Monday, November 14, 2011

Query #38: "My Protector: The Calling" by Hope Roberson

This query is from Hope Roberson for the novel My Protector: The Calling. Thank you, Hope Roberson, for the honour of allowing me to work on and post this!

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ORIGINAL QUERY

Running toward a man-eating beast wouldn’t be completely insane if you were a trained Protector with a weapon in your hands. Eri isn’t. Yet she feels the uncontrollable need to destroy the hideous creatures with her bare hands.

Eri has somehow developed the internal link to the beasts plaguing her people—The Calling—that belongs solely to the clandestine group of Protectors guarding the village.

But she couldn’t possibly be experiencing The Calling. She’s only a teenager. And she’s a girl! Only men are Protectors.

Eri finds Finnley, a boy her age, also seeking the beasts in the darkness. Their secret bond forges an unexpected friendship giving her an ally in dealing with The Calling. Finnley gets recruited by the Protectors and is determined to help Eri get the same opportunity. And Eri’s own Protector, a smoldering mold of perfection named Grayson, begrudgingly goes along with her training even though he can’t stand her presence or what she represents.

The link between her and beast is beyond her control, Eri knows she can’t hide the connection forever. She is left with the choice to embrace this new identity or bury it and do what everyone expects of her.

MY PROTECTOR: THE CALLING is a dystopian young adult novel complete at 67,000 words.

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GOBLIN-EDIT

Running toward a man-eating beast wouldn’t be completely insane if you were a trained Protector with a weapon in your hands. Eri isn’t. Yet she feels the uncontrollable need to destroy the hideous creatures with her bare hands.

Eri has developed an internal link to the beasts plaguing her people, but "The Calling" is supposed to happen solely to the Protectors guarding the village. Eri’s only a teenager. And she’s a girl! Only men become Protectors.

When Eri finds Finnley, a boy her age, also seeking the beasts, their shared secret forges a friendship and gives Eri an unexpected ally. Finnley is recruited by the Protectors, but he insists Eri get the same opportunity. Unfortunately for her, Eri's assigned Protector can’t stand her presence or what she represents. So how can she trust his training to keep her alive?

When [bad thing happens], Eri [must take a great risk or pay a great price].

MY PROTECTOR: THE CALLING is a dystopian young adult novel complete at 67,000 words.


Have any thoughts about either the original or the re-written query? Please join the discussion in the comment thread!

Also, I'd be delighted if you would please help draw more commenters to the site by mentioning this post to your online friends. Thank you!

6 comments:

  1. What I thought was done well:

    This is well-written with a fun and lively voice that is extremely appealing. Eri really comes across as a plucky, likeable protagonist!

    What I thought could be improved:

    That said, the logic doesn't flow from one point to the next very well. For example, Eri is experiencing the Calling, yet the next paragraph claims she couldn't possibly be. I realize it's a stylistic choice used to convey how confused Eri is about developing the Calling, but it comes across as back-tracking.

    In a similar fashion, Eri spends the whole query seemingly unable to resist the Calling, yet in the 2nd-to-last paragraph, she considers hiding the fact that she has it. It seems too late, at that point, for her to be considering this option.

    I chopped the 2nd-to-last paragraph because it presents a false dilemma. Of course Eri will try to become a Protector, because otherwise there would be no story. So what's the book's most dangerous situation/worst dilemma/hardest choice? That's the thing I feel you should be focusing on at the end of your query.

    I edited out Grayson's specific details because they aren't important to the plot as presented in the query letter. (I'm sure he's extremely important in the book itself!) I also added the line about Eri not trusting his training as a way to show that Grayson not liking Eri helps raise the story's stakes--it makes life more dangerous for her.

    What I think remains to be improved in the edited query:

    I feel like the query focuses too much on set-up and not enough on story. Arguably, everything up to Eri training with Grayson is set-up. What does she do after that? I assume she's going to save the day, somehow.

    Sneaking a peak at your blog, I note that this book is first in a trilogy, so it may be that Eri doesn't get a chance to do much actual beast-slaying in this novel. That's fine, but in the 2nd-to-last paragraph, at least imply some of the danger Eri's going to eventually face. That paragraph acts as your query's "cliffhanger" ending, so you want it to be as intriguing as possible.

    Ideally, I think you should cut the first paragraph from the revised query (which is too bad--it's a nice bit of writing; it's just not totally necessary), and make that 2nd-to-last paragraph good and meaty by describing some big dilemma/choice/danger that Eri must face by the end of the novel--one where she is at risk no matter what she does.


    Best of luck with this! It really does sound like you have an awesome protagonist and an engaging story. I mostly just want to know more about what Eri faces once she is ready to meet the beasts.

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  2. Interesting plot with fun twist possibilites. I like the voice of Eri.

    Some of this confused me and I had to stop and figure out who was being referred to in some places.

    My suggestions - but I'm not married to any of it.


    Running towards a man-eating beast is completely insane unless you’re a trained Protector with a weapon in your hands. Eri is not a man, not an adult, not armed and therefore not a Protector, but she has developed the internal link to the beasts – The Calling. She feels the uncontrollable need to destroy the hideous creatures with her bare hands.

    She forges an unexpected friendship with Finnley who also seeks the beasts in the darkness. He’s determined to help Eri get training when he’s recruited by the Protectors. Eri’s own Protector begrudgingly goes along with her training even though he can’t stand her presence or what she represents.

    The link between her and beast is beyond her control, Eri knows she can’t hide the connection forever. She is left with the choice to embrace this new identity or bury it and do what everyone expects of her.
    [This seems to contradict the 2nd paragraph where she is getting training]

    MY PROTECTOR: THE CALLING is a dystopian young adult novel complete at 67,000 words.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you Query Goblin! This opportunity and your feedback is invaluable! I appreciate how specific and detailed you are along with the suggestions you give. Thank you for being so encouraging and for even checking out my blog :) Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    And thank you Sarah L for your suggestions as well!

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  4. Hi Goblin - I am a new follower. I've been out of the loop with queries for a long time (and will continue to be, no doubt) since I'm busy writing and/or revising what I've already written. But sooner or later I WILL need to get back into the query game, so your blog is sure to be a good resource at that point!

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  5. **waves at Trisha**

    I (Goblin) look forward to seeing you back here with a query to edit!

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  6. I agree with Jen's edits and comments. Give us more of the 'next' and less set up. At this point, I'm not sure if this story is a coming-of-age (she's the first girl to become a Protector) a romance (with Grayson?) or something larger (she's the key to saving the world, etc.)
    Also - and this is from reading your first chapter - it wasn't clear this was a dystopian. It came across as sci-fi/fantasy to me.
    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete