The Saturday Slash

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description RC Lewis and I come up with at any
given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.

We all know the first line of a query is your “hook.” I call the last line the “sinker.” You want it to punch  them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.

Also, for my brave Saturday Slash volunteers I will gladly do follow-up slashes (each more kindly than the next) on your query if you post them on the Query Critique board over on AgentQuery Connect. You’ll get advice from me, and also people who are smarter than me. If you do post on AQ, be sure to follow the guidelines and let me know you posted so that I can follow up!

Fifteen-year-old Maxine Protega became a god and a demon overnight. Decent hook, I’m definitely curious about how she can be both. Prophesied to abolish magic by one faction of her people, and protect it by another, she’s cast into the middle of a campaign that’s ripping her world and her family apart.

Torn from her home in Virginia VA? Really? Because I was getting a very high fantasy vibe from your first para. And torn – how so? Did she leave? Was she banished?, Max treks across the sea to an island dominated Why did she go here? Was this on purpose? by power and deception. As armies of magicians gather and take sides, Max tries her hardest to shield her family from the chaos and violence spilling over into the States. But she fails, and the seeds of discord poison the people she’s fighting for, pitting them against each other, and against her. Hmmm, okay, but this totally feels like a recap of the first para. I already got that the people were at a very Civil War type state from the first para, and now all your saying is that some people got hurt (how?) and now they hate her, too (why?)

When a mentor hold up, where did a mentor come from? She felt very alone in this up until now forces Max to accept the Dot Reaper—a brand that chains her to magic’s creators and marks her as their successor so this would securely put her on the side of protecting magic, right?—she gains the power to tip the scales of battle either way. How could it tip either way if it sounds like a move pretty squarely in one camp? When a faction of her family marches against her, Max is caught between her love for magic and the darkness woven into the very fabric of it. Max must ally herself with one side and face the consequences: the extinction of her race, or a war that will decimate her family. Murky – her family and her race are two different things? Or not?

Voces Inocentes (Innocent Voices) meets Richard Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game great mash-up here in this dark cat-and-mouse story with a magical twist. DOT REAPER is an 81,000 word YA fantasy set in Richmond, VA and a fictitious island in the Bermuda triangle. An interesting fact about me: I like to rationalize the actions of infamous leaders (inspired by Sun Tzu’s ‘know your enemy and yourself’) Less interesting fact: I was captain of the drum line in high school. Thank you for your time and consideration. Personally I think your bio is hilarious, but as it’s also irrelevant some people might think you’re better off without it.

I definitely think this is a case of clarification needed. You’ve done a good job of showing that you can write, but because the query is sort of vague on details, it might worry the agent that your plot is murky as well. This is what I’m getting so far – so we’ve got an MC that is supposed to be the prophesied ONE for two opposing sides — that definitely has my attention. But then I’m totally lost on who is fighting who, and why? Which side is what? Her race and her family aren’t the same thing? Which side represents what? Your line about her being a little too interested in the darkness woven into magic has me interested, but I think you need to take that exact element and flesh it out some more.