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Of Eye and Cloud #22

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#101 BadgerFox

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Posted 23 November 2017 - 03:55 PM

Dear [Agent]:

 

Once, Cyril Kol was a disciple of The Order of Eye and Cloud, a sect of warrior-monks whose hyper-sensate mindfulness secured a millennia of peace. [Good opening! Fancy being so zen that you chill out the entire world :) ]

 

That’s all gone. Kol broke it. Civilization collapsed when he led a coup that exposed a lie at the Order’s center. Now the exiled monk has only one goal–to find the wife and child that he thought had perished in the cataclysm.

 

Returning to a wasted, war-torn land cripples Kol with guilt. [Yeah, I can imagine it would...!] His only relief: a steady stream of moonshine distilled in the back of his shingle-roofed, wind-up wagon.

 

His search takes a detour when he rescues a runaway courtesan-in-training, Veepa, from a nefarious highwayman. Unable to abandon another innocent to the wicked twists of the world he made, Kol takes her on as apprentice. [These two sentences feel a bit pantomine-y in comparison to the rest of the query. It sounded like quite a tough, melancholic quest, but adjectives like 'nefarious' and 'wicked' are a bit vintage and silly. It's not necessarily a problem, but it does feel like a different tone to the rest of the query]He does so in full knowledge that her master’s bounty makes Veepa a potentially dangerous distraction from his one, true aim.

 

Yet the partnership softens their world-weary[hyphenate this] hearts, and soon Kol comes to see in Veepa the child he lost. Likewise, she finds, in Kol, some semblance of the father she never had.

 

But both their mission and their relationship are jeopardized when the spited ['spited' is a strange word to use here. Maybe 'wronged' or 'jilted' or 'maligned'?]highwayman brings word of Kol’s return to The Silence, a fanatical warband bent on avenging the collapse of civilization on the fool who caused it.

 

As The Silence close in, Kol realizes he's made a terrible mistake: that helping Veepa has not only endangered his search for his family, but put his now beloved student in the line of fire intended for him. [oo, good moral dilemma]

 

 

Of Eye And Cloud is a 123,000 word low-fi epic fantasy [you probably already know this is on the long side, even for fantasy, and that shaving some off the word count would help your chances with an agent. However, that's your decision and you probably have already had this pointed out to you] that would appeal to fans of R. Scott Bakker, Brian McClellan, and Joe Ambercrombe.

 

I really like the arrangement for this one, just pairs of short descriptive sentences. You describe the plot events and the stakes well. This seems pretty close to being ready :)


Spare a little feedback, if you have a moment? :)

My AU historical novel query: here. Thank you!


#102 tn_writer

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 03:41 PM

Dear [Agent]:

 

Once, Cyril Kol was a disciple of The Order of Eye and Cloud, a sect of warrior-monks whose hyper-sensate mindfulness secured a millennia of peace.  SO much easier to read!

 

That’s all gone. Kol broke it. Civilization collapsed when he led a coup that exposed a lie at the Order’s center. Now the exiled monk has only one goal–to find the wife and child that he thought had perished in the cataclysm. Great summary!

 

Returning to a wasted, war-torn land cripples Kol with guilt. His only relief:? A steady stream of moonshine distilled in the back of his shingle-roofed, wind-up wagon.

 

His search takes a detour when he rescues a runaway courtesan-in-training, Veepa, running from a nefarious highwayman. Unable to abandon another innocent to the wicked twists of the world he made, Kol takes her on as apprentice. He does so in full knowledge that her master’s bounty makes Veepa a potentially dangerous distraction from his one, true aim.

 

Yet the partnership softens their world (to avoid repeating the word) weary hearts, and soon Kol comes to see in Veepa the child he lost. Likewise, she finds, in Kol, (delete commas) some semblance of the father she never had.

 

But both their mission and their relationship are jeopardized when the spited highwayman brings word of Kol’s return to The Silence, a fanatical warband bent on avenging the collapse of civilization on the fool who caused it.

 

As The Silence closes (warband is singular) in, Kol realizes he's made a terrible mistake: that helping Veepa has not only endangered his search for his family, but also put his now beloved student in the line of fire intended for him.

 

 

Of Eye And Cloud is a 123,000 word low-fi epic fantasy that would appeal to fans of R. Scott Bakker, Brian McClellan, and Joe Ambercrombe.

 

Sorry I'm late to the ballgame. Nice job on the progression! Your book sounds fascinating! I don't have any major critiques, just some copyediting changes in case you're still working on it. Thanks so much for the query critique. Good luck!



#103 CavalierdeNuit

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 04:12 PM

 it’s practitioners were feared as sorcerers and traitors and hunted for glory.

 

ITS practitioners... Possessive has no apostrophe.

 

And you did it again.

 

it’s name is, “Of Eye and Cloud.”

 

ITS name is...

 

Is English even your first language? Honestly, I can't figure out what's going on in your query. But those "it's" really stood out. If Cyril Kol is your MC, figure out if you want his name to be Cyril or Kol. 



#104 rhwashere

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 06:59 AM

Fresh eyes, here.

All in all, I like the feel of this query, it just seems long. I would condense the first two paragraphs into one, cutting out unnecessary backstory. Trim it to 2 or 3 sentences, if possible. I would also cut the paragraph about moonshine and the wagon. It’s unnecessary to understanding your plot. You probably don’t need to name The Silence if you just describe them as fanatics bent on getting revenge on Kol.

Other than that, it seems pretty well in shape.

Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


#105 Dasein

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 01:26 AM

To be totally honest, the first two paragraphs of this query really catch my attention. And then the remaining paragraphs make my eyes glaze over.

So the premise of this story is good, but the plot is not presented in a compelling way. You need to simplify it. Try to reduce it to the thematic bare bones. What type of challenge does your MC face? Is he trying to redeem himself? Trying not to make the same mistake over again? How does a monk end up with a wife and kids anyway?

#106 Wayfarer

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 01:25 PM

Once, Cyril Kol was a disciple of The Order of Eye and Cloud, a sect of warrior-monks whose hyper-sensate mindfulness secured a millennia of peace.  

 

That’s all gone. Kol broke it Such peace is now gone, ruined by Kol's hand (I didn't like your original phrasing, it was ambiguous. What was "it", the order? The peace? Say definitively, like my phrase suggests, what "it" is). Civilization collapsed when he led a coup that exposed a lie (instead of saying lie, describe succinctly what the lie is. It'll make the reader more invested) at the Order’s center. Now the exiled monk Kol (I assume you mean Kol. But you didn't preface him as being exiled, so to just say the exiled monk leaves an element of ambiguity. Perhaps say something like, "Now exiled from the order, Kol has...") has only one goal–to find the wife and child that he thought had perished in the cataclysm.

 

Returning (When did he leave? Say instead something like "Wandering/traveling/etc a wasted, war-torn...") to a wasted, war-torn land cripples Kol with guilt. His only relief: a steady stream of moonshine distilled in the back of his shingle-roofed, wind-up (Not sure what a wind-up wagon is. This may just be a failing on my part, but if it's something that's nuanced, I'd recommend using a more general term to prevent any sort of confusion) wagon.

 

His search takes a detour when he rescues a runaway courtesan-in-training, Veepa, from a nefarious highwayman. Unable to abandon another innocent to the wicked twists of the world he made, Kol takes her on as his apprentice. He does so in full knowledge that her master’s bounty (This wording reads as "the bounty placed on the master", reword to something like "that the bounty placed on her by her master makes...) makes Veepa a potentially dangerous distraction from his one, true aim.

 

Yet the partnership softens their world weary hearts, and soon Kol comes to see in Veepa the child he lost. Likewise, she finds (no comma) in Kol (no comma) some semblance of the father she never had.

 

But both their (Their? What's veepa's mission?) mission and their relationship are jeopardized when the spited highwayman brings word of Kol’s return to The Silence, a fanatical warband bent on avenging the collapse of civilization on the fool who caused it.

 

As The Silence close in, Kol realizes he's made a terrible mistake: that helping Veepa has not only endangered his search for his family, but put his now beloved student in the line of fire intended for him. (You need to follow this with what he must do now that he's realized this mistake. We have conflict, what can he do to resolve it, or fail to?)

Really cool concept, and the atmosphere of the query is well done. Just a few minor ambiguity concerns and missing bits of info that will help flesh this out to perfection.



#107 Phaust

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 09:39 PM

Veepa Avassana, a twelve year old runaway courtesan-in-training, stares into the dead eye of a highwayman’s pistol. She is spared the reaper when warrior-monk Cyril Kol’s witchety tricks of mind dispatch the ruffians. Seeing in Kol the father figure she never had, Veepa resolves to become his apprentice, learning from him the way of Eye and Cloud.

 

Trouble is, Veepa has a bounty on her head. Worse yet, Kol is hunted and haunted for his role in crashing civilization. Only Veepa’s hypnotic singing saves him from drink and madness. Joined by Veepa’s former madam and a kind-hearted bandit, they search a broken world of monsters and warlords for Kol’s family gone missing in the cataclysm.

 

Within reach of finding Kol’s wife and kid, his enemies strike, decimating the family Kol’s come to love and destroying the path to the family he’s lost. Kol’s heartbreak drives him deep into the Cloud. To bring him back, Veepa must journey into the Cloud beyond her depth or surrender the only love she's ever known.



#108 Wayfarer

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 10:10 PM

Veepa Avassana, a twelve year old runaway courtesan-in-training, stares into the dead eye of a highwayman’s pistol. She is spared the reaper when warrior-monk Cyril Kol’s witchety (Is this a word?) tricks of mind dispatch the ruffians. Seeing in Kol the father figure she never had, Veepa resolves to become his apprentice, learning from him the way of Eye and Cloud (Leaving "Eye and Cloud" as is without explaining it is just confusing).

 

Trouble is, Veepa has a bounty on her head. Worse yet, Kol is hunted and haunted for his role in crashing (Not a great intensifier. I would suggest something simple like "the destruction/devestation/collapse of") civilization. Only Veepa’s hypnotic singing saves him from drink and madness (This sentence doesn't logically follow the former. You would begin with 'only' if the former sentence gives reason for it. Like, "Kol doesn't want Veepa around. Only... etc. If you mean to say that her singing is the only thing that saves him from the bottle, then you need to preface that with the fact that he's a drunk, you can't just dive into her part in his addictions resolution.). Joined by Veepa’s former madam and a kind-hearted bandit, they search a broken world of monsters and warlords for Kol’s family gone missing in the cataclysm.

 

Within reach of finding Kol’s wife and kid, his enemies strike, decimating the family Kol’s come to love and destroying the path to the family he’s lost. Kol’s heartbreak drives him deep into the Cloud (Needs explanation otherwise we have no frame of reference). To bring him back, Veepa must journey into the Cloud beyond her depth (More confusion) or surrender the only love she's ever known. (Seems like a weak secondary stake. You don't preface this in the query at all other than saying she's a runaway, but that doesn't necessitate that she hasn't known love. You have to state that if you want this stake to have any meaning. Maybe adjust to something like, "To bring him back, Veepa must journey into the Cloud further than she's ever been, or relinquish the only one who's ever shown her kindness." and make sure to preface the friend thing early in the query.)



#109 Phaust

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 10:32 PM

Good stuff, Wayfarer. Witchety is not a word you would find in a dictionary. But it is a word. I am conflicted on explaining E&C. Gets jargony. Let me know if the below explanation gives you clues enough to refer to it throughout. I might just take it out altogether. 

 

 

 

Dear Agent Maximus,

 

Veepa Avassana, a twelve year old runaway courtesan-in-training, stares into the dead eye of a highwayman’s pistol. She is spared the reaper when drunken monk Cyril Kol’s witchety tricks of mind dispatch the ruffians. Seeing in Kol the father figure she never had, Veepa resolves to become his apprentice, learning from him the deep essence of perception and being that is the way of Eye and Cloud.

 

Trouble is, Veepa has a bounty on her head. Worse yet, Kol is hunted and haunted for his role in shattering civilization. Only Veepa’s hypnotic singing saves him from drink and madness. Joined by Veepa’s former madam and a kind-hearted bandit, they search a broken world of monsters and warlords for Kol’s family gone missing in the cataclysm.

 

Within reach of finding Kol’s wife and kid, his enemies strike, decimating the family Kol’s come to love and destroying the path to the family he’s lost. Kol’s heartbreak drives him into The Cloud to the point of delirium. To bring him back, Veepa must journey into the Cloud beyond her depth or surrender the love of the only father she's ever known.



#110 Wayfarer

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 10:53 PM

Veepa Avassana, a twelve year old runaway courtesan-in-training, stares into the dead eye of a highwayman’s pistol. She is spared the reaper when drunken monk Cyril Kol’s witchety tricks of mind dispatch the ruffians. Seeing in Kol the father figure she never had, Veepa resolves to become his apprentice, learning from him the deep essence of perception and being that is the way of Eye and Cloud.

 

Trouble is, Veepa has a bounty on her head. Worse yet, Kol is hunted and haunted for his role in shattering civilization. Only Veepa’s hypnotic singing saves him from drink and madness. Joined by Veepa’s former madam and a kind-hearted bandit, they search a broken world of monsters and warlords for Kol’s family gone missing in the cataclysm.

 

Within reach of finding Kol’s wife and kid, his enemies strike, decimating the family Kol’s come to love and destroying the path to the family he’s lost. Kol’s heartbreak drives him into The Cloud to the point of delirium. To bring him back, Veepa must journey into the Cloud beyond her depth or surrender the love of the only father she's ever known.

 

First paragraph is perfect, the simple descriptor for Eye and Cloud is more than enough to give a good idea of what it is.

 

I still have issues with just dumping the sentence about Veepa's singing. The query could work fine devoid of that sentence, though I understand its purpose in character shaping. Perhaps do something like this, "...for his role in shattering civilization. Usually content with drink to cope, Veepa is able to cure him of his madness and habit with her hypnotic singing.".

 

My last issue is with the mention of the Cloud in the final paragraph. Maybe write, "...drives him far into the comfort of The Cloud--too far. To bring him back from his delirium, Veepa must risk journeying into The Cloud beyond her depth, if she can't she'll lose the only father she's ever known."



#111 Phaust

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 05:52 PM

Veepa Avassana, a twelve year old runaway courtesan-in-training, stares into the dead eye of a highwayman’s pistol. She is spared the reaper when warrior-monk Cyril Kol’s witchety tricks of mind dispatch the ruffians. Seeing in Kol the father figure she never had, Veepa resolves to become his apprentice, learning from him the the deep essence of perception and being that is way of Eye and Cloud.

 

Trouble is, Veepa has a bounty on her head. Worse yet, Kol is hunted and haunted for his role in crashing civilization. Drinking away his conscience, only Veepa’s hypnotic singing saves him from derelict madness. Joined by Veepa’s former madam and a kind-hearted bandit, they search a broken world of monsters and warlords for Kol’s family gone missing in the cataclysm.

 

Within reach of finding Kol’s wife and kid, his enemies strike, decimating the family Kol’s come to love and destroying the path to the family he’s lost. Kol’s heartbreak drives him deep into the Cloud -- too deep. Veepa's song is his only lifeline out of dissolution. She's been wounded in the attack, but if she fails, she’ll lose the only father she’s ever known.



#112 Wayfarer

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 10:17 PM

Veepa Avassana, a twelve year old runaway courtesan-in-training, stares into the dead eye of a highwayman’s pistol. She is spared the reaper when warrior-monk Cyril Kol’s witchety tricks of mind dispatch the ruffians. Seeing in Kol the father figure she never had, Veepa resolves to become his apprentice, learning from him the the deep essence of perception and being that is the way of Eye and Cloud.

 

Trouble is, Veepa has a bounty on her head. Worse yet, Kol is hunted and haunted for his role in crashing (I definitely prefer shattering, crashing seems weak in comparison.) civilization. Usually content with drinking away his conscience, Kol finds Veepa’s hypnotic singing a comforting alternative (This sentence still rubs me wrong. The way I rewrote it assumes that her singing merely contents him for some reason. If it's a magical type of singing, which I feel as if 'hypnotic' may imply, then that needs a little more clarity of explanation. I also find 'derelict madness' ambiguous giving the limited context we have of Kol's behavior. Such a descriptor would work in the story, because there's context to better fill in the meaning of the words, but without that context they're too vague to mean much.). Joined by Veepa’s former madam and a kind-hearted bandit, they search a broken world of monsters and warlords for Kol’s family gone missing in the cataclysm.

 

Within reach of finding Kol’s wife and kid, his enemies strike, decimating the family Kol’s come to love and destroying the path to the family he’s lost. Kol’s heartbreak drives him deep into the Cloud -- too deep. Veepa's song is his only lifeline out of dissolution. She's been wounded in the attack, but if she fails, she’ll lose the only father she’s ever known. (So what I get from this is that he's physically still around, but his mind is lost in the Cloud. The only thing grounding him to reality and preventing his mind from being lost in the Cloud is Veepa's singing. If that's the case, then the inclusion of "dissolution" is a little too vague. I would literally say something like, "...song is the last lifeline preventing him from disappearing completely." With that said, the "if she fails" part is really ambiguous. If she fails what exactly? To keep singing? If so, I would say, "...if she fails to keep singing" to leave no room for guesswork.)



#113 PureZhar3

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 05:47 PM

Veepa Avassana, a twelve year old runaway courtesan-in-training, stares into the dead eye of a highwayman’s pistol. She is spared the reaper when warrior-monk Cyril Kol’s witchety tricks of mind dispatch the ruffians. Seeing in Kol the father figure she never had, Veepa resolves to become his apprentice, learning from him the the deep essence of perception and being that is way of Eye and Cloud. ​whoaaa.... so much information. I think it can work if you tidy it up a bit... be straightforward with phrasing... for example, "dead eye" made me think literally, and "spared the reaper" took me a second to place too. Your sentences make sense, one just has to work to understand them, which isn't something a time-sensitive agent will want to do.

 

Trouble is, Veepa has a bounty on her head. Worse yet, Kol is hunted and haunted for his role in crashing civilization. ​I don't fully understand how this prevents her from becoming his apprentice. Particularly, the "trouble is" and "worse yet" phrases are tripping me up.Drinking away his conscience, only Veepa’s hypnotic singing saves him from derelict madness. Joined by Veepa’s former madam and a kind-hearted bandit, they search a broken world of monsters and warlords for Kol’s family gone missing in the cataclysm. ​intriguing. 

 

Within reach of finding Kol’s wife and kid, his enemies strike, decimating the family Kol’s come to love and destroying the path to the family he’s lost. ​whose story is this? this twist jump to Kol and his family is distracting. I understand that it's part of the story, but maybe shrink it down... "On the path to finding his wife and son, Kol's enemies attack and destroy the clues they have. Kol is driven into..." Kol’s heartbreak drives him deep into the Cloud -- too deep. Veepa's song is his only lifeline out of dissolution. She's been wounded in the attack, but if she fails, she’ll lose the only father she’s ever known.

​This isn't bad... I like the concept, but I simply think that you need to pull in your focus. It isn't confusing because your sentences/logic don't make sense but because the phrasing sometimes makes them a bit distracting or hard to follow. 


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#114 PureZhar3

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 05:49 PM

Also, I agree with all of Wayfarer's edits, except the one concerning the drinking sentence. I thought it was beautiful and made sense when I read it, but that's pretty subjective :)


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#115 TeaTime

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Posted 16 March 2018 - 10:09 PM

Veepa Avassana, a twelve year old runaway courtesan-in-training, stares into the dead eye of a highwayman’s pistol. She is spared the reaper when warrior-monk Cyril Kol’s witchety (Is this a real word, or a made-up word within the story's world?) tricks of mind dispatch the ruffians. Seeing in Kol the father figure she never had, Veepa resolves to become his apprentice, learning from him the the deep essence of perception and being that is way of Eye and Cloud. (Cool name)

 

Trouble is, Veepa has a bounty on her head. Worse yet, Kol is hunted and haunted for his role in crashing civilization (This is tantalizing but extremely vague, & sounds like a bigger deal than the rest of the stuff that is going on). Drinking away his conscience, only Veepa’s hypnotic singing saves him from derelict madness. Joined by Veepa’s former madam and a kind-hearted bandit, they search a broken world of monsters and warlords for Kol’s family gone missing in the cataclysm.

 

Within reach of finding Kol’s wife and kid, his enemies strike, decimating the family Kol’s come to love (So wait, all of the others are killed? I think it would be good to be specific about what has happened) and destroying the path to the family he’s lost. Kol’s heartbreak drives him deep into the Cloud -- too deep. Veepa's song is his only lifeline out of dissolution. She's been wounded in the attack (This is good to know, but probably would be best known right away), but if she fails, she’ll lose the only father she’s ever known. (Is this the end of the book instead of the first third/half-ish?--it sounds like the end)

 

My one big question is who is the main character of this story. It starts off with Veepa, but switches focus to Kol. They both sound like characters in really interesting situations, but I think focusing on one & seeing the other through their lens would be best.

 

Other than that, I think the query just needs to be more specific about the vague stuff (crashing civilization, etc.) or cut those parts out in order to keep the query as focused as possible. But otherwise, this sounds like a cool story, especially the girl's background & whatever Kol did to break the world. Good luck  :cool: 


Feel Free to Check Out My Current Query Letter Here, Thank You






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