Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March Pass Or Pages Entry #3

It's feedback reveal time! We hope everyone reading can find something helpful as they work on writing their own query letters. Many, many thanks to the members of our agent panel for taking the time to critique these entries, and major props to the authors for putting themselves out there in the name of improvement. We salute you!

Entry #3: FREEDOM


Being a tax collector is a miserable job, but being a tax collector in a world of sorcerers, undead, and dragons is downright deadly.[H1][K1]

The country of Albion is struggling with debt from two wars and an incursion of refugees from the sinking island of Atlantis. However, the wealthiest citizens of Albion are also the most magically powerful, and the least inclined to pay taxes. The country is bankrupt while large numbers of tax collectors have been turned into toads.[H2][K2]

Thus, the Royal Tax Collectors have sent out a call for mercenaries to collect taxes by any means necessary. They don’t care about supernatural species, dark magic, involvement in prophecies, or sexual orientation. They just want someone who can get the job done.

Welcome to the kingdom of Albion, where death is sometimes optional, but even the undead pay their taxes on time.[H3][L1] 

My 115,000 word fantasy novel FREEDOM is the first in a potential series which combines the exciting worlds of high fantasy and tax collection.[H4][L2][K3]

Lisa's Notes:
[L1] Nice query. Succinct with intriguing details that hook me.
[L2] Like the word count and the contrast of high fantasy and taxes. I’d suggest including two comparable titles, successful ones that have been released within the last 4-5 years.

Kirsten's Notes:
[K1] Nice opening!
[K2] Took me a couple reads to figure out that the wealthy magicians were transforming collectors into toads to avoid taxes. I think there’s a better way to phrase this.
[K3] I love the fun tone and the efficient worldbuilding, but the query ends before introducing the characters, the conflict (assuming the mercenaries have solved the tax collection issue), and the stakes, all of which I need in order to care enough to read.

Hannah's Notes: 
[H1] What a fun first line!
[H2] Wait…you set up this awesome first line, and then don’t tell us who the tax collector is?
[H3] Wait, there is no single tax collector as main character?
[H4] Who on earth is this book about?? I really enjoy the idea but, I don’t know what the plot is or who it follows.

First 250: 

Dain’s first encounter with Silver Eyes came about because he decided that his magical talking sword needed to meet other people.

This revelation came in the midst of a very bad day.

The two soldiers hurled Dain into the cell with considerably more force than necessary. He bounced off the stone wall in a way that might have broken a bone if he had been human, but dwarves were made of sterner material.[H1]

His face slammed into hard packed dirt which smelled of human waste. Judging by the air quality, he was at least one floor underground, in a stone corner walled in by iron bars. The space was roomy but barren, lacking even a bench. A holding cell, then. Empty, so perhaps there was truth in the street rumors of a recent jailbreak.

Exactly how bad things were remained to be seen. Dain risked lifting his head. Beyond the bars, he saw a dimly lit windowless room, a staircase, a trap door, and two very ugly men in grey armor rummaging through his belongings.

One, a giant hulk of a man with a scar running down his nose and disfiguring his lip, upended Dain’s pack to shake out what remained onto the floor. The other guard, picking through the assortment of camping gear, food, and clothes, was shorter than his companion, but better-looking, although he had an unusually small nose. Dain dubbed him “Pug-nose” and still felt justified thinking of them as the ugly duo.[H2][L1]

Lisa's Notes:
[L1] Interesting start. I like the voice and how the writing pulls me in. I’m interested in reading more, please email the 1st 50 pages and 1-page synopsis to lisa at (@) kimberleycameron dot (.) com with #PassOrPages referenced in the subject line and your query pasted in the body of the email. Thank you.

Kirsten's Notes:
I like the energy in the writing enough to want to give this a chance, despite not knowing what’s going on. Please send the first 50 pages and 1- to 2-page synopsis to kirsten[at]prospectagency[dot]com with OPERATION AWESOME in the subject line.

Hannah's Notes:
[H1] This is where your story starts.
[H2] The writing here is solid but because the query gave me so little to help me understand what to expect, I’m inclined to say no.

Lisa Abellera: PAGES!
Kirsten Carleton: PAGES!
Hannah Fergesen: PASS

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