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


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#141 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 08:39 AM

I don't like your hook anymore. This is the one that I've liked most:

Aëros can’t recall when his shadow first appeared, or why. It walks alongside him, separate from the one cast by the sun, evoking unease with its cryptic conversation. When it directs him to Athair, the villain responsible for reducing half of Aëros’ homeland to ash

​I agree it needs some work, particularly in this version's middle sentence. I would suggest a rewrite like this:

Aeros can't recall when his shadow first appeared, or why. Unlike his silhouette from the sun, it walks alongside him, evoking unease. Its cryptic conversation offers directions to Athair, the villain responsible for reducing half of Aeros's homeland to ash

​Not perfect, but something along those lines

 

 

I agree with PureZhar3 in terms of the hook -- their rewrite really grips me. :)



#142 yawriter

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 12:25 PM

Greetings to [Agent of Agency], I would suggest "Dear Mr/Mrs.)

 

Aëros can’t recall when his second shadow initially appeared, or why. Unlike the one cast by the sun, it walks alongside him of its own free will, its conversation as incessant as it its cryptic. I don't like this change as much as the last one.. little more confusing )He deciphers a fragment of its riddling as direction to Athair, the villain responsible for reducing half of Aëros’ homeland to ash.

 

Wary of his shadow, he nevertheless abides it in hopes of avenging those Athair slew What is a Athair slew?. He sets out with his shadow as his only companion, his path trailing from the verdant hills of the East to the desolate wastes of the West. But between the appearance of inconvenient comrades, cannibalistic tribesman, and beasts warped by corruption, his adventure becomes far less solitary than he intended.

 

Yet the vexing natures of allies and marauders are the least of Aëros’ concerns. Memories long forgotten begin to flicker in his minds eye; each seemingly conjured by his shadow’s cryptic words. The nearer he draws to Athair the more frequent and staggering they become. As he begins to piece them together, he finds within them the muddled outline of a haunting secret — one linked to Athair, his shadow’s origins, and a past he has willfully forgotten.

 

Unwilling to accept what his shadow has revealed, Aëros’ sanity begins to unravel. He must fight to regain control if he has any hope of reaching Athair, exacting the vengeance he desires, and unveiling the mystery of his shadowed past.

 

Tales of Adventure: The Wayfarer is an adult novel complete at 80,000 words. It is an exploration of the darker philosophical and psychological aspects of existentialism in a high fantasy setting. I sincerely appreciate your time and attention. This needs to go here.

 

Cordially, ( this need to be pushed back to the end like so)

- [My name]



#143 Wayfarer

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 12:51 PM

As far as eyes bleeding goes, mine are fine. This is the beginning point of attempting to become a professional author, the piece needs to read as close to perfect as possible. If it takes a thousand revisions of learning and contemplation, then so be it. The only way to develop a skill is to analyze it and practice. To grow definitively weary of it is to not really desire it.

That said 55 is up. Let's see how this appeals or doesn't.



#144 PureZhar3

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 12:59 PM

Aëros can’t recall when the shadow first appeared, or why. It walks beside him in the form of his silhouette ​Can you just say "His silhouette walks beside him, guiding him towards Athair, guiding him towards Athair — the villain who reduced half the world to ash. ​A much better hook!

 

Wary of the shadow​APOSTROPHE APOSTROPHE APOSTROPHE :tongue:  :tongue: s cryptic words, Aëros ignores his mistrust ​this could be strengthened by saying something more like "Aeros nonetheless follows it in hopes of..." Otherwise you introduce an element (wariness) and then immediately brush it aside in hopes of avenging those Athair slew. Beginning his search in the verdant hills of the East, he makes his way into the desolate wastes of the West. He tolerates the appearance of inconvenient comrades, revels with itinerant gypsies and forest folk, and fends off the corrupt foes ​can we chose a different adj besides corrupt? Corrupt is just kind of assumed with foes that assail him along his way.

 

Yet the vexing natures of allies and marauders are the least of Aëros’ concerns. Memories long forgotten surface in his mind’s eye, each seemingly ​ seemingly is almost unnecessary in queries, in my opinion. If the narrative is leading us astray, we'll find outconjured by his shadow’s cryptic words. The nearer he draws to Athair the more vivid they become. As he pieces them together, he finds within the muddled outline of a haunting secret — one linked to Athair, his shadow’s origins, and a past he has willfully forgotten.

 

​I like this! See what other people think, but most of my edits had to do with word choice. You're doing great!


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


#145 Wayfarer

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 02:38 PM

I need to get my shit together with the 's lol. I run through revisions so fast that I miss simple shit.

Mended rec 55 with some small changes based on your feedback Pure.



#146 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 02:40 PM

 

Aëros can’t recall when the shadow first appeared, or why. It walks beside him in the form of his silhouette ​Can you just say "His silhouette walks beside him, guiding him towards Athair, guiding him towards Athair — the villain who reduced half the world to ash. ​A much better hook!

 

Wary of the shadow​APOSTROPHE APOSTROPHE APOSTROPHE :tongue:  :tongue: s cryptic words, Aëros ignores his mistrust ​this could be strengthened by saying something more like "Aeros nonetheless follows it in hopes of..." Otherwise you introduce an element (wariness) and then immediately brush it aside in hopes of avenging those Athair slew. Beginning his search in the verdant hills of the East, he makes his way into the desolate wastes of the West. He tolerates the appearance of inconvenient comrades, revels with itinerant gypsies and forest folk, and fends off the corrupt foes ​can we chose a different adj besides corrupt? Corrupt is just kind of assumed with foes that assail him along his way.

 

Yet the vexing natures of allies and marauders are the least of Aëros’ concerns. Memories long forgotten surface in his mind’s eye, each seemingly ​ seemingly is almost unnecessary in queries, in my opinion. If the narrative is leading us astray, we'll find outconjured by his shadow’s cryptic words. The nearer he draws to Athair the more vivid they become. As he pieces them together, he finds within the muddled outline of a haunting secret — one linked to Athair, his shadow’s origins, and a past he has willfully forgotten.

 

​I like this! See what other people think, but most of my edits had to do with word choice. You're doing great!

 

 

Once again, I agree with everything that Pure has said. And I'll reiterate: You're doing very well! I admire your dedication and determination. :) With that kind of go-get-'em attitude, you've got this in the bag!



#147 Wayfarer

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 04:57 PM

Put up 56, small changes, added the greeting/parting messages back in just to have them here.

Pure, as far as genre goes, saying it's a novel implies it's fantasy, and then saying in the next sentence "high fantasy" covers that basis further.



#148 Wayfarer

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 10:52 PM

57 is up. Some pretty sizable changes to the past revision, while keeping the same format.



#149 Artsnerd

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 09:04 AM

Paying forward your query critique--sorry it took me so long! :(

 

Greetings to [Agent],

 

Tales of Adventure: The Wayfarer is an adult novel complete at 80,000 words. It is an exploration of the philosophical aspects of psychosis and existentialism in a high fantasy setting.

 

Aëros can’t recall when the shadow first appeared, or why. It walks alongside him, a doppelgänger wreathed in darkness, evoking unease with its cryptic ravings. [Oh, nice hook!]

 

Wary of the shadow, Aëros nevertheless abides it as it guides him towards Athair — the villain responsible for reducing the first kingdom to ash. ["As"?] He sets out from the verdant hills of the East, Aëros makes his way into the desolate wastes of the West in search of his revenge. He tolerates the inconvenience of old comrades, revels with itinerant [maybe use a simpler word here? Also, is "itinerant" a tad redundant since gypsies are typically known as travelers? I don't know, maybe that's just my misconception, though] gypsies and forest Druids, and fends off the cursed foes that assail him along his road.

 

Yet the vexing natures of allies and marauders are the least of Aëros’ concerns. Memories long repressed surface in his mind’s eye, each conjured by the shadow’s enigmatic musings [This sentence seems a little wordy, especially with "enigmatic musings"]. The nearer he draws to Athair the more vivid they become. As he pieces them together, he finds within a haunting secret — one linked to Athair, the shadow’s origins, and a past he has willfully forgotten.

 

Thank you for your time and attention.

 

Cordially,

 

-  [If you're including this little dash in your query, I don't know if it's necessary, honestly] [Me]

 

Despite my criticism, great job with this query! It's pretty impressive!


“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.

In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” 

―Maya Angelou

 

The query for my current WIP can be found here.

 

Avatar created by me.


#150 Wayfarer

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 08:36 PM

58 is up.



#151 PureZhar3

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 04:45 PM

Put up 56, small changes, added the greeting/parting messages back in just to have them here.

Pure, as far as genre goes, saying it's a novel implies it's fantasy, and then saying in the next sentence "high fantasy" covers that basis further.

 

Novel implies only that it's fictional, which is different than fantasy (i.e. magic). Realistic and historical fiction can both be novels - if novels were implicitly fantasy (as opposed to fictitious), then we wouldn't need genre.

I suppose it is true that "high fantasy" does cover that, though. Carry on :)


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


#152 PureZhar3

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 04:48 PM

ales of Adventure: The Wayfarer is an adult novel complete at 80,000 words. It is an exploration of the philosophical aspects of psychosis and existentialism in a high fantasy setting.

 

Aëros can’t recall when the shadow first appeared, or why. It walks alongside him, a doppelgänger wreathed in darkness, evoking unease with its cryptic ravings.

 

Wary of the shadow, Aëros nevertheless abides it ​still not a fan of the "abides it" phrase as it guides him towards Athair — the villain responsible for reducing the first ​what is "the first kingdom"? that doesn't make sense to me kingdom to ash. As he sets ​Setting out from the verdant hills of the East, Aëros makes his way into the desolate wastes of the West in search of revenge. He tolerates the inconvenience of itinerant comrades, revels with spirited gypsies and forest Druids, and fends off the cursed foes that assail him along his road.

 

Yet the vexing natures of allies and marauders are the least of Aëros’ concerns. Fragments of memories long repressed surface in his mind’s eye, each drawn out by the shadow’s enigmatic words. The nearer he comes to Athair​comma the more vivid the memories become. As he pieces them together, he finds within ​within doesn't make sense without a pronoun after a haunting secret — one linked to Athair, the shadow’s origins, and a past he has willfully forgotten.

 

Thank you for your time and attention.

​I like this! I'm not crazy about it, though. Something just doesn't feel right - perhaps the stakes are dwindling again? I'm also not getting the sense of the world that you fit in earlier queries


ales of Adventure: The Wayfarer is an adult novel complete at 80,000 words. It is an exploration of the philosophical aspects of psychosis and existentialism in a high fantasy setting.

 

Aëros can’t recall when the shadow first appeared, or why. It walks alongside him, a doppelgänger wreathed in darkness, evoking unease with its cryptic ravings.

 

Wary of the shadow, Aëros nevertheless abides it ​still not a fan of the "abides it" phrase as it guides him towards Athair — the villain responsible for reducing the first ​what is "the first kingdom"? that doesn't make sense to me kingdom to ash. As he sets ​Setting out from the verdant hills of the East, Aëros makes his way into the desolate wastes of the West in search of revenge. He tolerates the inconvenience of itinerant comrades, revels with spirited gypsies and forest Druids, and fends off the cursed foes that assail him along his road.

 

Yet the vexing natures of allies and marauders are the least of Aëros’ concerns. Fragments of memories long repressed surface in his mind’s eye, each drawn out by the shadow’s enigmatic words. The nearer he comes to Athair​comma the more vivid the memories become. As he pieces them together, he finds within ​within doesn't make sense without a pronoun after a haunting secret — one linked to Athair, the shadow’s origins, and a past he has willfully forgotten.

 

Thank you for your time and attention.

​I like this! I'm not crazy about it, though. Something just doesn't feel right - perhaps the stakes are dwindling again? I'm also not getting the sense of the world that you fit in earlier queries


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


#153 Wayfarer

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 07:53 PM

Ah I was under the impression novel meant fantasy, that's my mistake.

As for "abides" it literally means "to put up with". I can't see a more perfect word to say "he bears with his shadow".

 

Also this version of the query doesn't really have stakes, the reveal is the secret. I've been working with this one on a suggestion I cut the last paragraph of this revision structure that included the stakes, because the secret as is was enough to entice.

I'm on the fence with my opinion, though this version is obviously shorter.

 

And regarding the world, is the "verdant hills, desolate wastes, gypsies, forest druids" really not enough? I don't want to dilute the query with too much world.


Also 59 is up. Minor changes from your suggestions Pure.



#154 PureZhar3

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:07 PM

Ah I was under the impression novel meant fantasy, that's my mistake. 

As for "abides" it literally means "to put up with". I can't see a more perfect word to say "he bears with his shadow". ​I agree that the word fits perfectly in meaning. It is not a commonly used word, however, and where you used it, it doesn't flow right. If you keep it, definitely put a "with" (that could be part of why it feels choppy - it needs a preposition after). I actually really like the phrase "bear with", if that helps you make a decision at all.

 

Also this version of the query doesn't really have stakes, the reveal is the secret. I've been working with this one on a suggestion I cut the last paragraph of this revision structure that included the stakes, because the secret as is was enough to entice. ​Ah. That makes sense. In that case, carry on. I think I'm diluted enough to the secret aspect that it's not as intriguing to me, so my comment is probably not worth much if others were suggesting to cut the stakes paragraph.

I'm on the fence with my opinion, though this version is obviously shorter. ​I understand. See what others think. Goodness knows my opinions aren't always right.

 

And regarding the world, is the "verdant hills, desolate wastes, gypsies, forest druids" really not enough? I don't want to dilute the query with too much world. ​I agree... I think my issue is more with the "itinerant companion" bit. It feels like a solitary trip through a beautiful but broken world to me, rather than one where he's being cornered in by all his undesired 'friends'. Don't know if that makes sense or helps.


Also 59 is up. Minor changes from your suggestions Pure. I'll check it out :)


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


#155 PureZhar3

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:12 PM

ales of Adventure: The Wayfarer is an adult novel complete at 80,000 words. It is an exploration of the philosophical aspects of psychosis and existentialism in a high fantasy setting. ​I'd put this at the end again.

 

Aëros can’t recall when the shadow first appeared, or why. It walks alongside him, a doppelgänger wreathed in darkness, evoking unease with its cryptic ravings.

 

Wary of the shadow, Aëros nevertheless abides it as it guides him towards Athair — the villain responsible for reducing ​the kingdom Aëros once called home to ash ​nice and clear. Setting out from the verdant hills of the East, Aëros makes his way into the desolate wastes of the West in search of revenge. He tolerates the inconvenience of itinerant comrades, revels with spirited gypsies and forest Druids, and fends off the cursed foes that assail him along his road. ​Yes, see, I think this last sentence may be the problem. The reveling with spirited gypsies is amazing imagery... I just wish you would do as much with the other two bits (give me a picture of the comrades and paint a picture of the foes). But I know that's really hard without burdening the sentence with too much length and detail

 

Yet the vexing natures of allies and marauders are the least of Aëros’ concerns. Fragments of memories long repressed surface in his mind’s eye, each drawn out by the shadow’s enigmatic words. The nearer he comes to Athair, the more vivid they become. As the memories string together they reveal a haunting secret — one linked to Athair, the shadow’s origins, and a past he has willfully forgotten. ​Okay, rereading this trying to pretend that I'd never read your query  before... yeah, there's not a problem building up intrigue. I must have been too close to the situation :P

 

Thank you for your time and attention.

 

​This is coming along so well! Great job Wayfarer!


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


#156 Arcanjoe

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 12:14 PM

Revision 59:

Dear [Agent of Agency],

 

Tales of Adventure: The Wayfarer is an adult (Fantasy? Got to have the genre in here somewhere) novel complete at 80,000 words. It is an exploration of the philosophical aspects of psychosis and existentialism in a high fantasy setting.

 

Aëros can’t recall when the shadow first appeared, or why. It walks alongside him, a doppelgänger wreathed in darkness, evoking unease with its cryptic ravings. (I like this hook, but you could include a mention of the secret it hides, too. What about: It walks alongside him, a doppelgänger wreathed in darkness, secrets he sought to forget trapped inside in its cryptic ravings.')

 

Wary of the shadow, Aëros nevertheless abides it as it guides him towards Athair — the villain responsible for reducing (the) kingdom Aëros once called home to ash. Setting out from the verdant hills of the East, Aëros makes his way into the desolate wastes of the West in search of revenge. (If he wants revenge, get deeper into it in the next sentence. You go from 'revenge' to 'he tolerates'. It interrupts the empathy we should be feeling for this poor guy who's lost his homeland. How will he avenge his land? What is he willing to give up to do so? Is he desperate for it? Right now it reads like 'Meh, I'll get round to it some day' which is obviously not what you want.) He tolerates the inconvenience of itinerant comrades, revels with spirited gypsies and forest Druids, and fends off the cursed foes that assail him along his road. (This sentence, though great for worldbuilding, is very wishy-washy and adds no character development, no conflict etc. At least start the sentence with 'He fends off'. Even that isn't specific. Is he a talented swordsman? Does he posses magical abilities? Does his exceptional intellect help him navigate these obstacles? Basically, how is he competent?)

 

Yet the vexing natures of allies and marauders are the least of Aëros’ concerns. Fragments of memories long repressed surface in his mind’s eye, each drawn out by the shadow’s enigmatic words. The nearer he comes to Athair, the more vivid they become. As the memories string together they reveal a haunting secret — one linked to Athair, the shadow’s origins, and a past he has willfully forgotten. (I like this last paragraph, though you could hint at what may happen if his repressed memories surface.)

 

Thank you for your time and attention.

 

Cordially,

 

[Me]

____________________________________________________________________

First and last paragraphs are solid (just the stuff I've mentioned above). It's the middle paragraph that needs a little work. That is the paragraph where you have the opportunity to really show us who your main character is, what he wants and what's stopping him from getting it. Apart from the above, I thought this was great. An interesting concept, some great wordsmithing and solid stakes. Great work.


I'd love for you to critique my latest query...

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 

Or the first 250 words of my story...

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 


#157 Wayfarer

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 03:24 PM

Rev 60 is up, Arcan thanks for the advice, I put a deal of it to use in the new edit.



#158 Wayfarer

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 11:09 PM

61 is up. Big changes. When one day I am asked what the most challenging part of writing a book is, I will answer without hesitation "the query" lol.



#159 lnloft

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 11:02 AM

Somehow, after how prominent this has been on the board for some time, I haven't gotten around to critiquing your query. Let's fix that.

Revision 61:

Dear [Agent of Agency],

 

Aëros can’t recall when the shadow first appeared, or why. It walks alongside him, a doppelgänger wreathed in darkness, evoking unfamiliar memories How can they be "unfamiliar memories"? If he doesn't know them, then aren't they just visions or the like? with its cryptic speech. Hmm... There's some interesting stuff here, but to me it's feeling a little stark, like I'm seeing Aëros walking along in a blank landscape with nothing but a shadow next to him. I want SOMETHING more for context, but then that quickly gets into the dangerous territory of unnecessary exposition, so... Hmm.

 

Unsettled by the shadow and its revelations I don't have enough here to understand what you mean by "revelations", Aëros is nevertheless bound to both This "both" is jarring to me, because for whatever reason it takes me half a second to realize the second thing the "both" refers to is the revelations as he journeys towards Athair — the villain Is there something less generic you can use than "villain"? Nefarious sorcerer? Cruel tyrant? Unscrupulous businessman? responsible for the First War I don't have context for what the First War is, other than, obviously, a war.. Setting out from the verdant hills of the East, he makes his way through vales of ash and forests of fable in hopes of avenging those Athair slew. Determined to send an arrow through the villain’s heart, Aëros begrudgingly endures the inconvenience of old companions and incursion of older foes as they waylay him along the road.

 

Yet the vexing natures of allies and marauders are the least of Aëros’ concerns. The nearer he draws to Athair, the more vivid the unfamiliar memories become. As Aëros unravels their mystery, he finds within them a haunting secret — one linked to Athair, the shadow’s origins, and a past he has willfully forgotten.

 

Tales of Adventure: The Wayfarer is an adult novel You generally don't need to say it's adult. If no age is given, adult is implied. I would also prefer is you note that it's fantasy here complete at 80,000 words. It is an exploration of the philosophical aspects of psychosis and existentialism in a high fantasy setting.

 

Thank you for your time and attention.

 

Cordially,

 

[Me]

I think my biggest gripe is the critique about the hook, which is that it feels stark. You give a little bit toward the latter half of some setting, but for most of it I feel like Aëros is on a stage with minimal set around him rather than in a big-budget Hollywood epic, if that makes sense. I'd like a little bit more about Athair, who he is and why he's a villain, and what exactly happened with the First War. Was a huge chunk of society destroyed by the war, for instance? I haven't really looked at older critiques, so I don't know what you've changed around since then, but there is something in this query that is just lacking the richness that I think a story like this deserves. Which makes it one of the hardest critiques to give, because I want to be able to point to something specific and say, "Fix this," but it's more of an overall vibe. I mean, this is far from a bad query, but I look at it and think there can be something so much more. So I guess, yeah, the most specific I can be is to give us more context on the villain, why Aëros wants to kill him, and what's going on with the world post-war. Good luck.


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#160 PureZhar3

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 03:39 PM

I would line-critique, but I actually agree with a lot of Inloft's critiques.

​I know that you said that you don't want the focus of the query to be on the elves and dwarves and reimagined monsters of lore, but I really do think that's what this query is missing. I understand that you don't want it to be the focus of the query, but (like Inloft was saying), the current result of avoiding it is that we imagine him against a blank backdrop. Yes, the agent you work with will probably be more intrigued by the insanity/secret side of things, but not without a balance of setting. A painting of an object can be interesting, but it is often far more interesting with a vivid, active background, bringing the world the object is in to life. As far as I can tell, you are currently erring on the side of "not enough world-building" as opposed to "too much worldbuilding", which seems to be what you don't want. But it's better to err on the side that you won't typically err on... shoot for too much world-building and too much focus on that, and you may end up with a great balance. And if you don't, we'll tell you that we feel lost in the dwarves and elves and don't really follow the plot.

​Hopefully that helped! Keep up the good work!

 

​As a side note, I tried completely rewriting my query, so I'd appreciate it if you would check it out and give me your thoughts on it. Thanks!


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





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