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ROF Query UPDATE POST 18


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#1 BeautifulChaos

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 12:32 PM

Needed to step away a bit so I could look at this with "fresh" eyes.

 

UPDATED QUERY IN POST 24

 

 

 

Orphaned at the age of 8, Kala is taken in by her uncle-a member of the King’s Elite band of soldiers whose only goal is to eliminate the threat of the continent’s first inhabitants: the Mystics

 Once populated by an array of magical beings, the land was torn asunder by the greedy king of human settlers; the native population has been forced into hiding.

Kala leads a rather ordinary life until, at the age of sixteen, she is inadvertently kidnapped by a pair of elven rulers. During her time as captive, she learns that her parents were in cooperation with a group of mystic rebels who call themselves The Alliance.

Torn between the love of the family who raised her and the memory of the parents who left her behind, Kala begins living a double life. As her curiosity draws her deeper into the world of The Alliance, she begins to question everything she was raised to believe about the native inhabitants.

Even worse: She’s fallen in love with their prince.

Ring of Fire is a
[word count] Middle Grade fantasy with moral undertones that draw parallels to the history of the settlement of America. It is written to target audiences similar to that of Princess Academy and A Tale of Two Castles. 

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
 



#2 TcVcL

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 02:00 PM

Orphaned at the age of 8 eight, Kala is taken in by her unclea member of the King’s Elite band of soldiers. whose His/Their (I'm assuming it's the band of soldiers whom you're referring to, but your structure here could construe your meaning two ways. Either way, if it's just her uncle's goal or the band of soldier's goal, interesting set-up) only goal is to eliminate the threat of the continent’s first inhabitants: the Mystics.

 Once populated by an array of magical beings, the land was torn asunder by the greedy king of human settlers;. the The native population has been forced into hiding.

Kala leads a rather ordinary life until, at the age of sixteen, she is inadvertently How/Why inadvertently? If not part of a major plot device, suggest taking out. kidnapped by a pair of elven rulers. During her time as captive, she learns that her parents were in cooperation with a group of mystic rebels who call themselves The Alliance.

Torn between the love of the family who raised her and the memory of the parents who left her behind, Kala begins living a double life. As her curiosity draws her deeper into the world of The Alliance, she begins to question everything she was raised to believe about the native inhabitants.

Even worse: She’s fallen in love with their prince. This comes out of nowhere and makes me wonder if it's important to the overall story. The plot is interesting enough that this isn't really necessary, and may be distracting to an agent in the end. If you can't feather in this info at an earlier point in the letter, then the letter may be stronger without it.

Ring of Fire is a
[word count] Middle Grade fantasy with moral undertones that draw parallels to the history of the settlement of America. It is written to target audiences similar to that of Princess Academy and A Tale of Two Castles. 

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you. Comes across as presumptuous and pushy. Keep your closing line simple. Agents tend to appreciate it more.
 



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Bonder query


#3 Dharshaini

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 02:32 PM

Orphaned at the age of 8,  I don't think you need to put in an age here since you include her age later on when the story really starts Kala is taken in by her uncle-a member of the King’s Elite - a band of soldiers whose only goal is hellbent on eliminating to eliminate the threat of the continent’s first inhabitants: the Mystics

 Once populated by an array of magical beings, the land was torn asunder by the greedy king of human settlers; the forcing the native population has been forced into hiding.

Kala leads an rather ordinary life until, at the age of sixteen, she is inadvertently kidnapped by a pair of elven rulers. During her time as captive, She soon learns that her parents were in cooperation with a group of mystic rebels who call themselves The Alliance.

Torn tearing her between the love of the family who raised her and the memory of the parents who left her behind. Kala begins living a double life. and as she delves deeper into the As her curiosity draws her deeper into the world of The Alliance, she begins to question everything she was raised to believe about the native inhabitants.

Even worse: She’s fallen in love with their prince. I feel the same as about this as the reviewer above me. It might be worth mentioning him before if he's another main character. 

Ring of Fire is a
[word count] Middle Grade fantasy with moral undertones that draw parallels to the history of the settlement of America. It is written to target audiences similar to that of Princess Academy and A Tale of Two Castles. 

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you. I also feel that saying this might annoy the agent, especially since a lot of agents don't seem to reply to queries they're not interested in. 
 

 

I'm a bit concerned about the lack of what's at stake. What's the terrible thing that's going to happen now that she's going into the Alliance world. Will her uncle use her to slaughter the Alliance? Does she have to save them?

Hope my suggestions are helpful! I'm new at this too.  :happy:   



#4 Litgal

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 03:47 PM

Orphaned at the age of 8, Kala is taken in by her uncle-a member of the King’s Elite band of soldiers whose only goal is to eliminate the threat of the continent’s first inhabitants: the Mystics This is not a hook. It may be information that belongs in your mini-synopsis but it is not a hook.

 Once populated by an array of magical beings, the land was torn asunder by the greedy king of human settlers; the native population has been forced into hiding. It is very important to pick PITHY facts for your mini-synopsis: show us what is intriguing or different about yoru story. right now this opening line could describe dozens of fantasy novels. 

Kala leads a rather ordinary life until, at the age of sixteen, she is inadvertently kidnapped by a pair of elven rulers. During her time as captive, she learns that her parents were in cooperation with a group of mystic rebels who call themselves The Alliance. letter continues to feel like a summary when it needs to feel like griping book-jacket copy.

Torn between the love of the family who raised her and the memory of the parents who left her behind, Kala begins living a double life. As her curiosity draws her deeper into the world of The Alliance, she begins to question everything she was raised to believe about the native inhabitants. this continues to be vague and general. girl torn (cliche), double life (cliche), falls in love with enemy prince (cliche). this does NOT mean that your plot of your book doesn't work it DOES mean that you are not showing it to best advantage. 

Even worse: She’s fallen in love with their prince.

Ring of Fire is a
[word count] Middle Grade fantasy with moral undertones that draw parallels to the history of the settlement of America. It is written to target audiences similar to that of Princess Academy and A Tale of Two Castles. 

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
 


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#5 BeautifulChaos

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Posted 07 September 2015 - 12:30 PM

Thanks for everyone's responses! I had a feeling I was way off on this one. I'll be back with a (hopefully) better attempt



#6 BeautifulChaos

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Posted 07 September 2015 - 01:52 PM

In a battle between humans and mystics KALA is torn between the family who raised her and those who left her behind.

Mystics were responsible for the death of her parents. Or so she thought. When an elf mysteriously shows her kindness and spares her life, his parting words shatter her perception of the family who left her behind.

“Your mother was part of the Alliance.”

As she delves deeper into her family history she begins to question everything she was raised to believe about the native inhabitants. Her loyalties split as the kingdoms prepare for war, and her indecision could prove fatal for those she loves.  

Ring of Fire is a [word count] Middle Grade fantasy with moral undertones that draw parallels to the history of the settlement of America. It is written to target audiences similar to that of Princess Academy and A Tale of Two Castles. 

Thank you for your consideration.



#7 fatalkiss19

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Posted 07 September 2015 - 06:03 PM

In a battle between humans and mystics KALA (no need to put her name in all caps. You do that for the synopsis. Does she have a last name?) is torn between the family who raised her and those who left her behind.

 

Mystics were responsible for the death of her parents. Or so she thought. When an elf mysteriously shows her kindness and spares her life, his parting words shatter her perception of the family who left her behind. (So the family who raised her were humans and she was born to a human family that was thought to be killed by the mystics? Just checking if I understand.)

“Your mother was part of the Alliance.” (I don't know what this means so I don't think an agent will find it interesting. They'd probably be confused.)

As she delves deeper into her family history she begins to question everything she was raised to believe about the native inhabitants. Her loyalties split as the kingdoms prepare for war, and her indecision could prove fatal for those she loves. (When did kingdoms come into play?)

Ring of Fire (title should be in all caps) is a [word count] Middle Grade fantasy with moral undertones that draw parallels to the history of the settlement of America. It is written to target audiences similar to that of Princess Academy and A Tale of Two Castles. (Put those titles in all caps as well)

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Good luck!



#8 BeautifulChaos

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Posted 07 September 2015 - 10:57 PM

In a battle between humans and mystics Kala is torn between the family who raised her and those who left her behind.

 

Mystics were responsible for the death of her parents. Or so she thought. When an elf mysteriously shows her kindness and spares her life, his parting words shatter her perception of the family she thought she knew. (So the family who raised her were humans and she was born to a human family that was thought to be killed by the mystics? Just checking if I understand.) Yes

As she delves deeper into her family history she begins to question everything she was raised to believe about the native inhabitants. Her loyalties split as her people prepare for war, and her indecision could prove fatal for those she loves. (When did kingdoms come into play?) I'm struggling with wording here. The mystics aren't all one race...but they're not all one kingdom either. Is this better?

 

RING OF FIRE is a [word count] Middle Grade fantasy with moral undertones that draw parallels to the history of the settlement of America. It is written to target audiences similar to that of PRINCESS ACADEMY and A TALE OF TWO CASTLES.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#9 fatalkiss19

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Posted 07 September 2015 - 11:23 PM

That does read better to me. Hope others come in with fresher views. Good luck!



#10 BeautifulChaos

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Posted 07 September 2015 - 11:44 PM

That does read better to me. Hope others come in with fresher views. Good luck!

Thank you!



#11 BeautifulChaos

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Posted 08 September 2015 - 11:50 PM

Okay...I think this one is pretty good. Any final thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

In a battle between humans and mystics Kala is torn between the family who raised her and those who left her behind.

 

Mystics were responsible for the death of her parents. Or so she thought. When an elf mysteriously shows her kindness and spares her life, his parting words shatter her perception of the family she thought she knew. As she delves deeper into her family history she begins to question everything she was raised to believe about the native inhabitants. Her loyalties split as her people prepare for war, and her indecision could prove fatal for those she loves.

 

RING OF FIRE is a [word count] Middle Grade fantasy with moral undertones that draw parallels to the history of the settlement of America. It is written to target audiences similar to that of PRINCESS ACADEMY and A TALE OF TWO CASTLES.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

 

 

 



#12 brandonyoung

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 02:16 AM

In a battle between humans and mystics Kala is torn between the family who raised her and those who left her behind.

 

​What makes her torn? I mean... why would she choose the family that left her behind over the one that raised her?

 

Mystics were responsible for the death of her parents. Or so she thought. Every sentence is important in a query. It's probably a bad idea to say something, and then basically say it's not true in the next sentence. Consider just saying 'Kala always thought Mystics killed her parents...' When an elf mysteriously shows her kindness and spares her life, his parting words shatter her perception of the family she thought she knew. As she delves deeper into her family history she begins to question everything she was raised to believe about the native inhabitants. Her loyalties split as her people prepare for war, and her indecision could prove fatal for those she loves.

 

 

I'm not getting much conflict, no stakes. She's delving into her family history... OK, but why should I care? What's stopping her? What happens if she fails? I'm not sure if middle grade fantasy readers will find that plot very interesting. What about the battle you mentioned in the hook. What happened to that?

 

RING OF FIRE is a [word count] Middle Grade fantasy with moral undertones that draw parallels to the history of the settlement of America. It is written to target audiences similar to that of PRINCESS ACADEMY and A TALE OF TWO CASTLES.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

 

 

 

 


If you have time, I'd love your feedback on my query...

 

http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/39047-this-cosmic-graveyard-space-fantasy/

 

...or my synopsis:

 

COMING SOON


#13 BeautifulChaos

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 02:28 AM

Brandon-
Thanks for your time. I'm curious, do you see more of what you are commenting on in the original post vs. the edited one?

#14 brandonyoung

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 02:40 AM

I think the original one is airing more on the side of 'cool', but it's still off. 

 

I'm thinking, unless the family stuff is so important you have to keep it, just cut it all.

Identify the coolest, most unique aspect of your story, and put THAT in the query.

 

As a side note, this sounds more young adult than middle grade. 


If you have time, I'd love your feedback on my query...

 

http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/39047-this-cosmic-graveyard-space-fantasy/

 

...or my synopsis:

 

COMING SOON


#15 BeautifulChaos

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 10:30 AM

I think the original one is airing more on the side of 'cool', but it's still off. 

 

I'm thinking, unless the family stuff is so important you have to keep it, just cut it all.

Identify the coolest, most unique aspect of your story, and put THAT in the query.

 

As a side note, this sounds more young adult than middle grade. 

I was intending for it to be YA but was told by one of my betas the main character may not show enough awareness outside her own self for it to qualify as YA. Lexically it is marked as an early HS reading level.

As for the family thing...it really is her main motivator until the romantic interest comes into play. Even then she's still struggling with the family part. I think deeper part of her journey is realizing that the other cultures have value, and they aren't all monsters like she has always been told...but the only reason she even entertains that idea is because she finds out her mother was on their side



#16 BeautifulChaos

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 10:40 AM

Is this moving more in the right direction?

 

In a battle between humans and mystics KALA is torn between the family who raised her and those who left her behind.

Kala grew up believing that mystics were responsible for the death of her parents. When an elf mysteriously shows her kindness and spares her life, his parting words shatter her perception of the family who left her behind, and spark a curiosity that leads her to seek him out.
 As their friendship grows to romance, Kala begins to question everything she was raised to believe about the native inhabitants.

Her loyalties split as the kingdoms prepare for war, and her indecision could prove fatal for those she loves. 

Ring of Fire is a [word count] Young Adult fantasy with moral undertones that draw parallels to the history of the settlement of America. It is written to target audiences similar to that of Princess Academy and A Tale of Two Castles. 


Thank you for your consideration.



#17 Lucky Dreams

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 10:30 AM

Thank you for your very astute critiques on my query! I’m sorry that it’s taken forever to return the favour, but I hope at least some of my comments prove useful.

 

__________________________________________________________________

 

 

In a battle between humans and mystics (missing comma) KALA (I don’t think names need to be capitalised in the first instance. Just in the synopsis) is torn between the family who raised her and those who left her behind.

 

Kala grew up believing that mystics were responsible for the death of her parents. When an elf (I assume that the term ‘mystic’ covers all fairy-tale creatures? Perhaps a quick definition wouldn’t go amiss since it might not immediately be obvious to everyone – I’ll admit that it was silly of me, but on my first read-through, I thought that elves and mystics were two different groups entirely. Maybe you could even take the chance to weave in a pinch of backstory as well, just to set up the context more clearly? Nothing extravagant – the absolute bare minimum. Something like, ‘The war between men and fairy-tale creatures—mystics—has been especially hard on Kala’) mysteriously shows her kindness and spares her life, his parting words shatter her perception of the family who left her behind, and spark a curiosity that leads her to seek him out. (I think this needs to be more specific. What did he tell her? What secret could he have revealed that makes Kala re-evaluate her entire perspective on life? I bet the answer is gripping, but at the moment, it’s so vaguely worded that it makes me lose interest. Being mysterious in a query isn’t necessarily interesting. Interesting plot developments/awesome character details are what’s interesting).

 

As their friendship grows to romance, Kala begins to question everything she was raised to believe about the native inhabitants (so… the humans shouldn’t be there? The humans are the invaders? Again, another potentially unique plot point is hidden behind vague wording).

 

Her loyalties split as the kingdoms prepare for war, and her indecision could prove fatal for those she loves (but without knowing anything about the two different sides and what they stand for, it makes it really hard to get invested in this conflict. The problem is further compounded by the fact that we’re given only the barest details about the huge event that has just happened in Kala’s personal life e.g. her previous worldview (which we know almost nothing about, other than that mystics are bad) has been flipped upside-down thanks to a shocking revelation, the details of which we can only guess at. The way it reads at the moment is: because of something vague that happened to Kala, someone else we don’t even know is in danger because of… something… or… something…

 

The impression I get here, under the surface, is of a big, epic, wonderful story – but this query seems afraid to revealing too much, and so what should be a gripping plotline ends up feeling somewhat limp).

 

Ring of Fire is a [word count] Young Adult fantasy with moral undertones that draw parallels to the history of the settlement of America (this is great, I like this bit, and it confirms my suspicions that the humans are the invaders/settlers. It’s like the fairy-tale version of Pocahontas. That’s so cool! This parallel needs to come across more clearly in the rest of the query). It is written to target audiences similar to that of Princess Academy and A Tale of Two Castles. 

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

(I’m incredibly sorry if this came across as harsh L. But like I said, this query has all the elements of something awesome, but at the moment, all those elements are hiding just beneath the surface. Bring them out into sharper focus and I think you’ll be on the right track)



#18 BeautifulChaos

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 11:44 AM

Thank you for your very astute critiques on my query! I’m sorry that it’s taken forever to return the favour, but I hope at least some of my comments prove useful.

 

__________________________________________________________________

 

 

In a battle between humans and mystics (missing comma) KALA (I don’t think names need to be capitalised in the first instance. Just in the synopsis) is torn between the family who raised her and those who left her behind.

 

Kala grew up believing that mystics were responsible for the death of her parents. When an elf (I assume that the term ‘mystic’ covers all fairy-tale creatures? Perhaps a quick definition wouldn’t go amiss since it might not immediately be obvious to everyone – I’ll admit that it was silly of me, but on my first read-through, I thought that elves and mystics were two different groups entirely. Maybe you could even take the chance to weave in a pinch of backstory as well, just to set up the context more clearly? Nothing extravagant – the absolute bare minimum. Something like, ‘The war between men and fairy-tale creatures—mystics—has been especially hard on Kala’) mysteriously shows her kindness and spares her life, his parting words shatter her perception of the family who left her behind, and spark a curiosity that leads her to seek him out. (I think this needs to be more specific. What did he tell her? What secret could he have revealed that makes Kala re-evaluate her entire perspective on life? I bet the answer is gripping, but at the moment, it’s so vaguely worded that it makes me lose interest. Being mysterious in a query isn’t necessarily interesting. Interesting plot developments/awesome character details are what’s interesting).

 

As their friendship grows to romance, Kala begins to question everything she was raised to believe about the native inhabitants (so… the humans shouldn’t be there? The humans are the invaders? Again, another potentially unique plot point is hidden behind vague wording).

 

Her loyalties split as the kingdoms prepare for war, and her indecision could prove fatal for those she loves (but without knowing anything about the two different sides and what they stand for, it makes it really hard to get invested in this conflict. The problem is further compounded by the fact that we’re given only the barest details about the huge event that has just happened in Kala’s personal life e.g. her previous worldview (which we know almost nothing about, other than that mystics are bad) has been flipped upside-down thanks to a shocking revelation, the details of which we can only guess at. The way it reads at the moment is: because of something vague that happened to Kala, someone else we don’t even know is in danger because of… something… or… something…

 

The impression I get here, under the surface, is of a big, epic, wonderful story – but this query seems afraid to revealing too much, and so what should be a gripping plotline ends up feeling somewhat limp).

 

Ring of Fire is a [word count] Young Adult fantasy with moral undertones that draw parallels to the history of the settlement of America (this is great, I like this bit, and it confirms my suspicions that the humans are the invaders/settlers. It’s like the fairy-tale version of Pocahontas. That’s so cool! This parallel needs to come across more clearly in the rest of the query). It is written to target audiences similar to that of Princess Academy and A Tale of Two Castles. 

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

(I’m incredibly sorry if this came across as harsh L. But like I said, this query has all the elements of something awesome, but at the moment, all those elements are hiding just beneath the surface. Bring them out into sharper focus and I think you’ll be on the right track)

Not harsh at all! It seems I am stuck between either saying too much or saying too little. Lets see if I can find a happy medium.
 

In a battle between humans and mystics, Kala is torn between the family who raised her and those who left her behind.

Raised by one of the King's soldiers, Kala grew up believing that the magical creatures her people had conquered were responsible for the death of her parents.  When an elf named Azlyn mysteriously shows her kindness and spares her life, his parting words shatter her perception of the family who left her behind. He tells Kala her parents had been secretly cooperating with the mystics to form an alliance. This information sparks her curiosity and leads her to pursue Azlyn.

As their friendship grows to romance, Kala begins to question everything she was raised to believe about the native inhabitants. They aren't inherently evil, and many of them would like to live peacefully alongside the humans.

Her loyalties split as the kingdoms prepare for war, and her indecision could prove fatal for those she loves. 

Ring of Fire is a 48,583 Young Adult fantasy with series potential that draws a parallel to the history of the settlement of America. It will appeal to fans of Susan Fletcher and Gail Carson Levine. Partial and full manuscripts are available upon your request

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 



#19 BeautifulChaos

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Posted 26 September 2015 - 10:33 AM

My gut is saying this is still off.



#20 BeautifulChaos

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 02:07 PM

In a battle between humans and mystics, Kala is torn between the family who raised her and those who left her behind.

 

Raised by one of the King's soldiers, Kala grew up believing that the magical creatures her people had conquered were responsible for the death of her parents.  When an elf named Azlyn mysteriously shows her kindness and spares her life, his parting words shatter her perception of the family who left her behind. He tells Kala her parents had been secretly cooperating with the mystics to form an alliance. This sparks her curiosity and leads her to pursue Azlyn, who believes that she may be the key to uniting their people.

 

As their friendship grows to romance, Kala begins to question everything she was raised to believe about the mystic races. They aren't inherently evil, and many of them would like to live peacefully alongside the humans.

 

Her loyalties split as the kingdoms prepare for war, and her indecision could prove fatal for those she loves. 

 

Ring of Fire is a 48,583 Young Adult fantasy with series potential that draws a parallel to the history of the settlement of America. It will appeal to fans of Susan Fletcher and Gail Carson Levine. Partial and full manuscripts are available upon your request






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