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Ouroboros (Fantasy/Sci-fi) -- CLOSED

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#1 lnloft

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 10:24 PM

Thread closed, thanks!

---------------------------------------------

 

Dear Agent,

Lara has never wanted much to do with the Coalition, but with the fate of the worlds on the line, it’s now between a bad choice or a much worse one.

Lara Kavarin is a nihilempath, one of the people with the ability to fly a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds. With her three friends and her nihilship Ouroboros, Lara earns a living hunting treasure across the wide expanse of worlds unofficially governed by the powerful—and somewhat authoritarian—Coalition. The Coalition may desire Lara’s abilities, but Lara disagrees with their policies and just wants to stay clear.

But when Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver, a nihilempath commanding a military ship, goes rogue, the Coalition comes to Lara for help. Because time is short and the stakes are unimaginable: to bring down the Coalition, Amerlaine plans to open the Cipher and let it destroy all the worlds and the people in them.

And the Coalition doesn’t have the resources to stop her. Only Lara can do it.

It’s a dangerous covert mission, facing the perils of the Cipher and the treachery of Amerlaine and her crew, and the Coalition might not be telling Lara everything. But if she doesn’t do it, then Lara can just plan on being a spectator for the end of the worlds.

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor. It is my first novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

lnloft


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.

 

I've got 250 words I'd love your feedback on: Untitled fantasy project


#2 Springfield

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 10:54 PM

Hello, folks. Well, you know the drill. I'd appreciate any feedback. I try to reciprocate if respond as well. Thanks in advance.

---------------------------------------------

 

Dear Agent,

Lara has never wanted much to do with the Coalition, but with the fate of the worlds on the line, it’s now between a bad choice or a much worse one.

Lara Kavarin is a nihilempath, A what? That's quite the compound. one of the people with the ability to fly a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds. Ok, wait, how is that what that means? I get a nihilist empath, which I don't understand at all, but how would a nihilist empath (whatever that'd be) mean someone who can fly a ship?? With her three friends and her nihilship Ouroboros, If it's not round, I give up entirely. Lara earns a living hunting treasure across the wide expanse of worlds unofficially governed by the powerful—and somewhat authoritarian—Coalition. The Coalition may desire Lara’s abilities, but Lara disagrees with their policies and just wants to stay clear. What policies? You've got a bunch of tropes here, and it needs specific details to show what separates your thing from all the others out there with a teen captain making a living yada. 

But when Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver, a nihilempath commanding a military ship, goes rogue, the Coalition comes to Lara for help.Why? Because time is short and the stakes are unimaginable: to bring down the Coalition, Amerlaine plans to open the Cipher and let it destroy all the worlds and the people in them. Why?

And the Coalition doesn’t have the resources to stop her. Only Lara can do it. WHY? It's apparently a galactic coalition that she doesn't even belong to -- how is some teenager the only one who can stop a captain who does belong to it?

It’s a dangerous covert mission, facing the perils of the Cipher and the treachery of Amerlaine and her crew, and the Coalition might not be telling Lara everything. But if she doesn’t do it, then Lara can just plan on being a spectator for the end of the worlds. This is too vague and without stakes -- that's what she's doing now, apparently.

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor. It is my first novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

Sincerely,

lnloft



#3 Faltho

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 11:16 AM

If I'm being honest... this is a mess. Even after reading it, I'm not really sure what's going on. I have little to no idea of the plot, who the characters are, why they are driven to their actions, and I don't have a solid grasp on what several of these new terms actually mean. I would probably go back and try to re-write this keeping your main character in line, and following their plot along, rather than world building in the query.

 



Lara has never wanted much to do with the Coalition, but with the fate of the worlds on the line, it’s now between a bad choice or a much worse one (I would recommend re-working this last part).

Lara Kavarin is a nihilempath, one of the people with the ability to fly a ship through the Cipher (Be careful, there are a lot of new words here in a short amount of time. It's best to ease the reader in to new ideas and language), the void between the worlds. With her three friends and her nihilship Ouroboros (I'm wondering if this is a reference to the famous Worm Ouroboros), Lara earns a living hunting treasure across the wide expanse of worlds unofficially governed by the powerful—and somewhat authoritarian—Coalition (This doesn't really tell me anything about the story yet. This first paragraph should be drawing me in a lot more, not just giving me background information). The Coalition may desire Lara’s abilities, but Lara disagrees with their policies and just wants to stay clear.

But when Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver, a nihilempath commanding a military ship, goes rogue, the Coalition comes to Lara for help. Because time is short and the stakes are unimaginable (If the stakes are unimaginable, this will be a very hard sell to an agent, and a reader): to bring down the Coalition, Amerlaine plans to open the Cipher and let it destroy all the worlds and the people in them.

And the Coalition doesn’t have the resources to stop her. Only Lara can do it.(Why? This feels tossed in to add a bit of reasoning for the plot, but the vagueness doesn't help)

It’s a dangerous covert mission, facing the perils of the Cipher and the treachery of Amerlaine and her crew, and the Coalition might not be telling Lara everything. But if she doesn’t do it, then Lara can just plan on being a spectator for the end of the worlds.

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor. It is my first novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

Sincerely,

lnloft



#4 NGrzesik

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 10:42 AM

In my opinion, I agree with the above post. Things are a little bit of a mess. I just got a great comment on my query, and they told me that all queries need to have are:

 

1. Who your main character is. You do this, and I feel I have a rough understanding of what Lara does.

 

2. What the main character wants. I don't know what Lara wants, I only know what the Coalition wants Lara to do. Even then, from what I've read it doesn't seem Lara wants to do what the Coalition wants. What drives her character? Since this is who I'll be with for the duration of the novel, I'd like to know her motivations.

 

3. What's in their way. So, Lara doesn't want to help the Coalition but why? What's stopping her from helping them?

 

4. What's at stake if they succeed in their goal, and if they fail. You do touch on the stakes, but if I were you I'd take out "the stakes are unimaginable". 

 

There's also a lot of throwing around these strange words like "Cipher" and "Nihilempath". I'm kind of a simple-mind person, so when I immediately start seeing these terms I've never heard before thrown around so much I lose a little interest. It's just a lot at once, especially in a short essay like a query. Maybe you could hold off on the terms a little and focus more on the character, what the primary premise is, and what the stakes are. I'd advise you might want to structure it like this:

 

1st Paragraph: Hook (This is what will draw the reader in) 

2nd Paragraph: Problems that the main character must face to get to their goal / what they want

3rd Paragraph: Introduce villain / what the stakes for the hero or heroine are

 

So, in short, focus more on the main character and the stakes, less on the world-building. Right now, all you need to do is grab an agent's attention and your manuscript will do the rest. 


If you found my suggestions to be helpful, I'd appreciate if you took a look at my query for Ruptured Sky. Thanks. 


#5 lnloft

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 01:22 PM

Welp, this is why we post here. Because I was feeling all pretty good about this (or at least thinking I'd done a better job than on previous attempts for other stories), and that is clearly not the case. I'll be back with a rewrite when I can. Thanks for initial reviews.


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.

 

I've got 250 words I'd love your feedback on: Untitled fantasy project


#6 lnloft

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 04:54 PM

Draft #2. Thoughts? Thanks.

----------

 

Dear Agent,

The Coalition comes to Lara Kavarin with a problem: the worlds are about to end.

Lara has always done her best to just avoid the Coalition, despite their best attempts to recruit her in the past. They’re just a little too powerful and a little too authoritarian for her tastes. But now Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue, and the Coalition needs Lara’s help to stop her.

Because only a few people (such as Lara) have the innate ability to pilot a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds, home to eldritch monsters and time warps, and before fleeing Amerlaine made sure to kill off the Coalition’s pilots. So it’s Lara, or no one.

All Lara wants is to do is live her life hunting treasure across the wide expanse of worlds, with her small crew—practically her family—and her own ship, Ouroboros. That option has to wait, though. To bring down the Coalition, Amerlaine plans to bring down the worlds they reside on. She plans to open the Cipher and let it destroy all the worlds and the people in them.

If Lara wants to save her friends and the worlds, she’s going to need to find a way to stop a woman who is better trained, better equipped, and ready to do whatever it takes to win, before it’s too late.

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor. It is my first novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

lnloft


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.

 

I've got 250 words I'd love your feedback on: Untitled fantasy project


#7 albarchs

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 07:57 PM

Draft #2. Thoughts? Thanks.

----------

 

Dear Agent,

The Coalition comes to Lara Kavarin with a problem: the worlds are about to end. (Better intro. It doesn't wow me but it gives me the scope of the novel's stakes.)

Lara has always done her best to just avoid the Coalition, despite their best attempts to recruit her in the past. They’re just a little too powerful and a little too authoritarian for her tastes. But now Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue, and the Coalition needs Lara’s help to stop her.

Because only a few people (such as Lara) have the innate ability to pilot a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds. home to eldritch monsters and time warps   And Captain Amerlaine made sure to kill off the Coalition’s pilots as her insurance policy. So it’s Lara, or no one.

All Lara wants is to do is live her life hunting treasure across the wide expanse of worlds, with her small crew—practically her family—and her own ship, Ouroboros. That option has to wait, though. To bring down the Coalition, Amerlaine plans to bring down the worlds they reside on. She plans to open the Cipher and let it destroy all the worlds and the people in them. (Why has no one attempted this in the past? I feel like this a plot hole or I'm guessing Amerlaine discovered some dark truth about the Coalition? Not a huge deal since I  suppose you can be vague on spoilers to a point.)

If Lara wants to save her friends and the worlds, she’s going to need to find a way to stop a woman who is better trained, better equipped, and ready to do whatever it takes to win, before it’s too late. (I think there's a decent stakes/choice here. However, I think you need to specify the details while retaining the essence of this sentence.)

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor. It is my first novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

Sincerely,

lnloft

 


This is a much better query. I still think it's lacking certain specifics to give the extra weight it needs to make it stand out to other galaxy saving plots/stories. I would take Lara's desire paragraph and stick it up where you introduce her. You've got a good opening with what Lara aims to do initially. I would vary your word choice as well. The purpose of a query is both to hook the agent/reader and to show off your writing style/chops. That doesn't mean get cute but I would try writing this query from Lara's perspective/first person, rewrite it in third, and then update here with a revised query. This is helped me in the past when I'm writing synopsis type queries.

 

I was in the same boat when I wrote my first query. It was a total mess, despite compliments on my writing style. Don't just read queries from here, I'd read the backlog of Query Shark (Janet Reid is a genius and distills what amounts to subjective but appealing/smart queries. Not all of them follow AQC's format but they shares traits.) This is a big improvement over the the first query. Keep at it. You'll get there.



#8 smoskale

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 10:03 PM

Thanks for your critique of my query. 

 

Dear Agent,


Lara has never wanted much to do with the Coalition, but with the fate of the worlds on the line, so far nice and tense it’s now between a bad choice or a much worse onebut the last clause is not as good as it can be. 


Lara Kavarin is a nihilempath, one of the people with the ability i have to ask how rare is this ability; if it is, why don't you mention it, and if it isn't, why does the coalition need her so bad when there are others who can do the same thing? to fly a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds. With her three friends and her nihilship Ouroboros, Lara earns a living hunting treasure across the wide expanse of worlds this is nice unofficially governed by the powerful—and somewhat authoritarian do you need the qualifier there? Also if you say the coalition governs a wide expanse of worlds, it's powerful by that description, no need to add the word.—Coalition. The Coalition may desire "desire" seems too personal for a Coalition Lara’s abilities, but Lara disagrees and "disagrees" seems too impersonal for Lara. with their policies and just wants to stay clear.

But This "but" comes very soon after the one above, and clings. when Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver, a nihilempath commanding a military ship, goes rogue, the Coalition comes to Lara for help. Because time is short and the stakes are unimaginable I would put "time is short and the stakes are high. "Unimaginable" is a problem, even if you proceed to explain the unimaginable, also "short" and "high" are better matched : to bring down the Coalition, Amerlaine plans to open the Cipher and let it destroy all the worlds and the people in them.

And the Coalition doesn’t have the resources to stop her. Only Lara can do it. but why only she can do it?

It’s a dangerous covert mission, facing the perils of the Cipher and the treachery of Amerlaine and her crew, and the Coalition might not be telling Lara everything. But if she doesn’t do it, then Lara can just plan on being a spectator for the end of the worlds.Is that so bad? If yes, than why? Does Lara have a personality that can't stand the idea of being a spectator? Does she care so much about the fate of the worlds? This part might be improved a bit.

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor. It is my first novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

Sincerely,

lnloft

 
Getting much better, and quickly :)
 


#9 lnloft

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 04:39 PM

Draft #3. Not HUGE changes, and I know I still need some tweaks, especially on wordage here and there, but I also want to make sure that I'm making progress and not just stepping sideways. Thanks for the feedback thus far.

-------------

 

Dear Agent,

The Coalition comes to Lara Kavarin with a problem: the worlds are about to end.

Lara has always preferred to avoid the Coalition, despite their best attempts at recruiting her in the past. They’re just too powerful and too authoritarian for her tastes. All Lara wants is to live her life hunting treasure across the wide expanse of worlds, with her small crew—practically her family—and her ship, Ouroboros. That option has to wait, though. Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue, and the Coalition needs Lara’s help to stop her.

Because only a few people have the innate ability to pilot a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds, a realm of eldritch monsters and time warps, and before fleeing, Amerlaine slaughtered the Coalition’s pilots. So it’s Lara, or no one.

Amerlaine’s grudge with the Coalition shouldn’t be Lara’s problem, except for one thing: collateral damage is all part of the plan. If there are no worlds, the Coalition can’t exist. So to take down the Coalition, Amerlaine is willing to use a device that will open the Cipher to destroy all the worlds and the people in them.

If Lara wants to save her friends and the worlds, she’s going to need to embark on a covert mission to somehow stop a woman who is better trained, better equipped, and ready to do whatever it takes to win, before it’s too late.

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

lnloft


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.

 

I've got 250 words I'd love your feedback on: Untitled fantasy project


#10 anah+theshadowaccomplice

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 07:34 PM

Draft #3. Not HUGE changes, and I know I still need some tweaks, especially on wordage here and there, but I also want to make sure that I'm making progress and not just stepping sideways. Thanks for the feedback thus far.

-------------

 

Dear Agent,

The Coalition comes to Lara Kavarin with a problem: the worlds are about to end. Good, good. The usual problem :P

Lara has always preferred to avoid the Coalition, despite their best attempts at recruiting "to recruit" for some reason I just don't like how "at recruiting" sounds. Probably a personal problem there :) her in the past. They’re just too powerful and too authoritarian for her tastes. All Lara wants is to live her life hunting treasure across the wide expanse of worlds, with her small crew—practically her family—and her ship, Ouroboros. That option has to wait, though. Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue, and the Coalition needs Lara’s help to stop her.

Because only a few people have the innate ability to pilot a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds, a realm of eldritch monsters and time warps, and before fleeing, Amerlaine slaughtered the Coalition’s pilots. This very long sentence sort of broke my brain, if I'm being honest. It could easily be broken in two, and the because at the beginning can be cut. So it’s Lara, or no one.

Amerlaine’s grudge with the Coalition shouldn’t you could use "wouldn't" here be Lara’s problem, except for one thing: collateral damage is all part of the plan. If there are no worlds, the Coalition can’t exist. So to take down the Coalition, Amerlaine is willing to use a device that will open the Cipher to destroy all the worlds and the people in them Overreaction much? I dig the odds here.

If Lara wants to save her friends and the worlds, she’s going to need to embark on a coverIn this case, the information provided isn't necessary for the moment mission to somehow stop a woman who is better trained, better equipped, and ready to do whatever it takes to win, before it’s too late. I don't know if this could be cut, but I hazard to guess it can. There is a reason, "before it's too late" is both a bit of a cliche, and definitely comes as part of the deal no matter what. 

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

lnloft

I have but one thing to say about all this. I'd read the heck out of this book :)


My Query Letter: Killing Crow

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#11 booksbybrendan

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 11:05 PM

First of all- this sounds dope af. I second shadowaccomplice said, I'd totally read this story. Now for the critique...

 

Draft #3. Not HUGE changes, and I know I still need some tweaks, especially on wordage here and there, but I also want to make sure that I'm making progress and not just stepping sideways. Thanks for the feedback thus far.

-------------

 

Dear Agent,

The Coalition comes to Lara Kavarin with a problem: the worlds are about to end.

Lara has always preferred to avoid the Coalition, despite their best attempts at recruiting her in the past. They’re just too powerful and too authoritarian for her tastes. All Lara wants is to live her life hunting treasure across the wide expanse of worlds, with her small crew—practically her family—and her ship, Ouroboros. That option has to wait, though. Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue, and the Coalition needs Lara’s help to stop her. No comments about any of the above. Nailed it.

Because only a few people have the innate ability to pilot a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds, a realm of eldritch monsters and time warps, and before fleeing, Amerlaine slaughtered the Coalition’s pilots. This sentence has a couple problems. It's too long; long sentences can work, but they shouldn't have to when you can just split it up. I recommend splitting it into two or three sentences. And the "because" at the beginning sort of ruins the flow for me. So it’s Lara, or no one.

Amerlaine’s grudge with the Coalition shouldn’t be Lara’s problem, except for one thing: collateral damage is all part of the plan. If there are no worlds, the Coalition can’t exist. So to take down the Coalition, Amerlaine is willing to use a device that will open the Cipher to destroy all the worlds and the people in them.

If Lara wants to save her friends and the worlds, she’s going to need to embark on a covert mission to somehow stop a woman who is better trained, better equipped, and ready to do whatever it takes to win, before it’s too late.

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

lnloft

 

I know this is sort of a weak-sauce critique, but I literally don't have that much to say. You've got the stakes, the villain, a good hook, etc etc. If you keep working at it and you don't get an agent, I'll eat this dirty sock



#12 jaustail

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 05:10 AM

JMO:

 

 

Dear Agent,

The Coalition comes to Lara Kavarin with a problem: the worlds are about to end.

Lara has always preferred to avoid the Coalition, despite their best attempts at recruiting her in the past. They’re just too powerful and too authoritarian for her tastes. (start the query from here-->)All Lara wants is to live her life hunting treasure across the wide expanse of worlds, with her small crew—practically her family—and her ship, Ouroboros. That option has to wait, though. Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue, and the Coalition needs Lara’s help to stop her(the coalition were too powerful and that's why lara didnt want to join them. they come across as weak now that they see lara's help. maybe remove 'too powerful' from above).

Because only a few people have the innate ability to pilot a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds, a realm of eldritch monsters and time warps,(full stop) and before fleeing, Amerlaine slaughtered the Coalition’s pilots. So it’s Lara, or no one.

Amerlaine’s grudge with the Coalition shouldn’t be Lara’s problem, except for one thing: collateral damage is all part of the plan. If there are no worlds, the Coalition can’t exist. So to take down the Coalition, Amerlaine is willing to use a device that will open the Cipher to destroy all the worlds and the people in them.(this will kill amerlaine as well)

If Lara wants to save her friends and the worlds, she’s going to need to embark on a covert mission to somehow stop a woman who is better trained, better equipped, and ready to do whatever it takes to win, before it’s too late.

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Overall it's a good query good query. The story comes across clearly. Good luck!!

 

Sincerely,

lnloft



#13 Arcanjoe

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 07:17 AM

Draft #3. Not HUGE changes, and I know I still need some tweaks, especially on wordage here and there, but I also want to make sure that I'm making progress and not just stepping sideways. Thanks for the feedback thus far.

-------------

 

Dear Agent,

The Coalition comes to Lara Kavarin with a problem: the worlds are about to end.

Lara has always preferred to avoid the Coalition, despite their best attempts at recruiting her in the past. (Maybe mention why? Because she's a kick-ass pilot?) They’re just too powerful and too authoritarian for her tastes. All Lara wants is to live her life hunting treasure across the wide expanse of worlds, with her small crew—practically her family—and her ship, Ouroboros. That option has to wait, though. Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue, and the Coalition needs Lara’s help to stop her. (Nice)

Because Only a few people have the innate ability to pilot a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds, a realm of eldritch monsters and time warps. and Before fleeing, Amerlaine slaughtered all the Coalition’s pilots who could. So it’s Lara, or no one. (Broke this up a little bit for flow.)

Amerlaine’s grudge with the Coalition shouldn’t be Lara’s problem, (is why Amerlaine is doing this a big reveal later? If not, I'd give us something. A grudge doesn't explain why she's murdering people and trying to blow up all the worlds.) except for one thing: collateral damage is all part of the plan. If there are no worlds, the Coalition can’t exist. So to take down the Coalition, Amerlaine is willing to use a device that will open the Cipher to destroy all the worlds and the people in them.

If Lara wants to save her friends and the worlds she hopes to one day plunder, (just adds a little more direct character motivation. Her main desire is to plunder other worlds, right? Can't do that if there aren't any worlds. So makes sense that she wants to save them.) she’s going to need to embark on a covert mission to somehow stop a woman who is better trained, better equipped, and ready to do whatever it takes to win, before it’s too late.

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

lnloft

Hey, thanks for your help with my query.

 

I really liked this idea and the query. I pointed out a few things above, but none are major. Flow, generally. Though I do think you can give us a little more about Amerlaine's reason for destroying everything. That last thing you want is your antagonist to come across as one dimensional, even in the query. She's not being evil for evil's sake, is she? Even if you can't give us the whole reason, a snippet will help. Hope I've helped!


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

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 

Or the first 250 words of my story...

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 


#14 lnloft

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 03:25 PM

Thanks for the feedback and support, guys! I'm going to go ahead and post my next draft, such as it is, even though it's mostly just tweaks. Mostly focused on a couple questions I have down below the query itself.

 

Draft #4

------------

Dear Agent,

The Coalition comes to Lara Kavarin with a problem: the worlds are about to end.

Lara has always preferred to avoid the Coalition, despite their best attempts to recruit her in the past. They’re just too power-hungry and too authoritarian for her tastes. All Lara wants is to live her life hunting treasure across the wide expanse of worlds, with her small crew—practically her family—and her ship, Ouroboros. That option has to wait, though. Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue, and the Coalition needs Lara’s help to stop her.

Only a few people have the innate ability to pilot a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds, a realm of eldritch monsters and time warps. And before fleeing, Amerlaine slaughtered the Coalition’s pilots who could. So it’s Lara, or no one.

Amerlaine’s grudge with the Coalition wouldn’t be Lara’s problem, except for one thing: collateral damage is all part of the plan. If there are no worlds, the Coalition can’t exist. So to take down the Coalition, Amerlaine is willing to use a device that will open the Cipher to destroy all the worlds and the people in them.

If Lara wants to save her friends and the worlds, she’s going to need to embark on a covert mission to somehow stop a woman who is better trained, better equipped, and ready to do whatever it takes to win.

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor and a hint of steam punk. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

lnloft

 

---------

Okay, so Arcanjoe notes wanting to know a bit more about Amerlaine's motivations and points out the risks of a flat villain, which is totally fair. The thing is, Amerlaine's motivations aren't addressed until pretty much exactly at the halfway mark of the book (which is incidentally around the time that the assumption of her plan being suicidal is addressed as well). It's not a huge reveal that needs to be kept secret, but it also doesn't come up until then. But before then, it's pretty much just treated as, "it doesn't matter why, she's doing this and must be stopped". So I'm not sure that it works to fit motivations into my query (also not sure that I have the space to explain them adequately. To do that, I also need to go in depth about the Coalition and what they do). However, if people think her reasons are important, I can try to squeeze something in. I can also try to just characterize her a little bit more, although oddly enough the first adjective that comes to mind is "affable" (even though she is firmly the villain), and I feel like that might throw a wrench in things, too, especially because, without rearranging things, right now that would come out something like "Affable Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue", and I don't need you all to tell me that that just doesn't work. Anyway, I appreciate all the feedback I've already gotten, and I appreciate any thoughts you have on this villain portrayal. I can always too leave it as is.

 

Thanks.


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.

 

I've got 250 words I'd love your feedback on: Untitled fantasy project


#15 rosequinn

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 04:06 PM

Thanks for the feedback and support, guys! I'm going to go ahead and post my next draft, such as it is, even though it's mostly just tweaks. Mostly focused on a couple questions I have down below the query itself.

 

Draft #4

------------

Dear Agent,

The Coalition comes to Lara Kavarin with a problem: the worlds are about to end.

Lara has always preferred to avoid the Coalition, despite their best attempts to recruit her in the past. They’re just too power-hungry and too authoritarian for her tastes. All Lara wants is to live her life hunting treasure across the wide expanse of worlds, with her small crew—practically her family—and her ship, Ouroboros. That option has to wait, though. Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue, and the Coalition needs Lara’s help to stop her.

Only a few people have the innate ability to pilot a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds, a realm of eldritch monsters and time warps. And before fleeing, Amerlaine slaughtered the Coalition’s pilots who could. So it’s Lara, or no one.

Amerlaine’s grudge with the Coalition wouldn’t be Lara’s problem, except for one thing: collateral damage is all part of the plan. If there are no worlds, the Coalition can’t exist. So to take down the Coalition, Amerlaine is willing to use a device that will open the Cipher to destroy all the worlds and the people in them.

If Lara wants to save her friends and the worlds, she’s going to need to embark on a covert mission to somehow stop a woman who is better trained, better equipped, and ready to do whatever it takes to win.

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor and a hint of steam punk. Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

Sincerely,

lnloft

 

---------

Okay, so Arcanjoe notes wanting to know a bit more about Amerlaine's motivations and points out the risks of a flat villain, which is totally fair. The thing is, Amerlaine's motivations aren't addressed until pretty much exactly at the halfway mark of the book (which is incidentally around the time that the assumption of her plan being suicidal is addressed as well). It's not a huge reveal that needs to be kept secret, but it also doesn't come up until then. But before then, it's pretty much just treated as, "it doesn't matter why, she's doing this and must be stopped". So I'm not sure that it works to fit motivations into my query (also not sure that I have the space to explain them adequately. To do that, I also need to go in depth about the Coalition and what they do). However, if people think her reasons are important, I can try to squeeze something in. I can also try to just characterize her a little bit more, although oddly enough the first adjective that comes to mind is "affable" (even though she is firmly the villain), and I feel like that might throw a wrench in things, too, especially because, without rearranging things, right now that would come out something like "Affable Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue", and I don't need you all to tell me that that just doesn't work. Anyway, I appreciate all the feedback I've already gotten, and I appreciate any thoughts you have on this villain portrayal. I can always too leave it as is.

 

Thanks.

This works for me - It's definitely clear and I get a good sense of the MC. The motivations of Amerlaine are not a sticking point for me because I realize that her motivations are going to come across in the story and clearly she needs to be stopped because she's trying to kill everyone.

 

Good job!


Critique my query here


#16 jaustail

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 01:36 AM

JMO:

 

Maybe mention in the title of the thread as to the revised query is in which post.

 

 

Dear Agent,

The Coalition comes to Lara Kavarin with a problem: the worlds are about to end.

Lara has always preferred to avoid the Coalition, despite their best attempts to recruit her in the past. They’re just too power-hungry and too authoritarian for her tastes(maybe: taste). All Lara wants is to live her life hunting treasure across the wide expanse of (maybe: the)worlds, with her small crew—practically her family(is the crew her family or is her family her crew? like does she consider her crew like her family or does the crew consist of her parents and siblings?)—and her ship, Ouroboros. That option has to wait, though. Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue, and the Coalition needs Lara’s help to stop her.

Only a few people have the innate ability to pilot a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds, a realm of eldritch monsters and time warps. And before fleeing, Amerlaine (maybe add: has)slaughtered the Coalition’s pilots who could(who could fly between the worlds). So it’s Lara, or no one.

Amerlaine’s grudge with the Coalition wouldn’t be Lara’s problem, except for one thing: collateral damage is all part of the plan. If there are no worlds, the Coalition can’t exist. So to take down the Coalition, Amerlaine is willing to use a device that will open the Cipher to destroy all the worlds and the people in them.

If Lara wants to save her friends and the worlds, she’s going to need to embark on a covert(why covert?) mission to somehow stop a woman who is better trained, better equipped, and ready to do whatever it takes to win(why is lara not ready to do whatever it takes to win? she's doing this to save her family from collateral damage.).

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor and a hint of steam punk. Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

Sincerely,

lnloft

 

 

Clear query. Gives good idea of the story. I'm rooting for Lara already. Only nitpick is I didn't get strong sense of the antagonist. Like why has amerlaine gone rogue? Does she want to rule over the world? she made me think of that antagonist in cats vs dogs: revenge of kitty galore



#17 lnloft

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Posted 28 October 2017 - 12:57 PM

Okay, latest stab. Most of the changes are in the latter half, trying to give a little bit more to Amerlaine. Hopefully I did that instead of just bringing up more questions. You decide! But mostly I've been agonizing over that last paragraph (or, I guess, technically second-to-last, if we're counting my title/word count paragraph) for the past couple of days. Still not sure that I'm sold, but I've also been staring at it forever... Just trying to relay the stakes, while also emphasizing that Amerlaine has a lot of advantages over Lara, and not have it just end abruptly. Been fun. So if anyone has any ideas of other ways to rework that sentence, I'm all open.

 

Thanks again for the feedback so far, and thanks in advance for anything new.

 

Draft #5

----------

Dear Agent,

The Coalition comes to Lara Kavarin with a problem: the worlds are about to end.

Lara has always preferred to avoid the Coalition, despite their best attempts to recruit her in the past. They’re just too power-hungry and too authoritarian for her taste. All Lara wants is to live her life tracking down artifacts across the wide expanse of worlds, with her small crew—as close as family—and her ship, Ouroboros. That option has to wait, though. Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue, and the Coalition needs Lara’s help to stop her.

Only a few people have the innate ability to pilot a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds, a realm of eldritch monsters and time warps. And before fleeing, Amerlaine slaughtered any Coalition pilot who could. So it’s Lara, or no one.

Amerlaine’s grudge with the Coalition wouldn’t be Lara’s problem, except for one thing: collateral damage is all part of the plan. Amerlaine concludes humanity is better off without the Coalition, even if it means wiping out most of the population to do it. Using a newly-discovered device, she intends to open the Cipher to the worlds, annihilating their inhabitants.

If she hopes to save her friends and the worlds, Lara must embark on a dangerous mission to stop a woman who has the plan and the means to destroy it all.

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor and a hint of steam punk. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

lnloft


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.

 

I've got 250 words I'd love your feedback on: Untitled fantasy project


#18 doubleaw

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Posted 28 October 2017 - 06:06 PM

​I think this latest version is really good. I have just a few thoughts more than critiques because I think it's well done. 

Okay, latest stab. Most of the changes are in the latter half, trying to give a little bit more to Amerlaine. Hopefully I did that instead of just bringing up more questions. You decide! But mostly I've been agonizing over that last paragraph (or, I guess, technically second-to-last, if we're counting my title/word count paragraph) for the past couple of days. Still not sure that I'm sold, but I've also been staring at it forever... Just trying to relay the stakes, while also emphasizing that Amerlaine has a lot of advantages over Lara, and not have it just end abruptly. Been fun. So if anyone has any ideas of other ways to rework that sentence, I'm all open.

 

Thanks again for the feedback so far, and thanks in advance for anything new.

 

Draft #5

----------

Dear Agent,

The Coalition comes to Lara Kavarin with a problem: the worlds are about to end.

Lara has always preferred to avoid the Coalition, despite their best attempts to recruit her in the past. They’re just too power-hungry and too authoritarian for her taste. All Lara wants is to live her life tracking down artifacts across the wide expanse of worlds, with her small crew—as close as family​this is the only thing I didn't really like. I get what you're saying but it still made me stop and question it, which I don't think you want. Also, I think it would be just fine without it. and her ship, Ouroboros. That option has to wait, though. Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue, and the Coalition needs Lara’s help to stop her.

Only a few people have the innate ability to pilot a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds, a realm of eldritch monsters and time warps. And before fleeing, Amerlaine slaughtered any Coalition pilot who could. So it’s Lara, or no one.

Amerlaine’s grudge with the Coalition wouldn’t be Lara’s problem, except for one thing: collateral damage is all part of the plan. Amerlaine concludes humanity is better off without the Coalition, even if it means wiping out most of the population to do it. Using a newly-discovered device, she intends to open the Cipher to the worlds, annihilating their inhabitants. ​I like the changes you made here. Amerlaine now doesn't sound suicidal and it makes sense why the action is now happening. 

If she hopes to save her friends and the worlds, Lara must embark on a dangerous mission to stop a woman who has the plan and the means to destroy it all. ​I think this works fine. 

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor and a hint of steam punk. Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

Sincerely,

lnloft

 

Like I said, I think this is well done. The only question I might have is why is Amerlaine willing to sacrifice so many innocent people to destroy the Coalition? I would assume they must've done something big to piss her off that much. HOWEVER - based on what you have here, I would be willing to read the book to find out the answer to that question. Which is the point of a query. Therefore, I think you have done your job!



#19 jaustail

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Posted 29 October 2017 - 12:19 AM

Dear Agent,

The Coalition comes to Lara(this name reminded me of Lara Croft/Tomb Raider. Maybe change the first name) Kavarin with a problem: the worlds are about to end.(lol. i like the whole: there's a problem..---what?---the worlds are about to end.

maybe: ...with a tiny/small problem...)

Lara has always preferred to avoid the Coalition, despite their best attempts to recruit her in the past. They’re just too power-hungry and too authoritarian for her taste. All Lara wants is to live her life tracking down artifacts across the wide expanse of worlds, with her small crew—as close as family—and her ship, Ouroboros(does she steal those artifacts as well? she's a bit vain if she goes from place to place just to see some artifacts.). That option has to wait, though. Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue, and the Coalition needs Lara’s help to stop her.

Only a few people have the innate ability to pilot a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds, a realm of eldritch monsters and time warps. And before fleeing, Amerlaine slaughtered any Coalition pilot who could. So it’s Lara, or no one.

Amerlaine’s grudge with the Coalition wouldn’t be Lara’s problem, except for one thing: collateral damage is all part of the plan. Amerlaine concludes humanity is better off without the Coalition, even if it means wiping out most of the population to do it. Using a newly-discovered device, she intends to open the Cipher to the worlds, annihilating their inhabitants(how will cipher kill the inhabitants? will it release the monsters to the human world? is the cipher like ball of energy that'll explode?).

If she hopes to save her friends and the worlds, Lara must embark on a dangerous mission to stop a woman who has the plan and the means to destroy it all.(this doesn't show lara's drive. mention what's causing lara to hesitate embarking on this mission. mention that she may be scared of amerlaine. like mention that she wants to go and kick amerlaine's butt, except she's scared of the rogue woman who holds a record of bringing down three spaceships with two laser strikes)

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor and a hint of steam punk. Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

Sincerely,

lnloft



#20 lnloft

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Posted 29 October 2017 - 02:39 PM

Thanks again. Feel like I'm getting close.

 

Draft #6

-----

Dear Agent,

The Coalition comes to Lara Kavarin with a problem: the worlds are about to end.

Lara has always preferred to avoid the Coalition, despite their best attempts to recruit her in the past. They’re just too power-hungry and too authoritarian for her taste. All Lara wants is to make a living scavenging lost artifacts across the wide expanse of worlds, with her close-knit crew and her ship, Ouroboros. That option has to wait, though. Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue, and the Coalition needs Lara’s help to stop her.

Only a few people have the innate ability to pilot a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds, a realm of eldritch monsters and time warps. And before fleeing, Amerlaine slaughtered any Coalition pilot who could. So it’s Lara, or no one.

Amerlaine’s grudge with the Coalition wouldn’t be Lara’s problem, except for one thing: collateral damage is all part of the plan. Amerlaine concludes humanity is better off without the Coalition, even if it means wiping out most of the population to do it. Using a newly-discovered device, she intends to open the Cipher to the worlds, unleashing terrors and massacring populations.

Lara can’t allow her disagreements with the Coalition or her fear of a genocidal woman with the worlds’ most powerful ship to deter her. She needs to stop Amerlaine, or die along with her friends and the worlds.

OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor and a hint of steam punk. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

lnloft


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.

 

I've got 250 words I'd love your feedback on: Untitled fantasy project






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