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The Immortal Guard - YA Historical Fantasy

Fantasy Historical Fiction Young Adult Adventure Fiction

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#21 Iconian

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 10:49 PM

Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, is one mistake away from death.  [At first, this line sounded fine.  Having read your third paragraph though, would "is now only one mistake away from death" be more accurate?  And the whole line might sound better something like this: "Roxana has long been looked down upon, as the weakest soldier in Persia's elite army.  But now, she is only one mistake away from death."]

 

Cursed with the unique ability to transform emotions into weapons, Roxana can avoid bloodshed [should this be "can avoid her own blood being shed?] as long as she remains useful. Her only desires: to elude the general’s wrath and stay safe in Susa, [Isn't this just a single desire?  To elude the general's wrath by staying 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.  [Something's wrong with this whole paragraph.  In the second sentence I'd say "She is assigned."  In the third sentence, "But soon, through her skill and cunning, Roxana finds herself unearthing Thessalus's true intentions."  She was never assigned to unearth his true intentions, was she?  Only assigned to protect him, right?]

 

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. [Here I'd say, "To Roxana's surprise, she sees she's valuable to Thessalus as more than a mere human shield."]

 

Then Roxana learns the truth: that 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.  [I think I'd put this differently again.  It feels disconnected from the previous paragraphs.  Something like, "It is then, just when Roxana is feeling more useful and more hopeful about her prospects for the future than ever before, that she learns the truth: that Thessalus hides" etc.]

 

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.


My query, open to critiques:   http://agentquerycon...mantic-dramedy/


#22 MICRONESIA

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 08:25 AM

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. Not a bad hook, but doesn't exactly blow my mind either.

Cursed with the unique ability to transform emotions into weapons, HER emotions or the emotions of others? Either way, cool idea! 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. I thought she was just guarding him. This makes it sound like she's on some sort of spy mission.

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. Be more specific! HOW is she valuable? As a friend? Lover? Piano accompaniment?

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. I'm torn on this. I like the fact that you've given us her choice, but it's a bit artlessly done. Can you give us this choice without reverting to such a simple, standard format? This doesn't exactly leap off the page.

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.

 

This is a nice query. I don't think you're too far away. Other than the small fixes above, I would also try to bring out a bit more of the character's personality. It's a bit dry as it is, and I don't get a huge sense of who Roxana is. A little bit goes a long way in this regard. Good luck with your revisions!



#23 EMarie

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 06:31 PM

Roxana, the weakest soldier in Persia’s elite army, (I think another description might work better here) 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. (I agree with what others said--I think this sentence introduces Roxana in a way that makes her really intriguing and might be a good opening line.) 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. (withe Persia?) Roxana must use her skills and cunning to unearth Thessalus’ true intentions. (To me this idea seemed a little underdeveloped--how does she know he has secret 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. (This is a great line! I liked this section)

Then Roxana learns the truth. Thessalus hides a secret that could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. (Maybe combine these two sentences?) 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 sentences sounded a tiny bit awkward to me--maybe it was beginning with the word "or.")

THE IMMORTAL GUARD, completed at 98,000 words, (would need a comma to offset this phrase) is a YA historical fantasy and my debut novel. It is a reimagining of Roxana’s life, (I don't think this comma is necessary) prior to becoming the wife to Alexander the Great. (I love this concept--and the title is fantastic.) 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.



#24 Novelarnia

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 07:11 PM

Okay... I'm going to take a stab at this, although DUDE, this is already awesome and why aren't you querying yet...?  >.>

 

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. My biggest problem with this query is that this sentence confuses me. How does she transform emotions into weapons? And how can that avoid bloodshed? Seems like it'd only create more problems... This is just a little too vague to hook me here, even though I adore everything else! 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, how? In a duel? An accident? Were they having a secret rendezvous? Did the general's son know her beforehand? (You don't need to answer all of those, but I would like to know how, specifically. I think that's important, since this is the inciting incident) 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... but plans change. (Just add something else to imply that he has less-than-noble intentions, which then leads into the next sentence, where Roxana unearths his true intentions.) 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. love this!

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 Persian 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.

 

Seriously, love that it's based on real-world people. Awesome job. :D 

 

I tweaked my query, too, if you have the time to take another look! I appreciate your feedback! http://agentquerycon...torm-ya-sci-fi/



#25 lyncfs

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 09:29 AM

Worked on this all morning. Thank you to everyone for the feedback. I took a lot of it to heart and tried to simplify.
 
Dear agent,
 
 
Seventeen-year-old Roxana, is cursed with the unique ability to transform emotions into weapons.
 
As a soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana has known no other life than a world of violence. Despite her powers, her lack of combat skills has made her a target of ridicule by the entire army. While others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and stay safe in Susa.
 
But trouble never stays away from Roxana long. In a confrontation, she almost kills the general’s son with her powers. The general gives her one last mission to prove her usefulness. To avert war, Persia and Macedonia plan to secure peace through a marriage alliance. Roxana is assigned to guard the visiting Macedonian diplomat, Thessalus.  
 
Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a mere human shield. With his encouragement, Roxana starts to trust in her own strength again.
 
Roxana discovers Thessalus intends to twist the marriage alliance for his own purposes. He hides a secret that could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. At the cost of betraying her own heart, Roxana can become the savior of her country and prove her worth.
 
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, before she becomes 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 Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and Renee Ahdieh’s 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.

#26 lionspaws

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:54 PM

Seventeen-year-old Roxana, no comma is cursed with the unique ability to transform emotions into weapons. Why is this a curse? Sounds pretty cool to me. 

 

As a soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana has known no other life than a world of violence. Despite her powers, her lack of combat skills has made her a target of ridicule by the entire army. While others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and stay safe in Susa. 

 

But trouble never stays away from Roxana long. In a confrontation, she almost kills the general’s son with her powers. The general gives her one last mission to prove her usefulness. To avert war, Persia and Macedonia plan to secure peace through a marriage alliance. Roxana is assigned to guard the visiting Macedonian diplomat, Thessalus.  

 

Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a mere human shield. With his encouragement, Roxana starts to trust in her own strength again. I think you could just begin the next para with this sentence; the rest of this one feels cumbersome and doesn't fit with the pace of your query. 

 

Roxana discovers Thessalus intends to twist the marriage alliance for his own purposes. He hides a secret that could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. At the cost of betraying her own heart, Roxana can become the savior of her country and prove her worth.

 

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, before she becomes 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 Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and Renee Ahdieh’s A WRATH AND THE DAWN series

.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Nice work! I really like it. My one suggestion is that a lot of the sentences feel a little short and choppy; perhaps try to merge some of them to make for a more interesting flow. 

I'd love any thoughts on my latest query for TO SAIL THE STARS :) 


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

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

 

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

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


#27 Iconian

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 12:53 AM



Worked on this all morning. Thank you to everyone for the feedback. I took a lot of it to heart and tried to simplify.

 

Dear agent,

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Roxana, [I agree with secondstar87 here, no comma] is cursed with the unique ability to transform emotions into weapons.

 

As a soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana has known no other life than a world of violence.  Despite her powers, her lack of combat skills has made her a target of ridicule by the entire army, so while others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and stay safe in Susa.  [Since you're giving us the specific name of "Susa," I suggest that the query should also give us an idea of what Susa is--do I recall it being a city of riches and secrets or something?  So perhaps something like, "safe in Susa, Persian city of riches and secrets."]

 

But trouble never stays away from Roxana long, and in a confrontation she almost kills the general’s son with her powers. The general gives her one last mission to prove her usefulness: to avert war, Persia and Macedonia plan to secure peace through a marriage alliance. Roxana is assigned to guard the visiting Macedonian diplomat, Thessalus.  

 

Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a mere human shield. With his encouragement, Roxana starts to trust in her own strength again.

 

Roxana discovers Thessalus intends to twist the marriage alliance for his own purposes. He hides a secret that could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. At the cost of betraying her own heart, Roxana can become the savior of her country and prove her worth.  [I would try to combine this and the previous paragraph, and improve flow and reduce choppiness, as secondstar said.]

 

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, before she becomes 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 Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and Renee Ahdieh’s A WRATH AND THE DAWN series

.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

Apart from the last couple paragraphs I pointed out, I think the query is quite good.  If you can get those paragraphs flowing better, I'd say the query is ready.  At least IMO.


My query, open to critiques:   http://agentquerycon...mantic-dramedy/


#28 eric balson

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 01:07 PM

Worked on this all morning. Thank you to everyone for the feedback. I took a lot of it to heart and tried to simplify.

 

Dear agent,

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Roxana, is cursed with the unique ability to transform emotions into weapons. Cursed is a little subjective, don't you think? It's like saying Superman is cursed with the ability to fly at light speeds, freeze hell over with his breath, lift heavy objects etc.

 

As a soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana has known no other life than a world of violence. Despite her powers, her lack of combat skills has made her a target of ridicule by the entire army. While others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and stay safe in Susa.

 

But trouble never stays away from Roxana long. In a confrontation,   After she almost kills the general’s son with her powers. The general gives her one last mission to prove her usefulness. To avert war, Persia and Macedonia plan to secure peace through a marriage alliance. Roxana is assigned to guard the visiting Macedonian diplomat, Thessalus.  

 

Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart.  To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a mere human shield. With his encouragement, Roxana starts to trust in her own strength again.

 

Roxana discovers Thessalus intends to twist the marriage alliance for his own purposes. He hides a secret that could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. I'm a little confused, the guy's Macedonian, right? So why's he helping Persia out? And if the Persia is getting the upper-hand through his secret, then what is Roxana worried about? I'm also not sure how she's "betraying her own heart" Does she fall for Thessalus? If so, it's not clearly worded in your query.  At the cost of betraying her own heart, Roxana can become the savior of her country and prove her worth.

 

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, before she becomes 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 Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and Renee Ahdieh’s A WRATH AND THE DAWN series

.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Hope this helps. Take a look at my query here (post #52): http://agentquerycon...o-we-are/page-3



#29 BCVail

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 02:38 PM

Worked on this all morning. Thank you to everyone for the feedback. I took a lot of it to heart and tried to simplify.

 

Dear agent,

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Roxana, is cursed with the unique ability to transform emotions into weapons. (No comma needed. I don't know if describing it as a unique ability is necessary... but I like the curse part and the emotions into weapons)

 

As a soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana has known no other life than a world of violence. Despite her powers, her lack of combat skills has made her a target of ridicule by the entire army (tiny thing, but does everyone know about her powers, or are they kept hidden?). While others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and stay safe in Susa. (I might not add extra formal names like Susa if not necessary... might be better to say what Susa is, like her home city? town? country side? I do believe Susa was an actual city,  but I wouldn't consider that common knowledge)

 

But trouble never stays away from Roxana long. In a confrontation, she almost kills the general’s son with her powers. The general gives her one last mission to prove her usefulness. To avert war, Persia and Macedonia plan to secure peace through a marriage alliance. Roxana is assigned to guard the visiting Macedonian diplomat, Thessalus.  

 

Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a mere human shield. With his encouragement, Roxana starts to trust in her own strength again.

 

Roxana discovers Thessalus intends to twist the marriage alliance for his own purposes. He hides a secret that could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. At the cost of betraying her own heart, Roxana can become the savior of her country and prove her worth. (I had to read this a couple of times. So Roxana is considering exposing Thessalus's secret to help Persia but that requires betraying him, after she's developed feelings, right? If thats the case I like the states but just clarify it a touch.)

 

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, before she becomes 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 Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES (Love these books, impatiently waiting for the next one) and Renee Ahdieh’s A WRATH AND THE DAWN series

.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

​Cool story, I'd definitely give this a read.



#30 Cengel

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 08:02 PM

Worked on this all morning. Thank you to everyone for the feedback. I took a lot of it to heart and tried to simplify.

 

Dear agent,

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Roxana, no comma here is cursed with the unique ability to transform emotions into weapons.

 

As a soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana has known no other life than a world of violence. I would change the sentence before to make it present. Something like "As a soldier in Persia's army, violence is an everyday part of Roxana's world. (or something like that) Despite her powers, her lack of combat skills has made makes her a target of ridicule by the entire army. While others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and stay safe in Susa.

 

But trouble never stays away from Roxana long. In a confrontation, she almost kills the general’s son with her powers. The general gives her one last mission to prove her usefulness. To avert war, Persia and Macedonia plan to secure peace through a marriage alliance. Roxana is assigned to guard the visiting Macedonian diplomat, Thessalus.  

 

Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a mere human shield. With his encouragement, Roxana starts to trust in her own strength again.

 

Roxana discovers Thessalus intends to twist the marriage alliance for his own purposes. He hides a secret that could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. At the cost of betraying her own heart, Roxana can become the savior of her country and prove her worth.

 

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, before she becomes 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 Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and Renee Ahdieh’s A WRATH AND THE DAWN series

.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I think there are a few things you can cut and reword, but overall, good job!


Please take a look at my query.


#31 EMarie

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 03:12 AM

Seventeen-year-old Roxana, (don't need comma. I'm torn about whether or not to include the age--it shows this character is a teen, but on the other hand it seems a little unnecessary to know she is exactly seventeen in the query and could distract from more important info in your opening sentence) is cursed with the unique ability to transform emotions into weapons.

 

As a soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana has known no other life than a world of violence. Despite her powers (again, this seems a little vague, make it obvious you're referring back to your opening sentence), her lack of combat skills has made her a target of ridicule by the entire army. While others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and stay safe in Susa.

 

But trouble never stays away from Roxana long. In a confrontation, (don't need comma) she almost kills the general’s son with her powers (a little redundant--describe the powers in another way or be more specific about what happens). The general gives her one last mission to prove her usefulness. To avert war, Persia and Macedonia plan to secure peace through a marriage alliance. (and) Roxana is assigned to guard the visiting Macedonian diplomat (responsible for forging the alliance?), Thessalus.  

 

Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a mere human shield. With his encouragement, Roxana starts to trust in her own strength again.

 

Roxana discovers Thessalus intends to twist the marriage alliance for his own purposes. He hides a secret that could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. At the cost of betraying her own heart, Roxana can become the savior of her country and prove her worth.

 

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, (no comma) before she becomes 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 Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and Renee Ahdieh’s A WRATH AND THE DAWN series

 

This draft has improved so much from your first! I have a much stronger sense of character and plot now. Great job! I agree with the poster who said to combine sentences wherever possible and to have variety in sentence structure. I think that would really improve the flow of your writing.



#32 lyncfs

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 05:27 PM

I have a feeling this is it. Thanks to everyone for all your feedback. It's helped tremendously!
 
 
Dear agent,
 [/size]
Roxana is cursed with the ability to transform emotions into weapons.[/size]
 [/size]
As a soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana knows no other life than a world of violence. Her lack of combat skills makes her a target of ridicule by the entire army. While others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and stay safe in Susa, the city of spices and gold.[/size]
 [/size]
When the general’s son attacks Roxana, her abilities backfire and nearly kill him. Roxana receives one last mission to prove her worth. She must guard Thessalus, the lead Macedonian diplomat, who hopes to prevent war through a Persian marriage alliance. [/size]
 [/size]
Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a hired sword and shield. As Roxana’s affections for Thesslaus grow, so does her trust in her own strength. [/size]
 [/size]
The line between duty and love blurs when Roxana discovers Thessalus’ secret. She must decide if becoming the savior of her country is greater than betraying her own heart.[/size]
 [/size]
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, before she becomes 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 Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and Renee Ahdieh’s A WRATH AND THE DAWN series.[/size]
. [/size]
Thank you for your time and consideration.


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

#33 jaustail

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 03:26 AM

JMO:

 

 

Dear agent,

 

Roxana is cursed with the ability to transform emotions into weapons(good opening. i'm intrigued already with this super power.).

 

As a soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana knows no other life than a world of violence. Her lack of combat skills makes her a target of ridicule by the entire army(why doesn't she use her ability? Was it a metaphor like she can emotional blackmail and cry her way out of a situation? I thought she could literally turn tears to floods, anger to fire. why have the people kept her in the army if she cannot fight? is this compulsory in the kingdom for people to fight for a year?). While others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and stay safe in Susa, the city of spices and gold.

 

When the general’s son attacks Roxana, her abilities backfire and nearly kill him. Roxana receives one last mission to prove her worth(so others know of her ability. Do they also have super powers? why does she want to prove her worth? why not use her ability and escape the army since she doesn't like fighting?). She must guard Thessalus, the lead Macedonian diplomat, who hopes to prevent war through a Persian marriage alliance.

 

Nothing goes as planned(lol), not even the course of her own heart. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a hired sword and shield. As Roxana’s affections for Thesslaus grow, so does her trust in her own strength.

 

The line between duty and love blurs when Roxana discovers Thessalus’ secret. She must decide if becoming the savior of her country is greater than betraying her own heart.

 

THE IMMORTAL GUARD, completed at 98,000 words is a YA historical fantasy and my debut novel. It is a reimagining(this website is putting curly red line under reimagining and suggestiong re-imagining or re imagining) of Roxana’s life, before she becomes 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 Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and Renee Ahdieh’s A WRATH AND THE DAWN series.

.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I'm sorry this didn't work for me. I thought Roxanna had real powers. I couldn't able to visualize her ability. JMO.


Query: WALL OF ICE

(Space Opera)

Revised version: Link


#34 albarchs

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 01:44 PM

Dear agent,

 

Roxana is cursed with the ability to transform emotions into weapons. [ I dig this. It's a strong opener. Although, is she an empath? I imagine she  can make people go crazy, become courageous, make Persia's enemies flee the battlefield? It's your call to add another sentence to state why this makes her valuable.]

 

As a soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana knows no other life than a world of violence. Her lack of combat skills makes her a target of ridicule by the entire army. While others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and stay safe in Susa, the city of spices and gold. [ This is solid. You get a clear idea of her background, her motivation, and her current goal. Also, you slip in what I imagine is a major setting in your story. Great job.]

 

When the general’s son attacks Roxana, her abilities backfire and nearly kill him. Roxana receives one last mission to prove her worth. She must guard Thessalus, the lead Macedonian diplomat, who hopes to prevent war through a Persian marriage alliance. [Is this the inciting incident? I imagine this is what kicks off the plot proper.]

 

Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a hired sword and shield. As Roxana’s affections for Thesslaus grow, so does her trust in her own strength.  [He's so hunky and trustworthy, but, wait! This is good, no suggestions here.]

 

The line between duty and love blurs when Roxana discovers Thessalus’ secret. She must decide if becoming the savior of her country is greater than betraying her own heart. [Ahh the classic torn between duty and passion. Good end]

 

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, before she becomes 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 Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and Renee Ahdieh’s A WRATH AND THE DAWN series.

.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

This is baller. I don't think you can need to change it other than maybe a minor detail or so. You can tell this a historical fantasy with a strong romance angle. And it's YA? It's going to be agents' preferences and tastes, but I think it is a solid query. Good job.



#35 callalilly

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 03:36 PM

I see you already have a few critiques, so I'll try not to bombard you with more. Just a few thoughts.


Roxana is cursed with the ability to transform emotions into weapons. (Interesting!)

 

As a soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana knows no other life than a world of violence. Her lack of combat skills makes her a target of ridicule by the entire army. While others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and stay safe in Susa, the city of spices and gold. (I'm curious to know what Roxana does while everyone is at war. She's a soldier, so she must be doing something in it)

 

When the general’s son attacks Roxana, her abilities backfire and nearly kill him (I would like to know why he does this, is it just part of the ridicule she endures? If so include that.). Roxana receives one last mission to prove her worth. She must guard Thessalus, the lead Macedonian diplomat, who hopes to prevent war through a Persian marriage alliance.

 

Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a hired sword and shield. As Roxana’s affections for Thesslaus grow, so does her trust in her own strength. (Oh forbidden romance -I like!)

 

The line between duty and love blurs when Roxana discovers Thessalus’ secret (The secret is intriguing, but since it's not explained, I feel like it doesn't need to be mentioned in the actually query. BUT maybe you feel different.). She must decide if becoming the savior of her country is greater than betraying her own heart.

 

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, before she becomes 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 Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and Renee Ahdieh’s A WRATH AND THE DAWN series.          Overall, I really like, it sounds interesting and highlights conflict in true action and relationship. I do suggest highlighting her ability more -it makes a great hook, but then the query doesn't discuss it anymore after the hook. If you add more about her ability, I think it will tie it better together. If these edits don't work -please delete and ignore. All the best!)

 


My work in progress: http://agentquerycon...again-ya/page-2

 


#36 Iconian

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 06:12 PM



I have a feeling this is it. Thanks to everyone for all your feedback. It's helped tremendously!

 

 

Dear agent,

 

Roxana is cursed with the ability to transform emotions into weapons.

 

As a soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana knows no other life than a world of violence. Her lack of combat skills makes her a target of ridicule by the entire army. While others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and stay safe in Susa, the city of spices and gold.  <<<<<[I'm glad you brought this back.]

 

When the general’s son attacks Roxana, her abilities backfire and nearly kill him.  [Wasn't there something before about him being drained of all his emotions?  I'd mention in a few words a description of what happens him.]  Roxana receives one last mission to prove her worth: she must guard Thessalus, the lead Macedonian diplomat, who hopes to prevent war through a Persian marriage alliance.

 

Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus [as more] than a hired sword and shield. As Roxana’s affections for Thesslaus grow, so does her trust in her own strength.

 

[Except the] line between duty and love blurs when Roxana discovers Thessalus’ secret. She must decide if becoming the savior of her country is greater than betraying her own heart.  <<<<<[I like this last line--a simple statement of her dilemma.]

 

THE IMMORTAL GUARD, completed at 98,000 words, [comma] is a YA historical fantasy and my debut novel. It is a re-imagining [hyphen] of Roxana’s life, before she becomes 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 Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and Renee Ahdieh’s A WRATH AND THE DAWN series.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I think it's nearly ready . . .


My query, open to critiques:   http://agentquerycon...mantic-dramedy/


#37 fernet

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 06:43 PM

I have a feeling this is it. Thanks to everyone for all your feedback. It's helped tremendously!

 

 

Dear agent,

 

Roxana is cursed with the ability to transform emotions into weapons. I agree with the folks who say this is intriguing but want more details--something physical, visceral. What are we talking here? Fireballs of anger? Floods of grief? Uhh... soap bubbles of laughter? (Not a very effective weapon.) It's a cool idea but can you give it a little more color? The sentence kind of goes 'clunk' here by itself.

 

As a soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana knows no other life than a world of violence. Her lack of combat skills makes her a target of ridicule by the entire army. (So the transforming emotions into weapons isn't actually useful in combat? Why not?) While others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and stay safe in Susa, the city of spices and gold.

 

When the general’s son attacks Roxana, her abilities backfire and nearly kill him. Roxana receives one last mission to prove her worth. She must guard Thessalus, the lead Macedonian diplomat, who hopes to prevent war through a Persian marriage alliance.

 

Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a hired sword and shield. As Roxana’s affections for Thesslaus grow, so does her trust in her own strength.

 

The line between duty and love blurs when Roxana discovers Thessalus’ secret. (I kind of agree with callalilly above--either remove the secret or give a bit more of a hint, 'having a secret' is the vaguest of plot mechanisms.) She must decide if becoming the savior of her country is greater than betraying her own heart.

 

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, before she becomes 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 Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and Renee Ahdieh’s A WRATH AND THE DAWN series.

.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

You could maybe clarify and spice up a few things but overall I think it's in good shape -- the initial movement of the plot is clear, the stakes are meaningful, the protagonist's ability is a neat touch!



#38 lyncfs

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 04:45 AM

Here we go again. Thank you for the feedback. It really helped me clear things up. I am still working on returning critiques.

Iconian thanks for your edits! They smoothed over my transition issue.  I need help with the sentence in BOLD (not sure if I should keep it. Or if it should be a semi-colon or comma?)!

 

Dear agent,

 

Roxana possesses the ability to transform emotions into weapons. She wields guilt to force confessions out of thieves and calms unrest with a twitch of her fingers. But to Roxana, her gifts are a curse; a gilded cage that holds her captive to the Persian empire.

 

As a soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana knows no other life than a world of violence. Her lack of physical combat skills makes her a target of ridicule by the entire army. While others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and guard the streets of Susa, the city of spices and gold.

 

When the general’s son attacks Roxana, her abilities backfire and nearly kill him. Roxana receives one last mission to prove her worth. She must guard Thessalus, the lead Macedonian diplomat, who hopes to prevent war through a Persian marriage alliance.

 

Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a hired sword and shield. As Roxana’s affections for Thesslaus grow, so does her trust in her own strength.

 

Except the line between duty and love blurs when Roxana uncovers Thessalus’ secret which could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. She must decide if becoming the savior of her country is greater than betraying her own heart.

 

THE IMMORTAL GUARD, completed at 98,000 words is a YA historical fantasy and my debut novel. It is a re-imagining of Roxana’s life before she becomes 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 Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and Renee Ahdieh’s 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.

#39 MICRONESIA

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 10:37 AM

 

Here we go again. Thank you for the feedback. It really helped me clear things up. I am still working on returning critiques.

Iconian thanks for your edits! They smoothed over my transition issue.  I need help with the sentence in BOLD (not sure if I should keep it. Or if it should be a semi-colon or comma?)!

 

Dear agent,

 

Roxana possesses the ability to transform emotions into weapons. She wields guilt to force confessions out of thieves and calms unrest with a twitch of her fingers. But to Roxana, her gifts are a curse; Em-dash or colon. a gilded cage that holds her captive to the Persian empire. Good hook.

 

As a soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana knows no other life than a world of violence. Her lack of physical combat skills makes her a target of ridicule by the entire army. While others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and guard the streets of Susa, the city of spices and gold. Nice and smooth so far. Still following. Good work.

 

When the general’s son attacks Roxana, her abilities backfire and nearly kill him. Roxana receives one last mission to prove her worth. Colon? She must guard Thessalus, the lead Macedonian diplomat, who hopes to prevent war through a Persian marriage alliance.

 

Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. Sentence reads awkwardly. I think it's "even the course of" that throws me. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a hired sword and shield. As Roxana’s affections for Thesslaus grow, so does her trust in her own strength. So far, we know nothing about Thessalus AS A CHARACTER. Can we "see" a bit more of Roxana's feelings for him?

 

Except the line between duty and love blurs when Roxana uncovers Thessalus’ secret which could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. She must decide if becoming the savior of her country is greater than betraying her own heart. Stakes are simple and clear.

 

THE IMMORTAL GUARD, completed at 98,000 words is a YA historical fantasy and my debut novel. It is a re-imagining of Roxana’s life before she becomes 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 Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and Renee Ahdieh’s A WRATH AND THE DAWN series.

.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

This is a good query. It's clear and concise and piques my interest. I'm a bit more confused about the big picture things. Is this more of a fantasy thing (the magical element) or historical fiction? So you're re-imagining Alex/Roxana in a magical world? Hopefully, you've thought of ways to square this with our historical perspective (this era wasn't all that long ago). Otherwise, you'll have to give some alternative history type of explanation. Maybe I'm just wondering aloud. Just to be clear: magic is a THING in this world?

 

Please have a look at my query as well (link in sig).



#40 Iconian

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 08:46 PM



 

Here we go again. Thank you for the feedback. It really helped me clear things up. I am still working on returning critiques.

Iconian thanks for your edits! They smoothed over my transition issue.  I need help with the sentence in BOLD (not sure if I should keep it. Or if it should be a semi-colon or comma?)!

 

Dear agent,

 

Roxana possesses the ability to transform emotions into weapons. She wields guilt to force confessions out of thieves, [comma] and calms unrest with a twitch of her fingers. But in her mind, her gifts are a curse--a <<<<[should be dash between those words] gilded cage that holds her captive to the Persian empire. [I can see a few possible ways to write this.  But I'm not clear why her abilities should hold her captive to the Persia empire.  Maybe the abilities hold her future ambitions and growth captive?  Is there someone that is actually using her own power to control her?  I'm confused about this, and unless the rest of the query answers it, I think you should alter that part of the line, somehow.]

 

[The transition between these two paragraphs is poor.  Maybe a little something about Roxana becoming a soldier?  "When Roxana became a soldier in the empire's army, it seemed a natural decision, in light of her abilities.  But now she's the subject of ridicule for the whole army, as she lacks physical combat skills."  Etc.]

 

As a soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana knows no other life than a world of violence. Her lack of physical combat skills makes her a target of ridicule by the entire army. While others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and guard [as a guard on] the streets of Susa, the city of spices and gold.

 

[But she can't escape anonymity for long.] The general’s son attacks Roxana [give brief explanation--greed, lust, crazy, etc.], her abilities backfire and nearly kill him. Roxana receives one last mission to prove her worth: [colon] she must guard Thessalus, the lead Macedonian diplomat, who hopes to prevent war through a Persian marriage alliance.

 

Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus [as more] than a hired sword and shield. [If you leave the "as more" out of the sentence, it only makes it sound like she's more valuable to Thessalus than a typical hired sword and shield.  Like, her value has merely increased in quantity, from a soldier you'd be willing to pay 80 gold coins to one worth 100, or 150.  But if you say she "becomes valuable to Thessalus as more than a hired sword and shield," it implies a more qualitative increase in value.  With Thessalus, her value is no longer merely measured with money, but with emotions, which goes far beyond any combat abilities she possesses.]  As Roxana’s affections for Thesslaus grow, so does her trust in her own strength.

 

Except the line between duty and love blurs when Roxana uncovers Thessalus’ secret, [comma] which could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. She must decide if becoming the savior of her country is greater than betraying her own heart.  [You might look at trying to further increase the emotional weight of her decision.]

 

THE IMMORTAL GUARD, completed at 98,000 words is a YA historical fantasy and my debut novel. It is a re-imagining of Roxana’s life before she becomes 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 Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and Renee Ahdieh’s A WRATH AND THE DAWN series.

.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

I hope that helps.  Overall, I think your query is quite good.  I look forward to future refinements, and hopefully I'll hear from you more on my own query :)


My query, open to critiques:   http://agentquerycon...mantic-dramedy/






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