Jun 1, 2018

QK Round 1: Sister Witches Who Kick Butt VS Hell in a Handbasket

Title: Destiny's Sister
Entry Nickname: Sister Witches Who Kick Butt
Word Count: 62,000
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy (Ownvoices)

Query:

For most of her life, sixteen-year-old Draya Zennelle has always been ‘one of the triplets’, rarely seen as her own separate person, which is weird because she and her sisters don’t get along at all. But Draya hopes that will change when they join the Ukatha, a society of African-descended witches who do good in the world.

The triplets are destined to become Protectors, so they must train in combat and weaponry alongside spell-casting. Draya is excited to learn magic, but there are some drawbacks to using it for personal gain (how was she to know conjuring up a Louis Vuitton purse would get her arrested for shoplifting?). And it might not be a good idea to use her magic to get back at one of her haters at school, although she’s tempted. Besides, she’s not supposed to let anyone know she’s a witch, not even her boyfriend, but her lies could lead to problems in their relationship.

As Draya struggles to keep her magical and social lives separate, she develops a closer bond with her sisters. And just in time too, because she’ll need them more than ever with the African male witch hunters—called kegali—coming after the Ukatha. When the chief of a kegali clan tries and fails to kidnap the triplets, the girls train harder than ever to become stronger witches. But the kegali chief wants something from them, and Draya soon learns that getting along with her sisters is just as important as keeping her individuality if she and the other witches are going to survive their enemies.

DESTINY’S SISTER is a YA African-inspired urban fantasy novel complete at 62,000 words. Filled with humor, magic, and sisterly bonding, this novel is like the TV show CHARMED with a mix of Zulu witch culture.

First 250:

Whoever says triplets have an instant special bond when they’re born, I’d love to give them a piece of my mind.

Then I’d like to introduce them to the Zennelle sisters, of which I am one-third a part of, and which has driven me one-third crazy. No, maybe one-half.

“Draya, I thought you said I could wear the silver hoop earrings!” yelled my sister, Alaya, stomping across the carpet to where I sat at our vanity mirror. I could tell in the reflection she was massively pissed by the crease between her eyebrows.

Yep, definitely one-half.

I finished clipping the first earring onto my ear. “It’s whoever got to them first. And I got to them first.” I gave her reflection a smug smile as I put on the last earring.

“Mama! I told you I needed my own pair of silver hoop earrings! Why do we have to share everything?”

Ah, disadvantage #1 of being triplets. Mama thinks she has to buy only one of everything and we can all share it. Even a car. Like, who wants to share a car when we all have separate social lives?

“You can wear my gold ones, Alaya!” Mama hollered back from her bedroom.

I spun away from the vanity mirror. “What? You know, I’ve changed my mind, Alaya. You can have these earrings.”

“No, I’m fine now,” she said, rushing out of the room, her dress fluttering behind her.

I sucked my teeth in annoyance.


 VS


Title: Thicker than Water
Entry Nickname: Hell in a Handbasket
Word Count: 77K
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy (#OwnVoices)

Query:

Malous and Jonalee Ilsedine, seventeen-year-old twin heirs to the throne of Kinh, must accept political marriages to protect their realm against the threat of war. War or not, the twins can’t bear life apart. They plot to escape their arranged marriages, but their plans unravel when Malous realizes he’s falling in love with Jonalee’s fiancé. In a fit of rage over her brother’s betrayal, Jonalee interrupts a sacred water ritual. The punishment is death – unless she can find someone else to sacrifice in her stead. And there’s no one better to die in Jonalee’s place than the Scion, a rebel threatening to overthrow her family’s rule.

The Scion, leader of the resistance, knows that the Ilsedine line is tainted by lies and murder. For the past ten years, she’s been ferreting out the truth about the queen’s death and the king’s role in her untimely demise. Now at last she has enough proof to tear the Ilsedines from the throne and take it for herself. The Scion is hunting the Ilsedines from within the castle walls, and a single misstep could see her executed for treason. In this game of cat and mouse between the Scion and the Ilsedines, it’s impossible to tell who’s the cat and who’s the mouse – but whoever ends up with the crown will place it on their head with bloodstained hands.

THICKER THAN WATER, an #OwnVoices LGBT YA fantasy, is complete at 77,000 words. It combines the twisted politics of Cinda Williams Chima’s SHATTERED REALMS series with the coming-out bisexual romance of Ellen Hopkins’s THE YOU I’VE NEVER KNOWN.

First 250:

A constant stream of curses runs through my mind, each one more creative than the one before. I can’t afford all this wasted time. If the carriage doesn’t arrive soon, I won’t be able to get to the prince tonight, and then my meticulously-laid plans will fall apart.

The sun set beyond the forest hours ago, blanketing my treetop perch with darkness, but doing nothing to soothe my jangling nerves. I take a deep breath and hold still, listening. All I hear is the breeze. Where is he? I pick my way as high as I dare and squint into the far reaches of the forest road below, searching for lantern lights, but the foliage is too dense. Sighing with frustration, I stare out toward the City of Stars. The thick arch of rock jutting out over the lake is barely visible, its nighttime lights glowing against the indigo sky. My heart gives an angry jolt when I think of the sleeping royal family and their palace of lies, their cunning construction that – if this plan works – will come tumbling down before my feet.

As I descend through the branches, my partner Ivory whistles the signal. Finally. I peer down the road, my pulse quickening. The carriage and its mounted guard draw even with us, the shades on the windows drawn tight. I check my mask to make sure not even a sliver of skin is showing. The last thing I need is to be recognized.

16 comments :

  1. Judges, please respond with your feedback and vote here! Good luck!

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    Replies
    1. DESTINY'S SISTER

      African American witch story with humor? Um, yes, please!!! Great job on the query and 250. I think the query could be slightly streamlined. I.e. you don't need to mention that the sisters aren't close three times. Introduce it in the first paragraph and then set up the stakes at the end in the third paragraph i.e., now she must find a way to work with her sisters to x, y, and z. The last paragraph can be cut down a bit. I also love the LV purse reference in the second paragraph since it's so specific, but I think you can lose the reference about casting spells on her haters since it's not driving the plot forward. Also, 62k is a little short for a YA fantasy, so you may want to take a look at the manuscript and flesh out some world building or whatever needs more.

      THICKER THAN WATER:
      I like that the query has some very specific world building, and the fact that it's a LGBT YA fantasy is awesome!

      I think you can try to take another look and see what is absolutely needed. There are a lot of characters mentioned. Do they all need to be in it? I.e. the Scion, queen, king etc. I think the query could use a little more focus on the main conflict.

      The 250 has some beautiful imagery, tension, and mystery. Great job!

      VICTORY TO DESTINY'S SISTER

      Delete
    2. Sister Witches Who Kick Butt

      Query:

      The first paragraph HOOKED ME HARD. It’s got the hook, and tells me right away where this is going. I know at the bottom you mentioned CHARMED, and yes, immediately I could see that, which also made me very happy.

      The voice is strong with this one, especially in the second paragraph. Though I think there might be too much on the personal gain aspect. I would keep the Louis Vuitton, but what about her sisters? What’s happening there? It seems like something important and yet, I know nothing about it. I feel like going from not getting along at all to having a stronger bonds needs some emphasis in between.

      The stakes too, are a bit vague. Why is this guy after them? What does he want from them? What do they have to do? The voice is amazing, but without the stakes, I have no idea if this is going to be exactly like Charmed or a whole new world inspired by it. That’s what I want to know.

      Honestly, I’d request this in a heartbeat.

      First 250:

      Again, the voice is amazing. The characterization is strong. I love seeing the interaction between the sisters and the how their life works. My biggest thing, I think, is I’ve got no idea where we are. I’m floating in the ether with a vanity mirror and carpet. The dialogue is great, but where am I? I need to be grounded in the scene, and then give me all the banter. Or ground me in the scene with all the witty banter.

      There’s a lot of ways to do it. Add some description in and I think this is a really strong start. The voice is enough to hook the reader in my opinion, but I think you can make it stronger.

      Vs.

      Hell in a Handbasket

      Query:

      There is a lot going on here and I’m not quite sure what the main plot is. I get it, they all want the crown. There’s a lot of books where they all want the crown. What’s the game of cat and mouse? That’s often said. I want to know what the actual struggle is. It’s so vague. I’m assuming at some point they’re going to come together, or fall for each other, but I’ve got nothing about that in the query.

      It needs to be streamlined and give me the plot that involves the two of them, not what leads up to the two of them. Does that make sense?

      I’m not sure that I’d request, just because right now I have two people fighting for a crown, but I don’t know what’s unique about that, because it hasn’t been specified. The stakes need to be made clear.

      First 250:

      You’ve got some great characterization and imagery going on. It’s a bit of a slow start in my opinion. I like that we aren’t dropped with a ton of back story, but I almost feel like the second paragraph could be condensed just a bit to get us to that third paragraph. I feel like something right there, what’s following it, is going to have me hooked!

      I really love the prose and the voice of this. Great job!

      VICTORY: SISTER WITCHES WHO KICK BUTT!


      Delete
    3. Sister Witches Who Kick Butt

      Query
      This is great! Reminds me of Sabrina, too.  Two small things: 1) Can you be more specific about what the kegali chief wants from them without giving a twist away? 2) I don’t think Draya should be italicized in the last line.

      250
      I really like the sentiment in the first line, but the flow is a little awkward. It might be better broken into two sentences, or combined with the next paragraph (ex: “If anyone think triples have an instant-special bond when they’re born, then I’d like to introduce them to the Zennelle sisters.”)

      “I could tell in the reflection she was massively pissed by the crease between her eyebrows.” You can cut the “I could tell” and just describe her (massively pissed is great teenage voice though haha).

      Great voice throughout. Well done!


      Hell in a Handbasket

      Query
      Oooh, an intense plot. This also reminds me a bit of AND I DARKEN. Are the POV’s only from Jonalee and the Scion? The first couple lines made me think Malous is a POV, but then their Ilsedine plot seems to revolve around Jonalee’s need. I love how you wrap this up as a cat-and-mouse game (that last line is amazing!), though I’m still confused on details from both sides:

      1) Does Jonalee know the Scion is within the castle? Does she just have to capture her?
      2) If the Scion has proof to get them off the throne, why is she hunting them? Is the Scion after the twins or their father?

      250
      Very atmospheric, but there are a lot of adjectives that clutter the description and slow the tension. I’d also identify whose POV you’re starting with (even for QK), though I assume it’s the Scion.


      A very cool pair of fantasies! I’m going to say…

      VICTORY TO SISTER WITCHES!

      Delete
    4. I really liked both of these entries and it might end up being a matter of subjectivity.

      Sister Witches Who Kick Butt
      There is so much to love here! I'm already in love with these characters. I think you do a great job setting up the characters and the world but I generally feel like the query is a little light on conflict and stakes. We're pretty near the end of the query when the kegali are introduced and I think those aspects are really important. On the 250, I loved the sister dynamic that you have totally nailed here. I'm not crazy about the first line which comes across a bit cliche given the incredibly original material your presenting.

      Hell in a Handbasket
      This also sounds amazing! On the query, I'm kind of inclined to agree with the some of the other comments that say there's quite a bit going on here. BUT sometimes books in this genre can have a lot going on. My instinct is to say that some of the material about the twins could be cut and the query could open right with Jonalee's need to find a replacement to take the punishment for her crime. But I also think some of this relates to conventions of the genre and I would defer to writers in that genre. I really enjoyed the first 250 and thought they did a nice job in setting the tone for the book.

      Difficult decision but victory to SISTER WITCHES!

      Delete
    5. Comments for Sister Witches:

      A few things to possibly clean up in the query:
      - First sentence is overly wordy. Could lose "For most of her life" without changing anything.
      - Third paragraph - why is Draya italicized? Also, are you sure "are going to survive their enemies" is what you're looking for?
      - First 250, second paragraph needs a rewrite.

      This query does what it's supposed to do, in that I think I know what this book is and where it's going. However, the prose could use a bit of polishing. You also might want to reconsider the first 250. Think about maybe jumping right into the plot rather than starting out with a banal sibling rivalry bit. Remember - that first page is what makes the difference between a reader picking up your book, or setting it aside.

      Comments for Thicker than Water:

      This query leaves me confused, which is probably not what you were going for. Is the the twins' story, or the Scion's? I can't tell from this, and I don't think you can pull of having it be both. Also, you've got a lot of plot twists in that first paragraph. Consider focusing on one goal, and one set of stakes. I feel like you might be throwing a bit too much at the wall here.

      Your first 250 is much more compelling than the query at this point. Your prose is clean, you've got a nice set-up and plenty of tension. I assume this is the Scion speaking? Maybe consider making her the primary focus of the story? She seems like an interesting character.

      All-in-all, this was a tough decision. Both queries have significant strengths and weaknesses. Overall, though, I feel like Thicker than Water needs a bit more rethinking.

      Victory to Sister Witches.

      Delete
    6. Earthbound MisfitJune 4, 2018 at 5:50 PM

      Sister Witches:

      Query: From the strength of the query alone, this already sounds like an interesting book that I'd want to read. My only concern is that the query is a little on the lengthy side, and a few of the sentences in particular are longish. You do a great job overall, though, of hinting at the humorous and serious sides of the book, and ramping up the sense of action and tension. There's also a lot of reader appeal in the different-but-still-familiar twist on witches.

      1st 250: The humor and voice in the first 250 are strong, with an immediate introduction of Draya and her frustration with being a triplet. The fact that they're witches doesn't come up right away, but that didn't feel like a problem to me. I don't quite have a sense yet of who Draya is in CONTRAST to her sisters, though—right now she feels like one of three, but which one, I'm not sure yet.


      Handbasket:

      Query: This definitely sounds like an exciting and complex novel of political intrigue, and one I'd certainly pick up and read. It's a very strong and well-structured query, with dynamic language that supports the excitement of the plot and hints at a lot of action. My only concern is that there is a LOT going on—it's a complex story, and the query itself is accordingly complex. This isn't necessarily a negative for me (or for fantasy readers) but it's something to consider with respect to the query.

      1st 250: I love the idea of starting with the narrator (the Scion, I assume, in this case) in the tree, ready to execute a nefarious plan. It's an action-oriented beginning, but the passage itself starts a bit slowly to me. My opinion is the first paragraph you're currently using could be moved elsewhere or even dropped entirely, so that you start with the very physical action and visceral feeling of the narrator in the tree.

      Tough choice—as I said, I'd personally pick up both of these! Both queries and samples were strong. But--

      Victory to Sister Witches!

      Delete
    7. Mrs. Will HerondaleJune 4, 2018 at 6:13 PM

      Sister Witches Who Kick Butt

      Query: This book sounds so cool! I think the query has all the right elements, but it could be streamlined. i.e. I think you could cut the second half of the last sentence in paragraph 2- “…not even her boyfriend.” It’s implied that her lies could lead to relationship problems, you don’t have to tell us.


      First 250: The first sentence read a little awkwardly for me, but overall I enjoyed your first page. It flows well, good dialogue, and I get a good sense of her family situation right away. I wouldn’t mind a little more personality from her inner thoughts, but I’d definitely keep reading.


      Hell in a Handbasket

      Query: This sounds like a really interesting premise—Malous falling in love with his twin’s fiancé, but it’s not clear to me if the water ritual is connected to anything or if it’s just something that was happening. Also, the two paragraphs seem a little disconnected—you have the love storyline and then the Scion storyline—and of course two plot threads isn’t too much, but the way the query is structured makes it seem like the premise is the love story, but no just kidding it’s really about the Scion. Maybe the love story intro just needs to be pared back a bit? I’m probably just being nitpicky, as I think agents would request regardless because of the quality of the writing.

      First 250: Well done! Besides the villain monologuing about her evil plan a bit in paragraph two, I don’t have anything to criticize! Good job!

      I love the premise of the sister witches, but I’m going to vote for the entry that was a little more polished:

      VICTORY TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET!

      Delete
  2. This seems a little complicated - however I am a champion of twisting plots and well weaved subplots. I am also a sucker for escaping arranged Marriages if done right. I think the most interesting concept here is the twin bond: so the query would have my attention and as standard formats go, it’s quite good. The opening words build the world a little and hint at a calm before the storm of a book that seems like it’s about to start with a bang. I wish we had room to get to the bang lol - one short but potent line of dialogue, even if the character just talks to herself, might give us a first name early of who this character is.”

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  3. Sister Witches:
    Query:
    I love the premise—African witches & triplets that don’t get along—and feel like this could be a book I love. How you link the beginning and ending of the query is wonderful too, bringing things back full-circle. I do think the query could be trimmed a little bit, mostly in wording. (Example: the first line could be, “Sixteen-year-old Draya has always been ‘one of the triplets’ instead of her own person. Weird, since they don’t get along at all.) (Another example: in the second paragraph, you might consider removing the first line. It adds an extra word—Protector—that agents would be burdened to memorize, but doesn’t come up again. And the ‘combat and weaponry’ doesn’t appear to be essential to what happens later on.) And, finally, perhaps you could give us a hint at what the kegali chief wants?

    First 250:
    The opening line is great! The dialogue flows well and the triplet conflict is depicted clearly and humorously. I especially love how the mom thinks she can get away with forcing them to share. I do think the line “then I’d like to introduce them to the Zennelle sisters, of which I am one-third a part of” could be editing, as “of which I am one-third a part of” sounds a bit explanatory and not what an MC would think about in her own head. (Am I even making sense? I don’t know.)

    Hell in a Handbasket:
    Query:
    I am in love with this premise! Arranged marriage? The prince falling in love with his sister’s fiancé? Political intrigue? A deep, dark family secret? Sign me up! This is one of those rare instance where I think a split-POV query works well. My only comment would be that Malous doesn’t have a great deal of agency in the query—it appears here that his main function is to fall in love. How does he retaliate to Jonalee? Does he help Jonalee search for the Scion?

    First 250:
    You writing is smooth and you do a good job at showing us the Scion’s frustration and building the world a bit without throwing too much information at us. I agree with a previous comment that it would be nice to have the character’s name early on, and perhaps some dialogue, to give us a hint of her character. One final comment: “my partner Ivory” sounds explain-y, like you wanna tell the reader “heyyyy this is who Ivory is! the partner-in-crime!”. Perhaps shuffle around your descriptions of Ivory in the first pages to avoid this.

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  4. Sister Witches Who Kick Butt:

    I really enjoyed the humor and spunk in this query! I can definitely tell that this is going to be present in the actual manuscript. I'm hooked on your premise--Zulu witches meeting Urban Fantasy is a brilliant idea. And it's OwnVoices at that! This might be completely subjective, but I think you're revealing too much about the plot in your query. The kelagi I think would be more nebulous and ominous if you didn't reveal how exactly they carry out their evil plan, for example. Draya's voice leaps off of the page in your first 250. It reads kind of like a TV show script.


    Hell in a Handbasket:

    You have a very strong command of language in your query, and you summarize what goes on really well. I'd personally like to know a touch more about this water ritual--why is it so important and why was it going on in the first place? My favorite part of the whole query was how you establish each main character's internal and external conflicts! I'm assuming your first 250 takes place through the point of view of The Scion. If so, why not start the query with The Scion and then work your way down to the twins? This is just a thought, of course. You can definitely feel the urgency in The Scion(?)'s mind, with a twinge of agitation and nervousness. You pulled this off swimmingly!

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  5. Sister Witches Who Kick Butt

    Considering this sounds a little like the Dora Milaje with magic, I’m hooked. You have a lot of characterization and voice in this. I’d like a little more information about how she gets along with her sisters since it sounds like learning to work with them is perhaps the most important plot point. All we know is that she doesn’t get along with them, and then she starts to, but then they HAVE to. I want to know what’s in the way from them getting along.

    First 250, a good start. Great voice and an immediate believable feel of sisterly rivalry. The line “Then I’d like to introduce them to the Zennelle sisters, of which I am one-third a part of” feels awkward for me, though, since it’s first person and talking about herself. Just feels like a strange way to introduce oneself. Other than that, I have no problems with this.

    ***************

    Hell in a Handbasket

    This is a really interesting query, and I’m not really sure where to go with it. Multiple POV queries are hard. They can get messy and lose important details in fitting them all in. That’s why, even with multiPOV stories, the typical advice is to stick to one for the query. The first paragraph is already somewhat muddled by focusing on the twins instead of just one, and I feel like Malous gets buried under his sister’s goals and machinations, which is sad because he feels like the more relatable and likable character. Jonalee’s “I’m gonna sacrifice someone else in my stead who’s conveniently the villain from my POV” thing is a bit ??? to me. How is it a sacrifice/punishment if she can just grab anyone she chooses? I absolutely love the Scion’s paragraph and wouldn’t mind if you just went for the whole query with her, especially since you start with her. I get the feeling you have an absolutely killer story here but it’s one of those that’s even harder than normal to fit into a standard query.

    First 250, it took me a little bit to figure out whose POV we were in. I thought it was Jonalee waiting for a carriage to go to a ball until you said she was in a tree. It’s not very long to figure it out, but it’s a bit double-take-y since the query started with the twins but the story with the Scion. Not a huge problem, but just some confusion caused. Otherwise, this is a solid start, fully grounded in a fantasy feel.

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  6. Sister Witches Who Kick Butt

    Query: I love this premise. I want to read this story right now! The query is great but could probably be streamlined just a tad. The one issue I see is that in the third paragraph, you tell us Draya develops a closer bond to her sisters, and then at the end of the paragraph the stakes include her getting along with her sisters. I feel that kind of gives the ending away.

    First 250: Great voice. I do feel like the sentence “Then I’d like to introduce them to the Zennelle sisters, of which I am one-third a part of…” is way too formal considering the rest of the sample though. Also, maybe give us a hint as to where we’re at. I’m assuming their house, but it wasn’t really clear.


    Hell In A Handbasket

    Query: This is a great query and your first paragraph is especially clear, but I feel like too many characters are mentioned in the second, making things a little confusing. I understand everyone wants the crown, but it may help to be a little more specific with the stakes.

    First 250: Your writing is wonderful, as is your world-building. My only concern is I have no idea who’s POV this is, and it’s hard to fully immerse myself in this beautiful world you’ve created without knowing who’s perspective this is from.

    Good luck to you both!

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  7. Another fun pairing - triplets and twins.

    DESTINY'S SISTER

    I was really drawn in by the 250 and love the interactions between the sisters. From the query, I like the idea that she both has to learn to be an individual, and to work with her sisters.

    THICKER THAN WATER

    This sounds amazing but I did get confused about something. It says the twins are heirs to the throne, but it also says they are going to have to live apart in arranged marriages. That made me think they are going to be sent off to other countries (as often used to happen with political marriages) but that normally wouldn't happen with an heir - would they stay close to home? And are they both heirs in that they would rule together?

    Your story sounds really fun - I love the idea of the cat and mouse game and maybe not really knowing who the good guys are.

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  8. 1) DESTINY’S SISTER.
    You’ve got a great premise here—love the whole sisters / triplets thing and the society of African-descended witches. I’m already sold!

    Query: The first couple of sentences could be tighter in terms of showing what Draya wants and the overall plot / main conflict before you expand on it in the following paragraphs. If you put it something like, ‘Sixteen-year-old Draya is tired of being ‘one of the triplets’. All she wants is to be seen as her own separate person, but when they join the Ukatha, a society of African-descended witches, they must work together to defeat the Kegali who want to x’ (not currently clear from the query what it is they want). This final point should have a personal as well as global threat for the pitch to be most powerful. Maybe also try to weave in something that makes it clear that they’re in a contemporary setting—even if it is just naming the city / state they live in. Or in the ‘all she wants is bit add ‘and maybe the Louis Vuitton purse she’s had her eye on’. Then you get a sense of the humour in there as well. The rest of the query is strong, but you need to say what it is the Kegali chief wants from the sisters otherwise it feels a bit flat and generic.
    First 250: Love the opening 2-3 lines—perfect. Strike that, I love all of it! The voice & the sibling rivalry are brilliant. It sets up the conflict well, it’s completely relatable (& I don’t have a sister!), and it tells the reader that this book is ultimately about their relationship. Love it.

    2) THICKER THAN WATER.
    Ooo! I love the descent here from two inseparable siblings to rivals for the throne. I anticipate getting so embroiled in the story that I don’t know who I’m rooting for by the end, but whoever they are, they’ll have done many a dastardly deed that I have somehow managed to forgive.

    Query: The first sentence is a bit unwieldy. I’d recommend leading with the tight relationship of the siblings—laying on thick their dislike of the politics and their simple desire to not be separated from each other. That way, the contrast will be even starker by the end of the query. So, something like ‘Seventeen-year-old twins Malous and Jonalee Ilsedine are inseparable, but as heirs to the throne of Kinh, they are being forced into political marriages that will placate their Kingdom’s enemies and leave them hundreds of miles apart.’ I’d also like a bit more information about the cat and mouse shenanigans, but maybe I’m being greedy—leave them wanting more, as they say.

    First 250: Love the voice! Opening para is brilliant. The pov threw me though because the query is written from the twin’s perspective. Is it written from three points of view? Maybe mention this in the query to prepare the agent. Besides that, I would only recommend reworking a few little phrases that are overused / a bit too tell-y / unnecessary: jangling nerves, sighing with frustration (a sigh / sharp exhale of breath / grunt would all be fine—you shouldn’t need to tell us it’s with frustration), heart gives an angry jolt (just felt out of place—we’re in her head so you can seamlessly carry on the thought otherwise all these physical expressions of emotion get a bit too much), draw & drawn in the same sentence. But I’m being really nitpicky here. The descriptions are lovely & you’re with the character right from the first sentence.

    Best of luck, both of you!

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