if it’s too difficult for grown-ups, write for children

Ask Daphne! About My Query LXIX

lacelouboutinsI’m traveling this morning, so I thought we’d try something a little different. Presented, without comment, Becky’s query:

Dear Ms. Unfeasible,

Jae is cursed: like all serfs, she must obey any order, answer any question, and speak only truth. She’s learned that the easiest — and safest — way to get along is to keep from being noticed by anyone with so much as a hint of power, but even that is out of her control. When she catches the eye of Lord Elan Raedan, a nobleman in disgrace for embarrassing his family, he drags her along on a seemingly-mad quest. Elan is convinced that the legendary Well is going dry, that without it their world will turn to dust and be reclaimed by the desert wasteland around it — and that saving the Well is the only thing that will redeem him.

Jae isn’t even sure that the Well exists when Elan drags her into the desert to search for it. But then strange things start to happen. A freak sandstorm drives them away from the rest of the searchers. They find an underground oasis that shouldn’t exist at all. And Jae starts to feel something, some strange power, coursing through her blood and crying out for help. Maybe Elan isn’t crazy; maybe the Well is real, and just maybe, she and Elan really can save it before the world goes dry forever — but only if she can learn to control her powers. Only if she can learn to trust Elan.

Only if she dares to do what nobody else can, and break the serfs’ curse forever.

The Serf’s Curse is an 80,000-word YA fantasy novel. I think it will appeal to fans of Kristin Cashore’s Graceling, as they both center around strong — if very different — female protagonists who come into their own over the course of the story, and they both feature major romantic subplots. Thank you for your time.


What do you think? What would you advise her to change, or fix? Or is it perfect the way it is? You get to play Daphne for the day (go ahead, try on the shoes!), but I’ll check back later this afternoon (or over the weekend, depending on how things go) and add my comments to yours.

Have fun, and be nice!

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