Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
- - - - -

ZODIAC BOUND (YA Fantasy)

Fantasy Romance Young Adult Offbeat/Quirky Science Fiction Adventure

  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 cipatrick

cipatrick

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationAfrica

Posted 21 October 2017 - 02:15 PM

Sixteen year old Constantine is a shy and reserved high school loner. The swim team is his entire social life and only thing he's good at.

He has never heard of a secret Scorpio zodiac clan or any zodiac clans whatsoever. Just like other humans, he doesn't know that sixteen years ago, a Leo zodiac clan murdered the entire Scorpio clan but one newborn. He also doesn't know he is the heir and key to reviving the Scorpio clan. So how can he possibly know that sinking continents under tsunamis are part of the powers he inherits when he turns seventeen?

In fact the only odd thing he notices as he turns seventeen is his inexplicable and uncontrollable attraction to the school's beautiful, popular track athlete, Camilla way out of his league.

Camilla is the only zodiac (Leo clan) that can kill the heir of the Scorpio clan. She has been trained her whole life to do just that or else her clan (Leo clan - the guardians of human life) risk extinction. Problem is no one knows who the heir is.

All Camilla has been told is that he/she (heir) will be uncontrollably drawn to her from any corner of the earth (because of their polar-opposite zodiacs and same year or birth) which leads to her second problem. Every boy in Stanmoor High is uncontrollably drawn to her and every girl wants to be in her clique. That's just how Leos role.

Vokes, the leader of the very influential Taurus clan also doubles as the CIA Director and doesn't have time for slow burning, twisty high school romances. He wants to revive his ally clan (Scorpio) so they could take control of the earth. Vokes knows his only hope of getting to the Scorpio heir is finding a Leo zodiac born the same year.

It's only a matter of time before paths cross. The fate of earth hangs in the balance on what order these zodiacs meet each other.

#2 bookgirl_kt

bookgirl_kt

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 326 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Currently querying agents.

Posted 21 October 2017 - 04:20 PM

Here are my thoughts:

 

Sixteen year old Constantine is a shy and reserved high school loner. The swim team is his entire social life and only thing he's good at. I think this would be a more interesting hook as one sentence. "For sixteen-year-old Constantine, the swim team is his entire social life and the only thing he's good at." Then you could combine it with next paragraph--most query letters are three paragraphs so it might be a good idea to consolidate a bit.

He has never heard of a secret Scorpio zodiac clan or any zodiac clans whatsoever. Just like other humans, he doesn't know that sixteen years ago, a Leo zodiac clan murdered the entire Scorpio clan but one newborn. He also doesn't know he is the heir and key to reviving the Scorpio clan. So how can he possibly know that sinking continents under tsunamis are part of the powers he inherits when he turns seventeen? Again, all this information could be shortened. And a lot of agents have written that they prefer to avoid rhetorical questions in query letters.

In fact the only odd thing he notices as he turns seventeen is his inexplicable and uncontrollable attraction to the school's beautiful, popular track athlete, Camilla who is way out of his league. 

Camilla is the only zodiac (Leo clan) that can kill the heir of the Scorpio clan. She has been trained her whole life to do just that or else her clan (Leo clan - the guardians of human life) risk extinction. Parentheses are another no-no in query letters. Problem is no one knows who the heir is. It feels a bit odd to switch to Camilla's POV. You may want to tell the query letter either from Constantine or Camilla's perspective. It's fine to pick one even if the book is in dual POV. It makes it easier on agents if the query letter is as simple as possible.

All Camilla has been told is that he/she (heir) will be uncontrollably drawn to her from any corner of the earth (because of their polar-opposite zodiacs and same year or birth) which leads to her second problem. Every boy in Stanmoor High is uncontrollably drawn to her and every girl wants to be in her clique. That's just how Leos role. <--Funny line!

Vokes, the leader of the very influential Taurus clan also doubles as the CIA Director and doesn't have time for slow burning, twisty high school romances. He wants to revive his ally clan (Scorpio) so they could take control of the earth. Vokes knows his only hope of getting to the Scorpio heir is finding a Leo zodiac born the same year. This paragraph could be rewritten without introducing yet another POV. (For example: "Unknown to Constantine, Vokes, the leader of the very influential Taurus clan and the CIA Director, also seeks him out for his own reasons.")

It's only a matter of time before paths cross. The fate of earth hangs in the balance on what order these zodiacs meet each other. Interesting ending!

 

This seems like an interesting story. The set-up of many characters on a collision course looks like fun. That said, I think you need to cut down on the background information. A query letter should read like the back of a paperback book: short and exciting. We don't need to know about the history of the Zodiac clans and their tangled alliances, we just need to know the main character is surrounded by trouble. I think this could be shortened considerably to pack more of a punch. Good luck!



#3 cipatrick

cipatrick

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationAfrica

Posted 21 October 2017 - 05:29 PM

@bookgirl_kt thanks a lot for taking the time. Definitely need to choose one POV, think I might go with Camilla.

#4 Springfield

Springfield

    Find me at properediting.com

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,119 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 21 October 2017 - 06:08 PM

Sixteen year old Constantine is a shy and reserved high school loner. The swim team is his entire social life and only thing he's good at.. This is generic, save the swim team

He has never heard of a secret Scorpio zodiac clan or any zodiac clans whatsoever. The writing here is oddly formal and stilted, and all the sentences are the same length. Just like other humans, he doesn't know that sixteen years ago, a Leo zodiac clan murdered the entire Scorpio clan but one newborn. He also doesn't know he is the heir and key to reviving the Scorpio clan. So how can he possibly know that sinking continents under tsunamis are part of the powers he inherits when he turns seventeen? Why? This reads like every generic chosen one thing, so you need specifics and voice to make it stand out from the crowd. I don't know what the zodiac clan thing means, or why someone would have those powers. Like if everyone does, seems sort of pointless.

In fact the only odd thing he notices as he turns seventeen is his inexplicable and uncontrollable attraction to the school's beautiful, popular track athlete, Camilla way out of his league.

Camilla is the only zodiac (Leo clan) that can kill the heir of the Scorpio clan. This is reading like a video game at this point. She has been trained her whole life to do just that or else her clan (Leo clan - the guardians of human life) risk extinction. Problem is no one knows who the heir is. Again, the language is very stilted and lacking any voice -- and sounds like video game text or something. This should allll be condensed into a sentence or two, with voice, and from your MC's pov.

All Camilla has been told is that he/she (heir) will be uncontrollably drawn to her from any corner of the earth (because of their polar-opposite zodiacs and same year or birth) which leads to her second problem. Every boy in Stanmoor High is uncontrollably drawn to her and every girl wants to be in her clique. That's just how Leos role. Roll. The parentheticals have to go. Find a way to incorporate info. 

Vokes, the leader of the very influential Taurus clan also doubles as the CIA Director and doesn't have time for slow burning, twisty high school romances. He wants to revive his ally clan (Scorpio) so they could take control of the earth. Vokes knows his only hope of getting to the Scorpio heir is finding a Leo zodiac born the same year.

It's only a matter of time before paths cross. The fate of earth hangs in the balance on what order these zodiacs meet each other.

 

You dropped your MC after a couple of sentences -- I don't know what he's going to do or what the stakes are for him, which should be the point of the query. The way this is written makes me worry for the wordcount.



#5 rosequinn

rosequinn

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 25 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Northwest

Posted 26 October 2017 - 10:48 AM

Sixteen year old Constantine is a shy and reserved high school loner. Do you need to use both shy and reserved combined with loner? I feel like you could cut both words and just call him a loner.  The swim team is his entire social life and only thing he's good at.

He has never heard of a secret Scorpio zodiac clan or any zodiac clans whatsoever. Just like other humans, he doesn't know that sixteen years ago, a Leo zodiac clan murdered the entire Scorpio clan but one newborn. He also doesn't know he is the heir and key to reviving the Scorpio clan. So how can he possibly know that sinking continents under tsunamis are part of the powers he inherits when he turns seventeen? I got hung up on the overuse of the word clan and didn't even absorb anything that was happening in this paragraph. I get that that is what these things are called but you need to find a different way to talk about them so you aren't just constantly using the same word.

In fact the only odd thing he notices as he turns seventeen is his inexplicable and uncontrollable attraction to the school's beautiful, popular track athlete, Camilla way out of his league.

Camilla is the only zodiac (Leo clan) that can kill the heir of the Scorpio clan. She has been trained her whole life to do just that or else her clan (Leo clan - the guardians of human life) risk extinction. Problem is no one knows who the heir is. 

All Camilla has been told is that he/she (heir) will be uncontrollably drawn to her from any corner of the earth (because of their polar-opposite zodiacs and same year or birth) which leads to her second problem. Every boy in Stanmoor High is uncontrollably drawn to her and every girl wants to be in her clique. That's just how Leos role.

Vokes, the leader of the very influential Taurus clan also doubles as the CIA Director and doesn't have time for slow burning, twisty high school romances. He wants to revive his ally clan (Scorpio) so they could take control of the earth. Vokes knows his only hope of getting to the Scorpio heir is finding a Leo zodiac born the same year.

It's only a matter of time before paths cross. The fate of earth hangs in the balance on what order these zodiacs meet each other.

 

I get what the stakes are but I agree with others that you need to pick a MC and tell the story from their POV. And no paranathesis - just be clear about what is absolutely important for us to know in the actual writing. While I think this could be a cool story, the query doesn't make me want to read pages. When you pick a MC to write about, make us care about them! Right now, it feels like a bland story with boring characters.


Critique my query here


#6 lnloft

lnloft

    LNLOFT

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 419 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 28 October 2017 - 03:45 PM

Sixteen-year-old Constantine is a shy and reserved high school loner. The swim team is his entire social life and only thing he's good at. For a fantasy, this doesn't really work as a hook. It gives us an idea of the character, but it doesn't convey anything about what the story is. Give us at least an inkling that we're dealing with something supernatural.

He has never heard of a secret Scorpio zodiac clan or any zodiac clans whatsoever. Just like other humans, he doesn't know that sixteen years ago, a Leo zodiac clan Is there more than one Leo zodiac clan? Because saying A Leo zodiac clan implies there are multiple Leo zodiac clans running around doing things. murdered the entire Scorpio clan but one newborn. He also doesn't know he is the heir and key to reviving the Scorpio clan. So how can he possibly know that sinking continents under tsunamis are part of the powers he inherits when he turns seventeen? If he doesn't know this, then why are we being told? Generally the reader likes to take the journey with the character, so if Constantine spends the first half of the book flailing around and wondering why strange things are happening to him, then that's along the lines of what we should know, too. Also, I'm just confused. Like Constantine, I have also never heard of a secret Scorpio zodiac clan, so when you throw around these clans doing things, it just confuses me, because I don't have context.

In fact, the only odd thing he notices as he turns seventeen is his inexplicable and uncontrollable attraction to the school's beautiful, popular track athlete, Camilla, way out of his league.

Camilla is the only zodiac (Leo clan) that who can kill the heir of the Scorpio clan. Does Constantine know this? I'm presuming not. And why is she the only one? She has been trained training her whole life to do just that, or else her clan (Leo clan - the guardians of human life) risk extinction Why? And also until this moment, I was assuming that the Leos were the baddies, since they murdered the Scorpios, but now apparently they're the "guardians of human life", whatever that means. The Pproblem is no one knows who the heir is. I would rewrite this sentence. It doesn't sound that great with the double "is", one at the start and one at the finish.

All Camilla has been told is that he/she (heir) the heir will be uncontrollably drawn to her from any corner of the earth (because of their polar-opposite zodiacs and same year or birth We need this explanation of why they are drawn, but... What? What does this mean?) which leads to her second problem.: Eevery boy in Stanmoor High is uncontrollably drawn This is the second usage of this exact phrase in this paragraph. Mix it up. to her and every girl wants to be in her clique. That's just how Leos role. Not a fan of this sentence. It just... I guess, one, I was assuming she just happened to be the popular girl, but now it turns out it's something innate, and, two, I just don't like how it sounds, and maybe the kinda flippant attitude that comes with it.

Vokes, Gah, new character suddenly introduced toward the end of the query. Please don't do that. the leader of the very influential Taurus clan, added a comma there, and also not only is Vokes being introduced for the first time but also the entire Taurus clan. I kinda assumed that there was a clan for each zodiac sign, but it still throws us off to be introduced to something so late also doubles as the CIA Director and doesn't have time for slow burning, twisty high school romances. He wants to revive his ally clan (Scorpio) These parentheticals of telling us which clan is which don't work particularly well for me. You did it above earlier as well when introducing Camilla  so they could can take control of the earth Because generic evil plan is generic. Vokes knows his only hope of getting to the Scorpio heir is finding a Leo zodiac born the same year. Which, I know was kinda explained above, is because the Leo attracts the Scorpio to them, but this still comes across as just random. Also, how is finding the Leo going to be really any easier?

It's only a matter of time before paths cross. The fate of earth hangs in the balance on what order these zodiacs meet each other. This last sentence needs strengthening.

 

ZODIAC BOUND (XX,XXX words) is a YA fantasy. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Other people have already noted about the confusion of who the main character is, so I won't really harp on it. I'm assuming that Constantine and Camilla are equal protagonists, while Vokes is the villain, but it's just to jumping from person to person right now.

 

Definitely clarify more about what the clans actually are, because they're clearly important and I don't get them.

 

Good luck!


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


#7 cipatrick

cipatrick

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationAfrica

Posted 10 April 2018 - 12:23 AM

Thanks for all the comments. Very useful and accurate. I did have problems choosing the MC, which I finally did. Here is the updated version.

15y/o Camilla was born a Leo, not just a Leo but a Leo zodiac. A Zodiac born is either a blessing or a curse aimed at keeping or destroying Humanity’s balance. Camilla must master her element – Fire and become the assassin she was born to be, before the Third Zodiac War.

Killing one boy (Constantine) could possibly prevent the coming war and grant her some justice for her parents. That's all she has been trained to do. Ever since the Divine Zodiacs rescued her from Damned Zodiacs who murdered her parents.

Problem is blue-eyed Constantine isn't the monster she imagined. He's just a high school junior like her. Seemingly innocent and maybe even endearing in his own kind of way. But this is bigger than her feelings or lack of, even bigger than vengeance for her parents.

It's a choice between his life and the lives of those that saved her. The zodiacs have fought many wars in the shadows of normal human existence to keep the balance but this coming war is different. Kill Constantine - the Heir of Scorpio and Summoner of Seas or her and the Divine face total extinction at the hands of the Dammed living humanity without guardians.

ZODIAC BOUND is a YA Contemporary Fantasy complete at 50,000 words told in alternating dual POV. THE MATRIX meets DIVERGENT.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Offbeat/Quirky, Science Fiction, Adventure

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users