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The Outskirts of Fernwood (FANTASY) Revision in #67

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#1 danipie

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Posted 14 November 2016 - 11:07 PM

Hello! This is one of many many many many many attempts at a query. I will gladly critique others' queries in exchange for some feedback on this, or for general advice on writing queries, which I've realized I'm very bad at. Or at least, I get very frustrated with it.

 

 

 

As a magic-wielding healer, Mable has always believed she was born to help, and never to harm.  

But in the kingdom of Aberagan, magic is forbidden and branded as witchcraft.

A refugee in the hidden healer-village of Winnia, Mable has spent the last few years of her life rescuing healer children from being killed in the nearby castle city. With groups of murderous townsfolk and royal guards patrolling the streets in search of witches, it’s dangerous work. Mable has witnessed with her own eyes many acts of terror against her kind. But this secret practice of gathering refugees has kept them united against those who wish to see them gone.

During her travels to the city, Mable gains an ally with ties to the royal family. Little does she know, he’s got a thirst for vengeance after a recent betrayal. He needs some help only her people could possibly provide him - with the added power of their magic, potentially any enemy could be defeated. Before he can earn her trust, however, Mable cannot reveal her true identity as a healer, a certain death sentence if heard by the wrong ears. In the meantime, she will do anything else to earn his favor.

When they learn of Mable’s newfound pathway into the castle, the Winnians present her with a mission involving the most horrific offense a healer knows: murder. She knows change cannot come without death, and she knows there are lower nobility who would help them if given the chance. Still, it troubles her to act as the monster Aberagan believes she is. If she fails her mission, if she trusts or betrays the wrong person while meddling in the nobles’ business, war could be upon them.

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

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 



#2 Blueberry Tide

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Posted 15 November 2016 - 01:27 PM

Hello! This is one of many many many many many attempts at a query. I will gladly critique others' queries in exchange for some feedback on this, or for general advice on writing queries, which I've realized I'm very bad at. Or at least, I get very frustrated with it. I'd like to say it gets easier, but I'd be lying.

 

 

 

As a magic-wielding healer, Mable has always believed she was born to help, and never to harm.  Ok, but it's vague. Who does she harm? Why? What impact does this have on her and her story?

But in the kingdom of Aberagan, magic is forbidden and branded as witchcraft. Does Mable live in this kingdom? If so, I'd add this onto the end of the first sentence and make it a complete hook. She's a magic user living in a kingdom that forbids magic. 

A refugee in the hidden healer-village of Winnia, Mable has spent the last few years of her life rescuing healer children from being killed in the nearby castle city. With groups of murderous townsfolk and royal guards patrolling the streets in search of witches, it’s dangerous work. Mable has witnessed with her own eyes many acts of terror against her kind. such as? But this secret practice of gathering refugees has kept them united against those who wish to see them gone. She's been saving magic people from from killed. This paragraph takes a lot of words to say a simple thing. Use the space to be as specific as you can - what's the danger in saving people? why is she saving people? How does she save people? 

During her travels to the city, Mable gains an ally with ties to the royal family. Little does she know, he’s got a thirst for vengeance after a recent betrayal. He needs some help only her people who's her people? Magic people? could possibly provide him - with the added power of their magic, potentially any enemy could be defeated. Before he can earn her trust, however, Mable cannot reveal her true identity as a healer, a certain death sentence if heard by the wrong ears. In the meantime, she will do anything else to earn his favor. This feels like it's more about him than her. 

When they who? learn of Mable’s newfound pathway into the castle, the Winnians present her with a mission involving the most horrific offense a healer knows: murder. She knows change cannot come without death, and she knows there are lower nobility who would help them if given the chance. Still, it troubles her to act as the monster Aberagan believes she is. If she fails her mission, if she trusts or betrays the wrong person while meddling in the nobles’ business, war could be upon them.

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

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

While it's not bad, it needs works. There is too many vague words and phrases. Be specific with the plot - what's happening and why and what are the stakes? Avoid phrases like "little does she know," because they've been used and used until they've become cliched. The ending line - the last sentence I've done in blue - is very vague. It could represent the stakes of countless stories. 

 

Keep trying! If you give up you'll never succeed!

 

I'd love some feedback on my letter, if you'd like: http://agentquerycon...led-ya-fantasy/



#3 scooper09

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Posted 15 November 2016 - 02:00 PM

As a magic-wielding healer, Mable has always believed she was born to help, and never to harm.  

But in the kingdom of Aberagan, magic is forbidden and branded as witchcraft.

A refugee in the hidden healer-village of Winnia, Mable has spent the last few years of her life rescuing healer children from being killed in the nearby castle city. With groups of murderous townsfolk and royal guards patrolling the streets in search of witches, it’s dangerous work. Mable has witnessed with her own eyes many acts of terror against her kind. But this secret practice of gathering refugees has kept them united against those who wish to see them gone.
 

(I think combining the top 3 paragraphs would make your query stronger.)

During her travels to the city, Mable gains an ally with ties to the royal family. Little does she know, he’s got a thirst for vengeance after a recent betrayal. He needs some help only her people could possibly provide him - with the added power of their magic, potentially any enemy could be defeated. Before he can earn her trust, however, Mable cannot reveal her true identity as a healer, a certain death sentence if heard by the wrong ears. In the meantime, she will do anything else to earn his favor.

 

(Be a little more specific - Is the City she travels to Aberagan?)

When they learn of Mable’s newfound pathway into the castle, the Winnians present her with a mission involving the most horrific offense a healer knows: murder. She knows change cannot come without death, and she knows there are lower nobility who would help them if given the chance. Still, it troubles her to act as the monster Aberagan believes she is. If she fails her mission, if she trusts or betrays the wrong person while meddling in the nobles’ business, war could be upon them.

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

Thank you for your time and consideration

 

 

I Like the query. I agree with the first reviewer. Just need to be a little more specific. Hope this is helpful.



#4 Maro Muradian-Foster

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Posted 15 November 2016 - 03:33 PM

Hello! This is one of many many many many many attempts at a query. I will gladly critique others' queries in exchange for some feedback on this, or for general advice on writing queries, which I've realized I'm very bad at. Or at least, I get very frustrated with it.

My query has been written, rewritten, and rewritten many times over.  I'm right there with you!!

 

As a magic-wielding healer, Mable has always believed she was born to help, and never to harm.  

But in the kingdom of Aberagan, magic is forbidden and branded as witchcraft.

A refugee in the hidden healer-village of Winnia, Mable has spent the last few years of her life rescuing healer children from being killed in the nearby castle city. With groups of murderous townsfolk and royal guards patrolling the streets in search of witches, it’s dangerous work. Mable has witnessed with her own eyes many acts of terror against her kind. But this secret practice of gathering refugees Who are the refugees? The children? Be more specific. has kept them united against those 'those' is vague who wish to see them gone. I know you've introduced the characters above, but the last sentence could be more specific. 


During her travels to the city, Mable gains an ally with ties to the royal family. Little does she know, he’s 'he' is vague got a thirst for vengeance after a recent betrayal. He needs some help only her people Mable's people could possibly provide him - with the added power of their vague magic, potentially any enemy could be defeated. Before he can earn her trust, however, Mable cannot reveal her true identity as a healer, a certain death sentence if heard by the wrong ears. In the meantime, she will do anything else such as? to earn his favor.


When they vague learn of Mable’s newfound pathway into the castle, the Winnians present her with a mission involving the most horrific offense a healer knows: murder. She knows change cannot come without death, and she knows there are lower nobility who would help them who? if given the chance. Still, it troubles her to act as the monster Aberagan believes she is. If she fails her mission, if she trusts or betrays the wrong person while meddling in the nobles’ business, war could be upon them.

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

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Be careful of those pronouns. The reader can get confused if not thoughtfully reminded who you are talking about. You can use other names for Mable (magic-wielding healer, the refugee, etc.). I hope some of this helps! 

 

P.S. Please comment on my query: Displace(d) http://agentquerycon...a-hist-fiction/     

I would love to have your input!



#5 danipie

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 04:33 PM

Thank you lovely people! I'm going to have a look at your queries now!

 

Here is another attempt based on your suggestions.

 

As a magic-wielding healer, Mable has always believed she was born to help, and never to harm. But in the kingdom of Aberagan, magic is forbidden and branded as witchcraft - so its use as solely a tool for healing has evolved over the years.

A refugee in the hidden healer-village of Winnia, Mable now devotes herself to rescuing healer children from being killed in the nearby castle city as she once could have been. The royal guards aren’t the only ones to fear - some of the townspeople have taken it upon themselves to dispose of suspected witches. Death constantly lurks at her side.

During her travels to the castle city, Mable gains an ally who has ties to the royal family. Unbeknownst to her, this mysterious man has a thirst for vengeance after a recent betrayal. And he needs help only Mable’s people could possibly provide him. With the added power of healer magic to an army, potentially any enemy could be overthrown. Mable slowly uncovers the truth of their usefulness to one another, but before he can earn her trust, she cannot reveal her true identity as a healer, a certain death sentence if heard by the wrong ears.

When the Winnians learn of Mable’s newfound pathway into the castle, they present her with a mission involving the most horrific offense a healer knows: murder. Change cannot come without death, and Mable knows there are lower nobility who would help her people if given the chance. Still, it troubles her to act as the monster Aberagan believes she is. Unsure of who to trust and who to betray, any choice Mable makes could lead to the failure of her mission, or worse - the extermination of her people.

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

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#6 danipie

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 08:03 PM

As a magic-wielding healer, Mable has always believed she was born to help the sick, and never to harm anybody. But in the kingdom of Aberagan, magic is forbidden and branded as witchcraft - so its use as solely a tool for healing has evolved over the years.

A refugee in the hidden healer-village of Winnia, Mable now devotes herself to rescuing healer children from being killed in the nearby castle city as she once could have been. The royal guards aren’t the only ones to fear - some of the townspeople have taken it upon themselves to dispose of suspected witches. Death constantly lurks at her side as she sneaks in and out of the city walls.

During her travels to the castle city, Mable gains an ally who has ties to the royal family. Unbeknownst to her, this mysterious man has a thirst for vengeance after a recent betrayal. And he needs help only Mable’s people could possibly provide him. With the added power of healer magic to an army, potentially any enemy could be overthrown. Mable slowly uncovers the truth of her usefulness to him, but before he can earn her trust, she cannot reveal her true identity as a healer - a certain death sentence if heard by the wrong ears.

When the Winnians learn of Mable’s newfound pathway into the castle, they present her with a mission involving the most horrific offense a healer knows: murder. Change cannot come for healers without the Queen’s death, and Mable knows there are lower nobility who would help her people if given the chance. Still, it troubles her to act as the monster Aberagan believes she is. Unsure of who to trust and who to betray, any choice Mable makes could lead to the failure of her mission, or worse - the discovery of the healers’ hiding place.

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

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 



#7 danipie

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 08:08 PM

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#8 Daisy

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 09:20 PM

As a magic-wielding healer, Can you think of a less clunky way to say that? For example:

 

Mable, a magical healer, has always believed she was born to help the sick and never to  harm anybody no one. But in the kingdom of Aberagan, magic is forbidden and branded as witchcraft - so its use as solely a tool for healing has evolved over the years.
<----actually, what if you reversed those two sentences. It might flow better.  You're setting the scene and then introducing your MC.

 

 

Maybe something like this:

In the kingdom of Aberagan, magic is forbidden and branded as witchcraft, but its use as an instrument for healing has evolved over the years. Mable, a magical healer, believes she was born to help the sick and to harm no one. That's off the top of my head, but it might flow better if you play around with it a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

A refugee in the hidden healer-village of Winnia, Mable now devotes herself her life to the rescueing of healer children from being killed in the nearby castle city as she once could have been. Can you think of another way to say that part in orange? It needs more "oomph". Use stronger words and tighten it up.

 

The royal guards aren’t the only ones to fear - some of the townspeople have taken it upon themselves to dispose of suspected witches. You could say that in a much better way. "dispose" makes you think of throwing out the trash, but I think you mean something far more sinister than that.  :smile: Death constantly lurks at her side as she sneaks in and out of the city walls. You don't need the word constantly here. Kill the adverbs unless it changes the meaning of your sentence. exp. He was dead vs He was nearly dead. Nine times out of ten, if you're using an adverb, it means you should be using a stronger verb.  
 

During her travels to the castle city, Mable gains an ally who has  with  ties to the royal family; Unbeknownst to her, this  a mysterious man has with a thirst for vengeance after a recent betrayal. Don't tell me he's mysterious.  Show me...and I think you did by saying he has a thirst for vengeance after a recent betrayal. :biggrin:   Does this man have a name?  Mabel is the only character you mention in the query and I don't think it would add confusion to give name him here. 

 

And he  <Man's name> needs help only Mable’s people could possibly provide him. With the added power of healer magic to an army, potentially any enemy could be overthrown. Mable slowly uncovers the truth of her usefulness to him, but before he can earn her trust, she cannot reveal her true identity as a healer - a certain death sentence if heard by the wrong ears. This is really clunky. Can you reword this part and remember to kill the adverbs. :tongue:

 

When the Winnians I don't think I'd name the village up above. Then here, instead of saying "Winnians", I'd refer to them as the villagers.  It makes it easier to follow when you're reading the query for the first time. You want the query to be super easy to follow.   :smile:  learn of Mable’s newfound pathway into the castle, they present her with a mission involving the most horrific offense a healer knows: murder. Change cannot come for healers without the Queen’s death, and Mable knows there are lower nobility who would help her people if given the chance. Still, it troubles her to act as the monster Aberagan believes she is. Unsure of who to trust and who to betray, any choice Mable makes could lead to the failure of her mission, or worse - the discovery of the healers’ hiding place.

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

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

 

 

Hopefully that will give you some fresh ideas!

  :biggrin:



#9 Nonicks

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 03:20 AM

As a magic-wielding healer, Mable has always believed she was born to help the sick, and never to harm anybody. But in the kingdom of Aberagan, magic is forbidden and branded as witchcraft - so its use as solely a tool for healing has evolved over the years. (It seems like a long line for the hook)

A refugee in the hidden healer-village of Winnia, Mable now devotes herself to rescuing healer children from being killed in the nearby castle city as she once could have been. The royal guards aren’t the only ones to fear - some of the townspeople have taken it upon themselves to dispose of suspected witches. Death constantly lurks at her side as she sneaks in and out of the city walls.

During her travels to the castle city, Mable gains an ally who has ties to the royal family. Unbeknownst to her, this mysterious man has a thirst for vengeance after a recent betrayal. And he needs help only Mable’s people could possibly provide him. (I'm confused. Why?) With the added power of healer magic to an army, potentially any enemy could be overthrown. Mable slowly uncovers the truth of her usefulness to him, but before he can earn her trust, she cannot reveal her true identity as a healer - a certain death sentence if heard by the wrong ears.

When the Winnians(I had to get back to recall what is this...) learn of Mable’s newfound pathway into the castle, they present her with a mission involving the most horrific offense a healer knows: murder. Change cannot come for healers without the Queen’s death, and Mable knows there are lower nobility who would help her people if given the chance. Still, it troubles her to act as the monster Aberagan believes she is. Unsure of who to trust and who to betray, any choice Mable makes could lead to the failure of her mission, or worse - the discovery of the healers’ hiding place.

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

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

 

My biggest problem with your query was the way you structure your sentences. I think it's called participial phrase (http://theeditorsblo...ling-modifiers/). If you have one or two sentences like this it's okay, but all your sentences are structures this way. Take a closer look and you'll see what I'm talking about.

 

I also thought there were too many names mentioned.

 

I don't quite understand what are the stakes?

 

Hope my comments were helpful, and thank you for your critique! 



#10 danipie

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 03:55 PM

Every time I post here I only feel more dejected, but here's a fresh attempt...

 

 

 

A century after a great power struggle ruined Aberagan, war threatens to consume the kingdom once more.

 

In a land where healers are the sole users of magic, a greedy usurper twisted the peoples’ trust of their magic-possessing king. The belief that healers are soul-stealing witches spread rampantly, driving them to abandon their kingdom in fear for their lives. Now, disease eats away at the population while an accusation of witchcraft leads to certain death.

 

The escaped healers settled a village on the kingdom’s outskirts in lands deemed cursed. Safe among the haunted hills, they sneak within Aberagan’s walls to save more of their kind from persecution. Mable, a healer who has barely seen her second decade, works tirelessly to gather as many refugees as she can after she was saved by this village as a child.

 

One highborn noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft. People are now speaking of healers more than they have in years. Purists, men who wish to wash the population clean of witchcraft, begin venturing out onto the cursed lands in terrifying numbers. 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.

 

Against her leaders’ wishes, Mable decides to search for help within the kingdom’s walls. If she trusts the wrong person, she will get herself, and likely her people, killed. But if she has her way, she will not only protect her village - she will get them to take back their place in Aberagan.

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

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

 

 

As always, I will return the favor by having a look at your queries. Thanks!



#11 Daniel Andrews

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 04:23 PM

Every time I post here I only feel more dejected, but here's a fresh attempt...

 

    A century after a great power struggle ruined Aberagan, war threatens to consume the kingdom once more. (Glancing at the previous versions of your query, I don't think you were wrong to begin with Mable since she seems to be the main character. Currently this could be almost any fantasy book ever written.)

    In a land where healers are the sole users of magic, a greedy usurper twisted the peoples’ trust of their magic-possessing king. The belief that healers are soul-stealing witches spread rampantly, driving them to abandon their kingdom in fear for their lives. Now, disease eats away at the population while an accusation of witchcraft leads to certain death.

    The escaped healers settled a village on the kingdom’s outskirts in lands deemed cursed. Safe among the haunted hills, they sneak within Aberagan’s walls to save more of their kind from persecution. Mable, a healer who has barely seen her second decade, works tirelessly to gather as many refugees as she can after she was saved by this village as a child.

    One highborn noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft. People are now speaking of healers more than they have in years. Purists, men who wish to wash the population clean of witchcraft, begin venturing out onto the cursed lands in terrifying numbers. 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. (This is your conflict. Everything else was setup)

    Against her leaders’ wishes, Mable decides to search for help within the kingdom’s walls. If she trusts the wrong person, she will get herself, and likely her people, killed. But if she has her way, she will not only protect her village - she will get them to take back their place in Aberagan.

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

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

As always, I will return the favor by having a look at your queries. Thanks!

 

I think the main obstacle so far to your letter is the amount of setup preceding the true conflict. I think if you led with the conflict found in the 4th paragraph this would be well on it's way. Just as an example, the hook might go something like:

 

"When a highborn noble's neck snaps in the kingdom of Aberagan, Mable (Lastname) never would have imagined it would threaten her home village of refugees..."

 

There is a probably a better way to do it than what I'm suggesting, but something like that would help tremendously. Then we have a MC to care about, an inciting incident, and a conflict all up front. Then you can go on to explain just enough of the situation to give the stakes and then what Mable faces to save her people.

 

I hope this helps. Keep up the hard work and try not to get too discouraged. We are all struggling with the same thing.

 

If you wouldn't mind taking a look at my query for THE FESTIVAL it would be much appreciated. Thank you: http://agentquerycon...n-updated-1222/


The Road To Getting Published: https://www.youtube....-0wTffY7TekGDiA


#12 danipie

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 04:29 PM

Thanks! Yeah, it's been really hard to figure out where to start in the query because there is SO MUCH GOING ON in this story I can't fit even half of it into a query. Maybe I'll try to restructure it from the middle.



#13 Daniel Andrews

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 04:36 PM

Thanks! Yeah, it's been really hard to figure out where to start in the query because there is SO MUCH GOING ON in this story I can't fit even half of it into a query. Maybe I'll try to restructure it from the middle.

 

If this is the middle of the manuscript then perhaps you could might simply focus on the healers being driven out of the kingdom by the Usurper and focus on the young Mable there. I'm not sure. Usually in the query you want to focus on the first big conflict and that would seem like it based on what I can infer. Good luck!


The Road To Getting Published: https://www.youtube....-0wTffY7TekGDiA


#14 danipie

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 04:39 PM

If this is the middle of the manuscript then perhaps you could might simply focus on the healers being driven out of the kingdom by the Usurper and focus on the young Mable there. I'm not sure. Usually in the query you want to focus on the first big conflict and that would seem like it based on what I can infer. Good luck!

 

Sorry, by middle I meant the middle of the query where you pointed out maybe I should start - the events at the start of the novel are all caused by the hanging. The usurper and all that is backstory, so i guess it doesn't really belong in the query



#15 danipie

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 04:58 PM

Going off of that, I tried to work more with the second half of the other query, but I'm not really sure about it.

 

 

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

One highborn noble in the kingdom of Aberagan is hanged for the crime of witchcraft. People are now speaking of healers more than they have in years. Purists, men who wish to wash the population clean of witchcraft, begin venturing out onto the cursed lands in terrifying numbers. 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.

Of the many dangerous travelers lurking in the haunted fields, Mable encounters one man whose purpose she cannot figure out. Unbeknownst to her, he’s been looking for her village for a unique reason: to ally himself with them and rebel against the crown to avenge his grandmother’s death. Trusting the wrong person with this plan will only end in getting himself killed.

Against her leaders’ wishes, Mable decides to search for help within the kingdom’s walls, to look for the man she does not realize she already knows. If she trusts the wrong person, she will get herself, and likely her people, killed. But if she has her way, she will not only protect her village - she will get them to take back their place in Aberagan.

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

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#16 MGSCAL

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 06:50 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 is a solid first sentence)

One highborn noble in the kingdom of Aberagan is hanged for the crime of witchcraft. People are now speaking of healers more than they have in years. Purists, men who wish to wash the population clean of witchcraft, begin venturing out onto the cursed lands in terrifying numbers. 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.(I expected to read something involving Mable by the way you set her up in your opening sentence. But this is good backstory)

Of the many dangerous travelers lurking in the haunted fields, Mable(I've got no perspective on Mable.) encounters one man whose purpose she cannot figure out. Unbeknownst to her, he’s been looking for her village for a unique reason: to ally himself with them and rebel against the crown to avenge his grandmother’s death. Trusting the wrong person with this plan will only end in getting himself killed.(You place an awful lot of stock in this nameless man who takes up this whole paragraph. If he is so important to the plot, why not name him? In fact, I get a better perspective on this nameless man then i do Mable.)

Against her leaders’ wishes, Mable decides to search for help within the kingdom’s walls, to look for the man she does not realize she already knows. If she trusts the wrong person, she will get herself, and likely her people, killed. But if she has her way, she will not only protect her village - she will get them to take back their place in Aberagan.

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

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

You do a good job with nailing down your plot for the most part. But in the process, I don't much feel for Mable character wise. And the nameless man seems to be important but I can't relate to what he wants as he has no name.


Check out my query(first link). And a blurb from an old story (bottom link)  :smile:

http://agentquerycon...aladult-sci-fi/

http://agentquerycon...le-humorsci-fi/

http://agentquerycon...ce-of-velisity/

crYAiwHt.jpg

 

"The laws governing what we perceive as reality, time and space, and matter do not apply here. Illogic becomes the logic. Absurdity becomes orthodox.” 

-Valharia


#17 MonaLon

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Posted 25 December 2016 - 02:42 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 is not bad, though I'd prefer an even stronger focus on Mable herself. How does the village's isolation relate to the protagonist? How does it affect Mable?

One highborn noble in the kingdom of Aberagan is hanged for the crime of witchcraft. People are now speaking of healers more than they have in years. Purists, men who wish to wash the population clean of witchcraft, begin venturing out onto the cursed lands in terrifying numbers. 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. Though you've moved away from your protagonist's specific conflict, this backstory is very interesting to me and I'm still engaged with your query. This could be because I haven't seen a story exactly like this before, and I love the idea of dying witchcraft, but I'm interested.

Of the many dangerous travelers lurking in the haunted fields, Mable encounters one man whose purpose she cannot figure out. Unbeknownst to her, he’s been looking for her village for a unique reason: to ally himself with them and rebel against the crown to avenge his grandmother’s death. Trusting the wrong person with this plan will only end in getting himself killed.

Against her leaders’ wishes, Mable decides to search for help within the kingdom’s walls, to look for the man she does not realize she already knows. <-- The last part of this sentence is a little confusing and vague. It's an aspect of the character relations which is glossed over so quickly that I feel like it doesn't do much to strengthen your query imo. If she trusts the wrong person, she will get herself, and likely her people, killed. But if she has her way, she will not only protect her village - she will get them to take back their place in Aberagan. You haven't referred to the kingdom by name through the whole query. I'd just keep it that way and keep the amount of names brought up low.

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

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

You have a lot of good things going on here, but I'd love a stronger focus on your main character! Your backstory and setting are interesting enough to kind of stand on their own, but its still a little strange to not have the spotlight on your protagonist. I don't really know much about Mable except for the situation that surrounds her. So I'd like a better idea of what her opinions, thoughts, and choices are. Other than that, there aren't too many other changes that I'd make with this. Maybe a comparison title or two? Other than that, good job. Keep writing.



#18 Mezzanine

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 04:46 PM

Going off of that, I tried to work more with the second half of the other query, but I'm not really sure about it.

 

 

For over a century, Mable’s village has been left alone, hidden in lands deemed cursed and its healer residents labeled as witches. (This is okay for background, but it's better to open more dynamically by diving right in with the main character doing something or being involved in some event. That pulls the reader in more quickly. What you have here, with background, draws attention away from the main character to the setting, which isn't what you're shooting for)

One highborn noble in the kingdom of Aberagan is hanged for the crime of witchcraft. People are now speaking of healers more than they have in years. Purists, men who wish to wash the population clean of witchcraft, begin venturing out onto the cursed lands in terrifying numbers. 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. (Here, too, this sounds like background. Dive right into the story. We know it's the main story when we see the main character, which this material here lacks because we don't see Mable in this paragraph. This background may be needed to understand what Mable does later, which would show it useful and needed to the story, but try to show her doing things and this background coming into play as she does them. That keeps your forward momentum going and makes for a more active story)

Of the many dangerous travelers lurking in the haunted fields, Mable encounters one man whose purpose she cannot figure out. Unbeknownst to her, he’s been looking for her village for a unique reason: to ally himself with them and rebel against the crown to avenge his grandmother’s death. Trusting the wrong person with this plan will only end in getting himself killed.

Against her leaders’ wishes (We don't get to see who this leader is or hear what his or her wishes are, so saying this without context makes it hard to follow), Mable decides to search for help within the kingdom’s walls, to look for the man she does not realize she already knows. If she trusts the wrong person, she will get herself, and likely her people, killed. But if she has her way, she will not only protect her village - she will get them to take back their place in Aberagan.

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

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Overall, I think you write well. What you need to do next is focus your query. It's good that you have a choice in here with Mable deciding to do the search, but what was involved in making that choice? What could have happened if she had followed her leader's wishes (whatever those wishes were)? What were the stakes involved in that choice. Was it a false choice, something she realistically couldn't have decided any other way?

 

I think you could have a good story. Hope this helps. Best of luck!

 

My query: http://agentquerycon...e-7#entry331391



#19 danipie

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 10:06 PM

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.

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 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. 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.
 



#20 MonaLon

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 11:13 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 is still decent, but it's not as enticing as a hook could be. It states something about Mable's world, but again it's not much about Mable herself.

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 is good that this is now related to Mable specifically, but why does she do this? What's her goal?

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. This feels more like a turning point for the world and Mable than the point that your query initially starts imo. What if you began here and relate to Mable...that is if this is where her story starts.

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. I'm not sure how I feel about the "(accidentally)". I might recommend removing it. Also I still am not sure what the stakes are for Mable. What does she lose personally if she can't save the village? Also, you bring in these other characters like Poppy at the end, I'd recommend keeping the focus on Mable. I did the same thing in my query, but I got some feedback that suggested I focused specifically on one protagonist's story. It makes your query a lot more specific imo!

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

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

 

This is getting better! I like the stronger focus on Mable, but I think you might need to go even further. Like I said in my comments, I'd make sure you don't get distracted by other characters' stories, and just focus on Mable and her journey. Also I'm still not exactly sure what Mable has on the line? Is it her village? How does she feel about that? And what's her goal if it's not to start a war for freedom, since as you said she does it accidentally?

 

Good luck on the rewrite!







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