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The Outskirts of Fernwood (FANTASY) Revision in #62

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#21 Zeroelle

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 11:21 PM

For over a century, Mable’s village has been left alone, hidden in lands deemed cursed and its healer residents labeled as witches. I like your hook.
Mable risks her life each day venturing to the nearby kingdom of Aberagan I've been told before that names of fictional place aren't needed in the query. and to help fellow healers get out. She is almost too comfortable inside the kingdom’s walls, too trusting of the streets where she could be burned or hanged for her powers if she is discovered. Even after she encounters a suspicious rider named Farley just outside the walls, she refuses to slow her work.

A new flame of fear is sparked among the common folk when one highborn noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft. Purists begin venturing out onto the cursed lands in terrifying numbers with the goal of cleansing the land of witches. The villagers start to fear these men will discover their biggest secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely.

As the only one from her village courageous enough to step foot within the kingdom, Mable seeks help in secret and returns with two heroes. From the south, a powerful healer named Poppy arrives to restore the magic lost to them. From the north, the rider Farley reappears as an ally with an army at his back, on a hunt for revenge after his grandmother was hanged for witchcraft. But it will be Mable who unites them and (accidentally) starts a war for freedom.
THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


I like your overall premise. It sounds very cool! I just get a little lost in your final paragraph because it said that Mable was out searching for allies, but then it sounded like Poppy and Farley just showed up at the village unprompted. I think you need to tighten up that paragraph (not all of that information is needed) and clarify that she returned with them. I gave some suggested wording above, but I'm sure you can improve upon it. The rest is very clear and well-written!

Also, feel free to review my query. The title is Midnight Isle. Thanks!

#22 Testome

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 02:36 AM

Thank you all for the feedback, it was encouraging to read that it seems my query is getting better.

 

I tried again, this time focusing more on Mable (which I know I should be doing, this is her story, after all).

 

 

 

For over a century, Mable’s village has been left alone, hidden in lands deemed cursed and its healer residents labeled as witches.This reads more like an info dump than a hook, and comes off as the same over done generic plot done too many times.

Mable risks her life each day venturing to the nearby kingdom of Aberagan to help fellow healers I might clarify the powers bit sooner. I got more of a she might not be a witch from your logline than they definately had powers/magic.  Only the next line really clarifys. get out. She is almost too comfortable inside the kingdom’s walls, too trusting of the streets where she could be burned or hanged for her powers if she is discovered. Even after she encounters a suspicious rider named FarleyI don't think you need to name this character. just outside the walls, she refuses to slow her work.

A new flame of fear is sparked among the common folk when one highborn noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft. Purists begin venturing out onto the cursed lands in terrifying numbers with the goal of cleansing the land of witches. The villagers start to fear these men will discover their biggest secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely.

The village leaders are too afraid of common folk to search for help even after multiple villagers are killed. Mable knows the kingdom better than any of them, so she decides to seek help in secret. From the south, a powerful healer named Poppy arrives to restore the magic lost to them. From the north, the rider Farley reappears as an ally with an army at his back, on a hunt for revenge after his grandmother was hanged for witchcraft.I think this character detracts from your query more than supports, or at least revealing this backstory does. But it will be Mable who brings them all together and (accidentally) starts a war for freedom. I think this reveals too much of your story.

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

I think this query is leaving out what's unique about it, and that you're revealing too much of your story, and I don't see her first choice she has to make and the stakes(the overall stakes are there though) involved.



#23 jphollis

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 03:46 AM

Thank you all for the feedback, it was encouraging to read that it seems my query is getting better.

 

I tried again, this time focusing more on Mable (which I know I should be doing, this is her story, after all).

 

 

 

For over a century, Mable’s village has been left alone, hidden in lands deemed cursed and its healer residents labeled as witches. (Too long to be an effective hook. Can you make it shorter? Add something that will make me want to read to the next sentence. Something that turns this on its head.)

Mable risks her life each day venturing to the nearby kingdom of Aberagan to help fellow healers get out. She is almost too comfortable inside the kingdom’s walls, too trusting of the streets where she could be burned or hanged for her powers if she is discovered. (This sentence is too wordy. Cut, cut, cut) Even after she encounters a suspicious rider named Farley just outside the walls, she refuses to slow her work. (Is it necessary to mention Farley here? I mean, I see what you're doing, trying to show that Mable just keeps on going no matter the circumstances, but it feels forced here, as Farley isn't mentioned again for two more paragraphs, and when he is, its only in passing) He doesn't feel important enough to be in the query letter. If he is that important, show me why.)

A new flame of fear is sparked among the common folk when one highborn noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft. Purists begin venturing out onto the cursed lands in terrifying numbers with the goal of cleansing the land of witches. The villagers start (they only started to fear now. Before this time they were totally safe and cozy?) to fear these men will discover their biggest secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely. (This sentence could be made shorter.)

The village leaders are too afraid of common folk to search for help even after multiple villagers are killed. Mable knows the kingdom better than any of them, so she decides to seek help in secret. From the south, a powerful healer named Poppy arrives to restore the magic lost to them. From the north, the rider Farley reappears as an ally with an army at his back, on a hunt for revenge after his grandmother was hanged for witchcraft. But it will be Mable who brings them all together and (accidentally) starts a war for freedom. (This paragraph is better but it could still stand to lose some words.)

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

 

Looking better, but put all your paragraphs on a diet. Restrict those adverbs and adjectives like calories. Get me to the point in as few words as possible without losing your distinct voice.


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#24 GeorgeIsCurious

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 12:48 PM

For over a century, Mable’s village has been left alone, hidden in lands deemed cursed and its healer residents labeled as witches. This part is somewhat confusing. Maybe try "hidden in cursed lands where its healers are labeled witches".

 

Mable risks her life each day venturing to the nearby kingdom of Aberagan to help fellow healers get out. She is almost too comfortable inside the kingdom’s walls, too trusting of the streets where she could be burned or hanged for her powers if she is discovered. Even after she encounters a suspicious rider named Farley just outside the walls, she refuses to slow her work. 

A new flame of fear is sparked among the common folk when one highborn noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft. Purists begin venturing venture out onto the cursed lands in terrifying numbers with the goal of cleansing to cleanse the land of witches. The villagers start to fear that these men purists will discover their biggest secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely. Perhaps try: "In fact, the purists could wipe them out entirely."

The village leaders are grow too afraid of the common folk to search for helpeven after multiple villagers are killed. Mable knows the kingdom better than any of them, so she decides to seek help in secret. From the south, a powerful healer named Poppy arrives to restore the magic lost to them. From the north, the rider Farley reappears as an ally with an army at his back, on a hunt for revenge after his grandmother was hanged for witchcraft. But it will be Mable who brings them all together and (accidentally) starts a war for freedom.

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Not bad, needs some work but has serious potential. I would tighten it up, it has all the information necessary. Best of luck and check out my revised query that you critiqued!
 



#25 danipie

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 10:21 PM

Wow thank you everyone! Such great helpful feedback on the last query. Now that I've written one again I'll take a break to have a look at all your queries =)

 

To be completely honest, I struggled a LOT with this edit and I seriously can't even tell if it's any better than the last one. I spent at least half the time staring blankly and trying to figure out how to incorporate as many of the most helpful suggestions I could. But I suppose if I can't figure it out myself, it's a good time to ask for some help.

 

 

 

Mable’s village has been left alone for a long while. Until one highborn noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft.

Mable often ventures into the nearby kingdom to help fellow healers get out. The biggest danger has never been the royal guards, but purists who want to cleanse the population of witches. And now they're roaming out onto the cursed lands surrounding the sanctuary village in terrifying numbers. When a noble is accused of possessing magic, the common folk always seem to grow more afraid than usual. This, however, is worse than any villager has seen in their lifetime.

The village leaders are too distrusting of the common folk to search for help in the kingdom even after multiple villagers are killed. Mable, too, is attacked and nearly dies. She, and others, start to fear these purists will discover their best-kept secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely.

Mable knows the kingdom better than any of them, so she decides to seek help in secret. A couple powerful allies would be enough to keep the village safe. Somehow Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy.

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

One concern I have with this is I'm not sure it's clear that witches and healers are the same thing and that switching between the terms could be confusing. Healers are just deemed witches by the people who fear magic. Thoughts on that are appreciated
 



#26 mbclayton86

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 12:11 AM

I like this story a lot. But your query needs some tightening. I haven’t read previous post so if I’m repeating what others have said then I apologize.

 

Mable’s village has been left alone for a long while. Until one highborn noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft. (The first sentence in your hook does nothing for me. I would get right to the meat. Something like When a highborn noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft, people begin to riot or purists start burning the village or Mable runs because she’s a witch too. Something along those lines.)

Mable often ventures into the nearby kingdom to help fellow healers get out. The biggest danger has never been the royal guards, but purists who want to cleanse the population of witches. And now they're roaming out onto the cursed lands surrounding the sanctuary village in terrifying numbers. When a noble is accused of possessing magic, the common folk always seem to grow more afraid than usual. This, however, is worse than any villager has seen in their lifetime. (I could be wrong but most of this paragraph feels like info dump leading up to the highborn getting hung. I don’t think you need any of this. The only part that seems compelling to expand upon is the part about Mable rescuing other healers. As far as using healer and witch interchangeably, I would either stick to one or make it clear that they are same. Like maybe everyone thinks Mable is a witch because she can use magic but prefers the term healer.)

The village leaders are too distrusting of the common folk to search for help in the kingdom even after multiple villagers are killed. (I don’t think this is needed. Or you could condense by saying the Village leaders don’t know who to turn to for help even after multiple villagers are killed.) Mable, too, is attacked and nearly dies. She, and others, start to fear these purists will discover their best-kept secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely. (Why have the healers lost their magic? And where are they now? Because I thought some of them were being held prisoner based on the first sentence in the paragraph above.)

Mable knows the kingdom better than any of them (Why?), so she decides to seek help in secret. A couple powerful allies would be enough to keep the village safe. Somehow Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy. (I like this sinker at the end.)

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word fantasy novel with series potential. (Just for clarification this isn’t YA right? Because if so you would want to include Mable’s age. It’s coming across as adult fantasy, but just wanted to double check.)

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I think there are also a lot of places where you could add Mable’s voice. Right now she’s not in there. Is she snarky, fierce, emotional, and light hearted. Whatever she is, her voice and tone needs to shine in the query. As an example you could totally take this sentence and voice it up.

 

 

“Mable knows the kingdom better than any of them, so she decides to seek help in secret.”

 

Mable is done seeing her friends and family slaughtered. She isn’t powerful enough to face the Purists alone, but she’s traveled the kingdom all her life and knows the layout better than anyone. At first chance Mable rushes off in the night to find help.

 

Also what does Mable want? Based off the query I’m getting to keep the village safe, but why? Is her family there? Does she just want her village left alone? Make it clear. Show why Mable can’t stand the purist destroying a place she loves.

 

 

I hope my comments help and of course, feel free to ignore what doesn’t work for you. Good luck. Queries are hard, but so satisfying when it all comes together.

Take care!



#27 dragoness

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 06:11 AM

I think the query is very good  :smile: !

 

One thing was unclear to me: why does she try to save only her village, and not the entire kingdom?

 

I think you better use only the term of "witches", it indeed would be much clearer.

 

The first paragraph has too much explanations, I believe. Maybe this helps?

 

Mable’s village has been left alone for a long while, until one highborn noble woman is hanged for the crime of witchcraft.

Mable often ventures to help fellow healers get out to the nearby kingdom. The biggest danger has never been the royal guards, but  is purists who want to cleanse the population of witches, and now they're roaming out onto the cursed lands surrounding the sanctuary village in terrifying numbers. When a noble is accused of possessing magic, the common folk always seem to grow more afraid than usual. This, however, is worse than any villager has seen in their lifetime.

The village leaders are too distrusting of the common folk's fear of witches to search for help in the kingdom, even after multiple villagers are killed. Mable, too, is attacked and nearly dies. She, and others, start to fear these purists will discover their best-kept secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely.

Mable knows the kingdom better than any of them, so she decides to seek help in secret. A couple powerful allies would be enough to keep the village safe. Somehow Mable will has to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy.
 

 

Good Luck!



#28 Maranda83

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 12:27 PM

For over a century, Mable’s village has been left alone, hidden in lands deemed cursed and its healer residents labeled as witches.

This needs to be tighter and more about your MC.

Consider-

​Resident healer witches are hiding in Mable's, century old cursed village, however Mabel never thought she'd be one of them.

Mable risks her life each day venturing to the nearby kingdom of Aberagan to help fellow healers get out. She is almost too comfortable inside the kingdom’s walls, too trusting of the streets where she could be burned or hanged for her powers if she is discovered. Even after she encounters a suspicious rider named Farley just outside the walls, she refuses to slow her work.

This could still be tightened up. Remember with only 250 words aloud in a query every word has to count.

Consider-

​Mabel  risks her life daily helping healers from the neighboring kingdom escape, ignoring the peril she would be in if her abilities are exposed to even the suspicious rider, Farley, who she befriends just outside of the walls.

A new flame of fear is sparked among the common folk when one highborn noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft. Purists begin venturing out onto the cursed lands in terrifying numbers with the goal of cleansing the land of witches. The villagers start to fear these men will discover their biggest secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely.

Consider-

Purists begin purging the land of witches when a highborn noble is accused of the crime of witchcraft, striking fear in the hearts of commoners. The villagers fight to protect their dangerous secret, the magic that once protected them has dwindled, making them weak to even the smallest army.

The village leaders are too afraid of common folk to search for help even after multiple villagers are killed. Mable knows the kingdom better than any of them, so she decides to seek help in secret. From the south, a powerful healer named Poppy arrives to restore the magic lost to them. From the north, the rider Farley reappears as an ally with an army at his back, on a hunt for revenge after his grandmother was hanged for witchcraft. But it will be Mable who brings them all together and (accidentally) starts a war for freedom.

Consider-

A massacre in the village leaves leaders afraid to seek help. Mable becomes their only hope, working in secret to contact Poppy a powerful enforcer. However Farley and a mass of warriors return to seek revenge and a new battle is begun. Mable alone, has the power to turn the blood bathe into a bid for freedom.

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word fantasy novel with series potential. If you are unsure of a series you should not mention that in the query. However you should insert your name so agents will know who to contact.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

These are all just suggestions, the shorter,tighter and catchier the sentences the better, more powerful description words, cutting out as many weak starts to sentences (the, but, and ect) will help a lot. I hope this helps. Thanks!



#29 mbclayton86

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 02:47 PM

Also  the correct way to sell a series or rather get an agent, especially if you're a first time published author, is to say it's a stand alone with series potential. But of course only say that if it's true. If it's not true and it really is a series, I would definitely keep that it is a series, but be aware you may have a harder time selling. 



#30 jphollis

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 06:03 PM

Wow thank you everyone! Such great helpful feedback on the last query. Now that I've written one again I'll take a break to have a look at all your queries =)

 

To be completely honest, I struggled a LOT with this edit and I seriously can't even tell if it's any better than the last one. I spent at least half the time staring blankly and trying to figure out how to incorporate as many of the most helpful suggestions I could. But I suppose if I can't figure it out myself, it's a good time to ask for some help.

 

 

 

Mable’s village has been left alone for a long while. Until one highborn noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft. (This could work as a hook, but it's not doing it for me right now. The first sentence is too vague. 'a long while' isn't snappy and feels bland. The second sentence is better, but if there is a way to join the two sentence together and make them snappier, I feel that would work much better.)

Mable often ventures into the nearby kingdom to help fellow healers get out. The biggest danger has never been the royal guards, but purists who want to cleanse the population of witches. And now they're roaming out onto the cursed lands surrounding the sanctuary village in terrifying numbers. When a noble is accused of possessing magic, the common folk always seem to grow more afraid than usual (too wordy). This, however, is worse than any villager has seen in their lifetime. (This paragraph feels like an info dump in the beginning, with the real meat at the end. Could you not start with the part about the purists? To me, it would feel like a smoother transition from the previous hook. You could then add the part about Mable 'often venturing into the nearby kingdom to help get fellow healers out' to the final paragraph where it mentions that she knows the kingdom better than anyone, because (and I'm assuming here) that seems to be the reason she knows the kingdom better than others.)

The village leaders are too distrusting of the common folk to search for help in the kingdom even after multiple villagers are killed. Mable, too, is attacked and nearly dies. She, and others, start to fear these purists will discover their best-kept secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely. (Better but still feel slightly out of order. I'm not sure how to explain it. But, like where you mentioned that Mable is attacked and nearly dies. It just seems out of place there. I mean, if I'm attacked and nearly die, I don't just start to fear, I'm going to take some big action. If I'm a fictional character, at least. Plus, I really don't understand what these healers can do. I mean, I thought they just healed people, but now it would take a small army to wipe them out, even though they are weaker than ever? So, like, how powerful were they originally? The term 'healer' denotes, in my mind at least, a non-combatant.)

Mable knows the kingdom better than any of them, so she decides to seek help in secret. A couple powerful allies would be enough to keep the village safe. Somehow Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy. 

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

 

One concern I have with this is I'm not sure it's clear that witches and healers are the same thing and that switching between the terms could be confusing. Healers are just deemed witches by the people who fear magic. Thoughts on that are appreciated
 

Hope my comments were of some  help. If you find time, I could use another pair of eyes on the latest revision of my own query here.


My Synopsis: House of Ashes

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#31 Zeroelle

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 11:47 PM

Mable’s village has been left alone for a long while. Until one highborn noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft. Hooks are tough, and while I think this one works, the consensus seems to be that it doesn't. With that in mind, I tried to come up with an alternative that focuses on Mable instead of the village: Mable’s power to heal has always saved lives, but now, it’s putting hers in jeopardy. 

 

Mable often ventures into the nearby kingdom to help fellow healers get out. The biggest danger has never been the royal guards, but purists who want to cleanse the population of witches. And now they're roaming out onto the cursed lands surrounding the sanctuary village in terrifying numbers. When a noble is accused of possessing magic, the common folk always seem to grow more afraid than usual. This, however, is worse than any villager has seen in their lifetime.

Purists from a nearby kingdom have long desired to cleanse the population of witches. Mable often ventures into the kingdom to help her fellow healers escape. She brings them back to her village, which has been left alone for over a century, hidden in lands deemed cursed. But now that the purists have started roaming the cursed lands in terrifying numbers, she and the other villagers fear that the men will discover them and their biggest secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them and can now be wiped out by just a small army.

 

The village leaders are too distrusting of the common folk to search for help in the kingdom even after multiple villagers are killed. Mable, too, is attacked and nearly dies. She, and others, start to fear these purists will discover their best-kept secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely. Lose this one.

Mable knows the kingdom better than any of them, so she decides to seek help in secret. A couple powerful allies would be enough to keep the village safe. Somehow Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy.

As the only one from her village courageous enough to set foot in the kingdom, she decides to seek help in secret. A couple of powerful allies would be enough to keep the village safe. Somehow, Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person--or worse, leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy.

 

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word fantasy novel with series potential.
 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

 

 

While your plot is very cool, you will need to tighten up each paragraph of your query to keep the agent interested. I always appreciated when someone tried to give me an example of what they were suggesting, so I did that above. Feel free to use what you like, but at the very least, it should get you thinking in a different way.



#32 eric balson

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 12:01 PM

Wow thank you everyone! Such great helpful feedback on the last query. Now that I've written one again I'll take a break to have a look at all your queries =)

 

To be completely honest, I struggled a LOT with this edit and I seriously can't even tell if it's any better than the last one. I spent at least half the time staring blankly and trying to figure out how to incorporate as many of the most helpful suggestions I could. But I suppose if I can't figure it out myself, it's a good time to ask for some help.

 

 

 

Mable’s village has been left alone for a long while. Until one highborn noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft. This really isn't a strong hook

Mable often ventures into the nearby kingdom to help fellow healers get out. The biggest danger has never been the royal guards, but purists who want to cleanse the population of witches. I think you should use either witches or healers. And now they're roaming out onto the cursed lands surrounding the sanctuary village in terrifying numbers. When a noble is accused of possessing magic, the common folk always seem to grow more afraid than usual. This, however, is worse than any villager has seen in their lifetime.

The village leaders are too distrusting of the common folk to search for help in the kingdom even after multiple villagers are killed. Mable, too, is attacked and nearly dies. She, and others, start to fear these purists will discover their best-kept secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely.

Mable knows the kingdom better than any of them, so she decides to seek help in secret. A couple powerful allies would be enough to keep the village safe. Somehow Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy.

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

 

One concern I have with this is I'm not sure it's clear that witches and healers are the same thing and that switching between the terms could be confusing. Healers are just deemed witches by the people who fear magic. Thoughts on that are appreciated
 



#33 samchapman

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 02:21 PM

 

Mable’s village has been left alone for a long while. Until one highborn noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft. (Like some others have pointed out, the first "status quo" sentence is unnecessary. To paraphrase Dr. Horrible, we need to learn immediately how the status is not quo. Start with the hanging, and explain the consequences for Mable)

Mable often ventures into the nearby kingdom to help fellow healers get out. (Get out of what? The kingdom? Why? Why were they there in the first place?) The biggest danger (to whom?) has never been the royal guards, but purists who want to cleanse the population of witches. And now they're roaming out onto the cursed lands surrounding the sanctuary village (Is that Mable's village? It's not clear) in terrifying numbers. When a noble is accused of possessing magic, the common folk always seem to grow more afraid than usual. This, however, is worse than any villager has seen in their lifetime. (There's a lot of missing information here. Does the noble have magic? Is magic even real? And what are the common folk afraid of exactly--that the noble was spearheading some sort of conspiracy located in the village?)

The village leaders are too distrusting of the common folk to search for help in the kingdom even after multiple villagers are killed. When Mable, too, is attacked and nearly killed, dies. she, and others, starts to fear these purists will discover their best-kept secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely. (Why hasn't this happened already? Why are the purists tolerating the existence of a village of witches even when there's not a frenzy?)

Mable knows the kingdom better than any of them, so she decides to seek help in secret. A couple powerful allies would be enough to keep the village safe. Somehow Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy. (OK, so it seems like they don't know where it is. What would they have to do to find it? Is it magically concealed?)

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

Somewhere in the second paragraph you could say something like: "Mable ventures into the nearby kingdom to help the healers who superstitious mobs have deemed witches."

 

The problem here is that I think you're assuming a lot of information that's obvious to you but not to anybody else. I'd recommend starting over, beginning with the hanging, then describing the world Mable is fighting in and how it has shaped her.

 

Oh, and I'd totally read this book. Good luck!

 


My YA science fiction query, Rafter's Rats: http://agentquerycon...nture/?p=332201


#34 danipie

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 07:05 PM

Thank you all for the great feedback! With school resuming again I haven't had much time to edit more, but here is another attempt based on as many of your suggestions as possible

 

 

After one noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft, life becomes even more dangerous for Mable.

Purists have always wanted to cleanse the population of healers - or witches, as they are frequently called. Mable often ventures into the nearby kingdom to help fellow healers escape to the village she calls home. Hidden on lands deemed cursed, this village has been a sanctuary to demonized healers for over a century.

In the aftermath of the scandalous execution, multiple villagers are killed by emboldened purists. Mable, and others, start to fear these purists will discover their best-kept secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely.

The village leaders warn Mable not to approach anyone in the kingdom for protection; some even advise her to stop her travels altogether. But after a strange encounter earns her an influential friend, she feels inspired to seek out help. A couple powerful allies would be enough to keep her village safe. Somehow Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy.

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#35 dragoness

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 02:11 AM

This is much better! I think you're almost there  :smile:

 

After one a noble in Mable's village is hanged for the crime of witchcraft, her life becomes even more dangerous. (for some reason the name at the end of the sentence drain it's power, so I think this way it's better.) 

Purists have always wanted to cleanse the population (it's obvious. start right with Mable) of healers - or witches, as they are frequently called. (don't waste the query's short space on term's explanation)

Mable often ventures into the nearby kingdom to help fellow healers witches escape to the village she calls home. Hidden on lands deemed cursed, this village has been a sanctuary to demonized healers for over a century. (great beginning!)

In the aftermath of the noble's scandalous execution, multiple villagers are killed by emboldened purists. Mable, and others, start to fear these purists will discover their best-kept secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely. (good!)

The village leaders warn Mable not to approach anyone in the kingdom for protection; some even advise her to stop her travels altogether. But after a strange encounter earns her an influential friend, she feels inspired to seek out help. A couple powerful allies would be enough to keep her village safe. (the last sentence is unclear - who are the "couple powerful allies"? she and the friend? the friend and another new one? Two new people (as is understood in the next sentence) who are they? from where?)

 

Somehow Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy. (Good ending. I think that on a new paragraph it's clearer).

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#36 Nonicks

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 10:50 AM

Thank you all for the great feedback! With school resuming again I haven't had much time to edit more, but here is another attempt based on as many of your suggestions as possible

 

 

After one noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft, life becomes even more dangerous for Mable.(intriguing)

Purists have always wanted to cleanse the population of healers - or witches, as they are frequently called. (it seems to me something is missing between these two sentences, some sort of connection-->)Mable often ventures into the nearby kingdom to help fellow healers escape to the village she calls home. Hidden on lands deemed cursed, this village has been a sanctuary to demonized healers for over a century.

In the aftermath of the scandalous execution, multiple villagers are killed by emboldened purists. Mable, and others, start to fear these purists will discover their best-kept secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely. (something feels off. Maybe because this paragraph logically follows your hook, but in the middle you have another paragraph, dedicated to Mable. Maybe you can rearrange it somehow to make it flow better?)

The village leaders warn Mable not to approach anyone in the kingdom for protection; some even advise her to stop her travels altogether. But after a strange encounter earns her an influential friend, she feels inspired to seek out help. A couple powerful allies would be enough to keep her village safe(why? what's special in these allies?). Somehow (makes me wonder how)Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy.(high stakes, that's good)

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

Hope this helps, but overall I think it's a solid query. :)

 

If you can, please take a look at my latest revision: link



#37 Olive K. Aristen

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 11:38 AM

Thank you all for the great feedback! With school resuming again I haven't had much time to edit more, but here is another attempt based on as many of your suggestions as possible

 

 

After one noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft, life becomes even more dangerous for Mable. [Do you have a more specific threat?]

Purists have always wanted to cleanse the population of healers - or witches, as they are frequently called. Mable often ventures into the nearby kingdom to help fellow healers escape to the village she calls home. Is this where the Purists live (neaby kingdom)? I'm not clear. Hidden on lands deemed cursed, this ​[Mable's village?] village has been a sanctuary to demonized healers for over a century.

In the aftermath of the scandalous execution, multiple villagers are killed by emboldened purists. [This is a bit vague to me.] Mable,and others, start to fear these purists will discover their best-kept secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. It would only take a small army [When I read this, as a former Army officer, it gave me pause. An Army is a specific unit size consisting of two or more corps (see link https://www.thebalan...o-corps-4053660). I'd rather see force or fighting force something more generic.]  to wipe them out entirely.

The village leaders warn Mable not to approach anyone in the kingdom for protection; some even advise her to stop her travels altogether. But after a strange encounter earns her an influential friend, she feels inspired to seek out help. A couple powerful allies would be enough to keep her village safe. Somehow Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy. [Stakes make sense to me, good job.]

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

Hey there! Thanks so much for looking over my query. I agree with dragoness's comments at the top. I think the way she changed your opening is def an improvement. I think you might even improve by being more specific, if that makes sense for your story.

 

You've made great improvements!


Current query for critique: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=340722


#38 danipie

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 05:45 PM

It's been a while since I've worked on this query!

 

But thanks again for all the feedback. As of right now, I've tried to edit based on all of the suggestions. My biggest problem is how I should tweak the first sentence to be more specific while still evoking interest and I'm having a hard time. I feel like it's missing something.

 

 

 

After one noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft, Mable is in more danger than ever before.

Mable often ventures into the nearby kingdom to help fellow healers escape to the village she calls home. Hidden on lands deemed cursed, this village has been a sanctuary to persecuted healers like Mable for over a century.

In the aftermath of the noble’s execution, multiple villagers are killed by emboldened purists. Mable, and others, start to fear these purists will discover their best-kept secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them and earned them the label of “witches.” It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely.

The village leaders warn Mable not to approach anyone in the kingdom for protection; some even advise her to stop her travels altogether. But after a strange encounter earns her an influential friend, she feels inspired to seek out help. A couple powerful, highborn allies would be enough to keep her village safe. Somehow Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy.

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 



#39 Jemi

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 08:17 PM

 

After one noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft, Mable is in more danger than ever before. (I agree, it's missing something. I'd rather see Mable's name at the beginning and with a specific connection to a problem or an explanation as to why she's in trouble)

Mable often ventures into the nearby kingdom to help fellow healers escape to the village she calls home. Hidden on lands deemed cursed, this village has been a sanctuary to persecuted healers like Mable (that should show up earlier I think) for over a century.

In the aftermath of the noble’s execution, multiple villagers are killed by emboldened purists. Mable, and others, start to fear these purists will discover their best-kept secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them and earned them the label of “witches.” It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely.

The village leaders warn Mable not to approach anyone in the kingdom for protection; some even advise her to stop her travels altogether. But after a strange encounter earns her an influential friend, she feels inspired to seek out help. A couple of powerful, highborn allies would be enough to keep her village safe. Somehow Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy.

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

 

I've got a fairly good grasp of your story, but I feel like you've got more Tell than Show in the query

 

I think you need to have both Mable and the query itself come to life with a little more voice. In the query you tell us the WHAT quite well, but I don't get any emotion from it. I'm not left in suspense or worrying about Mable. You don't want to write it from her perspective, but I'd like to know how she feels. Is she scared, determined, reckless (in a SHOW not TELL way :smile: )? Why is she compelled to save these people? Is she alone? How is the magic connected to her? What kind of magic? Is the reason it's waned important? I feel like it is and I'd like to see it's mention earlier to give the paranormal feel.

 

I'd also like to know the WHY? Why are the executing the witches? Why are the healers hiding? Why is Mable the one at the centre of the story. Make her special and stand out. Obviously you can't (and shouldn't) answer all the questions in a query, but as is, it feels a bit generic

 

Maybe something like this to start...

Mable's healing powers may not be as strong as her ancestors, but she'll use every last scrap to stop the Purists from executing innocent villagers in the hopes of purging the land of magic...

 

I know that won't match your voice, your tone or your story, but it's just to give you an idea what I mean. Hope it helps a little. If it doesn't resonate with you, feel free to ignore. After all, it's your story and you'll know best. Good luck with it!



#40 smithgirl

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 08:30 PM

Thanks for stopping by my query!

 

 

After one noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft, Mable is in more danger than ever before.

 

I agree this part is lacking.  I think you need to make this intro more specific and add more emotion.

 

Yet another noble secretly working as a healer is hanged for witchcraft, and Mable knows that she could be next.

 

Mable often ventures into the nearby kingdom to help fellow healers escape to the village she calls home. Hidden on lands deemed cursed, this village has been a sanctuary to persecuted healers like Mable for over a century.I would get rid of this. It delays the action and the information can be incorporated into the remaining paragraphs.

 

In the aftermath of the noble’s execution, multiple villagers are killed by emboldened purists. Mable and other healers start to fear these purists will discover their best-kept secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them and earned them the label of “witches.” It would only take a small army to wipe them out entirely. 

 

I  think you need to convey more urgency here. I'm not really feeling Mable's fear.

 

The village leaders warn Mable not to approach anyone in the nearby kingdom for protection; some advise her to stop her regular travels there to retrieve other persecuted healers to the village for safety. some even advise her to stop her travels altogether. But after a strange encounter earns her an influential friend, she feels inspired to seek out additional (?) help. Just a few couple powerful, highborn allies would be enough to keep her village safe. Somehow Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy. ​I think you need to make the last part of this paragraph more specific.

 

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 110,000-word standalone fantasy novel with series potential. Usually you round word count.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I definitely see the bones of your story, but there are still some things that are unclear. I also think you should try to convey more urgency. I know this is all really hard. I made some suggestions and I hope they help.
 







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