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Eyes White as Snow (YA Fantasy)

Fiction Young Adult Fantasy

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#1 Arcanjoe

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 09:15 AM

New Draft in #43!

 

 

Hey there, any help with this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

 

Dear *Agent,*

 

Sixteen-year-old Bryan Bradley was born with white eyes. Scared of what will happen if someone learns his secret, Bryan hides his treacherous eyes behind contact lenses and keeps any would-be friends at arm's length. But when Bryan stumbles upon a strange object that looks like a lightning storm trapped inside a marble, he wakes (without the damned object) in Farwae–a land ruled by a cruel King obsessed with a prophecy that predicts a white-eyed boy's rise to power.

 

Bryan escapes a run-in with the King’s Trackers thanks to a group of young forest-dwellers known as Oculi, who have unusual colored eyes, just like him. Each of them has an ability; the rarer their eye color the more powerful their ability, and there hasn’t been a white Oculi in Farwae for over a century. If the Oculi can teach Bryan to unlock his abilities, he may be the key to ridding Farwae of its tyrannical King. But Bryan doesn’t want to navigate sentient forests, learn the bizarre customs of the Oculi, or join his new friends’ revolution, even if he does have a thing for their enigmatic leader. He just wants to go home.

 

When he’s abducted by Trackers and taken to the King, Bryan believes his Oculi friends will come for him. To survive until then, Bryan strikes a deal with the King: if the King spares him he will use his emerging abilities in service to the crown. The King agrees, but his drunken taunts of a precious opal that can travel between worlds show Bryan there’s a way out of Farwae. And when the Oculi’s attempt to free him results in their capture, Bryan is forced to make a choice: find the opal and return home, or stay in Farwae and fight to free the only friends he’s ever known.

 

EYES WHITE AS SNOW is a standalone YA Fantasy novel with series potential, complete at 95,000 words. I’ve recently had two crime novels published with Carina UK, a subsidiary of Harper Collins. 

 

Thank you for your time and attention,


I'd love for you to critique my latest query...

Eyes White as Snow:

http://agentquerycon...-fantasy/page-2

 

Or the first 250 words of my story...

In the Heart of the Desert:

http://agentquerycon...agical-realism/


#2 Illumen

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 05:56 PM

The first paragraph felt a little disjointed to me, the 'but when' implies that what comes next is related to what came before, but you went from white eyes and no friends to jumping to another world, it just didn't feel very connected.

Some detail about what kind of abilities would provide a better image of the story in my mind.

The end is a little confusing, not sure how he plans to find the opal when he's locked up, and if he's going to escape anyway, why not free his friends too? The general idea sounds kinda similar to my story, so naturally I like it :P

#3 all4kristen

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:31 PM

Hello,

 

I'm not the best with this whole query writing thing, but I do think you have a lot of great things happening in your book - they just come across a little stilted in the query.  That being said, I think if you took the cool stuff, the Occuli, the rare eye color/greatest power, the Trackers, and put them is some kind of CHECK THIS OUT kinda format, you might have a great read.  One of my favorite authors is Leigh Bardugo, but her last book, The Language of Thorns, bored me to tears, but check out these first two lines of the jacket cover:

 

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

 

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

 

Who wouldn't want to read that book???  You can check out some of her other book-jackets if you're interested, most are amazing, especially for Six of Crows and the Crooked Kingdom.  All I am saying is, if the the information you have in your query was in the above format, I would buy a copy.  I can't spend a ton of time right now, but I put together a really rudimentary example below (again, keep in mind, it is a crazy-bad rough draft).  

 

Welcome to Farwae, where eye color measures power---the rarer the greater, but extraordinary abilities attract attention; just ask the unusually eye-colored Oculi, who the King wields as weapons in governing the land (I know that isn't exactly what you had above).  When Bryan Bradley finds himself whisked away to Farwae, his white eyes, the rarest ever seen, cause this, then that, but he wants this, and so-and-so will stop at nothing to keep it from happening. 

 

Hope that helps,

John



#4 anah+theshadowaccomplice

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 09:12 PM

 

Hey there, any help with this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

 

Dear *Agent,*

 

Sixteen-year-old Bryan Bradley was born with white eyes. This has nothing to do with anything, but my brain immediately wondered if he had pupils ( I assume not) Scared of what will happen if someone learns his secret,Why is he super scared of what will happen? What are the consequences, and why is it such a bad thing in this world? He's living in a world where there are contact lenses, and in our world people wear contacts to make their eyes white... Bryan hides his treacherous eyes behind contact lenses and keeps any would-be friends at arm's length If he has his eyes hidden behind contacts, why would he be super concerned with making friends? Some people wear contacts every day, but no one would ever know.... They'd have to pull one out to even suspect anything. But when Bryan stumbles upon a strange object that looks like a lightning storm trapped inside a marble, he wakes (without the damned object) in Farwae I kinda hope this is meant to compare to "Far away" cause you get pun points if so–a land ruled by a cruel King obsessed with a prophecy that predicts a white-eyed boy's rise to power.

 

Bryan escapes a run-in with the King’s Trackers thanks to a group of young forest-dwellers known as Oculi, who have unusual colored eyes, just like him. Each of them has an ability; the rarer their eye color the more powerful their ability, and there hasn’t been a white Oculi in Farwae for over a century. I'd say a little more of this stuff, but in an "unfolding" sort of way, and a little less of the intro stuff. Bring the reader's attention to the meat of the story, the stakes, the conflict, rather than spending a whole paragraph introducing Bryan's normal life. If the Oculi can teach Bryan to unlock his abilities, he may be the key to ridding Farwae of its tyrannical King. But Bryan doesn’t want to navigate sentient forests, learn the bizarre customs of the Oculi, or join his new friends’ revolution, even if he does have a thing for their enigmatic leader. He just wants to go home.

 

When he’s abducted by Trackers and taken to the King, Bryan believes his Oculi friends will come for him. To survive until then, Bryan strikes a deal with the King: if the King spares him he will use his emerging abilities in service to the crown. The King agrees, but his drunken taunts of a precious opal that can travel between worlds show Bryan there’s a way out of Farwae. And when the Oculi’s attempt to free him results in their capture, Bryan is forced to make a choice: find the opal and return home, or stay in Farwae and fight to free the only friends he’s ever known. For me, things kinda start falling apart here. For one, I'm thinking... there is a lot of focus on this. Is this where the plot actually starts? Is it actually about him having to save the Oculi, even though he now knows there is a way to get home? If so, why spend two paragraphs on all the other stuff before this. Or... is this the end of the book, because if so this is where actual conflict seems to appear. 

 

EYES WHITE AS SNOW is a standalone YA Fantasy novel with series potential, complete at 95,000 words. I’ve recently had two crime novels published with Carina UK, a subsidiary of Harper Collins. 

 

Thank you for your time and attention,

 

I feel like the story here has a lot of potential, but the query has no focus. The "why" is sort of missing. I'd say find the focus of the query, the most interesting and unique part and give it a moment in the spotlight!

 

Best of luck to you!


My Query Letter: Killing Crow

check us out at http://paperweighted...ial.tumblr.com/


#5 beccamae

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 02:15 PM

Dear *Agent,*

 

Sixteen-year-old Bryan Bradley was born with white eyes. Scared of what will happen  if someone learns his secret, As a reader I'd like to know why Bryan is so afraid of someone from his world learning his secret. It's not quite believable yet. Bryan hides his treacherous eyes behind contact lenses and keeps any would-be friends at arm's length. But when Bryan stumbles upon a strange object that looks like a lightning storm trapped inside a marble, he wakes (without the damned object) in Farwae–a good change for an adjective that tells us more land ruled by a cruel King obsessed with a prophecy that predicts a white-eyed boy's rise to power.

 

Bryan escapes a run-in with the King’s Trackers how do they know to look for him already? thanks to a group of young forest-dwellers known as Oculi, who have unusual colored eyes, just like him. Each of them has an ability; the rarer their eye color the more powerful their ability, and there hasn’t been a white Oculi in Farwae for over a century. If the Oculi. <- accidental period

can teach Bryan to unlock his abilities, he may be the key to ridding Farwae of its tyrannical King. But Bryan doesn’t want to navigate sentient forests, learn the bizarre customs of the Oculi, or join his new friends’ revolution, even if he does have a thing for their enigmatic leader. He just wants to go home. good but more about home will help. Is he scared? Miss his family?

 

When he’s abducted by Trackers and taken to the King, Bryan believes his Oculi friends will come for him. To survive until then, Bryan strikes a deal with the King: if the King spares him he will use his emerging abilities in service to the crown. The King agrees, but his drunken taunts of a precious opal that can travel between worlds shows Bryan there’s a way out of Farwae and back home. And when the Oculi’s attempt to free him results in their capture, Bryan is forced to make a choice: find the opal and return home, or stay in Farwae and fight to free the only friends he’s ever known. This last sentence is a little clunky. Also, what makes Bryan change his mind? Why not just take the opal and run?

 

EYES WHITE AS SNOW is a standalone YA Fantasy novel with series potential, complete at 95,000 words. I’ve recently had I've published two crime novels published with Carina UK, a subsidiary of Harper Collins. (and neat! by the way)

 

Thank you for your time and attention,

 

Hope this helps, good luck.



#6 Arcanjoe

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 05:27 PM

Incredibly helpful comments from everybody! How's this draft?

 

Dear *Agent,*

 

Sixteen-year-old Bryan Bradley likes to think his life’s perfectly ordinary, thanks very much. But hiding behind Bryan’s brown contact lenses is a secret: white eyes. A secret he and his Mum have kept by staying to themselves in their tiny town. On the morning of his last day on earth, Bryan stumbles upon a strange object that looks like a lightning storm trapped inside a marble, stuck under pond ice in his local park. One touch and he wakes in Farwae–a land ruled by a cruel King obsessed with a prophecy that predicts a white-eyed boy's rise to power.

 

Bryan escapes a run-in with the King’s Trackers thanks to a group of young forest-dwellers known as Oculi, who have unusual colored eyes, just like him. Their eyes give them abilities ranging from lowly enhanced eyesight to powerful mind manipulation; the rarer their eye color the more powerful their ability, and there hasn’t been a white Oculi in Farwae for over a century. If the Oculi can teach Bryan to unlock his abilities, he may be the key to ridding Farwae of its tyrannical King. But Bryan doesn’t want to navigate sentient forests, learn the bizarre customs of the Oculi, or join his new friends’ revolution, even if he does have a thing for their enigmatic leader. He just wants to go home to his ordinary life and his extraordinary, definitely-worried Mum.

 

When he’s abducted by Trackers and taken to the King, Bryan knows to survive he must strike a deal with the ruthless tyrant: if the King spares him he will use his emerging abilities in service to the crown. The King agrees, but his drunken taunts of a precious opal that can travel between worlds show Bryan there’s a way out of Farwae. And when the Oculi’s attempt to free him results in his escape but their capture, Bryan is forced to make a choice: find the opal and return home, or stay in Farwae and fight to free the only friends he’s ever known.

 

EYES WHITE AS SNOW is a standalone YA Fantasy novel with series potential, complete at 95,000 words. I’ve recently published two crime novels with Carina UK, a subsidiary of Harper Collins. 

 

Thank you for your time and attention,


I'd love for you to critique my latest query...

Eyes White as Snow:

http://agentquerycon...-fantasy/page-2

 

Or the first 250 words of my story...

In the Heart of the Desert:

http://agentquerycon...agical-realism/


#7 Illumen

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 07:38 PM

 

Incredibly helpful comments from everybody! How's this draft?

 

Dear *Agent,*

 

Sixteen-year-old Bryan Bradley likes to think his life’s perfectly ordinary, thanks very much this made me groan instinctively, which i guess isn't a good sign. it just seems like such a generic way to start. But hiding behind Bryan’s brown contact lenses is a secret: white eyes i like the way you reveal this, maybe make this the start? 16 yr old bryan has a secret hiding behind his contacts, etc. A secret he and his Mum have kept by staying to themselves in their tiny town. On the morning of his last day on earth this statement kinda spoils the transportation. this also doesn't feel very connected to what came before, does something about his eyes lead to him finding the object? that would tie things together well. or just a detail about the circumstances that caused him to stumble on it, Bryan stumbles upon a strange object that looks like a lightning storm trapped inside a marble cool, stuck under pond ice in his local park. One touch and he wakes in Farwae–a land ruled by a cruel King i'm guessing this is capitalized intentionally obsessed with a prophecy that predicts a white-eyed boy's rise to power.

 

Bryan escapes a run-in with the King’s Trackers thanks to a group of young forest-dwellers known as Oculi, who have unusual unusually? or unusual eye colors colored eyes, just like him. Their eyes give them abilities ranging from lowly enhanced this juxtaposition is kinda fun to read, but i don't think you need the 'lowly' or 'powerful' here, since people usually read ranges as if they're going from low to high. up to you, of course eyesight to powerful mind manipulation; the rarer their eye color (comma) the more powerful their ability, and there hasn’t been a white Oculi in Farwae for over a century. If the Oculi can teach Bryan to unlock his abilities, he may be the key to ridding Farwae of its tyrannical King. But Bryan doesn’t want to navigate sentient forests, learn the bizarre customs of the Oculi, or join his new friends’ revolution, even if he does have a thing for their enigmatic leader i like the picture this paints of the story. He just wants to go home to his ordinary life and his extraordinary, definitely-worried Mum even with the extraordinary, the mum felt like an afterthought here to me.

 

When he’s abducted by Trackers and taken to the King, Bryan knows to survive he must strike a deal with the ruthless tyrant: if the King spares him he will use his emerging abilities in service to the crown i hesitate to ask this, but to do what? what is the king up to?. The King agrees, but his drunken taunts of a precious opal that can travel between worlds show Bryan there’s a way out of Farwae. And when the Oculi’s attempt to free him results in his escape but their capture ok this makes sense now, Bryan is forced to make a choice: find the opal and return home, or stay in Farwae and fight to free the only friends he’s ever known.

 

EYES WHITE AS SNOW is a standalone YA Fantasy novel with series potential, complete at 95,000 words. I’ve recently published two crime novels with Carina UK, a subsidiary of Harper Collins. 

 

Thank you for your time and attention,

 



#8 beccamae

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 12:52 PM

I think it's a lot stronger than the first draft, good job! The things I'm still curious about as a reader is that leader that Bryan has a thing for. If you focus on the the interest in the book, play it up now, otherwise I'd cut it from the letter. Also, Bryan's poor mom needs some attention. I'm assuming that Bryan wants to get home so badly because he wants to be with his family (otherwise, who would leave a magical world?) Maybe in the first paragraph, I would specify more about their relationship so I'm sympathetic to their separation. The first line's a little cheesy too. In all, I think it shows strong plot progression. You may want to think of your word count as well. I don't necessarily think it's too long, but if you add lines, it might get there.



#9 Arcanjoe

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 04:45 PM

Thanks again to the both of you. I'll get to your queries asap. I've managed to cut and tighten a little. Changed the beginning, which was a little generic, and removed the part about the Oculi's leader as it's not directly relevant to the main conflict. How's this?

 

Dear *Agent,*

 

Sixteen-year-old Bryan Bradley’s brown contact lenses cover a secret: white eyes. A secret he and his Mum have kept by bouncing from town to city to village, never truly calling anywhere home. One day, while hiding from the two block-faced bullies who terrorize him at school, Bryan stumbles upon a strange object that looks like a lightning storm trapped inside a marble, stuck under pond ice in his local park. One touch and he wakes in Farwae–a land ruled by a cruel King obsessed with a prophecy that predicts a white-eyed boy's rise to power.

 

Bryan escapes a run-in with the King’s Trackers thanks to a group of young forest-dwellers known as Oculi, who have unusual eye colors, just like him. Their eyes give them abilities ranging from lowly enhanced eyesight to powerful mind manipulation; the rarer their eye color the more powerful their ability, and there hasn’t been a white Oculi in Farwae for over a century. If the Oculi can teach Bryan to unlock his abilities, he may be the key to ridding Farwae of its tyrannical King. But Bryan doesn’t want to navigate sentient forests, learn the bizarre customs of the Oculi, or join his new friends’ revolution. He just wants to go home to his ordinary life and his extraordinary, definitely-worried Mum.

 

When he’s abducted by Trackers and taken to the King, Bryan knows to survive he must strike a deal with the ruthless tyrant: if the King spares him he will use his emerging abilities in service to the crown. The King agrees, but his drunken taunts of a precious opal that can travel between worlds show Bryan there’s a way out of Farwae. And when the Oculi’s attempt to free him results in his escape but their capture, Bryan is forced to make a choice: find the opal and return home to his Mum, or stay in Farwae and fight to free the only friends he’s ever known.

 

EYES WHITE AS SNOW is a standalone YA Fantasy novel with series potential, complete at 95,000 words. I’ve recently had two crime novels published with Carina UK, a subsidiary of Harper Collins. 

 

Thank you for your time and attention,


I'd love for you to critique my latest query...

Eyes White as Snow:

http://agentquerycon...-fantasy/page-2

 

Or the first 250 words of my story...

In the Heart of the Desert:

http://agentquerycon...agical-realism/


#10 bookgirl_kt

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 10:58 PM

Here are my thoughts:

 

Dear *Agent,*

 

Sixteen-year-old Bryan Bradley’s brown (Very nit-picky, but there's enough "b" words in a row for me to suggest cutting one) contact lenses cover a secret: white eyes. A secret he and his Mum have kept by bouncing from town to city to village, never truly calling anywhere home. Off-handily it's not clear why they need to keep moving to keep his eyes secret. Maybe this could be phrased as "This secret leads to" in order to make it clear there's more going on here than the eyes. One day, while hiding from the two block-faced bullies who terrorize him at school, Bryan stumbles upon a strange object that looks like a lightning storm trapped inside a marble, stuck under pond ice in his local park. Details are good but this might be more description than necessary in a query letter. One touch and he wakes in Farwae–a land ruled by a cruel King obsessed with a prophecy that predicts a white-eyed boy's rise to power.

 

Bryan escapes a run-in with the King’s Trackers thanks to a group of young forest-dwellers known as Oculi, who have unusual eye colors, just like him. Their eyes give them abilities ranging from lowly enhanced eyesight to powerful mind manipulation; the rarer their eye color the more powerful their ability, and there hasn’t been a white Oculi in Farwae for over a century. If the Oculi can teach Bryan to unlock his abilities, he may be the key to ridding Farwae of its tyrannical King. But Bryan doesn’t want to navigate sentient forests, learn the bizarre customs of the Oculi, or join his new friends’ revolution. He just wants to go home to his ordinary life and his extraordinary, definitely-worried Mum. I honestly think you could cut this paragraph. The next paragraph leads to him being abducted by the King, so the Oculi don't seem to play much of a part in the query letter (though I'm sure they're important in the book). Plus, this paragraph has a lot of world-building without action.

 

When he’s abducted by Trackers and taken to the King, Bryan knows to survive he must strike a deal with the ruthless tyrant: if the King spares him he will use his emerging abilities in service to the crown. The King agrees, but his drunken taunts of a precious opal that can travel between worlds show Bryan there’s a way out of Farwae. And when the Oculi’s attempt to free him results in his escape but their capture, So far Bryan has escaped the king, been caught by the king, and escaped the king. This feels really jarring when you only have a short three-paragraph letter to explain it, so I think you need to cut it down. Bryan is forced to make a choice: find the opal and return home to his Mum, or stay in Farwae and fight to free the only friends he’s ever known.

 

EYES WHITE AS SNOW is a standalone YA Fantasy novel with series potential, complete at 95,000 words. I’ve recently had two crime novels published with Carina UK, a subsidiary of Harper Collins. 

 

Looks like an interesting book. Good luck!

 

Hope I've helped! My query is here.



#11 Ajax

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 08:03 AM

Dear *Agent,*

 

Sixteen-year-old Bryan Bradley’s brown contact lenses cover a secret: white eyes. A secret he and his Mum have kept by bouncing from town to city to village, never truly calling anywhere home. One day, while hiding from the two block-faced bullies who terrorize him at school, Bryan stumbles upon a strange object that looks like a lightning storm trapped inside a marble, stuck under pond ice in his local park. One touch and he wakes in Farwae–a land ruled by a cruel King obsessed with a prophecy that predicts a white-eyed boy's rise to power. (I'm not hooked. This needs to be shorter and character-problem focused. Also, what's new?) 

 

Bryan escapes a run-in with the King’s Trackers thanks to a group of young forest-dwellers known as Oculi, who have unusual eye colors, just like him. Their eyes give them abilities ranging from lowly enhanced eyesight to powerful mind manipulation; the rarer their eye color the more powerful their ability, and there hasn’t been a white Oculi in Farwae for over a century. If the Oculi can teach Bryan to unlock his abilities, he may be the key to ridding Farwae of its tyrannical King. But Bryan doesn’t want to navigate sentient forests, learn the bizarre customs of the Oculi, or join his new friends’ revolution. He just wants to go home to his ordinary life and his extraordinary, definitely-worried Mum. (I like the voice here. More of this please.)

 

When he’s abducted by Trackers and taken to the King, (This has happened before.) Bryan knows to survive he must strike a deal with the ruthless tyrant: if the King spares him he will use his emerging abilities in service to the crown. (This sounds like the basic premise of Red Queen, Shadow and Bone, and The Crown's Game without anything unique.) The King agrees, but his drunken taunts of a precious opal that can travel between worlds show Bryan there’s a way out of Farwae. And when the Oculi’s attempt to free him results in his escape but their capture, Bryan is forced to make a choice: find the opal and return home to his Mum, or stay in Farwae and fight to free the only friends he’s ever known. (How are the Oculis his "friends"? Just a moment ago, Bryan was running away from them. And the Oculis probably rescued him to use his power against the tyrant.)

 

EYES WHITE AS SNOW is a standalone YA Fantasy novel with series potential, complete at 95,000 words. I’ve recently had two crime novels published with Carina UK, a subsidiary of Harper Collins. 

 

Thank you for your time and attention,

 

 

 

Good luck.



#12 beccamae

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 11:42 AM

Hi, I like some of the changes. I think you may want to cut part of the last sentence in pg 1. It just occurred to me that we know the content of a prophecy-the white eyed boy winning essentially. Does that mean we kind of know the end of the story? Maybe it should be a mysterious prophecy and leave it at that. Or a prophecy about his demise, but not more details. Some of your sentences are getting a bit long with these new details. They're helpful of course, but either break them up or simplify to keep things snappy and impactful.



#13 MimiJessie

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 08:39 AM

Hi Arcanjoe, 

 

This is compelling stuff! To me, at least, the stakes seem sufficiently high and I understand the protagonist's motives, so it's not at all ambiguous (hurrah!), so my thoughts are mostly on language use. I hope they help. Firstly, you're from the UK and use 'mum' not 'mom', but a lot of the spelling in the query is American. Which side of the pond are you targeting? 

 

Sixteen-year-old Bryan Bradley’s brown contact lenses cover a secret: white eyes. It's a A secret he and his Mum have kept by bouncing from town to city to village, never truly calling anywhere home OK - one question. Why do they need to hide his eyes? Do white eyes mean something terrible in their world? Because it reads like it's set in our universe, in which case white eyes would be weird, but certainly not illegal, or something to be persecuted for. One day, while hiding from the two block-faced bullies who terrorize him at school, Bryan stumbles upon a strange object that looks like a lightning storm trapped inside a marble love this description, stuck under pond ice in his local park. One touch and he wakes in Farwae–a land ruled by a cruel King obsessed with a prophecy that predicts a white-eyed boy's rise to power.

 

Bryan escapes a run-in with the King’s Trackers thanks to a group of young forest-dwellers known as Oculi, who have unusual eye colors, just like him. Their eyes give them abilities; anything from enhanced eyesight to powerful mind manipulation. ranging from lowly enhanced eyesight to powerful mind manipulation; the The rarer their eye color the more powerful their ability, and there hasn’t been a white Oculi in Farwae for over a century. If the Oculi can teach Bryan to unlock his abilities, he may be the key to ridding Farwae of its tyrannical King Is there any chance we could have an example of his tyranny? I know he's bad, because you've said so, but, you know, show don't tell... What atrocities has the bastard committed? But Bryan doesn’t want to navigate sentient forests, learn the bizarre customs of the Oculi, or join his new friends’ revolution. He just wants to go home to his ordinary life and his extraordinary, definitely-worried Mum.

 

When he’s abducted by Trackers and taken to the King When he's abducted by the King's Trackers (otherwise I'm going to ask annoying questions about who the Trackers are), Bryan knows to survive he must strike a deal with the ruthless tyrant Bryan knows he must strike a deal with the ruthless tyrant in order to survive. If the King spares him, he will use his emerging abilities in service to the crown What are these abilities and how can they help the King? The King agrees, but his drunken taunts of a precious opal I'm not sure about this word use. I think of taunts as something about someone's mother, or bad hair, not an inanimate object... Perhaps something like: But when, in a drunken stupor, the King let's slip that there's a precious opal... that can travel between worlds show Bryan there’s a way out of Farwae. And when the Oculi’s attempt to free him results in his escape, but their capture, Bryan is forced to make a choice: find the opal and return home to his Mum, or stay in Farwae and fight to free the only friends he’s ever known.

 

EYES WHITE AS SNOW is a standalone YA Fantasy novel with series potential, complete at 95,000 words. I’ve recently had two crime novels published with Carina UK, a subsidiary of Harper Collins. 



#14 all4kristen

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 10:15 AM

Hello.  Thought I could make a few suggestions.  Maybe a new way of looking at the hook and first line.

 

Dear *Agent,*

 

 

Bryan Bradley’s contacts hide his white eyes -- a source of ridicule in this world, but the key to a prophesy in another. (or...but the key to the prophesy of another.) 

 

When the sixteen-year-old discovers a strange marble -- the touch of it transporting him to another world -- he wakes in Farwae; a land ruled by a tyrannical King obsessed with the prophesy of a white eyed traveler rising to power.  

 

A group of forest dwellers find him, a sect known as the Oculi.  The possessors of strange iris colors, like Brian -- their color giving them abilities; anything from enhanced eyesight to powerful mind manipulation.  The rarer their eye color the more powerful their ability, and there hasn’t been a white Oculi in Farwae for over a century. If the Oculi can teach Bryan to unlock his abilities, he may be the key to saving the people of Farwae from a blood-savage king bent on ridding the land of all those who oppose him....(sorry, not sure about the rest here...just wanted to give a better intro)  Oh, also, why is he so anxious to get home?  His mum I can understand, but to go back to where you're a freak and bullied seems weird.



#15 lnloft

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 01:11 PM

 

Thanks again to the both of you. I'll get to your queries asap. I've managed to cut and tighten a little. Changed the beginning, which was a little generic, and removed the part about the Oculi's leader as it's not directly relevant to the main conflict. How's this?

 

Dear *Agent,*

 

Sixteen-year-old Bryan Bradley’s brown contact lenses cover a secret: white eyes. A secret he and his Mum have kept by bouncing from town to city to village, never truly calling anywhere home. I guess one of the things is that I'm confused why this has to be such a big secret. Like I feel most people would see this as a weird birth defect, which might lead to a bit of bullying, but why does it necessitate living a vagrant life? One day, while hiding from the two block-faced bullies who terrorize him at school, Bryan stumbles upon a strange object that looks like a lightning storm trapped inside a marble, stuck under pond ice in his local park. One touch and he wakes in Farwae–a land ruled by a cruel King obsessed with a prophecy that predicts a white-eyed boy's rise to power.

 

Bryan escapes a run-in with the King’s Trackers thanks to a group of young forest-dwellers known as Oculi, who have unusual eye colors, just like him. Their eyes give them abilities Their eyes GIVE them abilities? Or do they just correspond with abilities? ranging from lowly enhanced eyesight to powerful mind manipulation; the rarer their eye color the more powerful their ability, and there hasn’t been a white Oculi in Farwae for over a century. If the Oculi can teach Bryan to unlock his abilities, he may be the key to ridding Farwae of its tyrannical King. But Bryan doesn’t want to navigate sentient forests, learn the bizarre customs of the Oculi, or join his new friends’ revolution. He just wants to go home to his ordinary life Was his life exactly ordinary beforehand, though? It wasn't supernatural, but hiding his eyes and moving around all the time don't feel like an average life and his extraordinary, definitely-worried Mum.

 

When he’s abducted by Trackers and taken to the King, Bryan knows to survive he must strike a deal with the ruthless tyrant: if the King spares him he will use his emerging abilities in service to the crown. The King agrees, but his drunken taunts of a precious opal that can travel between worlds show Bryan there’s a way out of Farwae This doesn't really fit. The "but" implies a contradiction, but I don't really see these two things flowing together. And when the Oculi’s attempt to free him results in his escape but their capture, Bryan is forced to make a choice: find the opal and return home to his Mum, or stay in Farwae and fight to free the only friends he’s ever known.

 

EYES WHITE AS SNOW is a standalone YA Fantasy novel with series potential, complete at 95,000 words. I’ve recently had two crime novels published with Carina UK, a subsidiary of Harper Collins. 

 

Thank you for your time and attention,

 

Sounds like a pretty interesting story, and your query is on the right track. I feel like the hook can still be strengthened, and the last paragraph cleared up a bit.

 

Also: to me it sounds like the last paragraph would be happening late in the book, like leading up to the climax. Obviously I might be totally off on that, but if that is past the halfway point, then that's not always something you want to focus on in a query. This doesn't feel like a synopsis, so I'm not too worried, but just throwing it out there.

 

Good luck.



#16 Ilovesoup

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 06:13 PM

I really like All4Kristen's hook. I was enticed.

 

Hello.  Thought I could make a few suggestions.  Maybe a new way of looking at the hook and first line.

 

Dear *Agent,*

 

 

Bryan Bradley’s contacts hide his white eyes -- a source of ridicule in this world, but the key to a prophesy in another. 

 

When the sixteen-year-old discovers a strange marble -- the touch of it transporting him to another world -- he wakes in Farwae; a land ruled by a tyrannical King obsessed with the prophesy of a white eyed traveler rising to power.  

 

A group of forest dwellers find him, a sect known as the Oculi.  The possessors of strange iris colors, like Brian -- their color giving them abilities; anything from enhanced eyesight to powerful mind manipulation.  The rarer their eye color the more powerful their ability, and there hasn’t been a white Oculi in Farwae for over a century. If the Oculi can teach Bryan to unlock his abilities, he may be the key to saving the people of Farwae from a blood-savage king bent on ridding the land of all those who oppose him....(sorry, not sure about the rest here...just wanted to give a better intro)  Oh, also, why is he so anxious to get home?  His mum I can understand, but to go back to where you're a freak and bullied seems weird.

 



#17 all4kristen

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 09:11 AM

Ohhhh...better yet.

 

Contacts hide the white eyes of Bryan Bradley  -- a source of ridicule in this world, but the key to a prophesy of another. 

 

When the touch of a strange marble transports the sixteen-year-old to another world, he awakes in Farwae; a land ruled by a tyrannical King obsessed with the prophesy of a white eyed traveler rising to power. 

 

News of his arrival threatens the monarchy, and a search for the boy ensues.  But the Oculi find him first.  The possessors of strange iris colors, like Brian -- their color giving them abilities; anything from enhanced eyesight to powerful mind manipulation, the rarer their eye color the more powerful their ability, the Oculi know how valuable Brian can be to the rebellion.



#18 Arcanjoe

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 10:21 AM

Thank you all so much! I've implemented several suggested changes and cut the last paragraph altogether. I've reworked it quite a lot and added a little more voice. Or tried to at least. How's this?

 

Dear *Agent,*

 

Sixteen-year-old Bryan Bradley’s contacts hide his white eyes––a source of ridicule in his world, but the key to a prophecy in another.

 

An ordinary life, that’s what Bryan’s Mum wants for him. So they move every time someone notices his stupid eyes, never making friends, never calling anywhere home. But Bryan hopes this new place, this sleepy country town, might actually be different. While exploring, he stumbles upon a strange object that looks like a lightning storm trapped inside a marble, stuck under pond ice in his local park. One touch and Bryan wakes in Farwae––a land ruled by a cruel King obsessed with a prophecy that predicts the fateful arrival of a white-eyed boy.

 

There, Bryan encounters a group of young forest-dwellers known as Oculi, who have unusual coloured eyes, just like him. Their eyes give them abilities ranging from enhanced eyesight to mind manipulation; the rarer their eye colour the more powerful their ability, and there hasn’t been a white Oculi in Farwae for over a century. If the Oculi can teach Bryan to unlock his abilities, he may be the key to ridding Farwae of the tyrannical King who has hunted their kind to near-extinction.

 

But Bryan doesn’t particularly want to navigate sentient forests, hone his emerging abilities, or join his new friends’ revolution. He just wants to go home to his soon-to-be ordinary life and his extraordinary, definitely-worried Mum. And there’s a way––the precious opal that brought him to Farwae, then vanished. Bryan is forced to make a choice: find the opal and return home to his Mum, or stay in Farwae and fight beside the only friends he’s ever known, for liberty in a land where he may finally belong.

 

EYES WHITE AS SNOW is a standalone YA Fantasy novel with series potential, complete at 95,000 words. I’ve recently had two crime novels published with Carina UK, a subsidiary of Harper Collins. 

 

Thank you for your time and attention,


I'd love for you to critique my latest query...

Eyes White as Snow:

http://agentquerycon...-fantasy/page-2

 

Or the first 250 words of my story...

In the Heart of the Desert:

http://agentquerycon...agical-realism/


#19 all4kristen

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 10:45 AM

Hello,

 

Hope I'm not chiming in too much here.  I read your revision while watching TV; like most agents, and actually looked away twice, and only came back during the commercial -- which I had seen twenty time before -- to read the last paragraph. 

 

I read yesterday an agent article (https://www.kirkusre...ow-kt-literary/) stating she actually reads through 25,000 queries a year, and accepts maybe, 5.  They have to be stunning, something that will tear her away from the Netflix to see what happens next.

 

Your opening is good now, the first line, but then leaps into boredom with his mum wanting a quiet, dull, boring, ordinary life for him.  You kind of pull the plug on things.  The agent wants to hear something exciting, not about how this guy's mum wants him to be more boring.  The agent wants someone who stands out from the rest, not someone who's mum wants them to fit in with all the others.  I get what you are trying to put forth, but stick with the excitement,and what's really important.  Does the ice ice covered pond play a big role in the story, or should the focus be on the marble?  Also, is his mum the extraordinary one (his extraordinary, definitely-worried Mum), then write about her?  This kid makes me want to fall asleep.  Instead of his eyes making him unique, special, in-demand, exciting...you try to make him mundane (though accidentally I am sure).

 

Also, this sounds more like summary language: "There, Bryan encounters a group of young forest-dwellers known as Oculi.."  To keep it more query-like, try something that keeps the story in motion, like: "While on the run from the King and his Trackers, who are hell-bent on exploiting his powers, Bryan discovers the Oculi - a rogue group of....who only want to help him."

 

Anyway.  Hope that helps.  I know it's a long process, but focus on the exciting things.  He may be boring, but your query doesn't have to be.

 

John



#20 Arcanjoe

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 04:13 PM

All4Kristen, I take your point. Thank you. I've edited it again. But if I remove his want for an ordinary life (which he's never had) it impacts massively on the conflict. He's had extraordinary all his life, moving from town to city to village, never settling anywhere. I appreciate that you may see it as boring but what agents don't want (and consider boring in the extreme) is a special snowflake, a "chosen one" character who's better at everything than everyone else. So surely it's important to contrast his unique abilities with being just an average guy? It's a balancing act. One that I've not got right quite yet, obviously.

 

Dear *Agent,*

 

Sixteen-year-old Bryan Bradley’s contacts hide his white eyes––a source of ridicule in his world, but the key to a prophecy in another.

 

An ordinary life, that’s what Bryan’s always wanted. He and his Mum move every time someone notices his stupid eyes, never making friends, never calling anywhere home. While exploring yet another new town, he stumbles upon a strange object that looks like a lightning storm trapped inside a marble. One touch and Bryan wakes in Farwae––a land ruled by a cruel King obsessed with a prophecy that predicts the fateful arrival of a white-eyed boy.

 

Hunted by the King's men, Bryan finds sanctuary with a group of young forest-dwellers known as Oculi, who have unusual coloured eyes, just like him. Their eyes give them abilities ranging from enhanced eyesight to mind manipulation; the rarer their eye colour the more powerful their ability, and there hasn’t been a white Oculi in Farwae for over a century. If the Oculi can teach Bryan to unlock his abilities, he may be the key to ridding Farwae of the tyrannical King who has hunted their kind to near-extinction.

 

Soon Bryan's navigating sentient forests, honing his emerging abilities with the Oculi and, without meaning to, joining his new friends’ revolution. But then he learns there’s a way to get back home––the precious opal that brought him to Farwae, then vanished. Bryan is forced to make a choice: find the opal and return home to his probably-frantic Mum, or stay in Farwae and fight beside the only friends he’s ever known, for liberty in a land where he may finally belong.

 

EYES WHITE AS SNOW is a standalone YA Fantasy novel with series potential, complete at 95,000 words. I’ve recently had two crime novels published with Carina UK, a subsidiary of Harper Collins. 

 

Thank you for your time and attention,


I'd love for you to critique my latest query...

Eyes White as Snow:

http://agentquerycon...-fantasy/page-2

 

Or the first 250 words of my story...

In the Heart of the Desert:

http://agentquerycon...agical-realism/






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