Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Secret Agent #41

TITLE: Death's Daughter
GENRE: YA fantasy

This entry has been disqualified; it was query instead of a first page.

My apologies for not catching this sooner.


  1. This looks to be a query rather than an opening page. Assuming that's the case, I would avoid starting with several rhetorical questions and get right to the hook of your story. For example:
    Three weeks ago, Death went missing and the absence of Alex's father is having serious consequences.

    I love that not only does Alex have to deal with otherworldly things like ghosts, but also very down-to-earth issues like child services. :-)

  2. I agree with TJB that this reads like a query, and for a query, I'd be hooked. If it's the beginning of the story, I'm not sure. Great conflicts, tension, and desire!

  3. I do agree that this reads like a query letter rather than the beginning of a novel.

    I think you need to introduce Alex earlier, rather than refer to her as simply "her" for the first time.

    I'm a little confused with the order of things here, but I don't want to be overly critical. I just think it would help the reader to have a little more understanding of Alex. I need to know how she traveled to another world, if not by magic, and how she accidentally brought her arch nemesis along - which, by the way, intrigues me. That seems like an opportunity for a lot of fun - or disaster - depending. I think to keep reading, I would need to see this reworded to sound more like the opening of a novel and a little less like a query.

  4. Rather than pile on, I'm going to assume you thought this was a query letter contest (this blog has done those before so it's an easy mistake to make) and critique this like a query so you can still get some feedback.

    1. I've read articles saying that agents generally don't like rhetorical questions in query letters, as they've become overused.

    2. Who are the Black Council? Since they never come up in the query again, you could cut them.

    3. I can't tell if this story is about death going missing or another world of sorcery. These seem like separate plots, and by the end of the query Alex no longer seems to be trying to find her dad.

    4. The dangerous magic powers are cool, I love that trope!

    I hope I've helped, good luck.

  5. Like others, Im assuming this is your query rather than opening pages (no worries!). As a query, I don’t think you need to start with rhetorical questions—especially in this case. I’d also go ahead and name the main character earlier and give her age (something along the lines of “After three weeks 16-year-old Alex {last name] etc…] I also am a little confused by the story here. What does it mean her power are of fire and death? And why does that complicate things? There is a lot of great information online about crafting the perfect query. I’d take a peek, because I see a lot of promise here but you want to make sure you are doing your story justice when you start to query!