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A City of Salt & Secrets (YA Fantasy)


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#1 NoraP

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 10:17 PM

Just another project of mine I'm considering querying =) I'd appreciate any tips, as this is a very rough draft!

 

 

 

 

Dear [AGENT'S NAME],

 

 

In the city of Port Desmund, there is no word more deadly than "heretic".

 

16-year-old Anika Lundmark has known this ever since the night her mother's boat disappeared into the fog, leaving her family with the word trailing after them like a ghost. Now the woman of the house, Anika does everything she can to show that the house of Lundmark is devout, and prays to the kings of old they do not take anyone else from her.

 

18-year-old Allycia Bjort has been staring down the barrel of a pistol for months. Her uncle, the king, has defied Kingslaw, and declared an end to the centuries-old crusade issued by his ancestors. Allycia has watched the war devour everyone she held dear, and she would give anything to have it end. But though peace is something many have dreamed of for years, there are those who would die before seeing it come to pass... and those who would kill.

 

When Anika's brother turns up dead while seeking out information for Allycia, the two girls find themselves in pursuit of a common goal: to find the killer. But as their search leads them through the darkest parts of their city, a plot much bigger than one man's death begins to unravel--one that could destroy any hope for a treaty, and plunge the country into a bloodbath it would never recover from.

 

With the clock ticking ever closer to success or doom, they will have to race against the heavens themselves to stop the war.

 
 
Complete at 90,000 words, A CITY OF SALT & SECRETS combines elements of fantasy with steampunk and mythology from Scandinavian countries such as Finland and Iceland, as well as mythology from Africa and India. I believe fans of Leigh Bardugo's SIX OF CROWS and Laini Taylor's DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE will enjoy this adventure novel, which I hope to turn into a series. 
 
[PERSONAL INFORMATION]
 
Thank you for your consideration, I look forward to hearing from you!
 
Sincerely,
Nora

 



#2 Niambi

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 02:07 AM

I would focus on one Main Character (MC) and leave the second one out. I am sure both have solid arcs and stories, but pick the strongest one, or the one who's arc fits the story best and focus on her.

Leave out unnecessary plot points. For instance, you mention Allycia staring down the barrel of a gun, her uncle, and a war, then don't mention them again for the rest of the query. You do this before addressing some of the questions anyone would have with Anika, such as how she's a heretic because her mother disappeared, and what her goal really is.

Her mother disappears, then her brother ends up dead (while looking for information regarding Allycia), she's trying not to become labeled as a heretic, but the common goal is to find the person who killed her brother.

There are a lot of questions a reader could ask which need to be answered in the query.

#3 tsnyder

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 12:57 PM

In the city of Port Desmund, there is no word more deadly than "heretic".Wouldn't the period go inside the quotations?

 

16-year-old Anika Lundmark has known this ever since the night her mother's boat disappeared into the fog, leaving her family with the word trailing I like how you want to tie this thought into the word "heretic"...wondering if there could be a tighter connection?after them like a ghost. Now the woman of the house, Anika does everything she can to show that the house of Lundmark is devout, and prays to the kings of oldt that they do not take anyone else from her.

 

18-year-old Allycia Bjort has been staring down the barrel of a pistol for months. Her uncle, the king, has defied Kingslaw, and declared an end to the centuries-old crusade issued by his ancestors. Allycia has watched the war devour everyone she held dear, and she would give anything to have it end. But though peace is something many have dreamed of for years, there are those who would die before seeing it come to pass... and those who would kill.

 

When Anika's brother turns up dead while seeking out information for Allycia,Is there a better way to tie these two girls together? the two girls find themselves in pursuit of a common goal: to find the killer. But as their search leads them through the darkest parts of their city,perhaps mention one of the riveting moments from their journey...share a piece that will have me on the edge of my seat. a plot much bigger than one man's death begins to unravel--one that could destroy any hope for a treaty, and plunge the country into a bloodbath it would never recover from.

 

With the clock ticking ever closer to success or doom, they will have to race against the heavens themselves to stop the war.

 

This does sound interesting.  

 

 

 



#4 Sataris

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 02:29 PM

 

Just another project of mine I'm considering querying =) I'd appreciate any tips, as this is a very rough draft!

 

 

 

 

Dear [AGENT'S NAME],

 

 

In the city of Port Desmund, there is no word more deadly than "heretic".

 

16-year-old Anika Lundmark has known this ever since the night her mother's boat disappeared into the fog, leaving her family with the word trailing after them like a ghost nice. Now the woman of the house, Anika does everything she can to show that the house of Lundmark is devout, and prays to the kings of old that they do not take anyone else from her.

 

18-year-old Allycia Bjort has been staring down the barrel of a pistol for months I like this, too, but I think we need a little more elaboration on it since the rest of the paragraph doesn't detail how/why. Her uncle, the king, has defied Kingslaw, and declared an end to the centuries-old crusade issued by his ancestors. Allycia has watched the war devour everyone she held dear, and she would give anything to have it end. But though peace is something many have dreamed of for years, there are those who would die before seeing it come to pass... and those who would kill.

 

When Anika's brother turns up dead while seeking out information for Allycia, the two girls find themselves in pursuit of a common goal: to find the killer. But as their search leads them through the darkest parts of their city, a plot much bigger plot than one man's death begins to unravel--one that could destroy any hope for a treaty the first paragraph reads as if the king has declared peace, and then here we're hoping for a treaty; could you maybe just say "the king has made his desire for peace known" or something along those lines?, and plunge the country into a bloodbath it would never recover from.

 

With the clock ticking ever closer to success or doom, Time is running out, and they will have to race against the heavens not sure what the heavens have to do with this; to this point, there hasn't been anything supernatural in the query themselves to stop the war.

 
 
Complete at 90,000 words, A CITY OF SALT & SECRETS combines elements of fantasy with steampunk and mythology from Scandinavian countries such as Finland and Iceland, as well as mythology from Africa and India. I believe fans of Leigh Bardugo's SIX OF CROWS and Laini Taylor's DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE will enjoy this adventure novel, which I hope to turn into a series. Is it the first part of a series? or does it function as a standalone with series potential? in other words, does it end?
 
[PERSONAL INFORMATION]
 
Thank you for your consideration, I look forward to hearing from you!
 
Sincerely,
Nora

 

Overall I think the stakes are quite clear here, and you've done a good job of not getting bogged down in the details. I would like to know a little more about the first girl's story; maybe try to build a little bit more tension with the fact that she could be declared a heretic at any point? is she afraid of people barging in on her and hauling her off? On a similar note, I'd like to know why the second girl's life is at stake. Is it because of her father's declaration? Hope that was helpful!


No current query!


#5 daddude7

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 04:00 PM

Dear [AGENT'S NAME],

 

 

In the city of Port Desmund, there is no word is more deadly than "heretic".

 

16-year-old Anika Lundmark has known this ever since the night her mother's boat disappeared into the fog, leaving her family with the word trailing after them like a ghost. Now the woman of the house, Anika does everything she can to show that the house of Lundmark's piety is devout, and prays to the kings of old they do not to take anyone else from her.

 

18-year-old Allycia Bjort has been staring down the barrel of a pistol for months. (Do they have pistols? Even if they do, it does sound anachronistic in the query.) Her uncle, the king, has defied Kingslaw, and declared an end to the centuries-old crusade issued by his ancestors. Allycia has watched the war devour everyone she held dear, and she would give anything to have it end. But though peace is something many have dreamed of for years, there are those who would die before seeing it come to pass... and those who would kill.

 

When Anika's brother turns up dead while seeking out information for Allycia, the two girls young women find themselves in pursuit of a common goal: to find the killer. But as their search leads them through the darkest parts of their city, a plot much bigger than one man's death begins to unravel--one that could destroy any hope for a treaty, and plunge the country into a bloodbath from which it would never recover from.

 

With the clock ticking ever closer to success or doom, they will have to race against the heavens themselves to stop the war.

 
 
Complete at 90,000 words, A CITY OF SALT & SECRETS combines elements of fantasy with steampunk and Scandinavian, African and Hindu mythology from Scandinavian countries such as Finland and Iceland, as well as mythology from Africa and India. I believe fans of Leigh Bardugo's SIX OF CROWS and Laini Taylor's DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE will enjoy this adventure novel, which I hope to turn into a series. 
 
[PERSONAL INFORMATION]
 
Thank you for your consideration, I look forward to hearing from you!
 
Sincerely,
Nora
 
******
 
It sounds interesting. It might help to give it more detail when you describe the stakes, but it might be fine the way it is now.
 
My query is in my signature line. Thanks in advance!


#6 NoraP

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 01:29 PM

Thanks to everyone for the input! Here's Take #2

 

 

 

In the city of Port Desmund, there is no word more deadly than "heretic".

 

16-year-old Anika Lundmark has known this ever since the night her mother's boat disappeared into the fog, leaving her family with the word trailing after them like a ghost. Terrified of what another mistake could cost them, Anika does everything she can to show that the house of Lundmark is devout, and prays to the kings of old not to take anyone else from her.

 

18-year-old Allycia Bjort has been staring down the barrel of a pistol for months. The moment her uncle the king declared an end to the centuries-old crusade issued by his ancestors, he made enemies of half the country. Allycia has watched the war devour everyone she held dear, and she would give anything to have it end. But though peace is something many have dreamed of for years, there are those who would die before seeing it come to pass... and those who would kill.

 

When Anika's brother turns up dead while seeking out information for Allycia, the two girls find themselves in pursuit of a common goal: to find the murderer. But as their search leads them through the darkest parts of their city, a plot much bigger than one man's death begins to unravel--a plot that could plunge the country into a bloodbath from which it would never recover.

 

In two weeks, dignitaries from every corner of the world will come to Port Desmund to cement an alliance. And unless Anika and Allycia can stop it, one of them will be assassinated. 



#7 lionspaws

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 05:32 PM

In the city of Port Desmund, there is no word more deadly than "heretic". I think the period goes inside the quotation mark :) Also, an easy add... but where is Port Desmond? (fantasy world? historical country?)

 

16-year-old Anika Lundmark has known this ever since the night her mother's boat disappeared into the fog, leaving her family with the word trailing after them like a ghost. Terrified of what another mistake could cost them, Anika does everything she can to show that the house of Lundmark is devout, and prays to the kings of old not to take anyone else from her.

 

18-year-old Allycia Bjort has been staring down the barrel of a pistol for months. The moment her uncle the king declared an end to the centuries-old crusade against??  issued by his ancestors, he made enemies of half the country. Allycia has watched the war devour everyone she held dear, and she would give anything to have it end. But though peace is something many have dreamed of for years, there are those who would die before seeing it come to pass... and those who would kill.This last line about killing/dying is a little confusing--why wouldn't they want peace? I almost think you could omit that sentence. 

 

When Anika's brother turns up dead while seeking out information for Allycia, the two girls find themselves in pursuit of a common goal: to find the murderer. But as their search leads them through the darkest parts of their city, a plot much bigger than one man's death begins to unravel--a plot that could plunge the country into a bloodbath from which it would never recover.

 

In two weeks, dignitaries from every corner of the world will come to Port Desmund to cement an alliance. And unless Anika and Allycia can stop it, one of them will be assassinated.  Personally I like ending with the second to last sentence better!

 

This is really good. I have very little to say! One thing is it is confusing having both names begin with an A. Also, where does heretic come in? It seems significant since it's central to your hook, but then you don't mention it again -- or even what they could be committing heresy against. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on my latest query 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 Erevos

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 08:37 AM

Hello there! I hope I can help a bit, though the others did an excellent job.

 

Is the story being told by two POV or one? I have two POV in my book, and I included both of them inside the query like you did (Well I didn't have much choice) and I also wrote "being told by two perspectives, this and this". If your book is being told by Anika only, then I suppose you can leave Allycia out, or rework it a bit. If there are two POV, then be sure to say it.

 

Thanks to everyone for the input! Here's Take #2

 

 

 

In the city of Port Desmund, there is no word more deadly than "heretic".

 

16-year-old Anika Lundmark has known this ever since the night her mother's boat disappeared into the fog, leaving her family with the word trailing after them like a ghost. Terrified of what another mistake could cost them, Anika does everything she can to show that the house of Lundmark is devout, and prays to the kings of old not to take anyone else from her. Great!

 

18-year-old Allycia Bjort has been staring down the barrel of a pistol for months. I love the contrast with Anika. One devout, the other somewhat fierce. Perhaps I'm wrong ofcourse, but that's the first impression I get. The moment her uncle Maybe comma here? the king and here? declared an end to the centuries-old crusade issued by his ancestors, he made enemies of half the country. I'd like to ask against who here. Allycia has watched the war devour everyone she held dear, and she would give anything to have it end. But though peace is something many have dreamed of for years, there are those who would die before seeing it come to pass... and those who would kill. Love this sentence, but again it creates questions in my head. I know, I know you can't include everything in the query, but if possible give us a reason? 

 

When Anika's brother turns up dead while seeking out information for Allycia Can you clarify this a bit? Why was he seeking info about Allycia? He wanted her help? Something else?, the two girls find themselves in pursuit of a common goal: to find the murderer. But as their search leads them through the darkest parts of their city, a plot much bigger than one man's death begins to unravel--a plot that could plunge the country into a bloodbath from which it would never recover. Great great great!

 

In two weeks, dignitaries from every corner of the world will come to Port Desmund to cement an alliance. Aaaand I'm lost. And unless Anika and Allycia can stop it, one of them will be assassinated. Lost and confused now. What is the purpose of this alliance and why one of them will be assassinated. I kind of like secondstar87's suggestion. Ending it with "a plot that could plunge the country into a bloodbath from which it would never recover." sounds nice. 

 

I know there are a lot of red, but your query is great. I just feel that we are missing a few parts that would clear up the story and help us understand the plot better. I'll be sure to come back!


My Query http://agentquerycon...a-high-fantasy/ Let me know if you want me to look at yours. Will happily do so.


#9 bkarperien

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:47 AM

Thanks to everyone for the input! Here's Take #2

 

 

 

In the city of Port Desmund, there is no word more deadly than "heretic".

 

16-year-old Anika Lundmark has known this ever since the night her mother's boat disappeared into the fog, leaving her family with the word trailing after them like a ghost. Terrified of what another mistake could cost them, Anika does everything she can to show that the house of Lundmark is devout, and prays to the kings of old, that they not take anyone else from her(I would mention Anika's brother. Maybe even that he is working for Allycia. Let us know that he's in danger, that she doesn't want to lose him, and that he connects her to Allycia.)

 

18-year-old Allycia Bjort has been staring down the barrel of a pistol for months. The moment her uncle the king declared an end to the centuries-old crusade issued by his ancestors, he made enemies of half the country. Allycia has watched the war devour everyone she holds dear, and would give anything to have it end. But though peace is something many have dreamed of for years, there are those who would die before seeing it come to pass... and those who would kill. Found this a little too vague. Maybe let us know a little about why there are those who would die to prevent peace. A rather strange goal.

 

When Anika's brother turns uph is killed while spying for Allycia, the two girls find themselves in pursuit of a common goal: to find the murderer. But as their search leads them through the darkest parts of their city, a plot much bigger than one man's death begins to unravel--a plot that could plunge the country into a bloodbath from which it would never recover.

I'd end here, it's a lot stronger than the next two sentences and the stakes are high, but I'd also make it clear that they are going to try to prevent it.

 

In two weeks, dignitaries from every corner of the world will come to Port Desmund to cement an alliance. And unless Anika and Allycia can stop it, one of them will be assassinated. 

Hope that helped a bit. It's looking pretty good, I think you could just tighten up a bit to make the two stories more connected. I'd expand a bit on that last paragraph, too.

Best of luck with revisions! 

If you get a chance, please check out my query :)


Check out my query :)

Or, if you're really awesome, check out my synopsis.

 


#10 cmarch29

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 12:36 PM

I think your story is very interesting and I really enjoyed those first two sentences - very descriptive. 

 

What I've learned is to try to narrow the protagonist down to  just 1 strong one in your query. Even though your manuscript may follow several fleshed-out characters, try to pin only one and his/her journey in your query. It's not so much about doing your story justice - hell, its only around 250-300 words. It's about creating a compelling hook for an agent. 

 

Just personal preference, but I'd shorten some of the sentences. Shorter sentences read easier and create a better sense of action. Good luck!!



#11 lyncfs

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 07:33 PM

Thanks to everyone for the input! Here's Take #2

 

 

 

In the city of Port Desmund, there is no word more deadly than "heretic". ​You usually want to have your main character in the hook. What makes her special?

 

16-year-old Anika Lundmark has known this ever since the night her mother's boat disappeared into the fog, leaving her family with the word trailing after them like a ghost. ​(I'm unclear whether her mother left them with a word or just left them) Terrified of what another mistake could cost them ​ her, Anika does everything she can to show that the house of Lundmark is devout, and prays to the kings of old not to take anyone else from her. ​awkward phrasing

 

18-year-old Allycia Bjort has been staring down the barrel of a pistol for months. The moment her uncle the king declared an end to the centuries-old crusade issued by his ancestors, he made enemies of half the country. Allycia has watched the war devour everyone she held dear, and she would give anything to have it end. But though peace is something many have dreamed of for years, there are those who would die before seeing it come to pass... and those who would kill. ​I agree with others, take out this paragraph.

 

When Anika's brother turns up dead while seeking out information for Allycia, the two girls find themselves in pursuit of a common goal: to find the murderer. But as their search leads them through the darkest parts of their city, a plot much bigger than one man's death begins to unravel--a plot that could plunge the country into a bloodbath from which it would never recover. ​this is too vague. Give me more details. Who is the villain? Is there a conflict?

 

In two weeks, dignitaries from every corner of the world will come to Port Desmund to cement an alliance. And unless Anika and Allycia can stop it, one of them will be assassinated. ​Wait--how do they know one of them will be assassinated? Wouldn't an alliance be good for the country?

 

I'm a little unclear as to what the characters want and what is at stake. Add more details and flesh this out so that your characters come across as unique as they are in the book.


THE IMMORTAL GUARD. Link to my query. Please critique, if I have reviewed yours.




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