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Magic Undone - YA Fantasy

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#1 Cengel

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 05:22 PM

Hello! I've gotten stuck with my query, and I would love feedback. I will do so in return!

 

EDIT: Newest draft is in #30. 

 

Draft #1:

 

As long as Nema undoes magic, it won’t shrivel fields of grain, turn lakes to sand, and blacken souls. A long line of women carried out the sacred duty before her, but she can’t step into their place. Not really. She isn’t her sister. Her mother made that very clear when she sent Nema away at only six years old.

 

Just shy of Nema's sixteenth birthday, both of them die in an accident, and she has no choice. The priests come to collect her, and she leaves behind her secluded life at the abbey. With the priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands.

 

But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears. Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and people are executed for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back.

 

Nema questions if this is truly the All-Seer’s will. In her quest for the truth, she must explore her mother’s past, tearing open old wounds of neglect and abandonment. Discovering the real story threatens to shatter everything she thought she knew about her world.

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words.


Please take a look at my query.


#2 kmanz

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 08:09 PM

Hey Cengel. Thanks for your response and suggestions on my query. As you saw there that is my first query so I will do the best to give you some suggestions, but obviously take them with a grain of salt.

 

Hello! I am new to AQ Connect. I've gotten stuck with my query, and I would love feedback. I'm happy to return the favor!

 

Draft:

 

As long as Nema undoes magic, it won’t shrivel fields of grain, turn lakes to sand, and blacken souls (maybe expand on why the magic is causing these things. Is all magic bad or are there only some people out there using their magic for evil?). A long line of women carried out the sacred duty before her, but she can’t step into their place. Not really. She isn’t her sister. Her mother made that very clear when she sent Nema away at only six years old. (I'm assuming that the sister was the "magic undoer" before her but that isn't explicitly stated so I'm not sure if she actually was in this position or if she was just supposed to be. I think you could also expand a bit on why her mother sent her away beyond just that she isn't the sister. Is her magic less powerful or what?)

 

Just shy of Nema's sixteenth birthday, both of them (I think "them" is referring to the sister and the mother but the referent is unclear here.) die in an accident, and she has no choice. The priests come to collect her, and she leaves behind her secluded life at the abbey. With the priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands (Does she use magic to reverse magic? I think maybe clarifying the role and views on magic in the society in general might help make things a little easier to follow).

 

But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears (why is that happening?). Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and people are executed for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back. (good that you specify some of what "darkness" entails. but who is executing these people? is it the priests?) 

 

Nema questions if this is truly the All-Seer’s will. In her quest for the truth, she must explore her mother’s past, tearing open old wounds of neglect and abandonment. Discovering the real story threatens to shatter everything she thought she knew about her world.

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. (I like the title!) This is an interesting concept. I think a few extra details where I suggested might help make it even better, but I think it seems like an interesting concept.  It seems like something I would be interested to read after the query which is great! Hope this was helpful.



#3 rewrighter

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 09:31 PM

As long as Nema undoes magic, it won’t shrivel fields of grain, turn lakes to sand, and blacken souls. A long line of women carried out the sacred duty before her, but she can’t step into their place. Not really. She isn’t her sister. Her mother made that very clear when she sent Nema away at only six years old.  I don't think this info needs to be here. If she's the one doing the magic, what difference does it make that her sister died? I'm assuming the death is the inciting incident, but suggest opening with her leaving the abbey. You can leave in something about her mother - since it's important later - but the sister is a nonstarter unless the info somehow explains something about your MC, her goals and the stakes.  

 

Just shy of Nema's sixteenth birthday, both of them die in an accident, and she has no choice she has no choice for what? the earlier graph doesn't mention a choice. The priests come to collect her, and she leaves behind her secluded life at the abbey. With the priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands. 

 

But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears. Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and people are executed for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back. 

 

Nema questions if this is truly the All-Seer’s will. If what is truly the will? bad things happening? or her own role ordered by the priests? In her quest for the truth, the truth about the priests or the All-Seer's will? or why the bad things are happening? she must explore her mother’s past, tearing open old wounds of neglect and abandonment. Discovering the real story threatens to shatter everything she thought she knew about her world. This is too vague for stakes. I don't see the connection between her mother, the magic and abandonment. Make this clearer and tell exactly what'll happen if Nema doesn't get what she wants. Which I don't know what that is... 

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. 



#4 Cengel

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 12:00 PM

Updated draft in #11! Thanks again to everyone who has provided feedback. 

 

Thanks for the feedback! I've revised to try to make things more clear. Hopefully it's a step in the right direction. I definitely feel like I'm having trouble effectively communicating the stakes without giving anything away.

 

Draft #2:

 

As long as Nema undoes magic, it won’t shrivel fields of grain, turn lakes to sand, and blacken souls. For all magic is a curse, constantly threatening to poison the land and its people.

 

Hundreds of her ancestors carried out the sacred duty before her, but she can’t step into their place. Not really. She was never supposed to become the Protector. But when, just shy of her sixteenth birthday, her mother and sister die in an accident, she has no choice. Unworthy or not, the responsibility is now hers.

 

With the palace priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands. But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears, even though it’s supposed to be the other way around. Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and the priests execute people for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back.

 

She’s always been told that purging magic solves all the world’s ills, but that promise begins to ring false just as the circumstances surrounding her family’s death grow cloudy. If the death wasn't an accident, Nema's own life is in danger. Her search to uncover the truth threatens to shatter her world, but she must find it if she wants to protect the people, as her title demands.

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. 


Please take a look at my query.


#5 ashleighm71

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 12:03 PM

Hello! I've gotten stuck with my query, and I would love feedback. I'm happy to return the favor!

 

Draft:

 

As long as Nema undoes magic, it won’t shrivel fields of grain, turn lakes to sand, and blacken souls. This seems a bit like a double negative to me. I'm not sure if that was your intention, but it comes off a little confusing. Perhaps try replacing "undoes" with something like "reverses the effects" However, you may find that too wordy. A long line of women carried out the sacred duty before her, but she can’t step into their place. Not really. She isn’t her sister. In what ways is she not her sister? Her mother made that very clear when she sent Nema away at only six years old.

 

Just shy of Nema's sixteenth birthday, both of them sister and mother? Specify. die in an accident, and she has no choice. The priests come to collect her, and she leaves behind her secluded life at the abbey. With the priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands. Just out of curiosity, what kind of priests are these? Considering that they worship a goddess. Who is this All-Seer? Also, this makes me wonder what time period this is. Perhaps that is worth mentioning for a better understanding. 

 

But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears. Is she using dark magic to undo dark magic? Why are these bad things happening if what Nema is doing seems to be right? Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and people are executed for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back.

 

Nema questions if this is truly the All-Seer’s will. In her quest for the truth, she must explore her mother’s past, tearing open old wounds of neglect and abandonment. Discovering the real story threatens to shatter everything she thought she knew about her world. I also find this last sentence a little vague. 

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words.

I feel like your query raises a lot of questions, which is good. That keeps the reader interested. However, I think it matters what questions you answer here and which ones you decide to leave unanswered. That's a balance I'm definitely trying to find with my query! What you have here is an interesting story, I just think you need to expound more on the unclear parts. 

Thanks for taking a look at my query! I'm excited to see a new draft of yours. 

 

Just realized you posted a new edit...I'll take a look at it when I get some more free time  :happy:


Edited by ashleighm71, 23 June 2017 - 12:05 PM.


#6 loopygoose

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 01:32 PM

Hi,Thank you so much for your critique. It's very much appreciated!

 

As long as Nema wasn't born to undoes the curse of magic; To stop it shrivelling fields of grain, turning lakes to sand, and blackeningsouls. But now she has no choice. For all magic is a curse, constantly threatening to poison the land and its people.

 

Hundreds of her ancestors carried out the sacred duty before her, but she can’t step into their place. Not really. Is this her voice here. It has a complete change of tone. She was never supposed to become the Protector. Why? I really need to understand this to understand the plot. I'd like to see this paragraph reordered, putting the death of the mother and sister earlier. But when, just shy of her sixteenth birthday, her mother and sister die in an accident, she has no choice. Unworthy or not, the responsibility is now hers.

 

With the palace priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands. But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears, even though it’s supposed to be the other way around. Good! Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and the priests execute people for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back.

 

She’s always been told that purging magic solves all the world’s ills, but that promise begins to ring false just as the circumstances surrounding her family’s death grow cloudy. If their death wasn't an accident, Nema's own life is in danger. Why? Her search to uncover the truth threatens to shatter her world, How? but she must find it if she wants to protect the people, as her title demands.

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. 

 

I love your idea and think it has great promise. You need to be aware that some points you raise will create more questions than you'd like for the Agent. Let me know when you've rewritten and I'll take another look. I'd love you to critique my latest attempt. 

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



#7 Sataris

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 07:51 PM

Thanks for the feedback! I've revised to try to make things more clear. Hopefully it's a step in the right direction. I definitely feel like I'm having trouble effectively communicating the stakes without giving anything away.

 

Draft #2:

 

As long as Nema undoes magic, it won’t shrivel fields of grain, turn lakes to sand, and blacken souls you might be able to make this a bit more active by saying what magic does (ruins everything), then telling us that her role is to cancel it out. then you might be able to cut this next line. And I think introducing magic as a negative force is a pretty cool hook as well. For all magic is a curse, constantly threatening to poison the land and its people.

 

Hundreds of her ancestors carried out the sacred duty before her, but she can’t step into their place. Not really. She was never supposed to become the her world's Protector. But when, just shy of her sixteenth birthday, her mother and sister die in an accident, she has no choice. Unworthy or not, the responsibility is now hers.

 

With the palace priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands. But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears, even though it’s supposed to be the other way around. Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and the priests execute people for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back.

 

She’s always been told that purging magic solves all the world’s ills, but that promise begins to ring false just as the circumstances surrounding her family’s death grow cloudy I like what you're getting at here; that there's more to the murder than she originally thought but I'm not sure cloudy is the right word. Increasingly suspicious? If the death wasn't an accident, Nema's own life is in danger. Her search to uncover the truth threatens to shatter her world, but she must find it if she wants to protect the people, as her title demands. nice point to end on.

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. 

 

Definitely a big improvement from your first query. I cut a good amount out of there that I'm not sure you need - particularly the examples of darkness. As to your original concern; I'd say don't worry too much about giving anything away. I think you can probably pare this down a good bit, but overall you're striking the right balance between giving information and drawing interest. And thank you for the critique!


No current query!


#8 Sreid

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 07:15 AM

Thanks for the critique.

 

I hope I can be as helpful. My comments are in red and suggestions in blue.

 

I'll start with an edited version of your query with the comments as to why in the section following it.

 

Uncertain and frightened, sixteen year-old Nema is now Protector, undoing magic like her mother taught her. The lakes remain full, the fields of grain continue to ripen and souls remain pure, but when she learns the truth about her mother and sister's deaths, Nema questions if the evil poisoning her land is really cursed magic.

 

Hundreds of her ancestors carried out the sacred duty before her, and she would have followed blindly in their steps, but something the priests said about her mother's death rang untrue. Was it really an accident?

 

Palace priests breathe down her neck, so she dutifully reverses spells as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands, but the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears. ​It’s supposed to be the other way around. Families are torn apart, the destitute work the mines until death, and priests execute people for buying charm​s to heal loved one​s or ease their aching backs.

 

She always believed purging magic solved the world’s ills, but that promise ring​s false as the circumstances surrounding her family’s death become unclear. If ​not an accident, Nema's own life is in danger. ​What holy secret did her mother discover? Her search to uncover the truth threatens to shatter her world, but she must find it if she wants to protect the people, as her title demands.

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words.

 

 

 

As long as Nema undoes magic, it won’t shrivel fields of grain, turn lakes to sand, and blacken souls. Can you make this positive instead? Perhaps you might consider something like: Uncertain and frightened, sixteen year-old Nema is now Protector, undoing magic like her mother taught her. The lakes remain full, the fields of grain continue to ripen and souls remain pure, but then she learns the truth about her mother and sister's deaths. Nema questions if the evil poisoning her land is really cursed magic. For all magic is a curse, constantly threatening to poison the land and its people.

 

Hundreds of her ancestors carried out the sacred duty before her, but she can’t step into their place. Not really. She was never supposed to become the Protector. But when, just shy of her sixteenth birthday, her mother and sister die in an accident, she has no choice and she would have followed blindly in their steps, but something the priests said about her mother's death rang untrue ​Change this to something appropriate. Was it really an accident? Unworthy or not, the responsibility is now hers.

 

​There are a lot of extra words in the following two paragraphs which could be put to better use elsewhere.

 

With the ​Palace priests breathing​e down her neck, so she dutifully reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands​, but the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears, even though​. It’s supposed to be the other way around. Families are torn apart, tax-evaders That makes them sound criminal. Perhaps: the destitute work in the mines until death, and the priests execute people for buying a charm​s to heal a loved one​s or ease an ​their aching back​s.

 

She’s always been told that ​believed purging magic solves​d all the world’s ills, but that promise begins to ring​s false just as the circumstances surrounding her family’s death grow cloudy​ become unclear. If the death wasn't ​not an accident, Nema's own life is in danger. You might have her question why with something like the following: ​What holy secret did her mother discover? Her search to uncover the truth threatens to shatter her world, but she must find it if she wants to protect the people, as her title demands.

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. ​75,000 words might be considered a bit short for a fantasy novel, which usually requires a lot of world-building, though writing to a younger audience you might get away with it.

 

 

​I think you have an interesting story. Please forgive the liberties I took with your query. I hope some of my comments were useful.

 

​Steve



#9 tsnyder

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 12:56 PM

As long as Nema undoes magic, it won’t shrivel fields of grain, turn lakes to sand, and blacken souls. For all all people and things?magic is a curse, constantly threatening to poison the land and its people.

 

Hundreds of her ancestors carried out the sacred duty before her, but she can’t step into their place. Not really. She was never supposed to become the Protector. But when, just shy of her sixteenth birthday, her mother and sister die in an accident, she has no choice. Unworthy or not, the responsibility is now hers.The calling for the hero's journey. I like it.

 

With the palace priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer -antiganist their goddess - demands. But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears, even though it’s supposed to be the other way around. Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and the priests execute people for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back.You have some intense items here and yet it does not feel intense?  Can you use the senses to describe it?

 

She’s always been told that purging magic solves all the world’s ills, but that promise begins to ring false just as the circumstances surrounding her family’s death grow cloudy. If the one death or plural deaths? death wasn't an accident, Nema's own life is in danger. Her search to uncover the truth threatens to shatter her world, but she must find it if she wants to protect the people, as her title demands.I like this closing paragraph. I understand the urgency.

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. 



#10 Cengel

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 10:25 PM

Thanks everyone for your feedback! I really appreciate it. I'm going to use your comments and post a new draft tomorrow. 


Please take a look at my query.


#11 Cengel

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 03:31 PM

EDIT -- Newest draft is in post #21!

 

Thanks again to everyone who left comments. I noticed a few of you felt like the opening two paragraphs needed the most work, so that's where I focused my time. I reworded the hook. The only thing I'm worried abourt now is that I've read that it's important to start with your character. Do you think it's okay that she isn't mentioned until the 2nd sentence? Is this hook better or worse?

 

I also reordered the second paragraph and made small changes to the third and fourth. I would appreciate any feedback and will always return the favor!

 

Small edit: After reading through a couple critiques below, I added back in an old line that calls her the Protector. I realized my final line makes no sense without it. I'll be making more thorough edits later!

 

Draft #3:

 

When magic is left unchecked, it shrivels fields of grain, turns lakes to sand, and blackens souls. As long as Nema reverses spells, she keeps the land and its people safe.

 

She was never supposed to be the Protector. Hundreds of her ancestors carried out the sacred duty before her, and her sister was trained to step into their place. But when both her mother and sister die in an accident, Nema has no choice but to take on the mantle. Unworthy or not, the responsibility is now hers.

 

With the palace priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands. But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears, even though it’s supposed to be the other way around. Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and the priests execute people for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back.

 

She’s always been told that purging magic solves all the world’s ills, but that promise begins to ring false just as the circumstances surrounding her family’s death grow murky. Her search to uncover the truth threatens to shatter her world, but she must find it if she wants to protect the people, as her title demands.

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words.

 


Please take a look at my query.


#12 JChristian

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 07:46 PM

Draft #3:

Just gonna spitball here. Felt the metaphor, but never quite connected.

 

 

When magic is left unchecked, it can shrivel the soul like a blight upon a field of grain, or blacken it like volcanic ash falling onto a lake. As long as Nema reverses spells, she keeps the land and its people safe.

 

Hundreds of her ancestors carried out the sacred duty before her, and her sister is set to step into their place. But when both her mother and sister die in an accident, Nema has no choice but to take on the mantle. Unworthy or not, the responsibility is now hers.

 

With the palace priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands. But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears, even though it’s supposed to be the other way around. Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and the priests execute people for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back.

 

She’s always been told that purging magic solves all the world’s ills, but that promise begins to ring false just as the circumstances surrounding her family’s death grow murky. Her search to uncover the truth threatens to shatter her world, but she must find it if she wants to protect the people, as her title demands.

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words.

Good work. The hook is just not 100% yet. Very close though.  If you are so inclined, I'd love a review.



#13 Sataris

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 08:00 PM

Thanks again to everyone who left comments. I noticed a few of you felt like the opening two paragraphs needed the most work, so that's where I focused my time. I reworded the hook. The only thing I'm worried abourt now is that I've read that it's important to start with your character. Do you think it's okay that she isn't mentioned until the 2nd sentence? Is this hook better or worse?

 

I also reordered the second paragraph and made small changes to the third and fourth. I would appreciate any feedback and will always return the favor!

 

Draft #3:

 

When If Nema leaves magic is left unchecked, it shrivels fields of grain, turns lakes to sand, and blackens souls. As long as she Nema reverses spells, she keeps the land and its people safe.

 

I like this hook much better. It's much more active. The only issue I see is that it sets her up as the protector right away, then we find out that she isn't the protector, then she has to be the protector. Could you fix this by starting with something like "so long as Nema's mother reverses magic...souls" ?

 

Hundreds of her ancestors carried out the sacred duty before her, and her sister is set to step into their place. But when both her mother and sister die in an accident, Nema has no choice but to take on the mantle. Unworthy or not, the responsibility is now hers.

 

With the palace priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer I don't think we need to know the name for the all-seer, since she never appears again. just one more name to keep in place - their goddess - demands. But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears, even though it’s supposed to be the other way around. Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and the priests execute people for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back. The issue I have with these examples is that though they're cool, I pictured literal darkness (or evil) spreading across the land, but then its represented as very normal but still-awful things happening. If you're set on keeping these, I'd reword the darkness bit a little. The examples also differ a little bit from the ones above; blackens souls, turns lakes to sand, and shriveled grain are all (really cool) "natural" phenomenons, where these examples are people acting in different ways. Maybe just say the more she does, the more the darkness manifests within those around her?

 

She’s always been told that purging magic solves all the world’s ills, but that promise begins to ring false just as the circumstances surrounding her family’s death grow murky. Her search to uncover the truth secrets of the past threatens to shatter her world, but she must find it the truth if she wants to protect the people, as her title demands.

 

Is there a specific link you could mention between the truth of her parents murder (I'm assuming) and how finding it will help her with saving the world?

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words.

 

 

this is a definite step in the right direction. It reads much more cleanly and a lot of the background has been pared out. The top bit in particular has come a really long way. The biggest thing I'm not sure about at the moment is how exactly the truth of her family's murder will help her save everyone else. I don't think I need to know exactly how it'll help, but at the moment it seems like a little bit of a leap on her part to assume finding their killer will help her. I'm assuming she's going to trace the darkness to the murderer, but I think we could use a few more words on clarity there. But yeah, this is coming along really nicely. Well done!


No current query!


#14 kmanz

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 09:52 PM

Cengel, thanks so much for your updated feedback on my query! I really appreciate it and hope to be as helpful in return! :) Feel free to message me if you want an extra look later on as well. I'd be happy to do it.

 

Thanks again to everyone who left comments. I noticed a few of you felt like the opening two paragraphs needed the most work, so that's where I focused my time. I reworded the hook. The only thing I'm worried abourt now is that I've read that it's important to start with your character. Do you think it's okay that she isn't mentioned until the 2nd sentence? Is this hook better or worse?

 

I also reordered the second paragraph and made small changes to the third and fourth. I would appreciate any feedback and will always return the favor!

 

Draft #3:

 

When magic is left unchecked, it shrivels fields of grain, turns lakes to sand, and blackens souls. As long as Nema reverses spells, she keeps the land and its people safe. Here is a potential suggestions to reword the hook so that you start with the main character while also leaving the first sentences mostly unchanged-->  If Nema leaves magic unchecked it shrivels fields of grain, turns lakes to sand, and blackens souls. Only by reversing spells can she keep the land and its people safe.

 

Hundreds of her ancestors carried out the sacred duty before her, and her sister is set (can you think of a stronger word to use instead of "set"? you could even take it out entirely too)  to step into their place. But when both her mother and sister die in an accident, Nema has no choice but to take on the mantle (mantle seems like a strange word to use here). Unworthy (I feel like you could say Worthy or not instead of unworthy. I feel like it conveys the idea and sounds a little more natural) or not, the responsibility is now hers.

 

With the palace priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands. But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears, even though it’s supposed to be the other way around (I feel like the last part starting at "even" isn't necessary because you already talk about how reversing magic restores the natural order which I think we can assume is for there to be less darkness). Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and the priests execute people for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back.

 

She’s always been told that purging magic solves all the world’s ills, but that promise begins to ring false just as the circumstances surrounding her family’s death grow murky. Her search to uncover the truth threatens to shatter her world (I think it sounds ok but I can imagine some people saying "threatens to shatter her world" sounds cliche. up to you if you have a more specific example that would make it still flow or not), but she must find it if she wants to protect the people, as her title demands.

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words.

 



#15 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 11:26 PM

When magic is left unchecked, it shrivels fields of grain, turns lakes to sand, and blackens souls. As long as Nema reverses spells, she keeps the land and its people safe. Sounds cool, but a heavy load. I'd reword it a bit. kmanz's suggestion works well.

 

Hundreds of her ancestors carried out the sacred duty before her. But when Nema's , and her sister is set to step into their place. But when both her mother and sister die in an (mysterious? sudden?) accident, Nema has no choice but to take on the mantle. (I'd change the word "mantle". It sounds strange.) UnWorthy or not, the responsibility is now hers.

 

With the palace's priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands. But the more magic Nema uses, the more darkness appears. even though it’s supposed to be the other way around. Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and the priests execute people for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back. I'd reword that last sentence. It sounds strange to me. It could be just me though.

 

She’s always been told that purging magic helps solves all the world’s ills, but that promise becomes a lie. (This sentence feels like it belongs more with the last paragraph.) begins to ring false just The circumstances surrounding her family’s death grow murky. (I'd think about expanding more on this for like a sentence or two. It's vague right now and you don't want anything vague.) Her search to uncover the truth threatens to shatter her world (That sounds a be cliche.), But she must find it if she wants to protect her people as her title demands.

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete with 75,000 words.

 

I think this is a great start. Good job!



#16 jaustail

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 02:48 AM

Newbie here. Hope this helps:

 

 

When magic is left unchecked, it shrivels fields of grain, turns lakes to sand, and blackens souls. As long as Nema reverses spells, she keeps the land and its people safe.(this is well written but for some reason it made me think Nema is living alone in the land. Like the book only has Nema)

 

Hundreds of her ancestors carried out the sacred duty before her, and her (maybe add: elder)sister is set to step into their place. But when both her mother and sister die in an accident(maybe describe the accident), Nema has no choice but to take on the mantle. Unworthy or not, the responsibility is now hers.(start the query from here. When Mother and sister die, It's upto Nema to use her magical powers for the benefit of the Kingdom or something like that)

 

With the palace priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully reverses spells(which spells does she reverse? Who has cast all these spells that Nema is reversing?), returning natural order(who disturbed the natural order?) as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands. But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears, even though it’s supposed to be the other way around. Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and the priests execute people for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back.

 

She’s always been told that purging magic solves all the world’s ills, but that promise begins to ring false just as the circumstances surrounding her family’s death grow murky. Her search to uncover the truth threatens to shatter her world, but she must find it if she wants to protect the people, as her title(what is her title?) demands.

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words.

 

 

I found a lot of exposition in the query. I didn't understand the challenge Nema is facing. She has to reverse spells that have destroyed the Kingdom. But who has cast these spells in the first place?

 

JMO.


Query: WALL OF ICE

(Space Opera)

Revised version: Link


#17 Daisy

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 02:54 PM

Thanks again to everyone who left comments. I noticed a few of you felt like the opening two paragraphs needed the most work, so that's where I focused my time. I reworded the hook. The only thing I'm worried abourt now is that I've read that it's important to start with your character. Do you think it's okay that she isn't mentioned until the 2nd sentence? Is this hook better or worse?

 

I also reordered the second paragraph and made small changes to the third and fourth. I would appreciate any feedback and will always return the favor!

 

Small edit: After reading through a couple critiques below, I added back in an old line that calls her the Protector. I realized my final line makes no sense without it. I'll be making more thorough edits later!

 

Draft #3:

 

When magic is left unchecked, it shrivels fields of grain, turns lakes to sand, and blackens souls. As long as Nema reverses spells, she keeps the land and its people safe. Honestly, I wouldn't start here. It doesn't lure me in at all. 

 

I'd start crisp and clear:

 

 

X-year-old Nema undoes magic. 

 

She was never supposed to be the Protector. Hundreds of h Get rid of unnecessary words. In the next sentence we find out it was supposed to be her sister, so this part is redundant.

 

Her ancestors carried out the sacred duty before her, and her sister was trained to step into their place. But when both her mother and sister die in an accident, Nema has no choice but to take on the mantle.Here you can add a few words about keeping the land and people safe expanding on the "undoing magic" concept. Keep it short and simple though. Excite me. Don't throw facts at me. :cool:  Unworthy or not, the responsibility is now hers.

 

With the palace priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully lose adverbs. If you're using an adverb, nine times out of ten it's because you need a stronger verb. You don't need "dutifully" here reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands. But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears, even though it’s supposed to be the other way around. Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and the priests execute people for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back. Tighten the wording up here. Keep it short and snappy so you hold my interest. 

 

She’s always been told that purging magic solves all the world’s ills, but that promise begins to ring false just as the circumstances surrounding her family’s death grow murky.Again, tighten this up. Ditch unnecessary words.  Her search to uncover the truth threatens to shatter her world, but she must find it if she wants to protect the people, as her title demands.

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words.

 

 

 

:smile:



#18 Erevos

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 09:23 AM

Hello Cengel ! Thank you so much for your input on my query! You did an amazing job! Hopefully I can be of some assistance as well.

 

 

 

Draft #3:

 

When magic is left unchecked, it shrivels fields of grain, turns lakes to sand, and blackens souls. As long as Nema reverses spells, she keeps the land and its people safe. kmanz and Sataris here offer a nice alternative! For me, your hook kind of works as it strays away from the norm. However, I couldn't help but wonder what does "reverses spells" means. My thoughts are that when people use magic an after-effect occurs with negative results and that's where Nema plays a crucial role.

 

She was never supposed to be the Protector. Hundreds of her ancestors carried out the sacred duty before her, and her sister was trained to step into their place. But when both her mother and sister die in an accident, Nema has no choice but to take on the mantle. Unworthy or not, the responsibility is now hers. Hm...I've read everyone's suggestions and I have to say that you can definitely reword this a bit to make it shorter. Quick thought: "The role of the protector was meant to be her sister's, but after her sudden death Nema has no choice but to take on the mantle."

 

With the palace priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands. As mentioned no need for All-Seer. "Their goddess" is sufficient. But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears, even though it’s supposed to be the other way around. Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and the priests execute people for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back. Sataris has a point here. I get it that there is malice swelling like a cloud, affecting everyone, but families torn apart isn't as strong as the world dying. It comes as contradiction to your hook. Let me show you how it sounds: "If magic is left unchecked fields and lakes are dying. Nema has to keep reversing spells to keep the land safe. But as Nema performs her duty, darkness appears, and now families are torn apart and miners work till exhaustion." It kind of lets me down. It works even better, in my opinion, if you leave it like that: "But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears, threating the whole world with....(your words here)." No need for anything else.

 

She’s always been told that purging magic solves all the world’s ills, but that promise begins to ring false just as the circumstances surrounding her family’s death grow murky. Her search to uncover the truth threatens to shatter her world, but she must find it if she wants to protect the people, as her title demands. I'm not sure how finding the truth of her family's death will save the people, but this connection as it is doesn't look strong. Give me something like: "As the circumstances surrounding her family's death grow murky, Nema has second thoughts about her duty and the purging of magic." Then mention why the truth will save the people, and close with Nema feeling torn between her world being shattered or her duty.

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words.

 

Despite all the red you have a really exciting story! You only need to focus on the strong parts. Add some passion where it is needed and form a connection between her family's death and the saving of the land.


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


#19 Cengel

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 10:45 AM

Thanks everyone! I'm heading out of town til next week, and I won't have internet access - so I plan to return all critiques, but there will be a little delay. I really appreciate the feedback so far! I'm planning to return all critiques and post a new draft next week. 


Please take a look at my query.


#20 Korina-Maya

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 08:56 PM

Thanks again to everyone who left comments. I noticed a few of you felt like the opening two paragraphs needed the most work, so that's where I focused my time. I reworded the hook. The only thing I'm worried abourt now is that I've read that it's important to start with your character. Do you think it's okay that she isn't mentioned until the 2nd sentence? Is this hook better or worse?

 

I also reordered the second paragraph and made small changes to the third and fourth. I would appreciate any feedback and will always return the favor!

 

Small edit: After reading through a couple critiques below, I added back in an old line that calls her the Protector. I realized my final line makes no sense without it. I'll be making more thorough edits later!

 

Draft #3:

 

When magic is left unchecked, it shrivels fields of grain, turns lakes to sand, and blackens souls. As long as Nema reverses spells, she keeps the land and its people safe. I have the feeling here needs a change to make the hook stronger...

 

She was never supposed to be the Protector. Hundreds of her ancestors carried out the sacred duty before her, and her sister was trained to step into their place. But when both her mother and sister die in an accident, Nema has no choice but to take on the mantle. Unworthy or not, the responsibility is now hers. I like this last sentence, I prefer if you dont remove it...it sends the message that Nema feels scared and unworthy...it makes me feel her!

 

With the palace priests breathing down her neck, she dutifully reverses spells, returning natural order as the All-Seer - their goddess - demands. But the more magic Nema unravels, the more darkness appears, even though it’s supposed to be the other way around. Families are torn apart, tax-evaders work in the mines until death, and the priests execute people for buying a charm to heal a loved one or ease an aching back. I think this is not needed. 

 

She’s always been told that purging magic solves all the world’s ills, but that promise begins to ring false just as the circumstances surrounding her family’s death grow murky. Her search to uncover the truth threatens to shatter her world, but she must find it if she wants to protect the people, as her title demands.

 

MAGIC UNDONE is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words.

My English is poor...and I am very new at the query thing...but I really like your query... and I think is a very interesting story...

 
In case you want to help with my query plz check this link : http://agentquerycon...-writes-itself/







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