Edit Fest – Query This

May 6, 2013 at 12:48 am (writing) (, , , , , , , , )

When I edit a novel, I find it’s a great time to work on the query letter for the manuscript in question. The material is fresh in my mind, and because I run from cover to cover until I have the full novel reviewed, it’s a good opportunity to come up with a brief summary of the story as a whole. I try to pick out the specific elements that really catch me as I go through the manuscript and incorporate them into the query – the highlights of the tale that strike me as being the most important.

This is what I came up with for The Trading of Skin:

The Trading of Skin, is what I would describe as a fantasy tale with a foundation in Sami mythology and in particular the shapeshifter myth of the traders of skin. The story is one that explores the divide between basic animal instinct and man’s connection with nature in contrast with self-awareness and the higher reasoning and emotions that accompany it. The novel also touches on the concepts of spiritualism, freedom, community and the importance of family.

When Oaván, the younger son of the late noaidi (or shaman) Anár, accidently shoots Lieđđi, a young woman he mistakes for a lucky white reindeer, he sets into motion a series of events that will change his life drastically. His return with her to Anár unlocks secrets about his heritage that have been kept hidden from him and his brother, Dáidu, all their lives. This propels them onto a dangerous path that will decide their fates along with Lieđđi’s.

From the very beginning, Lieđđi’s presence in Anár loosens peoples’ tongues and awakens feelings in Oaván and Dáidu that surprise and confuse them. Trouble ensues, and when Lieđđi flees in an attempt to rejoin her family, Oaván, Dáidu and their mother, Jaská, follow. Lieđđi’s family meets with tragedy, leaving the three from Anár to accompany her on a life-altering trip to the River of Blood, hoping to keep the trader of skin safe from the supernatural hunters who stalk her. In the end, the journey demands from them great strength and even greater sacrifice.  The tale delves into the idea of the importance of self-identity and recognizing one’s worth, no matter what prejudice you might face.  The main focus of the tale, however, is the idea that it is our choices that make us what we are, more than anything else.

I finished my edits today, and no matter how unpleasant editing seems to be, I’m always a little reluctant to let the story go when I’m done, even though I know it’s time to move on.

Submission Blitz Update: I received an acceptance today fo “It Was Askin’ for a Whackin’.” Another score for the blitz J

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