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THE MYSTIC ROAD (YA Fantasy)


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#1 LittleJoni

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 10:18 AM

Newest revision in post #7

 

While I'm in the query trenches with my first novel, I've been revising my second novel and am ready for feedback on its query letter.  Thanks in advance for your thoughts:

 

------

 

Dear Agent,

 

Sixteen-year-old Kayla thinks a mysterious road leading away from her dreadful village will be the answer to all of her problems, until a mysterious voice threatens to ruin it all.

 

When Kayla travels on the Mystic Road, a safe passage leading to the Ancient Hall, a school of magic, all she wants is to escape her village, where she is nothing but an oddity and an outcast.  Instead, she passes an exam with flying colors and earns the rare position of Mystic apprentice.  For the first time, Kayla finds a home, a select group of friends, and a magical skill at which she excels.

 

However, Kayla’s bliss is fleeting.  She begins to hear a strange voice, luring her away from the Ancient Hall and into a mountain cave where she can learn “real magic”…whatever that means.  After discovering that the owner of the voice abducted many Mystics over the years, she fights to shut the voice out, to no avail.  Inundated with nightmares and disturbing visions, Kayla and her three closest friends have no choice but to face the assailant head on, or risk becoming the next in a long line of missing Mystics never to be seen again.

 

THE MYSTIC ROAD, a YA fantasy complete at 74,000 words, is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

------

 

Note:  It is possible that I might adjust the age of the MC and make this a middle grade, but it's still a bit long for that.  For now, I'm keeping it YA.


Newest Query:

TIME GUARDIAN

 

Older Queries:

THE BELIEVER

THE MYSTIC ROAD


#2 morganicmoon

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 10:35 AM

While I'm in the query trenches with my first novel, I've been revising my second novel and am ready for feedback on its query letter.  Thanks in advance for your thoughts:

 

------

 

Dear Agent,

 

Sixteen-year-old Kayla thinks a mysterious road leading away from her dreadful village will be the answer to all of her problems, until a mysterious voice threatens to ruin it all. You used the word mysterious twice.

 

When Kayla travels on the Mystic Road is this a different road from the road you mention in the hook?, a safe passage leading to the Ancient Hall, a school of magic, all she wants is to escape her village, where she is nothing but an oddity and an outcast why is she an oddity and an outcast?.  Instead, she passes an exam with flying colors and earns the rare position of Mystic apprentice.  For the first time, Kayla finds a home, a select group of friends, and a magical skill what is the skill? at which she excels.

 

However, Kayla’s bliss is fleeting.  She begins to hear a strange voice, luring her away from the Ancient Hall and into a mountain cave where she can learn “real magic”…whatever that means.  After discovering that the owner of the voice abducted many Mystics over the years, she fights to shut the voice out, to no avail.  Inundated with nightmares and disturbing visions, Kayla and her three closest friends not sure the three friends should be thrown in at the end, not at least without an uber brief description of them, or leave them out. have no choice but to face the assailant head on, or risk becoming the next in a long line of missing Mystics never to be seen again.

 

THE MYSTIC ROAD, a YA fantasy complete at 74,000 words, is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

------

 

Note:  It is possible that I might adjust the age of the MC and make this a middle grade, but it's still a bit long for that.  For now, I'm keeping it YA.



#3 XanderIronheart

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 11:16 AM

While I'm in the query trenches with my first novel, I've been revising my second novel and am ready for feedback on its query letter.  Thanks in advance for your thoughts:

 

------

 

Dear Agent,

 

Sixteen-year-old Kayla thinks a mysterious road leading away from her dreadful village will be the answer to all of her problems, until a mysterious(use a synonym to avoid confusion) voice threatens to ruin it all.

 

When Kayla travels on the Mystic Road, a safe passage leading to the Ancient Hall, a school of magic, all she wants is to escape her village, where she is nothing but an oddity and an outcast. reframe it: Kayla is nothing but an outcast in her village. (is that it? there could be more). She wants to escape the village and join Ancient Hall, a school of magicInstead, so she passes an exam with flying colors and earns the rare position of Mystic apprentice.  For the first time, Kayla finds a home, a select group of  friends, and a magical skill at which she excels.

 

However, Kayla’s bliss is fleeting.  She begins to hear a strange voice, luring her away from the Ancient Hall and into a mountain cave where she can learn “real magic”…whatever that means.  After discovering that the owner of the voice abducted many Mystics over the years, she fights to shut the voice out, to no avail.  Inundated with nightmares and disturbing visions, Kayla and her three closest friends have no choice but to face the assailant head on, or risk becoming the next in a long line of missing Mystics never to be seen again.

 

 

 

THE MYSTIC ROAD, a YA fantasy complete at 74,000 words, is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

------

 

Note:  It is possible that I might adjust the age of the MC and make this a middle grade, but it's still a bit long for that.  For now, I'm keeping it YA.

 

Good & tight query. Almost perfect.



#4 callalilly

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 11:52 AM

Hi LittleJoni, below are a few thoughts, I hope they help. Best of luck to you!

 

Sixteen-year-old Kayla thinks a mysterious road leading away from her dreadful village will be the answer to all of her problems, until a mysterious voice threatens to ruin it all. (Perhaps address why she thinks this, does it lead away from her plain vilage life?)

 

When Kayla travels on the Mystic Road (Is this the same road then I'm guessing?), a safe passage leading to the Ancient Hall, a school of magic, all she wants is to escape her village, where she is nothing but an oddity and an outcast.  Instead, she passes an exam with flying colors and earns the rare position of Mystic apprentice.  For the first time, Kayla finds a home, a select group of friends, and a magical skill at which she excels.

 

However, Kayla’s bliss is fleeting.  She begins to hear a strange voice, luring her away from the Ancient Hall and into a mountain cave where she can learn “real magic”…whatever that means.  After discovering that the owner of the voice abducted many Mystics over the years, she fights to shut the voice out, to no avail. (Is she the only one who can hear it being the Mystic apprentice?) Inundated with nightmares and disturbing visions, Kayla and her three closest friends have no choice but to face the assailant head on, or risk becoming the next in a long line of missing Mystics never to be seen again.

 

THE MYSTIC ROAD, a YA fantasy complete at 74,000 words, is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

------

 

Note:  It is possible that I might adjust the age of the MC and make this a middle grade, but it's still a bit long for that.  For now, I'm keeping it YA. I kind of felt it was MG. If its a good story, agents won't mind the length -just look at Harry Potter.



#5 Brent Pope

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:09 PM

I'm curious as to what makes the road out of town mysterious. If you would just tell us, it might be all the more compelling.

 

I know what you're trying to say in your second paragraph but you could be tighter. By all means, swap the order as Xander suggested. "Instead" creates confusion. Consider wording that communicates, "When she takes the entrance exam and passes with flying colors, she finally feels like she's found a home. 

 

I don't think you need the bliss is fleeting cliché. Perhaps a "but" is called for. "But as studies to become a Mystic apprentice, a voice tries to lure her to a mountain cave to learn "real magic." I'm not sure you need the next sentence. It gives me a taste of plot points without satisfying my appetite. You might consider just stating the stakes: "will Kayla and her new friends avoid the nearly irresistible appeal of the voice or will she become the next in a long one of Mystic apprentices who disappear forever?" Something like that.

 

About your note: The stakes feel very MG. There's not a lot of "growing up" issues that are typically associated with YA, even fantasy YA. 



#6 Cheryl B. Dale

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 09:15 AM

While I'm in the query trenches with my first novel, I've been revising my second novel and am ready for feedback on its query letter.  Thanks in advance for your thoughts:

 

------

 

Dear Agent,

 

Sixteen-year-old Kayla thinks a mysterious road leading away from her dreadful village will be the answer to all of her problems, until a mysterious voice threatens to ruin it all.

 

When Kayla travels on the Mystic Road, a safe passage leading to the Ancient Hall, a school of magic, all she wants is to escape her village, where she is nothing but an oddity and an outcast.  Instead, she passes an exam with flying colors and earns the rare position of Mystic apprentice.  For the first time, Kayla finds a home, a select group of friends, and a magical skill at which she excels.

 

However, Kayla’s bliss is fleeting.  She begins to hear a strange voice, luring her away from the Ancient Hall and into a mountain cave where she can learn “real magic”…whatever that means.  After discovering that the owner of the voice abducted many Mystics over the years, she fights to shut the voice out, to no avail.  Inundated with nightmares and disturbing visions, Kayla and her three closest friends have no choice but to face the assailant head on, or risk becoming the next in a long line of missing Mystics never to be seen again.

 

THE MYSTIC ROAD, a YA fantasy complete at 74,000 words, is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

------

 

Note:  It is possible that I might adjust the age of the MC and make this a middle grade, but it's still a bit long for that.  For now, I'm keeping it YA.

 

The hook doesn't work. I'm not even sure you need to mention the road in your query.

 

Try the When, Then and Now formula to decide the basic info that needs to be in the query. E.g., When outcast Kayla finds the school of magic, she passes the exam...

 

Then she hears a voice...

 

Now, to put an end to her nightmares and visions (and this seems very weak for the conflict), she must...

 

I'd rethink this. Lose all the names you don't need along with any info that isn't important to the query. I know you feel it's important because it's in the ms, but a query doesn't have time to go into all the details.

 

But my biggest concern is with the conflict. Hearing voices and seeing visions doesn't seem like much impetus to face a wizard who can destroy her.

 

This may be a good story, but the query needs work.

 

As always, this is only my opinion. Maybe it'll be of some help.



#7 LittleJoni

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 03:47 PM

Thank you all for your feedback!  It's much appreciated.  Here is my revision, is it any better?

 

------

 

Dear Agent,

 

Sixteen-year-old Kayla lives a meager existence as a neglected and abused outcast.  When a magical safe road opens after ten years of dormancy, she sees it as a means to escape her tormentors.

 

The road takes Kayla to the capital city and a school of magic where, to her surprise, she passes an exam with flying colors and earns the position of Mystic apprentice along with eleven others.  For the first time, Kayla has a home where she feels safe, and a skill at which she excels.

 

Kayla begins to hear a strange voice attempting to lure her away from school, into a mountain cave where she can learn “real magic”.  After discovering the owner of the voice abducted many Mystics over the years, she fights to shut the voice out.  The school leaders are unresponsive when a fellow appreciate goes mysteriously missing and downplay the fact that Kayla is inundated with disturbing nightmares and visions day and night.  She decides she has no choice but to face the assailant head on, or give in to the voice’s demands and risk becoming the next in a long line of missing Mystics never to be seen again.

 

THE MYSTIC ROAD, a YA fantasy complete at 74,000 words, is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

------

 

I'm concerned it sounds like a portal story.  It's really not, the road is just a road, it's magic because it appears and disappears, but it only leads to the school in question, it doesn't take travelers to a different land or anything.  Does it sound like a portal story the way it's worded now?  If so, any suggestions on how I can fix that.  I feel like the road should be mentioned, it's an important aspect of the story and explains the title.


Newest Query:

TIME GUARDIAN

 

Older Queries:

THE BELIEVER

THE MYSTIC ROAD


#8 Shelly Jasperson

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 04:24 PM

Would it be horrible if people thought it was a portal story? It sounds compelling either way. Although to be honest, that was how I pictured it my mind. Still, is that bad?

I like how its gripping and has enough information to get a feel for the story. My next advice, take with a grain of salt, though - it feels a little bit like a Harry Potter knockoff. Magic school and whatnot. Maybe give us a feel for how this school is SO unlike Harry Potter that no one else will draw the same comparison? 

Also, just hearing the voice doesn't seem critical enough. Maybe mention something about the voice being more dangerous. I know it lured away other students, but it seems like she could easily just not listen to it. Does the entity come after her? 

 

Again, I think its a great query. These are just suggestions.  :smile:


Please visit my query The Memoirs of Nigel Beauregard. I could use the help! 


#9 LittleJoni

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 05:31 PM

Would it be horrible if people thought it was a portal story? It sounds compelling either way. Although to be honest, that was how I pictured it my mind. Still, is that bad?

I like how its gripping and has enough information to get a feel for the story. My next advice, take with a grain of salt, though - it feels a little bit like a Harry Potter knockoff. Magic school and whatnot. Maybe give us a feel for how this school is SO unlike Harry Potter that no one else will draw the same comparison? 

Also, just hearing the voice doesn't seem critical enough. Maybe mention something about the voice being more dangerous. I know it lured away other students, but it seems like she could easily just not listen to it. Does the entity come after her? 

 

Again, I think its a great query. These are just suggestions.  :smile:

 

I mostly worry about agents thinking it's a portal story, I've heard many of them say they have too many of those, that ship has sailed, etc.  And yes, I know it sounds Harry Potter-ish.  I think I know an easy way to make it sound less so, I will consider that for my next revision.

 

About the voice, in my query I say my MC is "inundated with nightmares and visions".  Would it be more clear to say she can't turn the voice off because it's in her head?  Which is true.  I just wasn't sure about wording it that way for fear of making her sound crazy.

 

Anyway, thanks for your comments, they are very helpful. :D


Newest Query:

TIME GUARDIAN

 

Older Queries:

THE BELIEVER

THE MYSTIC ROAD


#10 Cheryl B. Dale

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 08:53 AM

Thank you all for your feedback!  It's much appreciated.  Here is my revision, is it any better?

 

------

 

Dear Agent,

 

Sixteen-year-old Kayla lives a meager existence as a neglected and abused outcast.  When a magical safe road opens after ten years of dormancy, she sees it as a means to escape her tormentors.

 

The road takes Kayla to the capital city and a school of magic where, to her surprise, she passes an exam with flying colors and earns the position of Mystic apprentice along with eleven others.  For the first time, Kayla has a home where she feels safe, and a skill at which she excels.

 

Kayla begins to hear a strange voice attempting to lure her away from school, into a mountain cave where she can learn “real magic”.  After discovering the owner of the voice abducted many Mystics over the years, she fights to shut the voice out.  The school leaders are unresponsive when a fellow appreciate goes mysteriously missing and downplay the fact that Kayla is inundated with disturbing nightmares and visions day and night.  She decides she has no choice but to face the assailant head on, or give in to the voice’s demands and risk becoming the next in a long line of missing Mystics never to be seen again.

 

THE MYSTIC ROAD, a YA fantasy complete at 74,000 words, is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

------

 

I'm concerned it sounds like a portal story.  It's really not, the road is just a road, it's magic because it appears and disappears, but it only leads to the school in question, it doesn't take travelers to a different land or anything.  Does it sound like a portal story the way it's worded now?  If so, any suggestions on how I can fix that.  I feel like the road should be mentioned, it's an important aspect of the story and explains the title.

 

The road may be important in the story, but you're writing a query. You don't have time for all the details. Mentioning it here adds nothing that's necessary. Unless you can tie it in some way, maybe at the end. E.g., Now the road appears again. But this time it leads to the mountain cave...

 

Okay, not your storyline but you can see what I mean. If the road isn't necessary to the query, lose it.

 

The verb 'is inundated' is passive. You're right to be concerned. Go for a stronger verb.

 

This is improving but still not there.

 

Just my opinion. Hope it helps.



#11 Carawen

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 11:43 PM

Thank you all for your feedback!  It's much appreciated.  Here is my revision, is it any better?

 

------

 

Dear Agent,

 

Sixteen-year-old Kayla lives a meager existence as a neglected and abused outcast.  When a magical safe road opens after ten years of dormancy, she sees it as a means to escape her tormentors. I'm not sure I like this hook better than the first one; the second sentence just doesn't really seem part of a hook to me. I think I would combine elements of both hooks - "Sixteen-year-old Kayla lives a meager existence as a neglected and abused outcast until a mysterious road leads her away..." - for a balance of detail and suspense. 

 

The road takes Kayla to the capital city and a school of magic where, to her surprise, she passes an exam with flying colors and  earns the position of Mystic apprentice along with eleven others.  For the first time, Kayla has a home where she feels safe, and a skill at which she excels. 

 

(I feel like this needs to be some sort of "But" sentence) Kayla begins to hear a strange voice attempting to lure her away from school, into a mountain cave where she can learn “real magic”.  After discovering the owner of the voice abducted many Mystics over the years, she fights to shut the voice out.  The school leaders are unresponsive when a fellow appreciate goes mysteriously missing and downplay the fact that Kayla is inundated with disturbing nightmares and visions day and night.  She decides she has no choice but to face the assailant head on, or give in to the voice’s demands and risk becoming the next in a long line of missing Mystics never to be seen again.

 

THE MYSTIC ROAD, a YA fantasy complete at 74,000 words, is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

------

 

I'm concerned it sounds like a portal story.  It's really not, the road is just a road, it's magic because it appears and disappears, but it only leads to the school in question, it doesn't take travelers to a different land or anything.  Does it sound like a portal story the way it's worded now?  If so, any suggestions on how I can fix that.  I feel like the road should be mentioned, it's an important aspect of the story and explains the title.

 

Just a little bit of feedback, if it helps!



#12 Shelly Jasperson

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 11:47 AM

Thank you all for your feedback!  It's much appreciated.  Here is my revision, is it any better?

 

------

 

Dear Agent,

 

Sixteen-year-old Kayla lives a meager existence as a neglected and abused outcast.  When a magical safe-road opens after ten years of dormancy, she sees it as a means to escape her tormentors.

 

I don't know what a "safe road" is, really. Can you be more specific in the naming? Or ... I don't know. Maybe I'm just out of the loop on this one. 

 

The road takes Kayla to the capital city and a school of magic where, to her surprise, she passes an exam with flying colors and earns the position of Mystic apprentice along with eleven others.  For the first time, Kayla has a home where she feels safe, and a skill at which she excels.

 

Nitpicky, but I'd say you don't need the comma there. 

 

Kayla begins to hear a strange voice attempting to lure her away from school, into a mountain cave where she can learn “real magic”.  After discovering the owner of the voice abducted many Mystics over the years, she fights to shut the voice out.  The school leaders are unresponsive when a fellow appreciate goes mysteriously missing and downplay the fact that Kayla is inundated with disturbing nightmares and visions day and night.  She decides she has no choice but to face the assailant head on, or give in to the voice’s demands and risk becoming the next in a long line of missing Mystics never to be seen again.

 

Stakes don't seem high enough, or it seems that she may have other options than to confront or give in. It depends on the type of person she is, but she does have the option of just trying to ignore the voices some more. What makes her feel the NEED to take action? 

 

THE MYSTIC ROAD, a YA fantasy complete at 74,000 words, is a stand alone novel with series potential.

 

Stand alone is two words. 

 

------

 

I'm concerned it sounds like a portal story.  It's really not, the road is just a road, it's magic because it appears and disappears, but it only leads to the school in question, it doesn't take travelers to a different land or anything.  Does it sound like a portal story the way it's worded now?  If so, any suggestions on how I can fix that.  I feel like the road should be mentioned, it's an important aspect of the story and explains the title. 

 

 

Maybe say in the query that the road appears to her, in a place she'd never seen it before. Does she have a family? I know she is an outcast, but maybe if she's an orphan, we could worry less about where her parents think she is. Does she come back every night? Can she see the rest of the world and they can't see the school? (Kind of like in Harry Potter where they have spells that make magic undetectable?) 

 

Capital city? Is that an important piece of information? Because its kind of confusing. Is the capital magic too? Or is the school just magic in a non-magic city? 


Please visit my query The Memoirs of Nigel Beauregard. I could use the help! 


#13 LittleJoni

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 01:49 PM

Thanks again for the feedback, everyone!  I haven't written a revision (and probably won't for a while) because I'm having the manuscript read by a CP and some beta readers.  When they're done, I'll get back to this. ;)


Newest Query:

TIME GUARDIAN

 

Older Queries:

THE BELIEVER

THE MYSTIC ROAD





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