Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
- - - - -

Critiques not needed at this time, ty


  • Please log in to reply
63 replies to this topic

#41 ThatDan

ThatDan

    Back at it

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 133 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Purely scientific

Posted 11 January 2018 - 07:15 PM

Your second point worries me the most. If he can easily swap between a mugger, a debt-collector, or whatever else, and he's a repeated issue in all of your queries, then there might be an underlying issue here that needs to be addressed. 
Assuming he's only in the story for a page or two, maybe not, but consider if your story might be better if he isn't simply a throwaway character to bring out Callie's power. Is there a better trigger for her abilities which would set up her first stakes in the empire/rebel dilemma?


The repeating issue is that people always want to know who he is, what he is, why he is. Trust me when I say he's not important enough to detail in the query (but he is important for the story). When I called him a debt-collector, it raised a lot of questions. Calling him a mugger (not actually true) is my way of simplifying him for the query. By no means is he throwaway, but the last thing I want to do is have people more interested in this guy than my MC.

Any suggestions how I could fix this issue?

I'm no professional. Take my critiques merely as suggestions.

No active query atm.


#42 ThatDan

ThatDan

    Back at it

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 133 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Purely scientific

Posted 11 January 2018 - 07:17 PM

Also, re: ""decimate" means "to remove a tenth.""

Historically, yes. But not modernly. (I'm a believer of descriptive writing.)

But I guess it's a valid point considering some agents are probably prescriptive.

I'm no professional. Take my critiques merely as suggestions.

No active query atm.


#43 darsenault

darsenault

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 51 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 12 January 2018 - 02:32 AM

The repeating issue is that people always want to know who he is, what he is, why he is. Trust me when I say he's not important enough to detail in the query (but he is important for the story). When I called him a debt-collector, it raised a lot of questions. Calling him a mugger (not actually true) is my way of simplifying him for the query. By no means is he throwaway, but the last thing I want to do is have people more interested in this guy than my MC.

Any suggestions how I could fix this issue?

You might try taking him out entirely, and focusing more on the act. 

"When she stumbles upon a violent crime in action, a power activates inside of her, leaving the perpetrator brain-dead." Okay, maybe that's not the sentence you should use, but do you see how I take the focus off the character, and put it on the crime itself?

 

Also re:re: decimate
You're absolutely right that common usage has changed for the word, and then you're equally right that many agents might still be bothered by it. I don't think many agents will turn down a good query over this word choice, but I do believe in giving them as few excuses as possible not to at least read your first few pages. 

I've read about 2/3rds of the query shark's archives (if you haven't read those, go google her, she's amazing), and I've seen her jump on several words that are similarly questionable.



#44 ThatDan

ThatDan

    Back at it

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 133 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Purely scientific

Posted 12 January 2018 - 04:34 PM

I'd played with the idea of taking him out, like you suggested, but maybe I'll try taking a step further and not even mention any incident. I'll just have it go from MC having a subconscious power> rebels noticing and offering to help her control it. 

 

Re: query shark, I've had a look at a number of them, but since it's only one opinion (and a very strong one), I don't think her comments always definitively apply. She knows what she likes, but I think it's wise to keep in mind the diversity of agents, much like you get on the writers digest successful queries series.

 

Busy with work lately, so edits and return queries coming soon.


I'm no professional. Take my critiques merely as suggestions.

No active query atm.


#45 ThatDan

ThatDan

    Back at it

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 133 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Purely scientific

Posted 19 January 2018 - 02:24 AM

Updated post #1 with version 10.

 

Changes:

-Cut some things to reduce word count and confusion.

-Made it clearer that MC's power starts off unnoticed and uncontrolled.

-Tried to better explain the fantasy/preternatural aspect (hard to hit the sweet spot between too vague, and too many words)

-Made the empire seem less evil to reinforce the MC's struggle to choose sides.

 

Let me know what works/ doesn't work. Thanks.


I'm no professional. Take my critiques merely as suggestions.

No active query atm.


#46 Sataris

Sataris

    lives in a van down by the river

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 243 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Pro market sff, 1st place WotF winner, reader at Apex Magazine

Posted 19 January 2018 - 09:46 AM

Version 10: More edits....

 

Callie wants to be invisible. And thanks to her subconscious ability to erase memories, her inability to stop erasing the memories of those around her, she almost is.

Life on the streets is lonely for a seventeen-year-old, but Callie’s learnt to embrace the solitude. The less she’s noticed, the easier surviving becomes. However, her social isolation ends when she’s approached by a group of strangers who claim that there's more to her peculiar life than meets the eye. They say she's a Reaper She might be a Reaper—someone capable of manipulating people's focus and memory. But there's a price to pay if she wants their help with harnessing her powers, (or something along those lines)

The group teaches Callie about a preternatural side of reality, abundant in psychological mastery and hidden abilities like hers. Learning to control her power, Callie's joins her new friends  ask that she joins them on a rebel crusade to stop a mysterious empire responsible for rescinding such powers. Covertly Upon locating the enemy, Callie is shocked to find that they're her own kind-- Reapers who are determined to keep the peace. They stealthily protect the innocent  from the shadows from power-hungry rebels, and they offer Callie a place among them as an invisible hand of justice.

Knowing secrets about both sides, Callie's ambivalent wavering loyalty becomes a catalyst for chaos—joining the empire will mean betraying her only friends, siding with the rebels could massacre exterminate her kin, and retreating to her solitude will leave an entire city in the crossfire of an imminent war.

18FORGOTTEN is a YA fantasy complete at 95,000 words. Comps, bio, etc.
 

So I'm wondering if you could get away with just saying she cant stop erasing the memories of everyone around her - i know she doesn't actually know she's doing it at one point, but it seems clear that by the second paragraph Callie is aware of what's happening/been happening. It seems like she would be super compelled to do whatever it takes to learn to harness her power once she's given the option, and makes her more sympathetic from the get-go. 

 

I think the rescinding powers line isn't hitting as hard as it should - maybe just stick back in the thing about leaving them braindead. It might help as well if you clarify what exactly the empire says the rebel is doing - we know the empire thinks they're power hungry, but we're not sure what exactly that means in practical terms (are they land-grabbing, assassinating powerful people within the empire, etc). And what justice are they dishing out for what crimes? I also cut the adverbs out, seems like you're better off without them.

 

Your stakes are currently working/are nice and clear, but you might be able to punch them up a little bit if you emphasize just how desperate callie is to have friends - maybe instead of embracing her solitude she's learned to deal with it, or she's given up on having people care for her, etc. The kin part works too, but are they actually kin? Or people that share the same powers? Presumably they're better at using their powers, so is there something they could teach her that the rebels couldn't? Or maybe the kin thing just needs to be played up a bit too in that how happy she is to meet people who deal with the same burden etc etc 

 

Hope that was helpful. Despite the wall of text this is still a good query, and it's easier to follow than the earlier versions were. I like that you've gotten rid of the debt collector; avoids a bunch of possible questions, even if we do miss out on a more specific inciting event. Personally I'm fine with them just approaching her.


No current query.


#47 MICRONESIA

MICRONESIA

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 345 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Southeast

Posted 19 January 2018 - 12:18 PM

Version 10: More edits....

 

Callie wants to be invisible. And thanks to her subconscious ability to erase memories, she almost is. GREAT hook! I'm invested already.

Life on the streets is lonely for a seventeen-year-old, but Callie’s learned to embrace the solitude. The less she’s noticed, the easier surviving becomes. However, her social isolation ends when she’s approached by a group of strangers who claim that there's more to her peculiar life than meets the eye. She might be a Reaper—someone capable of manipulating people's focus and memory. Slightly confusing. I thought she already knew she had this talent. What does being a Reaper ADD to her understanding of herself? How does this information change her life?

The group teaches Callie about a preternatural side of reality, A primitive side of reality? abundant in psychological mastery and hidden abilities like hers. This sentence is a whole lot of telling. Give us specifics! Learning to control her power, Callie joins her new friends on a rebel crusade to stop a Her empire responsible for rescinding such powers. Language is suddenly elevated. This voice is much more formal than the one in the beginning. After covertly locating the enemy, Callie is shocked to find that they're her own kind-- Reapers, determined to keep the peace. They Slightly confusing. "They" could be either group. stealthily protect the innocent from power-hungry rebels, and offer Callie a place among them as an invisible hand of justice.

Knowing secrets about both sides, Callie's ambivalent loyalty becomes a catalyst for chaos—joining the empire will mean betraying her only friends, siding with the rebels could massacre her kin, Her family Who? Other Reapers? Why is she so loyal when she has just found out she IS one? and retreating to her solitude will leave an entire city in the crossfire of an imminent war. I want to hear more about this war! Mainly, I'm unclear on what each side wants. And how/where this war will be fought.

18FORGOTTEN is a YA fantasy complete at 95,000 words. Comps, bio, etc.
 

 

Sounds like an awesome story. Keep the voice consistent, fix the confusions, ditch the vagueness -- and I think this thing will really pop.



#48 KET Writes

KET Writes

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 28 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationCanada

Posted 19 January 2018 - 12:54 PM

Thanks for your feedback on my Query :) Here to return the favour!

 

Version 10: More edits....

 

Callie wants to be invisible. And thanks to her subconscious ability to erase memories, she almost is. I read this first without reading your previous versions so I could have a fresh take on it -- Initially, I was slightly confused about "subconscious". Is she doing this on purpose? Is it accidental, but then after the fact, realizes she erased people's memories. Or does she have absolutely no idea she's doing it at all. "Subconscious" implies that it is one of the last two.

Life on the streets is lonely for a seventeen-year-old, but Callie’s learnt to embrace the solitude. The less she’s noticed, the easier surviving becomes. However, her social isolation ends when she’s approached by a group of strangers who claim that there's more to her peculiar life than meets the eye. She might be a Reaper—someone capable of manipulating people's focus and memory. I liked this, it has me curious enough to want to keep going :)

The group teaches Callie about a preternatural side of reality, abundant in psychological mastery and hidden ​wondering if unseen might be a better choice? abilities like hers. Learning to control her power, Callie joins her new friends on a rebel crusade to stop a mysterious empire responsible for rescinding such powers. Covertly locating the enemy, Callie is shocked to find that they're her own kind-- Reapers, determined to keep the peace. They stealthily I only cross this out because I like the momentum going, and this slows it down a bit. protect the innocent from power-hungry rebels, and offer Callie a place among them as an invisible hand of justice.

Knowing secrets about both sides, Callie's ambivalent loyalty becomes a catalyst for chaos—joining the empire will mean betraying her only friends, siding with the rebels could massacre her kin, and retreating to her solitude will leave an entire city in the crossfire of an imminent war. LOVED this last bit. To me the stakes are clear, and make me want to go buy this book.

18FORGOTTEN is a YA fantasy complete at 95,000 words. Comps, bio, etc.
 

 

I feel like you're almost there. Great story, I'll patiently wait for it to be published.  :biggrin:


If my feedback was helpful, I'd appreciate some thoughts on my YA Urban Fantasy Query !

 


#49 ThatDan

ThatDan

    Back at it

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 133 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Purely scientific

Posted 19 January 2018 - 01:15 PM

Thanks again for awesome feedback. Will incorporate some changes today, and here are some responses to some questions:

So I'm wondering if you could get away with just saying she cant stop erasing the memories of everyone around her - i know she doesn't actually know she's doing it at one point, but it seems clear that by the second paragraph Callie is aware of what's happening/been happening. ​Yeah, I need to work on conveying that she's aware people ignore her, but she has no idea it's because of a hidden ability she possesses.

 

It seems like she would be super compelled to do whatever it takes to learn to harness her power once she's given the option, and makes her more sympathetic from the get-go. ​I'll try to incorporate this.I think it'll work well.

 

I think the rescinding powers line isn't hitting as hard as it should - maybe just stick back in the thing about leaving them braindead.​ I'm worried this will bring back the whole "why does Callie want to join them if they're so evil?" course

 

It might help as well if you clarify what exactly the empire says the rebel is doing - we know the empire thinks they're power hungry, but we're not sure what exactly that means in practical terms (are they land-grabbing, assassinating powerful people within the empire, etc). And what justice are they dishing out for what crimes? ​Essentially, some rebels feel their power is permission to exploit the weak. The empire responds by rescinding their power. (Obviously the rebels don't see it so clearly)

 

I also cut the adverbs out, seems like you're better off without them.​<yeah, I might go with that. it reflects my writing, but from what I've read, agents don't care for excess words.

 

Your stakes are currently working/are nice and clear, but you might be able to punch them up a little bit if you emphasize just how desperate callie is to have friends - maybe instead of embracing her solitude she's learned to deal with it, or she's given up on having people care for her, etc. ​Yep, I think that will work

 

The kin part works too, but are they actually kin? Or people that share the same powers? ​<share the same powers, but in terms of the lore, this makes them like family- they all dealt with a similar upbringing in order to manifest the same power. But for the sake of the query, feels easier to just call them kin, rather than explain why.

 

 

 

A primitive side of reality? No, preternatural as in "beyond natural." Not a very common word, but it perfectly describes the fantasy element of my story.

 

This sentence is a whole lot of telling. Give us specifics! The part I've always struggled with... Any time I've tried to include specifics or examples, it just confuses people. Not sure how I can concisely explain this aspect without blowing out the word limit. Essentially, any aspect of a personality can become preternatural if strong enough (such is the case with most of the characters in the story). Someone persuasive can warp your opinions. Someone caring can wipe away pain. Someone intimidating can stun you with confusion. Someone compassionate can sense emotion. Etc, etc, etc. ---All normal things in real life, but taken to new extremes within the story.

 

Slightly confusing. "They" could be either group? Glad you pointed this out. I will clarify.
 

 I want to hear more about this war! Mainly, I'm unclear on what each side wants. And how/where this war will be fought. ​Essentially,-- the rebels want to end their oppression --the empire don't (they feel that oppressing the rebels will stop things getting out of hand.) As for the war, it's essentially an escalation of this long-standing struggle. The rebels have had enough, and are going to make a stand. The empire knows this and are planning to retaliate. That's where the MC comes in-- she can help either side to a swift victory, preventing (or reducing the severity of) the war.

 

 

I read this first without reading your previous versions so I could have a fresh take on it -- Initially, I was slightly confused about "subconscious". Is she doing this on purpose? Is it accidental, but then after the fact, realizes she erased people's memories. Or does she have absolutely no idea she's doing it at all. "Subconscious" implies that it is one of the last two.

I value your fresh take, it shows to me that I really need to make it clearer about the whole subconscious>conscious transition of the MC's power use.

 

 

So basically, I just need to incorporate all this in 20 words or less :p

Given the extra info I've provided in response, any suggestions how to clarify the main issues would be much appreciated.


I'm no professional. Take my critiques merely as suggestions.

No active query atm.


#50 MICRONESIA

MICRONESIA

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 345 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Southeast

Posted 19 January 2018 - 01:25 PM

I'd say "supernatural" instead of "preternatural" (which, despite the official definition, sometimes carries the connotation of "old"... hence the pre-). Your call, but I think it would cause less stumbling.

 

Maybe just say something along the lines of: "she has the ability to [specifics of what she can do]; but with more training, she could [specific example of what she COULD do if her talents were harnessed.]" I don't think you need to over-complicate things. "Preternatural side of reality," "psychological mastery" and "hidden abilities" simply aren't very specific.

 

As for the opposing sides in the war, I'd also keep it simple. "The rebels want _______________, while the empire wants  _______________." Is this a war fought underground (as in, hidden from normal reality), in the streets, in people's minds? Again, a few more specifics would go a long way.



#51 Sataris

Sataris

    lives in a van down by the river

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 243 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Pro market sff, 1st place WotF winner, reader at Apex Magazine

Posted 19 January 2018 - 02:24 PM

It might help as well if you clarify what exactly the empire says the rebel is doing - we know the empire thinks they're power hungry, but we're not sure what exactly that means in practical terms (are they land-grabbing, assassinating powerful people within the empire, etc). And what justice are they dishing out for what crimes? ​Essentially, some rebels feel their power is permission to exploit the weak. The empire responds by rescinding their power. (Obviously the rebels don't see it so clearly)

 

 

I think the rescinding powers line isn't hitting as hard as it should - maybe just stick back in the thing about leaving them braindead.​ I'm worried this will bring back the whole "why does Callie want to join them if they're so evil?" course

 

Yeah worrying that one side will come off as evil is totally legit. Maybe you could do a two birds one stone thing by couching it in language more along the lines of "the rebels claim that the empire is doing X terrible thing, and the Empire claims that the rebels are doing X terrible thing" that way they both sound totally evil (but of course we'll assume that the truth is somewhere in the middle of both claims, or that one side is lying and we'll have to hope she picks the right side).


No current query.


#52 PureZhar3

PureZhar3

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 385 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 20 January 2018 - 09:22 PM

Callie wants to be invisible. And thanks to her subconscious ability to erase memories, she almost is. I identify with this so much! (Wanting to be invisible by erasing people's memories of me, not actually being able to do it :tongue: )

Life on the streets is lonely for a seventeen-year-old, but Callie’s learnt Was this learnt intentional, because it threw me off - you may want to stick to learned to appreciate the solitude. The less she’s noticed, the easier surviving Extremely minor, but I would suggest saying "survival" instead becomes. However, her social isolation ends when she’s approached by a group of strangers who claim that there's more to her peculiar life than meets the eye. They say she's a Reaper—a person capable of manipulating focus and memory. Better yet, they offer to help her unleash the full potential of that power.

Progressing from subconsciously making people ignore her, to actively altering memories with a single stare, Callie learns to control her power. But her new friends, each with a power of their own, have trained her for another reason--a rebel crusade to stop a mysterious empire capable of rescinding their powers. Upon locating the enemy, Callie is shocked to find that they're her own kind--Reapers. Determined to keep the peace, the empire protects the innocent from exploitation by the power-hungry rebels, and offer Callie a place among them as an invisible hand of justice. The rebels, however, are done with being oppressed. Awaiting Callie's intel, they're ready to initiate an uprising. Upon first read, this was a tad confusing. You had me until the "determined to keep the peace..." sentence, at which point I started to get lost on who was whom. Upon second read, it did say, for the most part, what I thought it was saying. The phrase that most tripped me up was the "protects the innocent from exploitation by the power-hungry rebels"

Knowing secrets about both sides This is a good clause, but I think it could be stronger - knowing secrets is just a bit vague, Callie's undecided loyalty becomes a catalyst for chaos—joining the empire will mean betraying her only friends, siding with the rebels could massacre her Reaper kin, and retreating to solitude will leave an entire city in the crossfire of an imminent war. I really really really like the fact that this third option is here, because it shows the fundamental consistency in Callie, and it leaves it more openended, where the imagination can run rampant

18FORGOTTEN is a YA fantasy complete at 95,000 words. Comps, bio, etc.

 

This sounds great! It sounds like the query I wish I could write (my main character, too, is trying to choose sides and has more info than everyone else). If you're willing to check out my query, I would appreciate it: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#53 ThatDan

ThatDan

    Back at it

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 133 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Purely scientific

Posted 22 January 2018 - 03:37 PM

Made a few updates. Mainly trying to streamline the paragraph about the rebels vs empire (was causing confusion and ambiguity for a lot of people). Hopefully its clearer now on two fronts:

1, Neither side is clearly good or evil. Each has its own merits and downfalls, hence MC's struggle to pledge loyalty.

2, Clarity on the struggle between sides, in essence a typical 'dangerous freedom vs safe oppression' situation.

 

Also dropped some words here and there to reduce the wc.

 

Any other suggestions for me? Feedback has been great so far. Starting to feel like I'm nearing the light at the end of the tunnel.


I'm no professional. Take my critiques merely as suggestions.

No active query atm.


#54 Sataris

Sataris

    lives in a van down by the river

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 243 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Pro market sff, 1st place WotF winner, reader at Apex Magazine

Posted 22 January 2018 - 04:32 PM

Version 11: clarifying sides and intentions

 

Callie wants to be invisible. And thanks to her subconscious ability to erase memories, she almost is.

Life on the streets is lonely for a seventeen-year-old, but Callie’s learned to appreciate the solitude. The less she’s noticed, the easier survival becomes. However, her social isolation ends when she's approached by a group of strangers approach who claiming that there's more to her peculiar life than meets the eye. They say she's a Reaper--a person capable of manipulating focus and memory--and offer to help her reach her full potential. unleash the full potential of that power.

Under their guidance, Callie Progresses from subconsciously making people ignore her to actively altering memories with a single stare, Callie learns to control her abilities. But her new friends, each with a psychological speciality of their own, have trained her for another reason--a rebel crusade against a mysterious empire capable of rescinding their powers. Upon locating the enemy, Callie is shocked to find only her own kind--Reapers--and an offer to join them. By suppressing power-hungry rebels, she can maintain the peace, and protect innocent civilians from exploitation. this is the only sentence that reads as being off to me; it's not clear how the rebels are power hungry, or if callie just thinks they are because of X event, or if the empire is the one claiming they're power hungry, or that this empire has actually been preserving peace all along  The rebels, however, are done with being oppressed, and await Callie's intel, ready to initiate their uprising. this is much clearer though

Knowing the tactics of both sides, Callie's undecided loyalty becomes a catalyst for chaos—joining the empire will mean betraying her only friends, siding with the rebels could massacre her Reaper kin, and retreating to solitude will leave an entire city in the crossfire of an imminent war.

18FORGOTTEN is a YA fantasy complete at 95,000 words. Comps, bio, etc.

 

I really like what you've done here. The hook is still great, and the second paragraph is much cleaner. I like that you've spelled out her progression with her powers as well. I'm still getting tripped up a little with the viewpoints in the third paragraph as to what everyone's role is. That said, it definitely isn't reading like one side is evil any more. But yeah i agree - this is just about there otherwise.


No current query.


#55 PureZhar3

PureZhar3

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 385 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 22 January 2018 - 05:12 PM

Version 11: clarifying sides and intentions

 

Callie wants to be invisible. And thanks to her subconscious ability to erase memories, she almost is.

Life on the streets is lonely for a seventeen-year-old, but Callie’s learned to appreciate the solitude. The less she’s noticed, the easier survival becomes. However, her social isolation ends when a group of strangers approach, claiming that there's more to her peculiar life than meets the eye. They say she's a Reaper--a person capable of manipulating focus and memory--and offer to help her unleash the full potential of that power.

Progressing from subconsciously making people ignore her, to actively altering memories with a single stare, Callie learns to control her abilities. But her new friends, each with a psychological speciality specialty of their own, have trained her for another reason--a rebel crusade against a mysterious empire capable of rescinding their powers. Upon locating the enemy, Callie is shocked to find only her own kind--Reapers--and an offer to join them. By suppressing power-hungry rebels, she can maintain the peace, and protect innocent civilians from exploitation. The rebels, however, are done with being oppressed, and await Callie's intel, ready to initiate their uprising. Something about these last two sentences don't quite mesh for me. I think it has something to do with the 'however'... It makes me think "wait, so she can't suppress the rebels?"

Knowing the tactics of both sides, Callie's undecided loyalty becomes a catalyst for chaos—joining the empire will mean betraying her only friends, siding with the rebels could massacre her Reaper kin, and retreating to solitude will leave an entire city in the crossfire of an imminent war.

18FORGOTTEN is a YA fantasy complete at 95,000 words. Comps, bio, etc.

I like this - it's definitely clearer and better conveys the two sides. I think it's because it's my second or third time reading this, but the tension lessened for me this time around (Don't worry too much unless others are saying the same thing, I'm pretty sure it's just me.)

 

Also, I updated my query (and responded to some of your points), so I'd appreciate it if you check it out again. Thanks!


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#56 Queen of my backyard

Queen of my backyard

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 30 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS West Coast
  • Publishing Experience:I grew up with parents in the publishing business, but as of yet, am unpublished.

Posted 22 January 2018 - 06:33 PM

Version 11: clarifying sides and intentions

 

Callie wants to be invisible. And Thanks to her subconscious ability to erase memories, she almost is. (I like the use of subconscious here. It definitely let's us know that she's erasing memories w/o knowing that's what she's doing. What's not as clear, is why she would want to be invisible in the first place because that info is in a vacuum, but it is an unusual enough thing to want as to warrant some justification. It still sounds pretty catchy, and I might be nit-picking, but this query is so darn close to being ready to blanket agents with, I'd hate for an opening sentence that isn't grounded to catch you up. You have a lot of supporters contributing to this thread, maybe they can opine as to whether I'm off my rocker on that one.)

Life on the streets is lonely for a seventeen-year-old, but Callie’s learned to appreciate the solitude. The less she’s noticed, the easier survival becomes. However, her Callie's days of social isolation ends when she's approached by a group of strangers approach 
claiming that there's more to her peculiar life than meets the eye.(Peculiar life feels like an awkward word choice bc you're referring to her abilities, but as of yet, Callie is unaware she has any and so far, what you've told us is that she wants to be invisible, nothing to indicate she views her life/lifestyle as peculiar. Perhaps keep peculiar but swap life for something that references the ability itself... or better yet, just "there's more to her than meets the eye." since the next sentence delves into the why of it.) They say she's a Reaper--a person capable of able to manipulating the focus and memory of others––and offer to help her unleash the full potential of that her power. (I think it would be a little stronger to emphasize it's something she does to other people, partly bc this is Callie learning about it. Able vs capable is just personal preference, but it also feels a little stronger IMO.)

Callie progresses ing from subconsciously making people ignore her, to actively altering memories with a single stare. , Callie learns to control her abilities. But her new friends, each with a psychological speciality of their own, have trained her for another reason––a rebel crusade against a mysterious empire capable of rescinding their powers. Upon locating the enemy, Callie is shocked to find only her own kind––Reapers––and an offer to join them. By suppressing The Reapers claim Callie's friend's are out to gain power for themselves.-hungry rebels, If she assists them in suppressing the rebels, she can help maintain the peace, and protect innocent civilians from exploitation. The rebels, however, are done with being oppressed, and await Callie's intel, ready to initiate their uprising.

Knowing the tactics of both sides, Callie's undecided loyalty becomes a catalyst for chaos—joining the empire will mean betraying her only friends, siding with the rebels could massacre her Reaper kin, and retreating to solitude will leave an entire city in the crossfire of an imminent war. (I'm not sure it's necessary to say "Knowing the tactics of both sides..." because it doesn't add anything to her dilemma (at least in terms of this version). I think the sentence is stronger if you cut that part. Having said that (and having read earlier versions) I think this ending paragraph is really well laid out! You CLEARLY have the difficulties of the choice Callie's facing laid bare and we feel how high the stakes are, for Callie personally and for the city.... wowza.

18FORGOTTEN is a YA fantasy complete at 95,000 words. Comps, bio, etc.

Yeah, I want to read this when it hits the shelves. This is a way cool concept! 


If you found my comments helpful, please consider critiquing my query at http://agentquerycon...fantasyrevised/


#57 ThatDan

ThatDan

    Back at it

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 133 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Purely scientific

Posted 23 January 2018 - 04:08 AM

Another great round of feedback (Thanks everyone!), so now another update. 

 

-Reverted a few changes that were designed to cut a few words, but weren't well-received.

-I think I fixed the issue with the power-hungry rebels. Essentially I was wording it as if they were power-hungry, when what I should've been doing was specifying that's how the empire views them.

 

 

Some questions:

-Do the rebels now seem like they're the bad ones? Toying with the idea of changing "initiate their uprising" to "pursue/obtain their freedom"

-Back to the genre question, does fantasy still seem right, or might science-fantasy fit better?

 

 

And to address some concerns:

 

What's not as clear, is why she would want to be invisible in the first place

This has been brought up before, but it seems there's a fine line to get it right. Too much wanting to be invisible > why would she want to help the others? Too much wanting to help the others> why would she want to be invisible? The best result so far seems to be having the solitude and ease of survival being a subtle link to why being invisible is beneficial, but why she'd also consider giving it up.

 

(I think it would be a little stronger to emphasize it's something she does to other people, partly bc this is Callie learning about it. Able vs capable is just personal preference, but it also feels a little stronger IMO.)

This was the original way I had it, for all the reasons you mention. However, a lot of people suggested changing it. I did because it reduces the wc a little, and I think most people don't delve too deep into the connotations of her having said power, vs having that power exclusively against other beings. Seems unimportant in the scope of the query. For now I'll probably leave as is, mainly for wc factor.

 

(I'm not sure it's necessary to say "Knowing the tactics of both sides..." because it doesn't add anything to her

I agree, and it's something I'm never happy with. But I feel I need something to indicate that she's got crucial dirt on both sides, and could easily lead either side to a swift victory. Is this already obvious to people? I'll keep working on it, and if nothing suits, I might just cut it.

 


I'm no professional. Take my critiques merely as suggestions.

No active query atm.


#58 Nonicks

Nonicks

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 297 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationEurope

Posted 23 January 2018 - 05:32 AM

Version 12: ...more changes...

 

Callie wants to be invisible. And thanks to her subconscious ability to erase memories, she almost is. (I love the hook)

Life on the streets is lonely for a seventeen-year-old, but Callie’s learned to appreciate the solitude. The less she’s noticed, the easier survival becomes. However, her social isolation ends when she's approached by a group of strangers who claim there's more to her peculiar life than meets the eye. They say she's a Reaper--a person capable of manipulating focus and memory--and offer to help her reach her full potential.

Under their guidance, Callie progresses from subconsciously making people ignore her, to actively altering memories with a single stare. But her new friends, each with a psychological speciality of their own, have trained her for another reason--a rebel crusade against a mysterious empire capable of rescinding their powers. Upon locating the enemy, Callie is shocked to find her own kind--Reapers--along with an offer to join them. The empire is convinced that suppression is the only way to keep the peace, else the rebels will exploit and overthrow the powerless. But Callie's friends are done with being oppressed, and await her intel, ready to initiate their uprising. Obtain

Knowing the plans of both sides, Callie's undecided loyalty becomes a catalyst for chaos—joining the empire will mean betraying her only friends, siding with the rebels could massacre her Reaper kin, and retreating to solitude will leave an entire city in the crossfire of an imminent war. (this paragraph is abit bulky. It reads like a synopsis. Also, what happens in the novel? It looks like the first 50 pages)

18FORGOTTEN is a YA fantasy complete at 95,000 words. Comps, bio, etc.

 

 

The premise sounds interesting, but the second paragraph is too confusing. I had to read it several times. Hope I'm not overstepping, but I'd write something like "her social isolation ends when she joins the Reapers, a group of people with similar abilities. Together, they [enter here an example of what they do together with these people], but when [enter the final stakes], Callie must [...]. "

Also, who is the antagonist?

 

Hope this helps. If you can, please take a look at my query



#59 PureZhar3

PureZhar3

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 385 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 23 January 2018 - 09:27 AM

Your new query seems pretty solid to me. As for your questions:

 

Some questions:

-Do the rebels now seem like they're the bad ones? Toying with the idea of changing "initiate their uprising" to "pursue/obtain their freedom" I think that in context of the prior sentences, initiating their uprising makes more sense. Considering you say they're done being oppressed, I think there's enough to intuit that each side has their own, maybe good-maybe bad version of the story.

-Back to the genre question, does fantasy still seem right, or might science-fantasy fit better? As you know, I'm having the same issue with my story (sci-fi or science-fantasy), but from your query, I think either genre would fit your story. From the articles I've looked at, if seems that if there is an inclusion of supernatural/magical elements which the science or such are rooted in, then the story can be defined as science fantasy. I found this article on it: http://www.fantasy-m...cience-fantasy/ The one thing that I'm not sure about is the current attitude towards science fantasy - I'm not sure if classifying your book as such would make agents more or less likely to request the book.

 

Something I noticed on this latest round (and it might be that I'm misunderstanding), but you say that if Callie sides with the rebels, they could massacre their Reaper kin... but aren't the rebels also Reaper? So either way, will Reapers be killed? I may just be misunderstanding, in which case, ignore me.

 

Hope that helps!


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#60 DisgruntledWriter

DisgruntledWriter

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 277 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationCanada

Posted 23 January 2018 - 10:17 AM

Version 12: ...more changes...

 

Callie wants to be invisible. And thanks to her subconscious ability to erase memories, she almost is.

Life on the streets is lonely for a seventeen-year-old, but Callie’s learned to appreciate the solitude. The less she’s noticed, the easier survival becomes. However, her social isolation ends when she's approached by a group of strangers who claim there's more to her peculiar life than meets the eye. They say she's a Reaper--a person capable of manipulating focus and memory--and offer to help her reach her full potential.

Under their guidance, Callie progresses from subconsciously making people ignore her, to actively altering memories with a single stare. But her new friends, each with a psychological speciality of their own, have trained her for another reason--a rebel crusade against a mysterious empire capable of rescinding their powers. (Right here is when I started to get lost) Upon locating the enemy, Callie is shocked to find her own kind--Reapers--along with an offer to join them. The empire is convinced that suppression is the only way to keep the peace, else the rebels will exploit and overthrow the powerless. But Callie's friends are done with being oppressed, and await her intel, ready to initiate their uprising. Obtain

Knowing the plans of both sides, Callie's undecided loyalty becomes a catalyst for chaos—joining the empire will mean betraying her only friends, siding with the rebels could massacre her Reaper kin, and retreating to solitude will leave an entire city in the crossfire of an imminent war. (This section is bulky and hard to read.  I had to go over it a few times to understand.)

18FORGOTTEN is a YA fantasy complete at 95,000 words. Comps, bio, etc.

 

Great hook, great first paragraph, but I got very lost halfway through the second paragraph.  I think you need to streamline the sentences and make it more concise.  






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users