The Saturday Slash

Axe2 clip artMeet my Hatchet of Death. 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 me an email.

The first line of a query is your hook, and it really needs to work. You want it to punch your reader 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.

If you’re looking for query advice, but are intimidated by my blade, check out the query critique boards over at AgentQueryConnect. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey – the query. My comments appear in green.

EARTH RECLAIMED is an 87,000 word YA fantasy novel featuring a non-binary main character and a LGBTQ+ cast. It will appeal to readers who enjoy the tone of Mindy McGinnis’ Given to the Sea  as well as readers who enjoy books like The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent that blend fantasy elements with future earths. So, while I’m totally flattered that you use Given to the Sea as a comp, it’s not well known enough to carry an impact within the fantasy / science fantasy reading world. I’d try for a comp title with a similar feel by an author with more grounding in that genre than I have. But I do appreciate the compliment!

Seventeen-year-old mage, Seren, wants to see the world — at least the parts that aren’t radioactive. Helping their mother, Assana, run the independent territory would be easier if they used magic like she did, but magic binds the user to the elemental spirits it’s sourced from. Sometimes, Seren isn’t sure who is in charge: Assana or the elementals. Seren can’t help being Assana’s heir, but they never want to be bound to volatile magic like their mother.

When regional leaders meet to draft a constitution and unite as one nation, Assana sends Seren in her place. After a deadly attack, by who and on what? Seren is forced to use magic. Against who? A river elemental sinks its metaphysical currents into Seren’s soul, opening a two-way channel to their goddess-like planet. Unsure on how a planet can be goddess-like? As in, it’s self-aware as a whole? Or the elemental Seren has connected to is the personification of the planet itself? Just a few words here could clarify. As Seren draws on more power to expose plots and fend off continued attacks, Mother Earth tries to use Seren as Her mouthpiece: humans must cease their fighting or face extinction.

Shutting Her out could be the end of all humans. Letting Her in would mean sacrificing their soul. Somehow, Seren must help selfish politicians find common ground and stop a war, without letting Mother Earth take the reins.

Like Seren, I am non-binary and prefer the pronoun they/them.

Youth Imagination, Spaceports and Spidersilk, and NineStar Press have published my short fiction for young adults, and I’ve published adult fiction in markets like Unnerving Magazine, Alternative Truths, and Helios Quarterly. My first YA novel, Power Surge, will be published by NineStar Press on October 1, 2018.

Excellent bio! Congrats on your publications.

First off, I think this is strong, but some elements can be drawn together. You mention radioactivity offhand, but never pick it back up. Is this a result of someone tapping into an elemental? Does it tie into the plot at all, or is it just setting? 

Right now it feels like some really big thoughts – elementals, philosophical questions, choices, etc. – but the stage feels small. We see the internal struggle of Seren and Mother Earth, but the external struggle is kind of glossed over. Who are these politicians? What is the connection to this constitution and the rest of the plot? What is attacking them? What / who is Seren fighting when using the elemental powers? 

On the elemental side, is the river elemental that Seren taps into an opening for Mother Earth to move in, or are they the same thing? (I’m guessing the first, but it’s not completely clear).

Show us the connection between the elemental struggle vs. the political / human one and where Seren falls in allegiance, or their own confusion on that point, whichever the case may be.

2 thoughts on “The Saturday Slash

    1. I would say that comps are always a good idea as it can give a tone reference. I don’t think that querying with SEA as a comp is going to *hurt* you, I would just advise using something more universally known.

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