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Tales of Adventure: The Wayfarer [Adult (Psychological) Fantasy] - Critique for Critique


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#41 Wayfarer

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 11:54 AM

Well, he's lost everything. The last thing that kept him going was the idea that he could at the very least take his revenge on the one responsible for taking everything from him. To be less vague, the villain's genocide was a complete genocide, of people, of animals, of land. Aeros can't handle the fact that literally everything was taken from him, including his revenge, something that should have either ended with him dead at the villains hands (acceptable) or the villain dead at his (acceptable). Now that neither is the case, he's stuck in limbo, majorly depressed, and suffering from severe PTSD.

That's outlined clearly in the novel, but I see that it needs clarification in the query to make it appear more gripping. I'll look to fit that in as I use your advice Pure to strip down some of the excess.

 

Thanks guys!

 

EDIT: Also, "Weave/s//er/ing" is the method by which the stories "magic" is used, hence why I had it capitalized.



#42 Billy robbins

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 12:18 PM

Wayfarer: Congratulations on your exciting fantasy.  You have worked hard revising the query and we all know how difficult it is to write. I am making some general suggestions and will crit the letter. First, read the how to write a query. It should

 

fit on one double spaced page and that will be about 300 words. Many of your sentences are over

 

30-42 words which is considered long.

 

 

The hook is the key to the first paragraph: the hero wanders in a new world and is almost insane because Athair destroyed his world. I strongly recommend reading the section entitled ‘successful queries’ and you will see what it took to get an agent’s attention. Three years ago, like you, I posted and reposted my letter. Then, I began reading about queries and found out what was needed: Hook, short synopsis of the action in the second paragraph, and information about your genre. I recommend reading your changes out loud to see if the sentences and phrases can be shortened or eliminated. Sometimes the result will be clarity.

 

Below I have made changes and the ( ) indicate to delete an unnecessary phrase or use another one.  The problem with the second paragraph is that it is too abstract. Tell me what happened. A) he used his powers of _. B) he recovered his sanity and x, y, z. Don’t rush it.

 

Start with reading the great letters, and write simple sentences using action verbs.  It sounds exciting. Good luck and persevere. Billy

 

The Wayfarer, Aëros Arûaë, finds himself balanced on the precipice of insanity as he wanders through a new world (delete that is not his own).

 

 

 

After Athair, (delete:the villain who) destroyed( responsible for the genocide of) the Wayfarer’s (home) world, he kills himself, despoiling (another word) Aëros of the(change to his) vengeance( delete: that was his due), he is left with a choice: to accept his failure, or fight (long sentence). He chooses the latter, and Weaves the Threads of Aūr to open a Rift (not sure why caps; also, change this to action verbs. He fights with his powers; something that we can see; I am not sure what the weaving is) into a new reality, one that(delete :is a reflection of: change to reflects; also, getting abstract; tell us in simple terms what he did ) his own in all but one way. In this reality Athair’s genocide was thwarted (active) by an Aëros who’s ( now lies) dead.

 

 

 

As the Aëros who fled from his reality takes the place of his fallen self( vague, hard to visualize)(,) he renews his purpose by lying ( with a simple lie) He claims Athair lives and seeks revenge (use active verb). He journeys for ( now in search of his unattainable) revenge( already said), led by a hallucination: that he is ___ ( use 3-4 words) (born from the aspect of himself that wishes to accept the truth he has repressed). It manifests as a shadow visible only to him, and from its guiding whispers he believes he has uncovered the refuge of the villain: a crumbling fortress set in the heart of a great necropolis known as the Barrows(39 words). But his shadows worlds are filled (active verb) with deceit. Its true purpose is to guide him to the one thing that will force him to confront the truth: the grave of the Aëros he has replaced.

 

 

 

The Wayfarer must reach the grave before his mind unravels (overwhelms him), (for it is only there that he can remake the choice he has already made once before). To either accept the memory he has repressed, and the consuming anguish remembrance will bring, or refuse it once again, choosing to dwell in a false world as he descends into the abyss of insanity from which there is( shorten to of) no return.

 

I hope to post my new query in a week: The Masters of Mankind. Thanks.



#43 Wayfarer

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 12:19 PM

16 is up.

 

edit: Billy you posted your critique right as I posted this, I'll be reviewing it now!



#44 PureZhar3

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 09:33 PM

The Wayfarer, Aëros Arûaë, finds himself on the precipice of insanity as he wanders through a world that is not his own. Excellent cutting down of your hook :)

 

Athair, the villain responsible for the genocide of the Wayfarer’s world, kills himself. Having burnt all Aëros knew to ash and cinder As much as I like your poetic style, this throws a few too many words into this sentence. But you could probably switch it into two sentences– the people he loved, the land that was his home -- he given the "having burnt", it almost sounds as if the "he" you are currently referring to is Athair leaves the Wayfarer with nothing, not even the revenge that was his due. Aimless and hollow, Aëros is left with a choice: to accept his failure no comma or deny it. He chooses the latter, and Weaves the Threads of Aūr Is there a reason that "Weaves" is capitalized, because it is extremely distracting to open a Rift into a new reality, one that is a reflection of his own in all but one way. In this reality, Athair’s genocide was thwarted by an Aëros who now lies dead.

 

As the Aëros who fled reality takes the place of his fallen self, he renews his purpose with a simple lie -- Athair lives, and he may find his reprisal still. He journeys in search of his unattainable revenge, led by a shadowy hallucination that wishes for him to accept the truth he has denied. From its guiding whispers he uncovers the refuge of the villain: a crumbling fortress set in the heart of a great necropolis known as the Barrows. But his shadow's words are filled with deceit. Its true purpose is to guide him to the one thing that will force him to confront the truth: the grave of the Aëros he has replaced.

 

The Wayfarer must reach the grave before his unraveling mind overwhelms him, for it is only there that he can remake the choice he has made once before. He can accept his failures and the consuming anguish remembrance will bring, or refuse them once again, choosing to remain in a false world as he descends into the abyss of insanity. This sentence is clearer - good job.

 

Alright, Wayfarer, this is getting much better! I noticed quite a few grammatical errors, mostly with commas... I'm not sure if it's because you're tired of looking at the same paragraph, because you struggle with grammar, or because I don't know how grammar works, but you might want to figure out why (because if, for example, you struggle with grammar, I would check the query's grammar again, whereas if I'm wrong, you should probably disregard everything I'm saying).

And as a random note, I must say, you're one of my favorite people on this site (I appreciate your humor). Best of luck, and I'll be back when revision 17 is up!


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


#45 ThatDan

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 10:00 PM

Thanks for the feedback on mine. Fresh eyes critique here:

 

Revision 16:

The Wayfarer, Aëros Arûaë, finds himself on the precipice of insanity as he wanders through a world that is not his own.<I don't get any imagery of this world, nor do I know how literal the meaning is.

 

Athair, the villain responsible for the genocide of the Wayfarer’s world, kills himself. Having burnt all Aëros knew to ash and cinder – the people he loved, the land that was his home -- he leaves the Wayfarer with nothing, not even the revenge that was his due.<I think the start of this para would be more impactful if it were worded from Aeros's view, not Athair's. Aimless and hollow, Aëros is left with a choice: to can accept his failure, or deny it. He chooses the latter, and Weaves the Threads of Aūr to open a Rift into a new reality, one that is a reflection of his own in all but one way. In this reality Athair’s genocide was thwarted by an Aëros who now lies dead.

 

As the Aëros who fled reality takes the place of his fallen self he renews his purpose with a simple lie -- Athair lives and he may find his reprisal still.<is this actually a lie or not? later it seems that Athair is alive. He journeys in search of his unattainable revenge,<again, implies that Athair is dead. led by a shadowy hallucination that wishes for him to accept the truth he has denied.​<not sure why it would lead him if it just wants him to accept the truth. From its guiding whispers he uncovers the refuge of the villain:< so Athair is alive? a crumbling fortress set in the heart of a great necropolis known as the Barrows. <the name isn't important here. But his shadow's words are filled with deceit.<which words? the ones that helped him find Athair's refuge, or the ones trying to make him accept the truth? Its true purpose is to guide him to the one thing that will force him to confront the truth:<so it's been lying, and Athair isn't alive? the grave of the Aëros he has replaced.<poetic, but not entirely sure how this will make him accept the truth.

 

The Wayfarer must reach the grave before his unraveling mind overwhelms him, for it is only there that he can remake the choice he has made once before.<not 100% sure why it's only here that he can open another portal. He can accept his failures and the consuming anguish remembrance will bring, or refuse them once again, choosing to remain in a false world as he descends into the abyss of insanity.< why would he remain in the false world if he knows he'll go insane? Conversely, why would he leave if he doesn't?

 

This is definitely an interesting story. Although I (think) understood it, I fear the story is too complex the way it's presented, which might turn agents away. Is there any way to simplify it, specifically the back and forth of the shadow's deceit

 

Another main point, I'm not quite sure what kind of world this takes place in. Not even sure what a Wayfarer is, in terms of race. I assume humanoid. I think some descriptors here and there of the world would go a long way.

 

Lastly, I couldn't really visualize any conflict or progress. At best, all I imagined was a man led by a shadow, wandering across an inhabitantless, gloomy landscape towards a castle. I understand its a psych genre, so a lot probably happens in his head, but i feel the query needs a little more for visuals.

 

Hope that helps!

 

 


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

No active query atm.


#46 Wayfarer

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 04:21 AM

Pure - "Weaves" is capitalized because "Weaving" is the action of using "magic" in my story. I'm no professional with grammar, so is there a reason it shouldn't be capitalized? Also, thanks! Glad to be appreciated. I came to this site not thinking I was going to take much from it. Now I'm paranoid of what other wonderful tools I might be missing out on that can help me with my work as much as this place has.

 

ThatDan - I took your advice, as it's generally the advice I've been getting a lot of - to clarify. I can see from some of your comments that you misunderstood parts of the story, and took others too literally. That just shows me that I need to clarify further, which I hope I've managed in revision 17 which is now posted.

Thank you two for the help!

 

EDIT: Also, a Wayfarer isn't a race haha. It's an english word that means someone who travels by foot. I abstract it to mean an adventurer, which is what Aeros is.



#47 rhwashere

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 05:00 AM

Just looking at this for the first time, and I have some thoughts.

I feel like your first and second paragraphs contain a lot of backstory and could be simplified. I would start with the hook that (to me) really makes your story stand out: Aeros is going to pretend to be himself in a better reality. Also, I would leave out his nickname, even if it’s where your title comes from. It adds nothing to the appeal of this query. Just an idea:

“Aeros Aruae has just crossed over to another reality. One in which he didn’t just lose everyone and everything he ever cared about.”

Then you could condense the first two paragraphs of backstory to something like this:

“In this new reality, the madman Athair was stopped from ever (specific description of exactly how he destroyed the world). By Aeros himself. The battle cost the Aeros of this dimension his life, allow the new Aeros to step into his place. But he is haunted by the notion that, somewhere in this new world, Athair is still alive.”

If you started with the above suggested paragraphs, it would simplify the backstory and eliminate some of the unnecessary language about his sanity and so forth (as well as the world-specific terminology of weaving the threads of yadda-yadda-yadda). This suggested opening also thrusts the reader right into to real meat of your story.

A main concern I have, though, is where your story goes from there. From your query, it seems that Athair is actually not alive, and that all he finds is his grave and memories. If that’s the case, it sounds like a twist ending, which is good but shouldn’t be in your query. Maybe leave the letter with the assumption that he is going to confront his nemesis.

Also, I feel like there isn’t much at stake here. His choice at the end, as you propose it, is: Confront his memories and go insane, or don’t confront his memories and go insane. This isn’t much of a choice, and leaves me feeling like all of Aeros’ wayfaring won’t ever pay off in the end. Give me a reason to hope for his success! And maybe have more at stake than just his sanity (like maybe losing his loved ones all over again).

Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


#48 Erevos

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 09:43 AM

Hello and thank you for your help on my query!!

Your story sounds very intriguing...a self-discovery journey of sorts!!

 

Revision 17:

The Wayfarer, Aëros Arûaë, finds himself on the precipice of insanity after the people he loves and the world that is his home are burnt to ash and cinder. That alone lacks something...but by combining with the "Athair, the villain responsible for the slaughter has killed himself. With his death the Wayfarer is left with nothing, not even the vengeance that was his due. " think it makes a stronger hook!

 

Athair, the villain responsible for the slaughter has killed himself. With his death the Wayfarer is left with nothing, not even the vengeance that was his due. Aimless and hollow, Aëros looks for an escape from his suffering. He makes a choice to leave, not just his world, but his reality. He Weaves the Threads of Aūr, opening a Rift to one that is a reflection of his own in all but one way: Athair’s genocide was thwarted by the Aëros who called this reality home. Very very nice, but do we really want to know THE THREADS OF AUR! The names you use are already unusual, so you can skip those. Leave only his name and the name of the villain! So: "He opens a rift to one that is......."

 

That Aëros paid for victory with death, providing his doppelgänger a place to step into. Oh, I had to read this a couple of times to really undestand what you mean! The living Wayfarer dwells in the false world as if it was his, repressing the memories of his haunting past as he settles back into life. But his memories fester, and manifest as a shadowy hallucination. It whispers to him that Athair lives, and has taken up refuge in a great necropolis to the West. Convinced by his shadow, the Wayfarer ventures forth, unaware of its true intention – to guide him to the one place he will be forced to confront his past – the grave of his fallen self. Very very nice!

 

Aëros will face both monstrosities of the flesh and the mind Love the flair, but simplify this! as he travels in search of a past he has forgotten. When it is before him he will be faced with a familiar choice, one he can make only this final time. To either accept his past and the consuming anguish remembrance will bring, or refuse it once again, choosing to remain in a false world even as if it dooms him to insanity. Stakes are great imo!

 

All in all you have a great story here...I couldn't help but read some of the previous versions and while I liked the flair, it's true that a query cannot carry your voice... I'm not sure what else you can do other than simplify it a bit... for me it works! You can maybe wait a bit to see what others have to say!

 

 


My Query http://agentquerycon...a-high-fantasy/ Let me know if you want me to look at yours. Will happily do so.


#49 Wayfarer

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 01:24 PM

Revision 18 is posted.

Rh - I don't disagree that Aeros's ability to travel through reality is interesting, but the main thing I want to sell is his insanity - and how he copes with it. With that said, I have an image in my mind of what a revision based on your suggestions would look like, and I'm not eschewing it.

 

As it stands I agree my query does have a fair amount of build-up present, and it could be streamlined. But I'm going to wait on more feedback before I revamp it from its current format.

 

Also, I rephrased the ending to make the stakes easier to understand. He either accepts his shit, and moves on, or is damned by it.

Erevos - You're completely right about the hook, and I made that amendment in the newest revision.

 

Thank you both for the help!



#50 alibi174

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 02:15 PM

The Wayfarer, Aëros Arûaë, finds himself on the precipice of insanity after the people he loves and the world that is his home are burnt to ash and cinder. [Great hook!]

 

Athair, the villain responsible for the slaughter [,] has killed himself. With his death the Wayfarer is left with nothing, not even the vengeance that was his due. Aimless and hollow, Aëros looks for an escape from his suffering. He makes a choice to leave, not just his world, but his reality. He Weaves the Threads of Aūr, opening a Rift to one [when you say "to one," do you mean to a person? It's a bit unclear] that is a reflection of his own in all but one way: Athair’s genocide was thwarted by the Aëros who called this reality home.

 

That Aëros paid for victory with death, providing his doppelgänger a place to step into.[the last couple of sentences have confused me.] The living Wayfarer dwells in the false world as if it was his, repressing the memories of his haunting past as he settles back into life. But his memories fester, and manifest as a shadowy hallucination. It whispers to him that Athair lives, and has taken up refuge in a great necropolis to the West. [I don't think that clause is central to the point you're making] Convinced by his shadow, the Wayfarer ventures forth, unaware of its true intention – to guide him to the one place he will be forced to confront his past – the grave of his fallen self.

 

Aëros will face both monstrosities of the flesh and the mind [a bit too vague for me to picture] as he travels in search of a past he has forgotten. When it is before him[,]he will be faced with a familiar choice, one he can make only this final time.[what is different about this time to make it the final time?] To either accept his past and the consuming anguish remembrance will bring, or refuse it once again, choosing to remain in a false world even as it dooms him to insanity.[I like this last sentence!]


If you have a few moments, I'd appreciate your feedback on my query for BISECTER (YA Fantasy).


#51 Wayfarer

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 02:33 PM

That's an old version now Ali, sorry for you to have spent time on it!



#52 ThatDan

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 03:14 PM

 

EDIT: Also, a Wayfarer isn't a race haha. It's an english word that means someone who travels by foot. I abstract it to mean an adventurer, which is what Aeros is.

 

Ah, okay. The capitalization made me think there was a race known as Wayfarers. 


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

No active query atm.


#53 rhwashere

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 03:18 PM

Revision 18 is posted.

Rh - I don't disagree that Aeros's ability to travel through reality is interesting, but the main thing I want to sell is his insanity - and how he copes with it. With that said, I have an image in my mind of what a revision based on your suggestions would look like, and I'm not eschewing it.

 

As it stands I agree my query does have a fair amount of build-up present, and it could be streamlined. But I'm going to wait on more feedback before I revamp it from its current format.

 

Also, I rephrased the ending to make the stakes easier to understand. He either accepts his shit, and moves on, or is damned by it.

Erevos - You're completely right about the hook, and I made that amendment in the newest revision.

 

Thank you both for the help!

I'm worried that insane is too general a term (and perhaps offensive to some). Does he have schizophrenia? Is he suffering from depression or post traumatic stress? What are we talking about here?

 

I might advise using the specific term for whatever he's dealing with. That would make your query stand out more than "insanity".


Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


#54 Wayfarer

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 03:32 PM

I'm worried that insane is too general a term (and perhaps offensive to some). Does he have schizophrenia? Is he suffering from depression or post traumatic stress? What are we talking about here?

 

I might advise using the specific term for whatever he's dealing with. That would make your query stand out more than "insanity".

PTSD derived from improper grieving that displays as a visual and auditory hallucination.

I'll consider adjusting the terminology, as I do see the benefit of that. I'll likely include it in the next revision.

 

As a personal aside - purely for the philosophical debate this presents - I couldn't care less if someone considers "insane" offensive. It's derived from the Latin in-sanus for "not-healthy". I largely subscribe to a words etymological origin to determine whether or not its worth using, feelings aren't a measure for that to me.



#55 Wayfarer

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 05:02 PM

Posted a 19th revision. It contains only minor adjustments from 18.



#56 VSChapman

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 05:11 PM

Revision 19:

Aëros Arûaë finds himself on the precipice of insanity after those he loves and the land that is his home are burnt to ash and cinder. Athair, the villain responsible for the slaughter, has killed himself. With his death Aëros is left with nothing, not even the vengeance that was his due. (I like this opening. It's a bit clearer than some or previous ones)

 

Aimless and hollow, he looks for an escape from his suffering. He opens a Rift to a reality that is a reflection of his own in all but one way: its version of Athair was slain by the Aëros who called the reality home, preventing the villain’s genocide from occurring.

 

That Aëros paid for victory with death, providing his doppelgänger a place to step into. (oh, interesting)The still-living Aëros dwells in the false world as if it was his, repressing the memories of his past as he settles back into ordinary life. But his memories fester, and manifest as a shadowy hallucination. It deceives him, whispering that Athair lives, and has taken up refuge in a great necropolis to the West. Convinced by his shadow, Aëros ventures forth with it as his guide, unaware of its true intentions – to lead him to the one place he will be forced to confront his past – the grave of his fallen self.

 

 

Wicked fiends lurk in the far corner of the world, but should he manage to overcome them, and waylay the unraveling of his mind, Aëros will find himself faced with a familiar choice. To either accept his past, and move on from this false world, or refuse it once again, choosing to remain even if it dooms him to insanity.

 

__________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

I didn't read through all the previous versions but I think you've got a great query going. I also don't think the word 'insane' is offensive but I do like the idea of maybe expanding on the PTSD.



#57 rhwashere

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 06:25 PM

Revision 19:

Aëros Arûaë finds himself on the precipice of insanity after those he loves and the land that is his home are burnt to ash and cinder. Athair, the villain responsible for the slaughter, has killed himself. With his death Aëros is left with nothing, not even the vengeance that was his due.

 

Aimless and hollow, he looks for an escape from his suffering. He opens a Rift to a reality that is a reflection of his own in all but one way: its version of that reality's Athair was slain by the its Aëros who called the reality home, preventing the villain’s genocide from occurring. (Just a suggested rewording that I think flows a little better)

 

That But  Aëros' doppleganger paid for victory with death, providing his doppelgänger him a place to fall into.(This switching back and forth between Aeros' can be confusing, so I suggest making the one who isn't the MC the doppleganger.) Seeing an opportunity to have his old life back, the still-living Aëros dwells he settles in the false this new world (How this world is "false"? Is it an illusion?) as if it was his, repressing the memories of his past. as he settles back into ordinary life. But his memories fester, and manifest as a shadowy hallucination. It deceives him, whispering that Athair lives. Convinced by his shadow, Aëros ventures forth with it as his guide, unaware of its true intentions – to lead him to the one place he will be forced to confront his past – the grave of his fallen self. (I'm confused. This makes it sound like Aeros is being led by a physical shadow, Peter Pan style. If this is only metaphorical, I would reword it. You don't want to confuse the agents who read this. Also, my suggested reorganization of the second sentence in this paragraph is simply for the purposes of leading with your MC's motivation, instead of his circumstance.)

 

 

Wicked beasts lurk along his path, but should he manage to overcome them, and waylay the unraveling of his mind, Aëros will find himself faced with a familiar choice. To either accept his past, and move on from this false world, or refuse it once again, choosing to remain even if it dooms him to insanity.

 

I think this version is definitely an improvement over the previous. But I still find a few parts confusing. I go into this query thinking I'm about to read a plot focused on someone journeying to an alternate dimension to escape his reality. But then you start talking about hallucinations and shadows that whisper and lead him places, concluding with the potential unraveling of his mind. It doesn't leave me with a solid picture of what your story's about. (I know you told me it's focused on his mental breakdown, but that isn't so clear from the query).

 

If your story is focused on his loss of sanity, then I think you should include some phrases that prepare the reader of your query for that. For example, "But though his life seems whole again, his mind continues to deteriorate." That sort of thing.


Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


#58 Wayfarer

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 03:14 AM

Rh - I've used some of your suggestions in the new revision, particularly the re-phrasing of the first line of the second paragraph, excellent job with that, I thank you.

As for the shadow, it is physical, or at least it appears that way to Aeros. I thought saying it was a 'shadowy hallucination' made that clear, did it not?

 

As for your perception of the query, I begin with him saying he's going insane, I understand that point isn't picked up again until the third paragraph, but the lead up to that point is the explanation for why he's going insane/how he's coping with it. I'm not sure if that's worth removing?



#59 Wayfarer

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 03:16 AM

Rev. 20 posted.



#60 Wayfarer

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 03:50 AM

lol just kidding, 21 is up after finding prowritingaid.






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