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Into the Inferno (YA Urban Fantasy) - Will Critique Back!


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#1 TheBest

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 03:12 PM

New version in #23! - http://agentquerycon...-back/?p=357822

 

   Hi you all! This is the first 250 words of my new novel, "Into the Inferno." It's 77,000 words. I'd love to get your opinions on how I can make this first bit more interesting, understandable, and hopefully really damn fun. Thanks!

 

 

   The cold air feels great. Even with the barrel of a revolver sticking into my back, I can’t help but love the San Francisco fog.

   “Walk.” The gun nudges my side, and I pick up the pace, heading down the grimy post-industrial street. The light of the full moon shines down on our four backs.
   “Where are we going?” I say.
   “Shut up and move.” We turn down a side-street, Chinese characters and occult symbols spray painted on the alley walls. We’re close.
   The girl with the gun is Alice Versa. Her oily black hair, forced into a tight bun, bumps into the massive sword strapped to her back. At a lanky 5’5, I’ve always wondered how she managed to lug that thing just about everywhere she went. Then again, I wonder lot of things about Alice. I never get any answers. Just a stray grunt here, or a sideways scowl there. A scowl like the one she’s giving me now, her dark eyes burning a hole into the back of my head.
   “Tell me where we’re going,” I say again. “Or I won’t lift a finger! How will you find him without my help?”
    No answer. The guild demanded that Alice keep me alive, at least until we finish the job. Looking at her face, brow furrowed in rage, I wonder if that’s a promise she’ll be able to keep.
  “Keep walking, kid,” Ross snorts. Ross and Cheng are the guild’s bloodhounds, usually charged with sniffing out supernatural baddies like Avery Wong. Or like me. This assignment is their way of testing my usefulness to the guild, a sort of warped entrance exam, with pointy stakes instead of No 2. pencils. So far, I’m on track to take home my first ever F-. 
    “We’re headed to a convergence.”    


#2 TheBest

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 02:47 PM

New Version in #4

 

 

  Hi you all! Here's the new, edited version of the first 250 words of "Into the Inferno." It's 77,000 words. I'd love to get your opinions on how I can make this first bit more interesting, understandable, and hopefully really damn fun. Thanks!

 

 

   The cold air feels good. Even with the barrel of a revolver sticking into my back, I can’t help but love the San Francisco fog.

   “Walk.” The gun nudges my side, and I pick up the pace, heading down the grimy post-industrial street. The light of the full moon shines down on our four backs.
   “Where are we going?” I say.
   “Shut up and move.” We turn down a side-street, Chinese characters and occult symbols spray painted on the alley walls. We’re close.
   The girl with the gun is Alice Versa. Her oily black hair, forced into a tight bun, bumps into the massive sword strapped to her back. At a lanky 5’5, I’ve always wondered how she managed to lug that thing just about everywhere she went. Then again, I wonder lot of things about Alice. I never get any answers. Just a stray grunt here, or a sideways scowl there. A scowl like the one she’s giving me now, her dark eyes burning a hole into the back of my head.
   “Tell me where we’re going,” I say again. “Or I won’t lift a finger! How will you find him without my help?”
    No answer. The guild demanded that Alice keep me alive, at least until we finish the job. Looking at her face, brow furrowed in rage, I wonder if that’s a promise she’ll be able to keep.
  “Keep walking, kid,” Ross snorts. Ross and Cheng are the guild’s bloodhounds, usually charged with sniffing out supernatural baddies like Avery Wong. Or like me. This assignment is their way of testing my usefulness to the guild, a sort of warped entrance exam, with pointy stakes instead of No 2. pencils. So far, I’m on track to take home my first ever F-. 
    “We’re headed to a convergence.”  


#3 A.M.Rose

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 10:08 AM

My comments below in green - I hope they help you in some way - Remember this industry is subjective so take what works for you and leave what doesn't

 

  Hi you all! Here's the new, edited version of the first 250 words of "Into the Inferno." It's 77,000 words. I'd love to get your opinions on how I can make this first bit more interesting, understandable, and hopefully really damn fun. Thanks!

 

 

   The cold air feels good. (For a first line this doesn't have any punch - the voice isn't very strong either. "good" is a generic term, maybe consider using a word this character would to describe this, or consider a different way to start. - But this is just IMO) Even with the barrel of a revolver sticking into my back, I can’t help but love the San Francisco fog. (So this character has a gun to his/her back and commenting on the weather. Interesting. Either they have been in this situation many times, or we are missing the emotion of this event.)

   “Walk.” The gun nudges my side, and I pick up the pace, heading down the grimy post-industrial street. (Since the gun doesn't say this, it is an opportunity to show us what is going on. Who says this? The large man with the ski mask jams his gun into my side. Immediately I get a visual of this.  The light of the full moon shines down on our four backs. (How do you see the back of the person behind you? Remember in first person narrative you can only see what you can see - that means the MC would have to turn around and get behind the person with the gun to see this. He/she can infer or assume so something like - the only thing that lights our path is the moon shining from behind us. But even this isn't a great sentence.)
   “Where are we going?” I say. (ask) Also here is an opportunity to let us inside the characters head. What are they thinking? Feeling? 
   “Shut up and move.” We turn down a side-street, Chinese characters and occult symbols spray painted on the alley walls. We’re close. (Close to what? I thought he just asked where they were going? Consider being specific here or above reference that this MC is just making small talk or whatever, but knows where they are headed.) 
   The girl with the gun is Alice Versa. (Consider not telling me this. Show me above when she nudges him with the gun - showing instead of telling here would work better, again IMO) Her oily black hair, forced into a tight bun, bumps into the massive sword strapped to her back. (Watch the POV - first person present can't see what is behind the back of a girl who is behind the MC) At a lanky 5’5, I’ve always wondered how she managed to lug that thing just about everywhere she went. Then again, I wonder lot of things about Alice. I never get any answers. Just a stray grunt here, or a sideways scowl there. A scowl like the one she’s giving me now, her dark eyes burning a hole into the back of my head. (POV) 
   “Tell me where we’re going,” I say again. “Or I won’t lift a finger! How will you find him without my help?” (It feels like this character knows what is going on and is just playing dumb, and since we are in his/her head we should know what he/she knows.)
    No answer. The guild demanded that Alice keep me alive, at least until we finish the job. (Yes, this. This MC knows what is happening, so consider weaving this information through the scene - not just telling us.) Looking at her face, brow furrowed in rage, I wonder if that’s a promise she’ll be able to keep. ( I thought she was behind the MC - how can this MC see her face?)
  “Keep walking, kid,” Ross snorts. Ross and Cheng (Consider giving their names above. I'm not sure I understand why there is just a mention of 4 above and here we find out who they are. If the MC knows let it come out naturally. This feels a little like forced tension.)are the guild’s bloodhounds, usually charged with sniffing out supernatural baddies like Avery Wong. (I have 4 names here but not the MC's and this is only 250 words, consider slowing down how quickly you introduce characters so the reader has the ability to figure out who is who) Or like me. This assignment is their way of testing my usefulness to the guild, a sort of warped entrance exam, with pointy stakes instead of No 2. pencils. So far, I’m on track to take home my first ever F-. (A lot of telling going on in this sentence.)
    “We’re headed to a convergence.”  (Who says this?)
 

First, thank you for sharing this. It is never easy to put yourself out there, so bravo for taking this step. 

So overall I think you have this story well pictured in your head, but unfortunately it isn't coming across on the page. You drop us in the middle of the action, but I don't know enough about this MC to care about them, and the fact that they aren't worried about a gun in their back doesn't help much either. Is this convergence your inciting incident? I ask because I'm not sure about anything in this story. I don't know who the MC is? Or have any idea of what they want. I'm not getting a lot of their voice either. It still feels like you are telling yourself this story. It's what I like to call the bones of the story but we are missing the meat. 

The good news is that you do have a well conceived story. I have no doubt you can picture all of this happening in your mind, and who exactly these characters are. With a little more description we will be able to really see this too. 

Best of luck to you. 


A.M. Rose

Author of Road to Eugenica - Available 2018 from Entangled Teen 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


#4 TheBest

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 11:58 PM

Thanks so much for the great feedback! I've re-written it, trying to add a whole lot more voice and clear up the details. Plus, I fixed the POV issues by changing orientation in the scene. Does it sound too clunky? Does it pull you in more now?

I'd really appreciate any more feedback or comments that you have, no matter how brutal.

Thanks!

 

   The chill makes my scared breaths feel refreshing. Even with the barrel of a revolver sticking into my side, I can’t help but love the San Francisco fog.

   “Walk.” A delicate hand pushes the gun further into my ribs, and I pick up the pace, heading down the grimy post-industrial street. The light of the full moon shines down on my back.

   “Where are we going?” I ask, trying to sound as gruff and action-hero-like as a fifteen-year-old mathlete can. I puff myself up and push out my chin, like an orangutan asserting his dominance to the troop. Power pose.

   One of my three captors lets out a sigh – it didn’t take.

   “Shut up and move.” We turn down a side-street, Chinese characters and occult symbols spray painted on the alley walls. We’re close.

   The girl with the gun is Alice Versa. Her oily black hair, forced into a tight bun, bumps into the massive sword strapped to her back. At a lanky 5’5, I’ve always wondered how she managed to lug that thing just about everywhere she went. Then again, I wonder lot of things about Alice. I never get any answers. Just a stray grunt here, or a sideways scowl there. A scowl like the one she’s giving me now, her dark eyes burning a hole into the back of my head.

   “Tell me where we’re going,” I say again. “Or I won’t lift a finger! How will you find him without my help?”

   No answer. The guild demanded that Alice keep me alive, at least until we finish the job. Looking at her face, brow furrowed in rage, I wonder if that’s a promise she’ll be able to keep.

 “Keep walking, kid,” Ross snorts. Ross and Cheng are the guild’s bloodhounds, usually charged with sniffing out supernatural baddies like Avery Wong. Or like me. This assignment is their way of testing my usefulness to the guild, a sort of warped entrance exam, with pointy stakes instead of No 2. pencils. So far, I’m on track to take home my first ever F-.



#5 BadgerFox

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Posted 23 November 2017 - 01:15 PM



Thanks so much for the great feedback! I've re-written it, trying to add a whole lot more voice and clear up the details. Plus, I fixed the POV issues by changing orientation in the scene. Does it sound too clunky? Does it pull you in more now?

I'd really appreciate any more feedback or comments that you have, no matter how brutal.

Thanks!

 

   The chill makes my scared breaths feel refreshing. [I get what you mean here and I know how easy it is to do (I do it too), but the noun and the adjective don't quite seem possible together. Can a breath, in itself, be 'scared'? You can be breathing heavily because you're scared, but you have to write it quite carefully if you mean to describe this act in an unconventional way, or I think you end up describing a thing that isn't physically possible. Anyway, no worries, the beginning seems fine just starting on the next sentence, which is very good!] Even with the barrel of a revolver sticking into my side, I can’t help but love the San Francisco fog.

   “Walk.” A delicate hand pushes the gun further into my ribs [maybe I'm nitpicking but this feels slightly out of the point-of-view because the protagonist here doesn't seem to be at an appropriate angle to observe the hand. It seems hard for him to know whether it was a delicate hand, a strong hand or any other type of hand? Unless I'm visualising it wrong and he's actually looking directly down and to the side, for some reason? He could have noticed it was delicate earlier, that's true, but if so it seems more reasonable that he'd have noticed what the hand was like at that point in time, and then he'd have had different priorities. Like the fact it's holding a gun would probably seem a bigger deal to him now than the fact it's delicate. I could be nitpicking, but if you're looking to really buff up this passage and correct any point-of-view slips, see how you feel about this one.] , and I pick up the pace, heading down the grimy post-industrial street. The light of the full moon shines down on my back.

   “Where are we going?” I ask, trying to sound as gruff and action-hero-like as a fifteen-year-old mathlete can. [LOL, good one] I puff myself up and push out my chin, like an orangutan asserting his dominance to the troop. Power pose.

   One of my three captors lets out a sigh – it didn’t take. [what didn't take what where? Is this a regional dialect phrase I'm not familiar with?]

   “Shut up and move.” We turn down a side-street, Chinese characters and occult symbols spray painted on the alley walls. [COOL. So cyberpunk!] We’re close.

   The girl with the gun is Alice Versa. Her oily black hair, forced into a tight bun, bumps into the massive sword strapped to her back. At a lanky 5’5 [doesn't lanky mean 'tall and thin'? Maybe not the best adjective to use, maybe find a synonym for slender or skinny? 5' 5" is the female average in most western countries. Unless your story is about a race of dwarves, a different adjective could be less confusing], I’ve always wondered how she managed to lug that thing just about everywhere she went. Then again, I wonder lot of things about Alice. I never get any answers. Just a stray grunt here, or a sideways scowl there. A scowl like the one she’s giving me now, her dark eyes burning a hole into the back of my head.[Again, I could have misunderstood but this feels like a point-of-view slip? If you're writing in the first person, ideally you should only be able to see and hear what the protagonist sees and hears, and those only as he would see them. This it seems like...how does he know what facial expression a person directly behind him is making? She could be blowing raspberries at him, technically, and he wouldn't know. Again, unless I've misunderstood and this protagonist has supernatural abilities that mean he is able to see visions of things he can't see with his eyes...]

   “Tell me where we’re going,” I say again. “Or I won’t lift a finger! How will you find him without my help?”

   No answer. The guild demanded that Alice keep me alive, at least until we finish the job. Looking at her face, brow furrowed in rage, I wonder if that’s a promise she’ll be able to keep.[I am confused, unfortunately. Where is Alice standing? She seemed to be sort of behind/beside him at first, then directly behind him, and now she's in front of him and visible again..?]

 “Keep walking, kid,” Ross snorts. Ross and Cheng are the guild’s bloodhounds, usually charged with sniffing out supernatural baddies like Avery Wong. Or like me. This assignment is their way of testing my usefulness to the guild, a sort of warped entrance exam, with pointy stakes instead of No 2. pencils. So far, I’m on track to take home my first ever F-.

 

I hope the lengthy comments are not offputting; they are not a remark on the overall quality of the writing, they are just a sign that I over-explain myself in a wordy way. This piece of writing has a LOT going for it if you adjust the point-of-view issues and clarify where Alice physically is in the space. The tone is consistent, and kind of punky and fun, and the Asian-Cyberpunk feel of the setting (is that a katana I detect?) is ice-cool. I like the protagonist already - he seems like a smart guy who's pretty sardonic about ending up in this position. His humour is pitched just right. I like what's going on, too. There's enough action to hook a reader make it interesting but you've sensibly avoiding flinging too many names and places at the piece until the last few sentences, when a reader is more ready to be introduced to the full cast of characters.

 

I think this opening has a lot of potential!


Spare a little feedback, if you have a moment? :)

My AU historical novel query: here. Thank you!


#6 TheBest

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 09:11 PM

Thanks so much for the great comments! I've reworked the POV issues and the first sentence. What do you all think? Do the first two sentences work, or are they awkward? Is the voice strong enough?

 

As always, critique me, and I'll brutally critique you!

Thanks!

 

 

 

   The chill relaxes my trembling hands. Even with the barrel of a revolver sticking into my side, I can’t help but love the San Francisco fog.

   “Walk.” A delicate hand pushes the gun further into my ribs, and I pick up the pace, heading down the grimy post-industrial street. The light of the full moon shines down on my back.

   “Where are we going?” I ask, trying to sound as gruff and action-hero-like as a fifteen-year-old mathlete can. I puff myself up and push out my chin, like an orangutan asserting his dominance to the troop. Power pose.

   One of my three captors lets out a chuckle – my act didn’t take.

   “Shut up and move.” We turn down a side-street, Chinese characters and occult symbols spray painted on the alley walls. We’re close.

   The girl with the gun is Alice Branda. Her oily black hair, forced into a tight bun, bumps into the massive sword strapped to her back. At a slender 5’5, I’ve always wondered how she managed to lug that thing just about everywhere she went. Then again, I wonder lot of things about Alice. I never get any answers. Just a stray grunt here, or a sideways scowl there. A scowl like the one she’s giving me now, her dark eyes burning a hole into my head.

   “Tell me where we’re going,” I say again. “Or I won’t lift a finger! How will you find him without my help?”

   No answer. The guild demanded that Alice keep me alive, at least until we finish the job. Looking at her face, brow furrowed in rage, I wonder if that’s a promise she’ll be able to keep.

 “Keep walking, kid,” Ross snorts.

    Ross and Cheng are the guild’s bloodhounds, usually charged with sniffing out supernatural baddies like Avery Wong. Or like me. This assignment is their way of testing my usefulness to the guild, a sort of warped entrance exam, with pointy stakes instead of No 2. pencils. So far, I’m on track to take home my first ever F-.



#7 Timejockey

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 12:26 PM

 

   The chill relaxes my trembling hands. Even with the barrel of a revolver sticking into my side, I can’t help but love the San Francisco fog. 

   “Walk.” A delicate hand (The gun) pushes the gun further into my ribs, and I pick up the pace, heading down the grimy post-industrial street. The light of the full moon shines down on my back.

   “Where are we going?” I ask, trying to sound as gruff and action-hero-like as a fifteen-year-old mathlete can. I puff myself up and push out my chin, like an orangutan asserting his dominance to the troop. Power pose.

   One of my three captors lets out a chuckle – my act didn’t take.

   “Shut up and move.” We turn down a side-street, Chinese characters and occult symbols spray painted on the alley walls. We’re close.

   The girl with the gun is Alice Branda. Her oily black hair, forced into a tight bun, bumps into the massive sword strapped to her back. At a slender 5’5, I’ve always wondered how she managed to lug that thing just about everywhere she went. Then again, I wonder lot of things about Alice. (maybe something like "I have a lot of questions about Alice, but ) I never get any answers (from her). Just a stray grunt here, or a sideways scowl there. A scowl like the one she’s giving me now, her dark eyes burning a hole into my head.

   “Tell me where we’re going,” I say again. “Or I won’t lift a finger! How will you find him without my help?”

   No answer. The guild demanded that Alice keep me alive, at least until we finish the job. Looking at her face, brow furrowed in rage, I wonder if that’s a promise she’ll be able to keep.

 “Keep walking, kid,” Ross snorts.

    Ross and Cheng are the guild’s bloodhounds, usually charged with sniffing out supernatural baddies like Avery Wong. Or like me. This assignment is their way of testing my usefulness to the guild, a sort of warped entrance exam, with pointy stakes instead of No 2. pencils. So far, I’m on track to take home my first ever F-.

 

As always take all these with a grain of thought. There were a few details which felt unnecessary and a few sentences sounded a bit awkward as written, but it sounds interesting so far and did make me curious to know more.



#8 mzbritney12

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 10:32 PM

Hey! These are always fun to read! Check out my comments below. 

 

 

Thanks so much for the great comments! I've reworked the POV issues and the first sentence. What do you all think? Do the first two sentences work, or are they awkward? Is the voice strong enough?

 

As always, critique me, and I'll brutally critique you!

Thanks!

 

 

 

   The chill relaxes my trembling hands. (This first sentence is a little awkward. Mostly because the word chill is an adjective but it's not describing anything here. You could say "The chilly breeze relaxes my trembling hands.")  Even with the barrel of a revolver sticking into my side, I can’t help but love the San Francisco fog. (On the flip side, I'm completely digging this second sentence. The thought of a main character holding a revolver creates so much mystery. I honestly think the "true" first sentence is here. You could say something like, " She pushed the barrel of a revolver further into my ribs, and I picked up the pace.")

   “Walk.” A delicate hand pushes the gun further into my ribs, and I pick up the pace, heading down the grimy post-industrial street. The light of the full moon shines down on my back.

   “Where are we going?” I ask, trying to sound as gruff and action-hero-like as a fifteen-year-old mathlete can. I puff myself up (I stick my chest out--the word puff seems a bit awkward here) and push out my chin, like an orangutan asserting his dominance to the troop. Power pose.

   One of my three captors lets out a chuckle – my act didn’t take.

   “Shut up and move.” We turn down a side-street, Chinese characters and occult symbols spray painted on the alley walls. We’re close. (Is this internal dialogue?)

   The girl with the gun is Alice Branda. (Was he blind folded before and didn't know who the girl was, or did he always know and you decided to introduce her here. I'd suggest introducing her to the readers as soon as she has her first action in the book. "Alice Branda pushed the barrel of a revolver further into my ribs . . .) Her oily black hair, forced into a tight bun, bumps into the massive sword strapped to her back. At a slender 5’5, I’ve always wondered how she managed to lug that thing just about everywhere she went. Then again, I wonder lot of things about Alice. I never get any answers. Just a stray grunt here, or a sideways scowl there. A scowl like the one she’s giving me now, her dark eyes (stare) burning a hole into my head.

   “Tell me where we’re going,” I say again. “Or I won’t lift a finger! How will you find him without my help?”

   No answer. The guild demanded that Alice keep me alive, at least until we finish the job. Looking at her face, brow furrowed in rage (I almost think her face is being over-described here), I wonder if that’s a promise she’ll be able to keep.

 “Keep walking, kid,” Ross snorts.

    Ross and Cheng are the guild’s bloodhounds, usually charged with sniffing out supernatural baddies like Avery Wong. Or like me. This assignment is their way of testing my usefulness to the guild, a sort of warped entrance exam, with pointy stakes instead of No 2. pencils. So far, I’m on track to take home my first ever F-.

 

TheBest--this was an intriguing read! I hope my comments are helpful!

I'd ask for you to post on my stuff, but I don't have anything currently active. 

Good luck with your first paragraph, and I wish you the best. 


I'm a writer who wants to support other writers. Follow my blog, and I'll follow yours!

Link: http://britneylewisbooks.blogspot.com/


#9 A. Wass

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 03:59 PM

I put my comments in parenthesis because for some reason my stupid computer won't let me quote your post or put my reply in color. Sorry.

The chill relaxes my trembling hands. (I got caught up on the word chill. Chill in the air? I'd clarify.) Even with the barrel of a revolver sticking into my side, I can’t help but love the San Francisco fog.

“Walk.” A delicate hand pushes the gun further into my ribs, and I pick up the pace, heading down the grimy post-industrial street. The light of the full moon shines down on my back. (If the moon is behind him, how does he know the moon is shining down on his back? He can't see back there.)

“Where are we going?” I ask, trying to sound as gruff and action-hero-like as a fifteen-year-old mathlete can. (I like this description.) I puff myself up and push out my chin, like an orangutan asserting his dominance to the troop. (Puff sounds like he's inflating haha. Maybe it's just a personal preference but it makes me think of the marshmallow man.) Power pose.

One of my three captors lets out a chuckle – my act didn’t take. (Oh, there's 3? Cool.)

“Shut up and move.” (Who said this? The captor who chuckled? If so it needs to be up behind "my act didn't take." If it's someone else you need to clarify who.) We turn down a side-street, Chinese characters and occult symbols spray painted on the alley walls. We’re close.

The girl with the gun is Alice Branda. Her oily black hair, forced into a tight bun, bumps into the massive sword strapped to her back. (So he knows the girl? I'd introduce her and her description in the beginning then when she first pushes the gun into his side.) At a slender 5’5, I’ve always wondered how she managed to lug that thing just about everywhere she went. Then again, I wonder lot of things about Alice. (This sentence feels like it's missing a word.) I never get any answers. Just a stray grunt here, or a sideways scowl there. A scowl like the one she’s giving me now, her dark eyes burning a hole into my head.

“Tell me where we’re going,” I say again. “Or I won’t lift a finger! How will you find him without my help?” (Now I'm intrigued. Who is him? Why do they need this guy to help find "him"? It makes me want to keep reading.)

No answer. The guild demanded that Alice keep me alive, at least until we finish the job. Looking at her face, brow furrowed in rage, I wonder if that’s a promise she’ll be able to keep.

“Keep walking, kid,” Ross snorts.

Ross and Cheng are the guild’s bloodhounds, usually charged with sniffing out supernatural baddies like Avery Wong. Or like me. This assignment is their way of testing my usefulness to the guild, a sort of warped entrance exam, with pointy stakes instead of No 2. pencils. So far, I’m on track to take home my first ever F-. (The last few sentences are amusing, which grabs my attention.)



Overall, I like it. It's intrigues me enough to want to keep reading. However, you introduce about 5 or 6 different people in 250 words so there's a little confusion as to who is who and what is going on. If you want to introduce this many characters is such a short space I'd work on clearing it up a bit. Hope any of this helps! If you could pop on over to mine and give me a critique I'd greatly appreciate it. Thank you! http://agentquerycon...284-ya-fantasy/

#10 VickieJack

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 05:04 PM

Thanks so much for the great feedback! I've re-written it, trying to add a whole lot more voice and clear up the details. Plus, I fixed the POV issues by changing orientation in the scene. Does it sound too clunky? Does it pull you in more now?
I'd really appreciate any more feedback or comments that you have, no matter how brutal.
Thanks!
 
   The chill makes my scared breaths feel refreshing. Even with the barrel of a revolver sticking into my side, I can’t help but love the San Francisco fog.

Chill is a verb. Maybe chilly air?
Gotta love someone who can appreciate the weather during a stick up.


   “Walk.” A delicate hand pushes the gun further into my ribs, and I pick up the pace, heading down the grimy post-industrial street. The light of the full moon shines down on my back.

A delicate hand? Is this a woman holding the gun or a man who has never done manual labor? I like the counterpoint of a delicate hand holding a gun in a dudes ribs.


   “Where are we going?” I ask, trying to sound as gruff and action-hero-like as a fifteen-year-old mathlete can. I puff myself up and push out my chin, like an orangutan asserting his dominance to the troop. Power pose.

So this is a math nerd trying to keep from pissing his pants out of fear? Your last sentence I picture Cornelius from Planet Of The Apes.

   One of my three captors lets out a sigh – it didn’t take.

From a delicate hand to three captors. I got confused.

   “Shut up and move.” We turn down a side-street, Chinese characters and occult symbols spray painted on the alley walls. We’re close.

Close to what? How does MC know? Is he familiar with chinese or the occult? Perhaps that needs clarity.


   The girl with the gun is Alice Versa. Her oily black hair, forced into a tight bun, bumps into the massive sword strapped to her back. At a lanky 5’5, I’ve always wondered how she managed to lug that thing just about everywhere she went. Then again, I wonder lot of things about Alice. I never get any answers. Just a stray grunt here, or a sideways scowl there. A scowl like the one she’s giving me now, her dark eyes burning a hole into the back of my head.

This explains more. Being as this is fantasy does she have laser eyes? How is MC functioning with a hole in his head?

   “Tell me where we’re going,” I say again. “Or I won’t lift a finger! How will you find him without my help?”

Find whom?


   No answer. The guild demanded that Alice keep me alive, at least until we finish the job. Looking at her face, brow furrowed in rage, I wonder if that’s a promise she’ll be able to keep.
 “Keep walking, kid,” Ross snorts. Ross and Cheng are the guild’s bloodhounds, usually charged with sniffing out supernatural baddies like Avery Wong. Or like me. This assignment is their way of testing my usefulness to the guild, a sort of warped entrance exam, with pointy stakes instead of No 2. pencils. So far, I’m on track to take home my first ever F-.


I enjoy the humor of your prose. If this was Mickey Spillaine or Robert Mitchum I would be drooling. As it is you definitely peak my interest in a genre I generally despise. Way to go.

#11 EmperorOfTheNorth

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 05:24 PM

Thanks so much for the great feedback! I've re-written it, trying to add a whole lot more voice and clear up the details. Plus, I fixed the POV issues by changing orientation in the scene. Does it sound too clunky? Does it pull you in more now?
I'd really appreciate any more feedback or comments that you have, no matter how brutal.
Thanks!
 
   The chill makes my scared breaths feel refreshing. Even with the barrel of a revolver sticking into my side, I can’t help but love the San Francisco fog.
   “Walk.” A delicate hand pushes the gun further into my ribs, and I pick up the pace, heading down the grimy post-industrial street. The light of the full moon shines down on my back.
   “Where are we going?” I ask, trying to sound as gruff and action-hero-like as a fifteen-year-old mathlete can. I puff myself up and push out my chin, like an orangutan asserting his dominance to the troop. Power pose.
   One of my three captors lets out a sigh – it didn’t take.
   “Shut up and move.” We turn down a side-street, Chinese characters and occult symbols spray painted on the alley walls. We’re close.
   The girl with the gun is Alice Versa. Her oily black hair, forced into a tight bun, bumps into the massive sword strapped to her back. At a lanky 5’5, I’ve always wondered how she managed to lug that thing just about everywhere she went. Then again, I wonder lot of things about Alice. I never get any answers. Just a stray grunt here, or a sideways scowl there. A scowl like the one she’s giving me now, her dark eyes burning a hole into the back of my head.
   “Tell me where we’re going,” I say again. “Or I won’t lift a finger! How will you find him without my help?”
   No answer. The guild demanded that Alice keep me alive, at least until we finish the job. Looking at her face, brow furrowed in rage, I wonder if that’s a promise she’ll be able to keep.
 “Keep walking, kid,” Ross snorts. Ross and Cheng are the guild’s bloodhounds, usually charged with sniffing out supernatural baddies like Avery Wong. Or like me. This assignment is their way of testing my usefulness to the guild, a sort of warped entrance exam, with pointy stakes instead of No 2. pencils. So far, I’m on track to take home my first ever F-.


I dig this! You have a certain flavor that takes me back to the gritty gutsy detective novels of the 50s and 60s early to mid 70s. That was a big part of my literary diet when I was in elementary school. (Straight fact.)
I know this is fantasy but it comes across so raw and earthy with that touch of humor like a seasoning on top.
I'd read further for sure.

If you would look at my post "Che Cazzo" I'd be honored.
Go on and stamp your forms, sonny.

#12 TheBest

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 07:43 AM

Thanks so much for the terrific feedback! I'm getting ready for my second round of querying, and I'd love your feedback on this new version. 

 

 
     The chill relaxes my trembling hands. Even with the barrel of a revolver sticking into my side, I can’t help but love the San Francisco fog.
     “Walk.” A delicate hand pushes the gun further into my ribs, and I pick up the pace, heading down the grimy post-industrial street. A flickering streetlight shines down on my back.
     “Where are we going?” I ask, trying to sound as gruff and action-hero-like as a sixteen-year-old mathlete can. I puff myself up and push out my chin, like a gorilla asserting his dominance to the troop. Power pose.
     One of my three leather-clad captors lets out a chuckle – my act didn’t take.
     “Shut up and move.” We turn down a side-street, Chinese characters and occult symbols spray painted on the alley walls. We’re close.
     The girl with the gun is Alice Branda. Her oily black hair, forced into a tight bun, bumps into the massive sword strapped to her back. With her slender teenage figure, I’ve always wondered how she managed to lug that hunk of steel just about everywhere she went. Then again, I wonder lot of things about Alice. I never get any answers. Just a stray sigh here, or a sideways scowl there. A scowl like the one she’s giving me now, her dark eyes burning a hole into my head.
     “Tell me where we’re going,” I say again, “or I won’t lift a finger! How will you find him without my help?”
     No answer. The guild demanded that Alice keep me alive, at least until we finish the job. Looking at her pale face, brow furrowed in rage, I wonder if that’s a promise she’ll be able to keep.
     “Keep walking, kid,” Ross snorts, running a tanned hand through his long blonde hair. Cheng crosses his thick arms above his round belly, the lines age etched into his forehead now more pronounced. 


#13 Emily804

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 08:51 PM

 

Thanks so much for the terrific feedback! I'm getting ready for my second round of querying, and I'd love your feedback on this new version. 

 

 
     The chill relaxes my trembling hands. Even with the barrel of a revolver sticking into my side, I can’t help but love the San Francisco fog.
     “Walk.” A delicate hand pushes the gun further into my ribs, and I pick up the pace, heading down the grimy post-industrial street. A flickering streetlight shines down on my back.
     “Where are we going?” I ask, trying to sound as gruff and action-hero-like(heroic) as a sixteen-year-old mathlete can. I puff myself up and push out my chin, like a gorilla asserting his dominance to the troop. Power pose.
     One of my three leather-clad captors lets out a chuckle – my act didn’t take.
     “Shut up and move.” We turn down a side-street, Chinese characters and occult symbols spray painted on the alley walls. We’re close.
     The girl with the gun is Alice Branda. Her oily black hair, forced into a tight bun, bumps into the massive sword strapped to her back. With her slender teenage figure, I’ve always wondered how she managed to lug that hunk of steel just about everywhere she went. Then again, I wonder lot of things about Alice. (​bit awkward, consider revising) I never get any answers. Just a stray sigh here, or a sideways scowl there. A scowl like the one she’s giving me now, her dark eyes burning a hole into my head. < Like this part
     “Tell me where we’re going,” I say again, “or I won’t lift a finger! How will you find him without my help?”
     No answer. The guild demanded that Alice keep me alive, at least until we finish the job. Looking at her pale face, brow furrowed in rage, I wonder if that’s a promise she’ll be able to keep.
     “Keep walking, kid,” Ross snorts, running a tanned hand through his long blonde hair. Cheng crosses his thick arms above his round belly, the lines age etched into his forehead now more pronounced. 

 

My comments are above. Good work! 


Query Compatibility YA sci-fi: http://agentquerycon...lity-ya-sci-fi/


#14 JDSmith

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 06:46 PM

 

Thanks so much for the terrific feedback! I'm getting ready for my second round of querying, and I'd love your feedback on this new version. 

 

 
     The chill relaxes my trembling hands. Even with the barrel of a revolver sticking into my side, I can’t help but love the San Francisco fog.
     “Walk.” A delicate hand pushes the gun further into my ribs, and I pick up the pace, heading down the grimy post-industrial street. A flickering streetlight shines down on my back.
     “Where are we going?” I ask, trying to sound as gruff and action-hero-like as a sixteen-year-old mathlete can. I puff myself up and push out my chin, like a gorilla asserting his dominance to the troop. Power pose.
     One of my three leather-clad captors lets out a chuckle – my act didn’t take.
     “Shut up and move.” We turn down a side-street, Chinese characters and occult symbols spray painted on the alley walls. We’re close.
     The girl with the gun is Alice Branda. Her oily black hair, forced into a tight bun, bumps into the massive sword strapped to her back. With her slender teenage figure, I’ve always wondered how she managed to lug that hunk of steel just about everywhere she went. Then again, I wonder lot of things about Alice. I never get any answers. Just a stray sigh here, or a sideways scowl there. A scowl like the one she’s giving me now, her dark eyes burning a hole into my head.
     “Tell me where we’re going,” I say again, “or I won’t lift a finger! How will you find him without my help?”
     No answer. The guild demanded that Alice keep me alive, at least until we finish the job. Looking at her pale face, brow furrowed in rage, I wonder if that’s a promise she’ll be able to keep.
     “Keep walking, kid,” Ross snorts, running a tanned hand through his long blonde hair. Cheng crosses his thick arms above his round belly, the lines of age etched into his forehead now more pronounced. 

 

I totally understand the main character's personality just from this little bit. I like "action-hero-like" because it portrays what the MC is like. I only commented on a few grammatical issues. I like that you decided to describe Ross and Cheng in this version because in the previous version I thought they were literal talking dogs LOL.


I'd really appreciate help with my query: Iris Mjolnir Spawn of War

 

First 250 words here: Woooo

 

Write on!


#15 W.P.

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 02:15 PM


Thanks so much for the terrific feedback! I'm getting ready for my second round of querying, and I'd love your feedback on this new version.


The chill relaxes my trembling hands. Even with the barrel of a revolver sticking into my side, I can’t help but love the San Francisco fog. ((interesting start. makes me wonder what kind of person is our main character.))
“Walk.” A delicate hand pushes the gun further into my ribs, and I pick up the pace, heading down the grimy post-industrial street. A flickering streetlight shines down on my back. ((how can they see what's on their back))
“Where are we going?” I ask, trying to sound as gruff and action-hero-like as a sixteen-year-old mathlete can. (((made me chuckle))) I puff myself up and push out my chin, like a gorilla asserting his dominance to the troop. Power pose. ((redundant. the other sentence has more of an impact and therefore is a better ending for the paragraph))
One of my three leather-clad captors lets out a chuckle – my act didn’t take.
“Shut up and move.” We turn down a side-street, Chinese characters and occult symbols spray painted on the alley walls. We’re close.
The girl with the gun is Alice Branda. Her oily black hair, forced into a tight bun, bumps into the massive sword strapped to her back. ((great description. can picture it perfectly)) With her slender teenage figure, I’ve always wondered how she managed to lug that hunk of steel just about everywhere she went. Then again, I wonder lot of things about Alice. I never get any answers. Just a stray sigh here, or a sideways scowl there. A scowl like the one she’s giving me now, her dark eyes burning a hole into my head.
“Tell me where we’re going,” I say again, “or I won’t lift a finger! How will you find him without my help?”
No answer. The guild demanded that Alice keep me alive, at least until we finish the job. Looking at her pale face, brow furrowed in rage, I wonder if that’s a promise she’ll be able to keep.
“Keep walking, kid,” Ross snorts, running a tanned hand through his long blonde hair. Cheng crosses his thick arms above his round belly, the lines age etched into his forehead now more pronounced.



What an opening!! So much fun! I was super engaged and still want to read more. I made a few comments inline, but honestly, this works. It's fun and it intrigues me. Great job. :D

Link to my 250 words: http://agentquerycon...renuo-children/

#16 TheBest

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 03:18 PM

Hi you all! I sent my work to an editor for some great feedback. One of her best points was that I opened in media res, starting from the middle of my story. My query and book didn't start in the same spot, and apparently this can turn some agents off. So I decided to make my old opener a prologue, and cut it form agent submissions. I've attached my new 250 below. Do you all like it? Is it ready to be sent out?

 

Thanks!

 

And, like always, critique me and I'll brutally critique you!    

 

      It’s a dark and stormy night. We don’t get a lot of those in San Francisco, so I’ve got to make this one count. I check my watch.

2:12 a.m. Perfect. I still have forty-eight minutes till the witching hour.

I grab Jimmy the duffel bag, and root through the tools, making sure everything I need is in there. Yeah, I named my duffel. I get lonely sometimes.

Digging through the bag, I find three red candles, feathers, four chunks of chalk, and a box of cinnamon rolls. But no silver bell. I drop the duffel to search my bedroom shelves. Nothing.

If I can’t find my bell soon, I might have to use myself again. I’ve already donated a quart of blood this month just to keep the lights on, but I can’t chat with a demon empty-handed. It’s like showing up to a company potluck without any food -- you just don’t do it. Especially when the host can bring a thousand volts down on your head. Just another day at the office.

I should introduce myself. My name’s Paul Bernelli, and I’m a wizard.

Wizard is the fancy way of saying I cast spells. That I do magic. It means I brew up love potions, summon demons, and sneak into abandoned warehouses to shout biblical Aramaic at three in the morning. But to everyone else, wizard just means that I’m crazy. I’ve gotten pretty used to snickers and dirty looks.

Where is my bell? I peek under my bed, then tear through a pile of old sci-fi magazines. Nothing.



#17 yawriter

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 03:56 PM

I'd love to know how effective getting an editor is. How much did it cost? and was it worth it? Thanks!

Hi you all! I sent my work to an editor for some great feedback. One of her best points was that I opened in media res, starting from the middle of my story. My query and book didn't start in the same spot, and apparently this can turn some agents off. So I decided to make my old opener a prologue, and cut it form agent submissions. I've attached my new 250 below. Do you all like it? Is it ready to be sent out?

 

Thanks!

 

And, like always, critique me and I'll brutally critique you!    

 

Did the formatting get messed up when you posted this? Or is this how you want to send it? 

 

      It’s a dark and stormy night.​meh.....such a cliche start in my opinion.   We don’t get a lot of those in San Francisco, so I’ve got to make this one count. I check my watch.

2:12 A.M . Perfect. I still have forty-eight minutes till the witching hour. Sorry.. I read The BFG to my class of 4th graders every year and I'm immediately back in that story with this "witching hour". Just letting you know that's what I was transported to, and I'm sure a bunch of other Roald Dahl fans will be too....is that what you were going for? 

I grab Jimmy, the duffel bag, and root through the tools, making sure everything I need is in there. The next sentence I  was hoping to know what "everything you need" is...great way to drop clues about what is going on ...I got that the duffel bag was named...Yeah, I named my duffel. I get lonely sometimes.

Digging through the bag, I find three red candles, feathers, four chunks of chalk, and a box of cinnamon rollsbut no silver bell. I drop the duffel to search my bedroom shelves. Nothing.

If I can’t find my bell soon, I might have to use myself again. I’ve already donated a quart of blood this month just to keep the lights on, but I can’t chat with a demon empty-handed. It’s like showing up to a company potluck without any food -- you just don’t do it. ( I loved this line!) Especially when the host can bring a thousand volts down on your head. Just another day at the office.

I should introduce myself. My name’s Paul Bernelli, and I’m a wizard.

Wizard is the fancy way of saying I cast spells. That I do magic(Otherwise this is not a complete sentence) . It means I brew up love potions, summon demons, and sneak into abandoned warehouses to shout biblical Aramaic at three in the morning. But, to everyone else, wizard just means that I’m crazy. I’ve gotten pretty used to snickers and dirty looks.

Where is my bell? I peek under my bed, then tear through a pile of old sci-fi magazines. Nothing.



#18 lnloft

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 10:16 PM

Hi you all! I sent my work to an editor for some great feedback. One of her best points was that I opened in media res, starting from the middle of my story. My query and book didn't start in the same spot, and apparently this can turn some agents off. So I decided to make my old opener a prologue, and cut it form agent submissions. I've attached my new 250 below. Do you all like it? Is it ready to be sent out?

 

Thanks!

 

And, like always, critique me and I'll brutally critique you!    

 

      It’s a dark and stormy night. We don’t get a lot of those in San Francisco, so I’ve got to make this one count. I check my watch. I get that you're being tongue-in-cheek with that opening line, but it's such a cliche that I'd be wary of it.

2:12 a.m. Perfect. I still have forty-eight minutes till the witching hour.

I grab Jimmy Why have you italicized Jimmy? the duffel bag, and root through the tools, making sure everything I need is in there. Yeah, I named my duffel. I get lonely sometimes.

Digging through the bag, I find three red candles, feathers Since everything else in this list has some sort of descriptor with it, "feathers" on its own kinda sticks out. I'd put something in, like, "some feathers from a golden eagle", or "a mishmash of feathers" (although I like having some sort of concrete detail for what kind of bird, because with magic, you can always pretend it matters). But whatever works for accuracy, four chunks of chalk, and a box of cinnamon rolls. But no silver bell. I drop the duffel to search my bedroom shelves. Nothing.

If I can’t find my bell soon, I might have to use myself again. I’ve already donated a quart of blood this month just to keep the lights on, but I can’t chat with a demon empty-handed. It’s like showing up to a company potluck without any food -- you just don’t do it. Especially when the host can bring a thousand volts down on your head. Just another day at the office.

I should introduce myself. My name’s Paul Bernelli, and I’m a wizard.

Wizard is the fancy way of saying I cast spells. That I do magic. It means I brew up love potions, summon demons, and sneak into abandoned warehouses to shout biblical Aramaic at three in the morning. But to everyone else, wizard just means that I’m crazy. I’ve gotten pretty used to snickers and dirty looks. I'm not a fan of these sorts of things where the narrator speaks directly to the reader to introduce themselves, but I guess some of that is personal preference. Plus, this feels a little jarring to just insert at this spot. It doesn't feel very organically introduced.

Where is my bell? I peek under my bed, then tear through a pile of old sci-fi magazines. Nothing.

The thing that struck me the most is that all of these paragraphs are pretty short, which makes the writing a little bit more choppy. Try varying them up a little bit. Otherwise, things weren't striking me as glaringly bad, but it wasn't really popping with me, either. There's a lot of tongue-in-cheek narrator, first-person urban fantasy books out there (Dresden Files, Anita Blake, and Twenty Palaces are just a few that immediately jump to mind), so while it shows that there is a market for such things, it also shows you need to find a way to get yours to stand out. Good luck.


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


#19 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 11:07 AM

The only issue I have with this is the little segment where Paul introduces himself. I think it should go later on in the chapter. I agree with Inloft that it doesn't feel organically introduced. The scene is very engaging, and you're wondering what the hell this guy is doing with bells and blood, and his introduction interrupts that. I would just have the scene continue on from him looking for the bell, get us really hooked, and then have his little intorduction paragraph maybe on his walk to summon the demon.

 

I really liked your old opening too :( But I understand having to shuffle stuff around to appeal better to the great agents.



#20 TheBest

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Posted 22 June 2018 - 01:53 PM

Tweaked it a little, making it less choppy. What do you all think now? I could move down the intro, but I do think opening with it makes it clear that the magic is the focus of the story. Thanks!

 

As usual, critique me and I'll critique you!

 

      It’s a dark and stormy night. We don’t get a lot of those in San Francisco, so I’ve got to make this one count. I check my watch.

2:12 a.m. I still have forty-eight minutes till the witching hour. Perfect.

I grab Jimmy the duffel bag, and root through the tools, making sure everything I need is in there. Yeah, I named my duffel. I get lonely sometimes.

Digging through the bag, I find three red candles, two feathers, four chunks of chalk, and a box of cinnamon rolls. But no silver bell. I drop the duffel to search my bedroom shelves.

If I can’t find my bell soon, I might have to use myself again. I’ve already donated a quart of blood this month just to keep the lights on, but I can’t chat with a demon empty-handed. It’s like showing up to a company potluck without any food -- you just don’t do it. Especially when the host can bring a thousand volts down on your head. Just another day at the office.

I should introduce myself. My name’s Paul Bernelli, and I’m a sorcerer.

Sorcerer is the fancy way of saying I cast spells. That I do magic. It means I brew up love potions, summon demons, and sneak into abandoned warehouses to shout biblical Aramaic at three in the morning. But to everyone else, Sorcerer just means that I’m crazy. I’ve gotten pretty used to the snickers and dirty looks.

Where is that bell? I peek under my bed, then tear through a pile of old sci-fi magazines. Nothing.

I dig into the pockets of all two of my pairs of jeans, then fumble underneath my mattress for the silver bell. No luck.






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