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Inheritor of the Eternal Flame (Fantasy) [Revised query at #5]


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#1 T.C. Stevenson

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 10:33 AM

Hey everyone. I haven't been on here in years, since I finished my first novel. I've been having some trouble getting any interest in my newest book, and I'm not sure if its because the content is cliche (angels) or if the writing is not good enough. I will gladly return any critiques I receive. Thanks for your time. 
 

Dear NAME,

My novel, INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME, is the standalone story of a withered god, a slain savior, and betrayals between immortal kin. Complete at 91,000 words, INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME offers a perspective-driven narrative that borrows names and themes from various religions in order to create a fantasy setting that is familiar yet unique.  

 

In the realm of Eden, the city of Heaven houses the seat of a creator far from almighty. Now the fading embers of a once-omniscient flame, God rules over his vast kingdom through the Choir of Eldar, a council of his oldest and most powerful angels. When a cherub named Mikael is brought before them to confess a sin, he admits to eating from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge. The Eldar discover that the tree bears the fruits of a vision God buried long ago: he will be murdered by one of his beloved children.

 

The Choir, led by Lucifer and his wife Athena, focus their efforts on diverting the prophecy and protecting God. Wishing to assess the visions for herself, Athena eats from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge. Each apple that she consumes drives her closer to a maddening truth: it is Lucifer who is destined to usurp the throne and untie the threads of creation. Determined to save her love from his fate and confident in her own ability to rule, Athena kills her creator, imbibes his power, and declares herself Goddess.
 

Athena’s actions have far-reaching repercussions. Seen as a harbinger of God’s death, Mikael has his wings ripped from his back and is cast down to the mortal realm. Half of Heaven’s angels abandon the white city to worship an Eldar who vows to avenge the creator. Mountainous stone anubites appear on Earth, enslaving humanity and binding them to Athena’s will. While Mikael guides the hand of a child-messiah, Lucifer struggles to choose between loyalty and love. As war looms over Earth and Eden, the Eldar grow increasingly desperate, but none can defy the law that dictates the cosmic cycle of life itself. There can only be one INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME.

 


#2 lnloft

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 12:32 PM

Hey everyone. I haven't been on here in years, since I finished my first novel. I've been having some trouble getting any interest in my newest book, and I'm not sure if its because the content is cliche (angels) or if the writing is not good enough. I will gladly return any critiques I receive. Thanks for your time. 
 

Dear NAME,

My novel, INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME, is the standalone story of a withered god, a slain savior, and betrayals between immortal kin. Complete at 91,000 words, INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME offers a perspective-driven narrative that borrows names and themes from various religions in order to create a fantasy setting that is familiar yet unique.  
This stuff will all go at the end.

 

In the realm of Eden, the city of Heaven houses the seat of a creator far from almighty. Now the fading embers of a once-omniscient flame, God rules over his vast kingdom through the Choir of Eldar, a council of his oldest and most powerful angels. When a cherub named Mikael is brought before them to confess a sin, he admits to eating from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge. The Eldar discover that the tree bears the fruits of a vision God buried long ago: he will be murdered by one of his beloved children. We need a hookier hook. And we need to be absolutely clear who the main character is. Mikael, I assume?

 

The Choir, led by Lucifer and his wife Athena, focus their efforts on diverting the prophecy and protecting God. Wishing to assess the visions for herself, Athena eats from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge. Each apple that she consumes drives her closer to a maddening truth: it is Lucifer who is destined to usurp the throne and untie the threads of creation. Determined to save her love from his fate and confident in her own ability to rule, Athena kills her creator, imbibes his power, and declares herself Goddess. What is going on here? Did Athena murder God? And why?
 

Athena’s actions have far-reaching repercussions. Seen as a harbinger of God’s death So... God's not dead? I'm confused., Mikael has his wings ripped from his back and is cast down to the mortal realm. Half of Heaven’s angels abandon the white city to worship an Eldar who vows to avenge the creator. Mountainous stone anubites appear on Earth, enslaving humanity and binding them to Athena’s will. While Mikael guides the hand of a child-messiah, Lucifer struggles to choose between loyalty and love. As war looms over Earth and Eden, the Eldar grow increasingly desperate, but none can defy the law that dictates the cosmic cycle of life itself. There can only be one INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME. Ah, but we don't know what it means to inherit the eternal flame, so this line is rather meaningless right now and actually comes out of the blue.

 

INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME (91,000 words) is a standalone fantasy novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Unfortunately, right now this is pretty confusing. Who is the main character? Mikael? Athena? Lucifer? If it's a mix of POVs, that's fine, but pick one to focus on for the query. There's also just too much going on, and I'm struggling to keep track of things. And therefore I'm also not clear on why things are happening. Your writing itself isn't bad, so that's a good sign, and I think you have a cool enough story hidden in here that you'll be able to sort things out. But right now it's tangled up and I'm confused. Again, start by picking one character to focus on. And be wary throwing too many proper nouns into your query as well. You're fortunate that we are familiar with Eden, Heaven, God, Tree of Forbidden Knowledge, Lucifer, and Athena as terms already, although it was a little odd to see Christian mythology include what seems a random visitor from the Greek pantheon as well. But those are still a lot of capitalized terms, and that's not including the new ones of the Choir of Eldar and Mikael. Basically I'm just saying that this is a lot of proper noun terms for us to keep track of, and is probably part of the reason everything else gets so muddled up. Could you maybe just refer to the Choir of Eldar as "a council of God's oldest and most powerful angels", and then throughout refer to them as the council? (Especially since mostly you refer to them as the Eldar but then at one point say "the Choir", and it's best just to be consistent.) Or maybe if Athena is the main character and you decide to focus the query on her, leave Mikael's name out of this and just refer to him as a cherub... or alternatively, if Mikael is the MC you focus on, then Athena is just noted as "Lucifer's wife". I'm spit-balling here, because I can't tell yet what the important things you need to focus on are, but hopefully you get the idea. Again, I think I can see enough strength of writing and story in this to have faith you'll get this sorted out. Good luck.



#3 T.C. Stevenson

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 01:45 PM

Unfortunately, right now this is pretty confusing. Who is the main character? Mikael? Athena? Lucifer? If it's a mix of POVs, that's fine, but pick one to focus on for the query. There's also just too much going on, and I'm struggling to keep track of things. And therefore I'm also not clear on why things are happening. Your writing itself isn't bad, so that's a good sign, and I think you have a cool enough story hidden in here that you'll be able to sort things out. But right now it's tangled up and I'm confused. Again, start by picking one character to focus on. And be wary throwing too many proper nouns into your query as well. You're fortunate that we are familiar with Eden, Heaven, God, Tree of Forbidden Knowledge, Lucifer, and Athena as terms already, although it was a little odd to see Christian mythology include what seems a random visitor from the Greek pantheon as well. But those are still a lot of capitalized terms, and that's not including the new ones of the Choir of Eldar and Mikael. Basically I'm just saying that this is a lot of proper noun terms for us to keep track of, and is probably part of the reason everything else gets so muddled up. Could you maybe just refer to the Choir of Eldar as "a council of God's oldest and most powerful angels", and then throughout refer to them as the council? (Especially since mostly you refer to them as the Eldar but then at one point say "the Choir", and it's best just to be consistent.) Or maybe if Athena is the main character and you decide to focus the query on her, leave Mikael's name out of this and just refer to him as a cherub... or alternatively, if Mikael is the MC you focus on, then Athena is just noted as "Lucifer's wife". I'm spit-balling here, because I can't tell yet what the important things you need to focus on are, but hopefully you get the idea. Again, I think I can see enough strength of writing and story in this to have faith you'll get this sorted out. Good luck.

There isn't really a main character, because each of them is a perspective. Do you think I should specify that? Maybe say its a story driven by multiple perspectives rather than "offers a perspective driven narrative?" Most of my other drafts focused on one character, but when it was done, I was missing major plot developments from the perspectives of the other characters. I think you make a good point about the proper nouns. It is a lot to keep track of, and I can definitely narrow it down. 

I forgot to mention that I wanted to include a personalized comment to the agent in that first paragraph. With that included, should I still move it to the bottom of the query? I wanted to make it clear that the places/characters are influenced by religion before the agent got to the content so that they wouldn't mistake it as "Christian Fiction" or something with a stronger religious undertone, because its really just fantasy. 



#4 smoskale

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 03:10 PM

Dear NAME,


My novel, INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME, is the standalone story of a withered god, a slain savior, and betrayals between immortal kin. Complete at 91,000 words, INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME offers a perspective-driven narrative that borrows names and themes from various religions in order to create a fantasy setting that is familiar yet unique.  I agree, this should go to the end. At the beginning, it will get you rejections simply because it's too general and meaningless outside of context

 

In the realm of Eden, the city of Heaven houses the seat of a creator far from almighty. Now the fading embers of a once-omniscient flame, God rules over his vast kingdom through the Choir of Eldar, a council of his oldest and most powerful angels. When a cherub named Mikael is brought before them to confess a sin, he admits to eating from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge. The Eldar discover that the tree bears the fruits of a vision God buried long ago: he will be murdered by one of his beloved children. 

 

The Choir, led by Lucifer and his wife Athena, focus their efforts on diverting the prophecy and protecting God. Wishing to assess the visions for herself, Athena eats from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge. Each apple that she consumes drives her closer to a maddening truth: it is Lucifer who is destined to usurp the throne and untie the threads of creation. Determined to save her love from his fate and confident in her own ability to rule, Athena kills her creator, imbibes his power, and declares herself Goddess.
 

Athena’s actions have far-reaching repercussions. Seen as a harbinger of God’s death, Mikael has his wings ripped from his back and is cast down to the mortal realm. Half of Heaven’s angels abandon the white city to worship an Eldar who vows to avenge the creator. Mountainous stone anubites appear on Earth, enslaving humanity and binding them to Athena’s will. While Mikael guides the hand of a child-messiah, Lucifer struggles to choose between loyalty and love. As war looms over Earth and Eden, the Eldar grow increasingly desperate, but none can defy the law that dictates the cosmic cycle of life itself. There can only be one INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME.

 

 I think the story is interesting. I think you have enough mean for interest. I think your query in its present form won't get you far. Below are the reasons I think the latter. 

1. You have WAY too many names for a query. You should pick two, three at most, and leave all others behind. That includes names of locales and species. Agents get irritated by name soup, and hit delete.

2. You start off too distant, and never quite zoom in on anyone or anything. The narration here leaves the reader's emotions intact. Agents look for something that will move them. It does not have to be sappy, you can create suspense with description of events, too. 

3. About events: you give too much. The plot of the novel is not possible to squeeze into the query, and nobody expects to find it in one. It should be one choice, one difficult decision, without giving away how it turns out. This format allows you to give your characters dimension, and make the agent want to read about them. That's the only thing you can hope for. 

4. About language: it's fine to have some flowery descriptions, if they give your query voice. But you have too much. "fading embers of a once-omniscient flame", "beloved child", "maddening truth." Agents call it telling, not showing. It's not a good thing. In fact, some pomplain about adverbs in general ("to grow increasingly desperate" is no better than to "grow desperate.")

 

In short, I think what you have is closer to a synopsis than to a query. I am sorry, I think it's a scrap and redo. Have you looked at http://queryshark.blogspot.com? If not, invest some time reading her archives. They are very helpful. The story is good! Now to sell it!



#5 T.C. Stevenson

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:03 AM

Thank you both for your critiques. I can definitely see how the query is too busy and doesn't zoom in enough. This was one of multiple different approaches, and I was trying to focus on the overarching plot too much I think. Here's another query that is a little more focused and less crammed with plot. 

 

When a cherub named Mikael eats from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge in hopes of discovering his purpose in life, he instead receives a vision of God’s death. Under the guidance and protection of his mentor, Lucifer, Mikael ventures out beyond the safety Heaven to redeem himself and save his creator. While they search the vast jungles of Eden for an angel exiled for her violent past, Lucifer’s wife, Athena, eats the forbidden fruit in an attempt to identify God’s would-be assailant. Each apple that she consumes drives her closer to a maddening truth: it is Lucifer who is destined to usurp the throne and untie the threads of creation. In order to save her love from his fate, Athena murders her creator and declares herself ruler of Heaven and Earth.

 

Unable to forgive his wife, Lucifer abandons Heaven with half of its population to create a new home and find purpose in a godless world. For centuries, the angels of Eden live in peace and turn a blind eye to the suffering and enslavement of distant humanity until news arrives that ignites wars on Earth as well as Eden. God lives once more within the body of a mortal child.

 

Complete at 91,000 words, INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME, is the standalone story of a withered god, a slain savior, and betrayals between immortal kin. [Insert personalized comment/closing here]



#6 albarchs

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 02:26 PM

When a cherub named Mikael eats from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge in hopes of discovering his purpose in life, he instead receives a vision of God’s death. Under the guidance and protection of his mentor, Lucifer, Mikael ventures out beyond the safety Heaven to redeem himself and save his creator. While they search the vast jungles of Eden for an angel exiled for her violent past, Lucifer’s wife, Athena, eats the forbidden fruit in an attempt to identify God’s would-be assailant. Each apple that she consumes drives her closer to a maddening truth: it is Lucifer who is destined to usurp the throne and untie the threads of creation. In order to save her love from his fate, Athena murders her creator and declares herself ruler of Heaven and Earth.

 

Unable to forgive his wife, Lucifer abandons Heaven with half of its population to create a new home and find purpose in a godless world. For centuries, the angels of Eden lived in peace. They turn a blind eye to the suffering and enslavement of distant humanity until news arrives that ignites wars on Earth as well as Eden. God lives once more within the body of a mortal child. (To me this all feels like backstory. In fact, the story starts with For centuries or God lives once more within body of a mortal child.... I'm struggling with this myself. I start going detail heavy when I need to draw back. This reads like a synopsis, which I struggle cutting/scaling back as well.)

 

Complete at 91,000 words, INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME, is the standalone story of a withered god, a slain savior, and betrayals between immortal kin. [Insert personalized comment/closing here] (This is awesome btw. Shy of 90,000 and a standalone is a great selling point. It doesn't mean you'll get reads/requests. But it's the difference between another rebel against God story that's 120,000 vs 90,000. This suggests to me it doesn't get bogged down in worldbuilding, focuses on the plot)

You know what you want to say. But POVS are not a determination of a character's story weight.

 

Who is the main character: Lucifer, Michael, or Athena. I would say Lucifer or Athena. I'd then follow either one of them.

Problem: Each character has a different problem. Athena wants to save Lucifer, Lucifer wants to...enslave humanity, honor god, it's kind of unclear.

Stakes: The fate of God/the heavens (I'm assuming)

Choice: Lucifer: Not sure. Athena: Kill God again or choose another way (peace,etc)

 

Once you've done that, write out the first three-four chapters, condense the main plot points, then contextualize them from the query character's pov. You want to entice the reader to pick up your manuscript. It's a sales letter. I myself am still figuring it out.

 

Good luck.



#7 T.C. Stevenson

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 06:06 PM

You know what you want to say. But POVS are not a determination of a character's story weight.

 

Who is the main character: Lucifer, Michael, or Athena. I would say Lucifer or Athena. I'd then follow either one of them.

Problem: Each character has a different problem. Athena wants to save Lucifer, Lucifer wants to...enslave humanity, honor god, it's kind of unclear.

Stakes: The fate of God/the heavens (I'm assuming)

Choice: Lucifer: Not sure. Athena: Kill God again or choose another way (peace,etc)

 

Once you've done that, write out the first three-four chapters, condense the main plot points, then contextualize them from the query character's pov. You want to entice the reader to pick up your manuscript. It's a sales letter. I myself am still figuring it out.

 

Good luck.

Alright I hear what you're saying. For the past few months I've felt pretty directionless on this, but I feel like I'm getting a better idea of what I should be doing. Thanks everyone that's commented. Back to the drawing board. I'll try to narrow it down again. Albarchs, I'll get to your query as soon as I can. 



#8 albarchs

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 06:27 PM

Alright I hear what you're saying. For the past few months I've felt pretty directionless on this, but I feel like I'm getting a better idea of what I should be doing. Thanks everyone that's commented. Back to the drawing board. I'll try to narrow it down again. Albarchs, I'll get to your query as soon as I can. 

I wrote two queries that follow the main characters of my novel. I have two dueling perspectives. While neither is up to snuff (yet), the trajectory/story thread completely changes with each character. Roeland wants to fight the Ivory because of his people's faith. Mora wants to fight it because of how it wrongs her on a personal level.

 

I would do just that. Write Athena's and Lucifier's perspective on the story. Process the plot/the query through their angle. It's good to have different queries depending on what agent you are looking at.

 

It's stupidly hard. Some people get it, while others need a bit of work. We're all in the same boat. Mostly.



#9 Phaust

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 01:45 PM

Thank you both for your critiques. I can definitely see how the query is too busy and doesn't zoom in enough. This was one of multiple different approaches, and I was trying to focus on the overarching plot too much I think. Here's another query that is a little more focused and less crammed with plot. 

 

When a cherub named Mikael eats from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge in hopes of discovering his purpose in life, he instead receives a vision of God’s death. Under the guidance and protection of his mentor, Lucifer, Mikael ventures out beyond the safety Heaven to redeem himself and save his creator. While they search the vast jungles of Eden for an angel exiled for her violent past, Lucifer’s wife, Athena, eats the forbidden fruit in an attempt to identify God’s would-be assailant. Each apple that she consumes drives her closer to a maddening truth: it is Lucifer who is destined to usurp the throne and untie the threads of creation. In order to save her love from his fate, Athena murders her creator and declares herself ruler of Heaven and Earth.

 

Unable to forgive his wife, Lucifer abandons Heaven with half of its population to create a new home and find purpose in a godless world. For centuries, the angels of Eden live in peace and turn a blind eye to the suffering and enslavement of distant humanity until news arrives that ignites wars on Earth as well as Eden. God lives once more within the body of a mortal child.

 

Complete at 91,000 words, INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME, is the standalone story of a withered god, a slain savior, and betrayals between immortal kin. [Insert personalized comment/closing here]

That sounds like a really interesting take on the story. Gaiman meets... um... somebody... Anyway, I am not sure where your novel starts. I thought I knew, but then the bit about God in the mortal child came and I thought maybe I'd been reading backstory this whole time? Interested to read your next... incarnation.

 

Could you take a gander at my latest (post #83)



#10 smithgirl

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 02:12 PM

When a cherub named Mikael eats from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge in hopes of discovering his purpose in life, he instead receives a vision of God’s death. 

Set the first part apart as your hook -- it's a good hook. I would just trying tightening it a bit.
 

The cherub, Mikael, eats from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge hoping to discover his purpose in life. Instead he receives a vision of God's death.

 

Protected Under the guidance and protection of by his mentor, Lucifer, Mikael ventures out beyond the safety of Heaven to redeem himself and save his creator. Why does he need to redeem himself? If Mikael's mentor is Lucifer, shouldn't Mikael be in Hell? Is his creator God or Lucifer? While they search the vast jungles of Eden for an angel exiled for her violent past, I thought they left Heaven? Or is Eden not part of Heaven? I thought the Garden of Eden was the original Heaven. Lucifer’s wife, Athena, eats the forbidden fruit in an attempt to identify God’s would-be assailant. Why does Lucifer care about saving God? Usually Lucifer wants to destroy God. Each apple that she consumes drives her closer to a maddening truth: it is Lucifer who is destined to usurp the throne and untie the threads of creation. In order to save her love from his fate, Athena murders her creator and declares herself ruler of Heaven and Earth. Interesting. But is God the creator? Can you make that clear? Maybe this should be obvious and I'm missing it.

 

Unable to forgive his wife, Lucifer abandons Heaven with half of its population to create a new home and find purpose in a godless world. For centuries, the angels of Eden live in peace and turn a blind eye to the suffering and enslavement of distant humanity until news arrives that ignites wars on Earth as well as Eden. For centuries after God was murdered? Also, isn't there war on Earth all the time? I would imagine there would be even more wars after God is killed. God lives once more within the body of a mortal child. This is the news? These aren't stakes. You need to end your query with stakes.

 

Complete at 91,000 words, INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME, is a standalone adult [?] fantasy novel. story of a withered god, a slain savior, and betrayals between immortal kin. [Insert personalized comment/closing here]

 

I think your story sounds really interesting, and you have a really good hook to start it with. Unfortunately, after that, I just have no idea what's going on. You can see all my questions in the body of the query. I think your problem is you're just including way too much of the story in your query. Your query needs to focus on one MC, on that MC's problem, his obstacles, what will happen if he fails. Your query has many characters with problems. You don't have enough space in a query to include much. So focus on just one character, follow that character's journey, help us get to know that one character. Importantly, end your query with a clear statement of stakes. I also have one kind of basic question: I thought that cherubs were godly things. How can a cherub be with Satan? And wouldn't that mean the cherub would have to be in hell?

 

Good luck.



#11 smoskale

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 04:16 PM

When a cherub named Mikael eats from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge in hopes of to discovering his purpose in life, he instead receives a vision of God’s death. NICE!

 

Under the guidance and protection of his mentor, Lucifer, Mikael ventures out beyond the safety of Heaven to redeem himself and save his creator. While they search the vast jungles of Eden for an angel exiled for her violent past, Lucifer’s wife, Athena, eats the forbidden fruit in an attempt to identify God’s would-be assailant. Each apple that she consumes drives her closer to a maddening truth: it is her husband  (I know you've said it, but I think at this point a reminder wouldn't hurt) Lucifer who is destined to usurp the throne and untie the threads of creation. In order to save her love from his fate, Athena murders her creator and declares herself ruler of Heaven and Earth.

 

Unable to forgive his wife, Lucifer abandons Heaven with half of its population to create a new home and find purpose in a godless world. For centuries, the angels of Eden live in peace and turn a blind eye to the suffering and enslavement of distant humanity until news arrives that ignites wars on Earth as well as Eden. God lives once more within the body of a mortal child. 

 

Complete at 91,000 words, INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME, is the standalone story of a withered god, a slain savior, and betrayals between immortal kin. [Insert personalized comment/closing here]

 

I like it. I would want to read the book. Wait for a few more replies, but perhaps this is the one to try out on agents.

 

My latest is here, if you would be so kind:

http://agentquerycon...tique/?p=348925



#12 NGrzesik

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 10:17 PM

Thank you both for your critiques. I can definitely see how the query is too busy and doesn't zoom in enough. This was one of multiple different approaches, and I was trying to focus on the overarching plot too much I think. Here's another query that is a little more focused and less crammed with plot. 

 

When a cherub named Mikael eats from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge in hopes of discovering his purpose in life, he instead receives a vision of God’s death. This is your hook, so it's in my opinion that it should stand separate and alone. It reads as something more-impactful than if it were lumped in with another paragraph. 

 

Under the guidance and protection of his mentor, Lucifer, Mikael ventures out beyond the safety Heaven to redeem himself and save his creator. While they search the vast jungles of Eden for an angel exiled for her violent past, Lucifer’s wife, Athena, eats the forbidden fruit in an attempt to identify God’s would-be assailant. Each apple that she consumes drives her closer to a maddening truth: it is Lucifer who is destined to usurp the throne and untie the threads of creation. In order to save her love from his fate, Athena murders her creator and declares herself ruler of Heaven and Earth.

 

Unable to forgive his wife, Lucifer abandons Heaven with half of its population to create a new home and find purpose in a godless world. For centuries, the angels of Eden live in peace and turn a blind eye to the suffering and enslavement of distant humanity until news arrives that ignites wars on Earth as well as Eden. God lives once more within the body of a mortal child.

 

Complete at 91,000 words, INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME, is the standalone story of a withered god, a slain savior, and betrayals between immortal kin. [Insert personalized comment/closing here]

Okay, now I'm in the query-trenches same as you so I'm trying to figure it all out too. But after reading your query, this is what I think:

 

This reads as almost pure-exposition. The bit at the beginning will make an EXCELLENT hook, but from then on it reads like a play-by-play about what happens next. From the statement above your query it says you're concerned about plot? I personally think this query lacks it.

 

I read some earlier posts, and it seems that this is a story with different POV's. I'm writing a novel that has three primary POV's, but for the query I stuck with just one. This is because it's easier to understand for an agent who receives hundreds of letters similar to these a week. What I would generally recommend is sticking with one POV, and for tying in larger plot developments you can temporarily switch to a larger, more-omnipotent, POV. But for clarity's sake, stick with one. (Since your hook starts with Mikael, I'd suggest sticking with him)

 

I don't really understand what the main conflict of your story is, nor do I understand what it's about. To me, this is just a retelling of Lucifer getting cast out of Heaven. What's your story though? What does the main character (at least the one you choose to focus on in the query) want? What're their obstacles?

 

Also, what're the stakes? I can infer that a "godless world" would be bad, but why? I shouldn't have to infer, it should be stated. Clarity is of the utmost importance. 

 

Writing is subjective, though, and maybe this is just me. But overall, I feel that this query lacks focus. What's the meat of your story? I understand you have a lot of plot elements, but there's only so much room in a query. You're not going to be able to thread them all in there. Therefore, you must choose what's most important and interesting to include. Every word counts. 

 

Queries are hooks, meant to entice agents to read more. I'd keep that in mind when doing rewrites. 

 

Writing is rewriting, and I wish you the best of luck with your story. Thanks, by the way, for commenting on my query. 


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


#13 morgan.spraker

morgan.spraker

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 09:23 PM

Hey everyone. I haven't been on here in years, since I finished my first novel. I've been having some trouble getting any interest in my newest book, and I'm not sure if its because the content is cliche (angels) or if the writing is not good enough. I will gladly return any critiques I receive. Thanks for your time. 
 

Dear NAME,

My novel, INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME, is the standalone story of a withered god, a slain savior, and betrayals between immortal kin. Complete at 91,000 words, INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME offers a perspective-driven narrative that borrows names and themes from various religions in order to create a fantasy setting that is familiar yet unique.  Keep the hook - I found myself wanting to read it immediately

 

In the realm of Eden, the city of Heaven houses the seat of a creator far from almighty. Now the fading embers of a once-omniscient flame, God rules over his vast kingdom through the Choir of Eldar, a council of his oldest and most powerful angels. When a cherub named Mikael is brought before them to confess a sin, he admits to eating from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge. Why did Mikael do this? I think his motivation should at least be hinted at here to make his character clear. The Eldar discover that the tree bears the fruits of a vision God buried long ago: he will be murdered by one of his beloved children. 

 

The Choir, led by Lucifer and his wife Athena, focus their efforts on diverting the prophecy and protecting God. Wishing to assess the visions for herself, Athena eats from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge. Right here, I'll say your writing is starting to sound more like a synopsis than a query. I have a good idea of the order of events, but I'm not exactly hooked and wanting to know more, if that makes sense. Each apple that she consumes drives her closer to a maddening truth: it is Lucifer who is destined to usurp the throne and untie the threads of creation. Determined to save her love from his fate and confident in her own ability to rule, Athena kills her creator, imbibes his power, and declares herself Goddess. Also, is Mikael or Athena the main character? You jumped characters pretty quickly, so I was confused on that point 
 

Athena’s actions have far-reaching repercussions. Seen as a harbinger of God’s death, Mikael has his wings ripped from his back and is cast down to the mortal realm. Half of Heaven’s angels abandon the white city to worship an Eldar who vows to avenge the creator. Mountainous stone anubites appear on Earth, enslaving humanity and binding them to Athena’s will. This definitely reads like a synopsis. You're pitching here, not summarizing. You have a very nice and eloquent writing style, and that just needs to be translated to the appropriate information for a query. While Mikael guides the hand of a child-messiah, Lucifer struggles to choose between loyalty and love. As war looms over Earth and Eden, the Eldar grow increasingly desperate, but none can defy the law that dictates the cosmic cycle of life itself. There can only be one INHERITOR OF THE ETERNAL FLAME. I would make this sentence its own line for flair

I truly like your hook and concept! The biggest problems are that I don't know who your main character is and this reads more like a synopsis than a query. Make sure you're pitching your concept and keeping some things hidden. Focus in on one character, and you'll have something really solid. If you wouldn't mind, would you take a look at my query here x?






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