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Hersirs & Heroes Query (Trading Critiques)(New query posted)

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#1 chadweiss35

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 01:14 PM

SEE POST 23 FOR UPDATED QUERY. Just posted an updated query

 

Hi, I've been really struggling with the opening. Not sure if I should leap right into characters or try and give a little setting. Still not happy with the first paragraph, but hopefully someone has a little suggestion that can shove me in the right direction. 

Thanks so much ahead of time!

 

 

A new world and a paucity of peaceful natives enables the Noruk people to prosper for five generations until one of the native’s taps a sleeping Titan’s lifeblood. Powerful as a god, all he needs is an army to shove the humans back into the sea and there’s five generations of one buried.

 

Near-sighted, fourth son of a hard-bitten hersir, Egil’s fate of a violent death becomes certain when the faerie fire burns across his blade. With his King dead, Egil is left to defend the Aegin Fort. When the Vandrere march around the fort, raiding deep into his lands, Egil believes the Native defenceless and leads his ragtag group of old, young, and embittered warriors north on a desperate attempt to kill the Necromancer. Barely surviving, they return south to see their land aflame. A sympathetic native offers Egil the answer to win the war; all it takes is a journey to the after world. Dying is the easy part; it’s getting back that’s hard. Every journey leaves its mark and the journey to the after life leaves Egil with a split personality.

 

Daughter of a Jarl, Thora is red-haired, quick-tempered, and as fierce as she’s beautiful. Carrying out her Father’s last wishes, she frees the thralls and arms them, but when the King dies, their army splinters. Propositioned by the King’s son, attracted to a handsome, recently freed thrall, and promised by her Father to a dead hersir’s eldest son, Thora’s choice is stolen from her by the same spirits feeding the faerie fire. She flees south to the Athecans, trying to prepare them for the refugees streaming towards them and the war that follows.

 

Hersirs and Heroes is ____ word YA fantasy novel centered on Egil and Thora finding unlikely love while trying to save their people from annihilation. This novel fits somewhere between Brent Weeks compelling story telling and Joe Abercrombie’s gritty, edge of the knife writing. 



#2 hermitage

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 09:31 PM



Hi, I've been really struggling with the opening. Not sure if I should leap right into characters or try and give a little setting. Still not happy with the first paragraph, but hopefully someone has a little suggestion that can shove me in the right direction. 

Thanks so much ahead of time!

 

 

A new world and a paucity of peaceful natives [I don't understand what you mean by this. A scarcity of peaceful natives? It doesn't make immediate sense to me] enables the Noruk people to prosper for five generations until one of the natives [that apostrophe doesn't belong. Also, I'm still confused about the very basic stuff here. Are the Noruk people different from the natives? If so, where did they come from. You don't have to do anything too complicated here -- just explain it in a clear and simple way.] taps a sleeping Titan’s lifeblood. Powerful as a god, all he needs is an army to shove the humans back into the sea and there’s five generations of one buried.

 

Near-sighted, fourth son of a hard-bitten hersir, Egil’s fate of a violent death becomes certain [awkward wording] when the faerie fire burns across his blade [what does this mean? is it an omen or something?]. With his King dead, Egil is left to defend the Aegin Fort. When the Vandrere march around the fort, raiding deep into his lands, Egil believes the Native defenceless [do you have spell check? why is "native" capitalized here but not in other places? Problems are piling up, and I think I should stop going line by line now] and leads his ragtag group of old, young, and embittered warriors north on a desperate attempt to kill the Necromancer. Barely surviving, they return south to see their land aflame. A sympathetic native offers Egil the answer to win the war; all it takes is a journey to the after world. Dying is the easy part; it’s getting back that’s hard. Every journey leaves its mark and the journey to the after life leaves Egil with a split personality.

 

Daughter of a Jarl, Thora is red-haired, quick-tempered, and as fierce as she’s beautiful. Carrying out her Father’s last wishes, she frees the thralls and arms them, but when the King dies, their army splinters. Propositioned by the King’s son, attracted to a handsome, recently freed thrall, and promised by her Father to a dead hersir’s eldest son, Thora’s choice is stolen from her by the same spirits feeding the faerie fire. She flees south to the Athecans, trying to prepare them for the refugees streaming towards them and the war that follows.

 

Hersirs and Heroes is ____ word YA fantasy novel centered on Egil and Thora finding unlikely love while trying to save their people from annihilation. This novel fits somewhere between Brent Weeks compelling story telling and Joe Abercrombie’s gritty, edge of the knife writing. 

 

You have a lot of different events, one after the other (and sometimes not all that clearly connected). Maybe try to pick one big event involving one main character, that you can really focus on and open things up with. You don't need to summarize the whole plot. Look at other successful queries to get an idea of what makes them good. Good luck! 



#3 chadweiss35

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 02:09 PM

Rewrote the beginning, trying to flesh it out more, its difficult to approach a novel you're intimate with and explain if succinctly in a few paragraphs, hopefully this makes more sense.

 

Gifted with wind and wave, the Seidmadur guided their people's ships across the Sea to a new land before going insane, stranding their people. Despite that, the land is bountiful, the natives peaceful, and for five generations they prospered.

 

Seeing the humans as a parasite upon their land, one of the long lived natives taps the lifeblood of a sleeping Titan. With the power of a god, all he needs is an army to push the humans back into the sea. An army the humans provide him with, five generations of one in fact.

 

Near-sighted, fourth son of a hard-bitten hersir, violent death becomes certain for Egil when the faerie fire burns across his blade, marking him as a hero. With his King dead, Egil is left to defend the Aegin Fort. When the vandrere march around the fort, raiding deep into his lands, Egil believes the Necromancer defenceless and leads his ragtag group of old, young, and embittered warriors north on a desperate attempt to kill the Necromancer. Barely surviving, they return south to see their land aflame. A sympathetic native offers Egil the answer to win the war; all it takes is a journey to the after world. Dying is the easy part; it’s getting back that’s hard. Every journey leaves its mark and the journey to the after life leaves Egil with a split personality.

 

Daughter of a Jarl, Thora is red-haired, quick-tempered, and as fierce as she’s beautiful. Carrying out her Father’s last wishes, she frees the thralls and arms them, but when the King dies, their army splinters. Propositioned by the King’s son, attracted to a handsome, recently freed thrall, and promised by her Father to a dead hersir’s eldest son, Thora’s choice is stolen from her by the same spirits feeding the faerie fire. She flees south to the Athecans, trying to prepare them for the refugees streaming towards them and the war that follows.

 

Hersirs and Heroes is ____ word YA fantasy novel centered on Egil and Thora finding unlikely love while trying to save their people from annihilation. This novel fits somewhere between Brent Weeks compelling story telling and Joe Abercrombie’s gritty, edge of the knife writing. 



#4 CM_Fick

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 12:29 PM

Rewrote the beginning, trying to flesh it out more, its difficult to approach a novel you're intimate with and explain if succinctly in a few paragraphs, hopefully this makes more sense.

 

Gifted with wind and wave, the Seidmadur (who/what is this? is this  a tribe? a part of a tribe?) guided their people's ships across the Sea to a new land before going insane, (I'd start the new sentence here saying... Despite being stranded, the land is bountiful and the peaceful natives prosper for five generations) stranding their people. Despite that, the land is bountiful, the natives peaceful, and for five generations they prospered.

 

Seeing the humans as a parasite upon their land, one of the long lived natives taps the lifeblood of a sleeping Titan. With the power of a god, all he needs is an army to push the humans back into the sea. An army the humans provide him with, five generations of one in fact. (this last sentence is confusing - seems to be an incomplete thought.and is this important to the rest of the story?)

 

Near-sighted, fourth son of a hard-bitten hersir (vague - what is this?), violent death becomes certain for Egil when the faerie fire burns across his blade, marking him as a hero. With his King dead, Egil is left to defend the Aegin Fort. When the vandrere march around the fort, raiding deep into his lands, Egil believes the Necromancer defenceless and leads his ragtag group of old, young, and embittered warriors north on a desperate attempt to kill the Necromancer. Barely surviving (the conflict? the battle?), they return south to see their land aflame. A sympathetic native offers Egil the answer to win the war; all it takes is a journey to the after world. Dying is the easy part; it’s getting back that’s hard. Every journey leaves its mark and the journey to the after life leaves Egil with a split personality.

 

Daughter of a Jarl, Thora is red-haired, quick-tempered, and as fierce as she’s beautiful. Carrying out her Father’s last wishes, she frees the thralls (?) and arms them, but when the King dies, their army splinters. Propositioned by the King’s son, attracted to a handsome, recently freed thrall, and promised by her Father to a dead hersir’s eldest son, Thora’s choice is stolen (how is it stolen? this seems vague) from her by the same spirits feeding the faerie fire. She flees south to the Athecans, trying to prepare them for the refugees streaming towards them and the war that follows.

 

Hersirs and Heroes is ____ word YA fantasy novel centered on Egil and Thora finding unlikely love while trying to save their people from annihilation. This novel fits somewhere between Brent Weeks compelling story telling and Joe Abercrombie’s gritty, edge of the knife writing. 

 

First off, thank you for critiquing my query. I know this is such a subjective area and there are many diverging opinions, but here are mine. I hope this helps. 

 

For your hook, it seems like its more set up than a true hook. Why are the Seidmadur so important and how do they link into your story? is Egil or Thora one of these? Overall, I think that this query conveys the general idea, but until the end, I didn't even realize that Egil's story continued beyond his return from the afterworld.

 

I think you're on the right track, and mine is just one opinion. 



#5 chadweiss35

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 09:05 PM

Thanks for the help,

I see what you mean, definitely need to work on my hook at the intro...and the whole darn thing. lol

But if you don't understand something, how the heck will someone else!



#6 Monks

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 11:23 AM

Rewrote the beginning, trying to flesh it out more, its difficult to approach a novel you're intimate with and explain if succinctly in a few paragraphs, hopefully this makes more sense.

 

Gifted with wind and wave, the Seidmadur guided their people's ships across the Sea to a new land before going insane, stranding their people. Despite that, the land is bountiful, the natives peaceful, and for five generations they prospered.

 

Seeing the humans as a parasite upon their land, one of the long lived natives taps the lifeblood of a sleeping Titan. With the power of a god, all he needs is an army to push the humans back into the sea. An army the humans provide him with, five generations of one in fact.

 

Near-sighted, fourth son of a hard-bitten hersir, violent death becomes certain for Egil when the faerie fire burns across his blade, marking him as a hero. With his King dead, Egil is left to defend the Aegin Fort. When the vandrere march around the fort, raiding deep into his lands, Egil believes the Necromancer defenceless and leads his ragtag group of old, young, and embittered warriors north on a desperate attempt to kill the Necromancer. Barely surviving, they return south to see their land aflame. A sympathetic native offers Egil the answer to win the war; all it takes is a journey to the after world. Dying is the easy part; it’s getting back that’s hard. Every journey leaves its mark and the journey to the after life leaves Egil with a split personality.

 

Daughter of a Jarl, Thora is red-haired, quick-tempered, and as fierce as she’s beautiful. Carrying out her Father’s last wishes, she frees the thralls and arms them, but when the King dies, their army splinters. Propositioned by the King’s son, attracted to a handsome, recently freed thrall, and promised by her Father to a dead hersir’s eldest son, Thora’s choice is stolen from her by the same spirits feeding the faerie fire. She flees south to the Athecans, trying to prepare them for the refugees streaming towards them and the war that follows.

 

Hersirs and Heroes is ____ word YA fantasy novel centered on Egil and Thora finding unlikely love while trying to save their people from annihilation. This novel fits somewhere between Brent Weeks compelling story telling and Joe Abercrombie’s gritty, edge of the knife writing. 

 

Sounds like a cool book, and this query is definitely getting there! Personally though, it didn't grab me until the third paragraph, when you started talking about a specific character, Egil, rather than the world at large. I feel like queries work best (even for epic fantasy, which relies a lot on strong world-building) when they focus very closely on the protagonist(s). With that in mind, I would cut the first two paragraphs completely, and if there's information in there that you feel is essential to the story, work it into the following paragraphs that deal with characters. I'm actually not certain how the first two paragraphs connect with the stuff about Egil and Thora, so I think working that information into their paragraphs could help make that more clear.

 

There's also a lot of name dropping and terms that I couldn't really connect together. Hersir, vandrere, Seidmadur, Athecans, etc. There's a lot to keep track of. I think you should also make clear how Egil and Thora begin working together. I'm assuming it's an important part of the book, since you say at the end that they find unlikely love (I assume with each other), but I'm not certain how they connect in the first place.

 

Personally, four aspects of this query piqued my interest most. Egil's journey to the after world, the split personality that results from that, Thora's army of thralls, and Egil's and Thora's relationship. Those four things seem to me like the pivotal aspects of the protagonists' stories. But I don't feel like I get nearly enough information about those things (especially the split personality). I would try reworking the query with a particular focus on these aspects of the story and see how it turns out. Of course, it's possible I'm misreading things, and there are other aspects of the novel that are more important. Either way, I definitely feel like this is coming along, and there are hints of some really cool hooks in there. You're close, imo.


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my query!


#7 chadweiss35

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 05:21 PM

I see what you mean and it does seem to start better that way. I've skimmed over many a setting or scene that an author worked hard on, trying to find out what's gonna happen to the characters so that makes perfect sense. Thanks for the great critique! Gonna rework it!



#8 chadweiss35

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 06:17 PM

​Here's the reworked version, hopefully improving upon some great critiques!

 

Near-sighted, fourth son of a hard-bitten hersir, violent death becomes certain for Egil when the faerie fire burns across his blade, marking him as a hero. Seeing the humans as a parasite upon their land, the long lived Native tapping the lifeblood of a sleeping Titan will never stop until the last human is driven back into the sea by his army of vandrere.

 

With his King dead, Egil is left to defend the Aegin Fort. When the vandrere march around the fort, raiding deep into his lands, Egil believes the Native defenceless and leads his ragtag group of old, young, and embittered warriors north on a desperate attempt to kill the Necromancer. Utterly failing and barely surviving, they return south to see their land aflame. A sympathetic native offers Egil the answer to win the war; all it takes is a journey to the after world. Dying is the easy part; it’s getting back that’s hard. Every journey leaves its mark and the journey to the after life leaves Egil with a split personality. Yet the insanity will be the very thing that keeps Egil fighting.

 

Daughter of a Jarl, Thora is red-haired, quick-tempered, and as fierce as she’s beautiful. Carrying out her Father’s last wishes, she frees the thralls and arms them, but when the King dies, their army splinters. Propositioned by the King’s son, attracted to a handsome, recently freed thrall, and promised by her Father to a dead hersir’s eldest son, Thora meets Egil, the first man to make her feel safe. Separated by the same spirits feeding the faerie fire, she flees south, trying to prepare everyone for the refugees streaming towards them and the trailing war.

 

Despite every obstacle, Egil and Thora find each other again. Egil has changed somehow, yet war changes everyone, but at times Thora wonders who Egil truly is. She’s left reconciling with that fact while Egil, utterly determined to kill the Native, rallies the last of the survivors in a final bid to turn the tide of war.

 

Hersirs and Heroes is ____ word YA fantasy novel centered on Egil and Thora finding unlikely love while trying to save their people from annihilation. This novel fits somewhere between Brent Weeks compelling story telling and Joe Abercrombie’s gritty, edge of the knife writing.



#9 DV77

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 06:32 PM

​Here's the reworked version, hopefully improving upon some great critiques!

 

Near-sighted, fourth son of a hard-bitten hersir, violent death becomes certain for Egil when the faerie fire burns across his blade, marking him as a hero.  I think this opening is way too wordy. Not only that, I also don't really learn anything basic about the character or the story. Seeing the humans as a parasite upon their land, the long lived Native tapping the lifeblood of a sleeping Titan will never stop until the last human is driven back into the sea by his army of vandrere. I get what this is supposed to be, but again it feels like it is using twice the number of words needed is being used. You could trim the word count and make it sound like less of a riddle by halving it.

 

With his King dead, Egil is left to defend the Aegin Fort. When the vandrere march around the fort, raiding deep into his lands, Egil believes the Native defenceless and leads his ragtag group of old, young, and embittered warriors north on a desperate attempt to kill the Necromancer. Too many names used. So far I've counted Egil, Native, vandrere, Aegin and now Necromancer. I have no idea what is going on. Utterly failing and barely surviving, they return south to see their land aflame. A sympathetic native offers Egil the answer to win the war; all it takes is a journey to the after world. Dying is the easy part; it’s getting back that’s hard. Every journey leaves its mark and the journey to the after life leaves Egil with a split personality. Yet the insanity will be the very thing that keeps Egil fighting. This could be interesting but the details should be expanded on. At the moment it's very vague but with some more details it would start to set your story apart from other fantasies.

 

Daughter of a Jarl, Thora is red-haired, quick-tempered, and as fierce as she’s beautiful Show us. Don't tell us.. Carrying out her Father’s last wishes, she frees the thralls and arms them, but when the King dies, their army splinters. Propositioned by the King’s son, attracted to a handsome, recently freed thrall, and promised by her Father to a dead hersir’s eldest son, Thora meets Egil, the first man to make her feel safe. Separated by the same spirits feeding the faerie fire, she flees south, trying to prepare everyone for the refugees streaming towards them and the trailing war.

 

Despite every obstacle, Egil and Thora find each other again. Egil has changed somehow, yet war changes everyone, but at times Thora wonders who Egil truly is. She’s left reconciling with that fact while Egil, utterly determined to kill the Native, rallies the last of the survivors in a final bid to turn the tide of war.

 

Hersirs and Heroes is ____ word YA fantasy novel centered on Egil and Thora finding unlikely love while trying to save their people from annihilation. This novel fits somewhere between Brent Weeks compelling story telling and Joe Abercrombie’s gritty, edge of the knife writing.

 

I think this needs work. There are way too many names being dropped in here and it's a little headache inducing. A lot of people here always mention Janet Reid's blog as a good example of what to look at. If you haven't seen that yet I highly recommend taking a look at it. The stuff about Egil going insane and even the romance makes it interesting, but everything feels all over the place here. It needs to be simplified. Who is the MC? What do they want? What are the obstacles stopping them from getting it? What will happen if they don't get it?



#10 CM_Fick

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 06:52 PM

​Here's the reworked version, hopefully improving upon some great critiques!

 

Near-sighted, fourth son of a hard-bitten hersir, violent death becomes certain for Egil when the faerie fire burns across his blade, marking him as a hero. Perhaps something along the lines of: For a near-sighted, fourth son of a hard-bitten Viking commander, a violent death is a certainty, but when faerie fire burns across Egil's blade, it marks him as a hero. may work better as an opening hook.  Seeing the humans as a parasite upon their land, the long lived Native tapping the lifeblood of a sleeping Titan will never stop until the last human is driven back into the sea by his army of vandrere (?) also, this sentence seems incomplete still it's either missing punctuation, or has too many unknowns. What is the Native, why does it tap the lifeblood and how does it relate to the story? 

 

With his King dead, Egil is left to defend the Aegin fort. When the vandrere (?) march around the fort, raiding deep into his lands, Egil believes the Native defenseless and leads his ragtag (this encompasses the different ages I would think) group of old, young, and embittered warriors north on a desperate attempt to kill the Necromancer (is this the Native? or the vandrere?). Utterly failing and barely surviving, they return south to see their land aflame. A sympathetic native offers Egil the answer to win the war; all it takes is a journey to the after world. Dying is the easy part; it’s getting back that’s hard. Every journey leaves its mark and the journey to the after life leaves Egil with a split personality. Yet the insanity will be the very thing that keeps Egil fighting.

 

Daughter of a Jarl (who is this?), Thora is red-haired, quick-tempered, and as fierce as she’s beautiful. Carrying out her Father’s last wishes, she frees the thralls and arms them, but when the King dies, their army splinters. Propositioned by the King’s son, attracted to a handsome, recently freed thrall, and promised by her Father to a dead hersir’s eldest son, Thora meets Egil, the first man to make her feel safe. Separated by the same spirits feeding the faerie fire, she flees south, trying to prepare everyone for the refugees streaming towards them and the trailing war.

 

Despite every obstacle, Egil and Thora find each other again. Egil has changed somehow, yet (i would try for a different word here as/because), war changes everyone, but at times Thora wonders who Egil truly is. She’s left reconciling with that fact while Egil, utterly determined to kill the Native, rallies the last of the survivors in a final bid to turn the tide of war.

 

Hersirs and Heroes is ____ word YA fantasy novel centered on Egil and Thora finding unlikely love while trying to save their people from annihilation. This novel fits somewhere between Brent Weeks compelling story telling and Joe Abercrombie’s gritty, edge of the knife writing.

 

chadweiss35, I think you're on the right track with the improvements, but there are still a few questions. I agree with DV77 in that there are too many unknown names. 

 

I still had to google what a hersir was. Couldn't you just use Viking commander for the sake of clarity in your query?

 

I like the paragraph you added, tying the two journeys together and this is a definite improvement.  



#11 chadweiss35

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 08:43 AM

Thanks for the critiques dv77 and cmfick, really helpful. Since everyone seems to like the split personality part, I'm gonna try to start with that as a hook.

I'm thinking maybe something along these lines,

 

>His King dead, the army splintered, his people fleeing, war leader Egil is desperate. When a sympathetic enemy offers the key to winning the war, all it takes is a journey to the after world, he's desperate enough to listen. Dying is the easy part; it's returning that's hard. Every journey leaves its mark and travelling to the afterlife leaves Egil with a split personality. Yet, it's that insanity that allows Egil to dredge the last of humanity in a final bid to win the war.<

 

Or something like that, still working on it.

Thanks again!



#12 CM_Fick

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 01:18 PM

Thanks for the critiques dv77 and cmfick, really helpful. Since everyone seems to like the split personality part, I'm gonna try to start with that as a hook.

I'm thinking maybe something along these lines,

 

With(?) His King dead, the army splintered, his people fleeing, war leader Egil is desperate. (this feels fragmented) When a sympathetic enemy offers the key to winning the war, all it takes is a journey to the after world, he's desperate enough to listen. Dying is the easy part; it's returning that's hard. (I would start the hook off with this - or a variation if it) Every journey leaves its mark and travelling to the afterlife leaves Egil with a split personality. Yet, it's that insanity that allows Egil to dredge the last of humanity in a final bid to win the war.<

 

Or something like that, still working on it.

Thanks again!

 

Hi chadweiss35, 

 

I suggest modifying this to make it work as more of a hook. Something along the lines of:

Dying is the easy part; it's returning that's hard. With his King dead, the army splintered, and his people fleeing, Egil is desperate enough to listen when a sympathetic enemy offers the viking commander the key to winning the war. All it takes is a journey to the after world, but one such as this, always leaves its mark. 

 

After traveling into the afterlife, Egil is left with a split-personality.... go into the rest of your pitch here... 

 

Try to work this (or a variation) into your last sentence, because I like how this sets up the scope of the whole pitch: Yet, it's that insanity that allows Egil to dredge the last of humanity in a final bid to win the war.



#13 punitrastogi

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 01:37 PM

Not able to format it properly because I am on mobile.
Still would give it a try.

With his King dead, the army splintered, and his people fleeing, war leader Egil was panicking. When a sympathetic enemy offered the key to winning the war, he was desperate enough to do what was needed - a journey to the after world. As the afterlife left Egil with a split personality, the very insanity allows Egil to dredge the last of humanity in a final bid to win the war.

Or something like that
Thanks again!

Hope it helps :)

Please have a look at my query too. :)

#14 chadweiss35

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 12:17 PM

Newest Query

 

I feel I should delete the blue, but wondering if that information is really needed. Wanted some opinions, if you thinks its useful, let me know, I can always work it in better. Welcome to any thoughts and will gladly help others with their query. Thanks

 

 

Dying’s easy; it’s returning that’s hard. With the war lost and his people fleeing, war leader Egil accepts a sympathetic enemy’s offer to win the war. All it takes is a journey to the afterlife, but every journey makes its mark and returning from death leaves Egil with a split personality.

 

Daughter of a jarl, Thora is red-haired, quick-tempered, and as fierce as she’s beautiful. Carrying out her father’s last wish, she frees the thralls and arms them, but when the King dies, their army splinters. Propositioned by the King’s son, attracted to a handsome, but recently freed thrall, and promised by her father to a dead war leader’s eldest son, Thora meets Egil, the first man to make her feel safe and incidentally her promised husband. Separated from Egil, she flees south, trying to prepare the southerners for the refugees streaming towards them and the trailing war.

 

Near-sighted and the last son alive of a hard-bitten war leader, Egil never thought he would fondly remember the starving and freezing march north to an ill-fated battle as the good days. Left in command of their northern fort, he abandons the defensive position and leads his ragtag group of embittered warriors north. Unable to kill the native determined to drive every human back into the sea, Egil barely survives and returns to see his land aflame. With the army scattered and Thora fleeing south, he crosses the western mountains in search of the sympathetic natives. After opening Egil’s senses, the natives drown then resuscitate Egil, creating the first human wizard. Armed with new abilities, native allies, and enough insanity to resume the war, Egil heads south to dredge the last of humanity in a final bid to win the war.

 

Despite every obstacle, Egil and Thora find each other again. With Egil’s personalities united on winning the war, he recruits warriors. Yet Egil has changed. War changes everyone, but with his personalities conflicting over Thora, things tend to get squirrelly when she’s around, leaving Thora wondering if she truly knows who he is.

 

 

Hersirs and Heroes is ____ word YA fantasy novel centered on Egil and Thora finding unlikely love while trying to save their people from annihilation. This novel fits somewhere between Brent Weeks compelling story telling and Joe Abercrombie’s gritty, edge of the knife writing.



#15 smithgirl

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 12:31 PM

 

Dying’s easy; it’s returning that’s hard. With the war lost and his people fleeing, war leader Egil accepts a sympathetic enemy’s offer to win the war. You used war there times in this sentence. Also, the previous sentence seems contradictory since it says the war is lost and then it says it can be won...? All it takes is a journey to the afterlife, but every journey makes its mark and returning from death leaves Egil with a split personality. I like the first and last sentences in this paragraph. Just the middle one confused me.

 

Daughter of a jarl, Thora is red-haired, quick-tempered, and as fierce as she’s beautiful. Carrying out her father’s last wish, she frees How? Is she also a war leader?  the thralls What are thralls?and arms them, but when the King dies, their army splinters. Propositioned by the King’s son, attracted to a handsome, but recently freed thrall, and promised by her father to a dead war leader’s eldest son, Thora meets Egil,​I don't follow how the first three events in this sentence lead to meeting Egil.  the first man to make her feel safe and incidentally her promised husband. Separated from Why? Egil, she flees south, trying to prepare the southerners for the refugees streaming towards them and the trailing war.

 

This second paragraph was unclear.  And you need to define Thora better, not that she is red-haired and beautiful, but her role -- war leader?  Angry peasant? I think it is definitely important that Egil is her promised husband, but I think you need to rework this paragraph to be more clear.

 

Near-sighted and the last son alive of a hard-bitten war leader, Egil never thought he would fondly remember the starving and freezing march north to an ill-fated battle as the good days. Left in command of their northern fort, he abandons the defensive position and leads his ragtag group of embittered warriors north. Unable to kill the native determined to drive every human back into the sea, Egil barely survives and returns to see his land aflame. With the army scattered and Thora fleeing south, he crosses the western mountains in search of the sympathetic natives. After opening Egil’s senses, the natives drown then resuscitate Egil, creating the first human wizard. Armed with new abilities, native allies, and enough insanity to resume the war, Egil heads south to dredge the last of humanity in a final bid to win the war.

 

Again, this paragraph is unclear. You have more information than you need.

 

Despite every obstacle, Egil and Thora find each other again. Vague and cliche.With Egil’s personalities united on winning the war, he recruits warriors. At this point, I had totally forgotten about Egil's death and personality issues. It seemed to disappear from the query. Yet Egil has changed. War changes everyone, but with his personalities conflicting over Thora, things tend to get squirrelly when she’s around, leaving Thora wondering if she truly knows who he is.

 

 

Hersirs and Heroes is ____ word YA fantasy novel centered on Egil and Thora finding unlikely love while trying to save their people from annihilation. This novel fits somewhere between Brent Weeks compelling story telling and Joe Abercrombie’s gritty, edge-of-the knife writing.

 

Your story sounds interesting, but at this point it is really unclear. You have a lot of unnecessary information that drowns the essential components. You need to really focus your query, get down to the bare-bones and write from there. Focus on just Egil and Thora, on what they do, specifically. Decide on one POV, Egil or Thora, and then make us feel their struggles. Focus on their needs. What do they want? What obstacles stand in their way? What happens if they fail? And you need to clarify the split personality issue. I assume it plays a large role in your story, but in the query it doesn't seem important.

 

​I know this is really hard. Just keep working at it and reposting your new revisions.

 

​If you get a chance, could you please look at my own long suffering query? Thanks! http://agentquerycon...rade-critiques/

 

 

 

 



#16 CM_Fick

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 01:36 PM

Newest Query

 

I feel I should delete the blue, but wondering if that information is really needed. Wanted some opinions, if you thinks its useful, let me know, I can always work it in better. Welcome to any thoughts and will gladly help others with their query. Thanks

 

 

Dying’s easy; it’s returning that’s hard. With the war lost and his people fleeing, war leader Egil accepts a sympathetic enemy’s offer to win the war. (I agree with smithgirl - too many uses of war here.)All it takes is a journey to the afterlife, but every journey makes its mark and returning from death leaves Egil with a split personality. (I feel like this is taking a step back from previous versions. You've lost something in the editing. This version is more bland and less interesting than previous versions.)

 

---[punitrastogi made a great suggestion on tweaking the opening into a better hook. "Dying’s easy; it’s returning that’s hard. With his King dead, the army splintered, and his people fleeing, war leader Egil was panicking unsure of his next steps. When a sympathetic enemy offers the key to winning the war, he is desperate enough to do what's needed - journey into the after world. But there is a price: Egil's trek into the afterlife leaves him with a split personality. (I'm not sold on this last sentence, but I think you can finesse this into a better fit) very insanity allows Egil to dredge the last of humanity in a final bid to win the war.

This lays out the conflict, your main character, what he must overcome to complete his quest. I think there needs to be a few tweaks, (which I've updated in a few places) but I think it's a good place to start from.)]---

 

Daughter of a jarl, Thora is red-haired, quick-tempered, and as fierce as she’s beautiful. Carrying out her father’s last wish, she frees the thralls and arms them, but when the King dies, their army splinters. Propositioned by the King’s son, attracted to a handsome, but recently freed thrall, and promised by her father to a dead war leader’s eldest son, Thora meets Egil, the first man to make her feel safe and incidentally her promised husband. (I'm not sure if you're implying that Egil is one or two of these - is he the freed thrall and the promised husband? This sentence is a little convoluted and confusing. I'd be happy to help finesse out these details if you'd like, I just need to understand the fragments.) Separated from Egil, she flees south, trying to prepare the southerners for the refugees streaming towards them and the trailing war. 

 

Near-sighted and the last living son alive of a hard-bitten war leader, Egil never thought he would recall the long days of hard marches, food shortages, and freezing weather, as good days.  fondly remember the starving and freezing march north to an ill-fated battle as the good days. Left in command of their northern fort, he abandons the defensive position and leads his ragtag group of embittered warriors north. Unable to kill the native (This is a title right? I'd italicize or capitalize) determined to drive every human back into the sea, Egil barely survives (barely survives what?) and returns to see his land aflame. With the army scattered and Thora fleeing south, he crosses the western mountains in search of the sympathetic natives. After opening Egil’s senses, the natives drown then resuscitate Egil him, creating the first human wizard. Armed with new abilities, native allies, and enough insanity (insane enough?) to resume the war, Egil heads south to dredge the last of humanity in a final bid to win the war.

 

Despite every obstacle, (many obstacles), Egil and Thora find each other again. With both of Egil’s personalities united, he recruits warriors on winning (in order to win) the war. Yet Egil has changed. War changes everyone, but with his personalities conflicting over Thora, things tend to get squirrelly (I don't like this word for a query) when she’s around, leaving Thora wondering if she truly knows who he is.

 

 

Hersirs and Heroes is ____ word YA fantasy novel centered on Egil and Thora finding unlikely love while trying to save their people from annihilation. This novel fits somewhere between Brent Weeks compelling story telling and Joe Abercrombie’s gritty, edge of the knife writing.

Hi chadweiss35, 

 

Sorry I haven't gotten to this sooner. 

 

I've made notes above, but I think you're working in the right direction. Things are starting to become clearer (like the first wizard part. exciting!) but there still needs to be some finessing of the details. I hope this helps. 

 

I've updated my own query, link below, if you have a few minutes to review. Thanks! 



#17 chadweiss35

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 02:51 PM

 

 

Dying’s easy; it’s returning that’s hard. With the war lost and his people fleeing, war leader Egil accepts a sympathetic enemy’s offer to win the war. You used war there times in this sentence. Also, the previous sentence seems contradictory since it says the war is lost and then it says it can be won...? All it takes is a journey to the afterlife, but every journey makes its mark and returning from death leaves Egil with a split personality. I like the first and last sentences in this paragraph. Just the middle one confused me.

 

Daughter of a jarl, Thora is red-haired, quick-tempered, and as fierce as she’s beautiful. Carrying out her father’s last wish, she frees How? Is she also a war leader?  the thralls What are thralls?and arms them, but when the King dies, their army splinters. Propositioned by the King’s son, attracted to a handsome, but recently freed thrall, and promised by her father to a dead war leader’s eldest son, Thora meets Egil,​I don't follow how the first three events in this sentence lead to meeting Egil.  the first man to make her feel safe and incidentally her promised husband. Separated from Why? Egil, she flees south, trying to prepare the southerners for the refugees streaming towards them and the trailing war.

 

This second paragraph was unclear.  And you need to define Thora better, not that she is red-haired and beautiful, but her role -- war leader?  Angry peasant? I think it is definitely important that Egil is her promised husband, but I think you need to rework this paragraph to be more clear.

 

Near-sighted and the last son alive of a hard-bitten war leader, Egil never thought he would fondly remember the starving and freezing march north to an ill-fated battle as the good days. Left in command of their northern fort, he abandons the defensive position and leads his ragtag group of embittered warriors north. Unable to kill the native determined to drive every human back into the sea, Egil barely survives and returns to see his land aflame. With the army scattered and Thora fleeing south, he crosses the western mountains in search of the sympathetic natives. After opening Egil’s senses, the natives drown then resuscitate Egil, creating the first human wizard. Armed with new abilities, native allies, and enough insanity to resume the war, Egil heads south to dredge the last of humanity in a final bid to win the war.

 

Again, this paragraph is unclear. You have more information than you need.

 

Despite every obstacle, Egil and Thora find each other again. Vague and cliche.With Egil’s personalities united on winning the war, he recruits warriors. At this point, I had totally forgotten about Egil's death and personality issues. It seemed to disappear from the query. Yet Egil has changed. War changes everyone, but with his personalities conflicting over Thora, things tend to get squirrelly when she’s around, leaving Thora wondering if she truly knows who he is.

 

 

Hersirs and Heroes is ____ word YA fantasy novel centered on Egil and Thora finding unlikely love while trying to save their people from annihilation. This novel fits somewhere between Brent Weeks compelling story telling and Joe Abercrombie’s gritty, edge-of-the knife writing.

 

Your story sounds interesting, but at this point it is really unclear. You have a lot of unnecessary information that drowns the essential components. You need to really focus your query, get down to the bare-bones and write from there. Focus on just Egil and Thora, on what they do, specifically. Decide on one POV, Egil or Thora, and then make us feel their struggles. Focus on their needs. What do they want? What obstacles stand in their way? What happens if they fail? And you need to clarify the split personality issue. I assume it plays a large role in your story, but in the query it doesn't seem important.

 

​I know this is really hard. Just keep working at it and reposting your new revisions.

 

​If you get a chance, could you please look at my own long suffering query? Thanks! http://agentquerycon...rade-critiques/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the great critique, I wondered if it wasn't getting a little synopsis feeling to it. Gonna strip it down and restructure it to the bones

Thanks again, I'll get to your critique pronto



#18 chadweiss35

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 02:53 PM

Hi chadweiss35, 

 

Sorry I haven't gotten to this sooner. 

 

I've made notes above, but I think you're working in the right direction. Things are starting to become clearer (like the first wizard part. exciting!) but there still needs to be some finessing of the details. I hope this helps. 

 

I've updated my own query, link below, if you have a few minutes to review. Thanks! 

Thanks, CM Fick, lots of help as usual...even if I had to let out a big sigh that my hook was a step backwards, but I see what you mean by I lost the urgency. I'm a big fan of 'squirrelly' to describe Egil, its the perfect word, if a little out of place in the language of the query...i'll have to consider what you said. Perhaps I should be putting a little more voice into the novel and the squirrelly wouldn't seem out of place.



#19 dragoness

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 01:28 AM

The story seems fascinating! I want to read it!  :smile:

 

The query, however, is very loaded and confusing. I think you should stick to one MC, Egil, and show Thora only through his eyes.

Focus on his goal, conflicts, choice and stakes. 

 

Here are my detailed comments:

Newest Query

 

I feel I should delete the blue, but wondering if that information is really needed. Wanted some opinions, if you thinks its useful, let me know, I can always work it in better. Welcome to any thoughts and will gladly help others with their query. Thanks

 

 

Dying is easy; it is returning that is hard. (I think this is a great hook, without the rest of the sentence, which is concrete and doesn't connect to this abstract deceleration.)

 

With the war lost and his people fleeing, war leader Egil accepts a sympathetic enemy’s offer to win the war. All it takes is a journey to the afterlife, but every journey makes its mark and returning from death leaves Egil with a split personality. (you reveal the entire story here. let the query tell it.)

 

Daughter of a jarl, Thora, (comma) is red-haired, quick-tempered, and as fierce as she’s beautiful. (great!) Carrying out her father’s last wish, she frees the thralls and arms them, but when their (what king? their?) King dies, their army splinters. Propositioned by the King’s son, attracted to a handsome, but recently freed thrall, and promised by her father to a dead war leader’s eldest son, Thora meets Egil, the first man to make her feel safe (are there four men for her? it's too much to understand) and incidentally her promised husband. Separated from Egil (why?), she flees south, trying to prepare the southerners for the refugees streaming towards them and the trailing war. (this entire paragraph should be deleted, IMO)

 

Near-sighted and the last son alive of a hard-bitten war leader, Egil never thought he would fondly remember the starving and freezing march north to an ill-fated battle as the good days. Left in command of their northern fort, he abandons the defensive position and leads his ragtag group of embittered warriors north. Unable to kill the native determined to drive every human back into the sea, Egil barely survives and returns to see his land aflame. With the army scattered and Thora fleeing south, he crosses the western mountains in search of the sympathetic natives. After opening Egil’s senses, the natives drown then resuscitate Egil, creating the first human wizard. Armed with new abilities, native allies, and enough insanity to resume the war, Egil heads south to dredge the last of humanity in a final bid to win the war. (too many journeys and places. make it simpler and clearer.)

 

Despite every obstacle, Egil and Thora find each other again. With Egil’s personalities united on winning the war, he recruits warriors. Yet Egil has changed. War changes everyone, but with his personalities conflicting over Thora, things tend to get squirrelly when she’s around, leaving Thora wondering if she truly knows who he is.

 

 

Hersirs and Heroes is ____ word YA fantasy novel centered on Egil and Thora finding unlikely love while trying to save their people from annihilation. This novel fits somewhere between Brent Weeks compelling story telling and Joe Abercrombie’s gritty, edge of the knife writing.

 

Good luck!

 

I'd thank you if you'd like to look at my query: http://agentquerycon...eturn-critique/



#20 chadweiss35

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 10:04 PM

Thanks in advance, will gladly return critiques!

 

 

Dying’s easy; it’s returning that’s hard, but that’s what Egil intends when he learns the key to turning the tide of the war lies in the after life.

 

Egil Sigurdsson never thought he would fondly recall the freezing marches, scant meals, and lost battle for the north as the good days. But with his King dead, army splintered, and his love fleeing south with the rest of his people, he does. He’s desperate enough to let a sympathetic enemy drown then resuscitate him, becoming the first human wizard. Yet, knowledge has a cost and returning from the after life splits Egil’s personality.

 

Daughter of a jarl, Thora carries out her father’s last wish; she frees the thralls and arms them. Propositioned by the King’s son, promised to hersir Sigurd’s eldest son, and attracted to a handsome, but recently freed thrall, Thora is reluctant to make a decision until she meets Egil, the first man to make her feel safe. Separated by events of the war, she flees, joining the throngs of refugees streaming south with war nipping at their heels.

 

Armed with knowledge of the after life, native allies, and insane enough to resume the war, Egil heads south to dredge the last of humanity for warriors. War changes everyone, but when he finds Thora, his personalities collide and things get a little squirrelly. Despite wondering who Egil really is; Thora refuses to forsake the man she loves and helps him organize a ragtag, traumatized, disheartened band of warriors into an army.

 

Hersirs and Heroes is ____ word YA fantasy novel that fits somewhere between Brent Weeks compelling story telling and Joe Abercrombie’s gritty, edge of the knife writing.

 

 

(I included Egil's last name, Sigurdsson, because I mention Thora is promised to Sigurd's eldest son. Too vague?)







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