Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CAGI Entry #85

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Word Count: 86,000


In a realm, parallel to Earth, a thirteen-year-old boy will learn things he never dreamed possible, a brother will sacrifice everything for what he desires most, and a world will go to war with itself.
The first installment of the MG fantasy series WELCOME TO DEMIRIA follows Damien Vesey, a thirteen-year-old boy who must risk everything to undo the darkness his mother has unleashed upon the mysterious and magical world of Demiria. Throughout the 86000 words frightening events begin to transpire and Damien finds himself alone in the Fidelia Percium forest facing the deadly Maliec King. Moments before his death he is saved by a dark cherub known as Electus and realizes some secrets are better left unknown.

First 250:

“Let me out!” Damien cried. He ran towards the wall and smashed his open palm against the solid piece of stone. “Please, what’s going on?”

He looked down at his hands expecting them to be charred from the burning metal, which had seemingly swallowed him whole. Not a scratch or burn was on them. He raised his hands to his face - still there - everything was fine, as if the past few minutes hadn’t happened.

He frantically looked around for another way out. To his despair there was nothing except a small beaten down set of stairs on the far side of the room. He couldn’t understand what had happened, or why he couldn’t get back through. Then there was the unexplained heat, and the fact he just passed through a seemingly solid piece of metal - none of it made sense.

She had gone through though, and for whatever reason she had wanted him to follow. For weeks she haunted his dreams, hovering in the darkness, trying to talk to him - only no words would come out. Then she had appeared in the museum and led him to this room. Had she brought him here to tell him something? Or was this just some cruel joke to trap him?

Damien looked around the room again - empty - the only sound filling its walls was the faint echo of his screams. He tried calling for help again, but no matter how loud he yelled nobody seemed to hear.


  1. I would have liked to see more detail in the query. The way it works right now doesn’t tell the story in an engaging manner or tell enough to get a feel of what the story is about. Queries can be between 150-250 words and really should be three parts.
    1. Opening. Avoid phrases like “never dreamed of” or “sacrifice everything for what he desires most” or “some secrets are better left unknown” because it really tells the reader nothing and are over used words. Don’t be afraid to get to the meat of the story. Agents want to know what it’s about.
    2. Introduction of the conflict. Why will Damien sacrifice everything and what is the world going to war or could?
    3. State what the main character has to gain or lose w/ this conflict.
    You don’t want to use the word count in the actual story query, but after you do the query, the very last paragraph could be like: WELCOME TO DEMIRIA is an 86,000 word middle grade.

    You have an excellent command of writing, but this doesn't read like MG or have the voice of MG. I'd put some MG voice into this or maybe take it into YA, which would be a great fit for your writing style.

    Good luck!

    1. Thank you so much for all of your feedback. This is my first manuscript/query and I have been reworking it over and over trying different formats and ideas. I very much appreciate the in-depth critical feedback that you have provided for me to work with.

      I was on the fence between MG and YA and therefore value the suggestion to categorize it within the YA age range.

      Thank you again for your feedback and time. I am excited to put your ideas into action and take my query to the next level!

      - Owen