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The Hero Syndrome (YA dark fantasy) - rev. #36

Fantasy Young Adult Fiction Adventure

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#41 MICRONESIA

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 01:58 PM

When sixteen-year-old, hardcore gamer Malory seeks her best friends’ help in debugging a video game, she knows it could lead to a fatal error. Like getting sucked into the game without a clue about how to play. Yep. I'm interested.

 

Malory must face it: she hasn’t leveled up as a flawless heroine. She’s more of a coward who has tricked her two best friends into an alternate world. <--- This is where I scratch my head. She "tricks her friends into a game" under the pretense of fixing it? You need to clarify this before you move on. Malory has been addicted to that world for years. Nobody knows Knows what? That she tricked her friends or that she's addicted to the game? except J-L, the mysterious boss of the game. He knows who Malory is He knows who she is but WE don't! and what kind of life she escapes when she travels into the virtual lands. <--- This sentence is clunky. Re-word. The more he twists Malory’s dreamworld Dreamworld? I thought it was a video game! and establishes his authority, the more she takes it as a challenge and tries to regain the upper hand.

 

But now J-L is twisting the game beyond nightmare. Each new journey turns out to be more violent and dangerous for Malory. Then why does she keep playing? She just wants a challenge? If that's the case, then the stakes are high enough -- at least not in the query. She misses the time when her cupcakes were not swarming with his cockroaches, when her meadows were not haunted by his sneaky monsters "Sneaky" isn't a very menacing word..., when the sun rose, when innocents were not found dead—and of course, when his teen slaves were not watching her every move. <--- Okay, this information definitely needs to come sooner!

 

Malory no longer feels up to facing J-L alone. That’s why she needs reliable help. I don't think this merits a standalone paragraph.

 

Once in the game, there are no cheat codes, no rage quit. Nice. Not even a map. Malory and her two best friends have to use their wits to beat the boss. Their only chance to return home in one sane piece—or more simply to stay alive—is to know their weapons. But they’d better know J-L’s as well. They got stuck in the game without meaning to?

 

MADNESS RIDERS: THE HERO SYNDROME (62,390 words) is a YA dark fantasy. My concept is a modern-day Jumanji that blends the plotline of Dreamscape: Saving Alex with the eerie atmosphere of American McGee’s Alice. This will appeal to fans of fantasy, anime lovers and gamers alike.

 

I have a BA in French language and literature. My most recent publication is a collection of dark erotica short stories titled Les Agonies de l’Innocence (Tabou Editions, June 2013).

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

This seems like an awesome book. However, I don't think the story is quite on the page yet. Along with motive/stakes, I really think you should clarify the "rules" of this world. They... go inside video games? Can you alert the reader to this sci-fi setting sooner? And what this process entails? Help us out a bit more here.



#42 Iconian

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 07:16 PM



When sixteen-year-old, [no comma] hardcore gamer Malory seeks her best friends’ help in debugging a video game, she knows it could lead to a fatal error. Like getting sucked into the game without a clue about how to play.  [You could say, "Or perhaps something a little more fatal, even."]

 

Malory must face it: she hasn’t leveled up as a flawless heroine. She’s more of a coward who has tricked her two best friends into an alternate world. Malory has been addicted to that world for years. Nobody knows except J-L, the mysterious boss of the game. He knows who Malory is and what kind of life she escapes when she travels into the virtual lands. The more he twists Malory’s dreamworld and establishes his authority, the more she takes it as a challenge and tries to regain the upper hand.

 

But now J-L is twisting the game beyond nightmare. Each new journey turns out to be more violent and dangerous for Malory. She misses the time when her cupcakes were not swarming with his cockroaches, when her meadows were not haunted by his sneaky monsters, when the sun rose, when innocents were not found dead—and of course, when his teen slaves were not watching her every move.

 

Malory no longer feels up to facing J-L alone. That’s why she needs reliable help.  [I think there's something missing between this paragraph and the next.  Don't know what, but maybe something to help bring some context, particularly for non-gamers.]

 

Once in the game, there are no cheat codes, no rage quit. Not even a map. Malory and her two best friends have to use their wits to beat the boss. Their only chance to return home in one sane piece—or more simply to stay alive—is to know their weapons. But they’d better know J-L’s as well.

 

MADNESS RIDERS: THE HERO SYNDROME (62,390 words) is a YA dark fantasy. My concept is a modern-day Jumanji that blends the plotline of Dreamscape: Saving Alex with the eerie atmosphere of American McGee’s Alice. This will appeal to fans of fantasy, anime lovers and gamers alike.

 

I have a BA in French language and literature. My most recent publication is a collection of dark erotica short stories titled Les Agonies de l’Innocence (Tabou Editions, June 2013).

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

I'm a gamer . . . but if Malory was sick of the game, why didn't she just find a new one?

 

You may want to say something about masochist addiction to clear this up.  Like:

 

 

But now J-L is twisting the game beyond nightmare. Each new journey turns out to be more violent and dangerous for Malory. She misses the time when her cupcakes were not swarming with his cockroaches, when her meadows were not haunted by his sneaky monsters, when the sun rose, when innocents were not found dead—and of course, when his teen slaves were not watching her every move.  She misses fun.  She wishes she didn't have this masochist addiction.

 

 

It sounds interesting.  I like the query, but I think there's something missing, which I can't quite place my finger on.


My query, open to critiques:   http://agentquerycon...mantic-dramedy/


#43 albarchs

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 08:13 PM

When sixteen-year-old hardcore gamer Malory seeks [I'd used beg to display her desperation/neediness since you mentioned she's a coward in the second paragraph] her best friends’ help in debugging a video game, she knows it could lead to a fatal error. [What is fatal about debugging a game? I know what you're getting at here. I don't feel intrigued, though, since this is slightly vague.] Like getting sucked into the game without a clue about how to play.  [I think you need another sentence/plot point here. You go from debugging the game to getting sucked into Tron. I have no idea how this happened.]

 

Malory must face it [ What is it? her past? her mistakes? I'd be specific with your word choice]: she hasn’t leveled up as a flawless heroine.  She’s more of a coward who has who tricked her two best friends into an alternate world.[I would say, "a digital nightmare" here] Malory has been addicted to that world for years. Nobody knows except J-L, the mysterious boss of the game. He knows who Malory is and what kind of life [I imagined her life is crappy. A quick mention here can establish making the reader care/sympthasize with Malory] she escapes when she travels into the virtual lands. The more he twists Malory’s dreamworld and establishes his authority, the more she takes it as a challenge and tries to regain the upper hand.

 

But now J-L is twisting the game beyond nightmare. Each new journey turns out to be more violent and dangerous for Malory. She misses the time when her cupcakes were not swarming with his cockroaches, when her meadows were not haunted by his sneaky monsters, when the sun rose, when innocents were not found dead—and of course, when his teen slaves were not watching her every move.

 

Malory no longer feels up to facing J-L alone. That’s why she needs reliable help. [ There's a disconnect here. This is the motivation for her dragging her friends into the game world. I'm not sure if I'd put this here since it's a critical plot point]

 

Once in the game, there are no cheat codes, no rage quit. Not even a map. Malory and her two best friends have to use their wits to beat the boss. Their only chance to return home in one sane piece—or more simply to stay alive—is to know their weapons. But they’d better know J-L’s as well.

 

MADNESS RIDERS: THE HERO SYNDROME (62,390 words) is a YA dark fantasy. My concept is a modern-day Jumanji that blends the plotline of Dreamscape: Saving Alex with the eerie atmosphere of American McGee’s Alice. This will appeal to fans of fantasy, anime lovers and gamers alike.

 

I have a BA in French language and literature . My most recent publication is a collection of dark erotica short stories titled Les Agonies de l’Innocence (Tabou Editions, June 2013).

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#44 lyncfs

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 09:44 PM

When sixteen-year-old, hardcore gamer Malory seeks her best friends’ help in debugging a video game, she knows it could lead to a fatal error.Like getting sucked into the game without a clue about how to play. ​(I re-read your hook a few times. How does Malory know that she will get sucked into the game? Has she been there before? At first, I thought you could change the hook to focus on Malory and how she physically enters the game as an escape from real life. However, it seems that this is the first time entering with her best friends and if she hasn't done it before how does she know it can happen? Perhaps you could say...When sixteen year-old hardcore gamer Malroy seeks her best friends help in debugging a game, she never realizes she can get sucked into the game world for real...)

 

Malory must face it: she hasn’t leveled up as a flawless heroine. She’s more of a coward who has tricked her two best friends into an alternate world. ​(I like the contrast) Malory has been addicted to that world for years. Nobody knows except J-L, the mysterious boss of the game. He knows who Malory is and what kind of life she escapes when she travels into the virtual lands. The more he​ ​J L twists Malory’s dreamworld and establishes his authority ​(I would pick stronger words...asserts dominance?) , the more she ​Malory takes it as a challenge and tries to regain the upper hand. ​(I like how you introduce the villain and his desires but this paragraph needs to be condensed and the focus needs to stay on Malory like you have in the next paragraph/)

 

But now J-L is twisting the game beyond nightmare. ​(You already made this clear in the above paragraph) Each new journey turns out to be more violent and dangerous for Malory. She misses the time when her cupcakes were not swarming with his cockroaches, when her meadows were not haunted by his sneaky monsters, when the sun rose, when innocents were not found dead—and of course, when his teen slaves were not watching her every move.​ (this is too much description and means nothing to me. I would pick one defining event that really bothers her and maybe link it to how the virtual world helps her cope in the outside world).

 

Malory no longer feels up to facing J-L alone. That’s why she needs reliable help.

 

Once in the game, there are no cheat codes, no rage quit. Not even a map. Malory and her two best friends have to use their wits to beat the boss. Their only chance to return home in one sane piece—or more simply to stay alive—is to know their weapons. But they’d better know J-L’s as well. ​(I like the gaming terms but I don't understand what you mean by know their weapons? Like literal weapons in game? And what are J.L's weapons? That's still not clear. What choice does Malory need to decide? Destroy J.L and get out alive or destroy the only sanctuary she's had from the outside world? And what happens if she dies in game? Does her body also die (I'm thinking sword art online here). What are the stakes of losing?)

 

MADNESS RIDERS: THE HERO SYNDROME (62,390 words) is a YA dark fantasy. My concept is a modern-day Jumanji that blends the plotline of Dreamscape: Saving Alex with the eerie atmosphere of American McGee’s Alice. This will appeal to fans of fantasy, anime lovers and gamers alike. ​(Your comps are pretty strong. No need generalize about the other fans especially because it's a novel and not on television or a gaming console)

 

I have a BA in French language and literature. My most recent publication is a collection of dark erotica short stories titled Les Agonies de l’Innocence (Tabou Editions, June 2013).

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I love the premise and it definitely does have an 'anime' feel to it. I think with some clarifying of the plot and the stakes, your query will be pretty interesting and unique. Perhaps you can think of some novel comps such as READY PLAYER ONE.


THE IMMORTAL GUARD. Link to my query. Please critique, if I have reviewed yours.

#45 Sataris

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 10:41 PM

When sixteen-year-old, hardcore gamer Malory seeks her best friends’ help in debugging a video game, she knows it could lead to a fatal error. Like getting sucked into the game without a clue about how to play. Isn't she actually familiar with the world though? and doesn't she trick them on purpose?

 

Malory must face it: she hasn’t leveled up as into a flawless heroine. She’s more of a coward who has tricked her two best friends into an alternate world. I might lead with this; it's more interesting than knowing that she knows something could go wrong. grabs your attention really well Malory has been addicted to that world for years. Nobody knows except J-L, the mysterious boss of the game. He knows who Malory is and what kind of life she escapes when she travels into the virtual lands. The more he twists Malory’s dreamworld and establishes his authority, the more she takes it as a challenge and tries to regain the upper hand.  I'd either cut this or rephrase the next line, since you're using twisting twice here

 

But now J-L is twisting the game beyond nightmare. Each new journey turns out to be more violent and dangerous for Malory. She misses the time when her cupcakes were not swarming with his cockroaches, when her meadows were not haunted by his sneaky monsters, when the sun rose, when innocents were not found dead—and of course, when his teenage slaves were not watching her every move.

 

Malory no longer feels up to facing J-L alone. That’s why she needs reliable help.  I think this is probably implied by her tricking her friends into helping her, or maybe this needs to be said a bit earlier

 

Once in the game, there are no cheat codes, no rage quit. Not even a map. Malory and her two best friends have to use their wits to beat the boss. Their only chance to return home in one sane piece—or more simply to stay alive—is to know their weapons. But they’d better know J-L’s as well.

 

MADNESS RIDERS: THE HERO SYNDROME (62,390 words) is a YA dark fantasy. My concept is a modern-day Jumanji that blends the plotline of Dreamscape: Saving Alex with the eerie atmosphere of American McGee’s Alice. great comps This will appeal to fans of fantasy, anime lovers and gamers alike.

 

I have a BA in French language and literature. My most recent publication is a collection of dark erotica short stories titled Les Agonies de l’Innocence (Tabou Editions, June 2013).

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I still think the idea that she's tricking her friends into helping her is really cool. I'd keep reading just for that. What I do wonder about though (and you've partially addressed this with the line about her no longer feeling up to facing the boss) is how she justifies endangering her friend's lives. Is she just lonely and in a really dark place and terrified of being alone or something like that? Does she gain anything by beating the boss that makes risking her friends (and her own life) worth it? or is there a way to phrase it so she comes off as more sympathetic (even if she's an anti hero)?

 

I hope that was helpful! and thanks for the critique! 


You can find my current query here.


#46 Kjcloutier19

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 11:56 PM

 

 

When sixteen-year-old, hardcore gamer Malory seeks her best friends’ help in debugging a video game, she knows it could lead to a fatal error. Like getting sucked into the game without a clue about how to play. (Interesting. But just wanted to double check that she did in fact know this could happen?)

 

Malory must face it: she hasn’t leveled up as a flawless heroine. She’s more of a coward who has tricked her two best friends into an alternate world. Malory has been addicted to that world for years. Nobody knows except J-L, the mysterious boss of the game. He knows who Malory is and what kind of life she escapes when she travels into the virtual lands. The more he twists Malory’s dreamworld and establishes his authority, the more she takes it as a challenge and tries to regain the upper hand. (This is super interesting, but it does leave with a ton of questions, and I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Is this a futuristic world where these games are common? Is this a present world where they aren't? If so, how did she get this thing? Also not certain why she tricks her friends into getting sucked into this universe)

 

But now J-L is twisting the game beyond nightmare. Each new journey turns out to be more violent and dangerous for Malory. She misses the time when her cupcakes were not swarming with his cockroaches, when her meadows were not haunted by his sneaky monsters, when the sun rose, when innocents were not found dead—and of course, when his teen slaves were not watching her every move.

 

Malory no longer feels up to facing J-L alone. That’s why she needs reliable help. (So you answered one of my earlier questions but I feel like maybe it should have been sooner?)

 

Once in the game, there are no cheat codes, no rage quit. Not even a map. Malory and her two best friends have to use their wits to beat the boss. Their only chance to return home in one sane piece—or more simply to stay alive—is to know their weapons. But they’d better know J-L’s as well. (This last sentence falls a little flat. Mostly because I have no idea what that means. It's also not clear why they are trapped in the game this time, when it seemed Malory could leave whenever she wanted before. I'm guessing because of the boss?)

 

MADNESS RIDERS: THE HERO SYNDROME (62,390 words) is a YA dark fantasy. My concept is a modern-day Jumanji that blends the plotline of Dreamscape: Saving Alex with the eerie atmosphere of American McGee’s Alice. This will appeal to fans of fantasy, anime lovers and gamers alike.

 

I have a BA in French language and literature. My most recent publication is a collection of dark erotica short stories titled Les Agonies de l’Innocence (Tabou Editions, June 2013).

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

(This is definitely an interesting plot but your query leaves to much out I think. I walk away with too many questions and a little confused. Once you have of that cleared up, it should be a pretty good query)







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