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UNICORN - gothic fantasy


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#1 Temeraire

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 12:43 PM

NEW IN #9

 

(side note: I actually have no title for this. titles suck.) 

 

(side side note: I know, this needs a disgusting amount of work. pls halp) 

 

 

 

Dear Agent:

 

Violet is a ruined woman.

 

She left everything to live with Clairmont, the young lord she thought loved her, and even though she knows he’s not a good or kind man, she has nowhere to go and nothing to hope for – until the day a unicorn is spotted in the woods nearby. Clairmont immediately declares a hunt; he will stop at nothing to have the unicorn’s head on his wall. But seeing the unicorn awakens something in Violet’s frozen and broken spirit. She sneaks away from the hunt and guides the unicorn to a safe hiding place, planning to keep it concealed until the hunt is over and the woods are clear again. But the unicorn has woken more than Violet’s courage. A foul rot starts to spread throughout the house, tainting everything it touches, disturbing the spirits and darkness lurking in every corner.

 

Violet tells herself if she can keep the unicorn safe, she may redeem some of her purity, but purity won’t be enough to keep herself safe from Clairmont’s vengeance, or the mysterious rot tangling itself around her dreams and choking her waking mind. For the first time in her life, Violet’s going to have to fight for herself. 

 

[personalised agent blurb + word count + usual housekeeping] 


If I've helped you with your query, I'd love if you would take a look at mine! 

 

UNICORN (gothic fantasy) 

Query letter 


#2 PureZhar3

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 12:54 PM

(side note: I actually have no title for this. titles suck.) ​lol. I understand. If you post a synopsis, I could try to suggest a few titles? Don't know how well they fit but it might be worth a shot.

 

(side side note: I know, this needs a disgusting amount of work. pls halp) 

 

 

 

Dear Agent:

 

Violet is a ruined woman. ​*yawn* Tell me something interesting and unique

 

She left everything to live with Clairmont, the young lord she thought loved her, and even though she knows he’s not a good or kind man, she has nowhere to go and nothing to hope for – until the day a unicorn is spotted in the woods nearby. ​Maybe her seeing the unicorn in the woods should be the hook? Also, I like the information here, but this sentence is too long. Clairmont immediately declares a hunt ​did he see it too, or did she tell him about it?; he will stop at nothing to have the unicorn’s head on his wall ​why? Are they rare? Easily captured? Minor questions, but if you're able to answer it easily, it could strengthen this. But seeing the unicorn awakens something in Violet’s frozen and broken spirit ​show us why she's broken. Because Clairmont is distant? Abusive? Rage-filled? Condescending? Tell us how he isn't good or kind would create much sympathy. She sneaks away from the hunt and guides the unicorn to a safe hiding place ​interesting. But you probably don't need to say she sneaks away from the hunt - she sneaks away is enough info, planning to keep it concealed until the hunt is over and the woods are clear again. But the unicorn has woken more than Violet’s courage. A foul rot starts to spread throughout the house, tainting everything it touches, disturbing the spirits and darkness lurking in every corner.

 

Violet tells herself ​that if she can keep the unicorn safe, she may redeem some of her purity ​how did she lose it?, but purity won’t be enough to keep herself safe from Clairmont’s vengeance, or the mysterious rot tangling itself around her dreams and choking her waking mind ​interestinggggg. For the first time in her life, Violet’s going to have to fight for herself. 

 

[personalised agent blurb + word count + usual housekeeping] 

​Whelp. That was a query, all right. Not a very interesting one, but a query nonetheless (and actually writing a query is always a good place to start). Now, don't misunderstand me. The story interests me. The unicorn interests me. Clairmont interests me. But the query... the query does not interest me. You need more specifics... you need to dig in to the specifics and show us why we care about this story, this Violet, this unicorn, as opposed to all the other "save the unicorn" tales out there. Hope that helps - I'll check back for a revision soon.


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


#3 Arait

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 01:03 PM

Could you describe the rot more? What is the source of the rot? Her internal brokenness? How did the unicorn cause the rot? Does Clairemont know anything about it (ie. that it's her fault, it's magical origins)? Can he even see it, or is it just choking her dreams and mind?

You don't necessarily need to answer all of that, but some of it might give us a better feel for the risks involved.

#4 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 02:36 PM

​Whelp. That was a query, all right. Not a very interesting one, but a query nonetheless (and actually writing a query is always a good place to start). Now, don't misunderstand me. The story interests me. The unicorn interests me. Clairmont interests me. But the query... the query does not interest me. You need more specifics... you need to dig in to the specifics and show us why we care about this story, this Violet, this unicorn, as opposed to all the other "save the unicorn" tales out there. Hope that helps - I'll check back for a revision soon.

 

Agreeing with everything Pure said. :) Don't be discouraged that you didn't get it right the first time -- it takes a LOT of hard work and revisions to get a query letter into workable shape, as I've learned over the past several days!

I look forward to the next iteration of your query. Keep at it! You've got a really interesting story here, you just need to figure out how best to sell it.



#5 Temeraire

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 03:08 PM

Dear Agent:

 

Violet left everything to live with Clairmont, the young lord who seduced her. Now, faced with his cruelty and abuse, and ostracized from her family, she has nowhere to go and nothing to hope for—until a unicorn is spotted in the woods nearby.

 

Clairmont immediately invites his friends and declares a hunt; he will stop at nothing to have such a rare beast’s head on his wall. But seeing the unicorn stirs something in Violet’s frozen and broken spirit. She sneaks away and guides the unicorn to a safe hiding place, planning to keep it concealed until the hunt is over and the woods are clear again. But the unicorn has awakened more than Violet’s courage. Flowers bloom in the middle of winter, the deer learn to speak, and a foul rot begins to spread through the house, tainting everything it touches and disturbing the ghosts and shadows lurking in every corner.

 

Violet tells herself that keeping the unicorn safe will give her back purity and purpose, but purity won’t be enough to keep her safe from Clairmont’s vengeance. Or from the mysterious rot tangling itself around her dreams and choking her waking mind. Or the other members of the hunting party, who come with their own dangerous agendas.

 

For the first time in her life, Violet is going to have to fight for herself, and in the process maybe gain the happiness she's always wanted.

 

[personalised blurbles]


If I've helped you with your query, I'd love if you would take a look at mine! 

 

UNICORN (gothic fantasy) 

Query letter 


#6 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 03:14 PM

Dear Agent:

 

Violet left everything to live with Clairmont, the young lord who seduced her. Now, faced with his cruelty and abuse, and ostracized from her family, she has nowhere to go and nothing to hope for—until a unicorn is spotted in the woods nearby. [THIS is a lot more gripping as a hook, for me anyway. :) ]

 

Clairmont immediately invites his friends and declares a hunt; he will stop at nothing to have a fabled beast’s head on his wall. But seeing the unicorn stirs something in Violet’s frozen and broken spirit. [Excellent line! It makes me feel for her so much.] She sneaks away and guides the unicorn to a safe hiding place, planning to keep it concealed until the hunt is over and the woods are clear again. But the unicorn has awoken [should be "awakened"] more than Violet’s courage. Flowers bloom in the middle of winter, the deer learn to speak, and a foul rot begins to spread through the house, tainting everything it touches and disturbing the ghosts and shadows lurking in every corner. (I really like this last sentence. The problem is, it's a bit long. Maybe break it at "through the house" and pick up the next sentence with "The rot taints everything it touches and disturbs..."]

 

Violet tells herself that keeping the unicorn safe will give her back purity and purpose, but purity won’t be enough to keep herself [should be "her"] safe from Clairmont’s vengeance. Or [add "from"] the mysterious rot tangling itself around her dreams and choking her waking mind. Or the other members of the hunting party, who come with their own secrets and agendas. [This phrase is a bit limp. Can you punch it up? Are they tormented by their secrets/agendas? Are the secrets/agendas malevolent? Sad? Dangerous?]

 

For the first time in her life, Violet is going to have to fight for herself, and in the process maybe realise [not quite the right word... perhaps "gain" or "win"?] the freedom she truly wants. [Again, "she truly wants" is a bit limp. Maybe "she truly deserves" or "she's longed for all her life"?]

 

[personalised blurbles]



#7 TeaTime

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 03:39 PM

Dear Agent:

 

Violet left everything to live with Clairmont, the young lord who seduced her. Now, faced with his cruelty and abuse, and ostracized from her family, she has nowhere to go and nothing to hope for (Much more effective, specific opening, great job)—until a unicorn is spotted in the woods nearby.

 

Clairmont immediately invites his friends and declares a hunt; he will stop at nothing to have such a rare beast’s head on his wall (Does he want it just as a trophy?--I know in some stories the unicorn/unicorn's horn also has magical properties/powers). But seeing the unicorn stirs something in Violet’s frozen and broken (While "frozen & broken" work, these feel like cliche descriptors.) spirit. She sneaks away and guides the unicorn to a safe hiding place, planning to keep it concealed until the hunt is over and the woods are clear again (You could simplify this to something shorter like "until it's safe"). But the unicorn has awoken more than Violet’s courage. Flowers bloom in the middle of winter, the deer learn to speak (Really interesting effects), and a foul rot begins to spread through the house (This rot is really interesting, & it contrasts with the seeming goodness of Violet & the unicorn. Is this rot apparent to everyone, & does Violet know if/how its tied to the unicorn, or is it a mystery?), tainting everything it touches and disturbing the ghosts and shadows lurking in every corner.

 

Violet tells herself that keeping the unicorn safe will give her back purity (So far Violet has seemed like a very pure but victimized character. How has her purity been compromised? Is she not married to Clairmont? (If not, can she not just leave him?)) and purpose, but purity won’t be enough to keep herself safe from Clairmont’s vengeance. Or the mysterious rot tangling itself around her dreams and choking her waking mind. Or the other members of the hunting party, who come with their own secrets and agendas.

 

For the first time in her life, Violet is going to have to fight for herself, and in the process maybe realise the freedom she truly wants(Maybe instead say something like "-she thought had been forever stolen from her." or "-that she had thought was gone forever." Okay, maybe those aren't very good alternatives, but play around with it, I'm sure you can come up with something really good.)

 

[personalised blurbles]

 

Really interesting sounding story, especially with the consequences of helping the unicorn triggering some good & not so good magical consequences. This draft is already quite an improvement over the first draft. Nice work  :smile: 



#8 PureZhar3

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 09:09 PM

Dear Agent:

 

Violet left everything ​if you can tell us exactly what she left, rather than "everything" (I mean, I know she left everything, but if you can give us a few unique things that she had to leave), that'd be good)to live with Clairmont, the young lord who seduced her. Now, faced with his cruelty and abuse, and ostracized from her family, she has nowhere to go and nothing to hope for—until a unicorn is spotted in the woods nearby.​much much better

 

Clairmont immediately invites his friends and declares a hunt; he will stop at nothing to have such a rare beast’s head on his wall. But seeing the unicorn stirs something in Violet’s frozen and broken ​this might just be me, but I think you could summarize the words "frozen and broken" with shattered spirit. She sneaks away and guides the unicorn to a safe hiding place ​also minor - could we say "safe haven"?, planning to keep it concealed until the hunt is over and the woods are clear again ​does she succeed? Because if so, just say "Keeping it concealed until...". But the unicorn has awakened more than Violet’s courage. ​partially given the previous "but" sentence, and partially because of the flow, I think there's probably a better transition sentence. Maybe something like "The unicorn's presence doesn't fade with the hunt, however; it has awakened something in Violet. Flowers bloom in the middle of winter ​again, for conciseness's sake, "midwinter"?, the deer learn to speak, and a foul rot begins to spread through the house, tainting everything it touches and disturbing the ghosts and shadows lurking in every corner.

 

Violet tells herself that keeping the unicorn safe ​might we say "protecting the unicorn"? will give her back ​how about "return her"? purity and purpose, but purity won’t be enough to keep her safe from Clairmont’s vengeance. Or from the mysterious rot tangling itself around her dreams and choking her waking mind. Or the other members of the hunting party, who come with their own dangerous agendas. ​Can you phrase these sentences without starting them with "or". Also, maybe give us a hint of what these dangerous agendas of the hunting party members are.

 

For the first time in her life, Violet is going to have to fight for herself, and in the process maybe gain the happiness she's always wanted.

 

[personalised blurbles]

​Much better! Most of my edits now were simply word choice. I found some phrases less concise than they needed to be. Hope that helps!


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


#9 Temeraire

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 06:27 PM

Dear Agent:

 

Violet left everything to live with Clairmont, the young lord who seduced her. Now, faced with his cruelty and abuse, and ostracized from her family, she has nowhere to go and nothing to hope for—until a unicorn is spotted in the woods nearby.

 

Clairmont immediately invites his friends and declares a hunt; he will stop at nothing to have such a rare beast’s head on his trophy wall. However, seeing the unicorn stirs something in Violet’s frozen, broken spirit. She sneaks away and guides the unicorn to a safe hideout, planning to keep it concealed until the hunt is over. But the unicorn has woken more than Violet’s courage. Flowers bloom in midwinter, the deer learn to speak, and a foul rot begins to spread through the house, tainting everything it touches and disturbing the ghosts and shadows brewing in every corner.

 

Violet tells herself that protecting the unicorn will return her purity and purpose, but purity won’t keep her safe from Clairmont’s vengeance, or from the mysterious rot tangling itself around her dreams and choking her waking mind. There will be no help from the other members of the hunting party, who guard their own wounds and secrets, and who are all competing for the unicorn’s head.

 

Violet is alone, and for the first time in her life, she’s going to have to fight for herself—and maybe gain the happiness she’s always wanted.

 

[personalised blurbles]


If I've helped you with your query, I'd love if you would take a look at mine! 

 

UNICORN (gothic fantasy) 

Query letter 


#10 TeaTime

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 10:46 PM

Dear Agent:

 

Violet left everything to live with Clairmont, the young lord who seduced her. Now, faced with his cruelty and abuse, and ostracized from her family (Maybe "faced with his cruelty, abuse, and the ostracism of her family" might flow better?), she has nowhere to go and nothing to hope for—until a unicorn is spotted in the woods nearby.

 

Clairmont immediately invites his friends and declares a hunt; he will stop at nothing to have such a rare beast’s (Maybe "creature?" Beast sounds much more brutish than what I imagine unicorns to be like) head on his trophy wall (or maybe just "head as his trophy"). However, seeing the unicorn stirs something in Violet’s frozen, broken spirit. She sneaks away and guides the unicorn to a safe hideout (I'm pretty meh on the word hideout. Maybe something like "Sneaking just ahead of the hunt, Violet finds and hides the unicorn away, to keep it concealed until the hunt is over") , planning to keep it concealed until the hunt is over. But the unicorn has woken more than Violet’s courage. Flowers bloom in midwinter, the deer learn to speak, and a foul rot begins to spread through the house, tainting everything it touches and disturbing the ghosts and shadows brewing in every corner.

 

Violet tells herself that protecting the unicorn will return her purity and purpose, but purity won’t keep her safe from Clairmont’s vengeance, or from the mysterious rot tangling itself around her dreams and choking her waking mind. There will be no help from the other members of the hunting party, who guard their own wounds and secrets, and who are all competing for the unicorn’s head. (This three part sentence, especially the latter two parts that start with "who," is a bit clunky. Maybe split the sentence after "hunting party," making the second half something like "They guard their own wounds & secrets, & all have their own reasons for competing for the unicorn's head.")

 

Violet is alone, and for the first time in her life, she’s going to have to fight for herself—and maybe gain the happiness she’s always wanted.

 

[personalised blurbles]

 

Other than that, my comments would be the same for the parts that have carried down from the draft I reviewed before. I think you're doing a good job of clarifying some questions, especially from the first draft.

 

Keep up the good work  :smile: 



#11 PureZhar3

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 04:58 PM

Dear Agent:

 

Violet left everything to live with Clairmont, the young lord who seduced her. Now, faced with his cruelty and abuse, and ostracized from her family, she has nowhere to go and nothing to hope for—until a unicorn is spotted in the woods nearby.

 

Clairmont immediately invites his friends and declares a hunt; he will stop at nothing to have such a rare beast’s head on his trophy wall. However, seeing the unicorn stirs something in Violet’s frozen, broken spirit. She sneaks away and guides the unicorn to a safe hideout, planning to keep it concealed until the hunt is over. But the unicorn has woken more than Violet’s courage. Flowers bloom in midwinter, the deer learn to speak, and a foul rot begins to spread through the house, tainting everything it touches and disturbing the ghosts and shadows brewing in every corner.

 

Violet tells herself that protecting the unicorn will return her purity and purpose, but purity won’t keep her safe from Clairmont’s vengeance, or from the mysterious rot tangling itself around her dreams and choking her waking mind. There will be no help from the other members of the hunting party, who guard their own wounds and secrets, and who are all competing for the unicorn’s head.

 

Violet is alone, and for the first time in her life, she’s going to have to fight for herself—and maybe gain the happiness she’s always wanted.

 

[personalised blurbles]

​I think this is good! I'm sure there are additional things that need to be addressed with it, but fresh eyes would be the most helpful to you at this point, I think. Best of luck!


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


#12 JP1994

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 05:45 PM

Dear Agent:

 

Violet left everything (poverty?) to live with Clairmont, the young lord who seduced her. Now, faced with his cruelty and abuse, and ostracized from her family, she has nowhere to go and nothing to hope for—until a unicorn is spotted in the woods nearby. (Good hook!)

 

Clairmont immediately invites his friends and declares a hunt; he will stop at nothing to have such a rare beast’s head on his trophy wall. However, seeing the unicorn stirs something in Violet’s frozen, broken spirit. (You should mention that Violet was dragged along on this hunt. Her appearance before the unicorn seems sudden here.) She sneaks away and guides the unicorn to a safe hideout, planning to keep it concealed until the hunt is over. But the unicorn has woken more than Violet’s courage. Flowers bloom in midwinter, the deer learn to speak, and a foul rot begins to spread through the house, (House? What house?) tainting everything it touches and disturbing the ghosts and shadows brewing in every corner. (I'd cut the rot out of this paragraph and include it in the next one alongside the stakes. Better to emphasise the positives the unicorn bears for Violet, then slam the agent in the stomach with the unexpected consequence.)

 

Violet tells herself that protecting the unicorn will return her purity and purpose, but purity won’t keep her safe from Clairmont’s vengeance, or from the mysterious rot tangling itself around her dreams and choking her waking mind. There will be no help from the other members of the hunting party, who guard their own wounds and secrets, and who are all also competing for the unicorn’s head. (So Clairmont found out she hid it and wants vengeance? Might want to make the clearer. Also, there's too much here. She's dealing with her angry boyfriend, the rot in her mind, regaining her purity, and a party full of competitive hunters. I advise sticking to the unicorn's rot and one other difficulty; expand on them, really show the challenges Violet could be dealing with here.)

 

Violet is alone, and for the first time in her life, she’s going to have to fight for herself—and maybe gain the happiness she’s always wanted. (Not the best send-off. With improved stakes, that could change.)

 

[personalised blurbles]

 

You have the building blocks of something enticing. It just needs some rearranging.






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