Query – The Last Artican

Having a little fun today with my query for The Last Artican. I would love it if you all could give me some feed back. Thanks

Dear (insert name here),

I would like to offer up my novel The Last Artican, a YA fantasy complete at 84,000 words. It’s a stand alone novel with series potential and it will appeal to fans of Garth Nix’s SABRIEL and Mercedes Lacky’s BRIGHTLY BURNING.

Nineteen years ago, Tabor showed up in the mountains an orphaned child with the magic of the Articans running through her veins. She survived the bitter winter, the wrath of a yeti, and mutinied on the flying pirate ship Stallings – and then the Dominion came.
The monastery is no longer safe for Tabor. But the Articans have disappeared. Tabor grows desperate as the path to her people becomes cold, the Dominion is on her trail, and her magic is on the fritz. To make things worse, Tabor’s guide has completely lost her mind.
Tabor knows that the only people who can save her from the Dominion are the Articans, but when she finds them, she discovers that she is the only one who can save the Articans from the Dominion. However, the biggest flaw in her plan, one that might destroy her people – and her heart – is something she never considered: She must die to save her people, or risk becoming the last Artican.

Thank you for your consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks for stopping by. 
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10 thoughts on “Query – The Last Artican

  1. I had to work hard to come up with comments on this. I really enjoyed it and I think this is a great story.

    Just a couple of suggestions. Since we are learning a lot of names right at the beginning, I would consider omitting the name of the pirate ship. It doesn't get mentioned again which makes me think as though omitting it wouldn't be losing anything and help us focus on what we need to know about your world.

    I wanted to know more about the Dominion. We get the idea that this is the bad guy(s?) but maybe just one more sentence about them at the end of the 2nd paragraph to give us an idea of how bad they are and how much we should dislike them 🙂

    Otherwise, I got nothin. I think you're on the right track here and wish you the best of luck!

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  2. This sounds awesome. I hope my comments are helpful 🙂

    if I remember right, comp titles don’t need to be capitalized. Only your manuscript’s title.

    I agree with L. Evans, you could nix the name of the ship. Also, who are the Articans? Just a little line about them would help.

    I also wish we knew more about the Dominion. What is it? A monster? A group of people? A disease? It sounds interesting, but we need a little more to work with to amp up the tension.

    I like what you’re trying to do in the first sentence of the last paragraph, but it’s not flowing right to me for some reason. I think it can be shortened, just not sure how. Lol I know, some help I am.

    The last line does a great job of establishing the stakes. Overall, this sounds like a great story. L. Evans is right, you're on the right track :-). Good luck!

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  3. Nineteen years ago, Tabor showed up in the mountains an orphaned child with the magic of the Articans running through her veins. She survived the bitter winter, the wrath of a yeti, and mutinied on the flying pirate ship Stallings – and then the Dominion came.
    -> Did she do all those things before she arrived in the mountains?

    The monastery is no longer safe for Tabor. But the Articans have disappeared.
    -> What monastery? I thought she was in the mountains. Why was it safe? What changed? Has she been there for 19 years? Why have the Articans disappeared? Is it something nefarious?

    Tabor grows desperate as the path to her people becomes cold, the Dominion is on her trail, and her magic is on the fritz. To make things worse, Tabor’s guide has completely lost her mind.
    -> I gather she's trying to find the Articans. Okay, I think the timeline works like: she did all those things you open with, reaches the monastery in the mountain and expects to find people like her, but there are none. Is that right? The mention of a guide comes out of nowhere, since the opening makes it appear like she's been alone.

    Tabor knows that the only people who can save her from the Dominion are the Articans, but when she finds them, she discovers that she is the only one who can save the Articans from the Dominion.
    -> What is the Dominion?

    However, the biggest flaw in her plan, one that might destroy her people – and her heart – is something she never considered: She must die to save her people, or risk becoming the last Artican.
    -> Once I reread this I understood what you meant, but at first I got tripped up. Also, the “her heart” seems random. Does she fall for her guide? There's no hint of romance in the query to show this conflict.

    Your pitch is super short (160ish words), so you have lots of space to flesh this out more. It might just be me struggling to follow what is happening, since the other two comments make no mention of that and I feel dumb. I think this could also benefit from some voice–I don't really know anything about Tabor and what she thinks about all this. Is she happy she has magic? What kind of magic does she have? Why is she alone?
    I hope this was helpful. Best of luck,
    cheers,
    Mic

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  4. I like how it starts – good voice and gives a clear background to her story!

    The stakes are clear, but I'm a little confused about the “her heart” part since it feels like romance was suddenly thrown in last minute or something – nothing really built up to that

    I was confused about was what/who exactly are the Artican and the Dominion – I'm not getting a clear idea/image of who/what these are

    Hope this helps!
    Good luck! 🙂

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  5. Nineteen years ago, Tabor showed up in the mountains an orphaned child with the magic of the Articans running through her veins. [showed up as an orphan baby? I’m assuming someone found her and took her in, but since that isn’t specific, I’m not really sure how she survived or who she’s banded with since then] She survived the bitter winter, the wrath of a yeti, and mutinied on the flying pirate ship Stallings – and then the Dominion came. [I think the list is effective, but I get tripped up at the phrase “mutinied on…” I think if you changed “mutinied” to “mutiny” and then remove the name of the ship that would help. Mostly, though, I feel like the ship takes me out of the story, which feels very winter-based. A pirate ship seems out of place and though it may make sense in the context of the story, I’m not sure it works in the query. The last bit about the Dominion is ominous and makes me want to find out more!]

    The monastery [I didn’t realize we were at a monastery! This may be good to allude to earlier or change it to “The mountains” since that’s our location from the first paragraph] is no longer safe for Tabor. But the Articans have disappeared [Is this who she was staying with at the monastery? I feel like this is important, but I don’t understand why since it felt like she was very alone before this anyway]. Tabor grows desperate as the path to her people becomes cold, the Dominion [who/what is the Dominion? Why do they want to kill(?) her?] is on her trail, and her magic is on the fritz [I like this detail. It definitely raises the stakes]. To make things worse, Tabor’s guide has completely lost her mind [Oh, I thought she was alone since the Articans disappeared.].

    Tabor knows that the only people who can save her from the Dominion are the Articans, but when she finds them, she discovers that she is the only one who can save the Articans from the Dominion [this feels wordy and flips too quickly I think. Maybe “The only people who can save Tabor from the Dominion are the Articans, but when she finds them, they look to her as their savoir instead” That’s not perfect, but you get the idea. It may be too complex to try to get in a query, but I wonder why they expect her to save them? What makes her so special?]. However, the biggest flaw in her plan, one that might destroy her people – and her heart – is something she never considered: She must die to save her people, or risk becoming the last Artican [I don’t understand this :/ I think it’s because there’s just too much going on. She suddenly has a plan (sort of makes it seem like she had one all along, but that can’t be the case) and it might destroy the Articans (but I thought the point of the plan was to save them?) and her heart (there was no mention of a love interest earlier…is that what this is referring to? May be best to leave out). She must die to save them (that makes sense) or risk being the last one left (So she dies or they all die? I guess it feels obvious which one she should pick?)

    I feel a bit confused after reading this—I’m not sure of what’s really going on and I think that mainly stems from not knowing who/what the Dominion is. Why are they chasing Tabor/the Articans? What do they want? Are they magical as well? I think that would help to understand the stakes a lot more! It’s always difficult to sum up a new world and system of magic/magical beings in a query. Good luck!!

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  6. I wanted to post something, but I'm afraid I have little to add. Heidi pretty much stole the words from my mouth. I think the list of events including the pirate ship are out of place in the query. There are a lot of names and things that are unique to your world that you mention, but that I, having not read your book, don't understand. Who are these Articans and Dominions. Use the descriptions instead of the names. Etc.

    There is one thing, however, I think I can add—though I am an AVID beyond crazy Lackey fan and I love Nix's Old Kingdom series, and I love to see them mentioned anywhere, I don't think those mentions/comps work here. For one thing, the novels you mention don't seem on point with your book as it appears in the query. For another, even if they are on point, there are plenty of newer comps and fan bases to reference. I've seen many agents blog on just this problem, where they see writers naming fan bases that their book will appeal to, even though the books are not something that would be sold in the current market/fan base. They want to see that you know what books your book would be competing with. I'd recommend changing your comps/mentions to something current that's on point to your story. If you do decide to keep them, hover, there is something important that you should note and consider. Both those books are part of a series—Lackey's book being one of her later Velgarth (Kingdom of Valdemar) novels. While Sabriel was the initial book in the Old Kingdom series, Brightly Burning was written for an already existing fan base and was a story based on snippets of the fictional world's history as related in an earlier book. You might be better off saying that these books will appeal to the readers of the series and not just a single book in that series.

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  7. You've got so much great feedback here that I really don't know what to add, except that I think the word “mutinied” should maybe be “mutiny,” because otherwise it just reads funky. This sounds like an intriguing tale, though, and I hope you have great luck with it! 🙂

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  8. Hey hey, #48 on the Holiday Query Blog Hop here to crit! I’m going to go line by line (crits are in curly brackets) and here’s what I think:

    Dear (insert name here),

    I would like to offer up my novel The Last Artican {Title should always be in all Caps}, a YA fantasy complete at 84,000 words. It's a stand alone novel with series potential and it will appeal to fans of Garth Nix’s SABRIEL and Mercedes Lacky’s BRIGHTLY BURNING.

    Nineteen years ago, Tabor showed up in the mountains an orphaned child with the magic of the Articans running through her veins {Since I don’t know who/what the Articans are this has no impact on me. Are they healers? Flyers? Mass destroyers?}. She survived the bitter winter, the wrath of a yeti, and mutinied on the flying pirate ship Stallings {Not sure what “mutinied on the flying pirate ship Stallings” means. Does it mean she took part in the mutiny?} – and then the Dominion came.

    The monastery is no longer safe for Tabor {I was under no impression there was a monastery involved, I just assumed since so much happens that she’s just hiking around the mountains having adventures. Also, how old was she when she showed up in the mountains? I was under the impression she was a very young child and was doing all those things as a young child}. But the Articans have disappeared {I assumed they had before}. Tabor grows desperate as the path to her people becomes cold, the Dominion is on her trail, and her magic is on the fritz {I would break up this sentence, it’s confusing as is}. To make things worse, Tabor’s guide has completely lost her mind. {This is the first time her guide is mentioned. Is it possible to mention her earlier?}

    Tabor knows that the only people who can save her from the Dominion are the Articans, but when she finds them, she discovers that she is the only one who can save the Articans from the Dominion {I’m thrown off because I assumed all the stuff about finding the Articans before it’s too late were the stakes, except she’s found them. Now I’m wondering what the stakes really are and if it’s possible to get rid of all that extra stuff and get to the real stakes sooner}. However, the biggest flaw in her plan, one that might destroy her people – and her heart – is something she never considered: She must die to save her people, or risk becoming the last Artican {It may be because of the way this last sentence is worded, but I’m confused by the stakes. There doesn’t seem to be a real choice here: she dies for the Articans but saves her people OR she lives and her people die but then the Dominion will kill her anyway since it’s established she can’t survive without her people. She dies either way.}

    Thank you for your consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.

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  9. Hi Sara, nice to meet you. I'm #47. Please take my thoughts as grains of salt. My comments are in [ ].
    —-
    Dear (insert name here),

    I would like to offer [delete: up] my novel [caps: The Last Artican], a YA fantasy complete at 84,000 words. It's a stand alone novel with series potential and it will appeal to fans of Garth Nix’s SABRIEL and Mercedes Lacky’s BRIGHTLY BURNING.

    Nineteen years ago, Tabor showed up in the mountains an orphaned child with the magic of the Articans running through her veins. She survived the bitter winter, the wrath of a yeti, and mutinied [just mutiny?] on the flying pirate ship Stallings – and then the Dominion came. [Who are/is the Dominion?]

    The monastery is no longer safe for Tabor. [When did she end up in a monastery?] But the Articans have disappeared. Tabor grows desperate as the path to her people becomes cold, the Dominion is on her trail, and her magic is on the fritz. To make things worse, Tabor’s guide has completely lost her mind.

    Tabor knows that the only people who can save her from the Dominion are the Articans, but when she finds them, she discovers that she is the only one who can save the Articans from the Dominion. However, the biggest flaw in her plan, one that might destroy her people – and her heart – is something she never considered: She must die to save her people, or risk becoming the last Artican. [Now I'm interested. Great hook here. Wish it was earlier. Little confused about the possible love interest. When you say her heart, do you mean a love or the love of her people? Just wondering.]

    Thank you for your consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.

    [Best of luck on your querying.]

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  10. Hey Sara,

    #9 from the Holiday Query Hop here 😀

    Your query was clear and well-written, but I’m not entirely hooked. I think it’s because I don’t know what Articans and Dominions are. I get that they’re both magical. I get the Dominions are the bad guys. But what are their powers? Can they fly? Time travel? Control the earth? I don’t know enough about your magic system and, in fantasy, the uniqueness of a magic system can really make a story stand out.

    Best of luck,
    Tiffanie

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