Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
- - - - -

BURNING HEART (high/epic fantasy - Revision in #83)

Fiction Fantasy

  • Please log in to reply
88 replies to this topic

#1 CM_Fick

CM_Fick

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 133 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Mark of Fate, Bad Caveman Publishing, 2011

    Self published works:
    Burden of Fate, 2012
    Legacy of Fate, 2016
    When the Dead Rise: Series 1, 2016

Posted 24 February 2017 - 02:56 PM

<Updated 3/22/17> A BIG thank you to everyone who helped me sort through this query. It may not be perfect yet, but I had to get it submitted for critique by today. So, until I get that back (which likely won't be until later next month) I'm going to press pause here and wait. If you want to, here's the most up to date version of my query: REVISED QUERY in #83

 

Once I get the agent's comments back, I'm sure there will be a new round of critiques, but until then I'll still be around to pay-it-forward. If I miss someone's update, and you'd like me to review it, please just send me a PM and I'll get on it as soon as I can. 



#2 Testome

Testome

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 281 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 24 February 2017 - 04:02 PM



 

Okay, so I've already sent out a round of submissions using a standard query and have received a handful of form-rejections back. The old query went through a rigorous round of edits, but it doesn't seem to be catching anyone's attention. I've now redone the query and would appreciate any feedback offered. I will happily return the favour to anyone seeking their own critiques if you could kindly link your query with your response. I've also included the first version below. 

 

Thank you in advance for any feedback.

 

 

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

 

I am seeking representation for my 115,000-word adult? fantasy novel, Burning Heart. I would move this to the endAllow me to take you to a world of elemental magic, where the ruling factions of supernatural beings live in tenuous peace. This isn't really a hook. A millennium earlier, Ember Who is Ember? sacrificed herself to seal the portal into Earth, saving humanity from the malevolents and ending the eons-long conflict between the factions. This is vague.In order to regain access to the other dimension, however, the Unseelie King created a second greater elemental - one who would do his bidding and undo the magic protecting the Earth. Is this Vashti? This setup is a bit too vague, and i would trim it down, and none this gets me interested enough to read on. This is all setup. 

 

When Vashti Who is this?succeeds in breaking Ember's seal and releases her from the portal, the delicate balance of their world is thrown into chaos. Cut off from the elements that used to define her, Ember must find a way to regain what she's lost and learn how to cope with her new reality. This is vague. Vashti, suddenly without a purpose beyond obeying her master's whims, travels to Earth in search of the key to the Unseelie's victory. With the assistance of a banished warlock seeking redemption, her oldest friend, and a kitsune with ulterior motives, Ember must reconnect with each of the elements This is vague, gather the pieces of a lost prophecy, and travel to Earth before Vashti finds the key. 

 

Your bio mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope you find my manuscript to be a good match. As stated in your guidelines, I've included ????. I'd be happy to send the completed manuscript upon request. This dosen't do anything for you and agents already know this.  No use in stating it.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

 

 

 

I would get rid of the setup paragraph and start with your story, and give Ember and Vashti their own paragraphs.  The way you have it now nothing really tells your story well enough. It reads like it's all jumbled together in a Rubik's cube without direction. 



#3 anathebookworm

anathebookworm

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 158 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationSouth America

Posted 24 February 2017 - 04:04 PM

 

Okay, so I've already sent out a round of submissions using a standard query and have received a handful of form-rejections back. The old query went through a rigorous round of edits, but it doesn't seem to be catching anyone's attention. I've now redone the query and would appreciate any feedback offered. I will happily return the favour to anyone seeking their own critiques if you could kindly link your query with your response. I've also included the first version below. 

 

Thank you in advance for any feedback.

 

 

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

 

I am seeking representation for my 115,000-word fantasy novel, Burning Heart. Allow me to take you to a world of elemental magic, where the ruling factions of supernatural beings live in tenuous peace. This is telling. You have to SHOW us this. A millennium earlier, Ember sacrificed herself to seal the portal into Earth, saving humanity from the malevolents and ending the eons-long conflict between the factions. In order to regain access to the other dimension, however, the Unseelie King created a second greater elemental - one who would do his bidding and undo the magic protecting the Earth. Hmmm, what if we mix this with your old version? "After the death of her soulmate, X-YEAR-OLD Ember LAST NAME, the first greater elemental, sacrificed herself by creating a seal to protect humanity from the Unseelie. Over a millennium later, the Unseelie King created a second greater elemental - one who would do his bidding and undo the magic protecting the Earth."

 

After Y-YEAR-OLD Vashti, the second elemental, When Vashti succeeds in breaking Ember's seal and releases her from the portal, the delicate balance of their world Maybe you could give a name to their world? is thrown into chaos. Cut off from the elements that used to define her, Ember must find a way to regain what she's lost and learn how to cope with her new reality. Vashti, suddenly without a purpose beyond obeying her master's whims, travels to Earth in search of the key to the Unseelie's victory. With the assistance of a banished warlock seeking redemption, her oldest friend, and a kitsune with ulterior motives, Ember must reconnect with each of the elements, gather the pieces of a lost prophecy, and travel to Earth before Vashti finds the key. I think you should give Ember one paragraph, and then Vashti another. You mix their stories on your query's final paragraph - I think things will work better this way, and it will be easier to understand their situations.

 

Your bio mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope you find my manuscript to be a good match. As stated in your guidelines, I've included ????. I'd be happy to send the completed manuscript upon request.

 

 

 


 

 

I think your query might not be working because it's a little confusing, and I need to think and re-read sentences to understand what you mean. If you clarify things and lose some of the vague points Testome pointed out, I think you'll have a killer query.

 

If you have the time, I'd love your opinion on my query - http://agentquerycon...e-4#entry335032



#4 SAVE

SAVE

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 58 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 24 February 2017 - 04:29 PM

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

 

I am seeking representation for my 115,000-word fantasy novel, Burning Heart. Allow me to take you to a world of elemental magic, where the ruling factions of supernatural beings live in tenuous peace (Start with your hook! There's some relevant information here (elemental magic/ruling factions) you should have that in your query!). A millennium earlier, Ember sacrificed herself to seal the portal into Earth, saving humanity from the malevolents and ending the eons-long conflict between the factions(Yes yes yes! This is good! Start with this sentence! It's exciting and makes me want to read more!). In order to regain access to the other dimension(The other dimension? So there's Earth and another dimension? If so, you should make that more clear), however, the Unseelie King created a second, greater elemental - one who would do his bidding and undo the magic protecting the Earth. 

 

When Vashti(...Who? I went from amazing to confused in 2 seconds. Detail, detail, detail!) succeeds in breaking Ember's seal and releases her from the portal, the delicate balance of their world is thrown into chaos. Cut off from the elements that used to define her, Ember must find a way to regain what she's lost and learn how to cope with her new reality(What new reality? The chaos of the world?). Vashti, suddenly without a purpose beyond obeying her master's whims, travels to Earth in search of the key to the Unseelie's victory(This part is a little confusing, probably because I don't know who or what Vashti is, exactly). With the assistance of a banished warlock seeking redemption, her oldest friend, and a kitsune(I hope this doesn't sound like a jab at anyone's intelligence, but not everyone knows what a kitsune is, perhaps it'd be best to explain it in another way) with ulterior motives, Ember must reconnect with each of the elements, gather the pieces of a lost prophecy, and travel to Earth before Vashti finds the key.

 

Your bio mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope you find my manuscript to be a good match. As stated in your guidelines, I've included ????. I'd be happy to send the completed manuscript upon request.

 

 

 


 

You started off really solid (with your 2nd sentence =P), but the second paragraph was really confusing, there wasn't a lot of detail and left more questions than it was supposed to answer. You have an interesting idea here, but perhaps another rework would do it some good.

Good luck!



#5 CM_Fick

CM_Fick

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 133 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Mark of Fate, Bad Caveman Publishing, 2011

    Self published works:
    Burden of Fate, 2012
    Legacy of Fate, 2016
    When the Dead Rise: Series 1, 2016

Posted 24 February 2017 - 07:46 PM

First off, I'd like to thank Testome, anathebookworm, and SAVE for your input - it is valued and appreciated. I've done a major overhaul and while I did take the age/ last name into consideration, a) there are no sur names and b) after 10k years, age becomes irrelevant imo ;)

 

REVISED QUERY: 

 

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

 

When Ember, the first greater elemental, sacrificed herself to seal the portal between Pangea and Earth, she not only saved humanity from the Unseelie but also ended the eons-long conflict between the factions.

 

For a millennium, the ruling factions of supernatural beings lived in tenuous peace, until the Unseelie King created Vashti - a second greater elemental who could undo the magic protecting the Earth. When Vashti finally succeeds in breaking the seal, and releases Ember from the portal, she finds herself without a purpose beyond obeying her master's whims. After uncovering a lost prophecy, and in order to fulfill his perceived destiny of ruling his own world, the Unseelie King sends Vashti to Earth in search of the key he claims will mean their victory.

 

For Ember, life after the seal isn't easy. Not only did she lose her soulmate in the final battle, but after centuries spent in stasis, Ember is a different being than The Champion she was prior to the seal. Cut off from the elements that used to define her, Ember must find a way to reconnect with each of the elements. With the assistance of a banished warlock seeking redemption, her oldest friend, and a kitsune with ulterior motives, Ember must regain her ability to wield the elements and travel to Earth before Vashti finds the key.

 

Your bio mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope you find Burning Heart, my 115,000-word adult fantasy novel, to be a good match.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#6 chadweiss35

chadweiss35

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 38 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:I've placed second and been honourably mentioned twice in Polar Expressions Summer Annual Short Story contest.&amp;lt;br /&amp;gt;Several poems with Polar Expressions Summer Annual Poetry Contest&amp;lt;br /&amp;gt;Numerous short stories in semi-professional magazines such as Flashing Swords, Golden Visions, Abandoned Towers.

Posted 24 February 2017 - 10:23 PM

Hopefully this can be of some help. I feel in editing and cutting sentences you've lost some of the story. Try to add a little more to flesh it out. I only read your newest query so I'm coming at it fresh. It does catch my interest though, which is why I want a little more, enough to addict me. lol. I have a query posted, if you have time. Hersirs and Heroes.

 

 

 

When Ember, the first greater elemental, sacrificed herself to seal the portal between Pangea and Earth, she not only saved humanity from the Unseelie but also ended the eons-long conflict between the factions. I like this, makes me want to read more. Is Unseelie a faction? Perhaps that could be a little more succinct.

 

For a millennium, the ruling factions of supernatural beings lived in tenuous peace, until the Unseelie King created Vashti - a second greater elemental who could undoes the magic protecting the Earth. When Vashti finally succeeds in breaking the seal, and released from her portal, Ember finds herself without a purpose beyond obeying her master's(who is her master?) whims.(I find this choppy here. Could you put this after the first line, maybe further explain Vashti, the key, and Unseelie some how? After uncovering a lost prophecy, and in order to fulfill his perceived destiny of ruling his own world, the Unseelie King sends Vashti to Earth in search of the key he claims will mean their victory.

 

For Ember, life after the seal isn't easy.(This is repetitive with the second sentence in above paragraph  I would use either sentence to begin this paragraph) Not only did she lose her soulmate in the final battle, but after centuries spent in stasis, Ember is a different being than The Champion(Capitals here?) she was prior to the seal. Cut off from the elements that used to define her, Ember must find a way to reconnect with each of the elements. With the assistance of a banished warlock seeking redemption, her oldest friend, and a kitsune with ulterior motives, Ember must regain her ability to wield the elements and travel to Earth before Vashti finds the key.

 

​A lot of queries have comparisons, something to think about.

 

Your bio mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope you find Burning Heart, my 115,000-word adult fantasy novel, to be a good match.

 

 



#7 Arty90

Arty90

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 31 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, emerging
  • LocationUS West Coast

Posted 25 February 2017 - 03:00 AM

First off, I'd like to thank Testome, anathebookworm, and SAVE for your input - it is valued and appreciated. I've done a major overhaul and while I did take the age/ last name into consideration, a) there are no sur names and b) after 10k years, age becomes irrelevant imo ;)

 

REVISED QUERY: 

 

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

 

When Ember, the first greater elemental, sacrificed herself to seal the portal between Pangea and Earth, she not only saved humanity from the Unseelie but also ended the eons-long conflict between the factions.

 

Based off my first impression reading this, I'm a bit confused (never good for a hook, haha). So what are these ruling factions? What specific conflicts do they have with each other? How are they unique and/or different? Why does Ember need to sacrifice herself to seal a portal between Pangea and Earth? What is this portal?

 

Already, there seems to be an introduction to a main character (Ember), but no clear motive or ambition besides sealing a portal for a vague reason: saving factions.

 

For a millennium, the ruling factions of supernatural beings lived in tenuous peace, until the Unseelie King created Vashti - a second greater elemental who could undo the magic protecting the Earth. When Vashti finally succeeds in breaking the seal, and releases Ember from the portal, she finds herself without a purpose beyond obeying her master's whims. After uncovering a lost prophecy, and in order to fulfill his perceived destiny of ruling his own world, the Unseelie King sends Vashti to Earth in search of the key he claims will mean their victory.

 

The term 'Unseelie King' doesn't quite roll off the tongue. Also, who is this King? What significance does he have to the story, other than creating a second elemental undoing Ember's work? Why would he create Vashti? What motives does he have? Focus less on names and more on purpose. Too many names can throw off a reader very easily. 

 

For Ember, life after the seal isn't easy. Not only did she lose her soulmate in the final battle, but after centuries spent in stasis, Ember is a different being than The Champion she was prior to the seal. Cut off from the elements that used to define her, Ember must find a way to reconnect with each of the elements. With the assistance of a banished warlock seeking redemption, her oldest friend, and a kitsune with ulterior motives, Ember must regain her ability to wield the elements and travel to Earth before Vashti finds the key.

 

Seems a bit too late into the query to mention Ember had a soulmate. What do you mean by 'reconnect with the other elements'? Not a strong enough goal, mainly because it's vague. Banished warlock seems vital to the story to be mentioned this late.

 

Your bio mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope you find Burning Heart, my 115,000-word adult fantasy novel, to be a good match.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Conclusively, the query is much too vague and assuming to give us an idea of the story. Maybe sealing portals and reconnecting with the elements might be important for Ember, but it is not for us as readers as of yet. The main reason is we don't know why these things need to be done.

 

So far, this is what I got from the query:

 

Ember is an elemental that sacrificed herself to save the factions. An evil king tries to undo her work by creating another elemental. Ember is back to life (by the king?). Ember feels unhappy with her current surroundings, and disobeys said king. Ember tries to reconnect with the elements through help of her friends. Ember also had a lover.

 

I'm sure there's a good story in this; I do like the idea of having elementals as characters, but we need a lot more information than this query offers. I see a lot of world-building in this, but nothing in the query as of yet mentions anything about 'a world.' What kind of setting do these characters live in? What are the humans doing?

 

Good luck! Looking forward to your next revision.


Query Letter(s):

 

Project: DIVE
 

the (1).png

 


#8 Monks

Monks

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 90 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, in-between agents
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:No publishing experience

Posted 26 February 2017 - 12:18 PM

This sounds like a really cool story! But I do feel like some aspects are over-explained, while others could use a bit more fleshing out. I largely agree with the two posters above me. There's a lack of specificity in the first two paragraphs, which seem to mostly be backstory. For me, the query got much more interesting in the third paragraph, when you talk about Ember in a little more depth. You mention her soulmate, you talk about how she's not quite the power she used to be, cut off from what she knows, she meets up with some friends, etc. In short, she becomes a character at this point. I think you need to get to this part of the query much more quickly. There's obviously a lot of backstory here that's important to the story, and it's hard to compress that down into just a few words so that you can get to the character stuff. I feel your pain! But for a story like this, I feel like it's necessary. I'm thinking something like, "Ember, the first greater elemental, thought her duty was finished when she sealed herself away to save humanity from the Unseelie. But when the Unseelie King creates a second greater elemental and threatens the safety of Earth once again, a weakened Ember, cut off from the elements that made her whole, emerges into a world she no longer recognizes and must..." etc. Now there are still issues here, like why did Ember feel the need to save humanity in the first place, and why the Unseelie King is threatening Earth. Perhaps the answers to those questions can be worked into the more character-driven stuff about Ember? Overall, I feel like this approach works because it gives you much more space to talk about Ember as a character and what sort of journey she's going to undertake in the actual events of the novel, rather than her and the world's backstory. This letter is close, I think. The bones are there. Just a slight shift in focus would do wonders for it, I think. Nice work on it so far!


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my query!


#9 CM_Fick

CM_Fick

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 133 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Mark of Fate, Bad Caveman Publishing, 2011

    Self published works:
    Burden of Fate, 2012
    Legacy of Fate, 2016
    When the Dead Rise: Series 1, 2016

Posted 26 February 2017 - 04:31 PM

At this point I may have to step back for a few days....I feel like I'm going in circles.

 

  • Please keep in mind that this is a high/ epic fantasy novel - there are multiple POV's and for the purposes of this novel, 2 main characters - Ember AND Vashti
  • Also, just for clarity about what's unnecessary backstory, the seal (creation) is chapter 1 and the breaking of the seal is chapter 2.
  • For the hook, I decided to focus on the theme, rather than one character due to the confusion that Ember is the main character with previous versions.

 

REVISED QUERY:

 

Within each of us, there are two opposing forces - the light and the dark. In Pangaea, the Seelie and the Unseelie are the embodiment of those forces; two factions locked in an eons-long conflict over Earth - a world that belongs to the fledgling human race.

 

When Ember, the first greater elemental and the Champion of two worlds, sacrificed herself to seal the portal between Pangea and Earth, she not only saved humanity, but forced the ruling factions of supernatural beings into a tenuous peace. For a millennium, Ember stayed in stasis, cut-off from the very elements that defined her. When her seal is undone and she wakes, Ember must find a way to reconnect to the elements, regain the abilities she's lost, and learn how to cope with her new reality - that she is not the perfect being she once was. While Ember is recovering, however, the Unseelie renew their plans to conquer Earth, and for humanity, time is running out.

 

The Unseelie King created Vashti, the only other greater elemental in existence, for one purpose: to open the portal to Earth. Once she succeeds, Vashti finds herself without an objective, beyond obeying her master's commands. After uncovering a lost prophecy, he sends her into Earth, with instructions to locate the key foretold to lead to the Unseelie's victory and fulfill the King's perceived destiny of ruling his own world. By blindly following his commands, however, Vashti could be tipping the scales, unknowingly allowing the delicate balance to be disturbed and opening the door for a greater evil.

 

Burning Heart is a 115,000-word high-fantasy novel with both new adult and adult trade potential. Your profile mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope that you find my manuscript to be a good match.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration. 



#10 Arty90

Arty90

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 31 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, emerging
  • LocationUS West Coast

Posted 26 February 2017 - 07:42 PM

REVISED QUERY:

 

Within each of us, there are two opposing forces - the light and the dark. In Pangaea, the Seelie and the Unseelie are the embodiment of those forces; two factions locked in an eons-long conflict over Earth - a world that belongs to the fledgling human race.

 

When Ember, the first greater elemental and the Champion of two worlds, sacrificed herself to seal the portal between Pangea and Earth, she not only saved humanity, but forced the ruling factions of supernatural beings into a tenuous peace. For a millennium, Ember stayed in stasis, cut-off from the very elements that defined her. When her seal is undone and she wakes, Ember must find a way to reconnect to the elements, regain the abilities she's lost, and learn how to cope with her new reality - that she is not the perfect being she once was. While Ember is recovering, however, the Unseelie renew their plans to conquer Earth, and for humanity, time is running out.

 

The Unseelie King created Vashti, the only other greater elemental in existence, for one purpose: to open the portal to Earth. Once she succeeds, Vashti finds herself without an objective, beyond obeying her master's commands. After uncovering a lost prophecy, he sends her into Earth, with instructions to locate the key foretold to lead to the Unseelie's victory and fulfill the King's perceived destiny of ruling his own world. By blindly following his commands, however, Vashti could be tipping the scales, unknowingly allowing the delicate balance to be disturbed and opening the door for a greater evil.

 

Burning Heart is a 115,000-word high-fantasy novel with both new adult and adult trade potential. Your profile mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope that you find my manuscript to be a good match.

 

 

Light and dark: these are the two opposing forces that lead eternal wars and timeless conflict. In the world of Pangaea, the Seelie and Unseelie are the embodiment of that strife—two factions locked in an eons-long conflict over one, seemingly insignificant place: Earth, the last world of the fledgling human race.

 

Ember is a Greater Elemental, responsible for the two worlds and forces. While the factions fought over absolute control, Ember knew that humans couldn't have a life of their own amongst this chaos. She sacrificed herself to seal a portal between Pangaea and their prized Earth, giving humanity a chance they never had.

 

But as shadows cannot exist without the sun, light cannot exist without the dark. In this unsettling peace, the Unseelie Kng created Vashti: another Greater Elemental made to undo the fragile peace Ember gave her life for. But with creation also comes will, and Vashti found herself wanting something more than following her master's command. The King sends her to the newly opened Earth, in hopes of an uncovering a lost prophecy, foretelling of a key that would bring the Unseelie absolute victory.

 

But Vashti's blind actions have tipped the scales, making her unknowingly disrupt the balance holding a greater evil at bay. Ember is finally awake from her eternal stasis, cut off from the very elements that defined her being. She finds herself far from the perfect being she was, and looks to the only beings that could create miracles through their imperfections: the fragile humans. Saving the humanity she adores is now no longer a question of capability, but a test of unbreakable will.

 

BURNING HEART is a 115,000-word high-fantasy novel with both new adult and adult trade potential. Your profile mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope that you find my manuscript to be a good match.

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Great improvement. I posted an example of how I see your story playing out, and hope it captures the theme you're conveying. I felt as if Ember awakening should be left to the core of the query, rather than hook. I also felt as if the query needed to make clear as to why the two factions are fighting over Earth, which is why I added 'insignificant' to the description. Based of reading your query, it felt like you were trying to convey that the two factions are simply fighting for dominance, rather because of a need for Earth in a practical sense.

 

Also, it works well to play out a nice irony. The insignificant, imperfect humans, are now teaching Ember (a once perfect being) how to deal with her struggle. Given that the whole strife is about taking Earth, I'd like to imagine humans playing a greater part in saving it. More importantly, it highlights your idea that the 'perfect solution' is not always the best, which is why humans are miraculous.

 

After all, Ember, a perfect being, couldn't hold the peace. But perhaps as an imperfect being, she might just succeed. I felt as if this, if anything, is the core of the story, and the lesson you want to teach us readers.

 

I hope it helps! I love the primal, early-Earth theme of this story. It creates a great setting. Please continue working on it, as I'm sure it'll soon enough be a great lesson for us all.

 

Wishing only the best of luck to you and your future works.


Query Letter(s):

 

Project: DIVE
 

the (1).png

 


#11 DV77

DV77

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 54 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationEurope

Posted 26 February 2017 - 08:21 PM

At this point I may have to step back for a few days....I feel like I'm going in circles.

 

  • Please keep in mind that this is a high/ epic fantasy novel - there are multiple POV's and for the purposes of this novel, 2 main characters - Ember AND Vashti
  • Also, just for clarity about what's unnecessary backstory, the seal (creation) is chapter 1 and the breaking of the seal is chapter 2.
  • For the hook, I decided to focus on the theme, rather than one character due to the confusion that Ember is the main character with previous versions.

 

REVISED QUERY:

 

Within each of us, There's something about this I don't like. It feels like you're talking directly to whoever you're addressing. Agents can be pretty finicky over that kind of thing so I'm just trying to keep their POV in mind when I approach it there are two opposing forces - the light and the dark. In Pangaea Is this another name for earth? If so I'd use that instead because you need to be careful with too many names (both characters and locations, agents call it 'name soup', I think) , the Seelie and the Unseelie are the embodiment of those forces; two factions locked in an eons-long conflict over Earth - a world that belongs to the fledgling human race. I think this opening can be more powerful if simplified and boiled down to the bare essentials. What about something like 'The Seelie and the Unseelie are the embodiment of light and dark; two factions locked in an eons-long conflict over Earth etc'

 

There's also a part of me though that thinks maybe you will need to start off the query with the characters and drop in the world building around them. It could just be me, but when it comes to this genre I immediately want to know what's different about it compared to every other fantasy. Your characters are the ones we are going to care about the most in this story, so when it comes down to the query I want to know in that first sentence why I'm supposed to care. I think the characters are the best chance at this because the world-building isn't particularly complex (not that that's a bad thing or anything, it's just maybe not as important to make your opening)

 

When Ember, the first greater elemental and the Champion of two worlds What are these two things? Especially the former., sacrificed herself to seal the portal between Pangea and Earth, she not only saved humanity, but forced the ruling factions of supernatural beings into a tenuous peace. For a millennium, Ember stayed in stasis, cut-off from the very elements that defined her. I'm not following  When her seal is undone and she wakes, Ember must find a way to reconnect to the elements, regain the abilities she's lost, and learn how to cope with her new reality - that she is not the perfect being she once was. Why must she find a way? Why does she care if she's not a perfect being? From what you said about her initially it seems she just cares about getting the job done and nothing else. While Ember is recovering, however, the Unseelie renew their plans to conquer Earth, and for humanity, time is running out.

 

The Unseelie King created Vashti, the only other greater elemental in existence, for one purpose: to open the portal to Earth. Once she succeeds, Vashti finds herself without an objective, beyond obeying her master's commands. After uncovering a lost prophecy, he sends her into Earth, with instructions to locate the key foretold to lead to the Unseelie's victory and fulfill the King's perceived destiny of ruling his own world. By blindly following his commands, however, Vashti could be tipping the scales, unknowingly allowing the delicate balance to be disturbed and opening the door for a greater evil. This is a little vague.

 

Burning Heart is a 115,000-word high-fantasy novel with both new adult and adult trade potential I'd suggest picking one category and sticking with it. By saying it this way it sounds like you're not sure what category it is. An agent might worry about that.. Your profile mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope that you find my manuscript to be a good match.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration. 

 

So first of all a big thanks for looking at my query and for your suggestions. I'll take grammar help any chance I can get! Much appreciated.

 

As for your story, you've reminded me why I hated coming up with a query for fantasy so much! I always find getting the balance between the world building and characters right to be a massive pain. I think that at the moment it's at 50/50 in terms of world/character building, when I think it'd better off if it was more like 30/70 in favor of characters as your chance to stand out. First things first, what is an elemental? You said Ember sacrificed herself but what did she lose? I'd like to learn more about how this sacrifice affected her.

 

The vibe I'm getting from Vashti is that she's going to be a really effective tool but will be annoyed at being used. You talk about her upsetting the balance near the end, but does she even care? I don't really know what is motivating your protagonists at the moment and I'd say that's what's lacking most. It might sound like a tired cliche, but the whole Who is my character? What do they want? What's stopping them from getting it? What happens if they don't get it? is a very useful tool to keep in mind constantly as you write your query.

 

Who is my character? I've got a decent idea who they are. It's pretty well explained.

What do they want? Honestly I've no clue at the moment.

What's stopping them from getting it? I'd need the answer to the second question to answer this one.

What happens if they don't get it? The answer is pretty clear but maybe a little too vague. Earth is going to get screwed, right? But how so? A specific or two extra would go a long way to helping.

 

I hope you've found this helpful. If you've got any questions feel free to let me know and I'll be happy to try and clarify further if you'd like.



#12 hermitage

hermitage

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 123 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:I'm a PhD economist with six articles published in peer-reviewed journals on the subjects of economics and voting theory.

Posted 26 February 2017 - 10:17 PM



At this point I may have to step back for a few days....I feel like I'm going in circles.

 

  • Please keep in mind that this is a high/ epic fantasy novel - there are multiple POV's and for the purposes of this novel, 2 main characters - Ember AND Vashti [Right off the bat this makes me smile a little, because I'm also gotten more than a little guff on these boards for having more than one main character in my pitch. I acually do see the argument for focusing on just one main character, but people can be a little dogmatic about it sometimes. :-) ]
  •  
  • Also, just for clarity about what's unnecessary backstory, the seal (creation) is chapter 1 and the breaking of the seal is chapter 2. [and this too makes me smile, because many people have presumed to tell me what is story and what is backstory in my own novel... again there is an argument to be made for a single event that kicks things into motion and gives the reader a toehold in your world, but there's always an exception to the rule]
  •  
  • For the hook, I decided to focus on the theme, rather than one character due to the confusion that Ember is the main character with previous versions.
  •  

 

REVISED QUERY:

 

Within each of us, there are two opposing forces - [this should be a double dash or an em dash instead of a single dash.] the light and the dark. In Pangaea, the Seelie and the Unseelie are the embodiment of those forces; two factions locked in an eons-long conflict over Earth - [again, a single dash is an error here.] a world that belongs to the fledgling human race. 

 

When Ember, the first greater elemental and the Champion of two worlds [okay, but I don't know what all these titles mean, and I don't think you want to take the time to explain them to me in the pitch], sacrificed [I think you should have this in the present tense rather than the past, regardless of what tense your novel is in. this is a standard of the query pitch rule book that I happen to agree with -- it gives greater immediacy] herself to seal the portal between Pangea and Earth, she not only saved humanity, but forced the ruling factions of supernatural beings into a tenuous peace. For a millennium, Ember stayed in stasis, cut-off from the very elements that defined her. When her seal is undone and she wakes, [If this is where you start using present tense, then what comes before is, by your own indication, backstory] Ember must find a way to reconnect to the elements, regain the abilities she's lost, and learn how to cope with her new reality - that she is not the perfect being she once was. [I would encourage you to start right here, and flesh this out. People generally want a protagonist who is in some way relatable. Here you have a fallen goddess of some kind who suffered something terrible and needs to awkwardly relearn really basic stuff, etc. That sounds good! I think you should tell us more about that, make it more tangible and human, rather than weighing us down with a very technical description of her place in the cosmos.] While Ember is recovering, however, the Unseelie renew their plans to conquer Earth, and for humanity, time is running out.

 

The Unseelie King created Vashti, the only other greater elemental in existence, for one purpose: to open the portal to Earth. Once she succeeds, Vashti finds herself without an objective, beyond obeying her master's commands. After uncovering a lost prophecy, he sends her into Earth, with instructions to locate the key foretold to lead to the Unseelie's victory and fulfill the King's perceived destiny of ruling his own world. [This is not very easy to follow. I don't doubt that the information you intend is in there somewhere, but one needs to read it almost like a technical document, following the gender pronouns very carefully and filing away a lot of individual pieces of information from each sentence.] By blindly following his commands, however, Vashti could be tipping the scales, unknowingly allowing the delicate balance to be disturbed and opening the door for a greater evil. [Again I encourage you to focus on the human elements of this. Vashti is what? Somehow both a goddess and a slave? Can she think for herself at all? Does she experience love, hate, curiosity, regret? Does she have hopes or fears? I suspect that she might have some interesting emotional content, but I don't see a lot of it coming through. I encourage you to develop that with some boldness, and allow yourself to be much more vague about the details of the plot, e.g. portholes between dimensions etc.] 

 

Burning Heart is a 115,000-word high-fantasy novel with both new adult and adult trade potential. Your profile mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope that you find my manuscript to be a good match.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration. 

 

I suggest that you tell us little to nothing about Seelie and Unseelie, light and dark in the abstract, etc., except as they follow directly from the struggles and experiences of these two main characters, Ember and Vashti. E.g. you say "The Unseelie King created Vashti", but Vashti should be named first. Then this king guy should only be mentioned as a part of her emotional landscape. 



#13 CM_Fick

CM_Fick

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 133 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Mark of Fate, Bad Caveman Publishing, 2011

    Self published works:
    Burden of Fate, 2012
    Legacy of Fate, 2016
    When the Dead Rise: Series 1, 2016

Posted 27 February 2017 - 02:59 AM

Thank you all!

 

I very much appreciate everyone's input and have a lot to consider. I think I need to let this settle for a few days and let my brain do it's thing. Hopefully inspiration strikes. Thank you again! 



#14 chadweiss35

chadweiss35

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 38 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:I've placed second and been honourably mentioned twice in Polar Expressions Summer Annual Short Story contest.&amp;lt;br /&amp;gt;Several poems with Polar Expressions Summer Annual Poetry Contest&amp;lt;br /&amp;gt;Numerous short stories in semi-professional magazines such as Flashing Swords, Golden Visions, Abandoned Towers.

Posted 28 February 2017 - 09:00 AM

You've got some great critiques. I'm gonna check back in a day or two and try to help with your next revision



#15 CM_Fick

CM_Fick

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 133 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Mark of Fate, Bad Caveman Publishing, 2011

    Self published works:
    Burden of Fate, 2012
    Legacy of Fate, 2016
    When the Dead Rise: Series 1, 2016

Posted 28 February 2017 - 03:27 PM

I want to thank all of you who have shared your opinions - they are invaluable and much appreciated. While I have considered the opinions of everyone who advised to switch to one main character, fair warning, I will not - so if you suggest it going forward, be aware that it is unlikely to find its way into future revisions.

 

[The reason I am adamant on this is simply because in an earlier incarnation of this novel, I received a request for a full from a publisher. Upon getting their comments back, the one thing they said in their declining of the ms, was that the query (based solely on Ember) confused the reading group and they didn't understand why I was putting focus on Vashti for an equal part of the story, until they were more than half way into the book. There were other issues that also lead to their rejecting the project, which were valid and have now been resolved, but this is why I cannot and will not solely focus on one character for this specific query.]

 

Thank you all again for your time! 

 

REVISED QUERY: 

 

Given life by each of the elements, Ember and Vashti may be the same in composition, but they are fundamentally opposite at their core. Created by the dark, and cursed during her creation, Vashti's only purpose is to do her master's malevolent bidding, while Ember, created by the light and a champion of two worlds, is free to choose her path and whom she fights for.

 

A millennium earlier, Ember sacrificed herself to seal the portal between her two worlds, ending an eons-long conflict between the factions. When her seal is undone and she wakes, Ember realizes that she can no longer feel the very elements she once held an intimate connection with. As she copes with the devastating loss, she must find a way to reconnect to the elements and regain the abilities she's lost, while coming to terms with her new identity. Accepting her new shortcomings isn't easy for Ember, but as plans to conquer humanity move forward, she must find a way, and time is quickly running out.

 

When Vashti succeeds in reopening the portal, completing the task she was created for, she no longer knows quite where she belongs, and still bound to the will of her master, she secretly chafes beneath his rule. But as he moves forward with his plans of invasion, Vashti begins to question her own future and the validity of her master's goals. When he sends her through the portal, in search of the key to their victory, Vashti revels in the freedom she's been denied for so long. Despite the illusion of having her freedom, Vashti is still bound to her master's whims, and soon learns how very deep his control truly goes.

 

Burning Heart is an adult high-fantasy novel, complete at 115,000 words. Your profile mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope that you find my manuscript to be a good match.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#16 Monks

Monks

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 90 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, in-between agents
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:No publishing experience

Posted 28 February 2017 - 07:58 PM

Given life by each of the elements, Ember and Vashti may be the same in composition, but they are fundamentally opposite at their core. Created by the dark, and cursed during her creation, Vashti's only purpose is to do her master's malevolent bidding, while Ember, created by the light and a champion of two worlds, is free to choose her path and whom she fights for. This is much better than previous versions, in my opinion. It sets up Vashti and Ember at a sort of fundamental level much better than before. I feel like now I understand how they connect in terms of the mythology much better. In a perfect world, there could be a bit more of their character coming through in the first paragraph, but I honestly have no idea how you'd do that. It's a high fantasy book and clearly has a deep mythology that's a core part of the story, and we need to get a feel for that before we can understand who these characters are. This paragraph does that. Nice fix.

 

A millennium earlier, Ember sacrificed herself to seal the portal between her two worlds, ending an eons-long conflict between the factions. When her seal is undone and she wakes (I feel like you should add a little more here. I want to know who undid her seal, or how it was undone if no one did it. It doesn't have to be much. "When so-and-so Big Bad breaks Ember's seal in order to do bad thing..." something like that.), Ember realizes that she can no longer feel the very elements she once held an intimate connection with. As she copes with the devastating loss, she must find a way to reconnect to the elements and regain the abilities she's lost, while coming to terms with her new identity (feels cleaner without this, imo, and I think it's covered by the context). Accepting her new shortcomings isn't easy for Ember, but as plans to conquer humanity move forward, she must find a way, and time is quickly running out. This is where I start to have questions. What plans to conquer humanity? Whose plans? From previous queries, I'm guessing this is all connected to the Unseelie King/Vashti's creator. I think you need to name him somewhere in this query so that the reader can get a better feel for who is working against Vashti and Ember here. You mention all these things happening to both characters (Ember's seal breaking, Vashti having a master, the portal being opened, invasion, etc.), but without a character to attach these actions to, things feel a little disjointed. I didn't count the words for this query, but I can tell you that it doesn't feel overly long yet (I think that's a better way to measure than by word count), so I think you have a bit of space to get into these details a little bit.

 

When Vashti succeeds in reopening the portal, completing the task she was created for, she no longer knows quite where she belongs, and still bound to the will of her master, she secretly chafes beneath his rule. But as he moves forward with his plans of invasion, Vashti begins to question her own future and the validity of her master's goals. When he sends her through the portal, in search of the key to their victory, Vashti revels in the freedom she's been denied for so long. Despite the illusion of having her freedom, Vashti is still bound to her master's whims, and soon learns how very deep his control truly goes. I like this paragraph, with the caveat that it would all flow a bit better if you added in the details I mentioned above.

 

Burning Heart is an adult high-fantasy novel, complete at 115,000 words. Your profile mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope that you find my manuscript to be a good match.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

This is looking so much better! You did a great job incorporating all the feedback. I can tell you have a complex plot here that relies on a lot of the world that you've built up for this novel, and those kinds of stories are so difficult to query. I feel your pain! But you're definitely getting there. Just a few areas that could use a little bit of fleshing out and I think it will come together really well.


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my query!


#17 DV77

DV77

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 54 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationEurope

Posted 28 February 2017 - 08:24 PM

I want to thank all of you who have shared your opinions - they are invaluable and much appreciated. While I have considered the opinions of everyone who advised to switch to one main character, fair warning, I will not - so if you suggest it going forward, be aware that it is unlikely to find its way into future revisions.

 

[The reason I am adamant on this is simply because in an earlier incarnation of this novel, I received a request for a full from a publisher. Upon getting their comments back, the one thing they said in their declining of the ms, was that the query (based solely on Ember) confused the reading group and they didn't understand why I was putting focus on Vashti for an equal part of the story, until they were more than half way into the book. There were other issues that also lead to their rejecting the project, which were valid and have now been resolved, but this is why I cannot and will not solely focus on one character for this specific query.]

 

Thank you all again for your time! 

 

REVISED QUERY: 

 

Given life by each of the elements, Ember and Vashti may be the same in composition, but they are fundamentally opposite at their core. Although this is clearer, it feels a little long winded. I'll also go on record and say I don't read that many fantasies so maybe that's why. Created by the dark, and cursed during her creation, Vashti's only purpose is to do her master's malevolent bidding, while Ember, created by the light and a champion of two worlds, is free to choose her path and whom she fights for. My problem with this is at the moment I don't feel invested in either character. I appreciate that the overview is needed, but A. is it needed straight away, and B. Is there no way of adding a couple of things about these characters to make us feel invested in them right off the bat?

 

A millennium earlier, Ember sacrificed Wouldn't this imply she killed herself? I know what you mean after reading the query but maybe another word might be more suitable? herself to seal the portal between her two worlds, ending an eons-long conflict between the factions. You mean the worlds? If that's the case maybe just a simple 'them' would make it easier. When her seal is undone and she wakes, Ember realizes that she can no longer feel the very elements she once held an intimate connection with. As she copes with the devastating loss, she must find a way to reconnect to the elements and regain the abilities she's lost, while coming to terms with her new identity. Accepting her new shortcomings isn't easy for Ember, but as plans to conquer humanity move forward, she must find a way, and time is quickly running out.  I do like this sentence though. It summarizes things cleanly and what needs to happen. Nice job.

 

When Vashti succeeds in reopening the portal, completing the task she was created for, she no longer knows quite where she belongs, and still bound to the will of her master, she secretly chafes beneath his rule. This is pretty long. Couldn't it be Despite Vashti successfully reopening the portal as she was created for, she can't help but quietly loathe her master's tyrannical rule, or something similar? But as he moves forward with his plans of invasion, Vashti begins to question her own future and the validity of her master's goals. When he sends her through the portal, in search of the key to their victory, I think you could get away without that part. Vashti revels in the freedom she's been denied for so long. Despite the illusion of having her freedom, Vashti is still bound to her master's whims, and soon learns how very deep his control truly goes. A couple of parts here are repetitive where it talks about her despising her master's rule.

 

Burning Heart is an adult high-fantasy novel, complete at 115,000 words. Your profile mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope that you find my manuscript to be a good match.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

First of all a big thanks for your help on mine, CM. I'll never get sick of hearing different critiques. I only get sick of rejections so keep it coming if you ever see the need :)

 

Despite all my comments I think this iteration is a big step up from your previous ones. I've got a much clearer idea what's going on in the story, so kudos. Only thing now is I think there are a couple of story parts which kinda re-iterate the same point so could easily be trimmed down, while I feel we need another reason or two to care about the characters. What in particular about freedom does Vashti like so much? She's been this way for thousands of years so why all of a sudden now is she questioning everything? We get her master is a bit of a dick but is there anything she loves about this freedom?

 

Maybe just a sentence more about Ember's connection with her elements? I get why she cares about them but the explanation feels a little vague. Are there any specifics?

 

Just one last neutral question about this since it's dual POV, but doesn't a dual POV query need a paragraph at the end to tie both the characters' fates together?

 

Good job on this one though, it's definitely getting there.



#18 ryankalford

ryankalford

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 181 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Southwest

Posted 28 February 2017 - 10:09 PM

Fresh and Fresh . . .

 

I want to thank all of you who have shared your opinions - they are invaluable and much appreciated. While I have considered the opinions of everyone who advised to switch to one main character, fair warning, I will not - so if you suggest it going forward, be aware that it is unlikely to find its way into future revisions.

 

[The reason I am adamant on this is simply because in an earlier incarnation of this novel, I received a request for a full from a publisher. Upon getting their comments back, the one thing they said in their declining of the ms, was that the query (based solely on Ember) confused the reading group and they didn't understand why I was putting focus on Vashti for an equal part of the story, until they were more than half way into the book. There were other issues that also lead to their rejecting the project, which were valid and have now been resolved, but this is why I cannot and will not solely focus on one character for this specific query.]

 

Thank you all again for your time! 

 

REVISED QUERY: 

 

Given life by each of the elements, Ember and Vashti may be the same in composition, but they are fundamentally opposite at their core. Created by the dark, and cursed during her creation, Vashti's only purpose is to do her master's malevolent bidding, while Ember, created by the light and a champion of two worlds, is free to choose her path and whom she fights for.

 

 

I had to stop reading after this 1st paragraph to digest the concept here. It's interesting and expalined logically . . . but it's not really a hook, and just more of an explanation (as well-done as it is, mind you)

 

A millennium earlier, Ember sacrificed herself to seal the portal between her two worlds, ending an eons-long conflict between the factions. When her seal is undone and she wakes, Ember realizes that she can no longer feel the very elements she once held an intimate connection with. As she copes with the devastating loss, she must find a way to reconnect to the elements and regain the abilities she's lost, while coming to terms with her new identity. Accepting her new shortcomings isn't easy for Ember, but as plans to conquer humanity move forward, she must find a way, and time is quickly running out.

 

 

This is too vague to me. Even it's just backstory, using generic terms like "her two worlds" or "factions" does little to spark an interest, or highlight what's really unique about the situation. That, and I don't feel like I have boht my feet on the concrete in understanding the past history here.

 

Now this part sparked my interest. Here we have your first character presented with the first actual problem/conflict in her journey. Maybe you should start query at this point, and still work establishing Vashti in the hook as well?

 

There's definitely some interesting bits mixed in there, but there all so . . . generic? My question-sense is tingling. What abilities? What new identify? What plans about destroying humanity. These things are simply listed and taken for granted that I have an inkling of what they're referencing. Even Elements, which seems obvious on the surface), makes me wonder what it specifically is. With all those things together with no context, I just feel confused wtihout any investment or interest in Ember Ask yourself, "What's unique about Ember and these concepts?" Then show me.

 

When Vashti succeeds in reopening the portal, completing the task she was created for, she no longer knows quite where she belongs, and still bound to the will of her master, she secretly chafes beneath his rule. But as he moves forward with his plans of invasion, Vashti begins to question her own future and the validity of her master's goals. When he sends her through the portal, in search of the key to their victory, Vashti revels in the freedom she's been denied for so long. Despite the illusion of having her freedom, Vashti is still bound to her master's whims, and soon learns how very deep his control truly goes.

 

 

Both too generic and repetitive. I had a vague idea at the start of this paragraph (Vashti being the antagonist's pawn), but then it just dives straight into QueryShark *SPLAT* by the end. I have no idea what's going on outside my limited notions, and the ending there has zero stakes, nor does the query build any kind of linking thread that one can follow from the start of the hook straight ot the gut-punching end.  

 

Burning Heart is an adult high-fantasy novel, complete at 115,000 words. Your profile mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope that you find my manuscript to be a good match.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

This query is going to need a complete rewrite from scratch, I'm sorry to say. No investment in the characters, and none of the concepts are fully clear. My suggestion as far as a possible starting point would be using the part I mentioned with Ember that might make a good hook, and starting branching out immediately from that point, working in the necessary links and branches to Vashti and the antagonist relationship to Ember and the backstory. You might have a compelling case for doing a multi-POV query, but both Ember's and Vashti's stories need to flow in the same seamless stream for it to click like one from a single POV. You might be able to pull it off--I can see their relationship is tied together from the concept, but there's too much vagueness for me to gleam from it to really offer any more suggestions at this time on how you might be able to accomplish that.

 

Just try to focus on the core aspects of what ties Ember and Vashti together as characters, and why its important to tell their entertwined story together.

 

Hope I've been able to help. Best of luck! 

 

(I'll keep an eye out)


RECODED <250 EDITING FEEDBACK + ADVICE

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 

RECODED QUERY (FINISHED???)

http://agentquerycon...scifi/?p=250665

 

RECODED: GENESIS (Dani POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 
RECODED: Chapter 1 (Lillian POV) 250

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

 

RECODED Synopsis (REWRITING SOON)

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/


#19 SAVE

SAVE

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 58 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 01 March 2017 - 02:42 AM

Thanks again for your continued critique! I really appreciate it, and I'll do my best to return the favor every single time!

Given life by each of the elements, Ember and Vashti may be the same in composition, but they are fundamentally opposite at their core (This doesn't really tell me anything. It's interesting, but just makes me have questions. Why are they both mentioned in the first line and what exactly do you mean by "fundamentally opposite at their core?). Created by the dark, and cursed during her creation, Vashti's only purpose is to do her master's malevolent bidding, while Ember, created by the light and a champion of two worlds, is free to choose her path and whom she fights for (I like that you give detail about the two characters here, but it's really long-winded. It could definitely have a place later, just not here, I think).

 

A millennium earlier, Ember sacrificed herself to seal the portal between her(So when you say "her" here, is Ember like, a goddess? Or does she just live between the two worlds?) two worlds, ending an eons-long conflict between the factions (I think this could be used much better for a hook. It's pretty vague though, and I don't know what the factions are. Do you mean the light and the dark?). When her seal is undone (How does her seal come undone?) and she wakes (When you mention that she sacrifice herself, I got the feeling that she died), Ember realizes that she can no longer feel the very elements she once held an intimate connection with. As she copes with the devastating loss, she must find a way to reconnect to the elements and regain the abilities she's lost, while coming to terms with her new identity (Why is this so important? And what new identity? Does she wake up as a different entity?). Accepting her new shortcomings isn't easy for Ember, but as plans to conquer humanity move forward, she must find a way, and time is quickly running out (What plans? Or rather, whose plans? I liked that you mentioned the Unseelie in your previous attempt).

 

When Vashti succeeds in reopening the portal, completing the task she was created for, she no longer knows quite where she belongs, and still bound to the will of her master, she secretly chafes beneath his rule. But as he moves forward with his plans of invasion, Vashti begins to question her own future and the validity of her master's goals (You mention an invasion, but what are Vashti's master's goals?). When he sends her through the portal, in search of the key to their victory, Vashti revels in the freedom she's been denied for so long. Despite the illusion of having her freedom, Vashti is still bound to her master's whims, and soon learns how very deep his control truly goes "and soon learns how very deep his control truly goes" just seems really vague, and doesn't seem like a note I'd be satisfied ending with as an agent. Your main characters are explained fairly decently, but I don't fully understand the stakes for either of them, especially Vashti, and I'm not entirely sure what's standing in their way or what the key to Vashti's victory means.) .

 

Burning Heart is an adult high-fantasy novel, complete at 115,000 words. Your profile mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope that you find my manuscript to be a good match.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Your premise is great, but I definitely understand how hard this must be, considering that you're trying to explain two characters instead of one. I understand that you're not going to change from two characters here to just one, but if the two characters are connected, maybe it's possible to have their subplots intertwine in the query.

 

Wish I could help more, but I'll definitely be around!
Good luck!



#20 CM_Fick

CM_Fick

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 133 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Mark of Fate, Bad Caveman Publishing, 2011

    Self published works:
    Burden of Fate, 2012
    Legacy of Fate, 2016
    When the Dead Rise: Series 1, 2016

Posted 01 March 2017 - 12:59 PM

Thanks for everyone's feedback. I I appreciate everyone's thoughts and opinions in my revisionsI hope I answered some of your questions below DV77, Monks, and SAVE. ryankalford, I see your point and will consider it carefully. 

 

 

There is a lot of entwined history in my plot, which is making this query so difficult, so for clarity, here are a few points to answer the questions:

 

There are 2 worlds - joined by a portal. One is a world of supernatural beings (Pangaea) and the other, humanity (Earth). With a focus in this book on the Pangaeans.

 

A greater elemental is created by literally combining 4 of the base elements - earth elemental, fire elemental, water elemental, air elemental - unnecessary info for query, but there seems to be confusion - and it isn't as simple as I've made it sound, hence why there's only 2. They are not just connected to the elements - they ARE the elements. (Also, on a side note for Ember: her disconnection from the elements after the seal, is like having an appendage cut off--or 4)

 

Vashti is quite young compared to Ember - she was created several centuries after Ember sealed the portal. She's never known what it is to be free, but with her primary goal complete, it's a turning point for her character - one where she begins to question her place..

 

Ember sealed the portal not just because of the Unseelie trying to take Earth from the humans, but also because of an event (her soulmate dies in the final battle by the hand of the Unseelie King, causing her to lose control) I've been told is backstory and unnecessary due to adding another element to the query (and I agree)

 

There is a setting that is outside both of the dimensions; call it a type of purgatory where souls with unfinished business reside. When sealing the portal, Ember stayed between the dimensions in a form of stasis. This is where it gets complicated and I kept it out for obvious reasons. Sealing the portal is not a death sentence, although Ember didn't believe that it would ever be undone when she did it.

 

Finally the big one - Vashti and Ember's stories run parallel, with Ember in Pangaea and Vashti in Earth. There is a connecting thread that I haven't brought up outside of mentioning the key, for the simple reason that it is too complicated and would require the knowledge of 2 other characters.

 

 

Bla, sorry for the longwindedness… I know every story has complexities, but here are a few that I'm facing.

 

Please share any thoughts you may have, I'll still be around to help out on other queries where I can. But as for another revision, I'm going to give it a few days. I really need to rethink all of this. 







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Fiction, Fantasy

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users