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The Other Side of Blood--YA fantasy


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#1 Mdane

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:11 AM

Thanks again all!! New query post #30

 

 

I really feel this coming along now, thankyou all so much for your input. The new query is on post #13. Please let me know what you think.

 

 

 

 

 

Wow guys, so much awesome information there, thankyou all very much for taking the time. I have taken all your advice (hopefully) and rewritten the query. The new one is in post #8.

 

Just as a starter though, the first paragraph is pretty much lorem ipsum. Just a place holder. When I send the query, it will be tailored to each agent :)

 

And finally, a question: I previously self published a book on amazon which reached as high as No 4 in its genre for free ebooks (albeit briefly). I am not sure whether to write an "about me" paragraph at the end with this information, or not worry about it as it is not really that important?

 

Thanks again for all of your help


Desperately looking for advice on my query The Other Side of Blood

 

My published novel on Amazon The Traitor in the Trees


#2 Springfield

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 10:31 AM

Hi all, any help creating a solid query letter for my novel would be greatly appreciated. Don't be afraid to get mean with it, as long as it is constructive :)

 

Dear Ms. XXXX

 

I read that you enjoy reading fantasy novels which take you on journeys to unheard of magical realms. I believe you might appreciate my novel, THE OTHER SIDE OF BLOOD​, which is an 87,000 word YA fantasy novel of unlikely friendships and ultimate betrayal. 

 

The irony that the thrill of living forever died before he could I had to read this a couple times to parse it; admittedly I haven't had coffee yet but still. was not lost on Velho Vain, neither was his predicament of living an immortal life in a world infested with the scummiest of all races: elves. I don't get this -- how is this a predicament? How could it be lost on him? I don't think any of this opening is working for you -- just be clear, not coy.

 

Velho—a highly trained assassin with a higher bounty on his head—wanders the world in search of the one thing that can set him free: magically induced euthanasia; the only way he can escape the horrors of his past.How is this YA?Haunted by the guilt of his brother's death and the previous night's whiskey, he stalks whispers of the whereabouts of a council of mages who have the power to end his torment. His bitter journey takes a turn for the worse when Brooklyn—​a happy-go-lucky twelve-year-old with more secrets than flaming red hair—implores him to help find the mythological city of Elemain (a city rumoured to contain the power to rule the world) before the power-thirsty Death Queen does. Velho's rejection barely leaves his lips when he finds himself ensnared in a tangle of forces intent on returning him to the Guild's torture chamber. I don't understand what's going on here.

 

Velho is no stranger to eluding those who wish ill of him, but the reappearance of an elf he killed for the betrayal of his brother and ultimately his death has him stepping out of the shadows for the first time in years. He is now faced with a difficult decision: attempt to extract revenge—again—against greater odds to avenge his brother, or make a bid for redemption and save Brooklyn—who so reminds him of his brother—from the evil clutches of the Death Queen.What about his whole killing himself thing? That was the entire point the first half and it's just dropped.

 

THE OTHER SIDE OF BLOOD is a fast paced adventure novel set in a gunpowder fantasy realm. Velho's character arc resembles that of R. A. Salvatore's Artemis Entreri, while the story line is in the same vein as (I always struggle with comparing my novel to another. If anyone has any suggestions, please don't hesitate) Bad comp. Just list a couple of comps.

 

Thankyou for your consideration,

 

M Dane

 

I'm confused by the overarching point, and some of the stuff comes out of noplace but the other thing w/re the query is that you're tagging it as YA fantasy, with an appropriate wc, yet it reads as straight adult high fantasy, for which the wc is a bit low (though not impossible). Grammar seems fine. :)



#3 Sataris

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 10:32 AM

Hi all, any help creating a solid query letter for my novel would be greatly appreciated. Don't be afraid to get mean with it, as long as it is constructive :)

 

Dear Ms. XXXX

 

I read that you enjoy reading fantasy novels which take you on journeys to unheard of magical realms this just describes the genre in general, and it's implied that the agent likes fantasy if you're querying them with a fantasy. I believe you might appreciate my novel, THE OTHER SIDE OF BLOOD​, which is an 87,000 word YA fantasy novel put this at the end of unlikely friendships and ultimate betrayal.

 

The irony that the thrill of living forever died before he could was not lost on Velho VainI like the idea you're leading with, but i had to read this sentence a few times to get it, neither was his predicament of living an immortal life in a world infested with the scummiest of all races: elves. I get why you're mentioning this earlier after his experiences with elves, but it seems trivial at first glance

 

Velho—a highly trained assassin with a higher this made me stumble bounty on his head—wanders the world in search of the one thing that can set him free: magically induced euthanasia; the only way he can escape the horrors of his past. Haunted by the guilt of his brother's death and the previous night's whiskey, he stalks whispers of the whereabouts of a council of mages who have the power to end his torment.

 

His bitter journey takes a turn for the worse when Brooklyn—​a happy-go-lucky twelve-year-old with more secrets than flaming red hair—implores him to help find the mythological city of Elemain (a city rumoured to contain the power to rule the world we could use a detail on what the power actually is here) before the power-thirsty Death Queen does. Why does the inquiry change his journey at all? Velho's rejection barely leaves his lips when he finds himself ensnared in a tangle of forces intent on returning him to the Guild's torture chamber. I'm not sure what the first part of this sentence means, and it's a bit jarring to hear that he's returning to a torture chamber when we hadn't heard of it to this point. Also, what guild?

 

Velho is no stranger to eluding those who wish ill of him, but the reappearance of an elf he killed is this a normal thing that happens in this world? for the betrayal of his brother and ultimately his death has him stepping out of the shadows for the first time in years. He is now faced with a difficult decision: attempt to extract exact revenge—again—against greater odds what makes them greater? that people are looking for him? And you probably don't want to sat exact revenge to avenge his brother to avenge his brother, or make a bid for redemption and save Brooklyn—who so reminds him of his brother—from the evil clutches of the Death Queen.why does he have to choose between these things? It seems like he could kill the elf again then try to save the kid

 

THE OTHER SIDE OF BLOOD is a fast paced adventure novel set in a gunpowder fantasy realm. Velho's character arc resembles that of R. A. Salvatore's Artemis Entreri, while the story line is in the same vein as (I always struggle with comparing my novel to another. If anyone has any suggestions, please don't hesitate) These comps are going to make your book sound derivative. My go to is usually trying to describe my MS as a blend between two novels by picking out similarities, like you could say X blends the snappy dialogue of Daughter and Smoke and Bone with the dreamy aesthetic of The Bear and the Nightingale. Not a particularly good comp but hopefully that gets the point across. That way it doesn't sound like you're just plopping down someone else's story arch into a different setting.

 

Thankyou for your consideration,

 

M Dane

I think this is a pretty good start for your query. While I'm not clear on a lot of specifics, I do have a general idea of what the character wants/what's stopping him from getting it, and though the stakes aren't very clear right now, it seems like they just need to be fleshed out a little. Also, it seems a little odd that we've basically abandoned the suicide thread by the end of the query, since that appeared to be his motivation. Hope that was helpful!


No current query.


#4 bkarperien

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 10:48 AM

Hi all, any help creating a solid query letter for my novel would be greatly appreciated. Don't be afraid to get mean with it, as long as it is constructive :)

 

Dear Ms. XXXX

 

I read that you enjoy reading fantasy novels which take you on journeys to unheard of magical realms. I believe you might appreciate my novel, THE OTHER SIDE OF BLOOD​, which is an 87,000 word YA fantasy novel of unlikely friendships and ultimate betrayal. 

 

The irony that the thrill of living forever died before he could was not lost on Velho Vain, neither was his predicament of living an immortal life in a world infested with the scummiest of all races: elves. (I would rewrite this hook. It's too heavy, we need something snappy to draw us in and immediately let us know who your protagonist is, and what his problem is. This is too hard to unpack.

 

Velho—a highly trained assassin with a higher bounty on his head—wanders the world in search of the one thing that can set him free: magically induced euthanasia; the only way he can escape the horrors of his past. Haunted by the guilt of his brother's death and the previous night's whiskey, he stalks whispers of the whereabouts of a council of mages who have the power to end his torment. His bitter journey takes a turn for the worse when Brooklyn—​a happy-go-lucky twelve-year-old with more secrets than flaming red hair—implores him to help find the mythological city of Elemain (a city rumoured to contain the power to rule the world) before the power-thirsty Death Queen does. Velho's rejection barely leaves his lips when he finds himself ensnared in a tangle of forces intent on returning him to the Guild's torture chamber. (This was way too much information. Simplify. Don't worry about making it pretty for now, just effective. Every word counts. Focus on the main conflict. Which brings up another issue. You start off with him hellbent on killing himself, but that completely gets forgotten after the first three sentences.)

 

Velho is no stranger to eluding those who wish ill of him, but the reappearance of an elf he killed for the betrayal of his brother and ultimately his death has him stepping out of the shadows for the first time in years. He is now faced with a difficult decision: attempt to extract revenge—again—against greater odds to avenge his brother, or make a bid for redemption and save Brooklyn—who so reminds him of his brother—from the evil clutches of the Death Queen. (Again, too much. 

 

THE OTHER SIDE OF BLOOD is a fast paced adventure novel set in a gunpowder fantasy realm. Velho's character arc resembles that of R. A. Salvatore's Artemis Entreri, while the story line is in the same vein as (I always struggle with comparing my novel to another. If anyone has any suggestions, please don't hesitate)

 

Thankyou for your consideration,

 

M Dane

This sounds like a great fantasy, but it doesn't sound particularly YA-ish. It seems to have primarily adult themes (not like that, I just mean geared towards an adult audience vs a teen audience), and adult characters. The comp title isn't YA, either. 

I'd recommend rewriting this much simpler, focusing on the main story problem and the stakes, and simplifying your writing so that we cut to the chase. You can put the voice in later if you want, for now, focus on the basics.

Good luck!

If you get a chance, please take a look at my query :)


Check out my query!


#5 VSChapman

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 04:10 PM

Hi all, any help creating a solid query letter for my novel would be greatly appreciated. Don't be afraid to get mean with it, as long as it is constructive :)

 

Dear Ms. XXXX

 

I read that you enjoy reading fantasy novels which take you on journeys to unheard of magical realms. I believe you might appreciate my novel, THE OTHER SIDE OF BLOOD​, which is an 87,000 word YA fantasy novel of unlikely friendships and ultimate betrayal. 

 

The irony that the thrill of living forever died before he could was not lost on Velho Vain, neither was his predicament of living an immortal life in a world infested with the scummiest of all races: elves. (Okay, I had to read this a few times to get it. This hook is way too complicated. Try to simplify this.)

 

Velho—a highly trained assassin with a higher bounty on his head—wanders the world in search of the one thing that can set him free: magically induced euthanasia; the only way he can escape the horrors of his past. Haunted by the guilt of his brother's death and the previous night's whiskey, (I do love the whiskey part) he stalks whispers of the whereabouts of a council of mages who have the power to end his torment. His bitter journey takes a turn for the worse when Brooklyn—​a happy-go-lucky twelve-year-old with more secrets than flaming red hair—implores him to help find the mythological city of Elemain (a city rumoured to contain the power to rule the world) before the power-thirsty Death Queen does. Velho's rejection barely leaves his lips when he finds himself ensnared in a tangle of forces intent on returning him to the Guild's torture chamber. (yep, I'm lost. Too many words. I think you need to simplify)

 

Velho is no stranger to eluding those who wish ill of him, but the reappearance of an elf he killed for the betrayal of his brother and ultimately his death has him stepping out of the shadows for the first time in years. He is now faced with a difficult decision: attempt to extract revenge—again—against greater odds to avenge his brother, or make a bid for redemption and save Brooklyn—who so reminds him of his brother—from the evil clutches of the Death Queen.

 

THE OTHER SIDE OF BLOOD is a fast paced adventure novel set in a gunpowder (what?) fantasy realm. Velho's character arc resembles that of R. A. Salvatore's Artemis Entreri, while the story line is in the same vein as (I always struggle with comparing my novel to another. If anyone has any suggestions, please don't hesitate)

 

Thankyou for your consideration,

 

M Dane

Okay, I think you are doing what I tried to do. And that is make this all fluffy like the the back of the book. I'm getting lost in all your descriptions. I think you could cut a lot of words and make things more concise and clear. It's a good start though! Keep it up!



#6 mindy24601

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 07:49 PM

Hi all, any help creating a solid query letter for my novel would be greatly appreciated. Don't be afraid to get mean with it, as long as it is constructive :) ooh, i will try to make it constructive then

 

Dear Ms. XXXX

 

I read that you enjoy reading fantasy novels which take you on journeys to unheard of magical realms. I believe you might appreciate my novel, THE OTHER SIDE OF BLOOD​, which is an 87,000 word YA fantasy novel of unlikely friendships and ultimate betrayal. i understand this is a reasonable way to start, but i have a couple issues with it: 

1) you probably wouldn't send this to an agent who isn't into this type of book, so, unless you can make it more specific (i.e. i saw your #mswl requesting f/f vampire slash on twitter), maybe better to start with a catchy hook which would get people involved and interested

2) unlikely friendships is cliche but okay. the ultimate betrayal to my understanding was jesus and judas, so anything below that level may not merit the word 'ultimate' (jedus/judas as an example)

 

The irony that the thrill of living forever died this took me several reads to understand before he could was not lost on Velho Vain, neither was his predicament of living an immortal life in a world infested with the scummiest of all races: elves.nice twist to make the elves scum. maybe something along these lines could make a nice hook?

 

Velho—a highlyhyphen trained assassin with a higher bounty on his head—wanders the world in search of the one thing that can set him free: magically induced euthanasia; a comma, not a semicolonthe only way he can escape the horrors of his past. to my knowledge, euthanasia is death. do you mean coma? or that there's some magic which can kill him? also, euthanasia is not solicited, it's a doctor, family member, or other person making a decision to kill this person without their consent for their benefit. otherwise, it's assisted suicide Haunted by the guilt of his brother's death and the previous night's whiskey haha, okay, he stalks whispers of the whereabouts what is this? a place? should it be capitalised? of a council of mages who have the power to end his torment. His bitter journey takes a turn for the worse when Brooklyn—​a happy-go-lucky twelve-year-old with more secrets than flaming red hair okay, i'm liking some of these descriptions—implores him to help find the mythological city of Elemain (a citytake out the second 'a city' rumoured to contain the power to rule the world) before the power-thirsty Death Queen does. Velho's rejection barely leaves his lips when he finds himself ensnared in a tangle of forces intent on returning him to the Guild's torture chamber.eek, no. no. no. this is choppy and all over the place. 

 

Velho is no stranger to eluding those who wish ill of him, but the reappearance of an elf he killed for the betrayal of his brother and ultimately his death who's death? the brothers? has him stepping out of the shadows for the first time in years. He is now faced with a difficult decision: attempt to extract revenge—again—against greater odds to avenge his brother, or make a bid for redemption and save Brooklyn—who so reminds him of his brother—from the evil clutches of the Death Queen.

 

THE OTHER SIDE OF BLOOD is a fast paced adventure novel set in a gunpowder is this an established genre? never heard of it? fantasy realm. i would put all your genre and word count info down here Velho's character arc resembles that of R. A. Salvatore's Artemis Entreri, while the story line is in the same vein as (I always struggle with comparing my novel to another. If anyone has any suggestions, please don't hesitate) sounds a little literary...lords of the ringsie...LOTR meets something? 

 

Thankyou for your consideration,

 

M Dane

okay, a couple of things: 1) watch your language, grammar, and punctuation. you're using a lot of 'college words' where you don't need to. if a sentence doesn't need a word, take it out. if a smaller, simpler word could work, take it out. this is YA, so be mindful of your reading level. your work should read smoothly. that doesn't mean dumb it down, but use easy to read syntax and diction. big words and convoluted sentence structures should be sprinkles, not the bulk of the cake. 

2) your story is all over the place. pick one angle and stick with it. 

3) you have a couple descriptions and phrases which are beautiful. bring out more of those. 

Querying is hard! Don't take this to heart, querying is a very hard-to-learn art! You can do it, just stay focused and keep trying! 

 

shameless plug for critiques: http://agentquerycon...ry-ya-fantasy/ 



#7 Nessa

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 08:13 PM



Hi all, any help creating a solid query letter for my novel would be greatly appreciated. Don't be afraid to get mean with it, as long as it is constructive :)

 

Dear Ms. XXXX

 

I read that you enjoy reading fantasy novels which take you on journeys to unheard of magical realms. I believe you might appreciate my novel, THE OTHER SIDE OF BLOOD​, which is an 87,000 word YA fantasy novel of unlikely friendships and ultimate betrayal. ​[Not necessary, unless you read in a specific article/interview that you'd like to mention. Also, you should keep your meta data in one paragraph. Top or bottom of query. Not both.]

 

The irony that the thrill of living forever died before he could was not lost on Velho Vain​[Clunky to read. Also, if this is YA, you want to include his age.], neither was his predicament of living an immortal life in a world infested with the scummiest of all races: elves.​["Neither' is followed by "nor." You're using it incorrectly. "Predicament" why? Also, be careful about using "race" because some agents may read into it as a thinly-veiled parallel between fictional and real races.]

 

Velho—a highly trained assassin with a higher bounty on his head—wanders the world in search of the one thing that can set him free: magically induced euthanasia​[Avoid using "fancy" words. It doesn't fit your voice.]; the only way he can escape the horrors of his past. Haunted by the guilt of his brother's death and the previous night's whiskey​[Can infuse this with the previous sentence. Try to keep your query concise. Every bit of introduced information has to be important. Avoid filler.], he stalks whispers of the whereabouts of a council of mages who have the power to end his torment​[How?]. His bitter journey takes a turn for the worse ​[Cliché phrase that doesn't really fit your voice.]when Brooklyn—​a happy-go-lucky ​[Does this language belong in your fantasy world?]twelve-year-old with more secrets than flaming red hair​[How is flaming red hair a secret? Everyone can see it.]—implores him to help find the mythological city of Elemain (a city rumoured to contain the power to rule the world)​[Vague. How does the city contain power? Is it like a cluster of ley lines that tangle at the city's center?]] before the power-thirsty Death Queen does​[Death Queen suddenly pops in.]. Velho's rejection barely leaves his lips when he finds himself ensnared in a tangle of forces intent on returning him to the Guild's torture chamber.​[Why does his brother's death make him wanted?]

 

Velho is no stranger to eluding those who wish ill of him, but the reappearance of an elf he killed for the betrayal of his brother and ultimately his death has him stepping out of the shadows for the first time in years​[Long sentence. I also suggest putting the explanation about the betrayal sooner in the query. Right now I'm not feeling a healthy "and then what?" curiosity.] He is now faced with a difficult decision: attempt to extract revenge—again—against greater odds to avenge his brother​[So the killed elf is alive again? Is he a zombie? Did he fake his death?], or make a bid for redemption and save Brooklyn—who so reminds him of his brother​[I don't get the sense that Brooklyn is that important. You can remove her from the query and focus on the Death Queen conflict.]—from the evil clutches of the Death Queen.

 

THE OTHER SIDE OF BLOOD is a fast paced adventure novel set in a gunpowder fantasy realm. Velho's character arc resembles that of R. A. Salvatore's Artemis Entreri, while the story line is in the same vein as ​[I suggest you go to your local library and check out the Recently Released shelf. Or just read a bunch of YA fantasy and look for similar threads.](I always struggle with comparing my novel to another. If anyone has any suggestions, please don't hesitate)

 

Thankyou for your consideration,

 

M Dane


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#8 Mdane

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 03:37 AM

Dear Ms. XXXX

 

I read that you enjoy reading fantasy novels which take you on journeys to unheard of magical realms. I believe you might appreciate my novel, THE OTHER SIDE OF BLOOD​, which is a stand-alone 87,000 word fantasy novel with series potential. It will appeal to readers of XXXXXXXX (or is in the same vein as XXXXXX)

 

Most believe eternal life is a gift from the gods. They are fools. When death steals those you cherish most, immortality’s veil is lifted showing what it truly is: a curse, a walking nightmare dressed as a dream.

Velho—a highly-trained assassin with a bounty on his head—wanders the world in search of the one thing that can set him free: magically assisted suicide, the only way he can escape the horrors of his past. His journey is turned upside-down when Brooklyn—​a happy-go-lucky twelve-year-old with more secrets than flaming red hair—implores him to help find the mythological city of Elemain (rumored to contain enough gold to buy the world) before the power-thirsty Death Queen does. Failure to reach Elemain first would result in the destruction of life as they know it. Velho's love of the world is limited to cheap whiskey, but karma—an enemy of late—melds their paths together. Over time, Brooklyn’s charismatic innocence wears through Velho’s shield of hatred, teaching the grizzled assassin to smile again.

The appearance of Velho’s bitter enemy—one he believed killed by his own hand—throws his world into turmoil. Intent on exterminating her properly this time, Velho lays a trap using an unknowing Brooklyn as bait. The plan fails, resulting in Brooklyn being imprisoned by the Death Queen whose wrath will see her executed in time. Velho is forced to choose between catching and disposing of the enemy who haunts his dreams before she has a chance to disappear, or rescue the girl who has taught him to feel again. Either way, he will have to deny himself the pleasure of death’s embrace a while longer.

 


Desperately looking for advice on my query The Other Side of Blood

 

My published novel on Amazon The Traitor in the Trees


#9 darsenault

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 04:41 AM

Dear Ms. XXXX

 

I read that you enjoy reading fantasy novels which take you on journeys to unheard of magical realms. I believe you might appreciate my novel, THE OTHER SIDE OF BLOOD​, which is a stand-alone 87,000 word fantasy novel with series potential. It will appeal to readers of XXXXXXXX (or is in the same vein as XXXXXX)

 

I know you said that this was mostly lorem ipsem, but it's better not here at all. At the end of your query, write "THE OTHER SIDE OF BLOOD​ is a stand-alone 87,000 word fantasy novel. Thank you for your consideration." And at the top your query, start with your story. Anything else is overkill, and more likely to harm you than help you. Let your story do the talking.

 

Most believe eternal life is a gift from the gods. They are fools. When death steals those you cherish most, immortality’s veil is lifted showing what it truly is: a curse, a walking nightmare dressed as a dream. 

This is purple prose, and worse, it doesn't connect to the next sentence. Your hook needs to be about your character, and either what makes them special, or what challenge they're faced with.

Velho—a highly-trained assassin with a bounty on his head—wanders the world in search of the one thing that can set him free: magically assisted suicide, the only way he can escape immortality. the horrors of his past. [Here you are! This is your hook. This should be the FIRST thing that the agent sees after, "Dear Agent."] His journey is turned upside-down when Brooklyn​a happy-go-lucky twelve-year-old with more secrets than flaming red hair—implores him to help find the mythological city of Elemain (rumored to contain enough gold to buy the world) before the power-thirsty Death Queen does. Failure to reach Elemain first would result in the destruction of life as they know it. [Whoa, what? The line before made this seem like a treasure hunt, the line before that made it seem like a quest for death, and now they're saving the world? Pick one thing and focus on it.] Velho's love of the world is limited to cheap whiskey, but karma—an enemy of late—melds their [Who is "they"?] paths together. Over time, Brooklyn’s charismatic innocence wears through Velho’s shield of hatred, teaching the grizzled assassin to smile again. Show, don't tell. And this doesn't even need to be shown. It's character development, but you need to focus on the story, which is "Velho needs to find a way to kill himself because he doesn't like immortality."

The appearance of Velho’s bitter enemy—one he believed killed by his own hand—throws his world into turmoil. Intent on exterminating her properly this time, Velho lays a trap using an unknowing Brooklyn as bait. The plan fails, resulting in Brooklyn being imprisoned by the Death Queen whose wrath will see her executed in time. Velho is forced to choose between catching and disposing of the enemy who haunts his dreams before she has a chance to disappear, or rescue the girl who has taught him to feel again. Either way, he will have to deny himself the pleasure of death’s embrace a while longer.

Again, I'm going to bring up the question of: What's your focus? You present the choice: Kill an Enemy vs. Rescue a Friend, but neither of these will release him from immortality. So either immortality actually isn't the point of the story, and you need to change your hook, or it is, and you need to change most of your query, but especially the stakes here.

I like it. I'm sure it doesn't look like I do from my comments above, but I think you've probably got a really interesting story here. I'm a sucker for the angsting immortal, I love treasure hunts, and I love vendettas. The only problem here is that I can't tell which one your story is about. 

Sit down and really ask yourself what conflict is MOST important, and then write the rest of your query answering that. It's hard, I know, but it'll make this so much stronger.

 

Good luck!



#10 Mdane

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 06:45 AM

Thanks for your reply Darsenault. I guess I am having trouble trying to convey what is going on in my story. In brief, travelling the world in search of death is Velho's norm. Along comes Brooklyn who needs him to help her find the city. Over time she does cause a character arc in Velho which is important because his goals change with his arc. First it is death, then at the hook point when his enemy turns up, it is to kill her, but when Brooklyn is captured, at the moment of realization that there is something to live for, it is to rescue her and take her to Elemain.

So I guess my problem is I'm not sure how to focus it on one part of the story. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated

Desperately looking for advice on my query The Other Side of Blood

 

My published novel on Amazon The Traitor in the Trees


#11 darsenault

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 07:47 AM

Thanks for your reply Darsenault. I guess I am having trouble trying to convey what is going on in my story. In brief, travelling the world in search of death is Velho's norm. Along comes Brooklyn who needs him to help her find the city. Over time she does cause a character arc in Velho which is important because his goals change with his arc. First it is death, then at the hook point when his enemy turns up, it is to kill her, but when Brooklyn is captured, at the moment of realization that there is something to live for, it is to rescue her and take her to Elemain.

So I guess my problem is I'm not sure how to focus it on one part of the story. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated

I've got good news- you understand your story well enough that this is pretty easy to work through. I'll try to give you some barebones- the sentences won't be pretty, but you can do that once the structure makes sense.

Every good story starts with a status quo which presumably is broken in chapter one. You status quo just happens to be unusual, and your query focused pretty hard on that. Instead, let's start there, and break it right away.

"The only thing the bounty-hunter, Velho, wants from his immortality any longer is a release, but when a twelve year old named Brooklyn presents him with the opportunity to discover the lost city, Elemain, he can't help but accept the offer." 

 

Okay, that sentence is way too long for a query, but look at the structure: We identify Velho by what makes him unique (bounty hunter, immortality), but immediately redirect attention to the point of the story (following Brooklyn to Elemain). 

 

Now that we have that out of the way, we need to set up the conflict. This gets difficult because you have so much going on- the enemy that Velho encounters seems really unrelated to the plot, but at the same time, Velho doesn't seem to care about the Death-Queen much, which makes it hard to focus on one or the other. 

 

"Brooklyn is determined to reach Elemain to secure a powerful weapon before the Death-Queen can retrieve it and threaten the world.  However, Velho doesn't share her goal. He'd much rather settle his debts so he can end his life properly, and when an opportunity appears to exterminate an old enemy, he callously places Brooklyn in harm's way to accomplish his goal."

There's a rough attempt at the conflict, but now we need a choice, and the stakes around it.

 

"The Death Queen, takes advantage of this confusion and captures Brooklyn. Velho must choose between putting the past away so he can seek his death, and saving the girl who is willing to cross the continent to save life."

 

This last part, to me, is the most questionable, but that might be because I don't know the actual story. Why can't Velho save the girl and kill his enemy? Why is he so determined to kill his enemy in the first place, if he doesn't care about his life? How did a twelve year old get targeted by "the Death Queen?" Why did the Death Queen capture Brooklyn instead of just sticking a knife through her throat and leaving Velho to his own devices (since Velho doesn't seem to care about the quest anyways?)

 

You don't need to answer those questions in the query, but you need to know the answers in order to be able to write the query clearly.

Remember, you need:

Character (Focus on Velho, because it's about his choice)
Conflict 

Choice

Stakes

 

I'm excited to see your next draft! And sorry if this is sloppy, it's almost 800AM and I've been up all night. Oops.



#12 Mdane

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 01:15 AM

Awesome, thanks for your help. I will get working on one now :)

Btw, pretty bloody good after pulling an all nighter haha

Desperately looking for advice on my query The Other Side of Blood

 

My published novel on Amazon The Traitor in the Trees


#13 Mdane

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 12:23 AM

The only thing Velho Vain—a highly trained assassin—finds more appealing than exterminating elves, is death. But immortality has shielded him from that final destination, forcing him to wander the world in search of a way to escape his living nightmare. His journey is thrown into chaos when twelve-year-old Brooklyn pleads for his less-than-savoury services to help locate the lost city of Elemain. Velho’s love of the world does not extend past cheap whiskey, but fate—an enemy since birth—forces his hand into action.

The Death Queen also has her sights—and hired assassin’s—set on Elemain, for legends tell of its coffers which hold enough gold to buy the world. If the queen gains the city’s fortune she will use it to extend her reach of destruction in pursuit of coal; a vital ingredient in black powder and her key to unchallenged rulership of the entire central continent. Brooklyn and Velho must race against the clock to beat the queen to Elemain, but the appearance of Valtienne—Velho’s old love and now mortal enemy—has him changing goals. He callously uses an unknowing Brooklyn as bait to destroy the elf who haunts his dreams every night. The plan results in Brooklyn being captured by the Death Queen and Valtienne escaping death.

Velho is forced to choose between finding and disposing of Valtienne before she has a chance to disappear forever, or rescue the girl who has taught him to feel again. Either way, he will have to deny himself the pleasure of death’s embrace a while longer.


Desperately looking for advice on my query The Other Side of Blood

 

My published novel on Amazon The Traitor in the Trees


#14 Wayfarer

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 01:27 AM

 

The only thing Velho Vain—a highly trained assassin—finds more appealing than exterminating elves, is death. But immortality has shielded him from that final destination, forcing him to wander the world in search of a way to escape his living nightmare. His journey is thrown into chaos when twelve-year-old Brooklyn pleads for his less-than-savoury services to help locate the lost city of Elemain. Velho’s love of the world does not extend past cheap whiskey, but fate—an enemy since birth—forces his hand him into action.

The Death Queen also has her sights—and hired assassin’s—set on Elemain, for legends tell of its coffers which hold overflowing with enough gold riches to buy the world. If the queen gains the city’s fortune she will use it to extend her reach of destruction in pursuit of coal; a vital ingredient in black powder and her key to unchallenged rulership of the entire central continent. Brooklyn and Velho must race against the clock to beat the queen to Elemain, but the appearance of Valtienne—Velho’s old love and now mortal enemy—has him changing goals focus. He callously uses an unknowing Brooklyn as bait to lure Valtienne to him every night, only for his plan to backfire, resulting The plan results in Brooklyn being captured by the Death Queen and Valtienne escaping death.

Velho is forced to choose between finding and disposing of Valtienne  his old love before she has a chance to disappear forever, or rescuing the girl who has taught him to feel again. Either way, he will have to deny himself the pleasure of death’s embrace a while longer.

Red edits are superficial changes, things that I just thought flowed better in my mind, but aren't necessary changes to make. More of just possible alternatives to consider.

Blue is just a phrase I personally find cliche, and would look to change out for something more original myself. Again, this one is superficial and if you like it, definitely doesn't need to be changed.

Green is restructuring of the sentence. The original broke up the fluidity of the writing up until that point, my adjustments where an attempt to maintain that. Even if you don't use my edit, I would really suggest trying to streamline those two sentences into one another.

Orange is just a grammatical thing that may or not be right, but check it just to make certain.

Overall I love the plot you have here. Is Velho an Elf himself? The idea of the classic immortal Elf lusting for death and viewing it as a curse is wonderful.



#15 Mdane

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 07:06 PM

Excellent pickups Wayfarer. Cheers for taking the time

Desperately looking for advice on my query The Other Side of Blood

 

My published novel on Amazon The Traitor in the Trees


#16 Erevos

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 09:50 AM

Hello there!!

Very very interesting theme!

Wayfarer did an excellent job...so I'm gonna make some comments on things that don't work for me.

 

The only thing Velho Vain—a highly trained assassin—finds more appealing than exterminating elves, is death. This is great!

 

But immortality has shielded him from that final destination, forcing him to wander the world in search of a way to escape his living nightmare. His journey is thrown into chaos when twelve-year-old Brooklyn pleads for his less-than-savoury services to help locate the lost city of Elemain. Velho’s love of the world does not extend past cheap whiskey, but fate—an enemy since birth— I feel this isn't needed. An enemy since birth doesn't really tell much. forces his hand into action.

 

The Death Queen also has her sights—and hired assassin’s—set on Elemain, for legends tell of its coffers which hold enough gold to buy the world. If the queen gains the city’s fortune she will use it to extend her reach of destruction in pursuit of coal; a vital ingredient in black powder and her key to unchallenged rulership of the entire central continent. Brooklyn and Velho must race against the clock to beat the queen to Elemain, but the appearance of Valtienne—Velho’s old love and now mortal enemy—has him changing goals. He callously uses an unknowing Brooklyn as bait to destroy the elf You mean Valtienne right? who haunts his dreams every night. The plan results in Brooklyn being captured by the Death Queen and Valtienne escaping death.

 

Velho is forced to choose between finding and disposing of Valtienne before she has a chance to disappear forever, or rescue the girl Brooklyn? I'd use her name here. who has taught him to feel again. Either way, he will have to deny himself the pleasure of death’s embrace a while longer.

The only issue I have is with the morals of Velho...You say he is forced to choose between killing Valtienne or saving Brooklyn, but 1 paragraph above you mentioned that he used the little girl to achieve his own goals. So, for me the "taught him to feel again" doesnt really work. It feels kind of thrown in! Also, since he doesn't really care much about the world, what the Death Queen does has no impact on him! So, mentioning her in the 2nd paragraph and then making your stakes about his old lover and the girl kind of diminishes her importance. Plus, I wonder why the Death Queen would capture the girl...If I was her, I'd simply kill the girl. So, try and give Brooklyn some importance and connect the Death Queen and Valtienne with the decision he has to make!


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


#17 Katie S

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 02:58 AM

You've got some great critiques already, but you took a look at my query, so I wanted to reciprocate :)

 

The only thing Velho Vain—a highly trained assassin—finds more appealing than exterminating elves, is death. (I might add "his own death" here, because I feel like exterminating elves and death are the same thing, but it changes knowing he's obsessed with his own death.) But immortality has shielded him from that final destination, forcing him to wander the world in search of a way to escape his living nightmare. His journey is thrown into chaos when twelve-year-old Brooklyn pleads for his less-than-savoury services to help locate the lost city of Elemain. (I feel like this is a good time to say why Elemain is important.) Velho’s love of the world does not extend past cheap whiskey, but fate—an enemy since birth ​(I agree this is unnecessary)—forces his hand into action.

 

The Death Queen also has her sights—and hired assassin’s—set on Elemain, for legends tell of its coffers which hold enough gold to buy the world. (Again, I think you could mention Elemain's riches up above, and then we will understand the next sentence. But that's just an idea.) If the queen gains the city’s fortune she will use it to extend her reach of destruction in pursuit of coal; a vital ingredient in black powder and her key to unchallenged rulership of the entire central continent. Brooklyn and Velho must race against the clock to beat the queen to Elemain, but the appearance of Valtienne—Velho’s old love and now mortal enemy—has him changing goals. He callously uses an unknowing Brooklyn as bait to destroy the elf who haunts his dreams every night. The plan results in Brooklyn being captured by the Death Queen and Valtienne escaping death.

 

Velho is forced to choose between finding and disposing of Valtienne before she has a chance to disappear forever, or rescue the girl who has taught him to feel again.(Also agree that we don't know that Brookyln taught him to feel again. In fact, we think the opposite, because all we know is that Velho just threw her to the wolves.) Either way, he will have to deny himself the pleasure of death’s embrace a while longer.

 
Interesting story overall with the elves! I find myself wondering as well if Velho is an elf, and if not, why is he immortal? Good work! 


#18 Queen of my backyard

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 08:14 PM

 

The only thing Velho Vain—a highly trained assassin—finds more appealing than exterminating elves, is death dying. But immortality has shielded him from that final destination, forcing him to wander the world in search of a way to escape his living nightmare. His journey is thrown into chaos when twelve-year-old Brooklyn pleads for his less-than-savoury less than savoury (the em dashes aren't necessary and IMO are distracting.)  services to help locate the lost city of Elemain. (Why does a 12-year-old need a highly trained elf assassin to help her find a lost city?) Velho’s love of the world does not extend past cheap whiskey, but fate—an enemy since birth—forces his hand into action. (This sentence is pretty but it's sort of purple prose. How does fate force his hand into action? What does that have to do with his lack of love for the world? Instead, maybe just use a simple declarative sentence about why Velho decides to help Brooklyn.)

The Death Queen also has her sightsand her hired assassin’sset on Elemain- for legends tell of its coffers, which hold enough gold to buy the world. If the queen gains the city’s fortune, she will use it to extend her reach of destruction in pursuit of coal; a vital ingredient in black powder and her key to unchallenged rulership of the entire central continent. (This is a REALLY long sentence, 37 words. I would suggest you reword it into two separate sentences. Also, if Elemain's fortune's could buy the world, why would the Death Queen stop at just ruling the central continent? Wouldn't she go for the whole kit-n-kaboodle? If "to buy the whole world" was hyperbole, then I'd change it given you're specifically stating a lesser geographic goal in the following sentence.) Brooklyn and Velho must race against the clock to beat the queen to Elemain, but the appearance of Valtienne—Velho’s old love and now mortal enemy—has him changing goals. ​(Since we don't know WHY Brooklyn needs/wants to go to Elemain, we don't understand why they have to race the clock to beat the Death Queen. If it were me, I'd let her have the damn gold, she sounds dangerous. Also, introducing Valtienne in this sentence AND telling us she's both Velho's former flame and current mortal enemy AND that it changes his goals is too much. I think you should separate those actions/events and give us some indication of how she went from lover to enemy given what he does next. I'm not a total grammar expert, but I think those em dashes should be commas.) He callously uses an unknowing Brooklyn as bait to destroy Valtienne, the elf who nightly haunts his dreams every night (technically, if she's haunting anything, they're nightmares, not dreams- but that may be quibbling). The plan goes horribly wrong when results in Brooklyn being is captured by the Death Queen and Valtienne escaping escapes death.

Velho is forced to choose between finding and disposing of Valtienne before she has a chance to disappear forever, or rescue the girl who has taught him to feel again.​(I agree with previous posters that you haven't shown us anywhere that Brooklyn has taught him to feel again. You just finished telling us he was willing to use her as bait to get revenge on Valtienne. Maybe add a line about him having some sort of epiphany and realizing what a jerk he was and THAT makes him feel again and want to save Brooklyn.) Either way, he will have to deny himself the pleasure of death’s embrace a while longer. (Love that line!)

Really interesting premise. As others have said, just watch the motivations of your MC and clarify why he makes the choices he does. We have some empathy for him initially but you lose us when he sacrifices Brooklyn. 


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


#19 Mdane

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 11:10 PM

Thanks very much Erevos, Katie S and Queen of my Backyard!! Very valuable information and I understand completely where you are coming from. I have made some pretty big changes based on your points and I feel the query is a lot stronger for it. I will answer a few of your questions here, though I hope the new query in the following post will be clear enough now.

 

 

Over the course of their journey Brooklyn has a positive effect on Velho, sparking his character arc from being a bitter Assassin who desires death to an assassin who begins to see beauty in the world again. His intention wasn't to sacrifice Brooklyn, just use her as bait, but circumstances result in her being captured. You never appreciate what you have until you don't have it anymore. This hits Velho hard. He goes on a rescue mission to the castle. There is a key scene where he can either kill Valtienne or save Brooklyn. If he kills Valtienne, Brooklyn will die. It is an internal battle, but in the end his character arc is complete when he saves Brooklyn (you have to understand the depth of his hatred of Valtienne because she killed his younger brother).

 

Velho initially doesn't give two craps about the death queen or the world, but he comes to love Brooklyn, so he cares what happens to her.

 

I hope this all becomes evident in the new query, but please feel free to have another crack at the new one.

 

Thanks again :)


Desperately looking for advice on my query The Other Side of Blood

 

My published novel on Amazon The Traitor in the Trees


#20 Mdane

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 11:21 PM

The only thing Velho Vain—a highly trained elf assassin—finds more appealing than exterminating elves, is his own death. But immortality has shielded him from that final destination, forcing him to wander the world in search of a way to escape his living nightmare. His journey is thrown into chaos when twelve-year-old Brooklyn pleads for his less than savoury services to help locate the lost city of Elemain. Legends tell of the city’s coffers which are overflowing with enough gold to buy the world. Velho's love of gold does not extend beyond the cost of cheap whiskey, but fate forces him into action.

The Death Queen—Brooklyn’s step-mum—also has her sights and assassin’s set on Elemain, but first she must locate Brooklyn and the map she stole to the lost city. If the queen gains the city’s fortune she will use it to extend her reach of destruction in pursuit of coal; a vital ingredient in black powder and her key to unchallenged rulership of the entire Central Continent.

The appearance of Valtienne—Velho’s old love, now mortal enemy and one of the queens hired guns—sees a shift in Velho’s goals. Though touched by Brooklyn’s charismatic innocence, uncontrollable hatred has Velho rashly using her as bait to destroy Valtienne. The plan fails, resulting in Valtienne escaping death, Brooklyn returned to the Death Queen and Velho appalled he sacrificed Brooklyn for his personal vendetta. The loss of Brooklyn forces Velho to delve into his emotions and discover that he once again holds love in his heart.

Velho’s only mission now is to rescue Brooklyn, the girl who taught him to feel again, and find Elemain before the Death Queen has a chance to wrap her wicked claws around its gold. The pleasure of death’s embrace must wait a while longer for Velho Vain.


Desperately looking for advice on my query The Other Side of Blood

 

My published novel on Amazon The Traitor in the Trees





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