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CLOAK AND DAGGERS (High Fantasy) [Trading critiques!]


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#1 SAVE

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 05:46 PM

I started a thread a few months ago before I got busy, but I've done some revising on my own, and instead of digging through, I thought that now would be a good time to make a post and stick with it. Looking forward to reading through and returning the favors, everyone! 

*****

 

POST #30 FOR NEWEST QUERY

 

Dear Agent,

 

During the day, Raez lives luxuriously as the southern king’s emissary, spreading peace and understanding to one war-torn nation to another. When night blankets the land, however, he brandishes a dagger amidst a black cloak. Raez is a merciless killer. Believing that death is the true herald of peace, Raez, assisted by the legendary forest protector, viciously executes anyone he believes to be a threat to a peaceful world, whether they’re a wealthy king or a lowly soldier.

 

Despite his stealth, it was only a matter of time until he was discovered. It was only a matter of time until his king was murdered and he was apprehended for treason. Escaping would be easy enough, but clearing his name would require help— the help of someone he’d attempted to execute.

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a high fantasy novel of 90,000 words. With each cheaper packed with brutal executions, exciting battles between spellcasters, and the looming threat of betrayal, readers are sure to stay on their toes until the very last page.



#2 bkarperien

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 06:21 PM

I started a thread a few months ago before I got busy, but I've done some revising on my own, and instead of digging through, I thought that now would be a good time to make a post and stick with it. Looking forward to reading through and returning the favors, everyone! 

*****

 

Dear Agent,

We want the twist right away. Your first sentence gives us the nice, cushy part of the character's life. We want the gripping, sordid details. We want something that draws us in. Looking solely at the first sentence, I'm bored. 

 

 

During the day, Raez lives luxuriously as the southern king’s emissary, spreading peace and understanding to one war-torn nation to another. When night blankets the land, however, he brandishes a dagger amidst a black cloak. This sentence is a bit wordy and beats around the bush. Simplify, simplify.

Raez is a merciless killer. There you go, it's concise, it's clear, it's exciting. Believing that death is the true herald of peace, Raez, assisted by the legendary forest protector (I read this information and immediately discard it because it doesn't seem relevant), viciously executes anyone he believes to be a threat to a his peaceful world, whether they’re a wealthy(we assume a king is going to be wealthy) king or a lowly soldier.

The tense change after this paragraph is very disorienting.

 

Despite his stealth (what stealth? You haven't made it clear that he's stealthy, or even any good at killing people, only that he's merciless.), it was only a matter of time until he was discovered. It was only a matter of time until his (this doesn't need to be italicized) king was murdered and he was apprehended for treason (I don't know about the structure in these two lines. It's not inherent how the one is connected to the other).

Escaping would be easy enough, but clearing his name would require help— the help of someone he’d attempted to execute. (The passive voice in this sentence is very anticlimactic. Would recommend rewording.)

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS (Just a thought, this expression is a bit old. I'd recommend choosing something else or making a play on it...like swapping out one of the words.) is a high fantasy novel of 90,000 words. With each cheaper packed with brutal executions, exciting battles between spellcasters, and the looming threat of betrayal, readers are sure to stay on their toes until the very last page. 

Okay! So, the plot sounds very interesting. I love the contrasting parts of the character's life. It sounds like a brilliant premise. I think your query could capture that even better.

Good luck with revisions!


Check out my query!


#3 jphollis

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 09:00 PM

I started a thread a few months ago before I got busy, but I've done some revising on my own, and instead of digging through, I thought that now would be a good time to make a post and stick with it. Looking forward to reading through and returning the favors, everyone! 

*****

 

Dear Agent,

 

During the day, Raez lives luxuriously as the southern king’s emissary, spreading peace and understanding to one war-torn nation to another How old is Raez? How does he spread peace? What time period are we in? This is too vague as it is. There are no indicators to point me towards the answers). When night blankets the land, however, he brandishes a dagger amidst a black cloak. Raez is a merciless killer. Believing that death is the true herald of peace, Raez, assisted by the legendary forest protector (Who or what is the legendary forest protector? Another assassin? A spirit of the forest. I need to know more if I'm going to stick with you), viciously executes anyone he believes to be a threat to a peaceful world, whether they’re a wealthy king or a lowly soldier.

 

Despite his stealth, it was only a matter of time until he was discovered. It was only a matter of time until his king was murdered and he was apprehended for treason. Escaping would be easy enough, but clearing his name would require help— the help of someone he’d attempted to execute. (Though the contrast between him killing kings and his king being killed is nice, this paragraph tell me next to nothing except that he was captured and wants to clear his name with the help of someone he attempted to rescue. It's too vague. I don't know who captured him, how, or why escaping is so easy. He's an assassin and an escape artist? Plus, 'someone he attempted to execute. That just tells me that he's not quite as proficient as you made him out to be in the first paragraph. I don't see the stakes here. Just clearing his name? I need more specifics.)

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a high fantasy novel of 90,000 words. With each cheaper packed with (not loving the double 'with' here. In fact, I bgan to point out the mistake of starting your sentence like this, but then I read to the end. Though it is grammatically correct, its feels awkward the way it comes after the previous sentence, like there should be no period at all.) brutal executions, exciting battles between spellcasters, and the looming threat of betrayal, readers are sure to stay on their toes until the very last page.

Hope my comments help. Would appreciate if you had a look at my query as well.


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

_________________

My Blog: jphollis.com


#4 SAVE

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 04:20 AM

Twenty-four year old Raez is a merciless murderer and a ruthless assassin, but only in the name of peace. Only death can bring peace.

 

During the day, Raez travels from one country to another as the Southern King’s emissary, bringing peace and understanding with him. As night falls, he brandishes a dagger amidst a black cloak, and with the help of a vengeful forest spirit, he kills anyone that threatens his ideals of peace, whether a king or a lowly soldier.

 

Despite his stealth, he was discovered, his king was murdered, and he was apprehended for treason all in the same day. Even so, escaping detainment would have been easy, especially with a spirit at his side, but clearing his name would require help— the help of a man he’d failed to kill.

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a high fantasy novel of 90,000 words. With each chapter packed with exciting battles between spellcasters, the looming threat of betrayal, and a twist at every corner, readers are sure to be on their toes until the very last page.



#5 smithgirl

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 03:10 PM

Twenty-four-year-old Raez is a merciless murderer and a ruthless murderer and assassin, but only in the name of peace. Only death can bring peace.

 

Your first sentence (your hook) needs something about the main conflict. He is a ruthless assassin but then he realizes the one man he wants most to kill is the one man who can save him. OK, this isn't very good, but your hook should present some stakes.

 

 

During the day, By day Raez travels from one country to another as the Southern King’s gentle emissary, bringing peace and understanding with him. But when night falls, he secretly brandishes his dagger amidst a black cloak, and comma with the help of a vengeful forest spirit, he kills anyone who that threatens his ("his" refers to Raez or the Southern King?) ideals of peace, whether a king or a lowly soldier. I can see that going around killing kings would make some enemies.

 

Do people know that the daytime, peaceful Raez is the same man who emerges at night? If not, you might want to clarify (add secretly).

 

Despite his stealth, he is discovered, his king is murdered, and he is apprehended for treason all in the same day. Even so, escaping detainment would have been easy, especially with a spirit at his side, but clearing his name will require help— the help of from the one man he’d failed to kill. This new man comes suddenly. Is it possible to introduce him earlier in the query? He seems to be important. Also, as much as possible, write your query in present tense.

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a high fantasy novel of 90,000 words. With each chapter packed with exciting battles between spellcasters, the looming threat of betrayal, and a twist at every corner, readers are sure to be on their toes until the very last page. You should definitely cut this. Agents don't like this kind of editorializing.

 

Thank you for your time and appreciation (add).

 

 

I think your story is very clear and it's also concisely presented. I just have some recommendations. Hope they help!



#6 EllieFirestone1

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 05:20 PM

Twenty-four year old Raez is a merciless murderer and a ruthless assassin, but only in the name of peace. Only death can bring peace. There's kind of a disconnect between these two sentences, so it took me a while to realize what you meant. I'd recommend replacing the second sentence with something else, or just cutting it altogether.

 

During the day, Raez travels from one country to another as the Southern King’s emissary, bringing peace and understanding with him. As night falls, he brandishes a dagger amidst a black cloak, and with the help of a vengeful forest spirit, he kills anyone that threatens his ideals of peace, whether a king or a lowly soldier.

 

Despite his stealth, he was discovered, his king was murdered, and he was apprehended for treason all in the same day. Even so, escaping detainment would have been easy, especially with a the spirit at his side, but clearing his name would require help— the help of a man he’d failed to kill. This paragraph really needs to be in present tense. And why is this "man he'd failed to kill" the only one who can clear Raez's name?

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a high fantasy novel of 90,000 words. With each chapter packed with exciting battles between spellcasters, the looming threat of betrayal, and a twist at every corner, readers are sure to be on their toes until the very last page. Agents don't like this kind of sales-y language.

 

You've got a nice, snappy query here, but it just needs tightening up a little.

 

My query's here :) http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/



#7 michaeloshea

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 12:56 PM

Twenty-four year old Raez is a merciless murderer and a ruthless assassin, but only in the name of peace. Only death can bring peace. "Merciless murderer and ruthless assassin" sounds a little bit redundant. 

 

During the day, Raez travels from one country to another as the Southern King’s emissary, bringing peace and understanding with him. As night falls, he brandishes a dagger amidst a black cloak, and with the help of a vengeful forest spirit, he kills anyone that threatens his ideals of peace, whether a king or a lowly soldier. You're using the word "peace" too many times. How does this obsession with peace tie into the main conflict? 

 

Despite his stealth, he was discovered, his king was murdered, and he was apprehended for treason all in the same day. Even so, escaping detainment would have been easy, especially with a spirit at his side, but clearing his name would require help— the help of a man he’d failed to kill. Elaborate on the conflict here. How does Raez feel about this "man"? Is this guy a problem? What does this have to do with Raez's ideals of peace, which you have made seem so essential to his character?

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a high fantasy novel of 90,000 words. With each chapter packed with exciting battles between spellcasters, the looming threat of betrayal, and a twist at every corner, readers are sure to be on their toes until the very last page. Instead of saying that readers will be on their toes, make sure the agent is on their toes just by reading your query. The query should leave them dying to get their hands on the manuscript. If anything, include comparisons in this final paragraph to other high fantasy novels that have similar elements to yours. 

 

Hope this helps a bit. Feel free to check out my query for critique as well here: http://agentquerycon...-urban-fantasy/ Props to fellow fantasy writers. :) 



#8 alicewitten30

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 01:57 PM

Twenty-four year old Raez is a merciless murderer and a ruthless assassin, but only in the name of peace. Only death can bring peace. Agree with other commenters this line can go. Otherwise I like the conflicting ideas - violence in the name of peace. 

 

During the day, Raez travels from one country to another as the Southern King’s emissary, bringing peace and understanding with him. This is confusing to me - I don't understand how one person brings peace. Do you mean he's preaching peace? As night falls, he brandishes a dagger amidst 'amidst' sounds awkward to me a black cloak, and with the help of a vengeful forest spirit, he kills anyone that threatens his ideals of peace what are his ideals of peace?, whether a king or a lowly soldier. This is your set-up, and I think you can shorten it a bit. This leaves room to tell us more about the specific stakes and the choices your character makes. What drives him to keep the peace? Is he earning money? Does he feel a moral obligation to make up for some past incident? Something else entirely? 

 

Despite his stealth, he was discovered, his king was murdered, and he was apprehended for treason all in the same day. Even so, escaping detainment would have been easy, especially with a spirit at his side, but clearing his name would require help— the help of a man he’d failed to kill. Not sure why you've changed to past tense here - I'd keep it in present tense. Also this is too vague. Who discovered him/murdered the king/apprehended him for treason and what do they want? How is Raez going to stop them? Why does Raez want to stop them rather than just moving on with his life? 

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a high fantasy novel of 90,000 words. With each chapter packed with exciting battles between spellcasters, the looming threat of betrayal, OK down here you've added more specifics and they sound cool - can you incorporate the spellcasters and the betrayal into the above paragraphs instead? and a twist at every corner, readers are sure to be on their toes until the very last page. 

 

I love me some fantasy so I'm definitely intrigued, but the way it's written now doesn't show it's uniqueness. I posed the questions not because you need to answer all of them, but because putting in some of these details will flesh out the query and make the reader want to know more about Raez. Something along the lines of, "Four years ago, the Very Bad Guys burned down Raez's village, killing his parents and everyone he's ever cared about. He joins forces with a vengeful forest spirit and becomes the King's emissary, travelling across the kingdom and preaching peace by day, but killing anyone with ties to the Very Bad Guys at night. Unfortunately, the spellcasters are working with the Very Bad Guys and they use their magic to locate and capture Raez. Just before he is executed for treason, he manages to escape. Determined to finish what he started, but knowing he doesn't stand a chance against the spellcasters without one of his own, Raez turns to the only spellcaster he's ever met - Steve, who swindled Raez out of a small fortunte and tried to date his sister. Steve's magic can keep them invisible until they reach the capital, where they will clear Raez's name and expose the Very Bad Guys' plan to sell all of the subjects into slavery to a neighboring kingdom. (clearly that's not your story but you can see how replacing generic statements with specificity can help). Hope that's helpful and best of luck!



#9 SAVE

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 03:28 PM

Thanks everyone! I've given this some extra thought and made a pretty big overhaul! Once again, thanks for your help and support!

 

Dear Agent,

 

Twenty-four year old Raez is a merciless murderer and assassin, but only in the peace.

 

Raez’s home country, a place of powerful spellcasters and kings, is broken and war-torn. As the Southern King’s silver-tongued emissary, he refuses to stand by as innocent blood is spilled, so he preaches peace and oversees peace treaties between kingdoms. When night falls, he secretly brandishes a dagger, and with the help of Lyza, a vengeful forest spirit, he kills anyone that threatens his ideals of peace.

 

Following a failed assassination attempt, Raez returns to the southern capital only to be apprehended with news that his king has been killed. He is imprisoned for the murder of his king and suspicious officials demand his execution, but with a traitor in his midst his own death is the least of his concerns. Breaking out will be easy enough with Lyza’s help, but to find the one who framed him and killed his king would require the help of the only man he has ever failed to kill.

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a high fantasy novel of 90,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#10 SharonMorrisWagner

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 09:15 PM

Thanks everyone! I've given this some extra thought and made a pretty big overhaul! Once again, thanks for your help and support!
 
Dear Agent,
 
Twenty-four year old Raez is a merciless murderer and assassin, but only in the peace.
<I like the juxtaposition of murder and peace. I think it's repetitive to have both murderer and assassin - it's assumed an assassin commits murders.>
 
Raez’s home country, a place of powerful spellcasters and kings, is broken and war-torn.
<Name of home? Should be named if mentioned in query>
As the Southern King’s silver-tongued emissary, he refuses to stand by as innocent blood is spilled, so he preaches peace and oversees peace treaties between kingdoms.
<He refuses to stand by as innocent blood is spilled but he's a merciless murderer? This is confusing. Exactly what does he do? Why is the country war-torn? Very vague>
When night falls, he secretly brandishes a dagger, and with the help of Lyza, a vengeful forest spirit, he kills anyone that threatens his ideals of peace.

<Whoa whoa stop. When what night falls? A special night? Why that night? What's his weapon of choice usually? Lyza must be important yet you toss her in now like an afterthought. Introduce us to Lyza. And who is he killing? Everyone?>
 
Following a failed assassination attempt, Raez returns to the southern capital only to be apprehended with news that his king has been killed.
<Failed attempt but the king is killed? I'm totally confused? I thought he went on a killing spree? Where did he go that he must return?>
He is imprisoned for the murder of his king and suspicious officials demand his execution, but with a traitor in his midst his own death is the least of his concerns.
<Why is he imprisoned? Why do they think he did it? What traitor? Traitor to what? Who?>
Breaking out will be easy enough with Lyza’s help, but to find the one who framed him and killed his king would require the help of the only man he has ever failed to kill.

<Who?>

This query needs a major overhaul. I don't know what is going on. I need more depth, more prose, more elaborate details. It sounds more like a synopsis with events just laid out like "this happens, then this happens, then this happens." A query is the first thing that an agent or publisher reads from you and they can tell everything they need to know about your book from these three or four simple paragraphs. Make every words count. A query should be a reflection of you as a writer and of your book. It needs to have a hook and some details about major characters and then what's at stake and how will the MC succeed and what happens if that doesn't happen.
 
CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a high fantasy novel of 90,000 words.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.



#11 kene

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 02:07 PM

Thanks everyone! I've given this some extra thought and made a pretty big overhaul! Once again, thanks for your help and support!

 

Dear Agent,

 

Twenty-four year old Raez is a merciless murderer and assassin, but only in the peace. (...in the peace.) Is the peace a place? It comes off as a play on words. Like he's really good at what he does, but only in maintaining peace. After reading, it seams like peace is a place. If it is, then I fancy the name.

 

Raez’s home country, a place of powerful spellcasters and kings, is broken and war-torn. As the Southern King’s silver-tongued emissary, he refuses to stand by as innocent blood is spilled, so he preaches peace and oversees peace treaties between kingdoms. When night falls, he secretly brandishes a dagger, and with the help of Lyza, a vengeful forest spirit, he kills anyone that threatens his ideals of peace. I like the twist at the end. I thought I knew where it was going.

 

Following a failed assassination attempt, Raez returns to the southern capital only to be apprehended with news that his king has been killed. He is imprisoned for the murder of his king and suspicious officials demand his execution, but with a traitor in his midst his own death is the least of his concerns. Breaking out will be easy enough with Lyza’s help, but to find the one who framed him and killed his king would require the help of the only man he has ever failed to kill.  Good ending. It has the mystery. However, do you think we can make it a tad more specific and dramatic? Tag me with what you come up with. I tried to think up a different way to say it, but I don't know the story.

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a high fantasy novel of 90,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Good Luck, mate!



#12 kene

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 09:40 PM

I had to come back to this. I thought about it on the car ride home.

Thanks everyone! I've given this some extra thought and made a pretty big overhaul! Once again, thanks for your help and support!

 

Dear Agent,

 

Twenty-four year old Raez is a merciless murderer and assassin, but only in the peace. I really want to know what the "peace" is

 

Raez’s home country, a place of powerful spellcasters and kings, can you make the wording of this reflect the story a little better? Like, if it's a good thing that there're spellcasters there can you say "a place blessed with powerful spellcasters and kings..." If it's bad, then "a place ravaged by powerful spellcasters and  kings." is broken and war-torn. As the Southern King’s silver-tongued emissary, he refuses to stand by as innocent blood is spilled This phrase is overused so it makes the sentence vague. You don't even need to change the words, just the way it's arranged., so he preaches peace and oversees peace treaties between kingdoms. When night falls, he secretly brandishes a dagger, and with the help of Lyza, a vengeful forest spirit, he kills anyone that threatens his ideals of peace. Still love this part, mate

 

Following a failed assassination attempt, Raez returns to the southern capital only to be apprehended with news that his king has been killed. He is imprisoned Here, can you give a short reason why they think it's Raez? for the murder of his king and suspicious officials demand his execution, but with a traitor in his midst his own death is the least of his concerns. Breaking out will be easy enough with Lyza’s help, but to find the one who framed him and killed his king would require the help of the only man he has ever failed to kill. What do you think about (...killed his king would require the help of the only man who has escaped his blade.)?

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a high fantasy novel of 90,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#13 Dollophead

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 03:07 AM

Dear Agent,

 

Twenty-four-year-old Raez is a merciless murderer and assassin, but only in the name of peace.

"In the name of peace" is a bit of a cliche...probably don't want that in a hook.

 

Raez’s home country, a place of powerful spellcasters and kings, is broken and war-torn. I'd suggest: "Raez's broken and war-torn country is a place of powerful spellcasters and kings. As emissary to the Southern King’s silver-tongued emissary, he Raez refuses to stand by as innocent blood is spilled, so he preaches peace and oversees peace treaties between kingdoms. But he's an assassin...does he refuse to kill the innocent? If so, say that, not "stand by" when he's the one killing people. When night falls, he secretly brandishes a dagger, and with the help of Lyza, a vengeful forest spirit, Sorry Lyza, but it doesn't seem like she's relevant enough to mention in the query he kills anyone that who threatens his ideals of peace.

 

Following a failed assassination attempt, Raez returns to the southern capital only to be apprehended with to the news that his king has been killed. He is imprisoned for the murder of his king But he was gone, so...framed? and suspicious officials demand his execution, but with a traitor in his midst his own death is the least of his concerns. Run on sentence! Breaking out will be easy enough with Lyza’s help, but to find finding the one who [framed him and killed his king] switch those - "killed his king and framed him" would require the help of the only man he has ever failed to kill. Wait what?? Who did he fail to kill? And why didn't you mention him before? Probably shouldn't mention a new character in the very last sentence of your query.

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a high fantasy novel of 90,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I would LOVE to read this story. And if you have time, please review my query as well!



#14 lizellor

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 03:15 PM

Thanks everyone! I've given this some extra thought and made a pretty big overhaul! Once again, thanks for your help and support!

 

Dear Agent,

 

Twenty-four year old Raez is a merciless murderer and assassin, but only in the peace. This could be a great hook, but it's a little awkward.  Try "Twenty-four year old Raez is a merciless murderer, an assassin . . . and a pacifist."

 

Raez’s home country, a place of powerful spellcasters and kings, is broken and war-torn. Awkward. I'd try "Broken by decades of war". As the Southern King’s silver-tongued emissary, he refuses to stand by as innocent blood is spilled so he preaches peace and oversees peace treaties between kingdoms. When night falls, he secretly brandishes a dagger, and with the help of Lyza, a vengeful forest spirit, he kills anyone that threatens his ideals of peace. Good, but a little awkward. I'd try "As his king's silver-tongued emissary, he brokers alliances and signs peace treaties, all to prevent the shedding of innocent blood. And when that fails, with the help of his dagger and a vengeful forest spirit, he kills anyone who might stand in his way."

 

Following a failed assassination attempt, Raez returns to the southern capital his home city, only to be apprehended with news that learn that his king has been killed--and he's the number one suspect. He is imprisoned for the murder of his king and Suspicious officials demand his execution, but with a traitor in his midst, his own death is the least of his concerns. Breaking out will be easy enough with Lyza’s help, but to find  Finding the one who framed him and killed his king would require the help of the only man he has ever failed to kill. 

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a high fantasy novel of 90,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#15 SAVE

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 02:19 PM

I gave a pretty big chunk of thought to my query and decided that it really could use an overhaul. I have the other versions saved if it isn't good, but if the goal is to be as clear as possible, my other query attempts just weren't cutting it. The biggest thing holding it back, I think, was simply how short I was trying to keep it. Without further ado, at 314 words, here's revision number 4!

 

 

Twenty-four year old Raez is an emissary for the southern king and a man of peace with a dark secret – his answer to the world’s violence is murder.

 

For as long as he can remember, Raez has been the Southern King’s emissary, delivering messages of peace to the ever-warring Eastern and Western kingdoms. When night falls, Raez mounts Lyza, a legendary, humanity-hating, lionesque spirit and brandishes a dagger, secretly and mercilessly assassinating anyone he believes to be a threat to a peaceful world, whether a wealthy king, or a powerful spellcaster.

 

Upon returning home after the assassination of a world-renowned general and expert lightning magician, Raez comes face-to-face with a master-level spellcaster he has never seen or heard of before, an unwitting and suspicious man named Dane. A brief conversation is all he needs to decide that Dane could be a threat and must be eliminated. Unfortunately, not everything goes as planned and Dane walks away unscathed.

 

Just when Dane’s existence begins to complicate matters, Raez is apprehended and jailed the next morning with news that the Southern King has been murdered and he’s the prime suspect. The late king’s guards know he’s been sneaking out at night, and their suspicion alone is enough to have the kingdom’s officials demand his execution. To make matters worse, Dane, the only one who knew his whereabouts the night of the king’s murder is apprehended by the Northern King’s guards for suspicious activity and taken to the North.

 

With Lyza’s help, escaping captivity will be easy enough, but as Raez escapes the South in an attempt to clear his name and find his king’s killer he will uncover a plot that won’t just put his and Lyza’s lives in danger, but the lives of everyone in his country.

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a standalone high fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#16 Erin Odile

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 11:40 PM

Twenty-four year old Raez is an emissary for the southern king and a man of peace with a dark secret – his answer to the world’s violence is murder. Nice hook! I deleted these two bits because they both appear in your second paragraph anyway; the hook sentence feels more impacting without them.

 

For as long as he can remember, Raez has been the Southern King’s emissary, delivering messages of peace to the ever-warring Eastern and Western kingdoms. When night falls, Raez mounts Lyza, a legendary, humanity-hating, lionesque spirit and brandishes a dagger, secretly and mercilessly assassinating anyone he believes to be a threat to a peaceful world, whether they are a wealthy king, or a powerful spellcaster.

 

Upon returning home after the assassination of a world-renowned general and expert lightning magician, Raez comes face-to-face with a master-level spellcaster he has never seen or heard of before, an unwitting and suspicious man named Dane. A brief conversation is all he needs to decide that Dane could be a threat and must be eliminated. Unfortunately, not everything goes as planned and Dane walks away unscathed.

 

Just when Dane’s existence begins to complicate matters, Raez is apprehended and jailed the next morning with news that the Southern King has been murdered and he’s the prime suspect. The late king’s guards know he’s been sneaking out at night, and their suspicion alone is enough to have the kingdom’s officials demand his execution. To make matters worse, Dane, the only one who knew his whereabouts the night of the king’s murder is apprehended by the Northern King’s guards for suspicious activity and taken to the North. I'm still pretty novice in the query-writing world, so I could be wrong here: this is a little too long. Everything I've read (so far, mind you) leads me to believe that the "summarizing" section of the query letter is to be kept as brief as possible. This feels more like an actual summary, something you'd write more for a book report and less for a book jacket. I think you should make this more compact. Maybe something along the lines of:

 

Everything changes when Raez finds himself face-to-face with a master-level spellcaster he has never seen or heard of before: an unwitting and suspicious man named Dane. He is the first target to walk away unscathed (I'm taking a few liberties as I don't have a lot of information to work with, please forgive me), and his existence immediately begins complicating matters. In the process of protecting his name and tracking down his new opponent, Raez will uncover a plot that endangers not only himself and Lyza, but also every citizen in the country.

 

With Lyza’s help, escaping captivity will be easy enough, but as Raez escapes the South in an attempt to clear his name and find his king’s killer he will uncover a plot that won’t just put his and Lyza’s lives in danger, but the lives of everyone in his country.

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a standalone high fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I like the idea of your story! Your hook seems pretty solid. I would recommend focusing less on the steps of the MC's story, and more on the overall conflict and climax. Cheers! x



#17 samotnik

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 04:18 AM

Twenty-four year old Raez is  an emissary for the southern king and  a man of peace  with a dark secret – but his answer to the world’s violence is murder. - It doesn't make sense to me. Isn't it normal to respond to a violence with murder, if necessary? Apparently, the meaning is different than the simple violence but more like threat (based on the next paragraphs). Maybe replacing the "violence" with more suitable word will do better job.

 

For as long as he can remember, At day (this refers to the "when the night falls")Twenty-four year old Raez has been the delivers Southern King’s emissary, delivering messages of peace to the ever-warring Eastern and Western kingdoms. When night falls - is it only when the night falls? If it is, then maybe it's worth mentioning that he is doing something different at day -, Raez he mounts Lyza, a legendary, humanity-hating, lionesque spirit and brandishes a dagger, secretly and mercilessly assassinating anyone he believes to be a threat to the a peaceful world of ....  , whether a wealthy king, or a powerful spellcaster.

 

Upon returning home after the assassination of a world-renowned general and expert lightning magician, Raez comes face-to-face with a master-level spellcaster he has never seen or heard of before, an unwitting and suspicious man named Dane. A brief conversation is all he needs to decide that Dane could be a threat and must be eliminated. Unfortunately, not everything goes as planned  Plan fails (why not everything goes as planned?) and Dane walks away unscathed.

 

Just when Dane’s existence begins to complicate matters, The next morning Raez is apprehended and jailed with news that the for the Southern King murder has been murdered and he’s the prime suspect. The late king’s guards know he’s been sneaking out at night, and their suspicion alone is enough to have the kingdom’s officials demand his execution. To make matters worse, Dane is the only one who knew his whereabouts the night of the king’s murder but, to make matters worse, he is apprehended by the Northern King’s guards for suspicious activity and taken to the North.

 

With Lyza’s help, escaping captivity will be easy enough, but as Raez escapes the South in an attempt to clear his name and find his king’s killer he will uncover a plot that won’t just put his and Lyza’s lives in danger, but the lives of everyone in his country. This last paragraph needs revision, one or two more sentences, perhaps.

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a standalone high fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#18 Jackington R.R. Character

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 12:41 PM

Hi!

 

I Hope these comments are useful to you!  Good luck with your project!

 

 

Twenty-four year old Raez, is an emissary for the southern king, is a man of peace with a dark secret: his answer to the world’s violence is murder. I see how that's a dark secret, but Raez doesn't really sound like a "man of peace"

 

For as long as he can remember (why doesn't Raez remember his past?), Raez has been the Southern King’s emissary (already have this info from the first line, only need it once delivering messages of peace to the ever-warring Eastern and Western kingdoms (this line feels like a better open than the first line, I get what "man of peace" means now) When night falls, But each night, Raez mounts Lyza, a legendary, humanity-hating, lionesque spirit and brandishes a dagger (is the dagger significant? feels like quite a tiny detail next to Lyza, :smile: secretly and mercilessly assassinating anyone he believes to be a threat to a peaceful world, whether a wealthy king, or a powerful spellcaster.

 

Upon returning home after the assassination of a world-renowned general and an expert lightning magician (this sentence is unnecessary to describe the meat of the plot, I think) Raez comes face-to-face with a master-level spellcaster he has never seen or heard of before, an unwitting (unwitting in what sense?) and suspicious man named Dane. A brief conversation is all he needs to decide that Dane could be a threat and must be eliminated. Unfortunately, not everything goes as planned and Dane walks away unscathed.

 

Just when Dane’s existence begins to complicate matters, Raez is apprehended and jailed the next morning with news that the Southern King has been murdered and he’s the prime suspect. The late king’s guards know he’s been sneaking out at night, and their suspicion alone is enough to have the kingdom’s officials demand his execution. To make matters worse, Dane, the only one who knew his whereabouts the night of the king’s murder is apprehended by the Northern King’s guards for suspicious activity and taken to the North. (this plot sounds quite compelling! I wonder if we could get here faster than the third paragraph?)

 

With Lyza’s help, escaping captivity will be easy enough, but as Raez escapes the South in an attempt to clear his name and find his king’s killer he will uncover a plot that won’t just put his and Lyza’s lives in danger, but the lives of everyone in his country.

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a standalone high fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

Overall, It feels like you're running into something that I struggled with, which is that this query is full of so many details that I don't feel like I have the context to make any of them truly gripping.

 

 

 

I would love it if you've give my query a read and let me know what you think of it! You can find it here:

 

http://agentquerycon...test-in-post-9/

 

(goes for anyone else too, always happy to reciprocate!)



#19 SRPasternack

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 12:22 PM

I was going through your query, and then I scrolled up and read Jackington's critique, and I think he's really on to something there. He basically asked all the same things I was going to. I found a couple more edits, but overall, I agree with his take. :)

 

 

Twenty-four year old Raez, is an emissary for the southern king, is a man of peace with a dark secret: his answer to the world’s violence is murder. I see how that's a dark secret, but Raez doesn't really sound like a "man of peace"

 

For as long as he can remember (why doesn't Raez remember his past?), Raez has been the Southern King’s emissary (already have this info from the first line, only need it once delivering messages of peace to the ever-warring Eastern and Western kingdoms (this line feels like a better open than the first line, I get what "man of peace" means now) When night falls, But each night, Raez mounts Lyza, a legendary, humanity-hating, lionesque spirit and brandishes a dagger (is the dagger significant? feels like quite a tiny detail next to Lyza, :smile: secretly and mercilessly assassinating anyone he believes to be a threat to a peaceful world, whether a wealthy king, or a powerful spellcaster.

 

Upon returning home after the assassination of a world-renowned general and an expert lightning magician (this sentence is unnecessary to describe the meat of the plot, I think) Raez comes face-to-face with a master-level spellcaster he has never seen or heard of before, an unwitting (unwitting in what sense?) and suspicious (I'd like to see more interesting descriptors for Dane. Calling him unwitting and suspicious paints a very confusing picture, and he's not immediately compelling) man named Dane. A brief conversation is all he needs to decide that Dane could be a threat and must be eliminated. Unfortunately, not everything goes as planned and Dane walks away unscathed.

 

Just when Dane’s existence begins to complicate matters, Raez is apprehended and jailed for the murder of the Southern King. the next morning with news that the Southern King has been murdered and he’s the prime suspect. The late king’s guards know he’s Raez has been sneaking out at night, and their suspicion alone is enough to have the kingdom’s officials demand his execution. To make matters worse, Dane, the only one who knew his whereabouts the night of the king’s murder, is apprehended by the Northern King’s guards for suspicious activity and taken to the North. (this plot sounds quite compelling! I wonder if we could get here faster than the third paragraph?)

 

With Lyza’s help, escaping captivity will be easy enough, but as Raez escapes the South in an attempt to clear his name and find his king’s killer he will uncover a plot that won’t just put his and Lyza’s lives in danger, but the lives of everyone in his country.

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a standalone high fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


My Pitch--My Query--My Synopsis--My 250

 

"There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are." W. Somerset Maugham


#20 SAVE

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 02:26 PM

So, I got rid of a lot of details as suggested above. I also added a small detail about Dane that may change his entire appearance, at least from the query's standpoint. I've considered changing the entire query again though, giving it a much darker voice. Without further ado, here's what I've got!

 

 

Twenty-four year old Raez is a man of peace with a dark secret – his answer to violence is murder.

 

At day, Raez is the Southern King’s emissary, delivering messages of peace to the ever-warring Eastern and Western kingdoms. When night falls, Raez mounts Lyza, a legendary, humanity-hating, spirit and assassinates anyone he believes to be a threat to a peaceful world.

 

When Raez comes face-to-face with a master-level spellcaster he has never seen or heard of before, a man named Dane with a secret of his own – magic that could define the order of the world. A brief conversation is all he needs to decide that Dane could be a threat and must be eliminated, but his plan fails and Dane walks away unscathed.

 

The next morning, Raez is jailed for the Southern King’s murder. The king’s guards know he’s been sneaking out at night, and their suspicion is enough to have the kingdom’s officials demand his execution. Dane, the only one who knew his whereabouts the night of the king’s murder is apprehended by the Northern King’s guards and taken to the North.

 

With Lyza’s help, escaping captivity will be easy enough. But as Raez escapes the South in an attempt to clear his name and find his king’s killer he will uncover a plot that won’t just put his life in danger, but the lives of everyone in his country.

 

CLOAKS AND DAGGERS is a standalone high fantasy novel with series potential.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.






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