Query Workshop B-9: THROUGH THE EDGEWOOD

It’s day five of the query workshop with me and three of my blogging friends. Two queries on four blogs for ten days. I’ll have three more queries from the winners of a drawing on Katherine Amabel’s (@katherineamabel) blog Beyond the Hourglass Bridge up tomorrow on the blog. Come back tomorrow to critique them and get more entries for the critique prizes, which will be announced on Monday.

And here’s my next critique…

      
Dear Agent,

Eleven-year old Izzy has read every fairytale there is, so she knows that when the faeries steal a child, they always leave a changeling in its place. But when her little sister, Hen, disappears, there’s not a changeling in sight. She’s just gone. The old woman next door knows something she isn’t telling. Izzy follows her into the woods, down a twisted passage, and into the enchanted forest of the Edgewood.  But Faerie is a much more savage place than Izzy’s fairytales. Within hours of their arrival, ghostly cobwebs attack the old woman, and Izzy barely escapes becoming cocooned in their icy tendrils.

Fleeing for her life, she runs into a group of outlaw changelings, shape-shifting orphans more likely to steal her shoes than help her out. She befriends them, and learns they’re the last three changelings left in Faerie – all the others have mysteriously vanished. The new friends set out on a joint search-and rescue mission across eastern Faerie. But when they discover Hen and the missing changelings have been imprisoned by an evil queen, they know they’ve taken on more than even a changeling can handle.

If Izzy and her friends can’t stop the queen, she and her sister will never go home, the entire changeling race will be enslaved, and Hen won’t be the last human victim of the queen’s sinister plans.

THROUGH THE EDGEWOOD is a middle grade fantasy adventure, complete at 70,000 words.

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B’s critique …


Dear Agent,

Eleven-yearold Izzy has read every fairytale there is, so she knows that when the faeries steal a child, they always leave a changeling in its place. But when her little sister, Hen, disappears, there’s not a changeling in sight. She’s just gone. (This is your hook paragraph. I’d separate it from the rest of the paragraph. And I’m hooked here.)

Izzy suspects the old woman next door knows something she isn’t telling. So Izzy follows her down a passage twisting through the crowded trees to the enchanted forest of  the Edgewood.  But Faerie (How does Faerie connect to the Edgewood? Is Faerie in the Edgewood? Make that clear with a better transition.) is a much more savage place than the ones in Izzy’s fairytales. Within hours of their arrival, ghostly cobwebs attack the old woman, and Izzy barely escapes becoming cocooned in their icy tendrils.(What did they do for the hours they were there before getting attacked? Did they participate in a wild party? Something like this… After hours of Faerie indulgences, ghostly cobwebs attack… Or something that fits your story. It could be fine the way it is, so you decide.)

Fleeing for her life, she runs into a group of outlaw changelings, shape-shifting orphans more likely to steal her shoes than help her out. She befriends them, and learns they’re the last three changelings left in Faerie – all the others have mysteriously vanished. The new friends set out on a joint search-andrescue mission across eastern Faerie. But when they discover Hen (Is Hen the only human child that was kidnapped? Is it just her and the changelings? Why aren’t there any more human kids?) and the missing changelings have been imprisoned by an evil queen, they know they’ve taken on more than even a changeling can handle. (What do you mean by “more than even a changeling can handle”? Do changelings have more powers than their shape-shifting abilities, are they stronger than human kids, or something else? Elaborate on their abilities.)

If Izzy and her friends can’t stop the queen, Izzy and her sister will never go home, the entire changeling race will be enslaved, and Hen won’t be the last human victim of the queen’s sinister plans.(Is Izzy a changeling? Why would Hen be the last human victim? Won’t Izzy be too?)

THROUGH THE EDGEWOOD is a middle grade fantasy adventure, complete at 70,000 (This word count may be 5K too much) words.

This sounds like a fun read! I love the outlaw changelings and the mystical feel. But I’d like to have more of a MG voice in it to capture agents’ attentions.

Here’s what I mean —>Eleven-year-old Izzy is certain the fairies snatched her little sister, Hen, from their darkened bedroom, even if no one believes her. She knows a fairy when she sees one, and this fairy messed up big time. Every fairytale she’s ever read says that when a fairy steals a child, they leave a changeling in her place, but there’s no changeling in sight. Hen’s just gone. —> 

Okay, so this is probably a very poor example. I’m sure you can do much better. I just wanted to give you an example of what I meant. Anyway, this premise is great!

I hope this helps. If you decide to revise and would like me to read it again, just post it in the comments of this post.

Okay, everyone, what do you think? 

And don’t forget to stop by the other blogs and read their query critiques. For each critique you leave in the comments, you get an entry into the drawing to win one of three first chapter critiques from me.

Becca C.
Becca (Becks) Coffindaffer
 Marieke Nijkamp

Sarah Nicolas
 Sarah Nicolas

10 comments to Query Workshop B-9: THROUGH THE EDGEWOOD

  • This does sound like a very interesting story and the query needs to match the voice of the story better.

    I like the twist on the Fairy/Changeling thing. That’s awesome.

    Good start.

    P.S. I agree with Brenda…again… 😀

  • Laurie Litwin

    Oooh, I love this! Sounds so fun. I think your story premise is great. I also think your query is pretty strong. I read through Brenda’s comments, and I agree with most of them. I think your query is so strong, I don’t have anything new to add. I’d read this for sure! Good luck!

  • This is a very strong query, and I’m definitely hooked. But I agree it could use more of a MG voice. It would make it even stronger. I’d love to read this one day. Great job and good luck!

  • I just love this premise! It sounds like a fun and cute read. I agree with Brenda that you just need to bring in more of your voice. The query tells me about the story, but sounds a little “formal.” By the way, I am so guilty of doing that. It takes me at least 50 rewrites before I get the voice through in my query. I blame my past business writing LOL.

  • I would’ve eaten this one up as a tween. I really like it! But Brenda’s suggestions will put it over the top.

  • It seems that this is more of a point-by-point synopsis instead of a highlight of the underlying message of your story. It is interesting, but try to keep the main points and wow us with the concept.

  • Thank you everybody! And thanks so much Brenda for the great critique. I definitely see what you mean and can work on punching up the voice. As for the word count, yeesh – yeah, working on that one! This whole workshop has been fabulous. It’s been just as helpful to read through others’ queries and see what you and the other bloggers have to say about them. I feel like I’ve taken a Query 101 intensive!

  • I like this line: shape-shifting orphans more likely to steal her shoes than help her out. I also think you’ve got a fairly strong ending paragraph (though I was most interested in “Hen won’t be the last human victim of the queen’s sinister plans”) because it shows the conflict and stakes.

    Overall, I think you do a good job explaining the story idea, but I agree that Brenda’s suggestions could make it really stand out. Good luck with it. 🙂

  • I didn’t do a word count on your query, but it looks like you might be able to add a few more clarifying sentences and still be within the one-page limit.

    This sounds like a great story- just give a few more details.

    Good luck!

  • I like the premise, and agree with Brenda’s feedback. Reworking that MG voice into your query will really drive this home. I love the line about stealing shoes. My question: how old is Hen? With changling stories, I imagine babies but something in this doesn’t make me think Hen is an infant. ARe there other human babies when she discovers Hen? This sounds like it has a lot of promise. Good luck!

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