Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
- - - - -

Of Eye and Cloud #22

Fantasy

  • Please log in to reply
114 replies to this topic

#41 Phaust

Phaust

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 134 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:Played this game once before with a lit-fic piece. Got an agent, but he couldn't sell the book.

Posted 25 April 2017 - 11:30 PM

Okiedokie. Hopefully these sentences are cleaner.

 

 

Latest version:

 

Ten years ago the warrior monk Cyril Kol caused the collapse of civilization. The ensuing cataclysm cost the lives of his wife and child. Or so he thought.

 

Prior to The Collapse Kol had been a respected member of the metaphysical and martial Order of Eye and Cloud, one of The Pillars of Peace that secured civilization. However, his distress over The Collapse has undercut his ability to master the hyper-perception granted by the methods of Eye and Cloud. But if reality overwhelms him, liquor restores him.

 

There’s a balance to it, an equilibrium maintained by virtue of the shine he brews in the back of the massive, wind-up schooner that trundles Kol through the war torn world in search of his family.

 

When Kol rescues Veepa, an adolescent on the run from a covetous crime lord, he realizes the only way to assure her safety while still pursuing his family is to take her on as a student. Meanwhile, news of Kol’s return has reached a fanatical militia bent on bagging the man who caused The Collapse. Kol must regain his self-mastery or jeopardize both his and Veepa’s life.

 

As Kol comes ever closer to learning the whereabouts of his family, his predators are closing in. Finally, he must chose between his missing wife and child, and the devoted student he has come to hold dear.

Complete at 120,000 Of Eye and Cloud is the first of a series of speculative fiction/hard fantasy.



#42 Veldehar

Veldehar

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 341 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 26 April 2017 - 05:30 AM

I miss the mention of his outing the Order and its corruption. This version gets some clarity, but lacks the flavor I liked in the previous pass.

I'm an ex-winemaker, not a distiller but, "shine he brews"... While brew has become somewhat generic, once referencing alcohols... I'm not sure brew and the distilling process go together. I'd check on it if you haven't already. Oh, the number of times I've heard of brewing wine...

#43 Phaust

Phaust

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 134 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:Played this game once before with a lit-fic piece. Got an agent, but he couldn't sell the book.

Posted 26 April 2017 - 09:15 AM

Is there a more colorful word for distills than distills? Distills is so procedural and antiseptic sounding. I am trying to bring more tone into this corpse of a QL. Writing a QL is like being Dr. Frankenstein. Assemble dead parts of once living thing and try to bring it to life. 



#44 Bananas

Bananas

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 205 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationCanada

Posted 26 April 2017 - 01:01 PM

Maybe it's because I have Jeff Bridges in my head, but I'm thinking Kol is a Rooster Cogburn like character.  Crusty, drunk, but ultimately noble.  I think your story is about a dude who fucks up, gets everyone he loves killed, searches for redemption (and his not-so-missing family), and then meets a young girl who needs his help.  Then, it's about getting her to safety/escaping the baddies that want her.  In the process he finds the redemption he so desperately needed.

Okiedokie. Hopefully these sentences are cleaner.

 

 

Latest version:

 

Ten years ago the warrior monk Cyril Kol caused the collapse of civilization. The ensuing cataclysm cost the lives of his wife and child. Or so he thought.

 

Prior to The Collapse Kol had been a respected member of the metaphysical and martial Order of Eye and Cloud, one of The Pillars of Peace that secured civilization. However, his distress over The Collapse has undercut his ability to master the hyper-perception granted by the methods of Eye and Cloud. But if reality overwhelms him, liquor restores him.  This is clearer, yes.  But I really think it gets away from the fun of your novel.  I want to read about the drunk guy trying to make good.  I couldn't give a frig about this stuff.  Order of the Eye and Cloud?  It makes your novel sound like a generic fantasy.  

 

Now, perpetually drunk from the wine/spirits/beer/moonshine he brews There’s a balance to it, an equilibrium maintained by virtue of the shine he brews 'brews' is the right word here.  My inlaws are Ukrainian and 'homebrew' is very much a thing.  It's made in a distillery, but it would sound strange to say that it was distilled.  in the back of the his massive, wind-up schooner , Kol searches the war torn world for his family.  that trundles Kol through the war torn world in search of his family.  saying this as simply as you can gives you a win.  I think this would be a good place to say that he's hunted where ever he goes.  

 

When Kol rescues Veepa, an adolescent on the run from a covetous crime lord, he realizes the only way to assure her safety while still pursuing his family is to take her on as a student. This sentence could be shorter.  Be careful when the word 'realizes' pops up.  There's usually a more active way of saying what your saying.  Meanwhile, news of Kol’s return has reached a fanatical militia bent on getting revenge for the Collapse.  bagging the man who caused The Collapse. This is distant. I know you mean Kol, but calling him the 'man' pulls me out.  Kol must regain his self-mastery or jeopardize both his and Veepa’s life.  This isn't much of a quandary.  The way this is presented, I see a third option - pull up anchor and fly away.  Also, I think the true heart of this book is on Kol's gradual connection with Veepa, not whether he regains his powers.  I think in here it's a distractor from the main show.  It fills out your novel, yes, but I don't think it has a place in this query.

 

As Kol comes ever closer to learning the whereabouts of his family, his predators are closing in. Finally, he must chose between his missing wife and child, and the devoted student he has come to hold dear.  I think without all that Order stuff, you could spend the words here, giving more details about why he has to make this choice?  Does getting to his family mean leaving Veepa behind?  

Complete at 120,000 Of Eye and Cloud is the first of a series of speculative fiction/hard fantasy.



#45 jswen

jswen

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 54 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 26 April 2017 - 03:51 PM

Hey there, 
Cool to see another story about warrior monks. Your premise is great! Sorry, I can't think of another name for 'warrior monk' off the top of my head, unless you dip into specific traditions. I'm trying to base mine off Tibetan Buddhism, so I would say bodhisattva maybe, or something from Shambhala. But I don't know of any equivalent english words that would get the idea across. Now for a dip into your QL.
 
 
Ten years ago the warrior monk Cyril Kol caused the collapse of civilization. (What about a stronger verb? 'Ten years ago, Cyril Kol destroyed the world.' or something like that.) The ensuing cataclysm cost the lives of his wife and child. Or so he thought. (Alternately... 'He lost everything. His wife. His child. But it was worth it.' -- hint at him making this massive sacrifice for a reason! Or maybe he did it on accident? Either way, it might be interesting to hint at why he did it.)[/size]
 
Prior to The Collapse Kol had been (was) a respected member (what does this mean? Was he an elder? Did he hold power in the order?) of the metaphysical and martial (maybe cut M and M here or move to the next sentence) Order of Eye and Cloud, one of The Pillars of Peace that secured civilization. However, his distress over The Collapse has undercut (try a stronger verb here - ie ruined, eroded) his ability to master the hyper-perception granted by the methods of Eye and Cloud. (Consider splitting this sentence up? 'The Collapse ruined him. Guilt has corroded the martial and metaphysical abilities that took years to master. But if reality overwhelms him, liquor restores him. (I would be careful of starting two consecutive sentences with 'however' and 'but')[/size]
 
There’s a balance to it, an equilibrium maintained by virtue of the shine (I'm not sure what you mean here -- but it seems like he's hiding and casually looking for his family? Maybe he hopes they aren't dead?) he brews in the back of the massive, wind-up schooner that trundles Kol through the war torn (I think it's hyphenated: 'war-torn') world in search of his family. (But doesn't he think they are dead?)[/size]
 
First Plot Point or the Inciting Incident might be him discovering that his family is still alive? In that case I would emphasize it more. What does that mean for the life of shame and guilt he has become accustomed to? And then this orphan shows up and he is twisted in an entirely different direction. Raise the stakes[/size]
 
When Kol rescues Veepa, [/size]an adolescent [/size]on the run from a covetous crime lord, he realizes the only way to assure her safety while still pursuing his family is to take her on as a student. Meanwhile, news of Kol’s return has reached a fanatical militia bent on bagging the man who caused The Collapse. Kol must regain his self-mastery (feel like there's a better way of saying this? He's an alcoholic, he needs to come clean. or jeopardize both his and Veepa’s life.[/size]
 
As Kol comes ever closer to learning the whereabouts of his family, his predators (strange word choice) are closing in. Finally, he must chose between his missing wife and child, and the devoted student he has come to hold dear.[/size]
Complete at 120,000 Of Eye and Cloud is the first of a series of speculative fiction/hard fantasy.[/size]
 
 
Hope the feedback helps. It's shaping up! Keep up the good work. :)
I've got another draft of mine up: http://agentquerycon...sy/#entry338607



#46 Phaust

Phaust

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 134 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:Played this game once before with a lit-fic piece. Got an agent, but he couldn't sell the book.

Posted 26 April 2017 - 05:47 PM

Alright warriors, I am sure this one will be perfect.  :blink:

 

 

 

Latest version:

 

Ten years ago the warrior monk Cyril Kol of the Order of Eye and Cloud caused the collapse of civilization when he exposed the corruption at his own Order’s heart. The ensuing cataclysm cost the lives of his wife and child. Or so he thought.

 

Since learning that they live, Kol has scoured the war-torn world in search of his family. In his distress he has lost his ability to master the hyper-perception granted by the metaphysical and martial methods of Eye and Cloud.

 

Unable to filter it sensible, reality overwhelms him. He maintains functionality only by a steady supply from the distillery he’s rigged up in the back of his massive, wind-up, shingle-roofed schooner. Kol’s inebriate quest for family takes a turn when he rescues Veepa, an adolescent on the run from a covetous crime boss.

 

But if rescue means you’re responsible  - and it seems to him like it must - then Kol figures the only way to assure Veepa’s safety while still pursuing his family is to take her on as a student. Meanwhile, news of Kol’s return has reached a fanatical warlord bent on bagging the man who caused The Collapse.

 

Finally, the only way to learn the whereabouts of his family necessitates a deadly stand off with his predators. Kol must choose between finding his missing wife and child, and protecting the devoted student he has come to hold dear.

Complete at 120,000 Of Eye and Cloud is the first of a series of speculative fiction/hard fantasy.



#47 dragoness

dragoness

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 264 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationEurope

Posted 27 April 2017 - 03:52 AM

I think the query is very good!  :smile:

 

It still needs some small changes, (and changes of paragraphs), IMO:

 

Ten years ago the warrior monk Cyril Kol of the Order of Eye and Cloud caused the collapse of civilization when he exposed the corruption at his own Order’s heart. The ensuing cataclysm cost the lives of his wife and child. Or so he thought. (great hook!)

 

Since learning that they live, Kol has scoured the war-torn world in search of his family. {In his distress he has lost his ability to master the hyper-perception granted by the metaphysical and martial methods of Eye and Cloud. (don't start a new paragraph, it's the same issue) Unable to filter it sensible (sensibly?), reality overwhelms him. He maintains functionality only by a steady supply from the distillery he’s rigged up in the back of his massive, wind-up, shingle-roofed schooner.} (I think the whole explanation about his powers, between my {}, is unnecessary and confusing. If you do leave it, you mention these powers again later on in the query)

 

(this is another issue and paragraph, unless you delete the powers) Kol’s inebriate quest for his family takes a turn when he rescues Veepa, an adolescent on the run from a covetous crime boss. But if rescue means you’re responsible  - and it seems to him like it must - then Kol figures the only way to assure Veepa’s safety while still pursuing his family is to take her on as a student.

 

(this is another issue and paragraph) Meanwhile, news of Kol’s return has reached a fanatical warlord bent on bagging the man who caused The Collapse. Finally, the only way to learn the whereabouts of his family necessitates a deadly stand off with his predators, but that will jeopardize Veepa

 

Kol must choose between finding his missing wife and child, and protecting the devoted student he has come to hold dear.

 

 

Complete at 120,000 words, Of Eye and Cloud (should be in CAPS) is the first of a series of speculative fiction/hard fantasy.

 

Thank you for critiquing my query!

 

Would you like to see my new version? http://agentquerycon...eturn-critique/



#48 Keledron

Keledron

    Here to help!

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 136 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Mentality Magazine columnist, Gamespot.com featured community reviewer, Editor-In-Chief of Uncharted Frontier EZine

Posted 27 April 2017 - 07:35 AM

Alright warriors, I am sure this one will be perfect.  :blink:

 

 

 

Latest version:

 

Ten years ago the warrior monk Cyril Kol of the Order of Eye and Cloud caused the collapse of civilization when he exposed the corruption at his own Order’s heart. The ensuing cataclysm cost the lives of his wife and child. Or so he thought. (Damned good hook. I dig it)

 

Since learning that they live, Kol has scoured the war-torn world in search of his family. In his distress he has lost his ability to master the hyper-perception granted by the metaphysical and martial methods of Eye and Cloud, forcing him to face the unfiltered nightmare of reality. (or something along these lines. The next sentence made me stumble a bit, but consider a twist in that direction) 

 

Unable to filter it sensible, reality overwhelms him. He maintains functionality only by a steady supply from the distillery he’s rigged up in the back of his massive, wind-up, shingle-roofed schooner (This conjured up such an awesome visual for me that brought your world here into focus in my mind. I think this sentence is really, really powerful). Kol’s inebriate quest for family takes a turn when he rescues Veepa, an adolescent on the run from a covetous crime boss.

 

But if rescue means being responsible  - and it seems to him like it must - then Kol figures the only way to assure Veepa’s safety while still pursuing his family is to take her on as a student. Meanwhile, news of Kol’s return has reached a fanatical warlord bent on bagging the man who caused The Collapse. Finding his family means confronting the predators of his past, and endangering the devoted student he has come to hold dear.

 

Finally, the only way to learn the whereabouts of his family necessitates a deadly stand off with his predators.

Complete at 120,000 Of Eye and Cloud is the first of a series of speculative fiction/hard fantasy.

Damn! I like the sound of this a LOT. And I think your query is just a step from the finish line, with some minor adjustments. The only major tweak I made was towards the end: I don't like the idea of that being a choice, so much as a true conflict. His main goal is to find his family. As part of that he has to protect the student he has become close to, since facing his past may be risking his own life (I'm assuming).

 

Keeping it in that same paragraph keeps all the stakes lined up. And really, based on your query, it's not a choice :) it's the risks he faces in order to find his family again (which again, no matter how close he got to a student or cared about them, I highly doubt he'd ever choose not to find his family, know what I mean?)

 

Really great query here. Good luck! And thanks for critiquing mine! :)

 

Kel


Any critiques on my current query for A Wizard Deceived would be highly appreciated, and I would gladly critique yours in return!

 

http://agentquerycon...rd-deceived-uf/

 

Synopsis critiques would be SO APPRECIATED!!

 

http://agentquerycon...izard-deceived/

 

Follow Merlin's journey to publication!

 

http://scribblersepic.livejournal.com/

 

 

 


#49 Bananas

Bananas

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 205 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationCanada

Posted 27 April 2017 - 12:31 PM

I like how you cut all that Order stuff.  I think your query runs tighter as a result.  See below for some ideas I had.  

Alright warriors, I am sure this one will be perfect.  :blink:

 

 

 

Latest version:

 

Ten years ago the warrior monk Cyril Kol of the Order of Eye and Cloud caused the collapse of civilization when he exposed the corruption at his own Order’s heart. The ensuing cataclysm cost the lives of his wife and child. Or so he thought.

 

Since learning that they live, Kol has scoured scours (I think removing the word 'has' tightens this up) the war-torn world in search of his family (in his schooner? I liked having it up here, but that might just be me). In his distress he has lost his ability to master the hyper-perception granted by the metaphysical and martial methods of Eye and Cloud.  In his grief and distress, he loses the hyper-perception abilities he had in his old life.  Overwhelmed with his losses, he turns to the distillery he's rigged up in the back of his ship.  Then one day he sees a girl being attacked by X, and so he intervenes and saves her.  

 

Veepa is an adolescent on the run from a covetous crime boss. Taking her on his student seems like the best way of keeping her safe.  It's a win for both; she gets safety and he gets to talk to something other than a bottle.

 

 
Or: 
 

Veepa is an adolescent on the run from a covetous crime boss.  Since she has nowhere to go and he needs the company, he takes her on his student.  It seems like a win for both.

 

 

Unfortunately, Kol's rescue of her draws attention that he was trying hard to avoid.  News of his return reaches a a fanatical warlord bent on bagging the man who caused The Collapse.  Now, the only way he can resume his search is to face his predators.  That will mean putting Veepa in danger though.  

 

He has to choose between his family and the student he has come to hold dear.

 

Unable to filter it sensible, reality overwhelms him. He maintains functionality only by a steady supply from the distillery he’s rigged up in the back of his massive, wind-up, shingle-roofed schooner. Kol’s inebriate quest for family takes a turn when he rescues Veepa, an adolescent on the run from a covetous crime boss.

 

But if rescue means you’re responsible  - and it seems to him like it must - then Kol figures the only way to assure Veepa’s safety while still pursuing his family is to take her on as a student. Meanwhile, news of Kol’s return has reached a fanatical warlord bent on bagging the man who caused The Collapse.

 

Finally, the only way to learn the whereabouts of his family necessitates a deadly stand off with his predators. Kol must choose between finding his missing wife and child, and protecting the devoted student he has come to hold dear.

Complete at 120,000 Of Eye and Cloud is the first of a series of speculative fiction/hard fantasy.



#50 jswen

jswen

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 54 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 28 April 2017 - 04:42 PM

You already got some good feedback on your most recent version. Just thought I'd throw in a bit.

 

 

 

Ten years ago the warrior monk Cyril Kol of the Order of Eye and Cloud caused the collapse of civilization when he exposed the corruption at his own Order’s heart ( Think this could be tightened up by trying to mention the order only once. I also think a shortier, punchier sentence might serve as a stronger hook. Something like... Ten years ago, the warrior monk Cyril Kol exposed the corruption at the heart of his own Order. Civilization collapsed as a result and he lost everything. His wife. His child. Gone. - I don't know, just playing around with it. :). The ensuing cataclysm cost the lives of his wife and child. Or so he thought.

 

Since learning that they live, Kol has scoured the war-torn world in search of his family. (But he's heard whispers that they might still be alive. Now Kol scours the war-torn world in search of his family.) In his distress he has lost his ability to master the hyper-perception granted by the metaphysical and martial methods of Eye and Cloud.



#51 Phaust

Phaust

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 134 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:Played this game once before with a lit-fic piece. Got an agent, but he couldn't sell the book.

Posted 28 April 2017 - 07:04 PM

Hey gang,

You have been a great help. I think I am nearly there thanks to your feedback. I now have an additional question about the agent and QL process. I have asked it in another AQC forum and am linking it here http://agentquerycon...stion/?p=338906 as I would love to hear your continued thoughts. 



#52 Veldehar

Veldehar

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 341 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 28 April 2017 - 09:33 PM

Thinking this looks pretty damned good. My editor brain would have a couple writing nits but they aren't repeated, so... not a big deal.

Unable to filter it sensible... this is the one line that makes me hiccup. I have to think twice about it in an otherwise smooth flowing read. If you can handle this tidbit just a bit cleaner... I'd be sending it out, then if you don't get bites, revamp from there.

Alright warriors, I am sure this one will be perfect.  :blink:
 
 
 
Latest version:[/size]
 
Ten years ago the warrior monk Cyril Kol of the Order of Eye and Cloud caused the collapse of civilization when he exposed the corruption at his own Order’s heart. The ensuing cataclysm cost the lives of his wife and child. Or so he thought.[/size]
 
Since learning that they live, Kol has scoured the war-torn world in search of his family. In his distress he has lost his ability to master the hyper-perception granted by the metaphysical and martial methods of Eye and Cloud. [/size]
 
Unable to filter it sensible, reality overwhelms him. He maintains functionality only by a steady supply from the distillery he’s rigged up in the back of his massive, wind-up, shingle-roofed schooner. Kol’s inebriate quest for family takes a turn when he rescues Veepa, an adolescent on the run from a covetous crime boss.[/size]
 
But if rescue means you’re responsible  - and it seems to him like it must - then Kol figures the only way to assure Veepa’s safety while still pursuing his family is to take her on as a student. Meanwhile, news of Kol’s return has reached a fanatical warlord bent on bagging the man who caused The Collapse. [/size]
 
Finally, the only way to learn the whereabouts of his family necessitates a deadly stand off with his predators. Kol must choose between finding his missing wife and child, and protecting the devoted student he has come to hold dear.[/size]
Complete at 120,000 Of Eye and Cloud is the first of a series of speculative fiction/hard fantasy.[/size]



#53 Phaust

Phaust

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 134 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:Played this game once before with a lit-fic piece. Got an agent, but he couldn't sell the book.

Posted 05 May 2017 - 07:26 PM

Alright. I sent out 6 queries. So far, one rejection. I know, I know: don't panic. Still, the QL as is reads pretty antiseptically. I am really curious what you all think of the alt version below. Mostly its just a new opening... which is... I mean, most of y'all liked the hook and here I've hornswoggled it. But... well, please give it a read and let me know if you like it better or if I should stick with the above version. Thanks! 

 

 

 

It’s a heavy thing knowing you caused the collapse of civilization, a hard thing knowing the wars and pestilence and starvation and homelessness and rot all came to be on account of you. Never mind you mustered that action out of integrity. Because when it cost the lives of your wife and kid, your integrity doesn’t count for much of anything anymore.

 

For ten years now that’s the burden born by Cyril Kol, exiled member of the Order of Eye and Cloud. As an Eye, Kol is trained in the Nephos, a state of hyper-perception that allows its adepts great advantage in combat and negotiation. Eyes are rarely surprised. But that is exactly what Kol is when he learns that his wife and child are alive.

 

Kol scours the war ravaged world in search of his family. Witnessing the consequences of his actions causes him to lose his ability to filter the Nephos. Overwhelmed, Kol maintains functionality by a steady supply from the distillery he’s rigged up in the back of his massive, wind-up, shingle-roofed schooner.   

 

Kol’s inebriate quest for family takes a turn when he rescues Veepa, an adolescent on the run from a covetous crime boss. But if rescue means you’re responsible  - and it seems to him like it must - then Kol figures the only way to assure Veepa’s safety while still pursuing his family is to take her on as a student.

 

Meanwhile, news of Kol’s return has reached a fanatical warlord determined to revenge The Collapse on the man who caused it. As Kol struggles to re-master of the super-sensate ability of Eye and Cloud it becomes clear that the path to his wife and child leads through the enemies of his past and a confrontation that will endanger the devoted student he has come to hold dear.

Complete at 120,000 Of Eye and Cloud is the first of a series of genre bending speculative fiction that mixes elements of hard fantasy, alt-world historical, and post apocalyptic steam-opera to explore themes of integrity and love.



#54 Veldehar

Veldehar

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 341 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 05 May 2017 - 09:45 PM

TMI, if you go by Query Shark theory. I spent days reviewing her advice (again), so from that perspecive...

Your character's name doesn't arrive until the 2nd paragraph, plus everything is reading past tense. Several times she suggests taking things more immediate, and opening with the character's name is highly recommended. I'd suggest opening hard and fast with the character's name, grab yourself some melodrama if you need to. It's a sales pitch. Matter of fact can work, but a little oomph can't hurt. NO theme, don't go there. (the shark speaking there) and I personally wouldn't even get into the genre bending mish mash stuff.

Something as simple as:

Cyril Kol blamed himself for his family's death. For the past X years he's muddled through life tipping moonshine, nothing to live for. Everything changed when he found proof his family survived the A that left the world B. Everything except the moonshine, anyhow.

From there, jump into present tense... Cyril X and Y, and on a spectacular bender on the anniversary of the collapse of civilization, Veepa enters his life.

Okay, so it's not great, but might give you an idea. Skip most of the background... for its and iggles do a character and rough plot version. Less is more theory.

#55 dragoness

dragoness

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 264 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationEurope

Posted 07 May 2017 - 01:46 AM

Definitely the former version!

 

This one is unclear and very slow.

 

I think your query is good. If many more suitable agents reject it, try to hone it, don't change it that much.



#56 Phaust

Phaust

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 134 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:Played this game once before with a lit-fic piece. Got an agent, but he couldn't sell the book.

Posted 07 May 2017 - 09:54 AM

Thanks folks. 



#57 jswen

jswen

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 54 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 09 May 2017 - 12:13 PM

Yeah, agree with the above. In addition, I would try to keep it present tense. (Kol blames himself for his family's death.)

 

This recent version also includes a lot more details, such as talking about the Nephos. It's interesting, just means more word count devoted to explaining. I found this blog article useful, and I'm trying to work its advice into my most recent - finding the balance between specificity and generality. 

 

Sorry for the delayed response. Are you going to try another version?

 

Keep it up!



#58 LukeWrites

LukeWrites

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 45 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, unagented
  • LocationUS West Coast
  • Publishing Experience:I've had short stories in a few magazines: The Literary Hatchet, Blood Bond, and Sanitarium Magazine.

Posted 09 May 2017 - 01:45 PM

Alright. I sent out 6 queries. So far, one rejection. I know, I know: don't panic. Still, the QL as is reads pretty antiseptically. I am really curious what you all think of the alt version below. Mostly its just a new opening... which is... I mean, most of y'all liked the hook and here I've hornswoggled it. But... well, please give it a read and let me know if you like it better or if I should stick with the above version. Thanks! 

 

 

 

It’s a heavy thing knowing you (who?) caused the collapse of civilization, a hard thing knowing the wars and pestilence and starvation and homelessness and rot all came to be on account of you. Never mind you mustered that action out of integrity. Because when it cost the lives of your wife and kid, your integrity doesn’t count for much of anything anymoreThis all reads as backstory, and we still don't know who the main character is.

 

Cyril Kol destroyed civilization. He killed his wife and child and he has carried that burden for ten years.  As an Eye, Kol is trained in the Nephos, a state of hyper-perception that allows its adepts great advantage (what advantage?) in combat and negotiation (A bit wordy). Eyes are rarely surprised, but that is exactly what Kol is when he learns that his wife and child are alive.

 

Kol scours the war ravaged world in search of his family. Witnessing the consequences of his actions causes him to lose his ability to filter (channel?) the Nephos. Overwhelmed, Kol maintains functionality by a steady supply from the distillery he’s rigged up in the back of his massive, wind-up, shingle-roofed schooner.   

 

Kol’s inebriate quest for family takes a turn when he rescues Veepa, an adolescent on the run from a covetous crime boss. But if rescue means you’re responsible  - and it seems to him like it must - then Kol figures the only way to assure Veepa’s safety while still pursuing his family is to take her on as a student (can she even use the Nephos?).

 

Meanwhile, news of Kol’s return has reached a fanatical warlord determined to revenge  avenge The Collapse by killing the man who caused it. As Kol struggles to re-master his super-sensate ability of Eye and Cloud it becomes clear that the path to his wife and child goes through the enemies of his past and a confrontation that will endanger the devoted student he has come to hold dear. (who are the enemies? Why is his student so dear to him? Personally, her appearance does nothing to intrigue me; she doesn't seem important enough to include in the query,)

 

Complete at 120,000 Of Eye and Cloud is the first of a series of genre bending speculative fiction that mixes elements of hard fantasy, alt-world historical, and post apocalyptic steam-opera to explore themes of integrity and love.

 

You have interesting pieces in play with the query already, but I'm not really seeing the conflict come through as clearly as it needs to. Kol is searching for his wife and child--that is clear. But who is this student he takes on; why is she important? And who is this warlord? It seems a bit vague. I feel like most of this query lends it self to world building and not enough plot.

 

Keep at it, though! Queries are a pain, but you'll get it hammered out eventually. :)



#59 Phaust

Phaust

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 134 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:Played this game once before with a lit-fic piece. Got an agent, but he couldn't sell the book.

Posted 31 October 2017 - 05:31 PM

Beloveds, I am back. Sent out six queries. All passes. Thank goodness. Turns out the book needed at least one more revision. Maybe two. In the meanwhile, I have decided that query by number will not work. So I have rewritten! Huzzah! Hoping for more voice and more appeal thereby. Please have a gander and give a goose. Thanks. 

 

 

 

 

Mindfulness looks a lot like wizardry to the untrained. We’re talking mindfulness on the scale of the Order of Eye and Cloud or, in other words, the trained. Them that, on account of their super-sensate witchety ways, got credit for keeping the world at peace for centuries, going back even before Magnetics was discovered, before mag-lines could take you from one capital to the next. Before Foundation itself.

 

But then the Fate’s-damned Eye Cyril Kol came along and ruined everything out of some misbegotten obligation to honor and integrity. Thanks to him, the Order imploded and took the whole damn shit show with it. Civilization tanked.

 

Just goes to show, Eyes can’t see the future like some say they can. Otherwise - if you knew the cost - why point fingers? At any rate, he made his choice and thousands died, including Kol’s own family.

 

Or so he thought.

 

Turns out, a decade on, they’re alive in hiding. By The-Fate’s-only-know-what devices, they managed a message to him. Come find us!

 

So now Kol has to pick his way through a world he has thoroughly fucked in search of the only hope left him. No less guilty for the hope. And not often sober for the guilt.

 

Problem is, wretchedness messes with Kol’s mindsight. In spite of that, Kol rescues a runaway by the name of Veepa from a couple of highwaymen, and determines he can’t just abandon her to a savage world. So, even in his debilitation, he takes her on as a student, incurring the ire of the vice lord she’s running from. Meanwhile, news of Kol’s return has reached a fanatical warlord determined to revenge The Collapse on the man who caused it.

 

The good news is, helping the girl helps Kol. But as he begins to re-master the mindfulness of Eye and Cloud it becomes all too clear that the path to his wife and child leads through the enemies of his past and a confrontation that will endanger, not only himself, but also the devoted student he has come to hold dear.

Complete at 123,000 words, Of Eye And Cloud is a low-fi epic fantasy with lit fic airs concerning the power of mindfulness and the travails of a man wrestling with the consequences of integrity.



#60 A.M.Rose

A.M.Rose

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 212 posts
  • Literary Status:published, industry insider
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:Debut book coming 2018 from Entangled Teen.

Posted 01 November 2017 - 03:40 PM

Per your request, here are my comments (in green) below. I hope you find them helpful in some way.  

Beloveds, I am back. Sent out six queries. All passes. Thank goodness. Turns out the book needed at least one more revision. Maybe two. In the meanwhile, I have decided that query by number will not work. So I have rewritten! Huzzah! Hoping for more voice and more appeal thereby. Please have a gander and give a goose. Thanks. 

 

 

 

 

Mindfulness looks a lot like wizardry to the untrained.(Interesting start - I'm curious where this goes.) We’re talking mindfulness on the scale of the Order of Eye and Cloud or, in other words, the trained. Them that, on account of their super-sensate witchety ways, got credit for keeping the world at peace for centuries, going back even before Magnetics was discovered, before mag-lines could take you from one capital to the next. Before Foundation itself. (Consider cutting this - it gets a little wordy and doesn't tell me anything about your book - at least I don't feel like it does. It feels like a more generalized rambling about magic, but that is just IMO.)

 

But then the Fate’s-damned Eye Cyril Kol came along and ruined everything out of some misbegotten obligation to honor and integrity. Thanks to him, the Order imploded and took the whole damn shit show with it. Civilization tanked. (okay, I kind of see now that this Order of the Eye thing above was supposed to be in relation to this story, but I didn't follow it up there and I still don't follow it down here. Sorry.) 

 

Just goes to show, Eyes can’t see the future like some say they can. Otherwise - if you knew the cost - why point fingers? (Avoid rhetorical questions) At any rate, he made his choice and thousands died, including Kol’s own family.

 

Or so he thought. (So was that all backstory to this actual story?) 

 

Turns out, a decade on, they’re alive in hiding. By The-Fate’s-only-know-what devices, they managed a message to him. Come find us! (So his family sent a message?) 

 

So now Kol has to pick his way through a world he has thoroughly fucked (How did he do this?) in search of the only hope left him. No less guilty for the hope. And not often sober for the guilt. (These last two sentences have me scratching my head a little.) 

 

Problem is, wretchedness messes with Kol’s mindsight. In spite of that, Kol rescues a runaway by the name of Veepa from a couple of highwaymen, and determines he can’t just abandon her to a savage world. So, even in his debilitation, he takes her on as a student, incurring the ire of the vice lord she’s running from. Meanwhile, news of Kol’s return has reached a fanatical warlord determined to revenge The Collapse on the man who caused it. (I think you have too much going on here - I'm not sure what this book is about exactly.) 

 

The good news is, helping the girl helps Kol. But as he begins to re-master the mindfulness of Eye and Cloud it becomes all too clear that the path to his wife and child (I didn't realize this is who he was looking for. Consider being specific above when you say family that this is what you mean.) leads through the enemies of his past and a confrontation that will endanger, not only himself, but also the devoted student he has come to hold dear. (I'm not 100% sure I understand the stakes here.) 

Complete at 123,000 words, Of Eye And Cloud is a low-fi (I'm not familiar with this term)  epic fantasy with lit fic ​(Pick one genre - where would this book sit on the shelf at B&N - Literary fiction? Fantasy?)  airs concerning the power of mindfulness and the travails of a man wrestling with the consequences of integrity.

Wow, this does sound like an epic story, but I think you are giving us too much, and also expecting us to understand this world you've built without any real context. I don't understand what the Order of the Eye and Cloud is. Is it some magical power? A council that rules over this world? Don't worry about giving us voice yet, we first need to understand your story. 

 

So taking what you gave us above, I've cut this down (a lot) in hopes to show you how to possibly simplify. I'm sure you would be able to do a much better job than I have here. Remember we don't need everything just:

Who is the MC

What do they want - Goals

What stands in their way - obstacles 

What happens if they fail - stakes (And these stakes have to be compelling - endangering himself isn't a stake for a character - all characters endanger themselves in some way - how specifically will failing affect Kol? Will he die? Will his wife and child be sacrificed?)

 

Mindfulness looks a lot like wizardry to the untrained.

 

Cyril Kol didn’t mean to destroy the world when he used the Order of the Eye and Cloud, a special magical power bestowed upon him. And he certainly didn’t want his wife and child to perish with most of the civilization. More than anything Kol wishes he could fix things. Erase what he did.

 

When Kol receives message that they may still be alive, he goes out in search for them, facing OBSTACLE, OBSTACLE and OBSACLE.

 

But when the council finds out about Kol’s plan they will do everything they can to stop him. He has already caused the world enough destruction, now it is time for his own demise.

 

Kol will have to DOSOMETHINGANDBESPECIFC if he wants to BESPECIFIC. 

 

Obviously there is a lot missing here, (and I have probably gotten a lot of things wrong) but it should at least get you started in the right direction. And will also show you what I was able to deduce from this letter - is it what you had intended? 

 

Writing queries are hard, especially when you have such a complex world as it sounds like you do. Keep working at it and I'm sure it will click.

Best of luck to you. 

 

Edit:

 

I went back to look at your first query to help me get a better frame of reference and I think this might work as a nice hook sentence to start your query with:

 

History remembers Cyril Kol as the villain that brought the world down. 

 

It has punch and immediately makes you interested in what this character did. Consider using it over the one you have currently. 


A.M. Rose

Author of Road to Eugenica - Available 2018 from Entangled Teen 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users