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A DARKNESS IN SPRING (dark fantasy); FINAL VERSION


Best Answer MICRONESIA , 29 May 2018 - 01:56 PM

Final version. After this, I'm dropping the mic and walking away. If anyone has any last-minute suggestions, leave them below. 

 

I can't take it anymore. Let the chips fall where they may. I'm done.  :cool:

 

 

 

When nature worshiper Jean Miller moves to the Great Smoky Mountains, she hopes to renew her spirits and reconnect with the Earth. But after a local boy is found dead in the woods, Jean is shocked to learn he’s not the first to wander into the wilds and succumb to the elements.

 

Soon, Jean finds herself roaming the midnight woods, enticed by a springtime presence that sings with the voice of juniper and bristlemoss. None of the strangeness adds up—until she catches Miles, her roommate and lover, leaving offerings to something called “the Fair Folk.”

 

Hostile, woodland forces are reclaiming nature from humanity, and dead locals are only the beginning. Moreover, the Fair Folk have chosen the Earth-loving Jean to help lead the revolution. Desperate to prevent more killings, she forges deeper into the hollow hills—knowing she’ll find either a peaceful solution, or death.

 

She doesn’t have long. Because soon the hills will open up, and the culling will begin.

 

A DARKNESS IN SPRING is a dark fantasy novel of 70,000 words. Within, the elemental demons of The Ocean at the End of the Lane stalk the whispering backwoods of Universal Harvester. In 2010, I received an MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco. Thank you for your consideration.

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#241 MICRONESIA

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 02:18 PM

I hate to say it, Helia, but you're waaaayyyyy far back in the thread. That's my query from September.  :laugh: Thanks, though. I'll have a look at your query now.

 

Sad to think this thread is 13 pages... Where's my agent???



#242 Heliagrey

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 02:20 PM

I hate to say it, Helia, but you're waaaayyyyy far back in the thread. That's my query from September.  :laugh: Thanks, though. I'll have a look at your query now.

 

Sad to think this thread is 13 pages... Where's my agent???

LOL!!! I am on a ROLL today. That's like, the third time I've ended up on the wrong page. XD

 

Let me jump ahead, see how it's goin' now. Look at that, I'm time travelling.  :happy:



#243 Heliagrey

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 02:26 PM

When nature worshiper Jean Miller moves to the Great Smoky Mountains, she hopes to revive her spirits (the phrase 'revive her spirits' sounds a little off to me- for some reason it feels literal, like there's a mystical element here. If that's what you intend, great!) and reconnect with the Earth. But after a local boy is found dead in the woods, Jean is shocked to learn he’s not the first victim. The town has a history of people wandering into the wilds to die in the elements.

 

Soon, Jean finds herself roaming the midnight woods, enticed by a springtime presence that sings with the voice of juniper and bristlemoss. (This sounds beautiful, but I don't know what it means.) None of the strangeness adds up—until she catches Miles, her roommate and lover, leaving protective offerings to something called “the Fair Folk.” (Okay, so here's my 2 cents... I don't see Jean's involvement in the story at all yet. She's roaming the woods, sure, but she feels more like a passenger in the story, or a narrator. I'd roll some of this information- that she catchers her roommate and lover in the woods shortly after a young boy was found dead- right up front. Even if it doesn't happen right up front in the book, I'd get the agent to see Jean as a key player.)

 

Desperate to end the killings, Jean scours the hollow hills for the truth about the Fair Folks’ motives. Dead locals, it seems, are only the beginning. But when she discovers the spirits’ ultimate goal—a lush, sustainable Earth—Jean must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice for the planet she loves so dearly. (What about the dead kid(s)? I know you said it's only the beginning, but you hooked me on the murder, and now it's like you're switching gears and saying, but more than the murder- look at this! I need a little more tie in to what's going on with what the book turns into.)

 

She doesn’t have long. Because soon the hills will open up, and the culling will begin. (I'd roll this into the last paragraph- and I'd cut out the 'planet she loves so dearly'- this is stronger.)

 

A DARKNESS IN SPRING is a dark fantasy novel of 70,000 words. Within, the elemental demons of The Ocean at the End of the Lane stalk the whispering backwoods of Universal Harvester. In 2010, I received an MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco. Thank you for your consideration.

Here's hoping I quoted the right one, eh? ;) 



#244 Denisa

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 05:12 PM

OMG! I just realized I didn't critique back! I'm so sorry! Will return the favor first thing tomorrow! Thank you for your input, and sorry again! 



#245 Denisa

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 05:27 AM

When nature worshiper Jean Miller moves to the Great Smoky Mountains, she hopes to revive her spirits and reconnect with the Earth. But after a local boy is found dead in the woods, Jean is shocked to learn he’s not the first victim. The town has a history of people wandering into the wilds to die in the elements.

 

Soon, Jean finds herself roaming the midnight woods, enticed by a springtime presence that sings with the voice of juniper and bristlemoss. you need to find a way to rephrase this, or try a different approach, because I don't really grasp what you're saying here.   None of the strangeness adds up—until she catches Miles, her roommate and lover, leaving protective offerings to something called “the Fair Folk.”

 

Desperate to end the killings, Jean scours the hollow hills for the truth about the Fair Folks’ motives. Dead locals, it seems, are only the beginning. But when she discovers the spirits’ ultimate goal—a lush, sustainable Earth—Jean must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice you need to be more specific here; jane must decide is she's willing to risk her life, or someone else's life, maybe her boyfriend's. be specific. what does she need to sacrifice? for the planet she loves so dearly.

 

Your query is good. the main problem is that Jean's stakes aren't clear. You need to spill them out. As someone pointed out above, we need to see Jean is the key player, and you do that to some degree, but not with enough specifics.

 

She doesn’t have long. Because soon the hills will open up, and the culling will begin.

 

A DARKNESS IN SPRING is a dark fantasy novel of 70,000 words. Within, the elemental demons of The Ocean at the End of the Lane stalk the whispering backwoods of Universal Harvester. In 2010, I received an MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco. Thank you for your consideration.



#246 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 12:41 PM

I think your query has gotten to the point where every iteration is decent, and now it's just a problem that no one on this site will ever universally agree on everything.  I feel like you're starting to overthink everything and are going backwards on this instead of improving it.  I think my fav. version has been this one (or the ones close to this one), because it has a very ominous, something is not right tone, complete with buildup horror music:

 

When nature worshiper Jean Miller moves to the Great Smoky Mountains, she hopes to revive her spirits and reconnect with the earth. But when a local boy is found dead in the woods, Jean discovers he’s not the first victim. The town has a history of people wandering into the wilds to die in the elements. 

 

Soon, Jean finds herself roaming the midnight woods, enticed by a springtime presence that sings with the voice of juniper and bristlemoss. Nothing adds up—until she catches Miles, her roommate and lover, leaving offerings to something called “the Fair Folk.”

 

Hostile, woodland forces are reclaiming nature from humanity, and dead children are only the beginning. Moreover, Jean is shocked to learn the Fair Folk have chosen her to lead the revolution. Desperate to end the killings, she ransacks the hollow hills—knowing she’ll unearth either answers or death.

 

Because soon the hills will open up, and the culling will begin.

 

A DARKNESS IN SPRING is a dark fantasy novel of 70,000 words. Within, the elemental demons of The Ocean at the End of the Lane stalk the whispering backwoods of Universal Harvester. In 2010, I received an MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco. Thank you for your consideration.



#247 MICRONESIA

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 04:37 PM

Okay. I pasted all of your comments into my Word file, let the whole thing sit for a few days while I partied, and straight up copied the "stakes" formula of a successful query I liked.

 

This is the result. Simple enough? Clear enough?

 

 

When nature worshiper Jean Miller moves to the Great Smoky Mountains, she hopes to revive her spirits and reconnect with the Earth. But after a local boy is found dead in the woods, Jean is shocked to learn he’s not the first victim. The town has a history of people wandering into the wilds to die of hypothermia.

 

Soon, Jean finds herself roaming the midnight woods, enticed by a springtime presence that sings with the voice of juniper and bristlemoss. None of the strangeness adds up—until she catches Miles, her roommate and lover, leaving offerings to something called “the Fair Folk.”

 

As Jean scours the hollow hills in the hopes of stopping the killings, she discovers the Fair Folk have much bigger plans for humanity. And thanks to her deep connection to nature, they have chosen Jean to help lead the invasion. To prevent a global tragedy, she must abandon her personal desires for transcendence and ward off the Fair Folk before their power heightens.

 

She doesn’t have long. Because soon the hills will open up, and the culling will begin.

 

A DARKNESS IN SPRING is a dark fantasy novel of 70,000 words. Within, the elemental demons of The Ocean at the End of the Lane stalk the whispering backwoods of Universal Harvester. In 2010, I received an MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco. Thank you for your consideration.



#248 lnloft

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 09:08 PM

I feel like this has gone a little backward. That last paragraph doesn't quite have the same ominous feel that earlier ones did. I also don't like the change from "die in the elements" to "die of hypothermia" in the first paragraph. "Die in the elements" has a more mystical feel to it, a better implication that something supernatural is going on. I mean, this isn't a bad query, but I think others have been better. I'm going to second Disgruntled's opinion; I was looking through some of the other drafts, and I think the one she suggests is damn good, for the same reasons she espouses.


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#249 MICRONESIA

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 10:32 PM

Dang. Okay. I hear y'all! :laugh: But before I switch it back...

 

 

1) Doesn't Jean being "chosen" contradict the possibility of her death?

 

2) Doesn't this line need to be explained further? Or is it fine as it is?

 

 

Hostile, woodland forces are reclaiming nature from humanity, and dead children are only the beginning. Moreover, Jean is shocked to learn the Fair Folk have chosen her to lead the revolution. Desperate to end the killings, she ransacks the hollow hills—knowing she’ll unearth either answers or death.



#250 punitrastogi

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 02:23 AM

Okay. I pasted all of your comments into my Word file, let the whole thing sit for a few days while I partied, and straight up copied the "stakes" formula of a successful query I liked.

 

This is the result. Simple enough? Clear enough?

 

 

When nature worshiper Jean Miller moves to the Great Smoky Mountains, she hopes to revive her spirits and reconnect with the Earth. But after a local boy is found dead in the woods, Jean is shocked to learn he’s not the first victim. The town has a history of people wandering to wander into the wilds to die of hypothermia.

 

Soon, Jean finds herself roaming the midnight woods, enticed by a springtime presence that sings with the voice of juniper and bristlemoss. None of the strangeness adds up—until she catches Miles, her roommate and lover, leaving offerings to something called “the Fair Folk.”

 

As Jean scours the hollow hills in the hopes of stopping the killings, she discovers the Fair Folk have much bigger plans for humanity. And thanks to her deep connection to nature, they have chosen Jean to help lead the invasion.(This is where the possibility of deaths can be mentioned to raise the stakes)  To prevent a global tragedy, she must abandon her personal desires for transcendence and ward off the Fair Folk before their power heightens.

 

She doesn’t have long. Because soon the hills will open up, and the culling will begin.

 

A DARKNESS IN SPRING is a dark fantasy novel of 70,000 words. Within, the elemental demons of The Ocean at the End of the Lane stalk the whispering backwoods of Universal Harvester. In 2010, I received an MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco. Thank you for your consideration.

 

I don't like the underlined part, it looks like a hurried way to finish off the query without telling us about what Jean will have to go through or what exactly is expected of her.

The part after "and" is redundant because 'warding off the Fair Folk before their power heightens' = 'To prevent a global tragedy'.

 

So I guess you can put across an irony that Jean wanted to stop them, but she is instead chosen to lead them.

And she is not sure which side to be on, because although she agrees to the Fair Folks' goal of a better earth, she cannot fathom the massacre that would entail.

She has to choose between the blood of humanity, or the nature that she so dearly worships.

 

Hope it helps :)

 

P.S.: Another 2-version post of my query is out. Please have a look :)

http://agentquerycon...ci-fi/?p=357330



#251 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 09:06 AM

Dang. Okay. I hear y'all! :laugh: But before I switch it back...

 

 

1) Doesn't Jean being "chosen" contradict the possibility of her death? When you say she'll uncover either the answers or death, I never necessarily thought it was HER death. Like, we have the murdered kids, the evil Fair Folk, the suspicious Miles, so I always assumed death was a more ambigous term and the reader can decide how to interpret it. "Death" could mean she finds more dead children, the Fair Folk themselves...

 

2) Doesn't this line need to be explained further? Or is it fine as it is?

 

 

Hostile, woodland forces are reclaiming nature from humanity, and dead children are only the beginning. Moreover, Jean is shocked to learn the Fair Folk have chosen her to lead the revolution. Desperate to end the killings, she ransacks the hollow hills—knowing she’ll unearth either answers or death.

 

As for the "new" ending: it has it's perks. It makes the Fair Folk seem like the ultimate evil and Jean is going off to battle them because she is firmly on the side of "good", which works in your favour if you're still worried about the problem about an agent seeing the premise as unmarketable.  On the downside, it doesn't pack as much of a punch for me, and is erring toward sounds like your average "stakes" that you read in a million queries. While it sounds good, doesn't stand out as much.

 

So I vote the old ending that I already liked.  Way more ominous and mystical to me.

 

OR just send five queries with one ending and five the with other and see if one yields better results. 



#252 MICRONESIA

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 01:56 PM   Best Answer

Final version. After this, I'm dropping the mic and walking away. If anyone has any last-minute suggestions, leave them below. 

 

I can't take it anymore. Let the chips fall where they may. I'm done.  :cool:

 

 

 

When nature worshiper Jean Miller moves to the Great Smoky Mountains, she hopes to renew her spirits and reconnect with the Earth. But after a local boy is found dead in the woods, Jean is shocked to learn he’s not the first to wander into the wilds and succumb to the elements.

 

Soon, Jean finds herself roaming the midnight woods, enticed by a springtime presence that sings with the voice of juniper and bristlemoss. None of the strangeness adds up—until she catches Miles, her roommate and lover, leaving offerings to something called “the Fair Folk.”

 

Hostile, woodland forces are reclaiming nature from humanity, and dead locals are only the beginning. Moreover, the Fair Folk have chosen the Earth-loving Jean to help lead the revolution. Desperate to prevent more killings, she forges deeper into the hollow hills—knowing she’ll find either a peaceful solution, or death.

 

She doesn’t have long. Because soon the hills will open up, and the culling will begin.

 

A DARKNESS IN SPRING is a dark fantasy novel of 70,000 words. Within, the elemental demons of The Ocean at the End of the Lane stalk the whispering backwoods of Universal Harvester. In 2010, I received an MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco. Thank you for your consideration.



#253 lnloft

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 04:01 PM

Good. I like this iteration. The penultimate paragraph has regained the eerie factor, and as you've obviously realized pretty much all changes are going to be lateral moves or regressions at this point. Don't pull your hair out when you don't have to. I'll be buying this book when it pops up on shelves, and not just because I've looked at this query enough to have a personal investment.


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#254 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 09:50 AM

I'm glad you settled on this version! Best of luck, and thank you so much for the help with my query!



#255 RegE

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 11:56 PM

I'm a bit late to this. You helped me a great deal with my query, soooo thanks. I def think you nailed this query. The story sounds v cool and it's def something I would requestt pages for if I were an agent!! :D I wish you lots of success. Thanks again for your comments. If  it wasn't for your harsh, but fair crits, I would have sent my three POV query out again (and collected more rejections) !! I'm glad I took your advice to re write. What do you think of my one POV version?






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