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Oracle of Lost Sagas Query (Dark Young Adult Fantasy)


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#1 Gruffbane

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 10:16 AM

*14th Edit Oct. 26*

 

Hunted by cannibals, stalked by mythical beasts, haunted by her father's death, and lost in the wastelands, Aylonja holds on to her sanity by protecting the life of a child.

 

Nineteen-year-old Aylonja needs a unicorn for her dowry if she wants to wed the prince. So, her father hires a half-troll named Khular to guide them to a forest. But nobody warned them that unicorns aren't exactly the glimmering mares they've imagined, or that the adults are as massive and ill-tempered as the mammoths who roam the tundra of Aylonja's home. After Aylonja's father is gored to death, Aylonja finds herself dependent on the half-troll in a primal wilderness no human has survived. No one trusts a lowly troll, and Aylonja can barely stand to look upon this one's chinless face. To survive she'll need to shed her prejudices and learn to trust her guide.

 

While hiding from cannibals in a hidden valley, they're befriended by Nikao, a twelve-year-old human girl. Nikao believes herself a goddess, but her story tells Khular that she's been raised by ogres to be sacrificed. Aylonja is determined to convince Nikao that the funeral pyre is no path to immortality - and preferably before nightfall, when the ogres leave their burrows to feed. Only Khular can show Aylonja the way back to the world of men, but the half-troll isn't sticking around for heroics. The thought of being without him stirs something inside she's never felt before, but leaving a twelve-year-old girl to die might haunt Aylonja's dreams forever...like the screams of the father she was unable to save.

 

 

Red Sonja meets Clan of the Cave Bear, THE ORACLE OF LOST SAGAS is a  92000 word stand-alone fantasy with series potential that tells the story of five interrelated characters who's struggles led to the founding of a nation. Two separate excerpts won awards in the Writers of the Future contest.

 

I'm a former journalist, professional musician, and historic tour guide living in Savannah, Georgia.

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Joseph Lyon Layden



#2 Gruffbane

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 03:41 PM

I just read a post on only telling one POV in a query, and am wondering if this version reads a little better:

 

Dear Agent,

 

Unicorns can only be approached by virgins, and 18 year old Aylonja has longed for one ever since she can remember wanting anything at all. If anyone can help her capture such a creature it would have to be her father, who's easily the greatest horse master in the known lands. Too bad no one told them that unicorns aren't exactly horses, or that the adult ones are as big and aggressive as mammoths.
 
 After her father is gored to death and trampled, Aylonja finds herself lost in a foreign land with only a half-ogre scout to guide her. To survive the frigid Nioni Mountains and the Desert of Wyrms beyond, she will need to shed both the ingrained prejudices of her people and the innocence of her youth.
 
THE ORACLE OF LOST SAGAS is a a dark fantasy/ magical realism novel complete at 94,000 words. It's an account of the rise of the civilizations of East Asia set in the mythical past and told from multiple character viewpoints in multiple POVs.  Don't worry, there's a really cool reason I've done this- think Pat Rothfuss, Ambrose Bierce, William Faulkner, and Hodor! Hodor!
 
Excerpts have won two awards from the Writers of the Future Contest. It's a stand-alone with series potential, sort of Patrick Rothfuss and N.K. Jemison meets Robert. E. Howard and G.R.R. Martin with a dash of Jane Aule and Jack London thrown in.
 
 
I'm a published journalist, tour guide, blogger, and professional musician with a strong media presence.
 
Thanks in advance for your interest!
 
Joe


#3 annolyn

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 04:53 PM

 

I just read a post on only telling one POV in a query, and am wondering if this version reads a little better:

 

Dear Agent,

 

Unicorns can only be approached by virgins, and  (unless it's important that we know she is a virgin) Eighteen- year-old Aylonja has longed yearned for one a unicorn ever since for as long as she can remember wanting anything at all. Her father, who is easily the greatest horse master in the known landsIf anyone can help her capture one. (why does she want to capture one?) such a creature it would have to be her father, who's easily the greatest horse master in the known lands. Too bad no one told them that unicorns aren't exactly horses, or that the adult ones are as big and aggressive as mammoths. (cool) 
 
 After her father is gored to death and trampled, Aylonja finds herself is lost in a foreign land with only a half-ogre scout to guide her. To survive the frigid Nioni Mountains and the Desert of Wyrms beyond, she will need to shed both the ingrained prejudices of her people and the innocence of her youth. (maybe tell us a little bit about these prejudices and how getting over them will help her, it will help us get a clearer image of Aylonja) 
 
THE ORACLE OF LOST SAGAS is a a dark fantasy magical realism novel complete at 94,000 words, stand alone with series potential. It's an account of the rise of the civilizations of East Asia set in the mythical past and (is your novel an alternate history type story with mythical creatures in it?  Up until that I felt like I was reading a query for straight up fantasy?  Is the desert a familiar geological landmark of today?  Same with the mountains?) told from multiple character viewpoints in multiple POVs.  Don't worry, there's a really cool reason I've done this- think Pat Rothfuss, Ambrose Bierce, William Faulkner, and Hodor! Hodor! (are these who inspired your characters or are they actually in the book?  I would leave this out, when I came across it I was very confused.) 
 
Excerpts have won two awards from the Writers of the Future Contest. (cool)  It's a stand-alone with series potential, sort of Patrick Rothfuss and N.K. Jemison meets Robert. E. Howard and G.R.R. Martin with a dash of Jane Aule and Jack London thrown in. (maybe put this at the end of your previous paragraph, or just give comp titles.  What I've learned from other AQ members and Janet Reid's Query Shark is to be you.  Don't try to wear a suit tailored for someone else.) 
 
 
I'm a published journalist,(you don't have to tell us but let the agent know who has published you if you want to include this in your query, some writers will include their degree here too, if it is relevant)  tour guide, (professional?) blogger, and professional musician with a strong media presence.
 
Thanks in advance for your interest!
 
Joe
 
don't forget to let the agent know your blog-site after your contact info  

 

 

Your novel sounds like an interesting read!  You had me at unicorns the size of mammoths :)  Good luck with your writing! I think your query will be easy to polish and I look forward to reading your revisions! 


Even my dog is tired of hearing my pitch. 

My Query: http://agentquerycon...ate-in-post-18/

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                                                  Serpent in the Dark https://www.wattpad....ent-in-the-dark

 


#4 Gruffbane

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 05:27 PM

Thank you!

 

Aylonja's father wants the unicorn too, for her dowry. I'll try to put that back in.

 

She has to overcome her people's prejudice and communication breakdowns with ogres, because she's being guided by one. She has to stop believing in fairy tales and white knights to survive the journey, partly because the half-ogre won't help her as much as a human male would. I'll see what i can do there.

 

The next part is trickier. It's a prehistoric fiction novel that reads like fantasy, but if an agent reads the words "prehistoric fiction" they stop reading and send out the form rejection letter. Nevermind that the period I've chosen is weirder than Middle Earth and more brutal than Westeros, and pretty much unknown to most westerners.

 

I see where the confusion comes from- I am trying to make them read past the first three pages of the MS, which are in 2nd person and 3rd person cinematic, the two most unpopular POVs among agents.  There's a really good reason for it and it doesn't stop readers from going on, but it's hard to explain this to an agent. I guess the best thing is not to try and explain the multiple POVs at all and hope for the best.

 

Comp titles are both Honorary Mentions, which still does actually impress agents- when i got the second one I sent a "reconsider" email to an agent who had rejected me nicely. She had lost the first query and was all excited about the two wins and asked me to resend a query letter immediately.

 

Then I said the words "prehistoric fiction," and the form letter came back in 2 seconds flat. 

 

I'll be back after work with another attempt, thanks so much for helping!



#5 annolyn

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 11:38 PM

 

The next part is trickier. It's a prehistoric fiction novel that reads like fantasy, but if an agent reads the words "prehistoric fiction" they stop reading and send out the form rejection letter. Nevermind that the period I've chosen is weirder than Middle Earth and more brutal than Westeros, and pretty much unknown to most westerners. I think that sounds like a really interesting setting and would like to read it.  It's a shame agents stop reading it because of the "prehistoric fiction" aspect.  Which is why I think you should pitch it as fantasy... but I'm far from an expert.  

 

I see where the confusion comes from- I am trying to make them read past the first three pages of the MS, which are in 2nd person and 3rd person cinematic, the two most unpopular POVs among agents.  There's a really good reason for it and it doesn't stop readers from going on, but it's hard to explain this to an agent. I guess the best thing is not to try and explain the multiple POVs at all and hope for the best. I agree, don't try and explain it.  Hook them with your query and blow them away with your writing!  

 

Comp titles are both Honorary Mentions, which still does actually impress agents- when i got the second one I sent a "reconsider" email to an agent who had rejected me nicely. She had lost the first query and was all excited about the two wins and asked me to resend a query letter immediately. I go back and forth on the comp titles.... Some agents will post queries that succeed with them on their website.  So my plan is to read those and see if any writers include comp titles in their successful query for that specific agent.  If yes, I might include it... If not.... maybe I'll flip a coin? 

 

Then I said the words "prehistoric fiction," and the form letter came back in 2 seconds flat.  I'm sorry.  

 

I'll be back after work with another attempt, thanks so much for helping! Best of luck to you!  

:smile:


Even my dog is tired of hearing my pitch. 

My Query: http://agentquerycon...ate-in-post-18/

My Blog: https://enlightenedw....wordpress.com/

A couple Wattpad short stories: Jerusalem Syndrome https://www.wattpad....usalem-syndrome

                                                  Serpent in the Dark https://www.wattpad....ent-in-the-dark

 


#6 Gruffbane

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 11:56 PM

Eighteen year old Aylonja needs a unicorn for her dowry if she wants to wed a king, and her father the horse-master has agreed to help her capture one. Too bad no one told them that unicorns aren't exactly horses, or that the adult ones are as big and aggressive as mammoths.

 

After her father is gored to death, Aylonja  is lost in a foreign land with only a half-ogre named Khulan to guide her. To survive the frigid Nioni Mountains and the Desert of Wyrms, she will need to shed her people's prejudices against her guide's race and find her independence- it seems that male trolls don't dote over attractive women the way that men-folk do.

 

THE ORACLE OF LOST SAGAS is a a dark fantasy complete at 94,000 words, stand alone with series potential. Two excerpts won Honorary Mentions from Writers of the Future.

 

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

 

Joe

 

 

I didn't write a bio because all of my publishing credits are regional except for the international fashion mag Contents, which is now defunct.

They don't care that the 2nd biggest music magazine reviews my albums and will review the CD that goes along with this book, do they? 



#7 Gruffbane

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 11:15 AM

Maybe this is better:

 

Dear Agent,

 

Eighteen year old Aylonja needs a unicorn for her dowry if she wants to wed a king, and her father the horse-master has agreed to help her capture one. Too bad no one told them that unicorns aren't exactly horses, or that the adult ones are as big and aggressive as mammoths.

 

After her father is gored to death, Aylonja  is lost in a foreign land with only a half-troll named Khulan to guide her. To survive the frigid Nioni Mountains and the Desert of Wyrms, she will need to shed her prejudice against non-humans and find her own independence- it seems that male trolls don't dote over attractive women the way that men-folk do.

 

THE ORACLE OF LOST SAGAS is a a dark fantasy complete at 94,000 words, stand alone with series potential. Two excerpts won Honorary Mentions from Writers of the Future.

 

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

 

Joe

https://prehistoricf...y.blogspot.com/

 

 

I dunno if my blog is an asset. It's number one for a bunch of google results but they won't know that, and it might conjure up their preconceived (negative) views on prehistoric fiction.



#8 Cesar Montufar

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 12:55 PM

 

Excerpts from my 95000 word sword and sorcery (why are you not calling it fantasy here?) novel "The Oracle of Lost Sagas" have won two awards from the Writers of the Future Contest. (This stuff works better at the end) 
 
Unicorns can only be approached by virgins, and 18 year old Aylonja has longed for one ever since she can remember wanting anything at all. If anyone can help her capture such a creature it would have to be her father (this comes off as a statement of fact, and contrasts too heavily with the next paragraph; consider a slight change, like "she thought it would be her father."), who's easily the greatest horse master in the known lands. Too bad No one told them that unicorns aren't exactly horses, or that the adult ones are as big and aggressive as mammoths. ("Too bad" sounds dismissive--and given what happens makes, it undermines the sympathy you want to build for Aylonja.)
 
 After her father is gored to death and trampled, Aylonja finds herself lost in a foreign land with only a half-troll scout to guide her.  To survive the frigid Nioni Mountains and the Desert of Wyrms beyond (these are meaningless terms to a reader--we haven't read your novel yet. It's okay, because we get what they are, but if you're looking for places to shed unnecessary words, start here.), she will need to shed both the ingrained prejudices of her people and the innocence of her youth.
 
Far to the south, a boy struggles to be recognized by the elders of his people and to finally become a man (clunky; consider separating and providing a bit more detail. What does "recognition" in his context mean? and "manhood"?).  Virtually invisible to most of his tribe, he suffers from an uncanny tendency to always be overlooked (just odd; unless there is a reason and that reason is important to your novel, this sentence adds nothing. And, even if that is important to your novel, you're still not explaining it here.)... until a visiting band of hunter-assassins chooses him as an initiate. Now as he begins to understand his hidden talents, he must travel to a crumbling highland temple to gain the favor of his ancestors and finally earn his name. But the hills are overrun by ogres, and with his new name comes an ancient spirit who threatens to wipe away all traces of his former self. (why have you combined this into one sentence? How important are the ogres?)
 
In a valley deep inside the Nioni mountain range, an earthly goddess prepares to ascend to her  heavenly kingdom and assume sovereignty once more. So far, everything has gone according to plan... but there's a secret that her worshippers are hiding, and the oracle bones tell of strangers who come to forever end her reign. (This paragraph is too vague, and perhaps too much. This makes for the third story thread your weaving in here, and we don't have stakes for any of them.)
 
I've worked as a music journalist and am currently a tour guide, musician, and blogger with a stong media presence. The Oracle of Lost Sagas is a stand-alone dark fantasy/ magical realism novel with series potential.  Sort of Patrick Rothfuss and N.K. Jemison meets Robert. E. Howard and G.R.R. Martin with a dash of Jane Aule and Jack London thrown in. (Comp titles seem to be a refugee from the film industry. Unless you can make a clear point about how your book relates, they don't do much. Here, they don't help you at all; it sound like you bumped into a bookshelf, and stuff fell in a blender. And, unless an agent asks for extra bio info (and some do), leave out the stuff that doesn't directly relate to your novel. The sentence about stand alone / series potential should go too. The time for that conversation is once the book has sold.) 
 
Thanks in advance for your interest! (Implies they will be interested, and sounds more cocky than confident.) From everything I've seen, "Thank you for your time and consideration" hits the sweet spot. 
 
The biggest issue here is stakes. What is at stake for these people? And, you have to get your reader to understand/empathize with those stakes. That's hard enough to do with one character, but you've got to figure out how to do it with three. AND, you're already at nearly four hundred words.
 
AND---I just realized this is not your most recent edit. I made the same mistake when I started; try to give your readers on this forum a heads up in one of two ways. 1) Post your newest version at the top of your thread by editing the original post (don't delete, just paste it at the beginning with something like "2nd edit" at the top, or 2) Edit your original post by adding "Most recent edit on reply #X" at the top. 
 
I've seen a lot of others do this and it helps. It particularly helps those like me who try to respond without reading other people's responses first. I have a heard time knowing what I would have seen if I read through everyone else's feed back. I feel like I miss things while focused on what others saw. 
 
I'll come back and edit your latest version later today.
 
--Cesar 

 



#9 Gruffbane

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 01:00 PM

Thank you, Cesar. I've just realized I'm doing this wrong because you are critiquing the first draft. I replied with my second draft, I guess I was supposed to edit it on the 1st post and put "2nd edit" like you did on yours.

 

I will go back and do that now.



#10 Possibilities

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 01:13 PM

Maybe this is better:

 

Dear Agent,

 

Eighteen year old Aylonja needs a unicorn for her dowry if she wants to wed a king, and her father the horse-master has agreed to help her capture one. Too bad no one told them that unicorns aren't exactly horses, or that the adult ones are as big and aggressive as mammoths.

 

After her father is gored to death, Aylonja  is lost in a foreign land with only a half-troll named Khulan to guide her. To survive the frigid Nioni Mountains and the Desert of Wyrms, she will need to shed her prejudice against non-humans (Would it be possibly to mention her prejudice earlier? Maybe with Khulan where she might be reluctant to go with him because he's a half troll.)and find her own independence- it seems that male trolls don't dote over (I think cater to might be a better fit, explaining in a clearer way why Aylonja has to find her own independence) attractive women the way that men-folk do.

 

THE ORACLE OF LOST SAGAS is a a dark fantasy complete at 94,000 words, stand alone with series potential. Two excerpts won Honorary Mentions from Writers of the Future.

 

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

 

Joe

https://prehistoricf...y.blogspot.com/

 

 

I dunno if my blog is an asset. It's number one for a bunch of google results but they won't know that, and it might conjure up their preconceived (negative) views on prehistoric fiction.

 

This is really good as it is and the things I pointed out are merely my own preferences when reading it. In the end trust your instincts and your story. As for including your blog link, try asking these questions--Is the blog relevant to the story I'm writing?, Is the blog regularly updated? and, Is the blog a good representation of the writing style in my book?

 

Good luck with your query and happy writing! 



#11 Gruffbane

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 01:27 PM

Thanks!

 

"Would it be possibly to mention her prejudice earlier?"

 

How about something like this to imply what she thinks of trolls " After her father is gored to death, Aylonja  is lost in a foreign land with only a lowly half-troll to guide her."

 

or maybe

 

After her father is gored to death, Aylonja  is lost in a foreign land with only a  half-troll to guide her. No one trusts a troll, and Aylonja can barely stand to look upon this one's chinless face. To survive the journey home, she will need to shed her prejudice against non-humans and find her own independence- it seems that male trolls don't cater to attractive women the way that men-folk do."



#12 Possibilities

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 03:55 PM

Thanks!

 

"Would it be possibly to mention her prejudice earlier?"

 

How about something like this to imply what she thinks of trolls " After her father is gored to death, Aylonja  is lost in a foreign land with only a lowly half-troll to guide her."

 

or maybe

 

After her father is gored to death, Aylonja  is lost in a foreign land with only a  half-troll to guide her. No one trusts a troll, and Aylonja can barely stand to look upon this one's chinless face. To survive the journey home, she will need to shed her prejudice against non-humans and find her own independence- it seems that male trolls don't cater to attractive women the way that men-folk do."

 

I have to say that I really like the second one better, because it gives us a good look at the troll species--especially the, No one trusts a troll, line. Maybe you can even add the lowly in as well or some other form of lowly just to add that extra bit of scorn she feels towards non-humans. 



#13 Gruffbane

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 04:02 PM

I have to say that I really like the second one better, because it gives us a good look at the troll species--especially the, No one trusts a troll, line. Maybe you can even add the lowly in as well or some other form of lowly just to add that extra bit of scorn she feels towards non-humans. 

 

 

Heck yeah! 

"No one trusts a lowly troll,"

There's only one way to hear that!

Thanks!



#14 Possibilities

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 04:12 PM

Heck yeah! 

"No one trusts a lowly troll,"

There's only one way to hear that!

Thanks!

 

No problem, Gruffbane and well done! I'm glad you're happy and hopefully you feel ready to start sending out your query. Good luck!



#15 Gruffbane

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 06:21 PM

Sent out a few for a test!



#16 Cesar Montufar

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 07:46 PM

*4th Edit*

 

Dear Agent,

 

Eighteen year old Aylonja needs a unicorn for her dowry if she wants to wed a king, and her father the horse-master has agreed to help her capture one. No one told them that unicorns aren't exactly horses, or that the adult ones are as big and aggressive as mammoths. (Why don't they know this? People know unicorns exist, but don't know they're huge? Seems unlikely to me, so it needs some justification/explanation; imagine someone who was an expert on hippos, but didn't know that elephants are big...see what I mean? You can take a dozen pages to make it make sense in your book--here you have about a dozen words.)

 

After her father is gored to death, (you have to make it clear that he died trying to get her a unicorn) Aylonja is lost in a foreign land with only a  half-troll to guide her. (How did you get from point A to point B? why is there a troll? Yes, you need to be concise, but you can't sacrifice clarity to get there.) No one trusts a lowly troll, and Aylonja can barely stand to look upon this one's chinless face. (makes the MC sound snotty; if that's what you're looking for...then you've got a different problem--see below) To survive the journey home through an unforgiving wilderness, she'll need to shed her prejudice against non-humans and find her own independence- it seems that male trolls don't cater to attractive women the way that men-folk do. (would they even find her attractive?)

 

THE ORACLE OF LOST SAGAS is a dark fantasy complete at 94,000 words, stand-alone with series potential. Two excerpts won Honorary Mentions from Writers of the Future.

 

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

 

Joe

 

Two things to work up here, one big, one small. First (the big one), you need stakes. What, beyond simple survival, is her reason for making it through the unforgiving wilderness? I'm guessing this isn't just a survival story. If she doesn't have something important to get back to, then you've got a substantial problem with the novel. Hopefully she does, and you can just make that clear in your query.

 

Second, you've painted your MC out to be naive and snotty. If reality snaps her out of it quickly, you've got a story I'd read, but your query has to make that clear. You can't let brevity leave your readers with the wrong impression, and you can't have a query that makes your reader guess at your real meaning. If Aylonja is wrong in her opinion about the troll, you haven't done enough here to give a reader that impression. If she's right about the troll, then why the heck is it guiding her instead of eating her?

 

I love it when tropes are turned on their heads, but the person reading your query has to know that your doing that, or your fighting an uphill battle against their expectations.

 

This last bit is just me as a reader. If this novel is about the adventures of Princess Snotty, I'm out early. If this is about a snotty little wanna-be princess who figures out the hard way that the world doesn't revolve around her, and in the end becomes a decent human being, I'm all over it. This query points to the former for me. If your book is the latter, make sure you get that in your query. 

 

Good luck!



#17 Gruffbane

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 09:49 PM

 

*4th Edit*

 

Dear Agent,

 

Eighteen year old Aylonja needs a unicorn for her dowry if she wants to wed a king, and her father the horse-master has agreed to help her capture one. No one told them that unicorns aren't exactly horses, or that the adult ones are as big and aggressive as mammoths. (Why don't they know this? People know unicorns exist, but don't know they're huge? Seems unlikely to me, so it needs some justification/explanation; imagine someone who was an expert on hippos, but didn't know that elephants are big...see what I mean? You can take a dozen pages to make it make sense in your book--here you have about a dozen words.)

 

After her father is gored to death, (you have to make it clear that he died trying to get her a unicorn) Aylonja is lost in a foreign land with only a  half-troll to guide her. (How did you get from point A to point B? why is there a troll? Yes, you need to be concise, but you can't sacrifice clarity to get there.) No one trusts a lowly troll, and Aylonja can barely stand to look upon this one's chinless face. (makes the MC sound snotty; if that's what you're looking for...then you've got a different problem--see below) To survive the journey home through an unforgiving wilderness, she'll need to shed her prejudice against non-humans and find her own independence- it seems that male trolls don't cater to attractive women the way that men-folk do. (would they even find her attractive?)

 

THE ORACLE OF LOST SAGAS is a dark fantasy complete at 94,000 words, stand-alone with series potential. Two excerpts won Honorary Mentions from Writers of the Future.

 

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

 

Joe

 

Two things to work up here, one big, one small. First (the big one), you need stakes. What, beyond simple survival, is her reason for making it through the unforgiving wilderness? I'm guessing this isn't just a survival story. If she doesn't have something important to get back to, then you've got a substantial problem with the novel. Hopefully she does, and you can just make that clear in your query.

 

 

 

Second, you've painted your MC out to be naive and snotty. If reality snaps her out of it quickly, you've got a story I'd read, but your query has to make that clear. You can't let brevity leave your readers with the wrong impression, and you can't have a query that makes your reader guess at your real meaning. If Aylonja is wrong in her opinion about the troll, you haven't done enough here to give a reader that impression. If she's right about the troll, then why the heck is it guiding her instead of eating her?

 

I love it when tropes are turned on their heads, but the person reading your query has to know that your doing that, or your fighting an uphill battle against their expectations.

 

This last bit is just me as a reader. If this novel is about the adventures of Princess Snotty, I'm out early. If this is about a snotty little wanna-be princess who figures out the hard way that the world doesn't revolve around her, and in the end becomes a decent human being, I'm all over it. This query points to the former for me. If your book is the latter, make sure you get that in your query. 

 

Good luck!

 

 

Thank you.  Ouch though. Every one of those questions either requires a paragraph to explain or ruins one of my twilight zone twists.

 

If I tell you why this particular relict population of unicorns is so large, it will ruin the big twist of the whole novel.

There's no point A-  The first chapter starts with Aylonja in a valley and a unicorn approaching her while men hide behind a rock, having travelled a month to get there before the novel begins.

 

She's not actually as snotty and she wises up immediately- it's a third survivor named Frane who is trying to convince her of troll stereotypes and get into her pants. My internal character arcs are subtle, but agents seem to want this big melodramatic change in a query, so I was exaggerating. And the more names I add the more chance the agent stops reading.

How to let them know she changes fast while still letting them know that there's a character arc?

Also, the reader is supposed to be on the fence about the troll until the end of the book.

 

Motivation to get back home: Aylonja thinks she has the ownership of her father's farm to go back to and people who speak her language, but the truth is that, unless she marries, the farm  will be seized. She just doesn't believe Frane when he tries to explain this to her. She's going to decide never to return by the end of the tale.

 

Aylonja's also not really a main character, she's one POV of nine, but she has the trope stomping unicorn and the first chapter in the book.

I'm just trying to get them to read the MS.

 

Ok I'll give it another whirl- I may have to choose another character. You're not really supposed to know which is the main character, like who is the main character of Sound and the Fury, Bridge of San Louis Rey,  or Game of Thrones book I?

 I say Dagny and Ned Stark, but my brother says Peter and Daenarys.

 

That's my big problem. Is it even possible to get a 9 POV novel published if you're not already famous?



#18 bookgirl_kt

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 10:15 PM

I thought your query was pretty strong and has a good voice. The one thing I'd change is the ending. "it seems that male trolls don't dote over attractive women the way that men-folk do." isn't that strong of a clincher, it feels more like the middle of the query than the end. Is there a way you can end on a dramatic note?



#19 Gruffbane

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 10:23 PM

Hmmmm...well she gets chased by crocutta (dire snow hyenas) and then wolf-kin (neanderthaloids) into a valley where she meets a goddess who will forever change her life.

Would something  like that work to end it, if it were a bit more lyrical?



#20 Ikuko

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 10:31 PM

Maybe this is better:

 

Dear Agent,

 

Eighteen year old Aylonja needs a unicorn for her dowry if she wants to wed a king, Is there a king wishing to marry anyone who would bring a unicorn?  Or he wants to marry her, but unicorn is a stipulation of some sort? and her father the horse-master has agreed to help her capture one. Too bad no one told them that unicorns aren't exactly horses, or that the adult ones are as big and aggressive as mammoths.

 

After her father is gored to death, Aylonja  is lost in a foreign land with only a half-troll named Khulan to guide her. Why does he decide to guide her? To survive the frigid Nioni Mountains and the Desert of Wyrms, she will need to shed her prejudice against non-humans and find her own independence- it seems that male trolls don't dote over attractive women the way that men-folk do.What if she does not? What is on stake? Why the matter of atraction came into this? Is she in love with him?  And what happened to the poor king waiting for her?

 

You have outlined a set up, but not the choices of the protagonist and not the plot itself.

 

THE ORACLE OF LOST SAGAS is a a dark fantasy complete at 94,000 words, stand alone with series potential. Two excerpts won Honorary Mentions from Writers of the Future.

 

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

 

Joe

https://prehistoricf...y.blogspot.com/

 

 

I dunno if my blog is an asset. It's number one for a bunch of google results but they won't know that, and it might conjure up their preconceived (negative) views on prehistoric fiction.

I think you need a stronger hook in your query. Good luck on your revisions.






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