Anyway, today we have Angela's query again, this time with my feedback, in blue.
Dear Super Agent:
Twelve-year-old Caesimilia "Case" Mollands would pick high top sneakers over sparkly heeled slippers any day of the week. Love it. Love it. Love it. I wish I could see more queries that open with this much character. It's a little subtle, sure, but I know exactly what kind of kid Case is before her story starts, and she's exactly the kind of kid I could love to sympathize with. Well done. Yet she loves the tales of happily ever afters in her father’s prized book of Fabricaasia. When a startling show of bells and rose petals What does this mean? A show? How does that manifest, exactly? transports Case from everything she knows, she soon discovers Fabricaasia has chosen her as its newest protector, the Fable Ranger, and link between the real world and the world where fables, legends and lore come to life:
All in all, this isn't a bad opening. Some agents, and people who know the market better might tell you a portal fantasy is a tough sell, but I think there's probably always room. I think it fits MG better than YA.
A negative energy from fairy tales gone off-script I love this concept ... quickly forces the Red Rose Bounds, the veil between realms, to shut down. No in. No out. ... but I'm not sure it makes sense in your query. She just got here, and suddenly the portal shuts down? If that's what you mean, fine, but make it clear. If that's not what you mean, clarify. Being forever stuck in a world of heroes that reject her as Fable Ranger has zero appeal to Case. Why do they reject her? Why does she hate it there? I thought she loved fairy tales? Her only way home is to set the off-script tales right again without falling into the hands of Dovetail, a wicked being rumored You can probably just say which it is. Not much point to keeping secrets in a query (usually). to be from the real world and the source of Fabricaasia's bad mojo.
The book of Fabricaasia has the answers. But it's back in the real world, right? Case is the key. No one can decipher the mysterious runes that appear as footnotes for the straying stories, except her. I guess she must have brought it with her. With the help of Robin Hood and a new friend, Charlie-boy, she embarks on an adventure to save an Arabian Nights legend on the cusp of corruption and a sleepy fairy tale doomed to a never ever after.
FABLE RANGER is a
I look forward to hearing back from you and appreciate you taking the time to consider my novel.
Okay, so in summary: this query is a bit different than most I see. Usually they start out weak, and build to strength. This query starts out strong, and the fizzles a bit by the end (and least from this one reader's subjective viewpoint).
The biggest problem for me is logistics. It can be tough to make it clear how a magical world works in something as short as a query, I'm well aware, but some of that detail comes across as muddled here. How does the portal work? Does it close after she crosses or not?
Other than that, you've got some great elements. I love the idea (and name) of Dovetail, and I love the off-script concept, so if you can focus the logic a little better, and work on incorporating a sadistic choice into the ending, I think you'd be off to a great start.
What do you all think?