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Mystery (Fantasy)

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#1 trailerbride

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 07:29 PM

Revised query at #12.

 

 

Three hundred years ago, religious schism plunged the Kingdom into endless war. Today, a teenage bodyguard is the only hope for peace.

 

Novitiate Victory Arra’am was taken from her family when she was five years old. Gifted with extraordinary skills, and trained by cruel men who feared her copper skin and desert eyes, she is about to attempt the Mystery. Succeed, and she will become a Shadowdancer—a royal assassin or bodyguard. Fail, and Vix will likely die.

 

After Vix triumphs in the Mystery, the losing candidates attack Prince Silviel, the Sainted King’s second son. Saving his life almost costs Vix hers. Pursued at every turn, they set out together for the distant safety of the royal court.

 

Battle after battle, Vix’s unnerving powers continue to grow, exposing dark desires hidden deep within the prince’s mind.

 

Approaching the capital, she has an impossible decision to make. If Silviel survives, his unholy lusts and savage demons will destroy hundreds of innocent young lives, but his treasonous plans and political convictions might end both the war and the slavery of Vix’s nomadic people. Can she sacrifice herself for the greater good, pledging her life to Silviel’s, or will she abandon him to save the few?

 

The future of the Broken Kingdom hangs upon her choice.

 

A Gamesy-Thronesy fantasy with series potential, MYSTERY is complete at 84,000 words.



#2 Paulsvault

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 09:45 PM

Three hundred years ago, religious schism plunged the Kingdom into endless war. Today, a teenage bodyguard is the only hope for peace. Not bad

 

Novitiate Victory Arra’am was taken from her family when she was five years old. Gifted with extraordinary skills, and trained by cruel men who feared her copper skin and desert eyes, she is about to attempt the Mystery. Succeed, and she will become a Shadowdancer—a royal assassin or bodyguard. Fail, and Vix will likely die. Some parts of this sentence confuse me (maybe it's just me). You may want to find a way to explain how a Shadowdancer can be either a royal assassin or a bodyguard since those two things can have vast differences. Are Arra'am and Vix the same person? If so it may be a good idea to throw 'Vix for short" in there or something similar.

 

After Vix triumphs in the Mystery, the losing candidates attack Prince Silviel, the Sainted King’s second son. Why? Saving his life almost costs Vix hers. Pursued at every turn, they set out together for the distant safety of the royal court.

 

Battle after battle, Vix’s unnerving powers continue to grow, exposing dark desires hidden deep within the prince’s mind. Interesting!

 

Approaching the capital, she has an impossible decision to make. If Silviel survives, his unholy lusts and savage demons will destroy hundreds of innocent young lives, but his treasonous plans and political convictions might end both the war and the slavery of Vix’s nomadic people. I get it, but maybe you can find a way to elaborate on his unholy lusts and savage demons earlier in the query to make this sentence easier to grasp. Can she sacrifice herself for the greater good, pledging her life to Silviel’s, or will she abandon him to save the few? I may be totally wrong and someone can correct me if I am, but I don't know if you want to include a question for the agent to decide the answer to in the query.

 

The future of the Broken Kingdom hangs upon her choice.

 

A Gamesy-Thronesy fantasy with series potential, MYSTERY is complete at 84,000 words. I'm against the traditional norm in most senses, but I know someone will say you shouldn't use the phrase Gamesy-Thronesy  :laugh:

 

Sounds like a great story and the bones are here. You just need to arrange them in such a way that the body begins to take form. And take my advice with an enormous grain of salt, I'm certainly not as good as most of the people here that will critique your work. Best of luck to you!


The Warrior's Crown Query: http://agentquerycon...own-ya-fantasy/

The Warrior's Crown Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...own-ya-fantasy/

The Warrior's Crown First 250: http://agentquerycon...warriors-crown/

The Warrior's Crown Hook: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=337108

 

Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free. - James Douglas Morrison

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. - Ray Bradbury

 


#3 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 09:54 AM

Three hundred years ago, religious schism plunged the Kingdom into an endless war. Today, a teenage bodyguard is the only hope for peace. That's a good hook. I think it can become stronger if you tweak it a bit, but it's not bad. I'd rework it a bit if I was you.

 

Novitiate Victory Arra’am was taken from her family when she was five years old. Gifted with extraordinary skills, and trained by cruel men who feared her copper skin and desert eyes, she is about to attempt the Mystery. (What's the Mystery?) Succeed, and she will become a Shadowdancer—a royal assassin or bodyguard. (Like, do they choose between assassin or bodyguard? And the assassins and bodyguards are both called Shadowdancer?) Fail, and Vix will likely die. Don't  say "likely", up the stakes.

 

After Vix triumphs in the Mystery, the losing candidates attack Prince Silviel, the Sainted King’s second son. Saving his life almost costs Vix hers. Pursued at every turn, they set out together for the distant safety of the royal court. Why did they attack him? Did he do something wrong? How did they try to attack him? - Also, keep names consistent. Each character should only have one name throughout the whole query letter to not confuse the agent.

 

I'd try to write the whole query after her passed "The Mystery"  in the first paragraph and see where that takes you. Because the first paragraph now seems un-relevant since you spend most of your time already saying that she passed the Mystery. It gets the reader all prepared for her to face hardships with the Mystery when you just say she passed it in the next paragraph. It got me to think: "Than what's the real trouble if she just passed the test already?" Does that make sense?

 

Battle after battle, Vix’s unnerving powers continue to grow, exposing dark desires hidden deep within the prince’s mind. Expand more on this.

 

Approaching the capital, she has an impossible decision to make. If Silviel survives, his unholy lusts and savage demons will destroy hundreds of innocent young lives, but his treasonous plans and political convictions might end both the war and the slavery of Vix’s nomadic people. That was hard to follow. Could you split it up into multiple sentences? Can she sacrifice herself for the greater good, pledging her life to Silviel’s, or will she abandon him to save the few? I wouldn't do a question. I'd rephrase that into some sentence like "She has a deadly choice to make" or so.

 

The future of the Broken Kingdom hangs upon her choice. I'd put this sentence with the paragraph before.

 

A Gamesy-Thronesy fantasy with series potential, MYSTERY is complete at 84,000 words. MYSTERY is, a fantasy novel, is complete with 84,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Overall, this is a good query. I think you just need to expand on everything passed "the Mystery" and define some details. Good job!



#4 lionspaws

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 06:19 PM

Three hundred years ago, religious schism plunged the Kingdom into endless war. Today, a teenage bodyguard is the only hope for peace. Nice, concise stage-setting. 

 

Novitiate Victory Arra’am was taken from her family when she was five years old. Gifted with extraordinary skills, and trained by cruel men who feared her copper skin and desert eyes, she is about to attempt the Mystery. Succeed, and she will become a Shadowdancer—a royal assassin or bodyguard. Fail, and Vix will likely die. Definitely clarify that Vix is her nickname. And why would the men fear her skin and eyes? 

 

After Vix triumphs in the Mystery, the losing candidates attack Prince Silviel, the Sainted King’s second son. Saving his life almost costs Vix hers. Pursued at every turn, they set out together for the distant safety of the royal court. Clear, interesting, and makes me curious about "The Mystery" even without it being explained. 

 

Battle after battle, Vix’s unnerving powers continue to grow, exposing dark desires hidden deep within the prince’s mind. such as: you need an extra phrase here to carry over to his "unholy lusts" etc. 

 

Approaching the capital, she has an impossible decision to make. If Silviel survives, his unholy lusts and savage demons will destroy hundreds of innocent young lives, but his treasonous plans and political convictions might end both the war and the slavery of Vix’s nomadic people. Can she sacrifice herself for the greater good, pledging her life to Silviel’s, or will she abandon him to save the few? This seems contradictory -- he's going to kill hundreds, but end the war and free the slaves? 

 

The future of the Broken Kingdom hangs upon her choice. I like "Broken Kingdom," it makes me want to read more. 

 

A Gamesy-Thronesy fantasy with series potential, MYSTERY is complete at 84,000 words. 

 

Yeah, definitely skip the "Gamesy-Thronesy." I'd appreciate your thoughts on my query "To Sail the Stars!" 


http://agentquerycon...sail-the-stars/

http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/

 

"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." - Mark Twain 

"There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds." - G.K. Chesterton 


#5 rccallahan

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 04:11 AM

Hey!  

 

Apologies for not getting you back until today, but I hope my thoughts below help you. 

Three hundred years ago, religious schism plunged the Kingdom into (an?) endless war. Today, a teenage bodyguard is the only hope for peace.

 

Novitiate Victory Arra’am was taken from her family when she was five years old. Gifted with extraordinary skills, and trained by cruel men who feared her copper skin and desert eyes, she is about to attempt the Mystery. (Question, how old is she now? Would help give us a frame of reference.) Succeed, and she will become a Shadowdancer—a royal assassin or bodyguard. Fail, and Vix will likely die.  (I see the stylistic choice of fragmentation here, but  maybe it should actually be fleshed out to the full "If she succeeds at the competition," because it makes the next fragment feel a little smoother and more natural to me, especially since we have NO background for what the Mystery is-- a game, a competition, walking into a bank of fog and disappearing forever..  but I would definitely love to find out. )

 

After Vix triumphs in the Mystery, the losing candidates attack Prince Silviel, the Sainted King’s second son. (Okay, so how come Vix was probably going to die if she lost, but these other guys not only survive, but manage to pull off a coup like that?) Saving his life almost costs Vix hers. Pursued at every turn, they set out together for the distant safety of the royal court. (1) I feel like there's a jump here.  Should there be a mention about her jumping in to save him, and her motivation for doing so?  2) why are they pursued?  Why are the bad guys so intent on attacking this guy?  I mean, I get he's the Prince, but maybe there's something missing here?) 

 

Battle after battle, Vix’s unnerving (why unnerving?  We know nothing about her or her powers?) powers continue to grow, exposing dark desires hidden deep within the prince’s mind.(This sentence lost me.  Does she have supernatural powers, or is she just really good at kicking ass?  And regardless of what the answer to that question is... how does that expose the Prince's desires?)

 

Approaching the capital, she has an impossible decision to make. If Silviel survives, his unholy lusts and savage demons will destroy hundreds of innocent young lives, but his treasonous plans and political convictions might end both the war and the slavery of Vix’s nomadic people. Can she sacrifice herself for the greater good, pledging her life to Silviel’s, or will she abandon him to save the few? (Wow this paragraph is a roller coaster ride from start to finish. 1) Why wouldn't Silviel survive?  Was he hurt in the initial attack?  Why are we finding out about this now?  And so... he's a... bad guy?  2) If he's a bad guy... why is she spending all of this time and energy on saving his ass?   3) So she's against the King and pro-treason?  4) Why did she want to enter the Mystery at all if it was just to work for the people who enslaved her and her people?  It  occurs to me now that you might want to mention WHO took her when she was five.. that might clear some of this up.  5) Is the fact that her people are nomads important?  6) Woah, why is she sacrificing herself?  This sentence confuses me because I'm trying to figure out if she's planning on dying for this guy, marrying him, or running out on him or some combo of the three? I totally like the spunk and structure of the sentence, but there are some clarifications that should be made and maybe a little more explaining before we get this far.  

 

The future of the Broken Kingdom hangs upon her choice.

 

A Gamesy-Thronesy fantasy with series potential, MYSTERY is complete at 84,000 words.

 

 

Okay, so over all thoughts: 1) I think that you're actually not going into enough detail or explanation, which is the BEST problem to play while revising a query.  I'm a little envious. :)  I know we're told to be brief and get in, get out etc, but the over all feel of the letter is punchy and fragmented.  I think adding a couple of those explanations/details will help smooth that out and make for a little smoother flow.  2) The billion questions I asked (sorry), are a good thing.  I WANT to know these things!  This seems like a cool world you're building and these characters have some real potential to grab us.  Show us more! Best of luck and let me know if you need anything else! 

 

RC



#6 trailerbride

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 11:16 AM

Revised query at #12.

 

Thanks for all the feedback. I appreciate it.

 

Ihad stripped this query down to absolute basics to keep the word-count low. Here's a more detailed version. (And yes, I am kinda married to Gamesy-Thronesy.)

 

-----

 

Three hundred years ago, religious schism plunged the Kingdom into endless war. Today, the teenage bodyguard of a perverse and treacherous prince holds the only hope for peace in her uncertain hands.

 

Vix was only five when she was taken from her family to learn the Shadow Way. Trained and abused for a decade by men who hated her copper skin and desert eyes, she is about to attempt the Mystery—a ritual test of strategy, combat skills, and Sense, the unholy power of the mind. Succeed, and she will become a Shadowdancer, an elite royal bodyguard. Fail, and Vix will likely die.

 

The Sainted King’s second son, Prince Silviel needs the best bodyguard he can find. An unknown enemy wants him dead.

 

After Vix triumphs in the Mystery, the other survivors attack Silviel. Saving his life almost costs Vix hers, and they set out together for the distant safety of the royal court.

 

Pursued at every turn, Silviel knows he can’t survive without Vix, but fears she will forsake him when her growing Sense exposes the sick desires deep within his mind.

 

Approaching the capital, Vix has an impossible decision to make. If Silviel survives, his lusts and demons will destroy hundreds of young lives. But if his plan to seize the throne succeeds, he might end three hundred years of war and the slavery of her nomadic people.

 

Can Vix sacrifice herself for the greater good, taking the blood oath that will bind her life to his, or will she abandon him to his enemies to guarantee the safety of the few?

 

The future of the Broken Kingdom hangs upon her choice.

 

A Gamesy-Thronesy fantasy with series potential, MYSTERY is complete at 84,000 words.



#7 lionspaws

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 05:24 PM

Three hundred years ago, religious schism plunged the Kingdom into endless war. Today, the teenage bodyguard of a perverse and treacherous prince holds the only hope for peace in her uncertain hands. I like this hook! I would just consider a word other than "perverse" -- makes him sound like either a creep or a defiant child. 

 

Vix was only five when she was taken from her family to learn the Shadow Way. Trained and abused for a decade by men who hated her copper skin and desert eyes, she is about to attempt the Mystery—a ritual test of strategy, combat skills, and Sense, the unholy power of the mind. Succeed, and she will become a Shadowdancer, an elite royal bodyguard. Fail, and Vix will likely die. Do they execute those who fail? I like this paragraph other than the end, which just needs a little more explanation. 

 

The Sainted King’s second son, Prince Silviel needs the best bodyguard he can find. An unknown enemy wants him dead. After Vix triumphs in the Mystery, the other survivors attack Silviel. Why?  Saving his life almost costs Vix hers, and they set out together for the distant safety of the royal court. Pursued at every turn, Silviel knows he can’t survive without Vix, but fears she will forsake him when her growing Sense exposes the sick desires deep within his mind. These sentences are much better (and more typical query format) if grouped into a paragraph. The switch to Silviel's POV is jolting -- is the novel duel POV? Otherwise I think you should stick to Vix's perspective. What is she thinking/feeling/desiring? She's become a shadowdancer--what is her ultimate goal in the story? Does she even like Silviel? 

 

Approaching the capital, Vix has an impossible decision to make. If Silviel survives, his lusts and demons will destroy hundreds of young lives. But if his plan to seize the throne succeeds, he might end three hundred years of war and the slavery of her nomadic people. This is still confusing to me -- we don't know anything about his lusts and demons, and it seems like either way people are going to die. If he's so evil he would kill  hundreds of young lives, why would he bother freeing slaves? 

 

Can Vix sacrifice herself for the greater good, taking the blood oath that will bind her life to his, or will she abandon him to his enemies to guarantee the safety of the few? I'd keep these together -- a query is typically several paragraphs, which is more aesthetic than a string of single sentences. The future of the Broken Kingdom hangs upon her choice. 

 

A Gamesy-Thronesy fantasy with series potential, MYSTERY is complete at 84,000 words. I totally understand being attached to "Gamesy-Thronesy," it's very catchy :) I'd really recommend rephrasing it though, such as "A Game of Thrones style fantasy." Gamesy-Thronesy sounds unprofessional and slipshod and you certainly don't want to give an agent that impression! I hope my edits don't feel discouraging -- I would read your book, it sounds very interesting and if you can phrase it clearly, I think Vix's dilemma will be compelling. 

 

I'd love your thoughts on my latest draft for "To Sail the Stars!" 


http://agentquerycon...sail-the-stars/

http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/

 

"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." - Mark Twain 

"There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds." - G.K. Chesterton 


#8 Paulsvault

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 12:15 AM

Thanks for all the feedback. I appreciate it.

 

I had stripped this query down to absolute basics to keep the word-count low. Here's a more detailed version. (And yes, I am kinda married to Gamesy-Thronesy.)

 

-----

 

Three hundred years ago, religious schism plunged the Kingdom into endless war. Today, the teenage bodyguard of a perverse and treacherous prince holds the only hope for peace in her uncertain hands.

 

Vix was only five when she was taken from her family to learn the Shadow Way. Trained and abused for a decade by men who hated her copper skin and desert eyes, she is about to attempt the Mystery—a ritual test of strategy, combat skills, and Sense, the unholy power of the mind. Succeed, and she will become a Shadowdancer, an elite royal bodyguard. Fail, and Vix will likely die. It may be worth a word or two to explain why Vix will likely die.

 

The Sainted King’s second son, Prince Silviel needs the best bodyguard he can find. An unknown enemy wants him dead.

 

After Vix triumphs in the Mystery, the other survivors attack Silviel. Saving his life almost costs Vix hers, and they set out together for the distant safety of the royal court.

 

Pursued at every turn, Silviel knows he can’t survive without Vix, but fears she will forsake him when her growing Sense exposes the sick desires deep within his mind. This sounds much better and puts the real fear on Silviel rather than telling us that Vix will merely recognize it.

 

Approaching the capital, Vix has an impossible decision to make. If Silviel survives, his lusts and demons (personal demons or literal? It may be meant to be obvious, but I would like to see clarification if possible) will destroy hundreds of young lives. A quick blurb as to how may be worth considering, but certainly not a deal breaker But if his plan to seize the throne succeeds, he might end three hundred years of war and the slavery of her nomadic people. Pretty good stakes. Hundreds of lives destroyed, but end a war... lesser of two evils?

 

Can Vix sacrifice herself for the greater good, taking the blood oath that will bind her life to his, or will she abandon him to his enemies to guarantee the safety of the few?

 

The future of the Broken Kingdom hangs upon her choice.

 

A Gamesy-Thronesy fantasy with series potential, MYSTERY is complete at 84,000 words.

I still like it, and if you're married to Gamesy-Thronesy, don't let anyone talk you out of it. It's your query!  :smile:

Good luck and feel free to give mine a whirl if you feel so inclined.


The Warrior's Crown Query: http://agentquerycon...own-ya-fantasy/

The Warrior's Crown Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...own-ya-fantasy/

The Warrior's Crown First 250: http://agentquerycon...warriors-crown/

The Warrior's Crown Hook: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=337108

 

Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free. - James Douglas Morrison

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. - Ray Bradbury

 


#9 Sataris

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 09:03 AM

Thanks for all the feedback. I appreciate it.

 

Ihad stripped this query down to absolute basics to keep the word-count low. Here's a more detailed version. (And yes, I am kinda married to Gamesy-Thronesy.)

 

-----

 

Three hundred years ago, religious schism plunged the Kingdom into endless war. Today, the teenage bodyguard of a perverse and treacherous prince holds the only hope for peace in her uncertain hands. This is a good hook; I don't think we need the lead off sentence though, since it's mostly background. Or if you want to include it, maybe just move it so that you're starting with the much more dramatic second line?

 

Vix was only five when she was taken from her family to learn the Shadow Way. Trained and abused for a decade by men who hated her copper skin and desert eyes, she is about to attempt the Mystery—a ritual test of strategy, combat skills, and Sense, the unholy power of the mind. Succeed, and she will become a Shadowdancer, an elite royal bodyguard isn't she already a royal bodyguard after the first paragraph? I know you're setting up the stakes and going back into time here, but it might confuse people at first glance. Fail, and Vix will likely die.

 

The Sainted King’s second son, Prince Silviel needs the best bodyguard he can find. An unknown enemy wants him dead.

 

After Vix triumphs in the Mystery (This seems a little like plot synopsis, and it kind of takes away from the tension you created earlier with her life being on the line), the other survivors attack Silviel. Saving his life almost costs Vix hers, and they set out together for the distant safety of the royal court.

 

Pursued at every turn, Silviel knows he can’t survive without Vix, but fears she will forsake him when her growing Sense exposes the sick desires deep within his mind. this is really cool. it does, however, make it seem like the story really starts at this point; is the trials a huge part of the book? If not, could you cut it out entirely in the query?

 

Approaching the capital, Vix has an impossible decision to make. If Silviel survives, his lusts and demons will destroy hundreds of young lives. But if his plan to seize the throne succeeds, he might end three hundred years of war and the slavery of her nomadic people. Sounds like a pretty dark choice - I think we need a bit more info on silviel to sell us on the fact that he could be capable of both murdering a ton of kids but also bringing peace and ending slavery

 

Can Vix sacrifice herself for the greater good, taking the blood oath that will bind her life to hisshe wouldn't actually be sacrificing herself in this case then, correct? sacrificing her ideals?, or will she abandon him to his enemies to guarantee the safety of the few probably more powerful if related as the safety of those who are most vulnerable

 

The future of the Broken Kingdom hangs upon her choice.

 

A Gamesy-Thronesy fantasy with series potential, MYSTERY is complete at 84,000 words. I'd second removing or at least restating the game of thrones bit, since it comes off as a little playful when your query is pretty serious in nature, but if you're set on it, more power to you. I would actually maybe add a bit either way; how is it like game of thrones? is it epic in scope? is it told from a ton of perspectives? does it put a premium on world-building and the interplay between relationships? Otherwise it might just sound like you're comparing your story to it because GOT is so wildly successful.

 

one last minor thing, and I doubt this would ever be an issue, but I actually avoided  looking at your query at first because of the title; not because I didn't like it, but because I assumed it was going to be a mystery, which is a genre i know nothing about. I guess the book would be shelved in the scifi/fantasy section rendering this a moot point. just some rambling food for thought, I guess.

 

Would it be possible to restructure this a bit to not give so much away? I don't know how early she finishes the trials, but the order could go something like...

 

1. if MC passes the trials, she becomes a shadowhunter. if not, she dies, and the world falls with her.

2. even if she succeeds, the prince she'll guard has a dark past of his own. while he could free her people and bring peace to a warring land, he could also throw the land into a deeper darkness.

3. it's up to MC to determine if saving his life is worth it; is the devil you know truly better than the devil you don't?

 

I'd also be a little careful with the wording here regarding the prince; while I like the general angle of not knowing what he's totally capable of, the combination of him being perverting and threatening tons of young lives does come off as a bit darker than you might want, especially if he's an MC whose perspective we're going to be following.

 

Seems like a pretty cool story! I like the mind reading tension you've got here; another book that uses that is Graceling, but it mostly explores the ramifications of that power between love interests. might be worth a read - lots of bloody fighting too. Hope that was helpful. If you've got a minute, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query here: http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/37414-the-many-small-deaths-of-oz-post-apoc-ya-revised/


No current query!


#10 loopygoose

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 09:18 AM

Three hundred years ago, religious schism plunged the Kingdom what kingdom? into endless war. I'm very unsure of the landscape here. I know there's one prince, does he still have an opponent? Who is fighting whom? Today, the teenage bodyguard of a perverse and treacherous (I find these word choices odd, they don't create a picture for me.  Could you make it clearer what kind of prince this man is?) prince holds the only hope for peace in her uncertain hands. Why are her hands uncertain?

 

Vix was only five when she was taken from her family to learn the Shadow Way. (What is the Shadow Way? Is it like martial arts or some form of power?) Trained and abused I immediately think of sexual abuse here.  Is that what's happened? for a decade by men who hated her copper skin and desert eyes, she is about to attempt the Mystery—a ritual test of strategy, combat skills, and Sense, the unholy power of the mind. Succeed, and she will become a Shadowdancer, an elite royal bodyguard. Fail, and Vix will likely die. I'm confused about who Vix is? Is this the same person as the uncertain hands bodyguard teenager? It says in the first paragraph that she's a bodyguard but in this paragraph she hasn't yet qualified.

 

The Sainted King’s second son, Prince Silviel needs the best bodyguard he can find. An unknown enemy wants him dead. Is this the same Prince as the one in the headline?

 

After Vix triumphs in the Mystery, the other survivors The other survivors of what? attack Silviel. Saving his life almost costs Vix hers, and they set out together for the distant safety of the royal court. I like this. 

 

Pursued at every turn, Silviel knows he can’t survive without Vix, but fears she will forsake him when her growing Sense exposes the sick desires deep within his mind. ​This is great. Here the real jeopardy begins!

 

Approaching the capital, Vix has an impossible decision to make. If Silviel survives, his lusts and demons will destroy hundreds of young lives. But if his plan to seize the throne succeeds, he might end three hundred years of war and the slavery of her nomadic people. Good!

 

The future of the Broken Kingdom hangs on whether Vix will sacrifice herself for the greater good, taking the blood oath that will bind her life to his, or abandon him to his enemies to guarantee the safety of the few.

Agents don't like questions. Turn this round. 

 

 

A Gamesy-Thronesy fantasy with series potential, MYSTERY is complete at 84,000 words.

 

This is rather confusing at the beginning and needs to be really distilled and clarified in order to keep the Agent reading. If you can do that, the jeopardy is really good and I think you have a great chance of being published. Good luck!



#11 NoraP

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 10:33 PM

Thanks for all the feedback. I appreciate it.

 

Ihad stripped this query down to absolute basics to keep the word-count low. Here's a more detailed version. (And yes, I am kinda married to Gamesy-Thronesy.)

 

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Three hundred years ago, religious schism plunged the Kingdom into endless war. Today, the teenage bodyguard of a perverse and treacherous prince holds the only hope for peace in her uncertain hands. Great hook! Grabbed me right away =) I like your writing style.

 

Vix was only five when she was taken from her family to learn the Shadow Way. Trained and abused for a decade by men who hated her copper skin and desert eyes, she is about to attempt the Mystery—a ritual test of strategy, combat skills, and Sense, the unholy power of the mind. Succeed, and she will become a Shadowdancer, an elite royal bodyguard. Fail, and Vix will likely die.

 

The Sainted King’s second son, Prince Silviel needs the best bodyguard he can find. An unknown enemy wants him dead. I think you should really put the part about Vix succeeding in the Mystery before this, otherwise it seems like a random topic jump

 

After Vix triumphs in the Mystery, the other survivors attack Silviel. Saving his life almost costs Vix hers, and they set out together for the distant safety of the royal court. Again, the part about Vix surviving should really be moved up. Also, I don't think the other contestants attacking Silviel really makes sense unless you explain it, but you could just say that there was an attempt on his life. Lastly, I'm wondering, why on earth would Vix agree to guard him? What does she get out of it?

 

But when Vix survives the Mystery against all odds, she finds an even bigger challenge awaiting her: the Sainted King's second son, Prince Silviel. With an unknown enemy that wants him dead, he needs the best bodyguard he can find. When Vix saves his life, Silviel offers her safety at the royal court in exchange for her services. Obviously you can do much better, but just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

 

Pursued at every turn, Silviel knows he can’t survive without Vix, but fears she will forsake him when her growing Sense exposes the sick desires deep within his mind. As they approach Approaching the capital, Vix has an impossible decision to make. If Silviel survives, his lusts and demons will destroy hundreds of young lives. But if his plan to seize the throne succeeds, he might end three hundred years of war and the slavery of her nomadic people. 

 

Can Vix sacrifice herself for the greater good, taking the blood oath that will bind her life to his, or will she abandon him to his enemies to guarantee the safety of the few?

 

The future of the Broken Kingdom hangs upon her choice.

 

A Gamesy-Thronesy fantasy with series potential, MYSTERY is complete at 84,000 words.

 

 

You've got a great story on your hands, and you seem to be a very talented writer! I hope my suggestions help. Best of luck with your query!



#12 trailerbride

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 02:32 PM

I was in query hell for a few days. While driving halfway across the country. I hope this version works. Tomorrow I'll start repaying the latest read.

 

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Three hundred years ago, religious schism plunged the Kingdom into endless war. Today, the teenage bodyguard of a damaged prince holds the only hope for peace in her uncertain hands.

 

Vix was only five when she was taken from her family to learn the Shadow Way. Trained for a decade by brutal men who loathed her copper skin and desert eyes, she is sent to attempt the Mystery—a bloody ritual test of strategy, combat skills, and Sense, the unholy power of the mind. Succeed, and she will become a Shadowdancer, an elite royal bodyguard. Fail, and Vix will likely die.

 

After Vix triumphs in the Mystery, the other survivors attack Prince Silviel, the Sainted King’s second son. Saving his life almost costs Vix hers. They set out together for the distant safety of the royal court.

 

Pursued at every turn, Vix learns Silviel has powerful and relentless enemies. Battle after battle, her Sense continues to grow, revealing the prince’s plans to seize his father’s throne and end the war. She also sees the shameful cravings deep within his soul—a lust for blood and pain and young girls he can barely control.

 

Approaching the capital, Vix has an impossible decision to make. Can she sacrifice herself for the greater good, take the blood oath that will bind her to Silviel, and fight at his side for the throne and peace? Or must she abandon him to his enemies to protect the innocent from his perversity? The future of the Broken Kingdom hangs upon her choice.

 

A Gamesy-Thronesy fantasy with series potential, MYSTERY is complete at 84,000 words.



#13 loopygoose

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 06:00 PM

Hi Trailerbride. Your feedback was excellent. Thank you! 

 

 

Three hundred years ago, religious schism plunged the Kingdom into endless war. Today, the teenage bodyguard of a damaged prince holds the only hope for peace in her uncertain hands. This is much better but I'm stilll struggling with your description of the prince. Is he damaged? How? Perhaps if you can describe it then that is the word you want. 

 

Vix was only five when she was taken from her family to learn the Shadow Way. Trained for a decade by brutal men who loathed her copper skin and desert eyes, she is sent to attempt the Mystery—a bloody ritual test of strategy, combat skills, and Sense, the unholy power of the mind. Succeed, and she will become a Shadowdancer, an elite royal bodyguard. Fail, and Vix will likely die. Great.

 

After Vix triumphs in the Mystery, the other survivors attack Prince Silviel, the Sainted King’s second son. Saving his life almost costs Vix hers. They (Who?, Vix and Prince Silviel? Why did she save his? Is he the original prince you mention? This just needs clarification. set out together for the distant safety of the royal court.

 

Pursued at every turn, Vix learns Silviel has powerful and relentless enemies. Battle after battle, her Sense continues to grow, revealing the prince’s plans to seize his father’s throne and end the war. She also sees the shameful cravings deep within his soul—a lust for blood and pain and young girls he can barely control. This is much better but I want to know how she feels about it when she sees these things. Is she horrified? Scared? Shocked?

 

Approaching the capital, Vix has an impossible decision to make. Should she sacrifice herself for the greater good, take the blood oath that will bind her to Silviel, and fight at his side for the throne and peace? Or must she abandon him to his enemies to protect the innocent from his perversity? The future of the Broken Kingdom hangs upon her choice. Great. I'm just left wondering whether she cares more about him than just as a bodyguard and if so, why?

 

A Gamesy-Thronesy fantasy with series potential, MYSTERY is complete at 84,000 words.

 

This is so much better. You're really making progress .Let me know when you've made your next alteration.  

http://agentquerycon...n-return/page-2



#14 Sreid

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 12:09 PM

Hi Trailerbride,

 

I'm new here, but I've been critiquing stories for several years. I'll give this a stab, but whatever I write is only my humble opinion, and I'm no expert. My comments are in red and my suggestions in ​blue.

 

Three hundred years ago, religious schism plunged the Kingdom into endless war. Today, the teenage bodyguard of a damaged prince holds the only hope for peace in her uncertain hands. ​This hook didn't really grab me. It talks about back story (which I doubt has any place in a query where words are at a premium) and doesn't name the protagonist, the kingdom, or the prince. That makes it sound vague to me. Might I suggest you start with something like, When sixteen-year-old Vix, shadowdancer and bodyguard to prince Silviel, learns of her master's inner darkness, she must choose between loyalty and honor.  See where that takes you.

 

Vix was only five when she was taken from her family to learn the Shadow Way. Trained for a decade by brutal men who loathed her copper skin and desert eyes, she is sent to attempt the Mystery—a bloody ritual test of strategy, combat skills, and Sense, the unholy power of the mind. Succeed, and she will become a Shadowdancer, an elite royal bodyguard. Fail, and Vix will likely die. You change tenses three times in this section and the flow suffers, in my opinion. Perhaps something like; Vix was trained in [the academy] from the age of five to learn the shadow ways. She suffered years of loathing for her copper skin, bore the pain of vicious taskmasters meant to weed out the weak, and learned strategy, combat skills and the Sense, the unholy power of the mind. Now, more than a decade later, she has overcame the final hurdle--the Mystery--a deadly trial of body, wits and stamina, where only the elite survive.

 

After Vix triumphs in the Mystery, the other survivors attack ​This is a bit unclear. Do the other survivors of the Mystery all turn on the prince, and she [presumably] kills them to protect the prince? Why? Is he considered a traitor? If so, why does he seek the 'safety' of the royal court? Prince Silviel, the Sainted King’s second son. Saving his life almost costs Vix hers. They set out together for the distant safety of the royal court.

 

Pursued at every turn, Vix learns Silviel has powerful and relentless enemies ​By whom are they pursued and who are these nebulous enemies?. Battle after battle, her Sense continues to grow, revealing the prince’s plans to seize his father’s throne and end the war. She also sees the shameful cravings deep within his soul—a lust for blood and pain and young girls he can barely control. ​Give us a picture of the emotional turmoil these revelations give your protagonist on the one side and her wish to kake the blood oath on the other. you've stated the choice but I don't feel her pain.

 

Approaching the capital, Vix has an impossible decision to make. Can she sacrifice herself for the greater good, take the blood oath that will bind her to Silviel, and fight at his side for the throne and peace? Or must she abandon him to his enemies to protect the innocent from his perversity? The future of the Broken Kingdom hangs upon her choice.

 

A Gamesy-Thronesy ​If you mean THE GAME OF THRONES then say so. Don't make up words or use coloquialisms that too informal in a letter of this sort. fantasy with series potential, MYSTERY is complete at 84,000 words. ​84,000 words is rather on the short side for fantasy, in my opinion. A low word count might give an agent the impression you've skimped on world-building, especially when compared to THE GAME OF THRONES novels that run from 298,000 - 424,000 words. The recommended length for first time fantasy novels is closer to 110,000 - 115,000 words.

 

I hope my comments and opinions were helpful. If not, feel free to tear my query to shreds.

 

Steve



#15 speedchuck

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 10:02 AM

Three hundred years ago, a religious schism plunged the Kingdom into endless war. Today, the teenage bodyguard of a damaged How? Vague. prince holds the only hope for peace in her uncertain hands.

 

Vix was only five when she was taken from her family to learn the Shadow Way. Trained for a decade by brutal men who loathed her copper skin and desert eyes No need to shoehorn an appearance into the query. It's specific, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth., she is sent to attempt the Mystery—a bloody ritual test of strategy, combat skills, and Sense, the unholy power of the mind. Succeed, and she will become a Shadowdancer, an elite royal bodyguard. Fail, and Vix will likely die.

 

After Vix triumphs in the Mystery, the other survivors attack Prince Silviel Why is he there?, the Sainted King’s second son. Saving his life almost costs Vix hers. This sentence feels cliché, and doesn't have stakes because we're moving past it. They set out together for the distant safety of the royal court.

 

Pursued at every turn, Vix learns Silviel has powerful and relentless enemies. Battle after battle, her Sense continues to grow, revealing the prince’s plans to seize his father’s throne and end the war. She also sees the shameful cravings deep within his soul—a lust for blood and pain and young girls he can barely control.

 

Approaching the capital, Vix has an impossible decision to make. Can she sacrifice herself for the greater good, take the blood oath that will bind her to Silviel, and fight at his side for the throne and peace? Or must she abandon him to his enemies to protect the innocent from his perversity? The future of the Broken Kingdom hangs upon her choice.

 

A Gamesy-Thronesy fantasy with series potential, MYSTERY is complete at 84,000 words.

 

Your query has the same problem as mine: Multiple arcs. I don't actually know how to make a query regarding multiple arcs. Your approach of spelling out things until the more important part of the novel comes along is interesting, but a bit scattershot. If you focus on what happens after Vix becomes a shadowdancer, and the relationship she was with the pervy prince, the main conflict may come across better.

 

The hook is but a vaguer version of the main conflict. Vagueness doesn't sell me as well.

 

I'm not expert, but take my thoughts for what they're worth.







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