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The Shirk Master (Fantasy) - Will Critique Back

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#21 PureZhar3

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 07:53 PM

Bleh, this query's first two sentences (split now into about four sentences) have been killing me.

 

This draft I've focused almost exclusively on the first paragraph (now two paragraphs), that's where almost all of the changes have been made.

 

Thanks for all the help everyone, I will reciprocate to anyone who has queries out there.

 

*****************************************

 

Draft 4

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for civil wars. But after being forced to pick sides within his Binding Order, he finds himself on the losing side of one. ​Too much info, not enough snappy. But I understand what you're trying to do here, and I respect that. It is very hard.

 

This permanently ends his quiet research, severing Ohshus from the only life he ever wanted to live. And, most critically, he remains far too much of a loose end to tolerate. Now he has to disappear out of his hostile Order’s reach to outrun the new death mark on his back ​I think you could clarify these sentences by just saying "Considered to have chosen the wrong side, Ohshus is suddenly wanted dead, and must abandon his beloved life of quiet research." Or something like that. . This means fleeing known civilization by slipping through violent lands held by the shuuv—hulking beasts crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. The shuuv restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of running down and crushing a mount in its jaws.

 

To survive this, Ohshus must hire and capably lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But the real problem is Ohshus is not a capable leader. And he probably never will be ​Again, you're majorly diminishing stakes when you say this, because it no longer is "can he become a capable leader/take control before it's too late" but "will he somehow stay alive despite his incompetence, or will his incompetence kill him". Which isn't particularly compelling. Not even his arcane skills can hide that. The further their newly formed company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of his company. And keeping them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp when, in a place long secluded, they inadvertently awaken an ancient power that could threaten the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company aren’t going to save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves. 

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Contact Stuff

This query still resonates with things-happen-to-characters as opposed to characters-cause-things-to-happen. The former can, of course, be a very effective story form, but it isn't a compelling hook/read-more thing! For example, the fact that they awaken an ancient power is fascinating and that they probably can't save themselves, let alone it, intrigues me. But it sounds as if they aren't even going to try to stop it. Which makes me wonder why it will matter. Another example: you say he fears he's losing control. But then nothing shows me that he's doing anything to fix that. So suddenly I'm questioning whether I want to spend 115,000 words with a character who not act, as opposed to a take-charge, try-to-change-my-fate-even-though-I'll-fail-anyway character.


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


#22 TeaTime

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 05:16 PM

Thanks for all the great feedback, everyone. Revising the first part a ton has resulted in a much-hacked new version. Hopefully it's better.

 

I'll be sure to reciprocate anyone's critiques who has a query out there. Thanks

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Draft 5

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics. But after being forced to pick sides within his Binding Order, he finds himself on the losing side of a civil war.

 

Having chosen poorly, his Order now wants Ohshus dead. Outrunning this new death mark on his back means fleeing known civilization through violent lands. These expanses are held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. The shuuv restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of running down and crushing a mount in its jaws.

 

To survive this, Ohshus must hire and capably lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But the real problem is Ohshus is not a capable leader. And he probably never will be. Not even his arcane skills can hide that. The further their newly formed company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of his company. And keeping them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman, threatening the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company aren’t going to save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves.

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Contact Stuff


Feel Free to Check Out My Current Query Letter Here, Thank You


#23 Bibliophyl

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 06:19 PM

Hope my fresh eyes can be of use!

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics. But after being forced to pick sides within his Binding Order, he finds himself on the losing side of a civil war. Nice start

 

Having chosen poorly, his Order now wants Ohshus dead. Outrunning this new death mark on his back [is this literal or metaphorical? it's a little confusing] means fleeing known civilization through violent [maybe dangerous? perilous? violent just seems like an odd word choice here] lands. These expanses are held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts crudely gouged with human features and intelligence ["crudely" seems at odds with your description of them as having human intelligence]. The shuuv restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of running down and crushing a mount in its jaws. Could streamline and say "capable of catching and killing/disemboweling/etc." to cut out some words

 

To survive this, Ohshus must hire and capably lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But the real problem is Ohshus is not a capable leader. And he probably never will be. Not even his arcane skills can hide that. The further their newly formed company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of his company. And keeping them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman, threatening the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company aren’t going to save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves.

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Overall I like it! I just had a few minor comments. I guess I'm curious why Ohshus has to be the leader--why can't he pick someone else to delegate power to? If there's a specific reason he has to be in charge, maybe mentioning that would heighten the stakes. Hope something was helpful!



#24 GeorgeIsCurious

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 09:07 PM

Thanks for all the great feedback, everyone. Revising the first part a ton has resulted in a much-hacked new version. Hopefully it's better.

 

I'll be sure to reciprocate anyone's critiques who has a query out there. Thanks

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Draft 5

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics. But after being forced to pick sides within his Binding Order, he finds himself on the losing side of a civil war.

 

Having chosen poorly, his Order now wants Ohshus dead. Outrunning this new death mark on his back means fleeing known civilization through violent lands. These expanses are held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. The shuuv restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of running down and crushing a mount in its jaws. The death mark thing is a bit jarring without context, I would just say "mark".

 

To survive this, Ohshus must hire and capably lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But the real problem is that Ohshus is not a capable leader. And he He probably never will be. Not even his arcane skills can hide that. The further their newly formed company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of his company. --> Use a different phrase here as you already said company. And keeping them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman, threatening the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company aren’t going to save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves.

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Contact Stuff

 

So I really like this query. Really looking forward to seeing this published! Tighten and revise, you may almost be there!



#25 Phaust

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 09:53 PM

Hey, this is pretty good. Notes below. 


 

Draft 5

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics. But after being forced to pick sides within his Binding Order, he finds himself on the losing side of a civil war.

 

Having chosen poorly, his Order now wants Ohshus dead. Outrunning this new death mark on his back means fleeing known civilization through violent lands. These expanses are held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. The shuuv restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of running down and crushing a mount in its jaws.

 

To survive this, Ohshus must hire and capably lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But the real problem is Ohshus is not a capable leader. And he probably never will be. Not even his arcane skills can hide that. The further their newly formed company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of his company. And when keeping them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman, threatening with the power to destroy (or something) the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company aren’t going to save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves. (Feel like it needs a hook as to why they will try to save the world anyway. That is sort of implied or, rather, expected. But reading the page, they just blow it off. So why mention it? So of course they don't just blow it off. But figure that back in... As to teh shuuv and all that: less jargon the better. Plus taking it out doesn't change much.)

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Contact Stuff



#26 PureZhar3

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 05:58 PM

Thanks for all the great feedback, everyone. Revising the first part a ton has resulted in a much-hacked new version. Hopefully it's better.

 

I'll be sure to reciprocate anyone's critiques who has a query out there. Thanks

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Draft 5

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics. But after being forced to pick sides within his Binding Order, he finds himself on the losing side of a civil war. ​Far better

 

Having chosen poorly, his Order now wants Ohshus dead. ​Okay, so this might just be me, but surely it isn't all the Order who wants him dead, is it? It's the side within the Binding Order that won? So maybe try phrasing it like that. "The opposing side wins and now wants Ohshus dead" or something such. Outrunning this new death mark on his back means fleeing known civilization through violent lands. These expanses are held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. The shuuv restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of running down and crushing a mount in its jaws. 

 

To survive this, Ohshus must hire and capably lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But the real problem is Ohshus is not a capable leader. And he probably never will be. ​ This will apparently be an ongoing comment of mine. I'm fine if you don't want to change it, but I'm curious what is holding you from doing so. Not even his arcane skills can hide that. The further their newly formed company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of his company. And keeping them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman, threatening the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company aren’t going to save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves.

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Contact Stuff

 

I would agree with all of Phaust's critiques, for the most part. I suppose my biggest question relates to your ending. Obviously, you are wanting to focus in on the fact that Ohshus and his company are losing control and can't save the world. My question is, why? To set up a big twist? Because your novel is tragic as opposed to traditional? Because the theme involves how little control we truly have over our destiny? Not saying that your approach wrong; it's simply abnormal and I'm curious as to what your reasoning is. 


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


#27 TeaTime

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 08:17 PM

Thanks everyone for the great feedback. I'd especially like to thank PureZhar3, as the last draft you really helped to pare down the beginning of the second paragraph, which was a huge help.

 

As always, I will be sure to reciprocate any critiques.

 

This draft has only had little touches on it here & there changed from the prior draft. (Just below this in italics are some explanations of the story in general, so feel free to skip that section if desired)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As to the general question about the general non-heroics in this query, this story is an epic fantasy that tries to go against some of the genre's tropes (so no dark lord, no chosen one, no all-powerful magical object, etc.).

 

I tried to write this way mostly due to fatigue with the traditional "(un)expected hero rising to the challenge of saving the world" type of stories. There's nothing wrong with these, & I do think that many if not most stories should be this way, but it's exhausting & pretty limiting if the vast majority of stories do that (at least the ones I've read lately). Is it a good idea for me to pitch a first story to an agent not doing that though? Err, potentially not, we'll have to see.

 

So I tried writing this story about an average-ish main character & company who are setup likely to fail. For these kinds of characters, it's not realistic that they'll be able to stand up to anyone powerful enough to threaten the world. If the downtrodden misfits miraculously totally succeed, that's an underdog story (which are good too), but there's a huge swath of interesting stories in between the ranges of "totally succeeded" & "totally failed," which is where most of real life happens.

 

I don't know how much of that makes sense, but hopefully it gives a better idea of what the story is shooting for.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Draft 6

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics. But after being forced to pick sides within his Binding Order, Ohshus finds himself on the losing side of a civil war.

 

Having chosen poorly, his Order now wants him dead. Outrunning this new death mark means fleeing known civilization through violent lands. These expanses are held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts that are crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. The shuuv restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of catching and crushing a mount in its jaws.

 

To survive this, Ohshus must hire and lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But the real problem is that Ohshus is not a capable leader. Not even his arcane skills can hide that. The further their newly formed company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of them. And keeping them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman, threatening the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company aren’t going to save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves.

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Contact Stuff


Feel Free to Check Out My Current Query Letter Here, Thank You


#28 IndusiumGriseum

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 10:20 AM

Thanks everyone for the great feedback. I'd especially like to thank PureZhar3, as the last draft you really helped to pare down the beginning of the second paragraph, which was a huge help.

 

As always, I will be sure to reciprocate any critiques.

 

This draft has only had little touches on it here & there changed from the prior draft. (Just below this in italics are some explanations of the story in general, so feel free to skip that section if desired)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As to the general question about the general non-heroics in this query, this story is an epic fantasy that tries to go against some of the genre's tropes (so no dark lord, no chosen one, no all-powerful magical object, etc.).

 

I tried to write this way mostly due to fatigue with the traditional "(un)expected hero rising to the challenge of saving the world" type of stories. There's nothing wrong with these, & I do think that many if not most stories should be this way, but it's exhausting & pretty limiting if the vast majority of stories do that (at least the ones I've read lately). Is it a good idea for me to pitch a first story to an agent not doing that though? Err, potentially not, we'll have to see.

 

So I tried writing this story about an average-ish main character & company who are setup likely to fail. For these kinds of characters, it's not realistic that they'll be able to stand up to anyone powerful enough to threaten the world. If the downtrodden misfits miraculously totally succeed, that's an underdog story (which are good too), but there's a huge swath of interesting stories in between the ranges of "totally succeeded" & "totally failed," which is where most of real life happens.

 

I don't know how much of that makes sense, but hopefully it gives a better idea of what the story is shooting for.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Draft 6

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics. But after being forced to pick sides within his Binding Order, Ohshus finds himself on the losing side of a civil war. (Nice hook! I like how you explain what you mean by politics in the second sentence.)

 

Having chosen poorly, his Order now wants him dead. (I think you can reword this sentence. It doesn't flow very smoothly.) Outrunning this new death mark means fleeing known civilization through violent lands. These expanses are held by the shuuv (Is shuuy supposed to be capitalized?)—hulking lion-like beasts that are crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. The shuuv restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of catching and crushing a mount in its jaws. (I feel like you hit a lull when you describe the shuuy in detail. I want to know more about what Ohshus is going to do, but I understand it's in the next paragraph.)

 

To survive this, Ohshus must hire and lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But the real problem is that Ohshus is not a capable leader. (Great!) Not even his arcane skills can hide that. The further their newly formed company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of them. And keeping them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman, threatening the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company aren’t going to save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves. (Awesome ending!)

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Contact Stuff

 

This is great! I'm sorry if my critique is useless to you, but there's not much for me to critique in the first place. It's a solid query! Let me know how this goes! :)


HIRE ME AS YOUR SENSITIVITY READER!: https://www.glanzman...ityreading.com/


#29 rhwashere

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 10:40 AM

I still think you should cut out the shuuv. They don’t add anything to your plot summary. A simple “wilderness of savage beasts” would do.

Could you elaborate on how Ohshus is losing control of his group? That might add some needed tension to the query. Also, you should address what Ohshus plans to do after he wakes the ancient power. And what will happen if he fails.

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


#30 TClark

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 10:54 AM

Thanks everyone for the great feedback. I'd especially like to thank PureZhar3, as the last draft you really helped to pare down the beginning of the second paragraph, which was a huge help.

 

As always, I will be sure to reciprocate any critiques.

 

This draft has only had little touches on it here & there changed from the prior draft. (Just below this in italics are some explanations of the story in general, so feel free to skip that section if desired)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As to the general question about the general non-heroics in this query, this story is an epic fantasy that tries to go against some of the genre's tropes (so no dark lord, no chosen one, no all-powerful magical object, etc.).

 

I tried to write this way mostly due to fatigue with the traditional "(un)expected hero rising to the challenge of saving the world" type of stories. There's nothing wrong with these, & I do think that many if not most stories should be this way, but it's exhausting & pretty limiting if the vast majority of stories do that (at least the ones I've read lately). Is it a good idea for me to pitch a first story to an agent not doing that though? Err, potentially not, we'll have to see.

 

So I tried writing this story about an average-ish main character & company who are setup likely to fail. For these kinds of characters, it's not realistic that they'll be able to stand up to anyone powerful enough to threaten the world. If the downtrodden misfits miraculously totally succeed, that's an underdog story (which are good too), but there's a huge swath of interesting stories in between the ranges of "totally succeeded" & "totally failed," which is where most of real life happens.

 

I don't know how much of that makes sense, but hopefully it gives a better idea of what the story is shooting for.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Draft 6

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics. But after being forced to pick sides within his Binding Order, Ohshus finds himself on the losing side of a civil war. (I like this intro, nicely done)

 

Having chosen poorly, his Order now wants him dead. Outrunning this new (the wording here is lackluster) death mark means fleeing known civilization through violent lands (the wording here is bad too. "Fleeing the known world through dangerous lands" Idk.). These expanses are held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts that are crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. The shuuv restlessly rove the Barren Wastes (so now the "violent lands" have a name?), each capable of catching and crushing a mount in its jaws. Irrelevant. 

 

To survive this, Ohshus must hire and lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But the real problem is that Ohshus is not a capable leader. (Good.) Not even his arcane skills can hide that. The further their newly formed company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of them. (Good) And keeping them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman, threatening the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company aren’t going to save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves. (This last line is too cliche and doesn't add anything significant.)

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Contact Stuff

 

Your query is not bad, not perfect, but definitely not bad. Fix the wording in the center paragraph and I think query will be just about there!

 

Best of luck!



#31 PureZhar3

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 04:08 PM

Thanks everyone for the great feedback. I'd especially like to thank PureZhar3, as the last draft you really helped to pare down the beginning of the second paragraph, which was a huge help. Glad to help :)

 

As always, I will be sure to reciprocate any critiques.

 

This draft has only had little touches on it here & there changed from the prior draft. (Just below this in italics are some explanations of the story in general, so feel free to skip that section if desired)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As to the general question about the general non-heroics in this query, this story is an epic fantasy that tries to go against some of the genre's tropes (so no dark lord, no chosen one, no all-powerful magical object, etc.).

 

I tried to write this way mostly due to fatigue with the traditional "(un)expected hero rising to the challenge of saving the world" type of stories. There's nothing wrong with these, & I do think that many if not most stories should be this way, but it's exhausting & pretty limiting if the vast majority of stories do that (at least the ones I've read lately). Is it a good idea for me to pitch a first story to an agent not doing that though? Err, potentially not, we'll have to see.

 

So I tried writing this story about an average-ish main character & company who are setup likely to fail. For these kinds of characters, it's not realistic that they'll be able to stand up to anyone powerful enough to threaten the world. If the downtrodden misfits miraculously totally succeed, that's an underdog story (which are good too), but there's a huge swath of interesting stories in between the ranges of "totally succeeded" & "totally failed," which is where most of real life happens.

 

I don't know how much of that makes sense, but hopefully it gives a better idea of what the story is shooting for.

 

​Yep that makes sense! I thought that you might be going for that effect, but in previous versions, it seemed too strong (as if there was NO way to succeed at all, which isn't near as interesting). I think you hit a much better balance in this query, particularly by taking out a few bits.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Draft 6

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics. But after being forced to pick sides within his Binding Order, Ohshus finds himself on the losing side of a civil war.

 

Having chosen poorly, his Order now wants him dead. Outrunning this new death mark ​maybe try rephrasing this... "escaping this death sentence" or "escaping that fate" means fleeing known civilization through violent lands. These expanses are held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts that are crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. The shuuv restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of catching and crushing a mount in its jaws.

 

To survive this, Ohshus must hire and lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But the real problem is that Ohshus is not a capable leader; (for sentence variety) not even his arcane skills can hide that. ​Bless you for this :) The further their newly formed company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of them. And ​ (be wary of starting too many sentences with compounds... it is effective when used sparingly, but too many turns into sloppy writing) keeping them ​everyone (you're using "them" a lot) together may be the only thing that can keep them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman, threatening the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company aren’t going to save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves. ​I disagree with TClark's comment that this final sentence adds nothing of significance; however, there may be a way to strengthen this/reduce its clicheness

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Contact Stuff


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


#32 Oldborne

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 03:46 PM

Haven't read the other critiques so I'm going at this with fresh eyes. 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics. But after being forced to pick sides within his Binding Order, Ohshus finds himself on the losing side of a civil war. What's a Binding Order? Why was he forced to pick a side? I enjoy civil war stories though so if I were an agent I'd read on. 

 

Having chosen poorly, his Order now wants him dead Now I'm confused. I thought he was choosing what order to join, why would they want him dead for joining them? Or is this supposed to be after the civil war and his side lost? It's rather vague . Outrunning this new death mark means fleeing known civilization through violent lands. These expanses are held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts that are crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. The shuuv restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of catching and crushing a mount A mount being a horse? Just saying a mount doesn't give much idea of the scale. I think for clarity's sake you should say they're capable of crushing a man in their jaws in its jaws. Cool sounding creatures. 

 

To survive this, Ohshus must hire and lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is If they're as desperate as him, why does he have to hire them?. But the real problem is that Ohshus is not a capable leader. Not even his arcane skills can hide that. The further their newly formed company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of them. And keeping them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman, threatening the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company aren’t going to save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves. I'm in two minds about this twist here. On the one hand I do enjoy that the focus isn't on saving the world, but on the other hand it seems kind of pointless to introduce an all powerful ancient evil and then imply that the protagonists aren't going to bother stopping it. I'm also a little sketchy on why Ohshus is in charge of keeping these people alive. If they're hired muscle then surely it's their job to keep him alive? The problem, for me (and I'm sure it makes more sense in the book), is that they've been hired but seem to be in the exact same situation as Ohshus, who hasn't been hired for anything. I'd imagine that a magic-user (lacklustre or otherwise) would be a pretty good companion in the Barren Wastes. 

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Contact Stuff

Sounds like a good idea with a lot of potential. I'd read this book based on your query but I feel you may raise too many questions to effectively hook an agent. I also think you have a bit of a stakes problem at the end, it just sounds like the book's gonna be about Ohshus and co wandering around the barrens. Why are they there? Why can't Ohshus's Order get him there? Is there anything else he needs or wants to do beyond survive? Does he want to get home again? Rejoin the Order? I guess I just don't see a goal outside of 'survive'.

Anyway, take my comments with a pinch of salt as I'm a query novice myself. 

Best of luck! 

 


All feedback appreciated: http://agentquerycon...ust-sf-mystery/

 


#33 mkuriel

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 05:38 PM


Draft 6

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics. But after choosing the losing side in a civil war being forced to pick sides within his Binding Order, Ohshus flees into wastelands teeming with hulking monsters. finds himself on the losing side of a civil war. [I like the form, made suggestions to remove the passive voice and the implication that this story is about a guy who loses a civil war, rather than surviving after one]

 

Having chosen poorly, his Order now wants him dead. Outrunning this new death mark means fleeing known civilization through violent lands. These expanses are held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts that are crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. The shuuv restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of catching and crushing a mount in its jaws. [unnecessary to query]

 

To survive this, Ohshus must hires and leads a band of fighters as desperate as he is.[redundant] But the real problem is that Ohshus is not a capable leader. Not even his arcane skills can hide that. [can combine these sentences, Despite phenomenal arcane skills, Ohshus is not a capable leader.] The further their newly formed company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of them. [weak. does he lose control of them, or just fear it? Worry about something isn't a plot point unless it's pivotal in some way. It's also why we don't usually devote chapters to inherent biological necessities; if it doesn't drive the plot, don't describe the plop.] And keeping them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive. [vague and obvious.]Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman, threatening the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company aren’t going to save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves. [all over the place...]

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential. [what's it similar to in some way? Provide titles for comparison, or at least indicate that you plan to]

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Contact Stuff

 

 

My main issue with this is that I can't identify a main plot. Slow down and focus. The hook implies that the story is about a civil war. The big paragraph describes poor leadership in a dangerous wasteland AND awakening an ancient evil. I get that the ancient evil is supposed to be a plot twist - rather than making me more interested, I just shrug and wonder if you know what your story is about.

 

I also wonder who the MC is. I know he sucks at fighting wars and can't lead. All I really know about him is that he has arcane powers. So what? There are an uncountable number of crappy leader survival stories... heck, you could describe Harry Potter that way with a few carefully chosen metaphors, and he has magic too. Was the MC a sleepy eyed academic? A loner who enjoys magically combining living animals? You picked him as the protagonist, what makes him interesting? It shouldn't take more than a sentence or two, but it's important to include characterization.

 

A possible shell that focuses on the wilderness survival plot:

 

Despite his arcane skills, Ohshus isn't a capable leader. His side lost the civil war, and the desperate men he hired to protect him before he fled into the wilderness question why they should listen to a man who paints watercolor with magic.

 

But Ohshus (Oh shush!) can do more than paint! He can bind together the fabric of reality... he just tends to muck it up and doesn't want to clean up the mess. He also suspects that there's more than man-eating beasts in the wilderness. Do they listen? Nope. They awaken the cute sleeping evil girl who is willing to end the world as a hangover cure.

 

Ohshus must dazzle her with watercolor until her coffee kicks in or he and his foolish protectors will be the first to feel the end.

 

Yeah, I went satirical with that - but it should illustrate just how little I know of your story despite picking apart your query.

 

Hope that helps,



#34 BadgerFox

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 06:39 AM


 

Draft 6

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics. But after being forced to pick sides within his Binding Order, Ohshus finds himself on the losing side of a civil war [Not a bad beginning, this setup is quite clear].

 

Having chosen poorly, his Order now wants him dead [I get what you're saying here, and it's a common issue to accidentally make the two clauses of a sentence refer to two seperate actors, but this sentence needs a tweak. Or it sounds like the Order originally made the poor choice and now inexplicably want Ohshus dead, when really you mean that Oshus made the poor choice and his Order want him dead because of it. Both clauses of this sentence to reference the same actor, ideally, for maximum polish :)] Outrunning this new death mark means fleeing known civilization through violent inhospitable [small issue, but maybe pick a different adjective that's physically possible for the noun in question. A landscape can probably be 'inhospitable' or 'hostile' or similar, but a landscape probably cannot be actively 'violent' itself, unles you want to give people wacky mental pictures about deranged pine trees roaming in angry gangs trying to beat strangers up with their branches etc] . These expanses are held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts that are crudely gouged with human features and intelligence [Having a little trouble seeing how something can be 'gouged' with 'human intelligence'? Again, I mostly see what you mean, but the verb and the noun don't seem to neatly match. 'Intelligence' could be 'bestowed on' or 'given to' or a creature could be 'possessed of' it, but I don't see how you 'gouge' intelligence?]. The shuuv restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of catching and crushing a mount in its jaws.

 

To survive this, Ohshus must hire and lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But the real problem is that Ohshus is not a capable leader. Not even his arcane skills can hide that. The further their newly formed company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of them. And keeping them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman, threatening the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company aren’t going to save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves.

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Contact Stuff

 

[Regarding your comment, I don't think there's anything wrong with an epic fantasy that avoids common tropes, in fact it's a good idea. A lot of great works have come out of taking away/putting in unexpected genre elements (Twilight - it's vampires, except they're benevolent and sexy instead of scary and ugly! Terry Pratchet - it's a proper fantasy, except it's also a hilarious parody at the same time! Game of Thrones - it's a fantasy with dragons and magic, except virtually all the characters are skeptical about these existing anymore! etc, you get the picture).

 

HOWEVER, that said, your approach has naturally lowered the stakes, to a level that's a bit confusing to initially see categorised in the 'epic fantasy' genre. You're sure a different sub-genre owouldn't describe this better? There seem to be elements of psychological interest, interpersonal dynamics and and human drama, it's just set in a fantasy adventure backdrop. The problem is that without these stakes, the query doesn't seem to have that much that makes it exciting and desirable to read. The query is ok, as is, there's little technically wrong with it, but it's not making me very interested in reading the book. Now this isn't an intractable problem, but it does mean that maybe you should stress elements that will make the query more appealling in different ways. If you're not going for mighty dragons and hero's quests, what are you going for? Right now in your commentary it seems like you're describing your story in terms of what it DOESN'T have, not what it DOES.

The nearest comparisons for Ohshus are probably Rincewind from the Discworld series and Schmendrick from The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle - these are two failed wizards also, and they're also extremely beloved of many fantasy fans and have their own mini cult following. So I truly see no problem with Ohshus' story being about a mediocre magician who's also a crap leader and a poor decision-maker :) But what can you put in that also makes him appealling and makes a reader want to read his story? Rincewind's stories are very readable because firstly they're very funny, and Rincewind himself is a bit of a lazy shit who just wants to stay at home and eat potatoes, but a reader can empathize with him being constantly subjected to going on adventures he doesn't like, and enjoy watching him try (and fail) to wriggle out of his responsibilities. Schmendrick's story is readable because it's actually very poignant - there's something sad and beautiful about his ineptitude and his unhappiness over not being able to control his magic, plus he's actually a good kind person who does agree to help the Last Unicorn protagonistin some ways. So...can anything similar be done with Ohshus story? ]


Spare a little feedback, if you have a moment? :)

My AU historical novel query: here. Thank you!


#35 kmscott19

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 04:29 PM

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics. But after being he’s forced to pick sides within his Binding Order, Ohshus finds himself on the losing side of a civil war.

 

Having chosen poorly, his Order now wants him dead. Outrunning this new death mark means fleeing known civilization through violent lands known as the Barren Wastes. These expanses are held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts that are crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. The shuuv restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of catching and crushing a mount in its jaws. Maybe change to ‘hunting for trespassers or searching for the next victim to wander into their territory?’

 

To survive this, Ohshus must hire and I agree with early comments, why hire then if they’re as desperate? lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But the real problem is that Ohshus is not a capable leader. Not even his arcane skills can hide that. The further their newly formed company they strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of them, and Keeping them everyone together may be the only thing that can keeps them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman, threatening the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company aren’t going to save Maybe ‘can’t worry about the world’ would work better, so that it's not completely obvious that it's a story about a non-hero? the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves.

 

My adjustments are merely suggestions. Your query sounded strong regardless :) It’s definitely hooked me. Good luck!



#36 TeaTime

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 08:53 PM

Changed up some things, primarily in the beginning.

 

It look me six drafts to finally get what so many critiques were saying about the "save the world" line. I always had it in my mind to mean it is an issue of them lacking the ability, not the will to the save world. Sorry  I was so slow with that.

 

Thank you for all of the invaluable help. I'll reciprocate any critiques as always.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Draft 7

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics. But losing a civil war within his Binding Order upends everything, forcing him to abandon his quiet research, the only thing he loves.

 

With his reconstituted Order now wanting him dead, Ohshus flees known civilization for distant lands beyond their reach. This way leads through expanses held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts crudely gouged with human features. They restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of catching and crushing a mount in its jaws.

 

To survive this, Ohshus recruits and attempts to lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But Ohshus is not a capable leader. His arcane skills can’t hide that for long. The further their company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control. Holding them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive, both from the shuuv and from each other. Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman, threatening the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company can’t save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves.

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Contact Stuff


Feel Free to Check Out My Current Query Letter Here, Thank You


#37 TheBest

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 11:53 AM

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics. (This is a good start, but I think the opening could be a tad punchier. Maybe "Mediocre Binder and even worse leader," or "Mediocre Binder and even lousier at politics," Or "Lousier with people." I don't know if those are perfect, but what I'm getting at is that this opening is disjointed -- I don't know where the research comes from, as it's not set up. It's a good concept and a fun start, but needs tweaking.) But losing a civil war within his Binding Order (Don't use a proper noun here) upends everything, forcing him to abandon his quiet research (to do x), the only thing he loves. 

 

With his reconstituted Order now wanting him dead, Ohshus flees known civilization for distant lands beyond their reach. This way leads through expanses held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts crudely gouged with human features. (Love this description, but cut it down a bit.) They restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of catching and crushing a mount in its jaws. (There are too many proper nouns in this paragraph, although it is really interesting.)

 

To survive this, Ohshus recruits and attempts to leads a band of rag-tag fighters as desperate as he is. But Ohshus is not (Put not in italics, or add an adjective like "lousy leader" to make it a little punchier.) a capable leader. His arcane skills can’t hide that for long. (Good conflict.) The further their company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control. Holding them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive, both from the shuuv and from each other. (Really interested now!) Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power (Too vague. Demon? God? Monster? Beast?) in the guise of a young woman, threatening the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company can’t save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves. (Ha! Love it.)

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential. You don't really need this. Instead, throw some stuff about yourself in there. Credentials, writings, fun facts -- anything quick and relevant. 

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Contact Stuff

 

 

 This is a fun query. I do think, however, you could cut down on the nouns in the opening two paragraphs, and lower the word count. You really hit your stride in your last paragraph, where the stakes are well fleshed out. Getting there sooner, and setting up Ohshus anti-charismatic character earlier, would be good. Set him up as awkward or a tad reticent in the opening line. I don't think "mediocre binder" tells us much about his character. Tweak this, simplify, and cut down the nouns, and you'll have something really great. I'd definitely be interested in reading!

 

You can find my query here. I'd love your opinion!: http://agentquerycon...-back/?p=355366

  



#38 mkuriel

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 08:15 PM

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces (this is so vague that it doesn't mean anything. can you give a concrete example of what it means? I.e. After 20 years of quiet research, Ohshush can barely bind together coffee and creamer without destroying every coffee pot in a two mile radius. Or maybe, he made a mistake when putting two worlds together and now Australia is a separate continent. I don't know anything about your story or characters so I've no idea what you mean by melding magical forces or what it means to be mediocre at it.)—and not one for politics. But losing a civil war within his Binding Order upends everything, forces ing him to abandon his quiet research, the only thing he loves. [this hook doesn't do much for me. I've no idea how a mediocre binder could lose a civil war and, again, the story isn't about a civil war. if it were, your follow up paragraphs would describe the warring factions and their conflict and get around to explaining to us how Ohshus loses for his team.]

 

With his reconstituted Order now wanting him dead, Ohshus flees known civilization [this is the only detail in this paragraph that matters to a query.] for distant lands beyond their reach. This way leads through expanses held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts crudely gouged with human features. They restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of catching and crushing a mount in its jaws.

 

To survive this, Ohshus recruits and attempts to lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But Ohshus is not a capable leader. His arcane skills can’t hide that for long. The further their company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control. Holding them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive, both from the shuuv and from each other. Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman who threatens ing to destroy the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company can’t save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves.

 

So, you basically have an academic who can't do anything right and experiences a series of increasingly nasty events.

 

A few key points:

- Your hook misleads the whole query. The purpose of a query is to deliver a sales pitch of your story idea so someone will try to sell it for you. You start by saying the MC abandons his research to lose a civil war. But it's not a story about a civil war, it's about how running from people who want to kill him takes him through lands where things want to eat him and an ancient evil young girl might kill him before killing everyone else.

 

- The shuuv, as written, don't matter to this query. They're a complication that your MC can't do anything about. All you really need is a sentence explaining that he has to flee through lands teeming with man-eating monsters. Unless, of course, there's something about the MC's mediocre skills and research that's pertinent to the monsters. If so, it doesn't come across.

 

- You don't necessarily have to change your introduction to being a mediocre binder in the hook; all that's needed is a concrete example of what it means - hopefully that's pertinent to the plot. Did he fail to successfully merge the intelligence of a man with the body of a lion and create a misshapen giant monster instead? Was it done to create a weapon for the civil war, only the beasts decided to breed like rabbits instead of help him win? If you're dead-set on including the description in the query, you need a clear reason for why it matters.

 

- What makes Ohshus the main character? Even a person who doesn't conform to the standard hero trope is the hero in their own story (read any Rincewind novel). Right now, I wouldn't be surprised if the story ends with him getting squashed into jelly by a little girl and then licked off the ground by a man-lion. Except it has series potential... but why would it? You spend every sentence explaining why this guy will fail at everything and give no hints as to why he might succeed. Without those hints, there's no tension.

 

Hope that helps,



#39 BrookeJS

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 03:15 PM

Changed up some things, primarily in the beginning.

 

It look me six drafts to finally get what so many critiques were saying about the "save the world" line. I always had it in my mind to mean it is an issue of them lacking the ability, not the will to the save world. Sorry  I was so slow with that.

 

Thank you for all of the invaluable help. I'll reciprocate any critiques as always.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Draft 7

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics ​(This does seem a little hazy. Mediocre compared to what? You later go on to explain something about his arcane skills, so this implies he isn't actually mediocre, so that is a bit confusing). But losing a civil war within his Binding Order upends everything, forcing him to abandon his quiet research, the only thing he loves. ​If the civil war is a key element in forcing him to leave his "normal" and sets the journey in motion then I would simply reword this. Maybe something along the lines of "On the losing side of a civil war, Ohshus is now forced to leave behind his beloved research or be killed along with the other rebels." Although, this does ​beg the question - why was he in a civil war to begin with? I think implementing more of O's voice will clear that up. 

 

With his reconstituted Order now wanting him dead ​(aside from being a perceived traitor, why do they want him dead? He's mediocre according to the above, a nobody, he'd fly under the radar.), Ohshus flees known civilization for distant lands beyond their reach ​(is this just a random place he is going too? What's special about these distant lands?). This way leads through expanses held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts crudely gouged with human features. They restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of catching and crushing a mount in its jaws ​(while very interesting and I think it gives a good feel for your world I'm not sure it's necessary for the query, perhaps something you would include in your synopsis instead).

 

To survive this, Ohshus recruits and attempts to lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But Ohshus is not a capable leader. His arcane skills can’t hide that for long. The further their company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control. Holding them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive, both from the shuuv and from each other. Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman, threatening the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company can’t save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves. ​I don't think I have much to add on this part, I think those above me touched on it pretty well. I think overall just clarifying the stakes, aside from Ohshus trying to survive, I'm not feeling particularly inclined to root for him. One other thing is the title of your book is the "Shirk Master" which nothing in this query lends to why that is the title. It implies, Ohshus is a "master" of something. If it's not going to be at least somewhat revealed in the query it's far too at odds to make much sense.

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Contact Stuff

 

Hello there! Looks like you have gotten some pretty solid advice so far but I thought I'd chime in my 2 cents (and because I'm hoping I can attract more help in critiquing my own query! Not gonna lie I have motives lol). I agree with a few things that have been said but I think it's important to remember that we aren't always right and ultimately you gotta go with your gut! (Aside from fixing the grammatical errors). Overall I think your story sounds interesting but I can agree with the places where you can provide some more oomph ​to really sell it to an agent. I hope this helps and good job your story does sound very unique and interesting!


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...-back/?p=356112

If you could spare a moment I would really appreciate critiques on my synopsis: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=355669

 


#40 Oldborne

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 05:18 AM

Changed up some things, primarily in the beginning.

 

It look me six drafts to finally get what so many critiques were saying about the "save the world" line. I always had it in my mind to mean it is an issue of them lacking the ability, not the will to the save world. Sorry  I was so slow with that.

 

Thank you for all of the invaluable help. I'll reciprocate any critiques as always.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Draft 7

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magical forces—and not one for politics. But losing a civil war within his Binding Order upends everything, forcing him to abandon his quiet research, the only thing he loves. Much better than the last draft I read. I'm not wonderfully clear on what exactly a magical melder would do? Research ways to blend magics? That sounds pretty unique (and awesome) but I can't be 100% sure that I've not misinterpreted your meaning. 

 

With his reconstituted Order now wanting him dead I think to broaden the scope here you should say the reconstituted Order is hunting any who opposed them during the war and putting them to death. But, better worded than that. This way it sets the scene of post-war unrest and uncertainty. , Ohshus flees known civilization for distant lands beyond their reach If he can reach them why can't they?. This way leads through expanses held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts crudely gouged with human features. They restlessly rove the Barren Wastes, each capable of catching and crushing a mount in its jaws. Not bad, nice world building.

 

To survive this the Wastes, Ohshus recruits and attempts to lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But Ohshus is not a capable leader. His arcane skills can’t hide that for long. The further their company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control. Holding them together may be the only thing that can keep them alive, both from the shuuv and from each other. Matters spin further out of his grasp when they inadvertently awaken an ancient power in the guise of a young woman, threatening the world they just left behind. But Ohshus and his company can’t save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves. So I think I'm a little lost on what Ohshus is trying to achieve by hiring this band of fighters and wandering around the Barren Wastes. Are they trying to go somewhere? Is there promise of free lands across the wastes? Lands the Order can't occupy? I think you need a long term goal. It's all fine and good wanting to escape the Order -- that's exciting, it makes sense -- but what are his goals beyond that? Surely it's not to live in the Wastes? If you can clear that up I think you'll have killer stakes. 

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 115,000-word fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

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Certainly better than the last draft I read. You just need a long term goal and a little clarity at the beginning and I think you're there.

It's not important to the query (at least not important enough to draw an real attention to) but I'm a little shaky on the band of fighters' motives. Saying there're desperate but also saying they're recruited (as in hired) implies that they're saving themselves but only doing so to get paid. Which just strikes me as odd. If they're desperate, in my head, they'd do anything to survive regardless of payment. Perhaps 'assembles' would be a better word?

Anyway, best of luck with this! 


All feedback appreciated: http://agentquerycon...ust-sf-mystery/

 






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