Query Critique 78

Dear __________:

What if everything you wanted was at your fingertips but at the cost of your soul? I’m pretty much never in favor of beginning with a rhetorical question. This is Pita’s secret. He can get anything he wants simply by wishing it. But is the magical stone he’s found a blessing or a curse? Try reworking this into something along the lines of “Pita’s magical stone can grant him any wish, but it may end up being a curse.” The more specific and tight, the better.

According to Fijian legend, a great chief was given a sacred box by the gods, containing four stones of power – one for each element. But when Pita finds the water stone, he quickly learns of the ancient curse he’s resurrected. Can you be more specific about what the curse is? Now, he has the impossible task to find the lost stones and return them to the box and the sea — like seeking four needles in a planet-sized hay stack! The voice here seems a little off. I think it may be the exclamation point.

Then there is the terrifying matter of his obsessed ancestor who first set the curse in motion. Still alive in spirit through pure lust for the stones, he will do anything to possess them; including destroying Pita and everyone he loves.

Time is running out. The world around him is quickly deteriorating and, with his ruthless forefather hot on his heels, Pita is struggling to do the right thing. But will keeping the stone for himself really fix his mistake or will he lose himself to its power and suffer the same demise as his ill-fated ancestor? Again, I think you need to be more specific about the curse. That will give the ending stronger stakes and the rest better conflict.

MANA WAI-WATER is a fictional upper-middle grade fantasy of 56,000 words. Set in the Fiji Islands – a country rife today with enduring stories of dangerous gods and earthly enchantments – MANA WAI-WATER is weaved with magical realism, mythology and mayhem for a fast-paced Harry Potter-esque adventure. This sounds more like straight fantasy than magical realism. Also, avoid comping Harry Potter or other blockbuster books.

Having grown-up in Fiji during my ‘formidable years’, I am residing here once again after a 20-year ‘stint’ in the US. I am currently employed as a technical editor with an international non-profit organization and am a member of the SCBWI. This is my first novel.

I would be happy to provide a synopsis or full manuscript should you be interested. Thank you for your time and consideration.