Ask Daphne! About My Query XX

WitchDoing my best to get caught up here — I’ve heard from some of the query-writers being posted this week that they’ve already got representation and/or book deals! So let’s steam right along, shall we? Fabulous witchy shoes for CC (alas, they’re only miniatures, not full-size), who writes:

Dear Ms. Unfeasible,

A sixteen-year-old Dark Mage who wants to be good needs to be bad for her world to survive.

Lusa’s life already has issues when her mother’s gone missing, there’s a temple full of dead mages, and her malicious powers want to turn her into a monster. Worst of all . . . she’s fallen for the wrong boy. In constant battle with her magic’s bloodlust, only Kaden has the ability to help keep her in check. But, there’s a bounty out for mages and he’s a bounty hunter most likely in it for the reward and not for her.

When a malicious sorcerer starts a campaign to wipe out the society of Mage—bent on hoarding all the power to fill his long awaited vendetta against the empire—the magical balance of the world is threatened to the point of destruction. Lusa is the only mage left to stand against him. To defeat him she must embrace her inner evil. Thing is, if she can’t learn to master her powers instead of them continuously pulling the puppet strings, her soul and Kaden’s life will be the price she ends up paying.

I’m an active member of the SCBWI and DFW Writers’ Workshop, who hosts the annual DFW Writers Conference in Dallas, Texas. The full manuscript of THE LAST MAGE, complete at 90,000 words, is immediately available for review at your request. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you!

Thanks as always,
CC

First of all, great hook line. You’ve immediately got my attention with the idea that she needs to be bad to get through whatever befalls her — which is a nice change from other magical paranormals. It raises the question of whether or not magic itself is inherently good or evil, rather than the people who wage it. That aside, I have a couple of minor points to ponder: you say Lusa’s powers want to turn her into a monster. What kind? Is this a literal transformation a la the Wolfman or Mr. Hyde? If she does, in fact, transform, I want to know more about it!

I’m also less sold on “starts a campaign” — this seems almost political, rather than the bloodbath I imagine would leave Lusa as the Last Mage Standing. “The society of Mage” is also a little confusing. I get that the “Mage” refers both to magic-users and the setting, but it just feels a little awkward to someone not yet immersed in the world.

I like the bounty hunter, and the idea that he’s hunting her — and yet is the only one that can help her. Intriguing! Why is his life at risk from the malicious sorcerer, though? Does he have some kind of power, too?

Otherwise, on the minor end of things, I think you want to say “DFW Writers’ Workshop, which hosts the annual DFW Writers Conference” rather than “who hosts”.

So, minor things, and imminently fixable, I think! What do you guys think of this?

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