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Secrets of Ashes and Glass (YA Inspirational Fiction)

Fiction Christian Romance Young Adult

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#1 EmmaLucy

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 06:58 PM

I really appreciate the criticism! Thank you everyone. 

Here is another revised version. Hopefully, it has improved. 

 

Revision in post #30

http://agentquerycon...-fiction/page-2

 

Dear (agent's name),

 

 

 

How many secrets are enough to keep the story of the servant and the prince from being told?

 

There are secrets of ashes. The kind of secrets that are dark and terrible and are found in the minds of wicked people. But there are also secrets of glass. Those are the secrets that are fragile and beautiful and are held close and are protected.

 

Arella Marceau, a lowly servant with nothing to her name, finds herself entangled in secrets of both ashes and glass. A mysterious debt owed by her deceased father arises and if she can’t pay it, she will be subjected to the mercy of her creditor, Lord DiFortunato. But with his bottomless black eyes and unsettling demeanor, Lord DiFortunato seems to be more than he pretends to be. Then there is also murder. The murder of the king. But no one seems able to decipher the motives of the Royal Physician; that is, if he even is the murderer.

                                                  

But among the ashes, there is glittering glass. After meeting Freddie in the market and discovering his identity as Prince Friederic, Arella soon realizes that Prince Charming has captured her heart. Yet, Arella is a servant in Freddie’s very own palace and if the nobles discover their relationship they would leap at the chance to ruin them both by making Arella out to be the prince’s lover. Without a choice, Arella and Freddie keep their meeting place, their letters, and their love a secret.

 

With hidden truths of love, murder, and debt threatening them, Freddie and Arella cling to the assurance they have in God’s sovereign plan and to the love that blossoms between them. 

 

I am submitting for your consideration a completed, 94,600-word inspirational romance, Secrets of Ashes and Glass. While it may begin as a typical Cinderella story, plot twists such as murder, debt, and a secret love create elements of mystery and suspense.

 

A selection of my poetry has been published in the book, A Work of Art, which is a compilation of works from international writers. The purpose of this book is to raise money for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). I have also had short stories and poems published in local newsletters.


I am in some desperate need of synopsis help and am willing to return the favor.

 

My Query: http://agentquerycon...tional-fiction/  

My Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...tion-synposis/ 

First 250 words: http://agentquerycon...ion-first-250/ 


#2 adr90

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 06:27 AM

Hello! Welcome. 

Dear (agent's name), 

 

 

I am submitting for your consideration a completed,  SECRETS OF ASHES AND GLASS is 94,600-word young adult fiction what genre?, Secrets of Ashes and Glass. The story may begin as a typical Cinderella story, but as the plot unfolds, unexpected twists suddenly occur and create a sense of mystery. Altogether, it will appeal to fans of Melanie Dickerson’s Hagenheim series. Good comps! But...and I could be wrong, but I think comps usually go at the end of a query

 

How many secrets are enough to keep the story of the servant and the prince from being told? Most agents hate rhetorical questions, I'm told

 

There are secrets of ashes. The kind of secrets that are dark and terrible and are found in the minds of wicked people. But there are also secrets of glass. Those are the secrets that are fragile and beautiful and are held close and are protected. Hm, kinda vague. I'd probably rework a different hook.

 

Arella Marceau, a lowly servant with nothing to her name, finds herself entangled in secrets of both ashes and glass. A mysterious debt arises. If she can't repay it,  that has her desperately searching for a way to pay it because if she can’t, she will be subjected what does that mean? to her unsettling creditor with the bottomless black eyes Does that mean dangerous?. Then there is also murder, the motives of which no one seems able to decipher and which shakes the very foundations of Arella’s country.

 

But between the ashes, there is glittering glass. After meeting Freddie in the market and later discovering his identity as Prince Friederic This is kinda wordy, Arella soon realizes that Prince Charming has captured her heart. However, afraid that malicious rumors will be spread, they tell no one they are seeing each other.

 

With secrets Secrets about what? You don't have to tell us all of them, just one or two threatening their relationship, Freddie and Arella cling to the assurance they have in God’s sovereign plan and to the love that blossoms between them. 

 

Books and Such Literary Management, in particular, stood out to me because you represent Christian authors. As a firm believer in the Christian faith, is it my goal to use writing to be a light to the world through good, Christian entertainment You could probably cut everything in blue.  A selection of my poetry has been published in the book, A Work of Art, which is a compilation of works from international writers. The purpose of this book is to raise money for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). I have also had short stories published in various newsletters and magazines.

 

Please note that this is simultaneous submission. Agents assume that kind of thing

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

This is a good start! I think you need to focus more on the goals, obstacles, and stakes. I know Arella is the MC, and her goal is to pay a debt. But is there a broader one? The murder is probably one of the obstacles, but I don't know what the stakes are. What happens if she doesn't get her goal? Will the kingdom be destroyed? Will she lose Freddie forever? What happens if she fails? Focus on that near the end. You're doing well so far. Good luck!

 

Also, would you mind looking at my query, Escaping Fate?



#3 CarrollBooks

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 05:13 PM

Hi EmmaLucy,

I like your story idea and love the title and the reasoning for it. I made in-line comments below but I also want to mention that there is a lot of passive voice in this query. Passive voice is such a taboo, I think an agent will stop reading if they see it, so you might want to comb through looking for that. 

I hope my thoughts below are helpful. Best of luck to you!

 

Hello! I am hoping to query a few agents, but I thought since I have very little experience in that department, it would be a good idea to get some critique on my query letter. 

So here it is...

 

 

Dear (agent's name), 

 

 

I am submitting for your consideration a completed, 94,600-word young adult fiction, Secrets of Ashes and Glass.  SECRETS OF ASHES AND GLASS. The story may begin as a typical Cinderella story, but as the plot unfolds, unexpected twists suddenly occur and create a sense of mystery.  The Cinderella comparison might be okay but the rest of the sentence is broad. Maybe if you said it's like a mystery version of Cinderella? Altogether, it will appeal to fans of Melanie Dickerson’s Hagenheim series.

 

How many secrets are enough to will keep the story of the servant and the prince from being told? This sentence is in passive tense. I would think about making that first sentence as strong as it can be by choosing one that's active.

 

There are secrets of ashes. The kind of secrets that are dark and terrible and are found in the minds of wicked people. But there are also secrets of glass. Those are the secrets that are fragile and beautiful and are held close and are protected. This is intriguing. You should probably just make the above paragraph the first sentence of this one otherwise you have two paragraphs before you get to the meat of the pitch. Just my opinion.

 

Arella Marceau, a lowly servant with nothing to her name, finds herself entangled in secrets of both ashes and glass.This was too much. A mysterious debt arises that has her desperately searching for a way to pay it because if she can’t, she will be subjected to her unsettling creditor with the bottomless black eyes. Then there is also murder, the motives of which no one seems able to decipher and which shakes the very foundations of Arella’s country. I feel like this paragraph has interesting stuff but it's not saying enough about them. It's hard to find the creditor threatening when we nothing about him or her and it's hard to find the murder upsetting without knowing who was murdered (only important if is a significant person to main character.) or how.

 

But between the ashes, there is glittering glass. After meeting Freddie in the market and later discovering his identity as Prince Friederic, Arella soon realizes that Prince Charming has captured her heart. However, afraid that malicious rumors will be spread, they tell no one they are seeing each other. Make active voice. This paragraph made me confused about what the central conflict is because the above paragraph had me concerned with debts and murders so I was thinking a mystery instead of a love story.

 

With secrets threatening their relationship, Freddie and Arella cling to the assurance they have in God’s sovereign plan and to the love that blossoms between them. This sentence is where you need to have your hook, really highlight the conflict and the stakes.

 

Books and Such Literary Management, in particular, stood out to me because you represent Christian authors. As a firm believer in the Christian faith, is it is my goal to use writing to be a light to the world through good, Christian entertainment.  A selection of my poetry has been published in the book, (Again this is passive voice. Who published the book, what's the publisher's name? Was it indie?) A Work of Art  A WORK OF ART, which is a compilation of works from international writers. The purpose of this book is to raise money for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). I have also had short stories published in various newsletters and magazines. (which ones? You don't have to say all but say a couple.)

 

Please note that this is simultaneous submission.  They assume it is.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#4 Ms-Q

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 05:51 AM

First, I love that your style shows in your query. That's a really good thing! You can pare a query down so far an agent has no idea if you have fun with words. You have fun with words.

 

You are trying to cover too much ground in your query, though, and it's coming at the cost of being specific. The Ashes and Glass thing is a neat concept for your title, but it doesn't need explaining in a query. The query is about the story, and the story is the journey your MC goes through.

 

Here is what you must cover:

 

Who is your protagonist? A lowly servant, Arella Marceau.  You must cover this, if not in the hook (your first paragraph), then in the first sentence of the next paragraph.

 

What does she want? Also unclear. I know she wants to avoid an unspecified threat from the debt collector. But I don't know the thing she wants most in the world. Is it love? Belonging? Feeling whole? This is usually (not always) a pretty high-level want.

 

Who is your antagonist?  This is not clear. You must name the antagonist. The people to name in a query are the protagonist, antagonist, and the love interest if it's a romance.  The name is a clue the agent looks for.  Your antagonist is the person who wants something that is mutually exclusive to what your protagonist wants.

 

What is keeping her from what she wants (i.e. actions taken by the antagonist or circumstances frustrating the protag's progress)? Also unclear. There are several candidates. Unspecified secrets. An unspecified debt. A murder, but we know nothing about the murder or how it relates to the protagonist. This must be specific.

 

How will she get what she wants? By together with her prince to follow God's sovereign plan in order to... ???  <-- this will relate back to what your protagonist wants. She may just want to be a devout woman! But in that case, she must struggle (that is, fail) to be devout in the novel until she completes her journey. If she already is devout, then her faith gets her something else. Love? Family? What does she want?

 

What happens if she fails?  I don't know. Will she die? Will someone else die? Will there be a war? No idea.

 

Fill in some of the above with like, 4 or 5 words at most. That'll be the bones of your query.



#5 katiefs

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 09:45 AM

Dear (agent's name), 

 

I am submitting for your consideration a completed, 94,600-word young adult fiction, Secrets of Ashes and Glass. The story may begin as a typical Cinderella story, but as the plot unfolds, unexpected twists suddenly occur and create a sense of mystery. [This is a bit vague. The Cinderella story part is good, but the rest of it could be said of most books. What makes yours stand out?] Altogether, it will appeal to fans of Melanie Dickerson’s Hagenheim series.

 

How many secrets are enough to keep the story of the servant and the prince from being told? [I’m not sure I understand how secrets keep a story from being told. A story that isn’t told is a secret, right?]

 

There are secrets of ashes. The kind of secrets that are dark and terrible and are found in the minds of wicked people. But there are also secrets of glass. Those are the secrets that are fragile and beautiful and are held close and are protected.

 

Arella Marceau, a lowly servant with nothing to her name, finds herself entangled in secrets of both ashes and glass. A mysterious debt arises that has her desperately searching for a way to pay it because if she can’t, she will be subjected to her unsettling creditor with the bottomless black eyes. Then there is also murder, [This sounds like an afterthought. Oh yeah, and there’s a murder] the motives of which no one seems able to decipher and which shakes the very foundations of Arella’s country. [You need specifics here! What debt? What does she need to pay it? What do you mean when you say she will be “subjected to her creditor?” Who gets murdered, and why does it affect her country? More importantly, how does it affect her? Agents will definitely want more concrete plot details.]

 

But between the ashes, there is glittering glass. After meeting Freddie in the market and later discovering his identity as Prince Friederic, Arella soon realizes that Prince Charming has captured her heart. However, afraid that malicious rumors will be spread, they tell no one they are seeing each other. [Again, some specifics are needed. Why would malicious rumors spread – because she is not highborn?]

 

With secrets threatening their relationship, [What secrets?] and Arella cling to the assurance they have in God’s sovereign plan and to the love that blossoms between them.

 

Books and Such Literary Management, in particular, stood out to me because you represent Christian authors. As a firm believer in the Christian faith, is it my goal to use writing to be a light to the world through good, Christian entertainment.  A selection of my poetry has been published in the book [No comma I think] A Work of Art, [Italicize] which is a compilation of works from international writers. The purpose of this book is to raise money for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). I have also had short stories published in various newsletters and magazines.

 

Please note that this is simultaneous submission.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I think what you need here primarily is specifics about your plot. First you need to make us care about your characters. Then you need to make it very clear what the conflict is and how it affects them. What is at stake? You’ve got a debt, a murder, and a forbidden love, and I’m not really sure how it all fits together. Looking at the other edits, I think that Ms-Q nails it with her list.

 

Good luck!



#6 Blueberry Tide

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 11:31 AM

I am submitting for your consideration a completed, 94,600-word young adult fiction, Secrets of Ashes and Glass. Take the first half of this out entirely. Obviously you're submitting to them to be published. You've got a limited space to catch thier attention. Use it wisely. The second half should go at the bottom in the last paragraph, the title, word count, and genre. The story may begin as a typical Cinderella story, don't tell them what kind of story it is, show them through your synopsis in this letter. What makes it different than all the other Cinderella stories? but as the plot unfolds, unexpected twists suddenly Take this work out entirely. occur and create a sense of mystery. Altogether, it will appeal to fans of Melanie Dickerson’s Hagenheim series. "Unexpected twists" and "create a sense of mystery" are very, very vauge terms with little meaning. Open with the hook - the one or two lines that summarize what your book is about, the line meant to brag a reader/agent's attention fast. Think of it like the one line on the back of a book cover that gives you a taste of the book without telling too much. 
 
How many secrets are enough to keep the story of the servant and the prince from being told?
 
There are secrets of ashes. The kind of secrets that are dark and terrible and are found in the minds of wicked people. But there are also secrets of glass. Those are the secrets that are fragile and beautiful and are held close and are protected. These don't give me anything about the characters, plot, overview or anything - I'd either get ride of them, reword them, or take them apart and add them in elsewhere. 
 
Arella Marceau, a lowly servant with nothing to her name, finds herself entangled in secrets of both ashes and glass. A mysterious debt arises that has her desperately searching for a way to pay it because if she can’t, she will be subjected to her unsettling creditor with the bottomless black eyes. Then there is also murder, the motives of which no one seems able to decipher and which shakes the very foundations of Arella’s country.
 
But between the ashes, there is glittering glass. After meeting Freddie in the market and later discovering his identity as Prince Friederic, Arella soon realizes that Prince Charming has captured her heart. However, afraid that malicious rumors will be spread, they tell no one they are seeing each other.
 
 With secrets threatening their relationship, Freddie and Arella cling to the assurance they have in God’s sovereign plan and to the love that blossoms between them. These three paragraphs are what you need to have as soon as possible. If I were an agent, I would have already tossed this letter into the rejection pile. It's that that it doesn't sound good when I get to this part of the story, but I wouldn't have made it that far because the opening didn't grab me. From what I read here thos story does appeal to me. I would start with the main character and the hook. Add the appealing part of the story in after. 
 
 Books and Such Literary Management, in particular, stood out to me because you represent Christian authors. As a firm believer in the Christian faith, is it my goal to use writing to be a light to the world through good, Christian entertainment.  I like this part. A selection of my poetry has been published in the book, A Work of Art, which is a compilation of works from international writers. The purpose of this book is to raise money for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). I have also had short stories published in various newsletters and magazines.
 
 This is where I'd put the title, word count, and genre. 
 
Please note that this is simultaneous submission.
 
 Thank you for your time and consideration.


#7 EmmaLucy

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 10:24 AM

Hi everyone! Thank you for commenting! It was most helpful.


I am in some desperate need of synopsis help and am willing to return the favor.

 

My Query: http://agentquerycon...tional-fiction/  

My Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...tion-synposis/ 

First 250 words: http://agentquerycon...ion-first-250/ 


#8 Gavaksha

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 09:31 AM

Here is a revised version. Hopefully, it has improved. 

 

Dear (agent's name), 

 

 

How many secrets are enough to keep the story of the servant and the prince from being told?  The Servant, The Prince, they feel like singular individuals.  Good hook, it makes me want to know more!

 

There are secrets of ashes (Capitalized?  It sounds like a singular concept). The kind of secrets that are dark and terrible and are found in the minds of wicked people. But there are also secrets of glass (Same question about Secrets of Ashes). Those are the secrets that are fragile and beautiful.  They and are held close and are protected.

 

Arella Marceau, a lowly servant with nothing to her name, finds herself entangled in secrets of both ashes and glass  (I like the way this sounds, it rolls nicely, but I'm wondering if "...finds herself entangled in both" gets the same point across). A mysterious debt arises under her deceased father’s name (I stumbled on this.  I get where you are going, but "arises under" tripped me up.) and if she can’t pay it, she will be subjected to the mercy of Lord DiFortunato Perhaps"A mysterious debt owed by her deceased father threatens to subject her to the mercy of Lord DiFortunato", her creditor. But with his bottomless black eyes and unsettling demeanor, Lord DiFortunato seems to be more than he pretends to be.  (Are his eyes actually bottomless black?  Is this a supernatural manifestation of some kind?  Or descriptive of soullessness, something like that?  I tripped trying to figure out if it was supernatural or not.  Then there is also murder. the murder of the king. But no one seems able to decipher the motives of the Royal Physician (It's a proper title for a position?); that is, if he even is the murderer.  A bit confusing, this is a different guy than DiFortunato, correct?

 

But between among the ashes, there is glittering glass. After meeting Freddie in the market and later discovering his identity as Prince Friederic, Arella soon realizes that Prince Charming has captured her heart. (Feels very Fairy Tale compared to the tone of the rest of the story your telling here, which feels more like political drama than Romance) Yet, Arella is a servant in Freddie’s very own palace and if the nobles discovered their relationship they would leap at the chance to ruin them both of them by making Arella out to be the prince’s lover. (this feels extraneous)  So Arella and Freddie do what anyone else in their place would do, (feels too generalized, I think I'd lose it) they keep their meeting place, their letters, their love, and their engagement a secret.

 

With hidden truths threatening their relationship them (their relationship is an abstract, the threat is to them), Freddie and Arella cling to the assurance they have in God’s sovereign plan and to the love that blossoms between them. 

 

I am submitting for your consideration a completed, 94,600-word inspirational romance, Secrets of Ashes and Glass. The story may begin as a typical Cinderella story, but mystery and suspense grow with every plot twists such as murder, debt, and a their secret love create a sense of .

 

A selection of my poetry has been published in the book, A Work of Art, which is a compilation of works from international writers. The purpose of this book is to raise money for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). I have also had short stories and poems published in local newsletters.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

It feels like there's a little bit of identity crisis in the query.  It starts out feeling like a dramatic political thriller, then the romance and inspirational concepts kind of drop in at the end. 

 

My two cents.  =)


Feedback on my query gladly accepted!
http://agentquerycon...ci-fi/?p=327837


#9 jameslivsey

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 09:37 AM

How many secrets are enough to keep the story of the servant and the prince from being told?

 

There are secrets of ashes. The kind of secrets that are dark and terrible and are found in the minds of wicked people. But there are also secrets of glass. Those are the secrets that are fragile and beautiful and are held close and are protected.

This is very cool. Would it work if you swapped the first and second paragraph around? I quite like the idea of that tease of what the types of secrets are before asking the question of how many are enough

 

Arella Marceau, a lowly servant with nothing to her name, finds herself entangled in secrets of both ashes and glass. A mysterious debt arises under her deceased father’s name and if she can’t pay it, she will be subjected to the mercy of Lord DiFortunato, her creditor. But with his bottomless black eyes and unsettling demeanor, Lord DiFortunato the Lord? seems to be more than he pretends to be. Then there is also murder. The murder of the king. But no one seems able to decipher the motives of the royal physician; that is, if he even is the murderer.

 

But between the ashes, there is glittering glass. After meeting Freddie in the market and later discovering his identity as Prince Friederic, Arella soon realizes that Prince Charming has captured her heart. Yet, Arella is a servant in Freddie’s very own palace and if the nobles discovered their relationship they would leap at the chance to ruin both of them by making Arella out to be the prince’s lover. So Arella and Freddie do what anyone else in their place would do, they keep their meeting place, their letters, their love, and their engagement a secret.

 

With hidden truths threatening their relationship, Freddie and Arella cling to the assurance they have in God’s sovereign plan and to the love that blossoms between them. 

 

I am submitting for your consideration a completed, 94,600-word inspirational romance, Secrets of Ashes and Glass. The story may begin as a typical Cinderella story, but plot twists such as murder, debt, and a secret love create a sense of mystery and suspense. Really like this extra tease 

 

A selection of my poetry has been published in the book, A Work of Art, which is a compilation of works from international writers. The purpose of this book is to raise money for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). I have also had short stories and poems published in local newsletters.

 

I liked this a lot you keep the story points quick and to the point but manage to tell a lot and the bio kind of stuff is minimum but still relevant :)



#10 Cez

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 01:00 PM

Here is a revised version. Hopefully, it has improved. 

 

Dear (agents name), 

 

How many secrets are enough to keep the story of the servant and the prince from being told?

 

There are secrets of ashes. The kind of secrets that are dark and terrible and are found in the minds of wicked people. But there are also secrets of glass. Those are the secrets that are fragile and beautiful and are held close and are protected. 

 

This is where your query gets interesting.

...year-old Arella Marceau is a lowly servant with nothing to her name I suggest you rephrase this. Do you mean she's poor?, finds herself entangled in secrets of both ashes and glass. A mysterious debt owed by her deceased father arises and if she can’t pay it, she will be subjected to the mercy of her creditor, Lord DiFortunato. But with his seemingly bottomless black eyes and unsettling demeanor, Lord DiFortunato seems to be more than he pretends to be. Then there is also murder. The murder of the king. But no one seems able to decipher the motives of the Royal Physician; that is, if he even is the murderer. This paragraph confuses me. Could you put it in more chronological order? I'd suggest you start your query something like this: ...year old Arella, a poor servant, owes the mysterious lord DiFortunato a terrible/great/(what kind of debt is this anyway? Money) debt. I'd suggest you leave out the king's murder, unless you can explain it better, or later. First establish your main character and her dilemma.

 

But among the ashes, there is glittering glass. After meeting Freddie in the market and discovering his identity as Prince Friederic, Arella soon realizes that Prince Charming has captured her heart. Yet, Arella is a servant in Freddie’s very own palace and if the nobles discover their relationship they would leap at the chance to ruin them both by making Arella out to be the prince’s lover this sentence reads awkward. I suggest you cut in half. Without a choice, Arella and Freddie keep their meeting place, their letters, their love, and their engagement a secret.

 

With hidden truths threatening them can you define these hidden truths? Do you mean their relationship?, Freddie and Arella cling to the assurance they have in God’s sovereign plan and to the love that blossoms between them.  

 

You need a lot more details, and plot. You've told us Arella and the prince meet, fall in love and keep their relationship secret. Give a bit more. What other secrets are there? What about this man to whom she owes the debt, is he the bad guy?

 

I am submitting for your consideration a completed, 94,600-word inspirational romance, Secrets of Ashes and Glass. The story may begin as a typical Cinderella story, but plot twists such as murder, debt, and a secret love create a sense of mystery and suspense.

 

A selection of my poetry has been published in the book, A Work of Art, which is a compilation of works from international writers. The purpose of this book is to raise money for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). I have also had short stories and poems published in local newsletters.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

I hope this helps. Looking forward to your next version.



#11 PaulaH

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 10:56 PM

Your story sounds beautiful and I hope you find an amazing agent! Please note my suggestions in blue …

 

 

 

Dear (agents name), 

 

How many secrets are enough to keep the story of the servant and the prince from being told? I’ve read that it’s rarely a good idea to begin a query letter with a question.

 

There are secrets of ashes. The kind of secrets that are dark and terrible and are found in the minds of wicked people. But there are also secrets of glass. Those are the secrets that are fragile and beautiful and are held close and are protected. As writers we hear the phrase “show don’t tell” so much that we often get the sudden urge to punch that phrase in the face (or is this just me??…), still though- it’s a good reminder. Even in a query letter, we’ve got to reign in verbose explanations. This paragraph strikes me as a bit too wordy and can be deleted so as to get straight to the heart of your story. That heart is what agents are interested in. So, instead of beginning with a description of underlying themes, begin with the heart of the story- the main character. In one or two sentences, show us her goal and what stands in the way of her achieving said goal.  So here’s a suggested way to begin:  Eighteen-year-old (or whatever Arella’s age is) Arella Marceau may be a lowly servant in the house of (the name of her master’s home), but her (insert adjective) demeanor and (insert adjective) charm earn the admiration of the illustrious Prince Friederic. As flattering as this may be, Arella doesn’t seek the admiration of an unattainable suitor, all she needs is a way to pay off the impossibly large debt her deceased father owed to a mysterious creditor called Lord DiFortunato.

 

Arella Marceau, a lowly servant with nothing to her name, finds herself entangled in secrets of both ashes and glass. .  A mysterious debt owed by her deceased father arises and if she can’t pay it, she will be subjected to the mercy of her creditor, Lord DiFortunato. But with his seemingly bottomless black eyes and unsettling demeanor, Lord DiFortunato seems to be more than he pretends to be. Then there is also murder. The murder of the king. But no one seems able to decipher the motives of the Royal Physician; that is, if he even is the murderer.

But among the ashes, there is glittering glass. After meeting Freddie in the market and discovering his identity as Prince Friederic, Arella soon realizes that Prince Charming has captured her heart. Yet, Arella is a servant in Freddie’s very own palace and if the nobles discover their relationship they would leap at the chance to ruin them both by making Arella out to be the prince’s lover. Without a choice, Arella and Freddie keep their meeting place, their letters, their love, and their engagement a secret. This paragraph, which summarizes the plot, should hit main plot points and that’s all. Unnecessary details should be deleted. Keep this paragraph as clear and easy-to-understand as possible. Naming a host of characters and listing various subplots tend to unnecessarily complicate this paragraph. Here’s my suggested edit:

 As Arella’s desperation to settle the debt grows, so blossoms her admiration for Prince Friederic and her skepticism of Lord DiFortunato. Should she find herself unable to pay Lord DiFortunato, she will be at his mercy. And though Arella has won Prince Friederic’s heart, she knows how unwise, and even dangerous, it would be for a lowly servant to turn to a Prince for help. Should their relationship come to light, Arella would have much more than Lord Difortunato to fear.

 

With hidden truths threatening them, Freddie and Arella cling to the assurance they have in God’s sovereign plan and to the love that blossoms between them.  

 

I am submitting for your consideration a completed, Secrets of Ashes and Glass is a 94,600-word inspirational romance, Secrets of Ashes and Glass. The story While it may begin as a typical Cinderella story, but plot twists such as murder, debt, and a secret love create a sense of mystery  add an element of suspense to draw reader’s in and suspense.

 

A selection of my poetry has been published in the book, A Work of Art, which is a compilation of works from international writers. The purpose of this book is to raise money for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). I have also had short stories and poems published in local newsletters.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,



#12 daniL

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Posted 28 September 2016 - 12:33 PM

I cannot tell reading it whether the Ashes and Glass are metaphorical for the sake of being compelling, or whether its a part of the plot that the characters acknowledge (is this a cultural concept for them?). You should make that clear.



#13 C_Compton

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Posted 28 September 2016 - 12:47 PM

Dear (agent's name),

 

 

There are two types of secrets. Secrets of ashes. The kind of secrets that are dark and terrible and are found in the minds of wicked people. But there are also secrets of glass. Those are the secrets that are fragile and beautiful and are held close and are protected. (I think this is a really good hook). 

 

Arella Marceau, a lowly servant with nothing to her name, finds herself entangled in secrets of both ashes and glass. A mysterious debt owed by her deceased father arises and if she can’t pay it, she will be subjected to the mercy of her creditor, Lord DiFortunato. But with his seemingly (cutting out 'seemingly' might make this sentence flow better, especially when 'seems' is used again later in the sentence) bottomless black eyes and unsettling demeanor, Lord DiFortunato seems to be more than he pretends to be. Then there is also murder. The murder of the king. But no one seems able to decipher the motives of the Royal Physician; that is, if he even is the murderer. (I like this added element of intrigue, but the murder kind of comes out of nowhere and then isn't really expanded upon later on in the query. You might want to cut it or pepper it throughout the query more to show its importance).

 

But among the ashes, there is glittering glass. After meeting Freddie in the market and discovering his identity as Prince Friederic, Arella soon realizes that Prince Charming has captured her heart. Yet, Arella is a servant in Freddie’s very own palace and if the nobles discover their relationship they would leap at the chance to ruin them both by making Arella out to be the prince’s lover. Without a choice, Arella and Freddie keep their meeting place, their letters, their love, and their engagement a secret. (A lot happens in this paragraph. Almost too much, like it's a synopsis. I'm not sure how much of their relationship should be revealed here or it might run into spoiler territory. Maybe pull back a bit?)

 

With hidden truths threatening them, Freddie and Arella cling to the assurance they have in God’s sovereign plan and to the love that blossoms between them. 

 

I am submitting for your consideration a completed, 94,600-word inspirational romance, Secrets of Ashes and Glass. While it may begin as a typical Cinderella story, plot twists such as murder, debt, and a secret love create elements of mystery and suspense.

Overall, I think with a few tweaks this could be a real winner! Thanks for taking the time to help me out, as I hope I have helped you :) 



#14 DocScurlock

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 03:15 PM

I like this a lot. Your use of juxtaposition is terrific. I am in agreement with most of these critiques. You have a wonderful start here.

#15 EmmaLucy

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 04:29 PM

Dear (agent's name), 

 

Arella Marceau, a lowly servant with nothing to her name, becomes entangled in secrets when a mysterious debt arises and she mistakenly falls in love with Prince Friederic. If she can’t pay the debt, she will be subjected to the mercy of her fearsome creditor Lord DiFortunato and if the shallow nobles discover her relationship with Friederic, both the prince and the servant can say goodbye to happiness. Perhaps it would not be so troublesome if Lord DiFortunato didn’t have so many secrets of his own and if Arella wasn’t a servant in Friederic’s own palace.

 

Between these secrets, there is also murder. The murder of the king. But no one seems able to decipher the motives of the Royal Physician; that is, if he even is the murderer. Friederic believes there is someone else to blame, but as he begins to uncover slivers of evidence, he fears the truth will endanger Arella’s life.    

                                                  

With secrets of love, debt, and murder threatening them, Freddie and Arella cling to the assurance they have in God’s sovereign plan and to the love that blossoms between them. 

 

SECRETS OF ASHES AND GLASS is a completed 94,600-word inspirational romance.

 

A selection of my poetry has been published in the book, A Work of Art, which is a compilation of works from international writers. The purpose of this book is to raise money for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). I have also had short stories and poems published in local newsletters.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,


I am in some desperate need of synopsis help and am willing to return the favor.

 

My Query: http://agentquerycon...tional-fiction/  

My Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...tion-synposis/ 

First 250 words: http://agentquerycon...ion-first-250/ 


#16 eric balson

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 12:12 PM

Dear (agent's name), 

 

Arella Marceau, a lowly servant with nothing to her name, becomes entangled in secrets when a mysterious debt arises and she mistakenly falls in love with Prince Friederic. If she can’t pay the debt, she will be subjected to the mercy of her fearsome creditor Lord DiFortunato and if the shallow nobles discover her relationship with Friederic, both the prince and the servant can say goodbye to happiness. Perhaps it would not be so troublesome if Lord DiFortunato didn’t have so many secrets of his own and if Arella wasn’t a servant in Friederic’s own palace. I have two issues about this: A. Is the information about Arella working in Friedric's palace really relevant because i think we can do without it. B. Isn't the fact that Lord DiFortunato's closets are full of skeletons more advantageous to Arella than it is troublesome?

 

Between these secrets, there is also murder. The murder of the king. But no one seems able to decipher the motives of the Royal Physician; that is, if he even is the murderer. Okay, now I'm intringued Friederic believes there is someone else to blame, but as he begins to uncover slivers of evidence, he fears the truth will endanger Arella’s life.   Great conflict!

                                                  

With secrets You've used the words 'secrets' to the point that I feel it's basically being shoved down my throatof love, debt, and murder threatening them, Freddie and Arella cling to the assurance they have in God’s sovereign plan and to the love that blossoms between them. 

 

SECRETS OF ASHES AND GLASS is a completed 94,600-word inspirational romance.

 

A selection of my poetry has been published in the book, A Work of Art, which is a compilation of works from international writers. The purpose of this book is to raise money for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). I have also had short stories and poems published in local newsletters.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,*Period goes here instead of comma*

I also happen to be in desperate need of a query critique. Find it at: http://agentquerycon...-of-who-we-are/



#17 KitKatKungFu

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 11:04 AM

Dear (agent's name), 

 

Arella Marceau, a lowly servant with nothing to her name, becomes entangled in secrets when a mysterious debt arises and she mistakenly falls in love with Prince Friederic. If she can’t pay the debt, she will be subjected to the mercy of her fearsome creditor Lord DiFortunato and if the shallow nobles discover her relationship with Friederic, both the prince and the servant can say goodbye to happiness. Perhaps it would not be so troublesome if Lord DiFortunato didn’t have so many secrets of his own and if Arella wasn’t a servant in Friederic’s own palace. This is a good paragraph, but unfortunately it doesn't grab my attention. Since you usually only have a few seconds to really capture an agent's interest, you'll want to really polish up your first sentence in particular. Create more urgency regarding her debt & the horrible things that could happen if she doesn't pay it. 

 

Between these secrets, there is also murder. The murder of the king. But no one seems able to decipher the motives of the Royal Physician; that is, if he even is the murderer. Friederic believes there is someone else to blame, but as he begins to uncover slivers of evidence, he fears the truth will endanger Arella’s life. I'm confused about the main conflict here. Is it their secret love? Or the murder? Or her debts? You can't have too many story lines in a single query, it clutters things up.     

                                                  

With secrets too repetitive of love, debt, and murder threatening them, Freddie and Arella cling to the assurance they have in God’s sovereign plan and to the love that blossoms between them. 

 

SECRETS OF ASHES AND GLASS is a completed 94,600-word inspirational romance.

 

A selection of my poetry has been published in the book, A Work of Art, which is a compilation of works from international writers. The purpose of this book is to raise money for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). I have also had short stories and poems published in local newsletters.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Overall this is a good query. There are some confusing bits & I think you could come up with a great hook from your material. Hopefully my comments help! Good luck.  :smile: 



#18 RosieSkye

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 11:24 AM

Dear (agent's name), 

 

Arella Marceau, a lowly servant with nothing to her name, becomes entangled in secrets when a mysterious debt arises and she mistakenly falls in love with Prince Friederic. (There's a lot of information in this first sentence, and at the same time there's not enough.  "Entangled in secrets," "mysterious debt," "mistakenly falls in love with..." I'm kind of just left wondering what the heck is actually going on.) If she can’t pay the debt, she will be subjected to the mercy of her fearsome creditor Lord DiFortunato and if the shallow nobles discover her relationship with Friederic, both the prince and the servant can say goodbye to happiness. Perhaps it would not be so troublesome if Lord DiFortunato didn’t have so many secrets of his own and if Arella wasn’t a servant in Friederic’s own palace. (Again, more amorphous secrets.  And I assumed from the get-go that she was a servant in Friederic's palace.  I'd lose this last sentence.)

 

Between these secrets, there is also murder. The murder of the king. But no one seems able to decipher the motives of the Royal Physician; that is, if he even is the culprit. murderer. Friederic believes there is someone else to blame, but as he begins to uncover slivers of evidence, he fears the truth will endanger Arella’s life. (Why? What does she have to do with anything?)    

                                                  

With secrets (please don't use this word again) of love, debt, and murder threatening them, Freddie and Arella cling to the assurance they have in God’s sovereign plan and to the love that blossoms between them. (I'm usually in favor of title/genre/word count going at the bottom of the query, but I think in your case it'd be better placed at the top.  The story reads like fantasy, so when this mention of God comes in, and it reads like the real-world, Christian God, its' a little jarring.)

 

SECRETS OF ASHES AND GLASS is a completed 94,600-word inspirational romance.

 

A selection of my poetry has been published in the book, A Work of Art, which is a compilation of works from international writers. The purpose of this book is to raise money for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). I have also had short stories and poems published in local newsletters.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

 

Hope this helps!



#19 Deniscam

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 09:44 PM

Hi there, I think you have a good query here but agree with a lot of the other reviews. A compelling hook in the first sentence would help and a little more clarity about "mysterious debt" and entangled in secrets".  And yes too much use of the word "secrets", lots of other cool words you could use. Might be good to describe how the King was murdered as this seems to be a significant event and I am not sure about Gods sovereign plan popping up there.....

Anyway good luck! I think you are close



#20 InevitablePlotTwist

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 02:20 PM

I haven't looked at any of your other critiques, so feel free to ignore any redundant/contradictory comments. 

 

Dear (agent's name), 

 

Arella Marceau, a lowly servant with nothing to her name, becomes entangled in secrets when a mysterious debt arises How does a debt arise? Is she on the hook for a debt incurred by someone else? 

and she mistakenly falls in love with Prince Friederic. Mistakenly? What does that mean? 

If she can’t pay the debt, she will be subjected to the mercy of her fearsome creditor Lord DiFortunato and if the shallow nobles discover her relationship with Friederic, both the prince and the servant can say goodbye to happiness. Perhaps it would not be so troublesome if Lord DiFortunato didn’t have so many secrets of his own and if Arella wasn’t a servant in Friederic’s own palace.

 

Between these secrets, there is also murder. The murder of the king. But no one seems able to decipher the motives of the Royal Physician; that is, if he even is the murderer. Friederic believes there is someone else to blame, but as he begins to uncover slivers of evidence, he fears the truth will endanger Arella’s life. This paragraph seems a little clunky. I think you could say the same thing in less space.    

                                                  

With secrets of love, debt, and murder threatening them, Freddie and Arella cling to the assurance they have in God’s sovereign plan and to the love that blossoms between them. 

 

SECRETS OF ASHES AND GLASS is a completed 94,600-word inspirational romance.

 

A selection of my poetry has been published in the book, A Work of Art, which is a compilation of works from international writers. The purpose of this book is to raise money for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). I have also had short stories and poems published in local newsletters.

The fact that you have previous publishing credits is a definite plus, but I don't know if an agent would be interested in the fundraising angle. 

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Your writing is good, and I get a clear sense of what the story is about. I wonder if you could paint a more detailed picture of Arella as a character, though. We don't really find out anything about her that could help her stand out from other characters in the genre. 

 

Hope this helps. Good luck! 







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