Monday, December 9, 2013

Query Critique: Piano Fire, a Dark Fantasy Novel by Wendy Nikel

Today we have the query submitted by our Rafflecopter winner, Wendy Nikel, for her dark fantasy novel, Piano Fire. First, the query as submitted:

Please consider my 72,000-word dark fantasy novel, PIANO FIRE. It is based on the folktale Bluebeard, but with a magical, time-traveling twist.

In 1925, after surviving a shipwreck, Aria washes onto an island that seems to be frozen in time. She's fascinated by her rescuer, Count Blakeney -- by his outdated attire, by his castle that lacks any modern conveniences, and by the way he listens so intently to everything she says. She's never met anyone so intrigued by her small-town Midwestern life and her dreams of being a concert pianist.

At his request, she performs jazz and Broadway hits for him, and a magical transformation ripples across the island. Gas lamps morph into electric fixtures, elevators and automobiles appear from nowhere, and even Blakeney now understands cultural references that had befuddled him earlier.

As Blakeney becomes more obsessed with these new developments and more evasive in answering Aria's questions about the island's magic, she seeks out the answers for herself. She discovers the body of a murdered sea captain, mutated creatures being harvested in vats, and the horrible fate of Blakeney's former musical 'guests.'

Refusing to become another muse in Blakeney's morbid collection, Aria flees to the island's forest. Pursued by Blakeney and his mutations, she must find the source of the island's power and destroy it in order to free herself from its murderous master.

 And now my comment:

Yes, that's really all I have to contribute! It's obvious you've put a lot of research into query writing, and thank you for giving us another model of great query writing. And we're obviously not the only ones who think so, since it seems it's gotten you some contest requests.

Congratulations and thanks for entering! In fact, a big thanks to all who entered.

Encouragement and feedback are welcome in the comments, but please make sure they're constructive and helpful.


  1. Really, the only suggestion I had was to add YA--if this is YA, as the length leads me to believe. But maybe it's NA?

  2. Wow, YAY for requests, Wendy! :D Also... this sounds pretty awesome! :)

  3. Your query is great and very intriguing! Good luck, Wendy.


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