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GENRE: MG Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 50,000

Banished from the palace after her father's death, fourteen year old Nara is no longer a princess. Now her egomaniac cousin Roman sits on the throne as king. But Nara is the only one who can hear the Gods, and those Gods are angry. Darkness is the first plague, followed by the frogs and the flies. And the Gods are just getting warmed up.

By unraveling the cryptic clues the Gods send to her dreams, Nara thinks she knows how to stop the plagues. The Gods want a temple. Nara advises Roman to begin construction on the temple at once, and Roman commands the commoners work as laborers. While Roman enjoys massages and pedicures, Nara must continue to decipher the mysterious clues from the Gods to end the worsening plagues.

Damian is a crippled commoner, but he has a big voice and bright ideas. Despite his disability, he smarts his way onto the construction site. But Damian doesn't believe a temple is the right solution to the worsening plague problem. The laborers grow weary and angry, and rally around Damian, the visionary with a crooked leg.

Nara must stand in Roman's shadow while trying to save the kingdom. She misses her father and aches for palace life again. And now Damian, a mere commoner, is challenging everything. But when Nara and Damian's mothers fall victim to the worse plague yet, a mystery illness that puts them near death, the teens must work together before the Gods destroy everything they hold dear.

TEMPLE FALLS, a middle grade fantasy novel of 50,000 words, is told from the point of view of both Nara and Damian, appealing to girl and boy readers. The book stands alone, but has series potential. I like to think of it as a PG rated version of THE GAME OF THRONES meets THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY.

First 150 Words:

Nara pushed her way through the soup of darkness. Her shoes clicked against the marble pathway towards the royal palace. Blackness covered her like a thick cloak, weighing her down; even though it was only lunch time. The absence of daylight still gave Nara the creeps. It had been like this for three weeks.
But she knew how to fix it.
And she would tell her stupid cousin, even though he hardly deserved it. Anything was better than living under a dark cloud all day, every day.
It was strange coming to the palace without her maidens and royal guardsmen. But now that Nara and her mom were no longer palace residents, the entourage was gone.
The guardsman at the palace gate, a fellow by the name of Warner who Nara had known since birth, bowed his head slightly as he pushed open the heavy iron gate letting Nara inside. “Good day, Lady Nara,” he pronounced.


  1. I love your first 150. Very strong opening with solid visuals and it gives us a great feel for the MC. I'm left with a couple of questions in the query that might help to pull the reader in even more (because it sounds like a great story to begin with). What does Damian think the better solution is if he thinks a temple won't work? If he is going to lead a rebellion, which it sounds like he is, I assume he has a plan. If he has a good plan either to appease the gods or overthrow Roman, it would help to raise the tension some and show why it might be a challenge for them to work together. Another question: If Roman is now king and he knows that Damian is stirring up trouble, why doesn't he do something about it? Is he too preoccupied with the plagues or is he just ignorant as to who the rebel leader is? Maybe I am trying to look at it like YA instead of MG but it sounds like a really intelligent story with a great opening. :)

  2. My first thought is, this sounds super cool. I think the query can be shortened by taking out the third paragraph from Damien’s POV and just giving a little bit about how Damien affects Nara. It’s usually recommended to write the query in only one POV and that can be easily tweaked with what you currently have. Since the story opens with Nara it will be perfect.

    My thing with the first 150 words is, isn’t Nara banished? So why would the guard let her in and call her Lady Nara? But other than this the writing is solid. I feel the darkness of this setting. I am curious as to why we’re using words like ‘stupid’ in a fantasy story. It makes me question what the setting and time period are.

    Overall, this idea I really like. I like that someone who may not be ‘perfect’ on the outside makes people question what should be done. Looks like a lot of good lessons to learn. Pretty much everything about this entry is strong. I just didn’t have enough votes to hand out to all the ones I liked. Why did I choose others over yours? I guess ultimately it came down to the language used (I’m not saying MG aged children don’t use stupid). It just makes me wonder where I’m supposed to be. The query sets us up for a fantasy type thing so I’m expecting language that goes with that. But really, this is a fantastic entry. It came down to something super nitpicky for me to make a choice. I’m sure this entry will do well.

  3. I'm leaving comments and then returning to make my votes.

    I like the idea of plagues and pestilence and all that Old Testament vengeance. Also liked the princess and the commoner theme. I did feel that your query repeats itself in spots and should be shortened. The last sentence of the second paragraph for instance, really on repeats in different wording. In the first paragraph of the query, I'm left with a big question mark on why she was banished from the palace but not the city. I think we need that information.

    In the First 150 you might want to exchange 'pronounced' for a more simple 'said'. The modern sounding language in the sample kind of threw me. I was expecting something older given the query letter. The first paragraph does a great job of giving a dark mood to your beginning.


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