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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Query #2 - Shrouded Goddess

Original:
Seventeen-year-old Sophia de Paula sings like the rainforest bird she was named after and yearns for the family-based communities the local tribes enjoyed before the blond Easterners invaded from across the sea. But Sophie is part of the so-called Easterner nobility, who marry red wives to recruit native laborers for the sugarcane fields. So she spends her days hiding her tribal heritage and fending off her cousin's groping.

Sophie thinks her best friend Gavin can save her from a forced wedding to her cousin, even though her uncle rewarded Gavin's marriage aspirations to Sophie by publicly flogging him and executing his father for treason. But before Gavin can help Sophie flee her family, she awakens the Water Goddess who disappeared after the Easterner invasion--the tribes’ only hope for peace.

Except, this Goddess turns out to be more interested in Easterner fashion than what Sophie’s uncle is doing to the rainforest and the tribes. Apart from bestowing water-controlling powers on Sophie, the deity’s advice is to seek help elsewhere. Now Sophie can’t just hide from her family and live a peaceful life with Gavin.

Either Sophie uses her new powers to confront the Easterners or she seeks another Goddess, one nobody knew existed, and convinces her to bring peace to a land with more scars than Sophie’s uncle can lash out onto those who oppose him.

SHROUDED GODDESS is a 67,000 word YA fantasy set in a world that mirrors South America during the Portuguese colonization of the 16th century. With Avatar waterbending in the rainforest, this story will appeal to fans of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.


My Critique:

Seventeen-year-old Sophia de Paula sings like the a rainforest bird she was named after and yearns for the family-based communities the local tribes enjoyed what did the local tribes do that she enjoyed? Dancing? Gardening? Worship a deity? At this point, I don’t know. There is nothing to nail me to the story, no familiarity. before the blond Easterners invaded from across the sea. But Sophie is part of the so-called Easterner nobility, She is Easterner but laments their invasion? I am confused. who marry red wives what is a red wife? to recruit native laborers for the sugarcane fields. Again, very confused. The Easterners marry red wives to “recruit” workers for the cane fields? So she spends her days hiding her tribal heritage so she is a half-breed? Part Easterner and tribe? Why? Because she is part of both worlds? and fending off her cousin's groping.

This is the important information boiled down:
Seventeen-year-old Sophia de Paula sings like a rainforest bird as she walks through her beloved trees. If only she had more time and help to keep them safe. Instead, she fends off her cousin’s marriage proposal and worries that her rainforest will give way to abhorrent sugarcane fields.

Sophie thinks her best friend Gavin can save her from a forced wedding to marriage to her cousin, even though her uncle rewarded Gavin's marriage aspirations to Sophie by publicly flogging him and executing his father for treason. I’d simplify this sentence. “Sophie hopes Gavin can save her from a forced marriage to her cousin. But not if her uncle has anything to say about it. He had Gavin flogged and executed his father for treason. But before Gavin can help Sophie flee her family, she awakens the Water Goddess who disappeared after the Easterner invasion--the tribes’ only hope for peace. Okay, where did the Water Goddess come from?

Boiled down:
She hopes Gavin, her best friend, can save her from a forced marriage. But not if her uncle has anything to say about it. By his order, Gavin is flogged and he had his father executed for treason. Sophie’s spirits die like a guttering candle.Then, she awakens the Water Goddess with/by [fill in here]

Except, this Goddess turns out to be more interested in Easterner fashion than what Sophie’s uncle is doing to the rainforest and the tribes. An interesting premise but I think you can express differently. Apart from bestowing water-controlling powers on Sophie, the deity’s advice is to seek help elsewhere. Now Sophie can’t just hide from her family and live a peaceful life with Gavin. Again, confusing.

Boiled down:
But the Goddess is more interested in fashion than the rainforest and the people who live there. She can’t be bothered with helping directly. The most the Goddess does is give Sophie power over water. But that complicates her plan to run away and live in peace.

Either Sophie uses her new powers to confront the Easterners or she seeks another Goddess, one nobody knew existed, and convinces her to bring peace to a land with more scars than Sophie’s uncle can lash out onto those who oppose him. A very long sentence.

Boiled down:

Sophie can use her new powers to confront her uncle but that might lead to a confrontation she can’t control. If only another Goddess existed, one no one knows about.

SHROUDED GODDESS is a 67,000 word YA fantasy set in a world that mirrors South America during the Portuguese colonization of the 16th century. With Avatar waterbending in the rainforest, this story will appeal to fans of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Good images and similarities.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Summary: I'm not sure you should get into the weeds about Easterners, red wives,  and tribes. Keep it simple.

Readers? Any advice?

4 comments:

Huntress said...

Btw, love love love the premise of Shrouded Goddess:)

The problems I see with the query is the long sentences that aren't broken up. Think structure. Even in queries it is important. Long, long, short, very short.

Also Too Much Information complicates the story you're wanting to tell.

Sincerely great premise, though!

Patchi said...

Thanks for the crit! I had a simpler version that everyone seemed to think needed more setting. Maybe I added too much... or made things too confusing. Hum...

Patchi said...

This is the simpler version:

Seventeen-year-old Sophie spends her days hiding her tribal heritage and fending off her baron-to-be cousin's groping attentions. She yearns for the freedom the tribes enjoyed before the Easterners invaded from across the sea.

According to her grandmother, the only way to save the tribes from Sophie’s ravaging uncle is by awakening the Water Goddess, whom no one has seen since the invasion. All Sophie has to guide her are the old stories and songs her grandmother taught her. And Gavin, of course. Sophie used to think he would save her from a forced wedding to her cousin, but her uncle rewarded Gavin's marriage aspirations to Sophie with a public flogging and his baronet father executed for treason.

Finding the Water Goddess is the easy part; getting help isn't. Not only is the goddess powerless, she is more interested in fashion than politics. Her advice is for Sophie to seek help elsewhere, and that’s not a reply anyone wants to hear. Sophie's only hope to save the tribes and herself is to use her unexpected water-controlling powers to find another Goddess, one nobody knew existed, in a land with more scars than her uncle can lash out onto those who oppose him.

Liza said...

I find the smiler version much easier to follow.