Query Critique/Workshop: SILVER TONGUED (YA Paranormal)



Critiquer: Kimberly Chase


I’d add a quick personal note here that specifies why you’re contacting this particular agent.

Music terrorizes fifteen-year-old Delphine Lockhart and she doesn’t know why. It tortures her with whispered melodies and burns her with hidden cadence; if she tries to sing, the searing taste of metal chokes her.(<-LOVE THIS!) And yet, something within her still yearns for music. When she’s abandoned by her mother and moves in with estranged relatives, Delphine finally learns why: she’s inherited a gift – a dangerous gift that comes with  enemies who would kill her for it. (I’d clarify this a bit because I’m a little confused. What exactly is her gift? A beautiful voice? And why does it mean she has enemies?)

Delphine collects the scattered pieces of herself in the caves (<-literally?) of her own small-town Bethel, Missouri. She must overcome years of silence to find the voice inside her, trust herself enough to use it and then learn to protect it. All while hiding things from her best friend and falling for a guy with secrets of his own. If she denies her birthright, the music she’s only begun to discover could be lost to her forever. <-Good! If she fails to protect it, she could lose absolutely everything. (Clarify “everything.” That will raise the stakes. Her boyfriend? Her life?)

SILVER TONGUED, complete at 67,000 words, is a young adult paranormal novel that will  appeal to fans of  the magic and romance found in Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver Trilogy and to readers who enjoyed the mystical tale of loss and self-discovery found in Alice Hoffman’s Green Angel. May I send you a partial excerpt or the full manuscript?

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Thanks for sharing this with me! Sounds like an excellent story!


If you have any thoughts or questions, the comments are open, but please keep it constructive. No douchebaggery allowed.

3 thoughts on “Query Critique/Workshop: SILVER TONGUED (YA Paranormal)

  1. Thanks so much for your time and for the great feedback! I will be sure to make good use of your wonderful suggestions.

  2. Intriguing! I’ll add to Kimberly’s notes by saying there’s a lot of room for more specifics here. Don’t hold back because you’re invested in the surprise. Queries need to give it away like it’s black Friday. 😉

    Here are a few things to add that I think could really make this query stand out:
    – Is she suddenly abandoned by her mother? Are the circumstances mysterious? Or has she seen it coming for several years?
    – Why estranged relatives? Has her mother told her they hate them? How does she feel about moving in with them? They’re in the same town, so I expect the estrangement comes with some degree of drama. Reveal it!
    – Kimberly’s absolutely right: you have to tell us what the gift is and why she’s afraid to use it.
    – “Falling for a guy with secrets of his own.” Unpack that. We need the who, the why, and the how she knows he has secrets.

    In other words, you wouldn’t give someone a sip of club soda as an advertisement for a cosmo. Give them a taste of the full on cosmo.

    Good luck!

  3. Thanks for taking time to critique, Natalie! I will definitely answer those questions in my edit. 🙂

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