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PUREST BLACK (YA sci-fi)

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#21 Sataris

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 06:16 PM

 

 

No one in the world knows Jacob. No one knows where to find him, how to break him, or how he stole the souls of twenty million men. All they know is his name. But Jacob knows the world; he rules it with merciless law.

Jacob’s hierarchical empire thrives like a weed, stealing everything it needs from its subjects. The Northern Rebellion has risen to assassinate Jacob, but without information, they must settle for fruitless raids and pep talks.

 

I think the above is cool and the first bit gets my attention (reminds me a little of the name of the wind blurb), but it makes me think that Jacob is the MC, then we get some backstory on his empire, then we switch over to Star and it's a little jarring. I'd try to rephrase some of this from her perspective: Rebellion leader star wants Jacob dead, but etc etc. May end up a little less snappy, but will also feel less like the old bait and switch. You could probably cut the word count way down if you started with her imprisonment too (and just detailed Jacob's role in the world from that point)

 

When their adventuresome I don't think you're looking for an adjective here so much as a detail; what was she doing when she was captured? Would relating that make her seem adventurous/selfless/etc? leader Star is kidnapped by Jacob, she finds herself imprisoned in a jail that simulates the wilderness. There, Star is confronted by the impassive, ethical king who can read her every thought – and proves most of her assumptions wrong might want to show us how exactly she;s proven wrong; she begins to see that he's acting for the greater good when he does X, etc. By engaging Jacob in conversations, Star hunts for flaws in his shell chinks in his armor, probes for weaknesses - also, if might help if you tied this more specifically to the assassination attempt; she searches for a way to kill him, to make him mortal again, or something concrete along those lines to report to the rebellion. Yet hours alone with his cold charisma nice rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him.

 

When he offers the truth if this is going to be key in the query, we probably need to know what the truth is for the rest of the stakes to hit home about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. The decision, unbeknownst to her, will shatter or reincarnate the earth. I think probably leave out the unknown stuff. Otherwise we're sitting here thinking oh, these are the stakes, but she doesn't really know what's at stake, so she's not really going to be all that conflicted about her decision. Maybe something more concrete than shatter or reincarnate - will lead to the deaths of the rebels who've been her family v death of the man she loves/loss of the greater good

 

PUREST BLACK (120,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, possesses blends the magical realism style of “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance” mixed with the pace and world of [insert comp that I will someday find here].

Hope that was helpful!


No current query.


#22 Kelz1990

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 07:05 PM

No one in the world knows Jacob. No one knows where to find him, how to break him, or how he stole the souls of twenty million men. All they know is his name. But Jacob knows the world; he rules it with merciless law.

Jacob’s hierarchical empire thrives like a weed, stealing everything it needs from its subjects. The Northern Rebellion has risen to assassinate Jacob, but without information, they must settle for fruitless raids and pep talks.

 

When their adventuresome leader Star is kidnapped by Jacob, (okay, so we jumped from Jacob to Star) she finds herself imprisoned in a jail that simulates the wilderness. There, Star is confronted by the impassive, ethical king who can read her every thought – and proves most of her assumptions wrong. By engaging Jacob in conversations, Star hunts for flaws in his shell to report to the rebellion. Yet hours Hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob… and not so she can defeat him. When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. The decision, unbeknownst to her, will either shatter or reincarnate the earth.

 

Completed at 120,000 words, PUREST BLACK (120,000 words), is a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, possesses possessing the magical realism style of “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance” (you can just italicize your comps, no need for quotations) mixed with the pace and world of [insert comp that I will someday find here].

You've got a strong query right here.



#23 Wayfarer

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 04:00 PM

I think the Jacob-framed rendition is the most compelling between the two.

 

No one in the world knows Jacob. No one knows where to find him, how to break him, or how he stole the souls of twenty million men. All they know is his name. But Jacob knows the world; he rules it with merciless law.

 

Many organizations have risen to overthrow his hierarchical empire, but given their lack of information, Jacob considers only one a threat: the Northern Rebellion. One of its leaders – the curious, innocent Star - poses no risk, but the other, impetuously zealous Jase, can cripple Jacob’s plan simply by dying.

 

As Jase would die before surrendering, Jacob must balance the scales. He kidnaps Star and imprisons her in a jail simulating the wilderness, where he presents himself to her as an impassive, ethical king capable of reading her every thought. As Star probes him for a weakness through hours of solitary conversation, Jacob manipulates his stoic charisma to tempt her into learning more about him, trapping her in a place of affection and intrigue.

 

Yet Jase, furious with Stars capture, acts with his classic impulsiveness and nearly rescues her. Unshaken on the outside, but internally agitated, Jacob offers Star the truth about his lack of flaws (I think this needs rephrasing. Right now it sounds sort of silly, and a turn-off because people are so obsessed with characters having flaws. I understand that you subtly delineate Jacob's flaws, but saying he's flawless sort of contradicts that. Perhaps say something like 'the truth of his powers/abilities' in reference to how he holds so much control over the world instead.) in exchange for her allegiance.

 

Star can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an (Maybe say seemingly here? Since he's actually flawed in some way, otherwise he wouldn't have been internally agitated.) unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. Jacob has always been good at manipulating the odds, but he’s playing a desperate game. Because Star’s decision, and Jase's response, will serve to either literally shatter the earth, or reincarnate it.

Looking good. Just a few small points to consider in the above.



#24 Erevos

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 09:17 AM

Hello there and thank you for your comments on my query!

I see you have a multi-pov novel as well!!

Alright, guys, I addressed the issue of switching MCs! I've written two versions - one with Jacob as the MC (bc I couldn't bear to part with my beloved hook), and one with Star as the MC (bc I couldn't bear to part with the rest of the query :tongue: ) I'd appreciate if you tell me which you prefer, and any feedback as well.

 

Also, I'm going to work on bringing down my word count in the actual manuscript. Thanks again!
 

Version 3.5 (Jacob-framed):

No one in the world knows Jacob. No one knows where to find him, how to break stop like wayfarer said sounds better him, or how he stole the souls of twenty million men. All they know is his name. But Jacob knows the world; he rules it with merciless law. Great!

 

Many organizations have risen to overthrow his hierarchical empire, but given their lack of information, Jacob considers only one a threat: the Northern Rebellion. One of its leaders – the curious, innocent Star - poses no risk, but the other, impetuously zealous Jase, can cripple Jacob’s plan simply by dying. This confused me! I had to continue reading in order to undestand!

 

As Jase would die before surrendering, Jacob must balance the scales. He kidnaps Star and imprisons her in a jail simulating the wilderness, where he presents himself to her as an impassive, ethical king capable of reading her every thought. As Star probes him for a weakness through hours of solitary conversation, Jacob manipulates his icy charisma to tempt her into learning more about him, trapping her in a place of affection and intrigue.

 

Yet Jase, furious with Star's capture, acts with his classic impulsiveness and nearly rescues Star. Unshaken on the outside, but internally agitated, Jacob offers Star the truth about his powers in exchange for her allegiance. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining a seemingly unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. Jacob has always been good at manipulating the odds, but he’s playing a desperate game. Everything's great so far, but why is Jacob playing a desperate game? What is at stake for him? Shatter or reincarnate the earth sounds great, but I don't understand is...why? If you mean that a war between the rebels and Jacob is at hand and will shatter the earth, then I think it's better if you make it clearer. Reincarnate comes from...? Something like Star can persuade Jacob to suddenly play the good guy? This query is really really great....The only things that confused me are the last 2 sentences! Because Star’s decision, and Jase's response, will either shatter or reincarnate the earth.

 

PUREST BLACK (120,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, possesses the magical realism style of “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance” mixed with the pace and world of [insert comp that I will someday find here].

 

Version 3.5 (Star-framed):

 

I feel that the hook from the previous version can go here as well!

 

Rebellion leader Star, bored I believe tired/harassed work better than bored with fruitless raids and unavailing discourse, wants the mysterious, cruel Jacob dead. Lack of information once eliminated that option, but new spy intel finally offers a chance to assassinate the world’s dictator.

 

Kidnapped during the attack, Star finds herself imprisoned in a jail that simulates the wilderness. There, Star is confronted by the impassive, ethical king who can read her every thought – and proves most of her assumptions wrong. By engaging Jacob in conversations, Star hunts for flaws in his shell to report to the rebellion. Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him.

 

When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. The decision will either shatter or reincarnate the earth. Hmmm... I like this version too, though it suffers the same problem (at least for me) A question... I know Star feels spellbound by Jacob, but the ethical and right thing to do is stick with the rebellion, right? 

 

PUREST BLACK (120,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, blends the magical realism of “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance” with the pace and world of [insert comp that I will someday find here].


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


#25 alibi174

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 10:56 AM

Version 3.5 (Jacob-framed):

No one in the world knows Jacob. No one knows where to find him, how to break him, or how he stole the souls of twenty million men. All they know is his name. But Jacob knows the world; he rules it with merciless law. <as others have pointed out, I really love this opening!>

 

Many organizations have risen to overthrow his hierarchical empire, but given their lack of information <what do you mean here? It's a little vague about how "lack of information" could translate to not being a threat. Maybe something like "lack of manpower/resources/etc, that is more easily associated with non-threatening to a hierarchy>, Jacob considers only one a threat: the Northern Rebellion. One of its leaders – the curious, innocent Star - poses no risk;, but the other, impetuously zealous Jase, can cripple Jacob’s plan simply by dying.

 

<I'm missing the connection between this paragraph and the one above. How would dying hurt Jacob?>As Jase would die before surrendering, Jacob must balance the scales<a bit vague>. He kidnaps Star and imprisons her in a jail simulating the wilderness, where he presents himself to her as an impassive, ethical king capable of reading her every thought. As Star probes him for a weakness through hours of solitary conversation, Jacob manipulates his icy charisma to tempt her into learning more about him, trapping her in a place of affection and intrigue.<what do these sentences have to do with Jacob's problem with Jase?>

 

Yet Jase, furious with Star's capture, acts with his classic impulsiveness and nearly rescues Star <"nearly rescues" is confusing to me. Star is clearly still alive (from what you have written below), but the situation is unclear>. Unshaken on the outside, but internally agitated, Jacob offers Star the truth about his powers in exchange for her allegiance. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining a seemingly unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. Jacob has always been good at manipulating the odds, but he’s playing a desperate game. Because Star’s decision, and Jase's response, will either shatter or reincarnate the earth.<I am still a little unclear about the inter-relationship between Jacob, Jase, and Star. Is there a way you could make the delicate balance between them more obvious?>

 

I like the Jacob-framed query better, as it feels more original to me. Jacob strikes me as a more conflicted character than Star, and it seems like he is juggling more interesting problems. 

 

PUREST BLACK (120,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, possesses the magical realism style of “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance” mixed with the pace and world of [insert comp that I will someday find here].

 

Version 3.5 (Star-framed):

Rebellion leader Star, bored with fruitless raids and unavailing discourse, wants the mysterious, cruel Jacob dead. Lack of information once eliminated that option, but new spy intel finally offers a chance to assassinate the world’s dictator.

 

Kidnapped during the attack, Star finds herself imprisoned in a jail that simulates the wilderness. There, Star is confronted by the impassive, ethical king who can read her every thought – and proves most of her assumptions wrong. By engaging Jacob in conversations, Star hunts for flaws in his shell to report to the rebellion. Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him.

 

When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. The decision will either shatter or reincarnate the earth.

 

PUREST BLACK (120,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, blends the magical realism of “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance” with the pace and world of [insert comp that I will someday find here].


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


#26 Artsnerd

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 11:22 AM

No one in the world knows Jacob. No one knows where to find him, how to break him, or how he stole the souls of twenty million men. All they know is his name. But Jacob knows the world; he rules it with merciless law. I really fancy this opening.

 

Many organizations have risen to overthrow his hierarchical empire, but given their lack of information, Jacob considers only one a threat: the Northern Rebellion. One of its leaders – the curious, innocent Star - poses no risk, but the other, impetuously zealous Jase, can cripple Jacob’s plan simply by dying. Good, this is much more clear than the previous query. I like that you've included more regarding the characters. It fleshes them out.

 

As Jase would die before surrendering, Jacob must balance the scales. He kidnaps Star and imprisons her in a jail simulating the wilderness, where he presents himself to her as an impassive, ethical king capable of reading her every thought. As Star probes him for a weakness through hours of solitary conversation, Jacob manipulates his icy charisma to tempt her into learning more about him, trapping her in a place of affection and intrigue.

 

Yet Jase, furious with Star's capture, acts with his classic impulsiveness and nearly rescues Star. The other half of this sentence ("acts with...rescues Star") reads awkwardly, at least to me. I think the phrase "acts with his classic impulsiveness" is what bothers me the most. Unshaken on the outside, but internally agitated, Jacob offers Star the truth about his powers in exchange for her allegiance. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining a seemingly unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. Jacob has always been good at manipulating the odds, but he’s playing a desperate game. Because Star’s decision, and Jase's response, will either shatter or reincarnate the earth.

 

PUREST BLACK (120,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, possesses the magical realism style of “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance” mixed with the pace and world of [insert comp that I will someday find here].

 

You've really improved this query. It's getting close--good job!


“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.

 

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#27 VSChapman

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 11:40 AM

Alright, guys, I addressed the issue of switching MCs! I've written two versions - one with Jacob as the MC (bc I couldn't bear to part with my beloved hook), and one with Star as the MC (bc I couldn't bear to part with the rest of the query :tongue: ) I'd appreciate if you tell me which you prefer, and any feedback as well.

 

Also, I'm going to work on bringing down my word count in the actual manuscript. Thanks again!
 

Version 3.5 (Jacob-framed):

No one in the world knows Jacob. No one knows where to find him, how to break him, or how he stole the souls of twenty million men. All they know is his name. But Jacob knows the world; he rules it with merciless law. (still a great hook. Definitely don't part with it! ;))

 

Many organizations have risen to overthrow his hierarchical empire, but given their lack of information, Jacob considers only one a threat: the Northern Rebellion. One of its leaders – the curious, innocent Star - poses no risk, but the other, impetuously zealous Jase, can cripple Jacob’s plan simply by dying.

 

As Jase would die before surrendering, (wait, I'm confused. Above you said all Jase had to do was die to cripple Jacob's plan. But here you say he would die before surrendering? I had to read those a few times for them to make sense to me.) Jacob must balance the scales. He kidnaps Star (maybe add the curious, innocent leader here) and imprisons her in a jail simulating the wilderness, where he presents himself to her as an impassive, ethical king capable of reading her every thought. As Star probes him for a weakness through hours of solitary conversation, Jacob manipulates his icy charisma to tempt her into learning more about him, trapping her in a place of affection and intrigue.

 

Yet Jase, furious with Star's capture, acts with his classic impulsiveness and nearly attempts but fails to? rescues Star. Unshaken on the outside, but internally agitated, Jacob offers Star the truth about his powers in exchange for her allegiance. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining a seemingly unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. Jacob has always been good at manipulating the odds, but he’s playing a desperate game. Because Star’s decision, and Jase's response, will either shatter or reincarnate the earth.

 

PUREST BLACK (120,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, possesses the magical realism style of “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance” mixed with the pace and world of [insert comp that I will someday find here].

 

Version 3.5 (Star-framed):

Rebellion leader Star, bored with fruitless raids and unavailing discourse, wants the mysterious, cruel Jacob dead. Lack of information once eliminated that option, but new spy intel finally offers a chance to assassinate the world’s dictator.

 

Kidnapped during the attack, Star finds herself imprisoned in a jail that simulates the wilderness. There, Star is confronted by the impassive, ethical king who can read her every thought – and proves most of her assumptions wrong. By engaging Jacob in conversations, Star hunts for flaws in his shell to report to the rebellion. Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him.

 

When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. The decision will either shatter or reincarnate the earth.

 

PUREST BLACK (120,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, blends the magical realism of “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance” with the pace and world of [insert comp that I will someday find here].

So, I see your conflict here. Version 1 definitely has the better hook but version 2 tells Star's side better. If I had to pick I'd go with version 1. Only because I think it tells the whole story better overall. And since you are going through your MS anyway I thought I'd throw this out here- have you thought about changing a character's name? Jase and Jacob are very similar. My small mind gets confused sometimes when I see similar names. Just a thought. Overall, this is looking good though! Keep it up



#28 anathebookworm

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 02:51 PM

All of your comments have been super helpful! The newest version is up. Let me know if it clarifies Jacob's plan and the interaction between all three characters. I'll get right to work reciprocating all the feedback :)

 

Also, I'm going to work on bringing down my word count in the actual manuscript. Thanks again!
 

Version 4.0:

No one in the world knows Jacob. No one knows where to find him, how to stop him, or how he stole the souls of twenty million men. All they know is his name. But Jacob knows the world; he rules it with merciless law.

 

Many organizations have risen to overthrow his hierarchical empire, but Jacob considers only one a threat: the Northern Rebellion. One of its leaders – the curious, innocent Star - poses no risk; the other, impetuously zealous Jase, can cripple Jacob’s plan simply by dying.

 

Jacob gambled with the gods, using the world as his bargaining chip. The deal requires Jase alive but broken. To achieve this, Jacob kidnaps Star, presenting himself as an impassive, ethical king capable of reading her every thought. As Star probes him for a weakness through hours of solitary conversation, Jacob manipulates his icy charisma to tempt her into learning more about him, trapping her in a place of affection and intrigue.

 

Yet Jase, furious with Star's capture, almost rescues her. Unshaken on the outside, but internally agitated, Jacob offers Star the truth about his powers in exchange for her allegiance. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining a seemingly unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. Jacob excels at manipulating the odds, but he’s playing a desperate game. Because Star’s decision, and Jase's response, will either shatter or reincarnate the earth.

 

PUREST BLACK (120,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, blends the magical realism of “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance” with the pace and world of [insert comp that I will someday find here].

 

I have a few questions: How old are the characters? Because this sounds a little more Adult than YA to me, but maybe this is just because their ages aren't included here. Also, where is the story happening? I didn't feel like I understood where it's rooted, if it's our world (modern) or any other world. I was left very confused about this. Another issue I had is that this doesn't sound like magical realism, because MR is usually rooted in the "real" world, only with some events that can't exactly be explained. MR is very hard to explain, but your story sounds a lot more Sci-Fi to me. Finally, I don't think I understood Jacob's deal with the gods--what *is* the deal, exactly? And why would they give him their attention at all?

 

I think this sounds like a very nice story, but you need to explain some details a bit betterl

 

Btw, thank you very much for your help with my own query! I hope I managed to help you here, too :) <3



#29 AmberA

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 07:05 PM

All of your comments have been super helpful! The newest version is up. Let me know if it clarifies Jacob's plan and the interaction between all three characters. I'll get right to work reciprocating all the feedback :)

 

Also, I'm going to work on bringing down my word count in the actual manuscript. Thanks again!
 

Version 4.0:

 

No one in the world knows Jacob. No one knows where to find him, how to stop him, or how he stole the souls of twenty million men. All they know is his name. But Jacob knows the world; he rules it with merciless law.

 

Many organizations have risen to overthrow his hierarchical empire, but Jacob considers only one a threat: the Northern Rebellion. One of its leaders – the curious, innocent Star - poses no risk; the other, impetuously zealous Jase, can cripple Jacob’s plan simply by dying.

 

Jacob gambled with the gods, using the world as his bargaining chip. The deal requires Jase alive but broken. To achieve this, Jacob kidnaps Star, presenting himself as an impassive, ethical king capable of reading her every thought. As Star probes him for a weakness through hours of solitary conversation, Jacob manipulates his icy charisma to tempt her into learning more about him, trapping her in a place of affection and intrigue.

 

Yet Jase, furious with Star's capture, almost rescues her. ( So does Jase save her or no? Why is Jase furious? ) Unshaken on the outside, but internally agitated, Jacob offers Star the truth about his powers in exchange for her allegiance. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining a seemingly unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. Jacob excels at manipulating the odds, but he’s playing a desperate game. ( What game? This is confusing ) Because Star’s decision, and Jase's response, will either shatter or reincarnate the earth. ( Now I'm lost, What does Jase have to do with this? and his response, I'm confused... I think you should elaborate a little more on Jase's role.. Right now, I have no idea what Jase is doing at all... I feel this MS is only about Jacob and Star and Jase is an outsider. If he's an important character you need to elaborate a little more on him. How does Jase save Star, or why doesn't he save Star.. What does Jase have against Star?? ) Hope this helps. :blush:  You have a good story and I can already feel there's a lot of action, but some characters a little vague IMO. 

 

PUREST BLACK (120,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, blends the magical realism of “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance” with the pace and world of [insert comp that I will someday find here].


Would appreciate critiques on my YA- VENGEANCE query: http://agentquerycon...edits/?p=352035


#30 galian84

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 08:40 PM

No one in the world knows Jacob. No one knows where to find him, how to stop him, or how he stole the souls of twenty million men. All they know is his name. But Jacob knows the world; he rules it with merciless law. (I like this opening line. Makes me want to know more about Jacob and what this world is all about)

 

Many organizations have risen to overthrow his hierarchical empire, but Jacob considers only one a threat: the Northern Rebellion. One of its leaders – the curious, innocent Star - poses no risk; the other, impetuously zealous Jase, can cripple Jacob’s plan simply by dying. (So Jase is the only threat, not really the Northern Rebellion)

 

Jacob gambled with the gods, using the world as his bargaining chip. (I'd recommend putting this line in the previous paragraph, since that's where you talk about his plan. I think a quick explanation would be good here as to why he made this deal, with such dangerous odds) The deal requires Jase alive but broken (I'm not clear on what exactly this deal is about, and why it requires Jase alive). To achieve this, Jacob kidnaps Star, presenting himself as an impassive, ethical king capable of reading her every thought. As Star probes him for a weakness through hours of solitary conversation, Jacob manipulates his icy charisma to tempt her into learning more about him, trapping her in a place of affection and intrigue. 

 

Yet Jase, furious with Star's capture, almost rescues her. (What do you mean by 'almost' rescues her?) Unshaken on the outside, but internally agitated, Jacob offers Star the truth about his powers in exchange for her allegiance. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining a seemingly unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. Jacob excels at manipulating the odds, but he’s playing a desperate game. Because Star’s decision, and Jase's response, will either shatter or reincarnate the earth. (I like the wording of this last line, and I understand the stakes)

 

PUREST BLACK (120,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, blends the magical realism of “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance” with the pace and world of [insert comp that I will someday find here].

Hi there :) Hope I can be of some help. Overall, interesting plotline, and it seems like you've done a lot of work on it. I didn't go through the previous responses, so bringing a pair of fresh eyes to the table. I'm no expert, but I feel like a little clarity could be useful, as well as just a little more detail in order to make this query more solid.



#31 PureZhar3

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 09:17 PM

Alright, guys, so this is my current struggle:

Clearly, the largest amount of interest lies in Jacob's character (hence why all my effective queries are written focused on him). This is as it should be - the whole book ultimately is solving the mystery of who he is.

Unfortunately, this means that he's the biggest challenge to write, because almost all information concerning him is a reveal. And not a small, "oh that's interesting" reveal, but a "that changes the whole novel up to this point" reveal. What he's actually after is the biggest reveal of all (it's what every character in the novel is trying to figure out), so his plan (above all else) can't be detailed much without giving away, you know, the whole book up until that point.

 

I'll post a revision soon - I think so far my safest bet is to not draw too much attention to his ulterior plan, and rather let the reader assume that he wants to keep the world? Thanks for your help! I'm just struggling a little bit with being specific, particularly because a lot of my specifics seem hyperbolic (i.e. reincarnate) but are literal.


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


#32 Wayfarer

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 10:32 PM

No one in the world knows Jacob. No one knows where to find him, how to stop him, or how he stole the souls of twenty million men. All they know is his name. But Jacob knows the world; he rules it with merciless law.

 

Many organizations have risen to overthrow his hierarchical empire, but Jacob considers only one a threat: the Northern Rebellion. One of its leaders – the curious, innocent Star - poses no risk; the other, impetuously zealous Jase, is willing to die to exterminate Jacob.

 

Jacob understands the untapped potential of Jase and doesn't want to kill him. (You should explain Jase's special ability a little more. Maybe instead of the aforementioned "impetuously zealous" use that point of description to elaborate on this.) But left untouched, Jase can fragment the nation Jacob has so cruelly crafted. To prevent this, Jacob kidnaps Star, (I know you explain this later as a way to infuriate Jase, but I think you need to do so beforehand. If I were reading this for the first time I would be confused by this, and it would break the flow of the writing.) presenting himself as an impassive, ethical king capable of reading her every thought. As Star probes him for a weakness through hours of solitary conversation, Jacob manipulates his icy charisma to tempt her into learning more about him, trapping her in a place of affection and intrigue.

 

Yet Jase, infatuated with Star and furious at her capture, almost but fails to rescue her (Definitely need to re-phrase this. "attempts a daring rescue that ends in failure. Yet the attempt shakes Jacob on the outside, but internally agitated, Jacob (explain why it shakes him, and why he wants Stars allegiance. I can presume its to get at Jase, but it needs to be said.) offers Star the truth about his powers in exchange for her allegiance. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining a seemingly unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. Jacob excels at manipulating the odds, but he’s playing a desperate game. Because Star’s decision, and Jase's response, will either shatter or reincarnate the earth. (I understand the relevance of reincarnation, as Jacob has a bunch of souls, but not having referenced it again in the body of the query makes it feel out of place here.)



#33 alibi174

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Posted 29 January 2018 - 09:39 AM

I tried to fix those issues brought up in my newest version. All of your comments have been super helpful! Let me know if it clarifies Jacob's plan and the interaction between all three characters. I'll get right to work reciprocating all the feedback :)

 

Also, I'm going to work on bringing down my word count in the actual manuscript. Thanks again!
 

Version 4.1:

No one in the world knows Jacob. No one knows where to find him, how to stop him, or how he stole the souls of twenty million men. All they know is his name. But Jacob knows the world; he rules it with merciless law.[I really like this intro!]

 

Many organizations have risen to overthrow his hierarchical empire, but Jacob considers only one a threat: the Northern Rebellion. One of its leaders – the curious, innocent Star - poses no risk; the other, impetuously zealous Jase, is willing to die to exterminate Jacob.[much cleaner]

 

Jacob understands the untapped potential of Jase and doesn't want to kill him. But left untouched, Jase can fragment the nation Jacob has so cruelly crafted. To prevent this, Jacob kidnaps Star, presenting himself as an impassive, ethical king capable of reading her every thought. As Star probes him for a weakness through hours of solitary conversation, Jacob manipulates his icy charisma to tempt her into learning more about him, trapping her in a place of affection and intrigue. [I'm still not entirely clear on the connection between Jase and Star]

 

Yet Jase, infatuated with Star and furious at her capture, almost but fails to rescue her. [Got it now. Consider making this clear earlier] Unshaken on the outside, but internally agitated, Jacob offers Star the truth about his powers in exchange for her allegiance. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining a seemingly unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. Jacob excels at manipulating the odds, but he’s playing a desperate game. Because Star’s decision, and Jase's response, will either shatter or reincarnate the earth. [excellent! I'm really into this :) ]

 

PUREST BLACK (120,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, blends the magical realism of “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance” with the pace and world of [insert comp that I will someday find here].


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


#34 anathebookworm

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Posted 29 January 2018 - 12:26 PM

Ohhh, it's much nicer now! Congrats! Though I still think you should include the ages of your characters here :) Other than that, this is very ice!



#35 Zach

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Posted 29 January 2018 - 01:02 PM

No one in the world knows Jacob. No one knows where to find him, how to stop him, or how he stole the souls of twenty million men. Is that enough to conquer the whole world? All they know is his name. But Jacob knows the world; he rules it with merciless law. Effective opener, I was definitely hooked.

 

Many organizations organizations seems a little business-like for a rebellion, but its probably okay have risen to overthrow his hierarchical empire, but Jacob considers only one a threat: the Northern Rebellion. One of its leaders – the curious, innocent Star - poses no risk; the other, impetuously zealous Jase, is willing to die to exterminate Jacob. Effective

 

Jacob understands the untapped potential of Jase and doesn't want to kill him. But left untouched, Jase can fragment the nation Jacob has so cruelly crafted. To prevent this, Jacob kidnaps Star, presenting himself as an impassive, ethical king capable of reading her every thought. This last sentence is the most confusing of the query. Why does kidnapping Star stop Jase? Is she a hostage to be killed if Jase doesn’t surrender? If so, why does he want to present himself as an ethical king? Why is kidnapping an aspect of an ethical king, it seems kind of underhanded. As Star probes him for a weakness through hours of solitary conversation, Jacob manipulates his icy charisma is he charismatic or impassive. Is it really possible to be both? to tempt her into learning more about him, trapping her in a place of affection and intrigue.

 

Yet Jase, infatuated with Star and furious at her capture, almost attempts might be a stronger word than almost but fails to rescue her. Unshaken on the outside, but internally agitated, Jacob offers Star the truth about his powers in exchange for her allegiance. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining a seemingly unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. Interesting that you have her motivation be curiosity rather than using Jacob’s powers for good. This paints Star in a much more morally-grey zone. Maybe introduce her curiosity a little earlier so we know it is a key aspect of this big decision. Jacob excels at manipulating the odds, but he’s playing a desperate game. Because Star’s decision, and Jase's response, will either shatter or reincarnate the earth.

 

PUREST BLACK (120,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, blends the magical realism of “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance” with the pace and world of [insert comp that I will someday find here].

 

I am a sucker for POV of the villain (as you know from reading my query), so I think that this story sounds like a really interesting read. I especially like that your three main characters seem to exist on a spectrum. Moral but ineffective in Jase, Cruel but effective in Jacob, with the true power being in Star’s potential to go either way.

 


#36 PureZhar3

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Posted 29 January 2018 - 04:31 PM

Ohhh, it's much nicer now! Congrats! Though I still think you should include the ages of your characters here :) Other than that, this is very ice!

How old, based on the feel of the query, would you guess they are?


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


#37 smithgirl

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 06:32 PM

No one in the world knows Jacob. No one knows where to find him, how to stop him, or how he stole the souls of twenty million men. All they know is his name. But Jacob knows the world; he rules it with merciless law.  Good hook!

  

Many organizations have risen to overthrow his hierarchical empire, but Jacob considers only one a threat: the Northern Rebellion. The Rebellion has two leaders. One of them its leaders – the curious, innocent Star - poses no risk; the other, golden-tongued Jase, is willing to die to exterminate Jacob. This was a bit confusing to me since I assumed the Northern Rebellion would have only one leader. I reworded a bit.

  

Jacob understands the untapped potential of Jase and doesn't want to kill him. But left untouched, Jase can destroy fragment the nation Jacob has so arduously  cruelly crafted. Because Jase is in love with Star, To exploit Jase’s infatuation of Star, Jacob kidnaps her, presenting himself as an impassive, ethical king capable of reading her every thought. As Star probes him for a weakness through hours of solitary conversation, Jacob uses manipulates his icy charisma to tempt her into learning more about him, trapping her in a place of affection and intrigue.  If Jacob presents himself as an ethical king, what excuse does he give for kidnapping her?

  

Yet Jase, furious at Star’s capture, attempts but fails to rescue her. Unshaken on the outside, but secretly unnerved internally agitated, Jacob offers Star the truth about his powers in exchange for her allegiance. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, But the rebellion isn't really ineffective, right? Or else it wouldn't be the only one Jacob wouldn't be so worried about it. or she can indulge her curiosity Her curiosity about what? by joining a seemingly unbreakable tyrant. Jacob excels at manipulating the odds, but he’s playing a desperate game. Because Star’s decision, and Jase's response, will either shatter or reincarnate the earth. What? We need more information. I don't understand what this means.

  

PUREST BLACK (120,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, blends the pace and structure of Marissa Myer’s “Renegades” with the writing style of “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance”.

 

Your query starts out really strong, but it needs more information. Especially at the very end. The last sentence just has too much information that has not been clarified. You need to expand on the last sentence.

 

Other people have probably mentioned this, but 120K is very long. You will likely face some resistance because of the length. Also, you should avoid having two main characters with similar names. This might be down the road, but it's likely an editor will ask you change the name of Jacob or Jace.

 

Overall your query sounds compelling and it's strongly written. I think you just need to clarify a few things. Good luck!



#38 anathebookworm

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 08:21 PM

How old, based on the feel of the query, would you guess they are?

 

Honestly, I don't know. Like I mentioned before, they sound very adult. The story sounds very adult and not *young* adult.



#39 anathebookworm

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 08:22 PM


 

You will likely face some resistance because of the length. Also, you should avoid having two main characters with similar names. This might be down the road, but it's likely an editor will ask you change the name of Jacob or Jace.

 

 

Yes!!! This is something I forgot to mention but that bothered me as well!



#40 PureZhar3

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 09:58 PM

Honestly, I don't know. Like I mentioned before, they sound very adult. The story sounds very adult and not *young* adult.


Yeah, that’s what I thought. In reality, Star is fifteen, while Jase and Jacob are both seventeen. The reason I don’t mention Jacob’s age is because it instantly raises a ton of questions (how did he take over the world so young??) that the book addresses but the query doesn’t. The reason I haven’t mentioned Star or Jase’s age is that I’m afraid it’s going to make the interactions seem creepy... Jacob, who readers assume to be a middle-aged mean, kidnapping a minor girl? And there’s slight romantic tension hinted (I think) which makes it even weirder to mention age. I assumed that sending it to YA agents and classifying it as YA would satisfy the agent for the moment. Any thoughts/advice?

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






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