his mission. When his party storms the ashengate, he’s the one who rescues Ceychell’s sister. On the voyage home, Miraden and the group’s mage grow close. Then, days out from the village, Ceychell’s most heartfelt letter finally reaches him. Now, Miraden is forced to choose: battle the ashenkin with the mage who’s had his back and shares his growing affections, or abandon her to embrace his childhood crush.

Since you represented [AUTHOR]’s [TITLE], I thought you might be interested in this book since, like [CHARACTER], Miraden is an unlikely hero in a fast-paced adventure with high stakes and unexpected transformation. Miraden’s Folly is a YA Fantasy novel complete at 85,000 words with a series potential. I’m also a technical writer, having had 18 white papers and expert blog posts published by large tech companies, such as NetApp, within the past year. I live in [CITY], [STATE] with my wife and daughter.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Q22

 

Still long, but not too long and with a decent amount of personalization left.
Best of luck to Q22!


And for the rest of you out there?
Best of luck in the query trenches!

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