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ON HOLD (high/epic fantasy - Revision in #83)

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#21 lsprochnow

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 01:28 PM

Hey CM Fick,

 

Thanks for your feedback on my query. I just stopped by to give you my feedback on yours when I saw your last post. Would you rather I checked back in a couple days to leave you feedback on your revised query or would you like feedback on your current query? Let me know which would be more helpful



#22 Monks

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 04:42 PM

So I was reading over your query again. Now, maybe this is just because I spent all day turning my two-POV query into a one-POV query, but I'm curious how this would look if it were told entirely from Ember's POV. She seems to me like a far more important character than Vashti. Maybe that's not true in the novel, but that's how it feels in the query. I feel like if you went with only Ember's POV, you'd have more space to get into Ember as a character rather than having to spend so many words on Ember as a concept, and how Ember, conceptually, relates to Vashti. I think you can still mention Vashti in the query, but she might need to take a backseat to Ember. Really get into Ember's conflict here. What she's lost from her time in purgatory, what her goal is now that she's out, what the Unseelie King is trying to do to stop her (and here is where Vashti could be worked in to some degree, I think).

 

There's just a lot of backstory and concept stuff in this query, and I agree that a lot of it needs to be there. But you might be biting off more than you can chew by trying to explain the Ember-Vashti connection in addition to the basics. I think at the very least, approaching the query from a different angle will get you rethinking what absolutely needs to be there and what can be safely cut. Whatever you end up doing, best of luck with it! I'll watch this thread for updates and offer whatever advice I can on your next revision.


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#23 CM_Fick

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 04:59 PM

Focusing on one character is really only querying 1/2 the story, and despite going against feedback I received from a publisher, I am probably going to draft 2 queries - one for Ember and one for Vashti. I'm so lost that I need to find a way to focus this again and I'm not sure how else to do it. 

 

I'm working on your's now Monk. I should have a response posted shortly :)



#24 Monks

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 05:01 PM

Focusing on one character is really only querying 1/2 the story, and despite going against feedback I received from a publisher, I am probably going to draft 2 queries - one for Ember and one for Vashti. I'm so lost that I need to find a way to focus this again and I'm not sure how else to do it. 

 

I'm working on your's now Monk. I should have a response posted shortly :)

Much appreciated! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with on your own query.


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#25 ryankalford

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 09:09 PM


Sooooooo, after looking at your past query's, and reading your info post, I decided to try my own attempt at a hook for your query (based on the one in #9).


__________



When __-year-old Ember defied her creator and sacrificed herself to stop his monsterous Unseelie from destroying the Earth, she thought dying was the worst fate an Elemental like her could face. But being ressurected a milliuem later into a powerless shell, cut off from her precious Elements, by her enslaved successor, Vashti, proves to be a hell far worse than death.


_________



The general idea behind your original version in #9 caught my eye as a potential way of raising an eyebrow for a starter and setting the main narrative up in an easily digestible manner. Dont' know what you might think, but this could make a good starting point in my mind. It's simple, concise,and straight to the point of things (abet with a litlte rough drafty). The challenge is in weaving the narrative between Ember and Vashti, tying their threads together . . . but I could see it working potentially if done right. It just comes down to giving the right amount of info at the right time, and being more direct and base when that works best. It's a fine line to toe--but that's the damned trick of these things.


Hope this at least helps sparks an idea or two about the direction. Otherwise, be keepin' an eye out for next version.


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#26 punitrastogi

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 02:33 AM

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. 

I think the challenge is more passive than in the forefront.

 

Ember and Vashti are both looking for new purpose in life after seemingly completing the goal for their creation.

 

Ember was supposed to save the world by closing the seal. She completed it, and thought that death was the natural progression.

However, a resurrection has meant that she has to find a new purpose.

She does not have her powers determining that for her.

 

Vashti was supposed to complete her role by opening the seal. She completed it, and thought that there will be another natural progression.

However, a new found sense of freedom has meant that she has to find a new purpose.

She does not want her master determining that for her.

 

I guess this approach will help you weave your two characters together and create a query that highlights the dilemma for both of the MCs.

 

And I agree that a query should ideally have only one MC.

But there is no right way to do it.

If your characters are built properly and are important enough, there is no reason why you should not be able to use both of them and still have an exciting query to present.

 

Good luck! :)



#27 CM_Fick

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 02:46 AM

Apparently the rethink didn't take as long as I thought it would... 

 

I did manage to complete two separate queries. One with a POV for Ember and the other for Vashti. I will reiterate again..... This goes against actual advice I received from a publisher, but I'm hoping that this helps move me closer to having one presentable query.

 

Thank you all for your patience while I sort through this. I'll review your queries that I've missed tonight, tomorrow. It's 11:30 and I'm beat. 

 

 

QUERY #1 Ember POV

 

When Ember sacrificed herself to seal the portal, in order to stop the Unseelie from wiping out humanity, she never expected to reawaken--with her soulmate dead in the battle, why would she want to?

 

When that seal is undone a millennium later and she emerges, Ember realizes that, not only does she have to go on alone, but she can no longer feel the very elements she once held an intimate connection with. Oh, and the Unseelie King is planning to invade Earth, once again. As a greater elemental, she didn't just have a connection to the elements --she was the elements-- and now, Ember must find a way to reconnect to each element and regain the abilities she's lost. For humanity, time is running out.

 

With the assistance of her creator, the Seelie Queen, and a banished warlock seeking redemption, two elements return quickly, while two remain stubbornly silent. Unfortunately, the two she reconnects with are unpredictable and dangerous, and when she seeks out her mentor, he shares little more than a warning--to stay out of Earth until she's reconnected with all four of the elements. Despite Ember's concerns that she'll never reconnect to the final elements, it's her deepest fear that she wont make it to Earth in time to save humanity.

 

With multiple points of view, 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.

 

 

 

QUERY #2 Vashti POV

 

Being a greater elemental means little to Vashti--the elements are only there to be her strength--her weapon against anyone who opposes her. And yet, despite all her power, she is still subjugated by her creator, the Unseelie King.

 

When Vashti finally succeeds in breaking the seal that's kept her master from invading Earth, she wonders if he will finally set her free; only, she's forgotten that opening the portal is just the first step. After gathering the pieces of a lost prophecy, one her master claims to hold a secret critical to his victory, Vashti is sent into Earth after the Seelie prince. Her orders: to follow him until he reveals the location of the key.

 

With two troublesome trackers to manage, plus a philandering prince to follow, Vashti may have her hands full--but she loves being out from under the Unseelie King's thumb. Despite the illusion of having her freedom, however, Vashti is still bound to her master's whims. It isn't until she begins to question the validity of her master's goal, that she learns how very deep his control truly goes.

 

With multiple points of view, 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.



#28 CM_Fick

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 02:51 AM

punitrastogi, thank you for the feedback. I think I was finishing up an update when you posted. I think I've covered the points you highlighted in the revised queries. 

 

I'll be sure to check your query out tomorrow! 



#29 chadweiss35

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 05:36 PM

Apparently the rethink didn't take as long as I thought it would... 

 

I did manage to complete two separate queries. One with a POV for Ember and the other for Vashti. I will reiterate again..... This goes against actual advice I received from a publisher, but I'm hoping that this helps move me closer to having one presentable query.

 

Thank you all for your patience while I sort through this. I'll review your queries that I've missed tonight, tomorrow. It's 11:30 and I'm beat. 

 

 

QUERY #1 Ember POV

 

When Ember sacrificed herself to seal the portal, in order to stop the Unseelie from wiping out humanity, she never expected to reawaken--with her soulmate dead in the battle, why would she want to?

 

When that seal is undone a millennium later and she emerges, Ember realizes that, not only does she have to go on alone,These are repetitive and probably not needed. but she can no longer feel the very elements she once held an intimate connection with. Oh, and the Unseelie King is planning to invade Earth, once again. As a greater elemental, she didn't just have a connection to the elements --she was the elements-- and now, Ember must find a way to reconnect to each element and regain the abilities she's lost. For humanity, time is running out. These are also repetitive and should be combined. 

 

With the assistance of her creator, the Seelie Queen, and a banished warlock seeking redemption, two elements return quickly, while two remain stubbornly silent. Unfortunately, the two she reconnects with are unpredictable and dangerous, and when she seeks out her mentor, he shares little more than a warning--to stay out of Earth until she's reconnected with all four of the elements. Despite Ember's concerns that she'll never reconnect to the final elements, it's her deepest fear that she wont make it to Earth in time to save humanity.

 

With multiple points of view, 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.

 

 

 

QUERY #2 Vashti POV

 

Being a greater elemental means little to Vashti--the elements are only there to be her strength--her weapon against anyone who opposes her. And yet, despite all her power, she is still subjugated by her creator, the Unseelie King.

 

When Vashti finally succeeds in breaking the seal that's kept her master from invading Earth, she wonders if hopes he will finally set her free; only, she's forgotten that opening the portal is just the first step. After gathering the pieces of a lost prophecy, one for her master claims to hold a secret critical to his victory, Vashti is sent into Earth after the Seelie prince. Her orders: to follow him until he reveals the location of the key.

 

With two troublesome trackers to manage, plus a philandering prince to follow, Vashti may have her hands full--but she loves being out from under the Unseelie King's thumb. Despite the illusion of having her freedom, however, Vashti is still bound to her master's whims. It isn't until she begins to question the validity of her master's goal, that she learns how very deep his control truly goes.

 

With multiple points of view, 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.

 

I see absolutely nothing wrong with telling the query from two POVs, but it has to be told succinctly and simply for a reader to grasp and be interested in. I feel like we need more story...what exactly do the elementals do? or what are they? Are they like a dungeons and dragons deal, or a person who controls elemental magic? I'm just trying to point out what I see as holes, but everything you describe is very intangible type of sorcery that will make sense in your book, but on a query, what does breaking a seal look like? And then this is where the tricky part comes, how do you explain it without getting bogged down in details and too long of query. I don't have that answer, but I believe if we know what an elemental is and have a glimpse of what they do, might help some.

I would go with a hook for the first paragraph, next paragraph for ember then for vashti. Followed by a paragraph of word count, etc. 

I think the hook should be something with Ember waking up. 

Here's a possible suggestion for a hook.>>

Ember should be dead. Her soulmate is dead and she had every intention of joining him. She sacrificed herself to seal the portal and stop the Unseelie from wiping out humanity. A millennia later, its broken and she's awake. In a world she no longer belongs, cut off from her elemental magic, its up to Ember once again to save the humans.

 

Hopefully something is helpful I said. 



#30 Monks

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 06:05 PM

So I like the way this is going, switching to single POV. I can't say with 100% certainty that it's the way to go, but I think it's worth continuing in this manner to see what comes out. I think switching to a single POV has given you a little more space to get into the characters, instead of just the concepts. That being said, I still think there's some work to be done in that vein.
 

QUERY #1 Ember POV
 
When Ember sacrificed herself to seal the portal, in order to stop the Unseelie from wiping out humanity, she never expected to reawaken--with her soulmate dead in the battle, why would she want to?
 
When that seal is undone a millennium later and she emerges, Ember realizes that, not only does she have to go on alone, but she can no longer feel the very elements she once held an intimate connection with. Oh, and the Unseelie King is planning to invade Earth, once again. As a greater elemental, she didn't just have a connection to the elements --she was the elements-- and now, Ember must find a way to reconnect to each element and regain the abilities she's lost. For humanity, time is running out.
 
With the assistance of her creator, the Seelie Queen, and a banished warlock seeking redemption, two elements return quickly, while two remain stubbornly silent. Unfortunately, the two she reconnects with are unpredictable and dangerous, and when she seeks out her mentor, he shares little more than a warning--to stay out of Earth until she's reconnected with all four of the elements. Despite Ember's concerns that she'll never reconnect to the final elements, it's her deepest fear that she wont make it to Earth in time to save humanity.
 
With multiple points of view, 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.

I'm starting to feel some connection towards Ember here, with the loss of the elements. And I also like the mention of the Seelie Queen, the warlock, and her mentor. That's the first point in the query where I can really picture her as a character. But I'm still left wanting more. I think the crux of the issue is that she doesn't feel connected to the main plot to me. The Unseelie King wants to invade earth, but what does that mean for Ember? Why does she care? And if she doesn't care but she just has to go try to save earth because she's bound to do so, how does that affect her? Or maybe her personal stakes don't have much to do with saving earth and are more about getting revenge on the Unseelie King for forcing her to sacrifice herself in the first place? I just feel like we're lacking that personal connection. Like I said, you're getting there with the loss of the elements thing. But that connection just isn't there in terms of the main plot.
 

QUERY #2 Vashti POV
 
Being a greater elemental means little to Vashti--the elements are only there to be her strength--her weapon against anyone who opposes her. And yet, despite all her power, she is still subjugated by her creator, the Unseelie King.
 
When Vashti finally succeeds in breaking the seal that's kept her master from invading Earth, she wonders if he will finally set her free; only, she's forgotten that opening the portal is just the first step. After gathering the pieces of a lost prophecy, one her master claims to hold a secret critical to his victory, Vashti is sent into Earth after the Seelie prince. Her orders: to follow him until he reveals the location of the key.
 
With two troublesome trackers to manage, plus a philandering prince to follow, Vashti may have her hands full--but she loves being out from under the Unseelie King's thumb. Despite the illusion of having her freedom, however, Vashti is still bound to her master's whims. It isn't until she begins to question the validity of her master's goal, that she learns how very deep his control truly goes.
 
With multiple points of view, 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.


My concerns with Vashti are similar, though I feel more connected to Vashti's personal struggle than Ember's, probably because her personal conflict directly ties into the Unseelie King. But not completely. You tell us that Vashti is under the control of the King but wants to be free. Good so far. You also tell us that the King has some sort of scheme that involves invading earth. Check. But there's no connection between that plot and Vashti, other than that Vashti is being used by the King for his plot. What does it mean to Vashti if the King succeeds? Would that cement his control over her somehow, and so she needs to break free from him before that happens or undermine him in some other way? That's the kind of plot connection I'm looking for with these characters.
 
I do think this is progressing well, and I personally like the single POV query better than the double. I just want to see a bit more of the characters' personal connections to the stakes in order for the query to really click together and hook me. As for which of the two queries to go with, I think Vashti is in better shape right now, but I kind of feel like Ember has the potential to be more interesting. She feels more like the main character to me. I know you've said they're basically on equal footing in terms of importance, but that's just how it feels to me. Of course, that might just be because her name is Ember and the book is Burning Heart. I hope this helps. If you have any questions or want me to elaborate on something, just let me know. I'll watch out for your revisions.


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#31 ryankalford

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 10:06 PM

Apparently the rethink didn't take as long as I thought it would... 

 

I did manage to complete two separate queries. One with a POV for Ember and the other for Vashti. I will reiterate again..... This goes against actual advice I received from a publisher, but I'm hoping that this helps move me closer to having one presentable query.

 

Thank you all for your patience while I sort through this. I'll review your queries that I've missed tonight, tomorrow. It's 11:30 and I'm beat. 

 

 

QUERY #1 Ember POV

 

When Ember sacrificed herself to seal the portal, in order to stop the Unseelie from wiping out humanity, she never expected to reawaken--with her soulmate dead in the battle, why would she want to?

 

I don't like this phrasing. Right off the bat it maeks me go "What portal." This is why in my pitch for the hook I avoided it so it wouldn't muddle the hook by promting the question.

 

The strikeout I did is a head scratcher to me. For one, it's cheaply tacked on. awkward reading, and lacks any context to have meaning. Another aspect I avoided in my own version of a hook. It honeslty doesn't feel important enough to mention in the query about her previous lover having perished. Overall, this isn't a hook. It needs more meat on the bones, but more importantly, a clear and compelling problem that jumpstarts the story. What's your inciting incident? For me, Ember being resurrected in a de-powered body was the most interesting and hookiest aspect about her. A former Goddess forced to struggle like a mortal while she tries to regain what she's lost. That's drama.

 

When that seal is undone a millennium later and she emerges, Ember realizes that, not only does she have to go on alone, but she can no longer feel the very elements she once held an intimate connection with that made her a fearful Goddess to cross. Oh, and the Unseelie King is planning to invade Earth, once again. As a greater elemental, she didn't just have a connection to the elements --she was the elements-- and now, Ember must find a way to reconnect to each element and regain the abilities she's lost. For humanity, time is running out.

 

I tried cutting out the irrlevant/weak sauce parts, and leave the aspects you should focus on fleshing out more in the next revision. Overall, the drive of the story is lacking, and the writing is way too meandering, almost aimlessly so. Each sentence needs to be sharp, concise, and working on multiple levels in getting across your story. That's what makes queries at their best so punchy and impactful--because each word used in them matters

 

With the assistance of her creator, the Seelie Queen, and a banished warlock seeking redemption, two elements return quickly, while two remain stubbornly silent. Unfortunately, the two she reconnects with but are unpredictable and dangerous, and when she seeks out her mentor, he shares little more than a warning--to stay out of Earth until she's reconnected with all four of the elements. Despite Ember's concerns that she'll never reconnect to the final elements, it's her deepest fear that she wont make it to Earth in time to save humanity.

 

Way, way too vague to provide any sort of compelling stakes. Just felt like you decide to put this version out its misery (but that's okay, because you're going to make something better next!)

 

With multiple points of view, 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.

 

 

 

QUERY #2 Vashti POV

 

Being a Greater Elemental means little to Vashti--the elements are only there to be her strength--her weapon against anyone who opposes her. And yet, despite all her power, she is still subjugated by her creator, the Unseelie King.

 

Not a hook at all, I'm afraid. Same issue as Ember. Vashti's problem is her enslavement, but simply stating she is subjugated by the Unseelie King is not convincing by itself. We need some kind of context to feel it, and the wrong it causes her.

 

When Vashti finally succeeds in breaking the seal that's kept her master from invading Earth, she wonders if he will finally set her free; only, she's forgotten that opening the portal is just the first step. After gathering the pieces of a lost prophecy, one her master claims to hold a secret critical to his victory, Vashti is sent into Earth after the Seelie prince. Her orders: to follow him until he reveals the location of the key.

 

Vague, confusing, awkward sounding all-around. But what did strike me as interesting (and rather clear-cut) was Vashti's mission for the Seelie prince. Maybe that could be your hook for Vashti? Like, isn't the Seelie King probably promising her if she goes and does this last thing for him, he'll grant her her freedom or something like that? That could be a compelling stake for Vashti's hook. Like--------Doesn't enjoyed being enslaved<given mission for capturing Prince and the key to prove she's worthy of freedom>but earning her "freedom" means the destruction of humanity?

 

With two troublesome trackers to manage, plus a philandering prince to follow, Vashti may have her hands full--but she loves being out from under the Unseelie King's thumb. Despite the illusion of having her freedom, however, Vashti is still bound to her master's whims. It isn't until she begins to question the validity of her master's goal, that she learns how very deep his control truly goes.

 

The mention of the trackers is confusing since there's no mention of them beforehand, but the rest of the line is the most colorful and character voicy. You need more of that!

 

The rest is too vague to be interesting or compelling in any way. 

 

With multiple points of view, 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.

 

 

After thinking about it, I think before you try diving back in to either of your characters queries, you need to get their hooks down pat. The hook is the entire core your query is built around. The main test for knowing you have a great hook is it's ability to stand by itself without a query at all (It explains itself without further context or clarification needed). So I'd suggest you really take some time to focus and get the hooks right before tackling the queries proper again. It'll help you in figuring out what esstential parts of Ember and Vashti's story actually matter in crafting a compellling query narrative reflective of their conflicts and voice.

 

Otherwise, best of luck for now!


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/


#32 Arty90

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 01:44 AM

Apparently the rethink didn't take as long as I thought it would... 

 

I did manage to complete two separate queries. One with a POV for Ember and the other for Vashti. I will reiterate again..... This goes against actual advice I received from a publisher, but I'm hoping that this helps move me closer to having one presentable query.

 

Thank you all for your patience while I sort through this. I'll review your queries that I've missed tonight, tomorrow. It's 11:30 and I'm beat. 

 

 

QUERY #1 Ember POV

 

When Ember sacrificed herself to seal the portal, in order to stop the Unseelie from wiping out humanity, she never expected to reawaken--with her soulmate dead in the battle, why would she want to?

 

When that seal is undone a millennium later and she emerges, Ember realizes that, not only does she have to go on alone, but she can no longer feel the very elements she once held an intimate connection with. Oh, and the Unseelie King is planning to invade Earth, once again. As a greater elemental, she didn't just have a connection to the elements --she was the elements-- and now, Ember must find a way to reconnect to each element and regain the abilities she's lost. For humanity, time is running out.

 

With the assistance of her creator, the Seelie Queen, and a banished warlock seeking redemption, two elements return quickly, while two remain stubbornly silent. Unfortunately, the two she reconnects with are unpredictable and dangerous, and when she seeks out her mentor, he shares little more than a warning--to stay out of Earth until she's reconnected with all four of the elements. Despite Ember's concerns that she'll never reconnect to the final elements, it's her deepest fear that she wont make it to Earth in time to save humanity.

 

With multiple points of view, 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.

 

 

 

QUERY #2 Vashti POV

 

Being a greater elemental means little to Vashti--the elements are only there to be her strength--her weapon against anyone who opposes her. And yet, despite all her power, she is still subjugated by her creator, the Unseelie King. Is this Vashti's only concern? Or is there a more humanistic concern weighing her down? (I sound like a shrink). Back to the writer me: I would put something deeper troubling Vashti here, other than just concerns over her subjugation. For instance, she was created for one purpose: that's gotta really tie someone down. What's her agenda besides more? Ambition? Power? Independence? It would help this great query only further by clarifying that bit.

 

When Vashti finally succeeds in breaking the seal that's kept her master from invading Earth, she wonders if he will finally set her free; only, she's forgotten that opening the portal is just the first step. After gathering the pieces of a lost prophecy, one her master claims to hold a secret critical to his victory, Vashti is sent into Earth after the Seelie prince. Her orders: to follow him until he reveals the location of the key.

 

With two troublesome trackers to manage, plus a philandering prince to follow, Vashti may have her hands full--but she loves being out from under the Unseelie King's thumb. Despite the illusion of having her freedom, however, Vashti is still bound to her master's whims. It isn't until she begins to question the validity of her master's goal, that she learns how very deep his control truly goes. ​Try to specify the exact moment she began questioning the Unseelie King, and more importantly, why. Something must've happened right? Don't keep us in the dark about that detail! We wanna know!

 

With multiple points of view, 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. Perfect. Nothing like opening up a gift and knowing there's more to come. Saying there's multiple view points opens a lot of doors, I think (at least the way I see it).

 

Before I read this, I thought Vashti was just a villain—turns out she was also a main character! Wow. Now I know your struggle :(. Must be terrible choosing between the two. Personally, I like Vashti's query a bit more. What I would recommend so far, is to add some stakes to her story, along with the suggestions I mentioned above. The current stakes for Vashti seem to be her just falling back under control. I'd very much like to see Vashti's goal to be finding herself, a new purpose, and see a struggle between choosing a predefined life, verses the much more challenging life of independence.

 

It's easier to just follow orders; much harder to follow your own. I think that should be Vashti's main focus.

 

Good luck! Keep up the great work as always. I know you're working hard on this.

 

But as always, great work. Keep it up!


Query Letter(s):

 

Project: DIVE
 

the (1).png

 


#33 strangeface

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 08:58 PM

Apparently the rethink didn't take as long as I thought it would... 

 

I did manage to complete two separate queries. One with a POV for Ember and the other for Vashti. I will reiterate again..... This goes against actual advice I received from a publisher Yeah for sure, it should be from both POVs., but I'm hoping that this helps move me closer to having one presentable query.

 

Thank you all for your patience while I sort through this. I'll review your queries that I've missed tonight, tomorrow. It's 11:30 and I'm beat. 

 

 

QUERY #1 Ember POV

 

When Ember sacrificed herself to seal the portal, in order to stop, stopping the Unseelie from wiping out humanity, she never expected to reawaken.--wWith her soulmate dead in the battle, why would she want to?

 

When that seal is undone a millennium later and she emerges, Ember realizes that, not only does she have to go on alone, but she can no longer feel the very elements she once held an intimate connection with. Oh The 'oh' seems a bit cheesy to me. I know you didn't actually almost forget., and the Unseelie King is planning to invade Earth, once again. As a greater elemental, she didn't just have a connection to the elements --she was the elements-- and now, Ember must find a way to reconnect to each element and regain the abilities she's lost. For humanity, time is running out.

 

With the assistance of her creator, the Seelie I think I've gone too long without knowing what a "Seelie" is. Queen, and a banished warlock seeking redemption, two elements return quickly, while two remain stubbornly silent Why?. Unfortunately, the two she reconnects with are unpredictable and dangerous Why? What does it even mean to be unpredictable and dangerous. It's almost as though you've wrote this query assuming I already know everything about the lore., and when she seeks out her mentor, he shares little more than a warning--to stay out of Earth Wait...so where is she now? until she's reconnected with all four of the elements. Despite Ember's concerns that she'll never reconnect to the final elements, it's her deepest fear that she wont make it to Earth in time to save humanity.

 

With multiple points of view, 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.

 

 

 

QUERY #2 Vashti POV

 

Being a greater elemental means little to Vashti--the elements are only there to be her strength--her weapon against anyone who opposes her. And yet, despite all her power, she is still subjugated by her creator, the Unseelie King How?.

 

When Vashti finally succeeds in breaking the seal that's kept her master from invading Earth, she wonders if he will finally set her free; only, she's forgotten that opening the portal is just the first step. After gathering the pieces of a lost prophecy, one her master claims to hold a secret critical to his victory, Vashti is sent into Earth after the Seelie prince. Her orders: to follow him until he reveals the location of the key.

 

With two troublesome trackers to manage What is a tracker, and what does it mean to manage one?, plus a philandering prince to follow, Vashti may have her hands full--but she loves being out from under the Unseelie King's thumb. Despite the illusion of having her freedom, however, Vashti is still bound to her master's whims. It isn't until she begins to question the validity of her master's goal, that she learns how very deep his control truly goes. That's an intriguing ending.

 

With multiple points of view, 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.

 

Now that I've read both, you definitely shouldn't write from one perspective. It'll be a shock when the agent finds out there's an entirely different perspective that has little to do with the one around which the query is centred. As such, I can't really comment on either of them, except to say that they're both kind of hazy because of all the lore that goes largely unexplained.

 

Good luck :)



#34 hermitage

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 11:51 PM

First off, I might as well say that I thought that the two-character approach e.g. in Post #15 was already a huge improvement, and I wouldn't totally rule out going back to that at some point. (I'm talking about the structure in a very basic sense, mind you -- you could still do some grinding and polishing of the text itself.) But of course, what do I know. I've been through a similar struggle myself in terms of wanting to squeeze more characters into my query, but my current favorite version is a single-POV one, so I'm glad I was pushed (and that I pushed myself) to try that. So what you're doing below seems like a really valuable exercise. I've tried to write independent queries for each of my three main characters, and I'm currently going with the one that I think works the best. So you can always go back to a two-character version if you like, but I'm sort of hoping that you might fall in love with one of these single-character ones.

 

Or you can always alternate, sending different queries to different agents to see if either approach sticks. Anyway, let's get into it.

 

 



Apparently the rethink didn't take as long as I thought it would... 

 

I did manage to complete two separate queries. One with a POV for Ember and the other for Vashti. I will reiterate again..... This goes against actual advice I received from a publisher, but I'm hoping that this helps move me closer to having one presentable query.

 

Thank you all for your patience while I sort through this. I'll review your queries that I've missed tonight, tomorrow. It's 11:30 and I'm beat. 

 

 

QUERY #1 Ember POV

 

When Ember sacrificed herself to seal the portal, in order to stop the Unseelie from wiping out humanity, she never expected to reawaken--with her soulmate dead in the battle, why would she want to? [I like the bit about the dead soulmate. I guess I feel that the mention of "the portal" is a bit awkward. Should it at least have a proper name, like the Something Something Portal, or the Portal to the Something Realm? Obviously that might be worse, but "the portal" by itself just feels a little offhand and generic. And I might as well ask: are you completely married to the names "Unseelie" and "Seelie"? If you are willing to rethink them, The good news is that a proper name is one of the easiest things to change in a novel -- with "Find and Replace" e.g. in Word, it can be done in minutes.]

 

When that seal is undone a millennium later and she emerges, Ember realizes that, not only does she have to go on alone, but she can no longer feel the very elements she once held an intimate connection with. Oh, and the Unseelie King is planning to invade Earth, once again. As a greater elemental, she didn't just have a connection to the elements --she was the elements-- [you should be consistent with your spacing around these double dashes. either have a space both before and after, or neither.] and now, Ember must find a way to reconnect to each element and regain the abilities she's lost. For humanity, time is running out.

 

With the assistance of her creator, the Seelie Queen, and a banished warlock seeking redemption, two elements return quickly, while two remain stubbornly silent. [I haven't read all the other comments -- have people already mentioned the Avatar: The Last Airbender connection here? It's a little close, so you might not want to emphasize this precise angle so much. He's killed and thus reincarnated over and over again, and each time he has to learn all four elements independently. In the original run, he has air and water pretty early on, but has more trouble with both earth and water, for different reasons. It's a really great show, but you don't want to seem too derivative here.] Unfortunately, the two she reconnects with are unpredictable and dangerous, and when she seeks out her mentor, he shares little more than a warning--to stay out of Earth until she's reconnected with all four of the elements. Despite Ember's concerns that she'll never reconnect to the final elements, it's her deepest fear that she wont make it to Earth in time to save humanity. [Yeah, I like this basic approach, but I would suggest that you focus on a different aspect of her struggle, other than with mastering the elements. I don't know what, because I haven't read the book -- maybe something that ties her more together with other characters or with the plot? Maybe even mention Vashti in the last paragraph, I dunno. But "mastering the four elements in time to save the world" is the exact plot of Avatar -- see e.g. its opening sequence. Yes it's a kids' show, but it had a huge impact and is probably pretty widely known in fantasy circles.]

 

With multiple points of view, 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.

 

 

 

QUERY #2 Vashti POV

 

Being a greater elemental means little to Vashti--the elements are only there to be her strength--her weapon against anyone who opposes her. And yet, despite all her power, she is still subjugated by her creator, the Unseelie King [since you mention this guy several times, I think it might streamline things to go ahead and give his name? or maybe this just comes back to my issues with the word "unseelie", I'm not sure]. [I like the second of these sentences better than the first -- might it be possible to skip to the second or some variant on it?]

 

When Vashti finally succeeds in breaking the seal that's kept her master from invading Earth, she wonders if he will finally set her free; only, she's forgotten that opening the portal is just the first step. [did she really forget? seems like a strange thing to forget.] After gathering the pieces of a lost prophecy, one her master claims to hold a secret critical to his victory, [a little vague/abstract?] Vashti is sent into Earth after the Seelie prince. Her orders: to follow him until he reveals the location of the key. 

 

With two troublesome trackers to manage, plus a philandering prince to follow, Vashti may have her hands full--but she loves being out from under the Unseelie King's thumb. Despite the illusion of having her freedom, however, Vashti is still bound to her master's whims. [I feel like you're contradicting yourself a little here.] It isn't until she begins to question the validity of her master's goal, that she learns how very deep his control truly goes. [This I like. Is it possible to expand this quite a bit at the expense of some other stuff?]

 

[I feel like you can shorten some of the stuff in paragraph 2-3 in the interest of getting to stronger material more quickly. You can say that she breaks the seal, but isn't set free despite her hopes. Instead, she's given orders to follow a philandering prince that her master hopes will lead her to the answer of a prophetic riddle. But then... some other cool stuff happens which really makes her come alive as a character with hope and fear and a special mix of agency and frustration etc.]

 

With multiple points of view, 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.

 

I think this one-character approach is promising. And I like that we are getting a bit more of each character's interior life. I feel like you could keep going in that direction, taking us away from a clinical, abstract perspective toward one that's a bit more in line with the tone of the book -- ideally, the tone of the book when it's at its very best. So again I think you can do more, but I love the effort you're putting into considering all of these different approaches, and I think it's already starting to pay off.  

 

EDIT: I hadn't been aware that "seelie" and "unseelie" were terms taken from fairy lore. Having learned this, I think that the connotation is an interesting one, counting in favor of keeping the terms. Alternate spellings might also be possible, e.g. "saeli and unsaeli or ansaeli", etc. 



#35 CM_Fick

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 02:44 PM

I'd like to thank everyone who's helped me with this query so far. You all have pushed me to think outside of the box with these revisions, given me a lot to think about, and your thoughts have been invaluable. I can't properly express my gratitude - so I'll just say thank you, again! 

 

Okay, so with this one, I've gone an entirely new route, hoping to get to the core of my character's motivations, and to keep it within the limit, I've focused only on Ember for this query. On a side note: I have taken changing the term Unseelie under advisement. Until I decide if something works better...FYI: Unseelie is malevolent/ Seelie is benevolent.

 

REVISION: 

Waking from stasis, after a millennium, can be disorienting -- especially since Ember can no longer feel the elements, which have always been an intricate part of her and her identity. All she wants is to grieve for her slain soulmate and find a way to heal the severed connection to her elements. But her greatest adversary, the Unseelie King, is moving forward with his plans of dominion over humanity, and only Ember can stop him.

 

When Ember receives news of her soulmate's impending reincarnation into the human world, her elation triggers the return of water, and feeling the element wash over her, her grief begins to heal. Soon after, and thanks to an encounter with a banished warlock, fire sparks within her, being the second element to return. Having two elements back, Ember is eager to set out for Earth and search for her love, but is warned that she cannot do so until regaining all of the elements. With a tenuous connections to the first two elements, Ember struggles to find a way to reconnect with the others, but they remain stubbornly silent.

 

Meanwhile, humanity is facing extinction. And unless Ember can find and remove whatever is blocking the final two elements, she risks losing her beloved forever. 

 

With multiple points of view, 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.



#36 Linnet_Crawford

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 03:58 PM

New to this thread - but this sounds very cool. I do think one POV is a good idea for something as short as a query letter, especially with this much lore/backstory...although it does lose some of the scope.

I'd like to thank everyone who's helped me with this query so far. You all have pushed me to think outside of the box with these revisions, given me a lot to think about, and your thoughts have been invaluable. I can't properly express my gratitude - so I'll just say thank you, again! 

 

Okay, so with this one, I've gone an entirely new route, hoping to get to the core of my character's motivations, and to keep it within the limit, I've focused only on Ember for this query. On a side note: I have taken changing the term Unseelie under advisement. Until I decide if something works better...FYI: Unseelie is malevolent/ Seelie is benevolent.

 

REVISION: 

Waking from stasis, after a millennium, can be disorienting -- especially since Ember can no longer feel the elements which have always been an intricate part of her and her identity. All she wants is to grieve for her slain soulmate and find a way to heal the severed connection to the earth, air, fire and water. her elements.  (honestly, it might be nice to lay out the names right here. With high fantasy, you could be referring to something contained in your world, so it would be good to clarify) But her greatest adversary, the Unseelie King, is moving forward with his plans of dominion over humanity, and only Ember can stop him. I also think you should establish early on where exactly Ember is, if not on Earth. 

 

When Ember receives news of her soulmate's impending reincarnation into the human world, her elation triggers the return of water, and feeling the element wash over her, her grief begins to heal. Soon after, and thanks to an encounter with a banished warlock, fire sparks within her, being the second element to return. Having two elements back, Ember is eager to set out for Earth and search for her love, but is warned that she cannot do so until she has regained regaining all of the elements. Why not? Is it a rule? A physical limitation? With a tenuous connections to the first two elements, Ember struggles to find a way to reconnect with the others, but they remain stubbornly silent. I'm not sure if focusing on her reconnecting with the two missing elements is the strongest crisis to base your pitch on - since we, as the reader, know nothing yet about what the process of connecting with the elements involves, it doesn't feel concrete  - ie. is it an internal quest? Or does she have to go somewhere? She seemed to get fire pretty easily, which leaves me (at least from the pitch) unclear about just how big the stakes are. Maybe you could bring in the Unseelie King again? Presumably, once she does get the elements back, she still has to defeat him / foil his plan. 

 

Meanwhile, humanity is facing extinction. And unless Ember can find and remove whatever is blocking the final two elements, she risks losing her beloved forever. 

 

With multiple points of view, 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.


Any thoughts on my query are super appreciated!  Here: http://agentquerycon...ong-ya-fantasy/


#37 Monks

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 04:19 PM

I really like the new direction here. Even in just the first couple sentences, I feel more connection to Ember than I did in the previous versions. On the whole, however, I think I agree with Linnet_Crawford's critique. There's a bit too much focus on reacquiring the elements and a bit too little on the conflict with the Unseelie King and Ember's desire to reconnect with her soulmate. It might be possible to condense the elements stuff so that you have space to get into her conflict with the Unseelie King a bit more. But if not, you might need to cut the elements stuff way down. I'm talking like, one sentence, about how Ember doesn't have all her powers back yet (I know that's reductionist, but hey, that's query writing). As it stands, Ember's struggles to get her elements back don't really feel like a proper conflict because I don't know who or what she's struggling against. At the very end, you mention something blocking the two final elements. I think you should run with that. I'm assuming that's the Unseelie King's doing, but I could be wrong. Basically, you spend a lot of time telling us about the elements, how she gets the first two back, why she needs the other two, but then when it's time for the actual conflict involved in getting those back, you give us only one sentence at the end of the query. If you reverse the ratio there, I think you'll be in much better shape. Still, I think this is a huge step in the right direction. Others may disagree, and I know you've been hesitant about the single POV query, but in my opinion, it really works. Hope this helps, and feel free to respond back with any questions or for further clarification.


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#38 hermitage

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 07:42 PM

I really think that the writing is getting much more fluent and engaging here, which is great! But I don't want to give detailed comments here because I feel so strongly that the "mastering the four elements" idea shouldn't be used in the pitch (not to say of course that it shouldn't be used in the novel!) because of its striking similarity to the plot of Avatar: The Last Airbender.  



#39 CM_Fick

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 08:32 PM

Thank you. 



#40 Novelarnia

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 12:38 AM

I'd like to thank everyone who's helped me with this query so far. You all have pushed me to think outside of the box with these revisions, given me a lot to think about, and your thoughts have been invaluable. I can't properly express my gratitude - so I'll just say thank you, again! 

 

Okay, so with this one, I've gone an entirely new route, hoping to get to the core of my character's motivations, and to keep it within the limit, I've focused only on Ember for this query. On a side note: I have taken changing the term Unseelie under advisement. Until I decide if something works better...FYI: Unseelie is malevolent/ Seelie is benevolent.

 

REVISION: 

Waking from stasis, (delete comma) after a millennium, (delete comma.  They just slow things down in the very beginning) can be disorienting -- especially since Ember can no longer feel the elements, which have always been an intricate part of her and her identity. (Simplify this and expand a bit... maybe something like, "and what's worse, Ember can no longer feel the elements.  She didn't even think that was possible, but fire, water, air... they're all gone.")  All she wants is to grieve for her slain soulmate (this feels like we're jumping into too much backstory just as we're getting to know Ember.  Rephrase.  Something like, "The last thing Ember remembers is her soulmate, ______, [insert how he died].") and find a way to heal the severed connection to her elements. But her greatest adversary, the Unseelie King, is moving forward with his plans of dominion over humanity, and only Ember can stop him. (I'd move the stuff about the villain down a paragraph.  This first section is to give us info on who Ember is, and what she wants from life.  Keep the focus there, not on what she has to accomplish during the story.)  (I also need to know why she was in stasis by this point!)

 

When Ember receives news of her soulmate's (replace with name if you take the suggestions above) impending reincarnation into the human world, her elation triggers the return of water, and feeling the element wash over her, her grief begins to heal. (Well, yeah.  Her soulmate has died, and the elements dried up.  Now he's coming back, and the elements return.  I'm not sure if this is self-explanatory, but I'd recommend rephrasing or deleting that last bit...)  Soon after, and thanks to an encounter with a banished warlock, fire sparks within her, being the second element to return. Having two elements back, Ember is eager to set out for Earth and search for her love, but is warned that she cannot do so until regaining all of the elements. With a tenuous connections to the first two elements, Ember struggles to find a way to reconnect with the others, but they remain stubbornly silent.

 

Meanwhile, humanity is facing extinction. (uh oh...) And unless Ember can find and remove whatever is blocking the final two elements (we need to know what these elements are.  Pretend we're idiots and spell it out for us.  Agents don't like to do any work themselves. :P ), she risks losing her beloved forever.  (These stakes are pretty weak, considering she already lost her beloved once.  Why wouldn't he just be reincarnated again?)

 

With multiple points of view, Burning Heart is an adult high-fantasy novel, complete at 115,000 words (pretty long for a novel.  Established authors can get away with it, but as a debut, you'll have a hard time selling anything over 105k, I think.  Even that's brushing the high end.  Can you trim it down??). Your profile mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope that you find my manuscript to be a good match.

 

It sounds good, but needs some tweaking.  I want to know more about Ember and her personal stakes in the first paragraph.  Why should we care about her soulmate?  You should give us one sentence about how grief-stricken she is that he won't be making her breakfast or twirling her around in the rain anymore.  

 

Also, I need clarification.  Is Ember human?  Does she live on Earth, or somewhere else?  You have to tell us where she's from, and why she'd care about humanity's extinction, other than her soulmate being included in that.  Is her soulmate reincarnated as a human?  Why would he be, if he wasn't human before?  Or was he???  These questions need answers. :P 

 

Sounds like the bones of a great query, though!!  Revise and I'll come back and critique again. <3 

 

(Also, I edited mine, if you have the chance to look at it!  I appreciate the feedback!! <3 http://agentquerycon...-adult-fantasy/ )







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