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FINDING THE VOID - Ninja action/sci-fi novel - Will return favor for critique!

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#21 egavin

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 02:36 PM

 

Thank's everyone. All of your help have been outstanding. Here's what I have so far.

 

REVISION 4:

 

Kadan regrets his growing restlessness at his father’s imposed solitude when Torlan and his clan of ninjas attack him. Left for dead, Kadan makes his way to his home to discover that his father‘s been murdered, and all seems lost — until he’s saved by a rival ninja clan. You can cut down this first paragraph a lot to make it clearer and punchier. I think you just need to show that Kadan's father is killed, and Kadan is taken in by a rival clan. Everything else is extraneous info.

 

After Kadan reads (How does he get this letter? If possible, connect it to the prior events more. "After the rival clan gives him a letter..." etc.)  a letter left by his father, his preconceived notions of the man he grew up is shaken. He learns the attack was retribution against his father for sequestering Kadan from a human genetic experiment performed two decades ago. (Reword this to make it clearer that Kadan is genetical engineered)  Filled with an unquenchable thirst for vengeance, (Simplify this to  and caught between two ninja clans, Kadan decides to join his rescuers. When the enemy discovers Kadan is still alive and is the sole survivor of the long dead experiment, they will stop at nothing to get their hands on him. Only after Kadan has another disastrous confrontation with Torlan that nearly kills him again, does he admit that his father’s training is incomplete. Kadan must master the clan’s specialized skill, the Void — a meditative state of mind that allows a person to transcend the limits of human physical ability — if he has any hope of survival and achieving his goal. (Interesting!)

 

Kadan soon realizes that on his journey, he must overcome the mistrust of a clan of ninjas, and a spy that will bring them to the brink of destruction. He will have to decide if he will have to settle for a life of hiding, or if vengeance is worth losing himself to the darker nature of the Void. 

 

FINDING THE VOID is a 120,000 (20K words wouldn't be TOO hard to cut, if possible) word, adventure novel that incorporates elements from Japanese mythology and Ninja historical facts. It is set in modern New England. It will appeal to fans of the Night Angel trilogy and Sigma Force series. I graduated with a bachelor in Biology, and currently hold the rank of 9th Kyu in Bujinkan, a martial arts specializing in ninjutsu, (nice bio!) one of the main topics of this novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I think you can cut out a lot of extra information here. For example, as far as I can tell, his distrust of the rival clan doesn't seem important for the purpose of the query, since the main conflict is between Kadan's desire for revenge and the dark side of the Void. The genetic engineering probably isn't strictly necessary either. On the other hand, I think you should focus more on the Void. It's an intriguing idea, and I'd love to see more of why Kadan feels conflicted! Does it drive you into a murderous rage, erode your sanity, etc. Is there a particular event that leads Kadan to realize there's a dark side?

Good luck!



#22 RMLucas

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 02:08 AM

Thanks everyone! Yeah it seems my word count keeps coming up. I’m working on trying to bring the count down. I may put the query a little on the back burner. Ill put one more revision up and tackle that word count. Thanks for the advice everyone.

#23 Macintot

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 09:23 AM

This story piques my interest. It's definitely something want to read, and you've given us a number of delicious little plot hooks that make me want to know more. Below, my notes are in parentheses.

Kadan regrets his growing restlessness at his father’s imposed solitude when Torlan and his clan of ninjas attack him. ((Who is Torlan? Also, I agree this is a bit hard to read. Perhaps you could split it into two paragraphs: one about Kadan's restlessness and one about the attack.))Left for dead, Kadan makes his way to his home to discover that his father‘s been murdered, and all seems lost — until he’s saved by a rival ninja clan. ((Again, I would split this in two.))
After Kadan reads a letter left by his father, his preconceived notions of the man he grew up ((with)) is shaken. He learns the attack was retribution against his father for sequestering Kadan from a human genetic experiment performed two decades ago. ((This feels like too much information. I marked out what I thought could go, but if you think of a better combination, you know this story better than I do.)) Filled with an unquenchable thirst for vengeance, and caught between two ninja clans, Kadan decides to join his rescuers. ((It's hard to see, but I marked put that first comma. It would up making a splice.)) When the enemy discovers Kadan is still alive and is the sole survivor of the long dead experiment, they will stop at nothing to get their hands on him. ((Nice hook.)) ((Also, what happens next feels a bit disjpinted from the former part of the paragraph. Perhaps start a new one or say something like "Kadan want to face them head on, and only. . . .")) Only after Kadan has another disastrous confrontation with Torlan that nearly kills him again does he admit that his father’s training is incomplete. Kadan must master the clan’s specialized skill, the Void — a meditative state of mind that allows a person to transcend the limits of human physical ability — if he has any hope of survival and achieving his goal. ((This makes a nice hook.))
Kadan soon realizes that on his journey, he must overcome the mistrust of a clan of ninjas, and a spy that will bring them to the brink of destruction.He will have to decide if he will have to settle for a life of hiding, or if vengeance is worth losing himself to the darker nature of the Void.[color=0,0,255][b]((you could probably cut this whole paragraph without hurting much, with the exception of the last sentence,which deffinitely intruiges me. Perhaps find a way to blend the first time you mention the Void.))

FINDING THE VOID is a 120,000 word, adventure novel that incorporates elements from Japanese mythology and Ninja historical facts. It is set in modern New England. It will appeal to fans of the Night Angel trilogy and Sigma Force series. I graduated with a bachelor in Biology, and currently hold the rank of 9th Kyu in Bujinkan, a martial arts specializing in ninjutsu, one of the main topics of this novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

The interesting stuff's all in there. The big thing that seems to be going against you is the number of adjectives.

It might be worth it to go in, highlight each describing word and phrase, and delete any that you don't absolutely need. Did this already get explained by a previous word? Would the reader understand the sentebce if you took out that word? How big a role does this detail play in the world at large? (I.E. I assume that Kadan having been taken from a genetic experiment will come up often/be important later. That the experiment was twenty years ago, on the other hand, I don't see making much difference.)

You've got it going good underneath all those adjectives, though! I think the wordcraft underneath them isn't going to need much changing after that.

#24 EmperorOfTheNorth

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 10:23 AM

Thank's everyone. All of your help have been outstanding. Here's what I have so far.
 
REVISION 4:
 
Kadan regrets his growing restlessness at his father’s imposed solitude when Torlan and his clan of ninjas attack him.

This sentence is difficult to read. I dig the riff but the notes are discordant. Perhaps try rearranging some.

Left for dead, Kadan makes his way to his home to discover that his father‘s been murdered, and all seems lost — until he’s saved by a rival ninja clan.
 
After Kadan reads a letter left by his father, his preconceived notions of the man he grew up (With? Under?)

P is shaken. He learns the attack was retribution against his father for sequestering Kadan from a human genetic experiment performed two decades ago.

What is this experiment?

Filled with an unquenchable thirst for vengeance, and caught between two ninja clans, Kadan decides to join his rescuers. When the enemy discovers Kadan is still alive and is the sole survivor of the long dead experiment, they will stop at nothing to get their hands on him. Only after Kadan has another disastrous confrontation with Torlan that nearly kills him again does he admit that his father’s training is incomplete. Kadan must master the clan’s specialized skill, the Void — a meditative state of mind that allows a person to transcend the limits of human physical ability — if he has any hope of survival and achieving his goal.
 
Kadan soon realizes that on his journey, he must overcome the mistrust of a clan of ninjas, and a spy that will bring them to the brink of destruction. He will have to decide if he will have to settle for a life of hiding, or if vengeance is worth losing himself to the darker nature of the Void.
 
FINDING THE VOID is a 120,000 word, adventure novel that incorporates elements from Japanese mythology and Ninja historical facts. It is set in modern New England. It will appeal to fans of the Night Angel trilogy and Sigma Force series. I graduated with a bachelor in Biology, and currently hold the rank of 9th Kyu in Bujinkan, a martial arts specializing in ninjutsu, one of the main topics of this novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.


I dig this. It looks pretty good. Several others have made comments with which I agree. You are on the right path.
Go on and stamp your forms, sonny.

#25 RMLucas

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 06:24 PM

REVISION 5:

#26 ThatDan

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 02:52 AM

 

REVISION 5:

 

Here's another attempt at my query. Working on word count right now, so ill leave the bio out of the query for now. Thanks everyone. It's been a learning experience so far!

 

 

​Hope my comments help. Mainly just pointing out some ambiguities in the plot:
Kadan has grown restless with his father’s imposed solitude and nomadic lifestyle ​<ambiguous whether the solitude and nomadic lifestyle are imposed on Kaden's father, or imposed on Kaden, by his father. Consider rewording.. A restlessness he regrets after Torlan and his clan of ninjas attack him. ​<not sure if restless/restlessness are the right words here. doesn't seem like being restless would be detrimental during an attack, causing regret. laziness, yes, but not restlessness. Left for dead and dying​<I would pick just one. since dying is important to the next sentence, go with that., Kadan ​returns home to discover that his father‘s been murdered, and all seems lost ​<you could be more specific here. I can assume 'all is lost' means he has no hope of fixing his wounds and will die, but you could easily state that to be less vague.— until he’s saved by a rival ninja clan.​< rivals to him, or to the other clan?
 
When Kadan reads a letter  from his father left in the possession of the rival clan,​<which clan? he learns the attack was retribution. Two decades ago, Kadan had been rescued by his father from a genetic experiment performed on him by Torlan’s clan, in the hopes of designing the perfect killer. Desiring vengeance, alone, and caught between two ninja clans,​<wording makes it sound like they're both rival clans (but I assume you mean he doesn't know which one to side with) Kadan decides to join his rescuers. When the enemy discovers Kadan is alive and is the sole survivor of the long dead experiment, they will stop at nothing to get their hands on him.​< I'm not sure why they wanted to kill him in the first place. did they not realize that he was the experiment they are after? Only after Kadan has another disastrous confrontation with Torlan does he admits that his training is incomplete. Kadan must master the clan’s specialized skill, the Void — a meditative state of mind that allows a person to transcend the limits of human physical ability​<this bit is very exciting. maybe you could play it up more? — if he has any hope of survival​<surviving what? Torlan wants him alive, yes? and achieving his goal. ​<what is his goal again? improve his power so he can kill Torlan?
 
Kadan must decide if he will have to settle for a life of hiding, or if vengeance is worth losing himself to the darker nature of the Void. ​< ooh, the dark side! very cool, but I want to know more.
 
​Great improvements over the earlier versions, but I feel that through all the editing, you've lost a lot of the cohesion--hence all my questions. Once you tighten and clarify, it'll be looking great! Also, as mentioned, I love the void concept, and personally would like to know more about it in the query (if it fits with the actual story, that is).

 


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

No active query atm.


#27 TheBest

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 05:10 PM

Kadan has grown restless with his father’s imposed solitude and nomadic lifestyle. A restlessness he regrets after Torlan and his clan of ninjas attack him. Left for dead and dying, Kadan discovers that his father‘s been murdered, and all seems lost — until he’s saved by a rival ninja clan. (This is interesting, but I think it can be streamlined. Combine sentences and introduce stakes right away.)

 
When Kadan reads a letter  from his father left in the possession of the rival clan, he learns the attack was retribution. (this could go in the opening paragraph.) Two decades ago, Kadan had been rescued by his father from a genetic experiment performed on him by Torlan’s clan, in the hopes of designing the perfect killer. Desiring vengeance, alone, and caught between two ninja clans, Kadan decides to join his rescuers. When the enemy discovers Kadan is alive and is the sole survivor of the long dead experiment, they will stop at nothing to get their hands on him. (This backstory should be shortened.) Only after Kadan has another disastrous confrontation with Torlan does he admits that his training is incomplete. Kadan must master the clan’s specialized skill, the Void — a meditative state of mind that allows a person to transcend the limits of human physical ability (expand on this, it's interesting as hell. Specifics or imagery!!!) — if he has any hope of survival and achieving his goal.
 
Kadan must decide if he will have to settle for a life of hiding, or if vengeance is worth losing himself to the darker nature of the Void. (expand on the void.)
 
Add comps, formalities, salutations, bio etc etc etc
 
This query is really interesting, but some sentences can be combined, some details shortened while others expanded upon. In your case, the experiment can be streamlined and shortened, while the Void and your present drama should be taking center stage. You explain your story very well and keep it very simple, which is very impressive, and deserved several hearty pats on the back. Congrats! Fix the detail problems and keep it simple, and you're on track to having a kickass query. Good luck! 


#28 RMLucas

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 01:54 PM

ThatDan: Wow, thank you so much. I didn't even catch any of those. I think I get so focused on fixing the other problems with they query, that I forget to look for holes that may come up.

 

TheBest: Thanks! Yes, I left the bio out because my word count kept being an issue, one I'm working on. Thanks for the feedback. It really helps a lot!

 

QUESTION: So the major question is then... should I introduce the Void earlier in the query? I have a hard time restructuring without losing that chronological style I'm trying to keep. The word count also keeps my expansion of the Void to a minimum unfortunately. The backstory I feel needs to go first in order to be able to introduce the Void. Any thoughts? 



#29 RMLucas

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 03:31 PM

REVISION 6:

Kadan is dying and his father‘s been murdered by Master Torlan and his clan of ninjas. All seems lost, until Kadan is saved by Torlan’s rival ninja clan. When Kadan reads a letter from his father left in the possession of his saviors, he learns the attack was retribution.

Two decades ago, Kadan had been rescued by his father from a genetic experiment performed on him by Torlan’s clan, in the hopes of designing the perfect killer. Desiring vengeance, alone, and caught between two ninja clans, Kadan decides to join his rescuers. When the enemy discovers they unknowingly almost killed Kadan, the sole survivor of the long dead experiment they’ve been searching for, but is still alive, they will stop at nothing to get their hands on him. Only after Kadan has another disastrous confrontation with Torlan does he admit that his training is incomplete. Kadan must master the clan’s specialized skill, the Void — a meditative state of mind that allows a person to transcend the limits of human physical ability — if he has any hope of avoiding capture and achieving his goal.

Kadan must decide if he will have to settle for a life of hiding, or if vengeance is worth losing himself to the darker nature of the Void.

MAIN DILEMMA:
So the major question is ... should I introduce the Void earlier in the query? I have a hard time restructuring without losing that chronological style I'm trying to keep. The word count also keeps my expansion of the Void to a minimum unfortunately. The backstory I feel needs to go first in order to be able to introduce the Void. Any thoughts?

#30 ThatDan

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 03:43 AM

Re: your question,

At what point does the void come into your story? If it doesn't feature until later on, then I'm not sure how you'd incorporate it earlier in the query.

But if the story eludes to it earlier (perhaps Kadan has dreams about it. Perhaps children are told 'stories' about it when they're young. etc etc), then maybe you could use this earlier in your query.

As you have it now, the void is only mentioned in the last two sentences (far too late imo if you intend to have it as a major plot device)

 

Just a suggestion for how you might be able to start the query in few words whilst also mentioning the void:

"Kaden thought the tales about the Void were purely fiction. He never would've guess that one day he'd be trained to master it."

^rough and poorly worded, but you get an idea what I mean.


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

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#31 EmperorOfTheNorth

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 11:38 AM

REVISION 6:
Kadan is dying and his father‘s been murdered by Master Torlan and his clan of ninjas. All seems lost, until Kadan is saved by Torlan’s rival ninja clan. When Kadan reads a letter from his father left in the possession of his saviors, he learns the attack was retribution.

As a hook this is still a bit unwieldy. And retribution for what?


Two decades ago, Kadan had been rescued by his father from a genetic experiment performed on him by Torlan’s clan, in the hopes of designing the perfect killer. Desiring vengeance, alone, and caught between two ninja clans, Kadan decides to join his rescuers.

I'm with you so far.

When the enemy discovers they unknowingly almost killed Kadan, the sole survivor of the long dead experiment they’ve been searching for, but is still alive, they will stop at nothing to get their hands on him.

Huh? This sentence just left me totes confused.

Only after Kadan has another disastrous confrontation with Torlan does he admit that his training is incomplete. Kadan must master the clan’s specialized skill, the Void — a meditative state of mind that allows a person to transcend the limits of human physical ability — if he has any hope of avoiding capture and achieving his goal.

I'm with you again.

Kadan must decide if he will have to settle for a life of hiding, or if vengeance is worth losing himself to the darker nature of the Void.

Is this like use the force?

MAIN DILEMMA:
So the major question is ... should I introduce the Void earlier in the query? I have a hard time restructuring without losing that chronological style I'm trying to keep. The word count also keeps my expansion of the Void to a minimum unfortunately. The backstory I feel needs to go first in order to be able to introduce the Void. Any thoughts?


I like where you placed the void. I see other places needing work first and then it will be perfectly placed.

You are getting there.
Go on and stamp your forms, sonny.

#32 HeatherBlue

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 01:53 PM

REVISION 6:

Kadan is dying and his father‘s been murdered by Master Torlan and his clan of ninjas. All seems lost, until Kadan is saved by Torlan’s rival ninja clan. When Kadan reads a letter from his father left in the possession of his saviors, he learns the attack was retribution.

The wording in this seems kind of squished together. I don't know if that makes sense. Maybe like a run-on sentence kind of. Can maybe start with "Kadan is dying. Master Torlan and his clan of ninjas have murdered his father and all seems lost. But then Kadan is saved by Torlan's rival ninja clan... (and the rest of the hook)" My rewrite is not perfect, of course, but you can use your own wording and just kind of piece it together a little bit differently.

Two decades ago, Kadan had been rescued by his father from a genetic experiment performed on him by Torlan’s clan, in the hopes of designing the perfect killer. (I like this. This is awesome! =) Desiring vengeance, alone, and caught between two ninja clans, Kadan decides to join his rescuers. When the enemy discovers they unknowingly almost killed Kadan the sole survivor of the long dead experiment they’ve been searching for (this might be a little long, see if you can make it more concise, and then I also suggested using dashes instead of commas to separate it a little bit more from the sentence) but is still alive, they will stop at nothing to get their hands on him. Only after Kadan has another disastrous confrontation with Torlan does he admit that his training is incomplete. Kadan must master the clan’s specialized skill, the Void — a meditative state of mind that allows a person to transcend the limits of human physical ability — if he has any hope of avoiding capture and achieving his goal.

Kadan must decide if he will have to settle for a life of hiding, or if vengeance is worth losing himself to the darker nature of the Void.

MAIN DILEMMA:
So the major question is ... should I introduce the Void earlier in the query? I have a hard time restructuring without losing that chronological style I'm trying to keep. The word count also keeps my expansion of the Void to a minimum unfortunately. The backstory I feel needs to go first in order to be able to introduce the Void. Any thoughts?

 

 

I personally don't think the Void should be introduced earlier, but you're going to have people saying different things about it. It's always a matter of opinion. I had to describe a creature - that I made up - in my hook paragraph which is the weirdest thing ever. Your story sounds really interesting. I think the hook just needs to be reworked - the content seems fine - but just the wording of it. I feel like the rest of it only needs small edits and revisions. I personally like the way you ended it, with him having to make a choice. Anyway, good luck and if you have time and can critique my query, that'd be great!

 

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