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SoulWeaver - Fantasy

Fantasy Young Adult Fiction

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#1 cjsorvik

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 11:38 AM

Hello all,

 

 

     This is my first post, and was hoping to receive some critiques and thoughts from others who are in the same boat, or hopefully, have had success in the query process. This is my first Novel and I am afraid I do not have much in the way of a writing background that would be of interest to agents. As this is literally my first  step on the site, Any ideas and thoughts would be most welcome!!!

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

‘Prophecy’, ‘The Chosen One’, ‘Hidden Past’, none of these describe Weaver. Life for him is simple. . . simply horrible, a waking nightmare, really. Unfortunate events and even worse luck are all he can remember. After being orphaned in a tragic accident, the past two years of his life have been utterly spent trying to survive on the cruel streets of De’Burr. And he’s failing. On the fateful night destined to usher him to final breath, a stranger steps in, saving not only a seemingly worthless life, but offering a chance at a completely unexpected one.

 

Now on a journey with one of the world’s most mysterious and dangerous guardians, an ‘Eye of Lothandenrel’ named Llyons, Weaver will be forced to the center of oncoming war. A Horde in the western wastes gathers, and the realms of Men and Elves must be warned before the balance of power is forever skewen. If that isn’t enough for a ten year old, the ancient and evil power of necromancy, once believed extinct, rears it’s unholy head in the land once more. Learning to wield magic and blade are but only basic steps in protecting the continent. First, he’ll have to survive goblins, floating stars, nefarious fairies, and wild, out-of-control arcane power that no one has seen the likes of before - that is, if he can master his own fear.

 

The shapeshifting might of Llyons can only protect him so long; at some point, every young man must step out on his own. Whether he can save the people of his world or not, isn’t solely on his shoulders. Prophecy is all fine and good, but in a real world, it’s those who stand for what is right - no matter the cost - that make the true difference.

 

SoulWeaver is a YA high fantasy, blending the magic and pains-of-growing-up themes in such works as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and Lloyd Alexander’s The Prydain Chronicles met with the harsh truths of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings in which the choices' of few change outcomes, with no hidden truth ensuring heroes tread the right path. At 100,000 words complete, SoulWeaver is a novel that ends satisfyingly with the ultimate question left for the continued tale in the following two books of The Chronicles of Eyes.

 

I am a career firefighter with an undergrad in communication. Work as a counselor for at-risk youth and five years as a mentor to an underprivileged boy have given me passion for the difference one person can make in the life of a child, and the transformative power it can bring to their character. My love of powerful story and fantastic worlds married to this passion has given birth to SoulWeaver, my first complete novel.

 

Thank you so much for your consideration. Manuscript partials (or full) are just waiting for a new mind to delight and call home!

 

Sincerly,

C.J. Sorvik



#2 Nessa

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 02:38 PM

Dear Agent,

 

 

‘Prophecy’, ‘The Chosen One’, ‘Hidden Past’, none of these describe Weaver. Life for him is simple. . . simply horrible, a waking nightmare, really. ​[I like that this isn't a story about The Chosen One, but I don't think that's necessary to point out. I suggest cutting straight to introducing Weaver. The first sentence might mention that his nightmarish life on the streets ends when a mysterious stranger saves his life. It would help to be concrete and say how the stranger saves him. Offers warm bed? A hot meal? Strikes a deal?] Unfortunate events and even worse luck are all he can remember. After being orphaned in a tragic accident, the past two years of his life have been utterly spent trying to survive on the cruel streets of De’Burr. And he’s failing. On he fateful night destined to usher him to final breath, a stranger steps in, saving not only a seemingly worthless life, but offering a chance at a completely unexpected one. ​[If you rework this paragraph, you can get it down to two sentences.]

 

Now on a journey with one of the world’s most mysterious and dangerous guardians, an ‘Eye of Lothandenrel’ named Llyons, ​[You'll want to connect the journey with the stranger saving his life. Did the stranger make a deal with him: He'll be given a bed and daily meals only if he accompanies the stranger?]Weaver will be forced to the center of oncoming war. ​[Why/how is he forced to be at the center? Is it because the stranger is an Eye of Lothandenrel?]A Horde in the western wastes gathers, and the realms of Men and Elves must be warned before the balance of power is forever skewen. If that isn’t enough for a ten year old​[Weaver is ten? I thought he was an adult.], the ancient and evil power of necromancy, once believed extinct, rears it’s ​[it's = it is; its = possessive]unholy head in the land once more. Learning to wield magic and blade are but only basic steps in protecting the continent. First, he’ll have to survive goblins, floating stars, nefarious fairies, and wild, out-of-control arcane power that no one has seen the likes of before - that is, if he can master his own fear. ​[I suggest avoiding To Do Lists. They throw too much information at the reader. We already have a lot to digest with war tensions and the resurgence of necromancy.]

 

The shapeshifting might of Llyons can only protect him so long; at some point, every young man must step out on his own. Whether he can save the people of his world or not, isn’t solely on his shoulders. Prophecy is all fine and good, but in a real world, it’s those who stand for what is right - no matter the cost - that make the true difference. [I think you can cut out this paragraph. End your query with a quick take on the stakes. What happens if Weaver fails?]

 

SoulWeaver ​[All titles are in caps. SOULWEAVER, THE PRYDAIN CHRONICLES, etc.]is a YA high fantasy​[Weaver is too young for YA. Consider making him  around fifteen.], blending the magic and pains-of-growing-up themes in such works as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and Lloyd Alexander’s The Prydain Chronicles met with the harsh truths of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings in which the choices' of few change outcomes,​[I highly recommend you swap your comps. I've never heard of The Prydain Chronicles, but Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are major outliers. Comping your book to theirs won't work in your favor. If you use comps that are recently published (1-2 years preferably) and truly match your work, agents will know that you've read widely in your genre and that you know where your book fits in the market.] with no hidden truth ensuring heroes tread the right path. At 100,000 words complete, SoulWeaver is a novel that ends satisfyingly with the ultimate question left for the continued tale in the following two books of The Chronicles of Eyes. [This is one of the major no-no's in querying. All that matters at this point is your first book. If it doesn't sell well, your two sequels won't be published. Sometimes authors sell two- or three-book deals, but chances are you're only going to sell the first book. Also, if your first book is picked up, it might be revised to the point where your sequels no longer work. Don't mention the sequels, and say something like "SOULWEAVER is a standalone book with series potential."]

 

 

I am a career firefighter with an undergrad in communication. Work as a counselor for at-risk youth and five years as a mentor to an underprivileged boy have given me passion for the difference one person can make in the life of a child, and the transformative power it can bring to their character. My love of powerful story and fantastic worlds married to this passion has given birth to SoulWeaver, my first complete novel. [While this is cute, your inspiration reads more as filler than unique. I suggest you delete it.]

 

 

Thank you so much for your consideration. Manuscript partials (or full) are just waiting for a new mind to delight and call home! [Cute end note, but I suggest you stick to the professional "Thanks for your time/consideration!" Some queries have a variation of "I look forward to hearing back," but I've seen agents bemoan it for suggesting that the agent will respond. Many agents don't send rejections.]

 

Sincerly,

C.J. Sorvik


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#3 smithgirl

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 04:02 PM

Dear Agent:

 

‘Prophecy,’  Put commas inside quotes. ‘The Chosen One’, ‘Hidden Past’, none of these describe Weaver. Life for him is simple. . . simply horrible, a waking nightmare, really. Unfortunate events and even worse luck are all he can remember. After being orphaned in a tragic accident, the past two years of his life have been utterly spent trying to survive on the cruel streets of De’Burr. And he’s failing. On the fateful night destined to usher him to final breath, What? a stranger steps in, saving not only a seemingly worthless life, but offering a chance at a completely unexpected one.

 

 

This hook is much too long. Your hook needs to be short and catchy. Also, don't say what your MC is not. Look at other people's hooks and rewrite it. I made a little example below (not so good) but to try and give you the idea.

 

Ten-year-old orphan Weaver lives a nightmare on the streets until one night a stranger saves his life and offers a chance at something completely new.

 

Now on a journey with one of the world’s most mysterious and dangerous guardians, an ‘Eye of Lothandenrel’ named Llyons, Weaver will be forced to the center of oncoming war. What? Too much info in this sentence. A Horde in the western wastes gathers, and the realms of Men and Elves must be warned before the balance of power is forever skewen. What?  If that isn’t enough for a ten year old Oh he's ten! Add that right at the start! , the ancient and evil power of necromancy, once believed extinct, rears it’s unholy head in the land once more. Learning to wield magic and blade are but only basic steps in protecting the continent. First, he’ll have to survive goblins, floating stars, nefarious fairies, and wild, out-of-control arcane power that no one has seen the likes of before - that is, if he can master his own fear. Oh too much vague information!

 

The shapeshifting might of Llyons can only protect him so long; at some point, every young man must step out on his own. Cliche. Whether he can save the people of his world or not, isn’t solely on his shoulders. Prophecy is all fine and good, but in a real world, it’s those who stand for what is right - no matter the cost - that make the true difference. This is too vague.

 

SoulWeaver is a 100,000-word YA high fantasy standalone novel with series potential. It will appeal to readers who like , blending the magic and pains-of-growing-up themes in such works as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, Lloyd Alexander’s The Prydain Chronicles, and met with the harsh truths of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. in which the choices' of few change outcomes, with no hidden truth ensuring heroes tread the right path. At 100,000 words complete, SoulWeaver is a novel that ends satisfyingly with the ultimate question left for the continued tale in the following two books of The Chronicles of Eyes. If you have/plan to have more books in a series, you must write that your book is a standalone novel with series potential (don't mention anything else about the other books). It is essential that your first book really is standalone. You will not get an agent for a book that does not stand on it's own, so you can end the book with potential to continue, but it must have it's own ending. As Nessa mentioned, most agents will only take on the first book from a new author and then based upon sales (assuming you get a publisher), you can get an offer for the rest. 

 

I am a career firefighter with an undergrad in communication. Work as a counselor for at-risk youth and five years as a mentor to an underprivileged boy have given me passion for the difference one person can make in the life of a child, and the transformative power it can bring to their character. My love of powerful story and fantastic worlds married to this passion has given birth to SoulWeaver, my first complete novel.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration. Manuscript partials (or full) are just waiting for a new mind to delight and call home!

 

Sincerly,

C.J. Sorvik

 

Hey CJ. Your query needs a major rewrite. It's very long and vague. I don't know anything about the real nuts and bolts of the story. Many people are writing fantasy novels; you need to make it very clear what your book is about. You should read successful queries, check out the website for Query Shark: http://queryshark.blogspot.com. 

 

Your query needs to focus on 4 major questions:

1. Who is your MC?

2. What does your MC need/want?

3. What obstacles prevent him from getting what he needs/wants?

4. What will happen if he fails? This is the stakes. You need to state these very specifically.

 

Another thing is that your MC is too young for YA. Ten years old would be MG. YA is 12-18. Considering the complexity of the story, I might go with something closer to 15. The easiest thing would be change your MC's age. It will be essentially impossible to keep his age with your book in its current format -- 100,000 words is much too long.

 

I know this is a lot of feedback but don't be discouraged. The age change could be an easy fix. And the query just needs to be rewritten. Query writing is very hard and also very different from book or story writing, so you'll need to get your brain to change gears. 

 

So make some changes and post again. Good luck!



#4 Ajax

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 04:33 PM

Dear Agent,

 

‘Prophecy’, ‘The Chosen One’, ‘Hidden Past’, none of these describe Weaver. Life for him is simple. . . simply horrible, a waking nightmare, really. Unfortunate events and even worse luck are all he can remember. After being orphaned in a tragic accident, the past two years of Weaver's life has been utterly spent trying to survive on the cruel streets of De’Burr. And he’s failing. On the fateful night destined to usher him to final breath, a stranger steps in, saving not only a seemingly worthless life, but offering a chance at a completely unexpected one. (This hook is lacklustre.) 

 

Now on a journey with one of the world’s most mysterious and dangerous guardians, (Who exactly are these people? What's their job?) an ‘Eye of Lothandenrel’ named Llyons, Weaver will be forced to the center of oncoming war. (Why?!) A Horde (Why is this uppercased?) in the western wastes gathers, and the realms of Men and Elves must be warned before the balance of power is forever skewen. If that isn’t enough for a ten year old, (Who is this ten year old? Is this Weaver? If yes, I don't know how this book can be considered a YA high fantasy. YA fiction usually has protagonists between the ages 15 and 20.) the ancient and evil power of necromancy, once believed extinct, rears it’s unholy head in the land once more. Learning to wield magic and blade are but only basic steps in protecting the continent. (But why would Weaver be the one to do this job? I'm a bit lost here.) First, he’ll have to survive goblins, floating stars, nefarious fairies, and wild, out-of-control arcane power that no one has seen the likes of before - that is, if he can master his own fear. (Grocery list of characters is a big no in queries.) 

 

The shapeshifting might of Llyons can only protect him so long; at some point, every young man must step out on his own. Whether he can save the people of his world or not, isn’t solely on his shoulders. (So he's not really responsible for anything?) Prophecy is all fine and good, but in a real world, it’s those who stand for what is right - no matter the cost - that make the true difference. (Don't get philosophical. Where are the stakes?) 

 

SoulWeaver is a YA high fantasy, blending the magic and pains-of-growing-up themes in such works as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter (The Harry Potter series is an "outlier". Outliers are books that are incomparably huge due to astronomical sales and movie adaptations. Agents are against the use of outliers as companion titles in query letter because of market saturation and unrealistic expectations.) and Lloyd Alexander’s The Prydain Chronicles met with the harsh truths of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (Another outlier.) in which the choices' of few change outcomes, with no hidden truth ensuring heroes tread the right path. At 100,000 words complete, SoulWeaver is a novel that ends satisfyingly (Don't boast. Let the agent decide how it actually ends.) with the ultimate question left for the continued tale in the following two books of The Chronicles of Eyes.

 

I am a career firefighter with an undergrad in communication. Work as a counselor for at-risk youth and five years as a mentor to an underprivileged boy have given me passion for the difference one person can make in the life of a child, and the transformative power it can bring to their character. My love of powerful story and fantastic worlds married to this passion has given birth to SoulWeaver, my first complete novel. (None of this bio is relevant to the query.)

 

Thank you so much for your consideration. Manuscript partials (or full) are just waiting for a new mind to delight and call home! (This is unprofessional. A query letter is a formal letter.) 

 

Sincerly,

C.J. Sorvik

 

I don't know. The basic idea sounds incredibly banal. You need to focus on: A) What makes the story unique? B) What would interest the reader? 

 

The query doesn't tell me anything about the protagonist's personality or his motives. Why should I care about him? 

It might be the time to seriously inspect the foundation of your story.

Good luck. 



#5 cjsorvik

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 05:14 PM

Thank you all for your insight!!!

 

   Lets tear this one apart and see if I am making any progress.

 

Dear Agent,

 

Life for Weaver is simple. . . simply horrible, a waking nightmare, really. Unfortunate events and even worse luck are all he can remember. After being orphaned in a tragic accident, the past two years of his life have been utterly spent trying to survive on the cruel streets of De’Burr. And at only ten years old, he’s failing. Starving and beaten to the point of death, one of the lands most mysterious and dangerous guardians sweeps in, saving his fading life.

 

The choice to stay and fend for himself or join this ‘Eye of Lothandenrel’ named Llyons, was really no choice at all. But now, Weaver will be forced to the center of oncoming war. The Eyes, are the sentinels of the land; it’s keepers. A horde in the western wastes gathers and the peoples of Lothandenrel remain unaware. The realms of Men and Elves must be warned before the balance of power is forever skewen - their races wiped from existence. Necromancy, the ancient and evil practice of stolen life for power, once thought extinct, has reemerged. Few know how to battle the coming onslaught, and Weaver finds himself as one of them. From street urchin to unwitting warrior, Weaver now lives in a man’s world. Growing up is difficult. . . growing up with the lives of thousands depending on your choices is more than most can bear.

 

SOULWEAVER is a high fantasy, in which the choices of few change the outcomes of many, with no ‘prophecy’ or ‘hidden truth’ ensuring heroes tread correct paths. At 100,000 words complete, SOULWEAVER is my first standalone novel with series potential. .

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

C.J. Sorvik



#6 Springfield

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 05:22 PM

Hello all,

 

 

     This is my first post, and was hoping to receive some critiques and thoughts from others who are in the same boat, or hopefully, have had success in the query process. This is my first Novel and I am afraid I do not have much in the way of a writing background that would be of interest to agents. As this is literally my first  step on the site, Any ideas and thoughts would be most welcome!!!

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

‘Prophecy’, ‘The Chosen One’, ‘Hidden Past’, none of these describe Weaver. Life for him is simple. . . simply horrible, a waking nightmare, really. Unfortunate events and even worse luck are all he can remember. After being orphaned in a tragic accident, the past two years of his life have been utterly spent trying to survive on the cruel streets of De’Burr. And he’s failing. On the fateful night destined to usher him to final breath, a stranger steps in, saving not only a seemingly worthless life, but offering a chance at a completely unexpected one.  This is using a LOT of words to say I'm not even sure what, and in a roundabout way. Someone named Weaver's life is saved by someone. Presuming Weaver is your MC he's passive in this and I know nothing about him. 

 

Now on a journey with one of the world’s most mysterious and dangerous guardians, an ‘Eye of Lothandenrel’ named Llyons, Weaver will be forced to the center of oncoming war. A Horde in the western wastes gathers, and the realms of Men and Elves must be warned before the balance of power is forever skewen. Skewen? This is the same convoluted language that's not saying anything much -- and making me wonder about your wordcount.  If that isn’t enough for a ten year old, What? Why? How is this YA? the ancient and evil power of necromancy, once believed extinct, rears it’s unholy head in the land once more. Learning to wield magic and blade are but only basic steps in protecting the continent. First, he’ll have to survive goblins, floating stars, nefarious fairies, and wild, out-of-control arcane power that no  one has seen the likes of before - that is, if he can master his own fear. This is ALL just vague and cliche stuff that sounds exactly like a chosen one thing. I have no idea about plot, besides a basic chosen one thing.

 

The shapeshifting might of Llyons can only protect him so long; at some point, every young man must step out on his own. Whether he can save the people of his world or not, isn’t solely on his shoulders. Prophecy is all fine and good, but in a real world, it’s those who stand for what is right - no matter the cost - that make the true difference.

 

SoulWeaver is a YA high fantasy, blending the magic and pains-of-growing-up themes in such works as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and Lloyd Alexander’s The Prydain Chronicles met with the harsh truths of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings in which the choices' of few change outcomes, with no hidden truth ensuring heroes tread the right path. Bad comps -- also confusing, as I don't understand how this is YA. At 100,000 words complete, SoulWeaver is a novel that ends satisfyingly with the ultimate question left for the continued tale in the following two books of The Chronicles of Eyes. 

 

 

 

I am a career firefighter with an undergrad in communication. Work as a counselor for at-risk youth and five years as a mentor to an underprivileged boy have given me passion for the difference one person can make in the life of a child, and the transformative power it can bring to their character. My love of powerful story and fantastic worlds married to this passion has given birth to SoulWeaver, my first complete novel.

 

Thank you so much for your consideration. Manuscript partials (or full) are just waiting for a new mind to delight and call home!

 

Sincerly,

C.J. Sorvik

The wc isn't horrifying, but it's high, and the query makes it seem like the manuscript is overwritten. Mostly the issue is the lack of information -- no plot, no info about the character, just vagueness that suggests 50 other books. You need to make clear what your thing is about and what makes it different.



#7 Springfield

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 05:24 PM

Thank you all for your insight!!!

 

   Lets tear this one apart and see if I am making any progress.

 

Dear Agent,

 

Life for Weaver is simple. . . simply horrible, a waking nightmare, really. Unfortunate events and even worse luck are all he can remember. After being orphaned in a tragic accident, the past two years of his life have been utterly spent trying to survive on the cruel streets of De’Burr. And at only ten years old, he’s failing. Starving and beaten to the point of death, one of the lands most mysterious and dangerous guardians sweeps in, saving his fading life.

 

The choice to stay and fend for himself or join this ‘Eye of Lothandenrel’ named Llyons, was really no choice at all. But now, Weaver will be forced to the center of oncoming war. The Eyes, are the sentinels of the land; it’s keepers. A horde in the western wastes gathers and the peoples of Lothandenrel remain unaware. The realms of Men and Elves must be warned before the balance of power is forever skewen - their races wiped from existence. Necromancy, the ancient and evil practice of stolen life for power, once thought extinct, has reemerged. Few know how to battle the coming onslaught, and Weaver finds himself as one of them. From street urchin to unwitting warrior, Weaver now lives in a man’s world. Growing up is difficult. . . growing up with the lives of thousands depending on your choices is more than most can bear.

 

SOULWEAVER is a high fantasy, in which the choices of few change the outcomes of many, with no ‘prophecy’ or ‘hidden truth’ ensuring heroes tread correct paths. At 100,000 words complete, SOULWEAVER is my first standalone novel with series potential. .

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

C.J. Sorvik

 

This doesn't change anything I mentioned above. Every issue still exists, you just shortened the query. Scrap it and start over.



#8 SharonMorrisWagner

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 08:14 PM

Thank you all for your insight!!!
 
   Lets tear this one apart and see if I am making any progress.
 
Dear Agent,[/size]
 
Life for Weaver is simple. . . simply horrible, a waking nightmare, really. Unfortunate events and even worse luck are all he can remember. After being orphaned in a tragic accident, the past two years of his life have been utterly spent trying to survive on the cruel streets of De’Burr. And at only ten years old, he’s failing. Starving and beaten to the point of death, one of the lands most mysterious and dangerous guardians sweeps in, saving his fading life.[/size]

Too vague. Interesting that he’s only 10 years old - should mention that straight away and I’m not sure Weaver is a name and not an occupation? Needs a last name and age right away. Why is it horrible? Accident? Beaten? Why? Vague is not interesting...its just vague.
 
The choice to stay and fend for himself or join this ‘Eye of Lothandenrel’ named Llyons, was really no choice at all. But now, Weaver will be forced to the center of oncoming war. The Eyes, are the sentinels of the land; it’s keepers. A horde in the western wastes gathers and the peoples of Lothandenrel remain unaware. The realms of Men and Elves must be warned before the balance of power is forever skewen - their races wiped from existence. Necromancy, the ancient and evil practice of stolen life for power, once thought extinct, has reemerged. Few know how to battle the coming onslaught, and Weaver finds himself as one of them. From street urchin to unwitting warrior, Weaver now lives in a man’s world. Growing up is difficult. . . growing up with the lives of thousands depending on your choices is more than most can bear.[/size]

You need to be much more specific and concise here and upfront. It’s very confusing and again vague. Set the stage first. “Weaver lives in the land of ______ where the realms of Men and Elves are in danger (what danger). The ______ (bad guys/force whatever) threatens to wipe the races from existence because (reason it’s so angry). The sentinels or keepers (which is it?) are the Eyes of Lothandenrel and they are unprepared. And then Weaver will join them? Why him? How?
 
SOULWEAVER is a high fantasy, in which the choices of few change the outcomes of many, with no ‘prophecy’ or ‘hidden truth’ ensuring heroes tread correct paths. At 100,000 words complete, SOULWEAVER[/size] [/size]is my first standalone novel with series potential. .[/size]
 
Don’t tell me the outcomes or any part of the story here in teh ending paragraph. Again nothing too vague. Vague is just vague.

Thank you for your time and consideration. [/size]
 
Sincerely,[/size]
C.J. Sorvik[/size]



#9 Kelz1990

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 09:48 PM

Thank you all for your insight!!!

 

   Lets tear this one apart and see if I am making any progress.

 

Dear Agent,

 

Life for Weaver is simple. . . simply horrible, (and) a waking nightmare, really. Unfortunate events and even worse luck are all he can remember. After being orphaned in a tragic accident, the past two years of his life have been utterly spent trying to survive on the cruel streets of De’Burr. And at only ten years old, he’s failing. Starving and beaten to the point of death, one of the lands (should be land's) most mysterious and dangerous guardians sweeps in, saving his fading life.

 

The choice to stay and fend for himself or join this ‘Eye of Lothandenrel’ (should be two quotations around this) named Llyons, was really no choice at all. But now, Weaver will be forced to the center of oncoming war. The Eyes, are the sentinels of the land; (and) it’s keepers. A horde in the western wastes gathers and the peoples of Lothandenrel remain unaware. The realms of Men and Elves must be warned before the balance of power is forever skewen - their races wiped from existence. Necromancy, the ancient and evil practice of stolen life for power, once thought extinct, has reemerged. Few know how to battle the coming onslaught, and Weaver finds himself as one of them. From street urchin to unwitting warrior, Weaver now lives in a man’s world. Growing up is difficult. . . growing up with the lives of thousands depending on your choices is more than most can bear.

 

SOULWEAVER is a (middle grade) high fantasy, in which the choices of few change the outcomes of many, with no ‘prophecy’ or ‘hidden truth’ ensuring heroes tread correct paths. At 100,000 (probably too many words for MG, maybe cut down or make the MC about 14-17) words complete, SOULWEAVER is my first standalone novel with series potential. .

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

C.J. Sorvik



#10 morgan.spraker

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 04:42 PM

Thank you all for your insight!!!

 

   Lets tear this one apart and see if I am making any progress.

 

Dear Agent,

 

Life for Weaver is simple. . . simply horrible, a waking nightmare, really. It would pack more of a punch if you said something like "Life for Weaver is a waking nightmare" or even "Life for Weaver is a nightmare he can't shake" -- they're both a little more hook-ish Unfortunate events and even worse luck are all he can remember. After being orphaned in a tragic accident, the past two years of his life have been utterly spent trying to survive on the cruel streets of De’Burr. And at only ten years old, he’s failing. Starving and beaten to the point of death, one of the lands most mysterious and dangerous guardians sweeps in, saving his fading life. Just in this first paragraph, you're heavy on adverbs and adjectives. Tighten up your writing by cutting at least a few

 

The choice to stay and fend for himself or join this ‘Eye of Lothandenrel’ named Llyons, was really no choice at all. But now, Weaver will be forced to the center of oncoming war. The Eyes, are the sentinels of the land; it’s keepers. A horde in the western wastes gathers and the peoples of Lothandenrel remain unaware. The realms of Men and Elves must be warned before the balance of power is forever skewen Is this a word? - their races wiped from existence. Necromancy, the ancient and evil practice of stolen life for power, once thought extinct, has reemerged. Few know how to battle the coming onslaught, and Weaver finds himself as one of them. From street urchin to unwitting warrior, Weaver now lives in a man’s world. Growing up is difficult. . . growing up with the lives of thousands depending on your choices is more than most can bear. You have a lot of things going on in this paragraph -- too many, almost. You introduced a lot of ideas, and I think Weaver got lost until the end. Don't worry, I had the same problem with my query! I would make a list of all the aspects of your story that must be in the query and divide them into two categories: ones that must be mentioned BY NAME, and ones that can be described in passing. It'll simplify your situation. Reevaluate, simplify, revise. 

 

SOULWEAVER is a high fantasy, in which the choices of few change the outcomes of many, with no ‘prophecy’ or ‘hidden truth’ ensuring heroes tread correct paths. At 100,000 words complete, SOULWEAVER is my first standalone novel with series potential. I would choose some comps. Also, if this is middle grade, waaaaaay too many words. Either edit or make Weaver older. Personally, I'd choose make Weaver older, because I know of some younger-end YA readers in my life who would eat this story up

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

C.J. Sorvik

My biggest problem is that I got lost in the story a few times, and I think your protagonist did, too. Like I said, really focus in on who and what your story is about, and then incorporate it into the query. It's tough, but I think this is a good concept!! If you don't mind, would you take a look at my query?



#11 cjsorvik

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 01:06 PM

Thank you all for your input. Sorry this took a while to get back too, life has been crazy busy!

 

    3rd revision:

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Breathing with a man’s boot pressed to your neck is difficult, and if you’re only ten, impossible. Air can, however, make it back into your lungs if that boot is forcibly removed by a wolf the size of a small horse. . . that turns into man.

 

Weaver has been on the streets alone for two years, and isn’t going to last much longer. When saved by Llyons, an “Eye of Lothanderel” - a shapeshifting warrior who keeps watch over the land - he is given a choice: remain on the streets or enter a life of hardship and trial, but never dig through the trash again. For him, the choice is clear.

 

Weaver now finds himself at the center of oncoming war. He and Llyons must warn the dominions of Men and Elves of an army amassing in the Western Wastes. Their straightforward errand soon takes a sinister turn as the pair discover that necromancy - the dark art of stealing life, once believed extinct - has reappeared in the land. Thrust into a man’s world, Weaver must battle an ancient evil to help save a world that never cared for him, but one that may vanish should he fail.

 

SOULWEAVER is a high fantasy, that should appeal to fans of character-driven adventure such as in Michael J. Sullivan’s RIYRIA CHRONICLES/REVELATIONS and Lloyd Alexander’s PRYDAIN CHRONICLES. At 100,000 words complete, SOULWEAVER is my first standalone novel with series potential. .

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

C.J. Sorvik



#12 cjsorvik

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 04:09 PM

Fourth revision... I am hoping this is clearer and states characters, some motive and stakes a little better.

 

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Breathing with a man’s boot pressed to your neck is difficult, and if you’re only ten: impossible. Air can, however, make it to your lungs if that boot is forcibly removed by a ferocious beast. . . that turns into man.

 

Weaver has been an orphan on the streets for two years, and isn’t going to last much longer. When saved by Llyons, an “Eye of Lothandenrel” - a shapeshifting warrior who keeps watch over the land - he is given a choice: remain alone in the cold, or enter a life of hardship and trial, but never dig through the trash again. The choice is clear.

 

Now, next to the mysterious Llyons and his wolf, Turro, Weaver will be swept along a journey of life or death for thousands, where the smallest misstep could spell his own demise. An army is amassing in the Western Wastes: a goblin horde.The dominions of Men and Elves are unaware that destruction is at their door; Weaver and his companions must warn them. While traveling to the elven capital of Murrandyl, their important task takes a sinister turn when they discover that necromancy - the dark art of stealing life, once believed extinct - has reappeared in the land. A barbarian army, in control of the most twisted arcane art in history, now threatens to throw everything, and everyone, into chaos.

 

Battles are won by the collective blood spilt by individual men. When blood is the currency for victory, even a boy can help change the tide of a war, if he finds the courage to do so.

 

SOULWEAVER is a high fantasy, that should appeal to fans of character-driven adventure such as in Michael J. Sullivan’s RIYRIA CHRONICLES/REVELATIONS and Lloyd Alexander’s PRYDAIN CHRONICLES. At 100,000 words complete, SOULWEAVER is my first standalone novel with series potential. .

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

C.J. Sorvik



#13 Springfield

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 05:07 PM

Fourth revision... I am hoping this is clearer and states characters, some motive and stakes a little better.

 

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Breathing with a man’s boot pressed to your neck is difficult, and if you’re only ten: impossible. Air can, however, make it to your lungs if that boot is forcibly removed by a ferocious beast. . . that turns into man.

 

Weaver has been an orphan on the streets for two years, and isn’t going to last much longer. When saved by Llyons, an “Eye of Lothandenrel” - a shapeshifting warrior who keeps watch over the land - he is given a choice: remain alone in the cold, or enter a life of hardship and trial, but never dig through the trash again. The choice is clear.

 

Now, next to the mysterious Llyons and his wolf, Turro, Weaver will be swept along a journey of life or death for thousands, where the smallest misstep could spell his own demise. An army is amassing in the Western Wastes: a goblin horde.The dominions of Men and Elves are unaware that destruction is at their door; Weaver and his companions must warn them. While traveling to the elven capital of Murrandyl, their important task takes a sinister turn when they discover that necromancy - the dark art of stealing life, once believed extinct - has reappeared in the land. A barbarian army, in control of the most twisted arcane art in history, now threatens to throw everything, and everyone, into chaos.

 

Battles are won by the collective blood spilt by individual men. When blood is the currency for victory, even a boy can help change the tide of a war, if he finds the courage to do so.

 

SOULWEAVER is a high fantasy, that should appeal to fans of character-driven adventure such as in Michael J. Sullivan’s RIYRIA CHRONICLES/REVELATIONS and Lloyd Alexander’s PRYDAIN CHRONICLES. At 100,000 words complete, SOULWEAVER is my first standalone novel with series potential. .

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

C.J. Sorvik

 

This still says nothing about your MC; he's like an afterthought. The only thing he does in the query is to go to presumably warn someone about something. The rest of the query is waxing on with worldbuilding and defining necromancy. 

 

Character.

 

Problem.

 

Stakes.

 

Also, this is way, way too long for MG -- just not mentioning it's MG doesn't help. You need to mention it's MG.



#14 smithgirl

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 07:50 PM

Dear Agent,

 

Breathing with a man’s boot pressed to your throat neck is difficult, and if you’re only ten: impossible. However, it becomes easier when the boot is forcibly removed by a ferocious beast...that turns into a man. Air can, however, make it to your lungs if that boot is forcibly removed by a ferocious beast. . . that turns into man.

 

This isn't a standard hook but I kind of like it. See what other people say. I did rephrase to make it smoother.

 

 

Weaver has been an orphan on the streets for two years, and he's not isn’t going to last much longer. When saved by Llyons, an “Eye of Lothandenrel” -- These should be m-dashes not hyphens. a shapeshifting warrior who keeps watch over the land -- he is given a choice: remain alone in the cold, or enter a life of hardship and trial, but never dig through the trash again. The choice is clear.

 

This first paragraph is good. It's nice and specific.

 

Now, next to the mysterious Llyons and his wolf, Turro, Weaver will be swept along a journey of life or death for thousands, where the smallest misstep could spell his own demise. This is much too vague. You have to make its specific. You can actually cut it and your query is OK. Start with an army. You don't need to mention the wolf. An army is amassing in the Western Wastes: a goblin horde.The dominions of Men and Elves are unaware that destruction is at their door; Weaver and his new companions must warn them. While traveling to the elven capital of Murrandyl, their important task takes a sinister turn when they discover that necromancy - the dark art of stealing life, once believed extinct - has reappeared in the land. Too vague. A barbarian army, in control of the most twisted arcane art in history, now threatens to throw everything, and everyone, into chaos. Too vague.

 

Battles are won by the collective blood spilt by individual men. When blood is the currency for victory, even a boy can help change the tide of a war, if he finds the courage to do so.

 

SOULWEAVER is a MG high fantasy, that should appeal to fans of character-driven adventure such as in Michael J. Sullivan’s RIYRIA CHRONICLES/REVELATIONS and Lloyd Alexander’s PRYDAIN CHRONICLES. At 100,000 words complete, SOULWEAVER is a my first standalone novel with series potential. Never say this is your first book. It makes you look very amateurish.

 

This version of your query is better. It starts well, but then the second paragraph once more becomes vague and non-specific. You can't include general statements (he will be swept along a journey...).  Work on your second paragraph to make it more like the first one. A query usually has three paragraphs, so you can add a third paragraph -- a real third paragraph where you specifically state the stakes.

 

However, you still have a problem with the length: 100K words it too long for MG. No matter how good your query is you must do either one of two things: 1. Increase the age of your protagonist to make it YA, 2. Shorten and keep it as MG. Unfortunately, these are not rules that you can get around.

 

Good luck.



#15 Preston Copeland.Biz

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 07:27 PM

Fourth revision... I am hoping this is clearer and states characters, some motive and stakes a little better.

 

​Returning the favor, 5 months later.

​Sorry for late return, been away from this forum.

​I really appreciate all the reading and editing you did for me.... :)

Thanks dude!

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Breathing with a man’s boot pressed to your neck is difficult, and if you’re only ten: impossible. Air can, however, make it to your lungs if that boot is forcibly removed by a ferocious beast. . . that turns into man. ​Hmm... I almost feel like this can work, almost brilliantly. It was a very good lead in with a surprising twist. I would experiment with some other hooks, too.

 

Weaver has been an orphan on the streets for two years, and isn’t going to last much longer. When saved by Llyons, an “Eye of Lothandenrel” - a shapeshifting warrior who keeps watch over the land - he is given a choice: remain alone in the cold, or enter a life of hardship and trial, but never dig through the trash again. The choice is clear. ​This paragraph works well, because you give us some insight into your protagonist, but then in the next paragraph, you tell us a lot about the history of your world. Focus 90 percent on the boy.

 

Now, next to the mysterious Llyons and his wolf, Turro, Weaver will be swept along a journey of life or death for thousands, where the smallest misstep could spell his own demise. An army is amassing in the Western Wastes: a goblin horde.The dominions of Men and Elves are unaware that destruction is at their door; Weaver and his companions must warn them. While traveling to the elven capital of Murrandyl, their important task takes a sinister turn when they discover that necromancy - the dark art of stealing life, once believed extinct - has reappeared in the land. A barbarian army, in control of the most twisted arcane art in history, now threatens to throw everything, and everyone, into chaos. ​I think this is a good historical paragraph for your story, but focus on your protagonist, and weave the history in. I do think this query is written very, very well written, but add some details in this paragraph more about the boy...

and when you have the final sentence, your stakes, mention what will the boy lose? Friends, girlfriend, etc?

 

​I hope this feedback helps!

 

Again, thanks for your great help with my query!

 

Battles are won by the collective blood spilt by individual men. When blood is the currency for victory, even a boy can help change the tide of a war, if he finds the courage to do so.

 

SOULWEAVER is a high fantasy, that should appeal to fans of character-driven adventure such as in Michael J. Sullivan’s RIYRIA CHRONICLES/REVELATIONS and Lloyd Alexander’s PRYDAIN CHRONICLES. At 100,000 words complete, SOULWEAVER is my first standalone novel with series potential. .

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

C.J. Sorvik


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