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The Cloven King - YA Fantasy


Best Answer lsprochnow , 04 January 2017 - 10:50 AM

Thanks for all the great feedback! I'll make sure to comment on all of your queries. As of now, I think I'm finished with my query unless I don't get any bites when I start sending it out

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#1 lsprochnow

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 03:47 PM

Hey writers,

 

Any feedback on my query would be greatly appreciated. It's been through a couple edits and I still don't feel totally comfortable with it. Let me know if you have a query listed and I will make sure to leave my feedback as well. Thanks!

 

THIS IS THE NEWEST VERSION OF THE QUERY. I'm finally feeling pretty satisfied with my query and think it's ready to send out. I would appreciate some opinions on whether or not you think it's ready.

 

Dear Agent,

 

Verth was only a baby when his adoptive parents found him in the woods next to the body of his murdered mother. Seventeen years later, Verth still leaves flowers at his mother’s grave, and the Cloven King still searches for the boy prophesied to end his reign.

 

When Verth discovers an emerald dagger imbued with dark magic, the Cloven King senses him for the first time in years. Desperate to find him at last, the king sends a raiding party to Verth’s fishing village. Unable to find Verth, the raiders torch the village and capture his adoptive mother as bait.

 

Joined by a one-eyed warlord with his own vendetta, Verth cuts a path toward the Cloven King’s stronghold. In venturing north, Verth learns that an army marches toward the king’s gate, prepared to dethrone the king and slaughter every inhabitant in the city, including his imprisoned mother. To hold back the floodgates of war and save his mother’s life, Verth must confront the Cloven King, wielding only the emerald dagger, and destroy a man that legend says cannot die.

 

My YA fantasy novel, THE CLOVEN KING, combines the coming-of-age elements of The Assassin’s Apprentice with fantastical themes found in The Last Unicorn. The novel is complete at 98,000 words.

 

I published two stories in the Phoenix Literary Magazine, winning the magazine’s short story competition with my story “Highlands.”



#2 Daniel Andrews

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 11:23 PM

Hey writers,

 

Any feedback on my query would be greatly appreciated. It's been through a couple edits and I still don't feel totally comfortable with it. Let me know if you have a query listed and I will make sure to leave my feedback as well. Thanks!

 

Dear Agent,

 

Verth was only a child when his adoptive parents found him in the woods next to the body of his murdered mother. Seventeen years later, Verth still leaves flowers at his mother’s grave, and the Cloven King still searches for the boy that who escaped his grasp all those years ago. Good hook, I like the juxtaposition.

 

When Verth discovers a dagger imbued with dark magic, the Cloven King senses him for the first time in years. Desperate, the King captures Verth’s adoptive mother, his last remaining relative, as bait. Burdened by a one-eyed warrior, an ageless witch, and a possessed boy he meets on his travels, Verth cuts a path toward the King’s stronghold, unsure of which companion he can trust.  Is the King threatened by this dagger? I am also curious where Verth was when the king captured his mother.

 

In venturing north, Verth learns that an army marches toward the King’s gate, prepared to raze the city and slaughter every inhabitant, including his imprisoned mother. To hold back the floodgates of war and save his mother’s life, Verth must topple the King’s spire, said to be the source of all his power.

 

Readers of YA fantasy This is a bit too broad to be useful, I think simply stating the genre with comp titles may go further.  will especially enjoy my novel, THE CLOVEN KING, as it combines coming of age elements with fantastical themes found in classic fantasy novels. The novel is complete at 94k words.

 

As an author I have won the Phoenix Literary Magazine short story competition with my short story “Highlands.”

 

This query is pretty good. Conflict is clear, main players are clear, what they want is clear. I usually only like to give specific feedback, but I will say with the exception of the first paragraph the wording and descriptions seemed a bit generic. I may try to add some descriptors or choose different words that may convey whatever elements make your characters and story unique.

 

Good job and keep up the hard work.

 

If you wouldn't mind taking a shot on my query for THE FESTIVAL it would be much appreciated: http://agentquerycon...on-updated-129/


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


#3 jphollis

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 11:31 PM

A great start for a query letter. I think any advice we're going to give is going to be rather superficial as you've got the main structure and feel laid out quite nicely. While reading, I did notice a few words an phrases that you could cut without hindering understanding. I've listed them below:

 

Dear Agent,

 

Verth was only a child when his adoptive parents found him in the woods next to the body of his murdered mother. Seventeen years later, Verth still leaves flowers at his mother’s grave, and the Cloven King still searches for the boy that escaped his grasp all those years ago But when Verth discovers a dagger imbued with dark magic, the Cloven King senses him for the first time in years. Desperate not to let him slip out of his grasp a second time, the King captures Verth’s adoptive mother, his last remaining relative, as bait. 

 

Burdened by a one-eyed warrior, an ageless witch, and a possessed boy he meets met on his travels, Verth cuts a path toward the King’s stronghold, unsure of which companion he can trust. In venturing north, Verth learns that an army marches toward the King’s gate, prepared to raze the city and slaughter every inhabitant, including his imprisoned mother. To hold back the floodgates of war and save his mother’s life, Verth must topple the King’s spire, said to be the source of all his power.

 

Readers of YA fantasy will especially enjoy my novel, THE CLOVEN KING, as it combines coming of age elements with fantastical themes found in classic fantasy novels. The novel is complete at 94k words.


No query or synopsis up yet. Stay tuned if you wish to reciprocate on a critique I've given you.

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My Blog: jphollis.com


#4 lsprochnow

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 02:54 PM

Thanks for the feedback! I appreciate the help.



#5 wildworks

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 03:39 PM

Dear Agent,

 

Verth was only a child when his adoptive parents found him in the woods next to the body of his murdered mother. (I don’t feel any of this is needed for the plot.) Seventeen years later after his parents murder, Verth still leaves flowers at his mother’s their grave, and the Cloven King still searches for the boy that escaped his grasp all those years ago. (Cutting the first sentence give the latter more power, while still getting across everything we need to know. I switched mother to parents because when you refer to his “adoptive mother” as his “mother,” it could be confusing if an agent is reading quickly.)

 

When Verth discovers a dagger imbued with dark magic, the Cloven King senses him for the first time in years. (How? Is it like the one ring?) Desperate, the King captures Verth’s adoptive mother, his last remaining relative, as bait. (This seems like a jump. How did the king find her? Also, what threat is Verth to him? And why not just kill Verth if he was able to find the mother?) Burdened by a one-eyed warrior, an ageless witch, and a possessed boy he meets on his travels, (Why are they a burden and what do they add to the plot?) Verth cuts a path (A path through what?) toward the King’s stronghold, unsure of which companion he can trust. (Why can’t he trust them?)

 

In venturing north, Verth learns that an army marches toward the King’s gate, (Why?) prepared to raze the city and slaughter every inhabitant, (Why?) including his imprisoned mother. To hold back the floodgates of war and save his mother’s life, Verth must topple the King’s spire, said to be the source of all his power. (I feel you could end on a stronger note. Not sure what though.)

 

Readers of YA fantasy will especially enjoy my novel, THE CLOVEN KING, as it combines coming of age elements with fantastical themes found in classic fantasy novels. The novel is complete at 94k words. (This is too vague. If you want pick out a couple Comp titles published in the last few years that accurately compare with your book.)

 

I won the Phoenix Literary Magazine short story competition with my short story “Highlands.”

 

Overall, your query is really tight. The tree paragraph are only 168 words.  You have room to expand and explain some of the plot point. Just try not to get over 200 or 250 words.

Hope this helps. My query is bellow if you’re interested.



#6 lsprochnow

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 11:12 AM

Thanks for the feedback, Wildworks



#7 ATS

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 03:58 PM


Dear Agent,

 

Verth was only a child when his adoptive parents found him in the woods next to the body of his murdered mother. Seventeen years later, Verth still leaves flowers at his mother’s grave, and the Cloven King still searches for the boy who escaped his grasp all those years ago.

 

When Verth discovers a dagger imbued with dark magic, the Cloven King senses him for the first time in years.  Eager to find Verth at last Desperate not to let him slip out of his grasp again, the King captures Verth’s adoptive mother, his last remaining relative, as bait.

 

Burdened by a one-eyed warrior, an ageless witch, and a possessed boy he meets on his travels, Verth cuts a path toward the King’s stronghold, unsure of which companion he can trust. In venturing north, Verth learns that an army marches toward the King’s gate, prepared to raze the city and slaughter every inhabitant, including his imprisoned mother. To hold back the floodgates of war and save his mother’s life, Verth must topple the King’s spire, the source of all his power.

 

My novel, THE CLOVEN KING, combines the coming-of-age elements of The Assassin’s Apprentice with fantastical themes found in The Last Unicorn. The novel is complete at 94k words.

 

I published two stories in the Phoenix Literary Magazine, winning the short story competition with my story “Highlands.”

Nice, concise, clear query! My two cents:

 

The special connection between the Cloven King and Verth's family is hinted at, but I would like to know more. Is he anointed to topple the Cloven King? Is he the "one who lived" a la Harry Potter, immune to the Cloven King's attacks? You may want to avoid spoilers, but I think knowing more about the stakes between those two would be helpful.

 

I agree with the poster who asked "Why?' about the army who is marching against the cloven king and aiming to slaughter everyone. Has the Cloven King been as cruel to his subjects and enemies as he has been to Verth?

 

The side characters sound interesting, so "burdened" seems a strange word to introduce them. Maybe "Joined by." You cover the ambiguity of the group with "unsure which of his companions he can trust."

 

And, like wildworks, I thought you could punch up the last sentence. Is the stepmother in the spire? Does the spire connect to the dagger? Will he need all of his strange fellow travelers to accomplish it?

 

Strong overall!

 

My query, if you have a chance to share your thoughts, is:

http://agentquerycon...d-version-in-4/



#8 lsprochnow

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 04:05 PM

Thanks, ATS! I'll make sure to leave you feedback on your query



#9 Arcanjoe

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 07:07 PM

Hey writers,

 

Any feedback on my query would be greatly appreciated. It's been through a couple edits and I still don't feel totally comfortable with it. Let me know if you have a query listed and I will make sure to leave my feedback as well. Thanks!

 

THIS IS THE NEWEST VERSION OF THE QUERY

 

Dear Agent,

 

Verth was only a child (Baby?) when his adoptive parents found him in the woods next to the body of his murdered mother. Seventeen years later, Verth still leaves flowers at his mother’s grave, and the Cloven King still searches for the boy who escaped his grasp. (Why is the Cloven King hunting him?)

 

When Verth discovers a dagger imbued with dark magic, the Cloven King senses him for the first time in years. (How?) Desperate to find him at last, the King captures Verth’s adoptive mother, his last remaining relative, as bait. (If he can easily find her then why couldn't he find Verth?)

 

Burdened by a one-eyed warrior, an ageless witch, and a possessed boy he meets on his travels, (How does he meet these people and why are they his travelling companions?) Verth cuts a path toward the King’s stronghold, unsure of which companion he can trust. In venturing north, Verth learns that an army marches toward the demon King’s gate, prepared to raze the city and slaughter every inhabitant, including his imprisoned mother. To hold back the floodgates of war and save his mother’s life, Verth must confront the Cloven King at the top of his spire and destroy a man that legend says cannot die. (Is he more than a King then? I'm guessing so if he own magical artifacts such as the danger.)

 

My novel, THE CLOVEN KING, combines the coming-of-age elements of The Assassin’s Apprentice with fantastical themes found in The Last Unicorn. The novel is complete at 94k words.

 

I published two stories in the Phoenix Literary Magazine, winning the short story competition with my story “Highlands.”

 

I agree with the other critiquers, this is a solid query. It's concise, well written and gives us a clear sense of what's happening. But if you added a little more detail then it could really sparkle. E.g. Tell us (or at least hint at) why the Cloven King even wants to find Verth again. Right now we can only assume that he's a tad pissed off that he managed to kill the mother and failed with the son.

Also, why is the Cloven King so special? We don't need spoilers, but if he's essentially unkillable then he's got to have some sort of magical power or ability, right?

Finally, the burdensome companions, why can't he simply ditch them? Is he using them? Are the roads of this kingdom too dangerous to travel alone so they decide to stick together? If I just happened to bump into a one-eyed warrior, an ageless witch, and a possessed boy, I'd not be hanging around them for very long. Why does Verth?

 

Hope this helps!  :smile: 


I'd love for you to critique my latest query...

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 

Or the first 250 words of my story...

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 


#10 bookgirl_kt

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 08:36 PM

Here are my thoughts, hope they help:

 

Dear Agent,

 

Verth was only a child when his adoptive parents found him in the woods next to the body of his murdered mother. Seventeen years later, (if you mean Verth to be seventeen, I think you should say he was "only a baby". A child makes me think he's more like twenty-something now.) Verth still leaves flowers at his mother’s grave, and the Cloven King still searches for the boy who escaped his grasp. I love this ending. Cloven King, so mysterious.

 

When Verth discovers a dagger imbued with dark magic, the Cloven King senses him for the first time in years. Desperate to find him at last, the King captures Verth’s adoptive mother, his last remaining relative (since the dad is dead, maybe cut him from the first sentence and just say his adoptive mother found him. Then you can cut the part about last remaining relative, and it's more clear, less wordy), as bait.

 

Burdened (odd word choice. Are his companions really so useless they're a burden? Why does he take them, then?) by a one-eyed warrior, an ageless witch, and a possessed boy he meets on his travels, Verth cuts a path toward the King’s stronghold, unsure of which companion he can trust. I like the mistrust dynamic. But I'd like a little more explanation as to why one might be a traitor and why Verth is taking them along. In venturing north, Verth learns that an army marches toward the demon King’s gate, (So the Cloven King is a demon? Makes sense, with the name. I want to know a bit more about the villain. I know you may not want to reveal yet why he's after Verth, but what does Verth think is going on? Is the king a demon literally or figuratively? Is he well-known as a tyrant? prepared to raze the city and slaughter every inhabitant, including his imprisoned mother (Nice conflict. I like it when the good and evil side isn't all black and white). To hold back the floodgates of war and save his mother’s life, Verth must confront the Cloven King at the top of his spire (not a relevant detail) and destroy a man that legend says cannot die. Not a bad ending, but it could be a bit stronger. All heroes have a villain to confront. Maybe the wham of an army being about to kill Verth's mother or a companion betraying him could be saved for the end.

 

My novel, THE CLOVEN KING, combines the coming-of-age elements of The Assassin’s Apprentice with fantastical themes found in The Last Unicorn. The novel is complete at 94k words.

 

Overall, I quite liked this! The language is strong, so my suggestions were more about content. I generally concur with the other commentators about a bit more detail. You probably can't answer all my questions, but a few would help.

 

I've completed my query, but I would appreciate it if you took a look at my synopsis here when you have the chance. Thanks!



#11 lsprochnow

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 12:08 PM

Thanks for the suggestions and kind words! I'll make sure to leave some feedback on your queries as well



#12 katiefs

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 03:11 PM

Dear Agent,

 

Verth was only a baby when his adoptive parents found him in the woods next to the body of his murdered mother. Seventeen years later, Verth still leaves flowers at his mother’s grave, and the Cloven King still searches for the boy who escaped his grasp. (I like this intro. I think it’s an interesting way to let us know that it’s the Cloven King who killed him, and that he’s still in danger.)

 

When Verth discovers a dagger imbued with dark magic, the Cloven King senses him for the first time in years. Desperate to find him at last, the King captures Verth’s adoptive mother as bait. (I’d like to know a bit more about Verth. There’s no sense of his character or personality so far, except that he clearly cares about his family. Also, I’m not sure if this can be conveniently addressed in the query, but why was the king able to kidnap Verth’s mother but not him?)

 

Joined by a one-eyed warrior, an ageless witch, and a possessed boy he meets on his travels, Verth cuts a path toward the King’s stronghold, unsure of which companion he can trust. (This feels a little generic to me. Why can’t he trust them? Why is he traveling with them if he can’t trust them? Is it really important that you mention them at all?) In venturing north, Verth learns that an army marches toward the demon King’s gate, prepared to dethrone the tyrant and slaughter every inhabitant of [the city], including his imprisoned mother. To hold back the floodgates of war and save his mother’s life, Verth must confront the Cloven King and destroy kill a man that legend says cannot die. (I like this ending – a man that legend says cannot die. But I don’t understand how killing him is going to stop the war. Will the army turn back if they find out the king is dead? That seems unusually reasonable for a force that was going to slaughter everyone they found.)

 

My novel, THE CLOVEN KING, combines the coming-of-age elements of The Assassin’s Apprentice with fantastical themes found in The Last Unicorn. The novel is complete at 94,600 words. (Brownie points for mentioning The Last Unicorn. :-) )

 

I published two stories in the Phoenix Literary Magazine, winning the short story competition (What short story competition? Should it say “their short story competition” perhaps?) with my story “Highlands.”

 

I think this query reads a little too generic fantasy at the moment. I don’t mean this as a grievous insult – I love this kind of fantasy book – but if an agent is going to pull it out of the slush pile it’s got to have something special. And the reader needs to care more about Verth and what happens to him. I hope that makes sense and is helpful. I wish you the best of luck!

 

If you have time to look at my query, I’d love your input: http://agentquerycon...ara-ya-fantasy/



#13 heynowyou

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Posted 14 December 2016 - 11:03 AM

 

Dear Agent,

 

Verth was only a baby when his adoptive parents found him in the woods next to the body of his murdered mother. Seventeen years later, Verth still leaves flowers at his mother’s grave, and the Cloven King still searches for the boy who escaped his grasp.  (The first sentence was kind of boring and a little cliche. But the second one was a really good hook and definitely brought me in. Good hook)

 

When Verth discovers a dagger imbued with dark magic, the Cloven King senses him for the first time in years. Desperate to find him at last, the King captures Verth’s adoptive mother as bait. (Clear set up and stakes so that's good)

 

Joined by a one-eyed warrior, an ageless witch, and a possessed boy he meets on his travels, Verth cuts a path (this phrase is weird. Does he fight to get there? Is he just traveling on foot? Cuts a path makes me think that there's a struggle and a fight but against who or what i can't tell) toward the King’s stronghold, unsure of which companion he can trust. (I'm not sure this works. I was starting to care about Verth but now there's three other characters that he can't trust and I'm not sure why he cant. Since there;s nothing about them, and there shouldn't be seeing as this is about Verth but if there isn't then do we need to mention them?) In venturing north, Verth learns that an army marches toward the demon King’s gate, prepared to dethrone the tyrant and slaughter every inhabitant, including his imprisoned mother. (I feel like you've complicated the story in too shot a time. The villain was the Cloven King. Now there are demons coming. And I still don't know why the Cloven King wanted Verth to begin with which was literally the entire hook. So you set up this hook but then let it go) To hold back the floodgates of war and save his mother’s life, Verth must confront the Cloven King and destroy a man that legend says cannot die. (and now we're back to the Cloven King but have ignored whoever this demon army are)

 

My novel, THE CLOVEN KING, combines the coming-of-age elements of The Assassin’s Apprentice with fantastical themes found in The Last Unicorn. The novel is complete at 94,600 words.

 

I published two stories in the Phoenix Literary Magazine, winning the short story competition with my story “Highlands.”

 

I think your first two paragraph are good. But the third has too much going on so it reads a little all over the place. I think you need to focus on two things, Obviously on Verth who gets lost in plot on the third paragraph. And on the Cloven King. You set up that Verth "escaped" the kings "grasp" that's intriguing. Why? How? But you never touch on that again. I suggest giving us a reason why the King was after him to begin with, that would explain why he takes Verths mom and is so adamant about getting him. Hope that helps. Thanks for the feedback too :)


Here's my attempt at a query letter

KEEPERS (YA urban fantasy)

Any help is appreciated and will be reciprocated to the best of my abilities.


#14 oonanoona

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Posted 14 December 2016 - 11:40 AM

Dear Agent,

 

Verth was only a baby when his adoptive parents found him in the woods next to the body of his murdered mother. Seventeen years later, Verth still leaves flowers at his mother’s grave, and the Cloven King still searches for the boy who escaped his grasp.  (why is Verth so important?)

 

When Verth discovers a dagger imbued odd word, maybe inscribed with dark magic, the Cloven King senses him for the first time in years. Desperate to ensnare him find him at last, the King captures Verth’s adoptive mother as bait. 

 

Joined by a one-eyed warrior, an ageless witch, and a possessed boy he meets on his travels, Verth cuts a path toward the King’s stronghold, unsure of which companion he can trust.

 

You need to either bring these characters alive and fit them into the overall theme, or leave them out.  Right now they're just a list of meaningless ingredients.

 

In venturing north, Verth learns that an army marches toward the demon King’s gate, prepared to dethrone the tyrant and slaughter every inhabitant, including his imprisoned mother. To hold back the floodgates of war and save his mother’s life, Verth must confront the Cloven King and destroy a man that legend says cannot die.

 

Nice ending that hints at a powerful finale!

 

​Please take a look at my query and give me any feedback that pops into your head.  Thanks in advance.  http://agentquerycon...each-detective/



#15 Cesar Montufar

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Posted 14 December 2016 - 12:10 PM

 

Dear Agent,

 

Verth was only a baby when his adoptive parents found him in the woods next to the body of his murdered mother. Seventeen years later, Verth still leaves flowers at his mother’s grave, and the Cloven King still searches for the boy who escaped his grasp. (I like the layers in this, and the questions I have about how this happened.)

 

When Verth discovers a dagger imbued with dark magic, the Cloven King senses him for the first time in years. Desperate to find him at last, the King captures Verth’s adoptive mother as bait. (These details are too sparse for me to fill in the gaps. How does the dagger trigger the detection (this I can live without), and why is the king desperate to find him?(this you need to tell me))

 

Joined by a one-eyed warrior, an ageless witch, and a possessed boy (why would this be a useful companion?) he meets on his travels, Verth cuts a path toward the King’s stronghold, unsure of which companion he can trust (the wording implies he can only trust one of them. If that is true, you need to strengthen the idea, because it feels more like accident than intent). In venturing north, Verth learns that an army marches toward the demon King’s gate, prepared to dethrone the tyrant and slaughter every inhabitant, including his imprisoned mother. To hold back the floodgates of war and save his mother’s life, Verth must confront the Cloven King and destroy a man that legend says cannot die. (Though this triangle of enemies makes things interesting, it makes it impossible to see how killing the king who can't die will deal with the army at the gates. If you can explain that in a sentence it would help me.)

 

My novel, THE CLOVEN KING, combines the coming-of-age elements of The Assassin’s Apprentice with fantastical themes found in The Last Unicorn. The novel is complete at 94,600 words.

 

I published two stories in the Phoenix Literary Magazine, winning the short story competition with my story “Highlands.”

 

My suggestions are more nitpicky than major. The query looks pretty good to me. If I were an agent looking for this kind of novel, I'd move on to the sample pages. 



#16 lsprochnow

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 10:42 AM

Thank you so much for the feedback! I posted the newest version of the query in the 1st post



#17 wildworks

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 12:36 PM

Dear Agent,

 

Verth was only a baby when his adoptive (Maybe it’s just me, but the word adoptive is a put oof to me in a fantasy. I don’t know if there’s a better word, and I know there is a problem with calling his new mother just mother.)  parents found him in the woods next to the body of his murdered mother. Seventeen years later, Verth still leaves flowers at his mother’s grave, and the Cloven King still searches for the boy who escaped his grasp. (I still like the hook.)

 

When Verth discovers a dagger imbued with dark magic, (This dagger doesn’t feature again in the query. It seems  you are just using it in the query to explain how the Cloven King finds Verth. You could just say “After years of searching, the Cloven king finally finds his prize.” Something along those lines, rather than giving us a specific detail that we think might be relevant to the plot, but in the end never gets mentioned again.) the Cloven King senses him for the first time in years. Desperate to find him at last, the King captures Verth’s adoptive mother as bait. (Again, why was the mother easier to capture than Verth.)

 

Joined by a one-eyed warlord tormented by demons both real and imaginary, Verth cuts a path toward the Cloven King’s stronghold, unsure if his companion’s sanity will remain intact. (This one-eyed character does nothing for the plot either.) In venturing north, Verth learns that an army marches toward the King’s gate, prepared to dethrone the king and slaughter every inhabitant in the city, including his imprisoned mother. (This army seems like a ticking-time-bomb that’s been tacked on to add tension. It may not be that way in the book, but that’s how it comes off here.) To hold back the floodgates of war and save his mother’s life, Verth must confront the Cloven King and destroy a man that legend says cannot die. (At this point, I’ve been give little reason to care for the characters, and when querying fantasy, or YA, or whatever genre this story fits into, it’s extremely important to nail the characters and the stacks.)

 

My novel, THE CLOVEN KING, combines the coming-of-age elements of The Assassin’s Apprentice with fantastical themes found in The Last Unicorn. The novel is complete at 94,600 words. (What genre? YA? Fantasy?)

 

I published two stories in the Phoenix Literary Magazine, winning the magazine’s short story competition with my story “Highlands.”

 

I think you have a very solid query hiding in here. IT seems your trying to spice up the story with the one-eyed character, the dagger, and the army, but they do little to develop the characters and move the plot forward. I know everyone says “don’t be vague, give specifics,” but there are area’s you can gloss over, like the dagger, and no one will notice. IN my query, I was holding onto naming the sex-slave owner and mentioning the scene where he tries to get the girl back, and the MC denies him. But in the end, those details did nothing for the plot, to the point they were even omitted from my synopsis.

 

Anyway, sorry for the lengthy dissertation. The more I like something, the more I tend to talk.

 

My query is bellow if you’re interested.



#18 Catherine Kraus

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 04:12 PM

Hey writers,

 

Any feedback on my query would be greatly appreciated. It's been through a couple edits and I still don't feel totally comfortable with it. Let me know if you have a query listed and I will make sure to leave my feedback as well. Thanks!

 

THIS IS THE NEWEST VERSION OF THE QUERY

 

Dear Agent,

 

Verth was only a baby when his adoptive parents found him in the woods next to the body of his murdered mother. Seventeen years later, Verth still leaves flowers at his mother’s grave, and the Cloven King still searches for the boy who escaped his grasp.

 

When Verth discovers an emerald dagger imbued with dark magic His finding of the dagger feels a bit out-of-place for me. Is there any way to quickly mention how he stumbles upon it?, the Cloven King senses him for the first time in years. Desperate to find him at last, the king sends a raiding party to Verth’s fishing village Did the king assume Verth dies along with his mother? If not, why didn't he search the villages?. Unable to find Verth, the raiders torch the village and capture his adoptive mother as bait.

 

Joined by a one-eyed warlord tormented by the king’s imps, With help from a one-eyed warlock with his own vendetta (or something like that. I would keep his torture out of it for now, if to only highten the warlock's mystery) Verth cuts a path toward the Cloven King’s stronghold, unsure if his companion’s sanity will remain intact. In venturing north and Verth learns that an army marches toward the king’s gate, prepared to dethrone the king and slaughter every inhabitant in the city The mention of this army takes away from Verth and his journey to the king. It might not be important enough to mention this conflict when you already have established the stakes of losing his mother, including his imprisoned mother. To hold back the floodgates of war and save his mother’s life, Verth must confront the Cloven King, wielding only the emerald dagger, and destroy a man that legend says cannot die.

 

My YA fantasy novel, THE CLOVEN KING, combines the coming-of-age elements of The Assassin’s Apprentice with fantastical themes found in The Last Unicorn. The novel is complete at 94,600 words.

 

I published two stories in the Phoenix Literary Magazine, winning the magazine’s short story competition with my story “Highlands.”

 

You have a strong basis for your query! I just think you need to pair down the main plot still and clear up some vagueness. I'm excited to see what you come up with next!

I also have a query I'm working on if you can take a look: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=331256



#19 Daniel Andrews

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 02:44 AM

Hey writers,

 

Any feedback on my query would be greatly appreciated. It's been through a couple edits and I still don't feel totally comfortable with it. Let me know if you have a query listed and I will make sure to leave my feedback as well. Thanks!

 

THIS IS THE NEWEST VERSION OF THE QUERY

 

Dear Agent,

 

Verth was only a baby when his adoptive parents found him in the woods next to the body of his murdered mother. Seventeen years later, Verth still leaves flowers at his mother’s grave, and the Cloven King still searches for the boy who escaped his grasp.

 

When Verth discovers an emerald dagger imbued with dark magic, the Cloven King senses him for the first time in years. Desperate to find him at last, the king sends a raiding party to Verth’s fishing village. Unable to find Verth, the raiders torch the village and capture his adoptive mother as bait. (Probably nit picky, but I am curious where his adoptive father was.)

 

Joined by a one-eyed warlord tormented by the king’s imps, Verth cuts a path toward the Cloven King’s stronghold, unsure if his companion’s sanity will remain intact. In venturing north, Verth learns that an army marches toward the king’s gate, prepared to dethrone the king and slaughter every inhabitant in the city, including his imprisoned mother. To hold back the floodgates of war and save his mother’s life, Verth must confront the Cloven King, wielding only the emerald dagger, and destroy a man that legend says cannot die.

 

My YA fantasy novel, THE CLOVEN KING, combines the coming-of-age elements of The Assassin’s Apprentice with fantastical themes found in The Last Unicorn. The novel is complete at 94,600 words.

 

I published two stories in the Phoenix Literary Magazine, winning the magazine’s short story competition with my story “Highlands.”

 

Still rock solid. I don't have any suggestions really this time. The hook and ending are strong. Conflict and players are clear.

 

If I stretched I might ask for a clue about why the kid being dead is so important to the Cloven King, something of his motivation other than being a sick bastard who is mad he didn't finish the job. Was there a prophecy or anything?

 

I think this thing is probably ready to go though, great job man. You will never please everyone, I am learning this the hard way lol.

 

If you wouldn't taking a look at my latest query it would be much appreciated: http://agentquerycon...n-updated-1220/


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


#20 Arcanjoe

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 07:24 AM

Hey writers,

 

Any feedback on my query would be greatly appreciated. It's been through a couple edits and I still don't feel totally comfortable with it. Let me know if you have a query listed and I will make sure to leave my feedback as well. Thanks!

 

THIS IS THE NEWEST VERSION OF THE QUERY

 

Dear Agent,

 

Verth was only a baby when his adoptive parents found him in the woods next to the body of his murdered mother. (Next to? Why didn't the Cloven King kill him then and there?) Seventeen years later, Verth still leaves flowers at his mother’s grave, and the Cloven King still searches for the boy who escaped his grasp.

 

When Verth discovers an emerald dagger imbued with dark magic, the Cloven King senses him for the first time in years. Desperate to find him at last, the king sends a raiding party to Verth’s fishing village. Unable to find Verth, the raiders torch the village and capture his adoptive mother as bait.

 

Joined by a one-eyed warlord tormented by the king’s imps, Verth cuts a path toward the Cloven King’s stronghold, unsure if his companion’s sanity will remain intact. In venturing north, Verth learns that an army marches toward the king’s gate, prepared to dethrone the king and slaughter every inhabitant in the city, including his imprisoned mother. To hold back the floodgates of war and save his mother’s life, Verth must confront the Cloven King, wielding only the emerald dagger, and destroy a man that legend says cannot die.

 

My YA fantasy novel, THE CLOVEN KING, combines the coming-of-age elements of The Assassin’s Apprentice with fantastical themes found in The Last Unicorn. The novel is complete at 94,600 words. (Round this up to 95,000. No need to be so specific.)

 

I published two stories in the Phoenix Literary Magazine, winning the magazine’s short story competition with my story “Highlands.”

 

Really like this idea. Query is very nearly there, too. I still think it would work better if you cleared up why the Cloven King wants to kill Verth. If we know Verth poses a threat to him, then that ramps up the conflict. Give us a little more about the Cloven King's motivations. He's not just evil for the sake of being evil, is he? Clarify why Verth's death is important to him and I think you're virtually there. Good luck!


I'd love for you to critique my latest query...

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 

Or the first 250 words of my story...

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 





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