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Madhavan (Fantasy)


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#1 sgf

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 11:45 PM

*** Revision in post #9 ***


Help! I think I need some fresh eyes to look at my query before I send it out. All comments appreciated!


Dear Agent:

As a monstrous army crawls toward the land of Neyria, the shadow witch Ravenel is consumed by the loss of her true love, the legendary knight Brompst. The ritual that was supposed to bind them for eternity instead reduced Brompst to a walking corpse. Now he blindly follows his sidekick Kellek—the same man who ruined the spell. Ravenel is left with only the memory of her lover’s heart, pulsing with life in her hands and glistening under the moonlight.

Determined to cure Brompst and eager for revenge, Ravenel hunts after Kellek. Across a distant land in search of a wizard long thought dead, Kellek evades her at every turn. He seeks to restore Brompst on his own, she learns, for the knight is prophesied to stop the looming invasion by creatures wrought of nightmares: massive, maggot-shaped things with scythe-tipped tentacles and hornets’ wings.

Ravenel cares nothing for destiny or war. She knows that if Kellek succeeds, he would likely get Brompst killed or try to turn him against her. Only by finding her beloved in time can she undo the damage of the spoiled ritual. Following Kellek could entail plunging into the domain of the monstrous horde and fighting alongside those who oppose it. But Ravenel will do anything to save Brompst by herself, for herself—even if means playing the role of hero along the way.

Madhavan is a 95,000-word fantasy novel. [publications, etc. will be inserted here]

Thank you for your consideration.

xxx

#2 C. Taylor

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 12:51 AM

I think you're off to a good start. I'd recommend starting with a hook that will sum up in one sentence the conflict of your story and what makes it unique. From there, the query felt very dense, and as a result I didn't feel pulled in. I think by simplifying and stripping it down to the basics of the story, it'll be easier to grab the reader's attention. I think you're nearly there-- just need a few tweeks.

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#3 RileyRedgate

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 02:02 AM

Ooh, sounds intriguing. Some things:



As a monstrous army crawls toward the land of Neyria, the shadow witch Ravenel is consumed by the loss of her true love, the legendary knight Brompst.
Ack! So many names! Let's cut it off at "love" for now, and name him in a bit.

The ritual that was supposed to bind them for eternity instead reduced Brompst to a walking corpse.
Okay. His name fits in nicely here, and even opens up some opportunity to get to know the character. Something like "to bind them for eternity instead reduces her love, Brompst, once a legendary knight, a tender lover, and a five-star chef, to a walking corpse." Only with something that's relevant, obviously. And true.

Now he blindly follows his sidekick this doesn't feel appropriate here. Even if it were just "once-sidekick" or "the man who was once his sidekick", it'd feel a little less... odd Kellek—the same man who ruined the spell.
Interesting. Could you be more specific with how he ruined the spell? "the same man who distracted Brompst at the crucial point in the spell, rendering him as good as dead." Or somethin' similar

Ravenel is left with only the memory of her lover’s heart, pulsing with life in her hands and glistening under the moonlight.
Hmm. Memories can't pulse or glisten, and the description is strangely graphic. I'm assuming you mean a literal heart, but why would she ever have a reason to see his physical heart? Is that a requirement of the spell? Clarification wouldn't go amiss here.

Determined to cure Brompst and eager for revenge, Ravenel hunts after Kellek. Across a distant land in search of a wizard long thought dead, Kellek evades her at every turn. He seeks to restore Brompst on his own, she Ravenel learns, for the knight is prophesied to stop the looming invasion by creatures wrought of nightmares: massive, maggot-shaped things with scythe-tipped tentacles and hornets’ wings.

Ravenel cares nothing for destiny or war. I love this characterization. She knows that if Kellek succeeds, he would likely get Brompst killed or try to turn him against her. Only by finding her beloved in time can she undo the damage of the spoiled ritual. Following Kellek could entail plunging into the domain of the monstrous horde and fighting alongside those who oppose it. But , but Ravenel will do anything to save Brompst by herself, for herself—even if means playing the role of hero along the way.

Madhavan is a 95,000-word fantasy novel. [publications, etc. will be inserted here]

Thank you for your consideration.


Sounds good already. I agree with C. Taylor, though - the hook could use tweaking. Also, I'd like to get a taste of why this novel is unique. The bit that stuck out to me as really interesting was the pulsating heart in her hands. A sense of newness is always favorable in a query.

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#4 Guinevere

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 10:11 AM

I agree with the others that you could use more of a hook at the beginning. Other than that, I thought it flowed very well and I was drawn into the story. Love the bit about "Even if it means playing the hero". Nice job on your query - I think it really lets your interesting characters and situation shine through.

#5 Juls Duncan

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:15 AM

Hi, I am new here too, and I haven't enough experience to tell you what to change. But I do think you are doing a great job... Keep it up. Juls

#6 Litgal

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:31 AM

Oddly I am going against the prevailing current here -- I LOVED this letter. Yes the prose is dense but it sucked me in nonetheless and if it mirrors the prose in the book it is best left as is. I don't read fantasy very often (probably not in 15 years) but I would read this, because it seems, at its core to be a story of the lengths a woman will go to save the man she loves -- a universal theme. If this were my letter I would send 20 out and see what type of reaction I got. Yes there are nits that could be picked but I wonder if an "edit by committee" might not rob you of your distinct voice (boy I could SEE those winged maggoty things). Best of luck.
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#7 mdrosado

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:48 AM

Apart from the beginning being a little confusing, it was a great query letter. The only problem is I didn't knwo who the main character was because of the way it started. Usually we think the knight is the hero, so that might be why.

Like the others said, a hook could help.

#8 mdrosado

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:49 AM

Apart from the beginning being a little confusing, it was a great query letter. The only problem is I didn't knwo who the main character was because of the way it started. Usually we think the knight is the hero, so that might be why.

Like the others said, a hook could help.

#9 sgf

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 10:05 PM

CTaylor and anticipa: thanks a bunch for suggesting to refine the beginning. Anicipa, I had a very similar idea to yours after getting C Taylor's suggestion. Great minds think alike and all that!

Guinevere, Mdrosado, and Juls: Your comments and thoughts also appreciated!

Litgal: I'm glad you like it! Actually, I think it reads similar to an earlier draft of the novel. One of the things I tried to do on my last revision is cull some unnecessary adjectives. My intention was to keep the voice but make it, as they say, a little less dense :wink:

I made some subtle tweaks to it. Is it enough to make a difference? Here's the revised version:

***

As a monstrous army crawls toward the land of Neyria, the witch Ravenel is consumed by the loss of her true love. The ritual that should have bound her with the legendary knight Brompst for eternity instead reduced him to a walking corpse. Bereft of all valor and conviction, Brompst now shadows his former sidekick—Kellek, the same man who ruined the spell. Ravenel is left with only the memory of her lover’s heart pulsing in her hands and glistening under the moonlight.

Determined to cure Brompst and eager for revenge, Ravenel hunts after Kellek. Searching for a wizard long thought dead, he evades her at every turn. Kellek seeks to restore Brompst on his own, she learns, for the knight is prophesied to stop the looming invasion by creatures wrought of nightmares: massive, maggot-shaped things with scythe-tipped tentacles and hornet wings.

Ravenel cares nothing for destiny or war. She knows that if Kellek succeeds, he would likely get Brompst killed or try to turn him against her. Only by finding her beloved in time can she undo the damage of the spoiled ritual. Following Kellek could entail plunging into the domain of the monstrous horde and fighting alongside those who oppose it. But Ravenel will do anything to save Brompst herself—even if means playing the role of hero along the way.

Madhavan is a 95,000-word fantasy novel. [publications, etc. will be inserted here]

Thank you for your consideration.

xxx

#10 TJ Robinson

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:35 PM

Sounds like quite the story! If I were you, I'd consider what Litgal said, I actually liked the voice you showed in your first paragraph of the old version better. Sorry, I know that's probably not what you want to hear. Here's a few suggestiong for the other paragraphs.


Determined to cure Brompst and eager for revenge, Ravenel hunts after Kellek. Searching for a wizard long thought dead, he evades her at every turn. Kellek seeks to restore Brompst on his own, she learns I'd leave this out, for the knight is prophesied to stop the looming invasion by creatures wrought of nightmares: massive, maggot-shaped things with scythe-tipped tentacles and hornet wings.


Ravenel cares nothing for destiny or war. She knows that if Kellek succeeds, he would likely get Brompst killed or try to turn him against her. Only by finding her beloved in time can she undo the damage of the spoiled ritual. (I'd consider removing these two sentences,I don't know if you need them) Following Kellek could entail plunging into the domain of the monstrous horde and fighting alongside those who oppose it. But Ravenel will do anything to save Brompst herself—even if means playing the role of hero along the way.

#11 Litgal

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    In between I became a "hybrid" as part of a group of six authors involved in a high concept novel-in-six-parts called "A Day of Fire" which released in November of 2014. The book, "A Day of Fire," tells the story of the final days of the doomed city of Pompeii in a way you've never read it before.

Posted 07 December 2010 - 09:10 AM

As a monstrous army crawls toward the land of Neyria, the witch Ravenel is consumed by the loss of her true love. The ritual that should have bound her with the legendary knight Brompst for eternity instead reduced him to a walking corpse. Bereft of all valor and conviction, Brompst now shadows his former sidekick—Kellek, the same man who ruined the spell. Ravenel is left with only the memory of her lover’s heart pulsing in her hands and glistening under the moonlight.

Determined to cure Brompst and eager for revenge, Ravenel hunts after Kellek. Searching for a wizard long thought dead, he evades her at every turn. Kellek seeks to restore Brompst on his own, she learns, [IN THIS PHRASING THE SHE IS AN AMBIGIOUS REFERENCE -- I WOULD GO WITH "The Ravenel lears that Kellek is also seeking to restor Brompst for his own reasons. The knight is prophesied to stop the looming invasion by creatures wrought of nightmares: massive, maggot-shaped things with scythe-tipped tentacles and hornet wings. " or something like that (only better)]

Ravenel cares nothing for destiny or war. She knows that if Kellek succeeds, he WILL likely get Brompst killed or try to turn him against her. Only by finding her beloved in time can she undo the damage of the spoiled ritual. Following Kellek could entail plunging into the domain of the monstrous horde and fighting alongside those who oppose it. But Ravenel will do anything to save Brompst herself—even if means playing the role of hero along the way.

Madhavan is a 95,000-word fantasy novel. [publications, etc. will be inserted here]

Thank you for your consideration.

xxx


Just a few nits -- I really think it is time to send this out. As the AQCrew said in another thread THIS IS PRIME QUERY TIME, come January, agent focus will shift to pitching projects from clients.
Lit. (aka Sophie Perinot)

#12 Guinevere

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 10:45 AM

I really like this version. I think you should go with it.

#13 sgf

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 12:30 PM

Thanks TJ, Litgal, and Guievere for your further comments.

I'll give a (very slightly) modified version of the last query a go.




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