Query Critique 3

Guys, I cannot even believe how much this blog has taken off in the past fourish days. This is fantastic. That said, I’m also amazed by how many submissions I’ve been getting. Right now it’s manageable, but I may have to set some limits or something soon. Which I don’t really want to do, because I want to read all the lovely queries out there. And yet, maintaining my sanity would also be good.

If you’ve already submitted to me, I should get to it in the next few days. If you haven’t and want to, please do. I just can’t make any promises on how fast I can get back to you.

Comments are in orange this time.


Dear Ms. Nelson,

I am seeking representation for my NA fantasy, The Astralure Put your title in all caps, which is complete at 70,000 words.

So far, being an Astralure has meant one thing to nineteen-year-old Sona Hanile: learning to summon the Great Spirits bound to the constellations by her predecessors. But after her island home is besieged by a man in long search of her, it takes on a new meaning – to be hunted.

Raussick Crost has spent the last nineteen years studying the lost art of star-calling, and the loopholes therein. Most people only know of 12 Great Spirits. Raussick, however, has need of a 13th – a nameless force of war hidden inside an uncharted constellation, and he will have it summoned at any cost. The way this is set up with Sona getting one paragraph and Raussick getting the next suggests that they are co-protagonists (and if first person, that the viewpoint alternates). Which is fine, as long as that’s what is going on.

Sona’s escape from Raussick drops her on the mainland, where everything from the ground to the carefully vague words of her mentor seems like a lie. With the aid of four friends and a clan of dragons disguised as trees, Sona must begin summoning the Great Spirits for the crucial abilities they can choose to bestow. Opening the night sky is her ultimate dream, but Sona may never be ready for the truth that’s coming out of it.

The Astralure is the first of a series set with a multicultural cast of newly developed races of people and dragons. Multicultural is hot right now, so it’s good that you include that. Thank you for your time and consideration.




I like this idea, but I had to read the query several times before I liked it. There’s a lot going on in the query, and it’s all interesting in it’s own way, but I felt a little lost at sea the first couple times I read it. This is the type of query letter where it’s hard to pin down exactly where I feel improvement could be made, because the individual elements seem okay. It’s the flow that I’m concerned about.

I guess I’d suggest focusing more on one thing, because one good conflict is enough to get me reading a story (and I think preferable to five less developed conflicts). From the query, I’m most interested in the relationship between Raussick and Sona. That’s the portion where I feel the most tension because their personal needs put them in direct conflict with each other. And do I detect a possible romance?

This is a hard one. Establishing the conflict and the setting (which appears to be very unique) in such a small space is really hard to do without making the reader feel overwhelmed by the amount of information being thrown at them.

Like, I said. The more I read it, the more I was intrigued by the idea. But an agent might not look at it as closely as I have. Or maybe I was just too tired when I read this, and that’s why it didn’t make as much sense the first time. I’d like to pretend like that never affects how I (or anyone else) read queries, but I would be lying.

But guys, dragons pretending to be trees. How cool is that?


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