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The Immortal Guard - YA Historical Fantasy

Fantasy Historical Fiction Young Adult Adventure Fiction

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#1 lyncfs

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 10:56 AM

Revised Query on Post #38!

 
 
Dear Agent,
Seventeen year old Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, is one mistake away from death. In the desert city full of spices and curses, Roxana’s ability to manifest emotions into weapons is her last barricade against going to war. When she accidently drains the general’s son of all his emotions nearly killing him, she is given one last chance at redemption.
She must discover the true intentions of the Macedonian envoys who intend to bring peace through a marriage alliance with Persia’s princess. While Roxana plots her escape from Persia, the unexpected happens. She befriends the envoy’s leader, Thessalus, the first man who sees her as more than a pawn of generals and kings. When she discovers Thessalus hides a secret that could stop the impending war, Roxana must make a choice. Betray her own heart to save her country or protect his secret and her chance at freedom.
Caspar is Persia’s most dutiful soldier and unwilling servant to the Goddess of Death. Cursed by visions of Persia burning to ashes and its citizens trapped in chains, he has no choice but to become an assassin. His target, the man sent to bring peace to his kingdom, Thessalus. Success will make him the savior of Persia but destroy the one person who means to the most to him: Roxana.
The IMMORTAL GUARD is a 98,000 word young adult historical fantasy told from the perspectives of Roxana and Caspar. It is a reimagining of Roxana’s life, prior to becoming the wife of Alexander the Great; the boy-king who conquered half the world. My novel will appeal to fans of the series An Ember in the Ashes and A Wrath and the Dawn.   
I am a member of the Houston Writers Guild and several other critique groups such as Ten-Minute Novelists and Beta Readers and Critiques.
               Thank you for your time and consideration.
THE IMMORTAL GUARD. Link to my query. Please critique, if I have reviewed yours.

#2 JeffJustWrites

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 11:15 AM

Question: Is this your first novel/query? It's very well written and intriguing. 


My Perpetually Metamorphosing Query

 

At vahrai u ihlókéon. At u Atavithion. 


#3 lyncfs

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 11:38 AM

Question: Is this your first novel/query? It's very well written and intriguing. 

 

Thanks for the feedback. I've queried a couple of novels to agents with full requests but no representation. I've been reading a lot of Query Shark and Writer's Digest's Successful queries to polish mine up to a shine. Last step was to have open season on the query before I start submitting it to contests and eventually agents.  

 

Let me know if you see things I can improve on! Thanks.


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

#4 lionspaws

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 01:13 PM

Seventeen year old Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, is one mistake away from death. In the desert city full of spices and curses, Roxana’s ability to manifest emotions into weapons is her last barricade against going to war. When she accidently drains the general’s son of all his emotions nearly killing him, she is given one last chance at redemption. Love it! Love that right away she's "cool" but also flawed. 

She must discover the true intentions of the Macedonian envoys who intend to bring promise peace through a marriage alliance with Persia’s princess. While Roxana plots her escape from Persia, the unexpected happens. She befriends the envoy’s leader, Thessalus, the first man who sees her as more than a pawn of generals and kings. When she discovers Thessalus hides a secret that could stop the impending war, Roxana must make a choice. Betray her own heart to save her country or protect his secret and her chance at freedom. Wait a second... why is there an impending war? I thought they were negotiating peace. 

Caspar is Persia’s most dutiful soldier and unwilling servant to the Goddess of Death. Cursed by visions of Persia burning to ashes and its citizens trapped in chains, he has no choice but to become an assassin. His target, the man sent to bring peace to his kingdom, is Thessalus. Success will make him the savior of Persia but destroy the one person who means to the most to him: Roxana. If Thessalus is bringing peace, why would he be targeted by an assassin? 

The IMMORTAL GUARD is a 98,000 word young adult historical fantasy told from the perspectives of Roxana and Caspar. It is a reimagining of Roxana’s life, prior to becoming the wife of Alexander the Great; the boy-king who conquered half the world. My novel will appeal to fans of the series An Ember in the Ashes and A Wrath and the Dawn.    Nice comparisons :) My "TO SAIL THE STARS" is also a historical fantasy, I'd love your opinions on my latest query! 

I am a member of the Houston Writers Guild and several other critique groups such as Ten-Minute Novelists and Beta Readers and Critiques.

               Thank you for your time and consideration.


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 lyncfs

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 01:37 PM

 

When she discovers Thessalus hides a secret that could stop the impending war, Roxana must make a choice. Betray her own heart to save her country or protect his secret and her chance at freedom. Wait a second... why is there an impending war? I thought they were negotiating peace. 

 

​Peace will fall through if the marriage alliance doesn't happen. Maybe I should make it clear that the alliance is a pre-cursor to avoiding war?

 

Caspar is Persia’s most dutiful soldier and unwilling servant to the Goddess of Death. Cursed by visions of Persia burning to ashes and its citizens trapped in chains, he has no choice but to become an assassin. His target, the man sent to bring peace to his kingdom, is Thessalus. Success will make him the savior of Persia but destroy the one person who means to the most to him: Roxana. If Thessalus is bringing peace, why would he be targeted by an assassin? ​I wonder if it would make it more clear that he is being told by the Death Goddess to kill Thessalus to break the marriage alliance?

 

 


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

#6 speedchuck

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 08:22 PM

Dear Agent,
 
Seventeen year old Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, is one mistake away from death. In the desert city full of spices and curses, Roxana’s ability to manifest emotions into weapons is her last barricade against going to war (How does her weaponizeable ability keep her from going to war? Might want to reword to shore up the meaning of this second sentence.). When she accidentally drains the general’s son of all his emotions, nearly killing him, she is given one last chance at redemption. Excellent hook, but it restates itself. Generally, the hook should stand alone (I think.) To improve the flow, you might could move sentences 2 and 3 to the next paragraph.
 
She must discover the true intentions of the Macedonian envoys who intend to bring peace through a marriage alliance with Persia’s princess. While Roxana plots her escape from Persia, the unexpected happens. She befriends the envoy’s leader, Thessalus, the first man who sees her as more than a pawn of generals and kings. When she discovers Thessalus hides a secret that could stop the impending war, Roxana must make a choice. Betray her own heart to save her country or protect his secret and her chance at freedom. I get a really good idea of the personal stakes from this paragraph. I'm with lyncfs, though. I thought that Thessalus was trying for peace. If he's secretly hiding something else that could bring peace, and planning to betray the pact and start war, I'd think we need a little more detail. I don't get what Thessalus wants, or what his goals are.
 
The query could end here, and it wouldn't be bad. I do like the added complexity of the next bit, though. It's easy to see where Caspar fits into the rest of the story. YMMV.
 
Caspar is Persia’s most dutiful soldier and unwilling servant to the Goddess of Death. Cursed by visions of Persia burning to ashes and its citizens trapped in chains, he has no choice but to become an assassin. His target, the man sent to bring peace to his kingdom, Thessalus. (Again, we're missing something here.) Success will make him the savior of Persia but destroy the one person who means to the most to him: Roxana.
 
The IMMORTAL GUARD is a 98,000 word young adult historical fantasy told from the perspectives of Roxana and Caspar. It is a reimagining of Roxana’s life, prior to becoming the wife of Alexander the Great (And now I understand what's going on with Thessalus); the boy-king who conquered half the world. My novel will appeal to fans of the series An Ember in the Ashes and A Wrath and the Dawn.   
 
I am a member of the Houston Writers Guild and several other critique groups such as Ten-Minute Novelists and Beta Readers and Critiques. Unless these are prestige-based, I wouldn't include them. They don't matter.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.


#7 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 09:34 PM

Seventeen year old Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, is one mistake away from death. Good hook. In the desert city full of spices and curses, Roxana’s ability to manifest emotions into weapons is her last barricade against the going to war. (What war? & How did she get this ability? Does everyone have an ability?) When she accidentally drains the general’s son of all his emotions and nearly kills him, she is given one last chance at redemption. This is kind of like the first sentence again, the "one mistake" or "one chance" thing.

She must discover the true intentions of the Macedonian envoys who intend to bring peace through a marriage alliance with Persia’s princess. (Whoa. That's a lot to take in. Perhaps explain more or at least in separate sentences. Are the Macedonians good or bad? Are the Persia's good? Is the supposed war between them two?) While Roxana plots (plans?) her escape from Persia, the unexpected happens. (vague) she befriends the envoy’s (which side is the envoys? Macedonian?) leader, Thessalus, the first man who sees her as more than a pawn of generals and kings. (If you're going to say she's more than a pawn, show it. Because I thought she just sucked at being a solider. Not that she was a pawn.) When she discovers Thessalus hides a secret that could stop the impending war, Roxana must make a choice. Betray her own heart to save her country or protect his secret and her chance at freedom. She won't have freedom if she saves her country?

Caspar is Persia’s most dutiful soldier and unwilling servant to the Goddess of Death. (Wait. The sentence before this sounded like an ending. Why didn't you end it there? This sounds like a completely different story with that first sentence.) Cursed by visions of Persia burning to ashes and its citizens trapped in chains, he has no choice but to become an assassin. His target, the man sent to bring peace to his kingdom, Thessalus. (Wait. What? Why kill the man sent to bring peace? Wouldn't the peace-man stop the visions from happening?) Success will make him the savior of Persia but destroy the one person who means to the most to him: Roxana. The last sentence is good, but I don't know about this paragraph. It brought too many questions to me at the last moment. I'd take it out.

The IMMORTAL GUARD is a 98,000 word YA historical fantasy told from the perspectives of Roxana and Caspar. I don't think you have to say who's perspective it's going to be in. It is a reimagining of Roxana’s life, prior to becoming the wife of Alexander the Great; the boy-king who conquered half the world. People know who Alexander is. My novel will appeal to fans of the series An Ember in the Ashes and A Wrath and the Dawn.  I'm never big on saying your novel is like another novel because 1) Sets a high expectation for your novel 2) the agent may not like those novels and start to think down on your query 3) By now, the agent already has a good idea whether or not he or she will pick you or not.

I am a member of the Houston Writers Guild and several other critique groups such as Ten-Minute Novelists and Beta Readers and Critiques. Sounds good.

            Thank you for your time and consideration.



#8 Faegheh

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 02:30 PM

 

 

 

Dear Agent,

Seventeen year old Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, is one mistake away from death. In the desert city full of spices and curses, Roxana’s ability to manifest emotions into weapons is her last barricade against going to war (Why doesn't she want to go to war? Why is there even a war? Maybe you should explain that.). When she accidentally drains the general’s son of all his emotions nearly killing him, she is given one last chance at redemption.

She must discover the true intentions of the Macedonian envoys who intend to bring peace through a marriage alliance with Persia’s princess. While Roxana plots her escape from Persia, the unexpected happens. She befriends the envoy’s leader, Thessalus, the first man who sees her as more than a pawn of generals and kings. When she discovers Thessalus hides a secret that could stop the impending war, Roxana must make a choice. Betray her own heart to save her country or protect his secret and her chance at freedom.

Caspar is Persia’s most dutiful soldier and unwilling servant to the Goddess of Death. Cursed by visions of Persia burning to ashes and its citizens trapped in chains, he has no choice but to become an assassin. His target, the man sent to bring peace to his kingdom, Thessalus (Why does he have to kill Thessalus? Is it something the Goddess of death wants? Why?). Success will make him the savior of Persia but destroy the one person who means to the most to him: Roxana. (How does Caspar know Roxana?)

The IMMORTAL GUARD is a 98,000 word young adult historical fantasy told from the perspectives of Roxana and Caspar. It is a reimagining of Roxana’s life, prior to becoming the wife of Alexander the Great; the boy-king who conquered half the world. My novel will appeal to fans of the series An Ember in the Ashes and A Wrath and the Dawn.   

I am a member of the Houston Writers Guild and several other critique groups such as Ten-Minute Novelists and Beta Readers and Critiques.

               Thank you for your time and consideration.

Being an Iranian, I love it that your story happens in Persia, . So I would definitely read this book. Other than that, you have an interesting story. A little more details and you're good.

Good luck with your contest :)



#9 hermitage

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 06:06 PM

Hi all ---

Would love some feedback on my query specifically on if it has enough details and voice. I am getting ready for a contest starting in August so any feedback would be appreciated. Happy to critique your query in return!

 

 

Dear Agent,

Seventeen year old (hyphenate?) Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, is one mistake away from death. In the desert city full of spices and curses, Roxana’s ability to manifest emotions into weapons is her last barricade against going to war. (A little confusing. She is a weak soldier, but she has a powerful ability to manifest weapons?) When she accidently misspelled drains the there's only one general? general’s son of all his emotions nearly killing him, she is given one last chance you have "last barricade" and now "last chance". seems redundant? at redemption.

She must discover the true intentions of the Macedonian envoys who intend to bring peace through a marriage alliance with Persia’s princess. While Roxana plots her escape from Persia, Wait... why does she need to escape from Persia? Isn't she Persian, and currently on a mission on behalf of a Persian general? the unexpected happens. She befriends the envoy’s leader, Thessalus, the first man who sees her as more than a pawn of generals and kings. When she discovers Thessalus hides a secret that could stop the impending war, Roxana must make a choice. Betray her own heart to save her country or protect his secret and her chance at freedom. I feel that these "she must choose between X and Y" endings are a little too common. How about trying something different?

Caspar is Persia’s most dutiful soldier, and an unwilling servant to the Goddess of Death. Dutiful and unwilling? Those seem semi-contradictory to me; why join with "and". Cursed by visions of Persia burning to ashes and its citizens trapped in chains, he has no choice but to become an assassin. His target, the man sent to bring peace to his kingdom, Thessalus. Success will make him the savior of Persia but destroy the one person who means to the most to him: Roxana. Up to you, but you might consider just focusing on Roxana in your query. Bringing in this second POV character as you do here feels a little rushed. He doesn't get equal time, and we are left with more questions than answers. Why does he care so much about Roxana, if he doesn't appear in her story above? Also, I have to admit I'm having a pretty hard time figuring out who's on a side with whom. Is it Persians vs. Macedonians? One faction vs. another? I'm not saying that you have to explain the politics in excruciating detail, but maybe just a little more clarity about what's happening and why?

The IMMORTAL GUARD is a 98,000 word young adult historical fantasy told from the perspectives of Roxana and Caspar. It is a reimagining of Roxana’s life , prior to becoming the wife of Alexander the Great; Huh -- that's kind of an interesting angle. the boy-king who conquered half the world pretty sure most people know who Alexander the Great is. My novel will appeal to fans of the series An Ember in the Ashes and A Wrath and the Dawn.   

I am a member of the Houston Writers Guild and several other critique groups such as Ten-Minute Novelists and Beta Readers and Critiques. Up to you, but I'm not sure if this is your best possible bio. Absent published writing, maybe just say a tiny bit about your profession, where you're from/where you live, etc.? I honestly don't know -- food for thought. 

               Thank you for your time and consideration.



#10 JoanB

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 06:31 PM

Your query is well-written, and the story is compelling. In fact, it's just the kind of book I would have read when I was younger. (Or maybe even now!)

 

I agree with the comments above. Given that the book is meant to follow Roxana, it might be worthwhile to leave the paragraph about Caspar out and remove your mention of him in the next paragraph. The two paragraphs you've written about Roxana are enough to whet an agent's appetite, imho. 

 

Best of luck to you.



#11 bkarperien

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 08:15 PM

Hi all ---

Would love some feedback on my query specifically on if it has enough details and voice. I am getting ready for a contest starting in August so any feedback would be appreciated. Happy to critique your query in return!

 

 

Dear Agent,

Seventeen year old Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, is one mistake away from death. Love this hook, really grabs my attention and makes me empathize with your protag. In the desert city full of spices and curses, Roxana’s ability to manifest emotions into weapons is her last barricade against going to war. When she accidently drains the general’s son of all his emotions nearly killing him (the wording here is a little weak, could be cleaner), she is given one last (I'd avoid repeating this word so soon.) chance at redemption.

There's a pattern here. The second half of each sentence is one more of something away from something. One mistake away from death. One last barricade against going to war. One last chance at redemption. It's repetitive.

She must discover the true intentions of the Macedonian envoys who intend to bring peace through a marriage alliance with Persia’s princess. While Roxana plots her escape (since when is she trying to escape? It feels very out of the blue.) from Persia, the unexpected happens. She befriends the envoy’s leader, Thessalus, the first man who sees her as more than a pawn of generals and kings. When she discovers Thessalus hides a secret that could stop the impending war, Roxana must make a choice. Betray her own heart to save her country or protect his secret and her chance at freedom. Great stakes.

Caspar is Persia’s most dutiful soldier and unwilling servant to the Goddess of Death. Cursed by visions of Persia burning to ashes and its citizens trapped in chains, he has no choice but to become an assassin. His target: the man sent to bring peace to his kingdom, Thessalus. Success will make him the savior of Persia but destroy the one person who means to the most to him: Roxana. (Why? How are they connected?  I have to agree, I think you'd be better off without this paragraph, although it is very interesting.)

The IMMORTAL GUARD is a 98,000 word young adult historical fantasy told from the perspectives of Roxana and Caspar. It is a reimagining of Roxana’s life, prior to becoming the wife of Alexander the Great; the boy-king who conquered half the world. My novel will appeal to fans of the series An Ember in the Ashes and A Wrath and the Dawn.    

I am a member of the Houston Writers Guild and several other critique groups such as Ten-Minute Novelists and Beta Readers and Critiques.

               Thank you for your time and consideration.

Looking pretty good. Sounds like a great novel. I want to read it. Don't suppose you're looking for betas?

Thanks for your feedback on my query.


Check out my query :)

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

 


#12 Erevos

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 08:57 AM

The others did an excellent job here, but I'll try my best.

 

Love that you included both your POVs into the query,. I did the same, but wasn't really certain. You sure encourage me with my decision.

Hi all ---

Would love some feedback on my query specifically on if it has enough details and voice. I am getting ready for a contest starting in August so any feedback would be appreciated. Happy to critique your query in return!

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Seventeen-year-old Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, is one mistake away from death. In the desert city full of spices and curses, Roxana’s ability to manifest emotions into weapons is her last barricade against going to war. When she accidently drains the general’s son of all his emotions , nearly killing him, she is given one last chance at redemption.

 

She must discover the true intentions of the Macedonian envoys who intend to bring peace through a marriage alliance with Persia’s princess. While Roxana plots her escape from Persia, the unexpected happens. She befriends the envoy’s leader, Thessalus, the first man who sees her as more than a pawn of generals and kings. When she discovers Thessalus hides a secret that could stop the impending war, Roxana must make a choice. Betray her own heart to save her country or protect his secret and her chance at freedom. The stakes are great, but like others mentioned this paragraph is kind of confusing. So, Thessalus's secret is that if the marriage doesn't happen, then war is? Am I getting this right? Perhaps it's the "hides a secret that could stop the impending war" that is confusing here. You are saying that Thessalus "brings peace through a marriage alliance", then "hides a secret that could stop the impending war" Those two don't work together. They are the same things in my eyes. I would expect "hides a secret that could ruin the marriage," but Thessalus seems like the good guy here. Definitely try and clarify this a bit.

 

Caspar is Persia’s most dutiful soldier and unwilling you mean unbending? servant to the Goddess of Death. Cursed by visions of Persia burning to ashes and its citizens trapped in chains, he has no choice but to become an assassin. His target, the man sent to bring peace to his kingdom, Thessalus. Success will make him the savior of Persia but destroy the one person who means to the most to him: Roxana. Great! second POV character here, we get what he wants and what's gnawing at his mind. You could say some more about his relationship with Roxana, though it's not really necessary.  To answer you question: Yes, you can say that those visions are sent by the Goddess of Death, and that she is the one who impels him to assassinate Thessalus. Not really imperative to do so, but it can help some readers understand his motive better.

 

The IMMORTAL GUARD is a 98,000 word young adult historical fantasy told from the perspectives of Roxana and Caspar. It is a reimagining of Roxana’s life, prior to becoming the wife of Alexander the Great; the boy-king who conquered half the world. My novel will appeal to fans of the series An Ember in the Ashes and A Wrath and the Dawn.   

 

I am a member of the Houston Writers Guild and several other critique groups such as Ten-Minute Novelists and Beta Readers and Critiques.

            

   Thank you for your time and consideration.

Your story sounds wonderful and exciting!! You only need to clear up Thessalus secret part.


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


#13 lyncfs

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 07:17 PM

Thank you all for your feedback! I've taken a lot of your comments into account but I struggled with some of the transitions.

Dear Agent,

Seventeen-year-old Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, is one mistake away from death.

Cursed with the unique ability to change emotions into weapons, Roxana can avoid bloodshed as long as she remains useful. Her only desires are to elude her general’s wrath and to stay safe in the city with her closest friend, Caspar. During a confrontation, Roxana drains the general’s son of all his emotions, nearly killing him. The general gives her one last mission to prove her worth.

For two hundred years, the Persian empire has spanned from Egypt to India. Open rebellion flourishes across its conquered lands. Invasion is imminent. In Macedonia, one hundred thousand well trained soldiers wait to siege Persia’s borders. In an attempt to avert war, the Persians extend a fragile branch of peace in the form of a marriage alliance.

Roxana poses as a guard to find out the true intentions of the the Macedonian diplomat, Thessalus. As they dodge man-eating beetles and clairvoyant assassins, an unbreakable bond forms between them. To her surprise, Thessalus becomes much more than a chance at redemption.

As the weeks wear on, Roxana learns Thessalus intends to twist the alliance for his own purposes. Before long, Roxana discovers his secret that could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. She must decide to betray her own heart to save her country or protect his secret and live with blood on her hands.

THE IMMORTAL GUARD, completed at 98,000 words is a YA historical fantasy and my debut novel. It is a reimagining of Roxana’s life, prior to becoming the wife of Alexander the Great. The events in this novel are loosely based on real incidents and people. My novel will appeal to fans of An Ember in the Ashes and A Wrath and the Dawn series.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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

#14 Johno

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 01:39 PM

It is good. As you have seen from my query letter, I am no expert at this however my observations are as follows.

 

1. you need to include why you are writing to that particular agent or the query will look generic.

 

2. It's safe to say that an agent will spend all of 15 seconds on query letter before deciding to reject or proceed, so it needs to be punchy. Paragraphs 3-5 look as though they belong in the synopsis. I'm not sure what they add to the letter.

 

3. You had me hooked with, well, your hook: Cursed with the unique ability to change emotions into weapons, Roxana can avoid bloodshed as long as she remains useful. Her only desires are to elude her general’s wrath and to stay safe in the city with her closest friend, Caspar. During a confrontation, Roxana drains the general’s son of all his emotions, nearly killing him. The general gives her one last mission to prove her worth - I love it.

 

​It's a great concept I would read it. Keep me posted with how you get on -Johno



#15 lionspaws

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 02:57 PM

Dear Agent,

Seventeen-year-old Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, is one mistake away from death. I just love this hook :) 

Cursed with the unique ability to change emotions into weapons, Roxana can avoid bloodshed her own? obviously not others' as long as she remains useful. Her only desires are to elude her general’s wrath and to stay safe in the city which city? with her closest friend, Caspar. During a confrontation, Roxana accidentally? drains the general’s son of all his emotions, nearly killing him. The general gives her one last mission to prove her worth. Just a suggestion to break up the last two sentences and help them flow better: "But when Roxana nearly kills the general's son, he gives her one last mission to prove she's worth more alive than dead..." 

For two hundred years, the Persian empire has spanned from Egypt to India but rebellion flourishes across its conquered lands. Open rebellion flourishes across its conquered lands. Invasion is imminent. In Macedonia, one hundred thousand well trained soldiers wait to siege Persia’s borders. In an attempt to avert war, the Persians extend a fragile branch of peace in the form of a marriage alliance. Minor suggestion :) I get that Johno is saying these belong in the synopsis, but I think this is significant information, obviously, to the task she's given, and most of us know zilch about Persian history. 

Roxana is assigned to poses as a guard to find out the true intentions of the the Macedonian diplomat, Thessalus. As they dodge man-eating beetles and clairvoyant assassins, an unbreakable bond forms between them. To her surprise, Thessalus becomes much more than a chance at redemption. Clarification: this is her assignment, right? 

As the weeks wear on, Roxana learns Thessalus intends to twist the alliance for his own purposes. Before long, Roxana discovers his secret that could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. She must decide choose: to betray her own heart to save her country or protect his secret and live with blood on her hands. Love it :) "Decide" just didn't seem like the right word.

THE IMMORTAL GUARD, completed at 98,000 words is a YA historical fantasy and my debut novel. It is a reimagining of Roxana’s life, prior to becoming the wife of Alexander the Great. The events in this novel are loosely based on real incidents and people. My novel will appeal to fans of An Ember in the Ashes and A Wrath and the Dawn series. I think you capitalize these titles as well. 

 

Really, this is so great! I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on my latest query for TO SAIL THE STARS! 

Thank you for your time and consideration.


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 


#16 veda_p

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 08:54 PM

Thank you all for your feedback! I've taken a lot of your comments into account but I struggled with some of the transitions.

Dear Agent,

Seventeen-year-old Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, is one mistake away from death. Great hook!

Cursed with the unique ability to morph emotions into weapons, Roxana has figured out the secret to avoiding bloodshed: she must remain useful. Her only desires are to elude her general’s wrath and to stay safe in the city with her closest friend, Caspar. But during a confrontation, Roxana almost risks her life as she drains the emotions of the general's son, nearly killing him. The general gives her one last mission to prove her worth.

The Persian empire has spanned the deserts of Egypt to the Indus Valley for nearly 200 years. Open rebellion flourishes across its conquered lands, and invasion is imminent. In Macedonia, one hundred thousand well-trained soldiers wait to siege Persia’s borders. In a desperate attempt to avert war, the Persians extend a fragile branch of peace in the form of a marriage alliance.

Roxana poses as a guard to find out the true intentions of the the Macedonian diplomat, Thessalus (what does this have to do with the marriage alliance? Is this is seperate plot point all together?). As they dodge man-eating beetles and clairvoyant assassins, an unbreakable bond forms between them. To her surprise, Thessalus becomes much more than a chance at redemption. I would expound on their friendship/relationship a bit more. This feels incomplete. If he's more than a chance at redemption, then what is he? 

As the weeks wear on, Roxana learns that Thessalus intends to twist the marriage alliance for his own purposes. Before long, Roxana discovers his secret that could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. She must decide to betray her own heart to save her country or protect his secret and live with blood on her hands. I would cut the second paragraph, since it's mostly exposition, and move the most relevant parts of it (like the marriage alliance and the impending war) here. That way it flows better as we realize this story is about more than just Roxana, it's about the fate of the Persian empire. The scope grows realistically, and the reader has a better understanding of what's at stake.

THE IMMORTAL GUARD, completed at 98,000 words is a YA historical fantasy and my debut novel. It is a reimagining of Roxana’s life, prior to becoming the wife of Alexander the Great. The events in this novel are loosely based on real incidents and people. My novel will appeal to fans of An Ember in the Ashes and A Wrath and the Dawn series.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Love your premise!! The Persian Empire is so interesting and I love historical fantasy. My biggest problem with your query is the second paragraph, which just feels like a block of exposition that doesn't become relevant until the 4th para. I'd cut it and try to integrate relevant background information into the second and third paras. Despite that, I'm still piqued by your story and now I want to know more about the history of Alexander the Great. Best of luck with revisions :) 


My query. If I have critiqued yours, I would appreciate a glance at mine! :) 


#17 Kjcloutier19

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 11:01 PM

 

 

Thank you all for your feedback! I've taken a lot of your comments into account but I struggled with some of the transitions.

Dear Agent,

Seventeen-year-old Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, is one mistake away from death. (I'm immediately intrigued)

Cursed with the unique ability to change emotions into weapons, Roxana can avoid bloodshed as long as she remains useful. Her only desires are to elude her general’s wrath and to stay safe in the city with her closest friend, Caspar. During a confrontation, Roxana drains the general’s son of all his emotions, nearly killing him. The general gives her one last mission to prove her worth. (Though I'm very intrigued by this premise, I am a little confused. When you say 'change emotions into weapons' at the beginning of this paragraph I pictured her somehow turning anger into a sword or something, which confused me. But then near the end it seems she simply uses emotions themselves as the weapons, which makes more sense. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that the first sentence wasn't quite clear what you meant. However, I am a week into recovery from surgery so maybe it's just my drug addled brain ;) ) 

For two hundred years, the Persian empire has spanned from Egypt to India. Open rebellion flourishes across its conquered lands. Invasion is imminent. In Macedonia, one hundred thousand well trained soldiers wait to siege Persia’s borders. In an attempt to avert war, the Persians extend a fragile branch of peace in the form of a marriage alliance. (though this is certainly important information, it seems a little random and jaring to suddenly get this backstory without mentioning your MC at all after she has been present in the first two paragraphs. Perhaps find a way to include her?)

Roxana poses as a guard to find out the true intentions of the the Macedonian diplomat, Thessalus. As they dodge man-eating beetles and clairvoyant assassins, an unbreakable bond forms between them. To her surprise, Thessalus becomes much more than a chance at redemption.

As the weeks wear on,  But when Roxana learns Thessalus intends to twist the alliance for his own purposes. Before long, Roxana and discovers his secret that could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor,  She must decide to betray her own heart to save her country or protect his secret and live with blood on her hands. (you might be able to edit this so the sentence isn't so long, but the parts I crossed out aren't necassary, even if these two things don't happen at the same time)

THE IMMORTAL GUARD, completed at 98,000 words is a YA historical fantasy and my debut novel. It is a reimagining of Roxana’s life, prior to becoming the wife of Alexander the Great. The events in this novel are loosely based on real incidents and people. My novel will appeal to fans of An Ember in the Ashes and A Wrath and the Dawn series.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I really like the premise of this query and I really liked your hook. You're query is so close, there are just a few things that might make it 100%. However, as I mentioned before, take what I say with a grain of salt as my brain is still a little foggy from painkillers. Best of luck to you!



#18 kjasjg

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 01:18 PM

Thank you all for your feedback! I've taken a lot of your comments into account but I struggled with some of the transitions.

Dear Agent,

Seventeen-year-old Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, is one mistake away from death. I like this it makes me want to keep reading

Cursed with the unique ability to change emotions into weapons, (cool) Roxana can avoid bloodshed as long as she remains useful. Her only desires are to elude her general’s wrath and to stay safe in the city with her closest friend, Caspar. This sounds like a list the way its is written but I like the desires themselves - would it work if it were changed slightly to something like: "She desires to live in the safety of the city and eluding the ..." or something like that. During a confrontation, Roxana drains the general’s son of all his emotions, nearly killing him was this an accident or intentiaonal as a defense against the generals son? while not critical it could add a little to our perception of the character by saying she "accidentally drained" or adding "to stop his constant abuse". The general gives her one last mission to prove her worth. great a last mission sounds ominous 

For two hundred years, the Persian empire has spanned from Egypt to India. Open rebellion flourishes across its conquered lands. Invasion is imminent. In Macedonia, one hundred thousand well trained soldiers wait to siege Persia’s borders. In an attempt to avert war, the Persians extend a fragile branch of peace in the form of a marriage alliance. It is here I would reiterate the mission part and ad the next sentence to this paragraph maybe change the beginning of the next sentence to "Roxana's mission is to pose..."

Roxana poses as a guard to find out the true intentions of the the Macedonian diplomat, Thessalus. As they dodge (at this point the word dodge makes it seem like they are on a journey are they? if not maybe they are just facing the beetles and assasins together) man-eating beetles and clairvoyant assassins, an unbreakable bond forms between them. To her surprise, Thessalus becomes much more than a chance at redemption.

As the weeks wear on, Roxana learns Thessalus intends to twist the alliance for his own purposes. Before long, Roxana discovers his secret that could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. She must decide to betray her own heart to save her country or protect his secret and live with blood on her hands. I like this last line too makes me want to read more - when you mention he is more than a chance at redemption maybe hint at her feelings (i know betraying her heart most likely means she is in love with him but it could also be a platonic affection).

THE IMMORTAL GUARD, completed at 98,000 words is a YA historical fantasy and my debut novel I have been warned about mentioning this - if you are published then state it here but if you aren't don't say anything and let the agent assume it. by stating it you are reminding them that this is your first novel and this might work against you. It is a reimagining of Roxana’s life, prior to becoming the wife of Alexander the Great. The events in this novel are loosely based on real incidents and people. My novel will appeal to fans of An Ember in the Ashes and A Wrath and the Dawn series.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I really like the Query and the premis of the story. 

I'd read it based on the query above.

 

Sadly the most difficult part of writing I have found is the dreaded Query.

 

Hope this helps 

Jer

 

P.S I juts posted a rewrite of my query -if you are interested :)



#19 lyncfs

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 05:38 PM

[Tweaked my query some more. I've made it more focused on the character's problems this time. Let me know what you think!
 
Dear agent,
 
 
Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, is one mistake away from death.
Cursed with the unique ability to transform emotions into weapons, Roxana can avoid bloodshed as long as she remains useful. Her only desires: to elude the general’s wrath and stay safe in Susa, the extravagant city of spices and gold.
When Roxana nearly kills the general’s son, she’s given one last mission to prove she’s worth more alive than dead. Roxana is assigned to guard Thessalus, the visiting Macedonian diplomat, who plans to secure peace in the form of a marriage alliance. Roxana must use her skills and cunning to unearth Thessalus’ true intentions.
Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. Thessalus and Roxana form an unbreakable bond as they dodge man-eating beetles and clairvoyant assassins. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a mere human shield.
Then Roxana learns the truth. Thessalus hides a secret that could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. If she betrays her own heart, she will become the savior of her country. Or she can choose to protect his secret and live with death on her hands.   
THE IMMORTAL GUARD, completed at 98,000 words is a YA historical fantasy and my debut novel. It is a reimagining of Roxana’s life, prior to becoming the wife to Alexander the Great. The events in this novel are loosely based on real incidents and people. My novel will appeal to fans of An Ember in the Ashes and A Wrath and the Dawn series.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.

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

#20 kacimari

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 06:47 PM

Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, is one mistake away from death. I think your second line is actually more of a hook than your first. Can you combine the two? Because honestly her ability sounds cool.

Cursed with the unique ability to transform emotions into weapons COOL!, Roxana can avoid bloodshed as long as she remains useful. Her only desires: to elude the general’s wrath and stay safe in Susa, the extravagant city of spices and gold.

When Roxana nearly kills the general’s son, she’s given one last mission to prove she’s worth more alive than dead. Roxana is assigned to guard Thessalus, the visiting Macedonian diplomat, who plans to secure peace in the form of a marriage alliance. Roxana must use her skills and cunning to unearth Thessalus’ true intentions. Tighten this up. The last two sentences can be one, I think.

Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. Thessalus and Roxana form an unbreakable bond as they dodge man-eating beetles and clairvoyant assassins. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a mere human shield. I'm not sure we need the man-eating beetles and clairvoyant assassins.

Then Roxana learns the truth. Thessalus hides a secret that could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. If she betrays her own heart, she will become the savior of her country. Or she can choose to protect his secret and live with death on her hands. This bit is confusing. I think it needs to be shown as a cause/effect. When Roxana learns that Thessalus hides a secret that could turn the tide of war in Persia's favor, she must decide: betray her own heart and become the savior or her country, or protect Thessalus (or the man she loves or however you want to spin it) and live with the death on her hands.

THE IMMORTAL GUARD, completed at 98,000 words is a YA historical fantasy and my debut novel. It is a reimagining of Roxana’s life, prior to becoming the wife to Alexander the Great. The events in this novel are loosely based on real incidents and people. My novel will appeal to fans of An Ember in the Ashes and A Wrath and the Dawn series.

I think you've got all the right pieces here, it just needs to be tightened a bit to make it more punchy. Best of luck!


Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.





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