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Revised in #25: THIS IS NOT A CROWN (Speculative Fantasy)

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#1 slinke13

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 05:42 PM

UPDATE: Most recent revision (9/1) in #25. Critique for critique. Thanks :)

 

UPDATE: I've rewritten my query and would love for you to take a look at it (Post #14). Critique for critique. Thanks!! 

 

UPDATE: Working on a rewrite based on the critique I received. I'll post what I have, when I have it :)

 

Hey there,

 

I'd love some honest feedback on my query in return for some honest feedback on yours! 

 

Thanks :)

 

 

Query: 

 

 

Lewis Left was ready for her purpose. She steeled her nerves for the ‘squelch’ sound the ring would make as it passed through her neck. She stocked up on cream for the inevitable chafing. She dreamed of how her purpose would change the world. What Lewis wasn’t prepared for was a King who dared think her purpose was his to take. When Lewis finds herself in a battle for control over her own purpose, she must outwit the King if she wants to determine for herself, and herself alone, how she will change the world.

 

A warning: This story does not end with the hero merely finding her purpose. This tale is not about the chosen one being forced to take her purpose. There is no girl running away from her purpose here.

 

THIS IS NOT A CROWN is about a girl fighting tooth and nail, clawing and screaming, getting knocked down and standing up again, doing anything and everything to take back her own purpose.



#2 Springfield

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 05:57 PM

Hey there,

 

I'd love some honest feedback on my query in return for some honest feedback on yours! 

 

Thanks :)

 

 

Query: 

 

 

Lewis Left was ready for her purpose. She steeled her nerves for the ‘squelch’ sound the ring would make as it passed through her neck. She stocked up on cream for the inevitable chafing. She dreamed of how her purpose would change the world. What Lewis wasn’t prepared for was a King who dared think her purpose was his to take. When Lewis finds herself in a battle for control over her own purpose, she must outwit the King if she wants to determine for herself, and herself alone, how she will change the world.

 

A warning: This story does not end with the hero merely finding her purpose. This tale is not about the chosen one being forced to take her purpose. There is no girl running away from her purpose here.

 

THIS IS NOT A CROWN is about a girl fighting tooth and nail, clawing and screaming, getting knocked down and standing up again, doing anything and everything to take back her own purpose.

 

This is a scrap and redo for me -- I have not a single clue what this is about, or anything else about it, honestly.



#3 slinke13

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 06:13 PM

Hmm, that's what I feared. I didn't explain the concept very well I guess. I've reimagined a world where your purpose is not just abstractly your direction or path, but rather a tangible ring that you wear around your neck which gives you the power to change one thing (for example: one character can change the shape of her hand). 

 

Springfield, did you have a query you wanted me to critique? 



#4 galaxyspinner

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 06:13 PM

Lewis Left was ready for her purpose. She steeled her nerves for the ‘squelch’ ("Double quotes" should be used here) sound the ring would make as it passed through her neck (What?). She stocked up on cream for the inevitable chafing (What?). She dreamed of how her purpose would change the world (It's hard to tell whether or not this "purpose" is a good thing, in her mind). What Lewis wasn’t prepared for was a King (There's no reason to capitalize "king" here) who dared think her purpose was his to take (Very strange syntax). When Lewis finds herself in a battle for control over her own purpose, she must outwit the King if she wants to determine for herself, and herself alone, how she will change the world. (There's very little of substance here; we need details that can form a picture in our minds. Words like "purpose", "outwit", "take", and "change the world" are not things we can picture)

 

A warning: (This is odd; you're stepping out of the role of a storyteller and addressing the story on a strange, meta level. Why is this a "warning", and why should you be giving an agent such a warning?) This story does not end with the hero merely finding her purpose. This tale is not about the chosen one being forced to take her purpose. There is no girl running away from her purpose here. (You're presuming that your reader has a preconception about your story, but we honestly don't know enough about it to form anything of the sort)

 

THIS IS NOT A CROWN is about a girl fighting tooth and nail, clawing and screaming, getting knocked down and standing up again, doing anything and everything to take back her own purpose. (This is telling, and not showing. If we haven't gotten this from your previous paragraphs, then you need to revise. This final paragraph is better for giving your word count, genre, target audience, and similar clinical details)


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#5 slinke13

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 06:24 PM

Hey SpinnerofGalaxies,

 

Thanks for the feedback. The warning was an effort to state how my story was different from others in an interesting way (clearly, a failed effort lol). 

 

I do have the word count, genre, etc. in a paragraph after that I just didn't include. 

 

I think I'll have to go back to the drawing board and make things much clearer. 

 

Thanks again though! 



#6 Springfield

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 06:33 PM

Hmm, that's what I feared. I didn't explain the concept very well I guess. I've reimagined a world where your purpose is not just abstractly your direction or path, but rather a tangible ring that you wear around your neck which gives you the power to change one thing (for example: one character can change the shape of her hand). 

 

Springfield, did you have a query you wanted me to critique? 

 

I didn't at all get the purpose was an actual ring (which apparently cuts off your head, btw) and there's nothing in there about having a power to change anything.



#7 slinke13

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 06:39 PM

Do you guys think this is more along the right track?

 

All mirrors must be covered, all windows shattered, all silverware wrapped in tape. A thick wool scarf must be worn at all times. Any glimpse of a throat means death.  

 

In a world where your purpose hangs around your neck, it’s very easy to tell who has a purpose and who does not. The King does not. Year after year he waited for one, but one never came. So he’s decided to take one for himself.

 

Now Lewis Left must fight for her purpose from the grasp of a King who will stop at nothing for the power within it.



#8 Springfield

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 07:01 PM

Do you guys think this is more along the right track?

 

All mirrors must be covered, all windows shattered, all silverware wrapped in tape. A thick wool scarf must be worn at all times. Any glimpse of a throat means death.  

 

In a world where your purpose hangs around your neck, it’s very easy to tell who has a purpose and who does not. The King does not. Year after year he waited for one, but one never came. So he’s decided to take one for himself.

 

Now Lewis Left must fight for her purpose from the grasp of a King who will stop at nothing for the power within it.

 

No. You really need to do some research into what goes into a query. Nontraditional queries can sometimes work but they're tricky and usually for a purpose. HEH SEE WHAT I DID THERE?

 

Research. Try queryshark.



#9 slinke13

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 07:17 PM

Har. Har. I did in fact see. Thanks ;)



#10 Galina

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    http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/37674-a-witch-can-love-genre-blending/

Posted 31 July 2017 - 08:00 PM

Do you guys think this is more along the right track?

 

All mirrors must be covered, all windows shattered, all silverware wrapped in tape. A thick wool scarf must be worn at all times. Any glimpse of a throat means death. (the question here is: why...why ...why...why)

 

In a world where your purpose hangs around your neck,(is it a  necklace? that has your purpose written on it?) it’s very easy to tell who has a purpose one and who does not. The King does not. Year after year he waited for one, but one never came. So he’s decided to take one for himself.

 

Now Lewis Left must fight for her purpose from the grasp of a King who will stop at nothing for the power within it.(this implies Lewis has a super purpose?...what is it?)

You repeat the word purpose too many times. Also you can make this more clear, and more engaging. Agreed with Springfield check out successful query letters for ideas.  

You can try to start by introducing the King's dilemma first



#11 ThatDan

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 12:31 AM

I understand the part about the purpose, but unfortunately agents need much more to assess the story. They need to know about the setting, the MC, the conflict, and the stakes. Your query builds mystery and intrigue, but tells us little else. If I were to guess your story right now, I'd say it was about a girl with a purpose ring, and a king with grabby hands. See? Doesn't tell us much. I think your query has good prose, but unfortunately it's vagueness neither informs nor sells.

As recommended, visit query shark, or writers digest successful queries, to get an idea of the general format a query should follow.

#12 eburton

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 08:01 AM

Do you guys think this is more along the right track?

 

All mirrors must be covered, all windows shattered, all silverware wrapped in tape. A thick wool scarf must be worn at all times. Any glimpse of a throat means death.   (This writing is beautiful for your MS but vague for your query. It’s also confusing as a starting point because I have no idea where I am or what’s going on.)

 

In a world where your purpose hangs around your neck, it’s very easy to tell who has a purpose and who does not. The King does not. Year after year he waited for one, but one never came. So he’s decided to take one for himself.

 

Now Lewis Left must fight for her purpose from the grasp of a King who will stop at nothing for the power within it.

 

You write well, but you should keep your query as standardized as possible to avoid confusion. The way this reads, I’m not sure what’s going on other than Lewis Left has to fight for her purpose. Some things you should consider are hook, conflict, reaction, and stakes. Once you have all of those, your query will improve exponentially. Good luck!



#13 Preston Copeland.Biz

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 09:52 AM

UPDATE: Working on a rewrite based on the critique I received. I'll post what I have, when I have it :)

 

Hey there,

 

I'd love some honest feedback on my query in return for some honest feedback on yours! 

 

Thanks :)

 

 

Query: 

Hello Slinke13,

 

​Not sure why this was in italics, but different fonts do not make prose better.

 

Lewis Left ​(That's not a good first sentence because it tells nothing in detail. It's a vague general statement. Each sentence needs to pack detail.)was ready for her purpose. ​Also where is your hook at? Make a hook that describes why this thing is slung around her neck and what that means in her world. Use 1 sentence.) She steeled her nerves for the ​(‘squelch’ (awful word)sound the ring would make as it passed through her neck. She stocked up on ​(on cream? What?)cream for the inevitable chafing. She dreamed of how her purpose would change the world. ​(How? In what way would it change the world? You're not being clear or specific, at all.)

 

What Lewis wasn’t prepared for was a King ​(Ok, what we need to know here is the king. His name. His purpose. Some details about him and his world. This is your antagonist, so be clear so we understand.) who dared think her purpose was his to take. When Lewis finds herself in a battle ​(What kind of battle. Spiritual? Magical? Bows and arrows? Use Details.) for control over her own purpose, she must outwit the King if she wants to determine for herself, and herself alone, how she will change the world. ​How does outwitting a king save a world. Also, a world is where? The whole globe? Or a little town in eastern Europe. Where and when is this story taking place?

 

A warning: This story does not end with the hero merely finding her purpose. This tale is not about the chosen one being forced to take her purpose. There is no girl running away from her purpose here. ​(​I really have no idea what these last two sentences mean. Are you telling the agent this information? 

 

THIS IS NOT A CROWN is about a girl fighting tooth and nail, clawing and screaming, getting knocked down and standing up again, doing anything and everything to take back her own purpose. ​ ​No, you don't say that here. This should be clear in your query. Put your word count, genre, etc. Look up some successful queries to see what I mean.

 

​I know this edit may have seemed harsh, but I think there's some info that can help you develop your query more. It sounds like a really cool story, but we need specifics.

 

​Good luck, and please reciprocate at - http://agentquerycon...-book/?p=344459


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#14 slinke13

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 05:39 PM

Here is my rewritten query (8/17/17). Critique for critique. Let me have it :) Thanks! 

 

 

Lewis Left couldn’t help the nagging feeling her throat had been sliced open for nothing. It wasn’t the pain of the ring passing through her neck or the nasty ‘squelch’ sound it made or the scars it left underneath after the skin stitched itself back together. How else, after all, would you put on a purpose?

 

But a momentary beheading is easy to look past when immediately afterward you get to change the world. For that is what lies within each and every purpose: the power of change. So when Lewis puts on her shiny new purpose and nothing at all changes, she assumes she somehow managed to find the first, and only, broken one.

 

That is until she hears a voice in her head not her own, speaks words not her own, walks a path not her own. That is until she looks into the mirror in terror and sees only a crown and a menacing smile. Lewis knows now her purpose is far from broken, but so does the King who now controls it.

 

The King plans to ensure he alone changes the world by destroying all other purposes and Lewis is the key. She must gain back control or it will be her standing atop the ash heap of severed purposes. Her only advantage is the King thinks the battle for her purpose is over.

 

Lewis knows it’s just begun.



#15 Springfield

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 02:03 PM

Here is my rewritten query (8/17/17). Critique for critique. Let me have it :) Thanks! 

 

 

Lewis Left couldn’t help the nagging feeling her throat had been sliced open for nothing. That's not bad. It wasn’t the pain of the  see, here's where I'd put purpose ring passing through her neck or the nasty ‘squelch’ sound it made or the scars it left underneath after her the skin stitched itself back together. How else, after all, would you put on a purpose? You don't say what it WAS -- you say she felt it was for nothing, it wasn't these things.... and then drop it. 

 

But a momentary beheading is easy to look past when immediately afterward you get to change the world. For that is what lies within each and every purpose RING : the power of change. So when Lewis receives? puts on her shiny new purpose and nothing at all changes, she assumes she somehow managed to find the wording here is so confusing -- do you find them, like hunt in the woods?  the first, and only, broken one.no commas

 

That is until she hears a voice in her head not her own, speaks words not her own, walks a path not her own. That is until she looks into the mirror in terror and sees only a crown and a menacing smile. Lewis knows now her purpose is far from broken, but so does the King who now controls it.

 

The King who controls her ring plans to ensure he alone changes the world by destroying all other purposes and Lewis is the key. She must gain back control or it will be her standing atop the ash heap of severed purposes. Her only advantage is the King thinks the battle for her purpose is over.

 

Lewis knows it’s just begun.

I double dog dare you to search the document for the word 'purpose,and post the # and % of times it appears in your mss. You just have to stop saying it! :P 

 

Also, I think you have to make the whole 'changes' thing clearer here; it's very mushy. It reads in the opening paragraph as if it's just anything, and then it's unclear why he wants to control hers, and why she has to stop him, like why can't anyone if there are lots, etc. Clearer stakes would help too.

 

That said, this is definitely better, but still needs work. :)



#16 smithgirl

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 02:25 PM

Lewis Left couldn’t help the nagging feeling her throat had been sliced open for nothing. It wasn’t the pain of the ring passing through her neck or the nasty ‘squelch’ sound it made or the scars it left underneath after the skin stitched itself back together. How else, after all, would you put on a purpose? Agents really hate questions in a query. Always avoid.

 

I like this paragraph until the last sentence. You should always avoid questions. Also, it's unclear to me what you mean by putting on a purpose. You can have some ambiguity in your hook, but this is too much. Also, unrelated to your actual query, I initially thought that Lewis was a guy.

 

But a momentary beheading is easy to look past when immediately afterward you get to change the world. For that is what lies within each and every purpose: the power of change. So when Lewis puts on her shiny new purpose and nothing at all changes, she assumes she somehow managed to find the first, and only, broken one. This sounds intriguing but it's too vague. I don't know what you're saying.

 

That is until she hears a voice in her head not her own, speaks words not her own, walks a path not her own. That is until she looks into the mirror in terror and sees only a crown and a menacing smile. Lewis knows now her purpose is far from broken, but so does the King who now controls it. What?

 

The King plans to ensure he alone changes the world by destroying all other purposes and Lewis is the key. She must gain back control or it will be her standing atop the ash heap of severed purposes. Her only advantage is the King thinks the battle for her purpose is over. What?

 

Lewis knows it’s just begun.

 

THIS IS NOT A CROWN is a x-thousand word speculative novel.

 

​Your query started out really well (the first two sentences) and then it became incomprehensible. I actually have no idea what the story is about. You need to present the MC, the conflict, the story. I would scrap everything except the first two sentences. Then start over and write a query that addresses these basic questions:

 

1. Who is your MC?

2. What does she want?

3. What keeps her from getting what she wants?

4. What will happen if she fails (i.e. the stakes)?

 

Your query has to be very specific about all of these points. The writing in your query is good, but I have no idea what the story is about. My very first query started like this, too: voicy and enigmatic and utterly incomprehensible, which just doesn't work. Can you please take a look at my own query when you can? Thanks! http://agentquerycon...st-24/?p=345648



#17 slinke13

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 02:45 PM

Hey, Springfield, double dog dare accepted! 

 

'Purpose' count: 7

% of body of query: .03

 

I appreciate the critique. More work to be done :)

 

And thanks, Smithgirl. Clarity and specifics have been my Achilles heel... I'll go take a look at yours :) 



#18 Springfield

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 02:57 PM

Hey, Springfield, double dog dare accepted! 

 

'Purpose' count: 7

% of body of query: .03

 

I appreciate the critique. More work to be done :)

 

And thanks, Smithgirl. Clarity and specifics have been my Achilles heel... I'll go take a look at yours :) 

 

Oh no no no, the *manuscript* muahahah. :) Also I think you mean 3% in the query, multiply by 100, heh. 



#19 slinke13

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 03:19 PM

Haha clearly my math and close reading skills need improvement as well.

 

Okay, redo, Springfield: 

 

Query: 

'Purpose/s' count:    7

% of body of query:   3%

 

Manuscript:

'Purpose/s' count:    971 

%:   .92% 

 

Guess I calmed it down for the mss! ;) lol



#20 MICRONESIA

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 04:10 PM

Here is my rewritten query (8/17/17). Critique for critique. Let me have it :) Thanks! 

 

 

Lewis Left couldn’t help I feel like "help" is the wrong verb here. the nagging feeling her throat had been sliced open for nothing. Nice hook. It wasn’t the pain of the ring passing through her neck, or the nasty ‘squelch’ sound it made, or the scars it left underneath after the skin stitched itself back together. How else, after all, would you put on a purpose? Last sentence will make a lot of people go, "Huh?"

 

But a momentary beheading is easy to look past when immediately afterward you get to change the world. For that is what lies within each and every purpose: the power of change. Sentence sounds too Hollywood-movie-trailer and hokey. Agents hate that. So when Lewis puts on her shiny new purpose and nothing at all changes, she assumes she somehow managed to find the first, and only, broken one. So........ a purpose is like a "soul sheath" or something? Is she in the afterlife or what? I hope you explain this soon.

 

That is, until she hears a voice in her head not her own, speaks words not her own, walks a path not her own. So she's been reincarnated? Is she dead? I am lost. That is, until she looks into the mirror in terror and sees only a crown So it's a smiling crown? and a menacing smile. Lewis knows now her purpose is far from broken, but so does the King who now controls it. 

 

The King plans to ensure he alone changes the world by destroying all other purposes and Lewis is the key. She must gain back control or it will be her standing atop the ash heap of severed purposes. Her only advantage is the King thinks the battle for her purpose is over.

 

Lewis knows it’s just begun. 

Yeah, you're gonna have to explain this more. I like the idea (it's a fable, clearly), but it's just too airy and vague right now. Is there a way to outline the "rules" of this world in a single sentence? I still don't know if the MC is a ghost or what! "Change the world" is too airy-fairy to be a real motivation.

 

Iron this thing out. Be direct about the rules. This is good writing, stylistically. And I have no idea what's going on.

 

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







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