About My Query: LUCK

dragonbridgeHere’s to another Friday About My Query post! As always, these queries are submitted to me specifically for critique — I’m not reaching into my regular query inbox and picking on anyone. With that said, let’s go!

Dear Daphne,

When Ila and Lilly O’More’s grandfather is murdered by a dragon in Ireland, they realize that nowhere is safe for leprechauns – even three thousand miles away in America. Dragons are hunting the family to collect their luck, a physical particle in leprechaun blood. Luck is the only way for dragons to disguise themselves as humans and avoid being slain in the modern world. Ila and Lilly have one defense against the dragons; they can produce magic, a rare and valuable talent. If only the girls could control it. They need to learn to master their ability or be added to the body count.

Ila meets Chris Ardon shortly after her grandfather’s murder. He’s sweet, funny, and his Irish accent is enough to make her forget that she should be more concerned about being murdered than being kissed. Unfortunately, Chris isn’t just any Irish lad – he’s a dragon. Without the magic Ila and Lilly can produce, Chris will die.

Ila will have to decide what matters to her most – her survival or his.

LUCK is a young adult fantasy complete at 75,000 words.

I am currently a student at the University of Illinois. I spend my weekdays studying and every other moment writing.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
KD

You’ve got a strong beginning here. A little setup, with some intriguing details about a world with leprechauns and dragons in it. The subtle mention of “the modern world” helps me understand this isn’t a story of Irish immigrants in late 19th or early 20th century American (though that would be totally cool, too!). I think you might want to separate a bit the fact that Ila and Lilly have “luck”, as a physical, special thing, from the mention of their one defensive ability, to produce magic. Is there a connection between luck and magic? Can they only do one because they have the other?

My main concern comes in the second paragraph, when we focus on Ila and Chris. Here I worry that we’ve got this charming accented stranger who shows up just after her grandfather is murdered, and like YA protagonists everywhere, she doesn’t worry about the coincidence and falls in love. What happens to Lilly? Where is she in this part of the story? I’m given to understand in the first paragraph that this is a manuscript about sisters — what does Lilly think about Chris? Is she warning Ila about him? Is she the voice of reason, or a romantic urging her sister to go for it when Ila is showing caution? I’d love to know more about their relationship, which is I think what could make this manuscript special, and stand out from all the other YA paranormals in which a girl who’s different falls for a boy who could hurt her.

Especially when we come down to the hook paragraph — “Ila will have to decide what matters to her most – her survival or his.” What about Lilly? Self-sacrifice is one tale, often told, but if Ila has to decide to save her sister or her boyfriend, there’s some fun opportunity for real drama there!

Finally, I think the last five sentences have a pretty staccato rhythm. You might want to consider changing it up a bit.

Those are my two cents. Readers? What do you think?

Photo above by Flickr user Nathan Meijer, used under a Creative Commons license.

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