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The Shirk Master (Fantasy)

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#1 TeaTime

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 09:27 PM

Note: Newest Draft (#8) is now on Post #43

 

Thanks everyone who takes the time to look at this rough draft.

 

I will do my best to reciprocate a critique for anyone who critiques. It might be at a slower rate than average user though--I probably will only be able to do 1-2 critiques a day.

 

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

 

(Old/Former) Draft 1

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre binder—a melder of energy between worlds—and not one for civil wars. But after ending up on the wrong side of one, he finds himself cut off from the only life he ever wanted to live. Now Ohshus has to disappear out of the reach of his former order if he wants to stay alive. This sets him on a path through violent lands held by creatures that whole armies are afraid to face. Innumerable hordes of ikers infest the Great Rifts, and far worse, the shuuv—hulking beasts crudely gouged with human features—restlessly rove the plains.

 

To survive this, Ohshus must form 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. The further their company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of his company, the only thing that may be able to keep them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp when, in a place long secluded from civilization, they inadvertently awaken a very old 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.

 

Their story doesn’t matter to their world, but it matters to them.

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 113,000 word epic fantasy novel available upon request. This story is a standalone with series potential. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Contact Stuff


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


#2 lnloft

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 10:21 PM

Thanks everyone who takes the time to look at this rough draft.

 

I will do my best to reciprocate a critique for anyone who critiques. It might be at a slower rate than average user though--I probably will only be able to do 1-2 critiques a day.

 

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

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre binder All I keep thinking of here is a binder like one you take to school for putting all your papers in. I think I'm fine with the usage of this term, but the way it's plopped in at the beginning keeps throwing me off—a melder of energy between worlds—and not one for civil wars. But after ending up on the wrong side of one, he finds himself cut off from the only life he ever wanted to live. How so? Now Ohshus has to disappear out of the reach of his former order He used to be part of an order? if he wants to stay alive. This sets him on a path through violent lands held by creatures that whole armies are afraid to face. Innumerable hordes of ikers What's an iker? infest the Great Rifts What are the Great Rifts?, and far worse, the shuuv—hulking beasts crudely gouged with human features—restlessly rove the plains.

 

To survive this, Ohshus must form 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. Then why/how is he leading, and why should we care about him? The further their company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of his company, the only thing that may be able to keep them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp when, in a place long secluded from civilization, they inadvertently awaken a very old 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.

 

Their story doesn’t matter to their world, but it matters to them. I don't like this line. It makes me wonder why it should matter to me as a reader, and I think the previous sentence did just fine to lay out the stakes.

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 113,000-[insert hyphen]word epic fantasy novel available upon request. This story is a standalone with series potential. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Contact Stuff

This isn't a bad first draft. But I'm left seeking a few more details. I'm getting the impression that the first paragraph is mostly backstory, but I'm not positive. If it is backstory, then you want to trim it down (which, I know, is tough, but it's leaving me with too many questions). If it isn't backstory, then you want to plump it up and add more details. Basically, depending on whether or not that first paragraph is backstory or not, one of these paragraphs need to be expanded upon and the other needs to be decreased. Also, while I appreciate the world-building talking about the various monsters, they're not mentioned again, and so they're new terms that we start trying to learn only to realize that they're not really important for the query. That then can just confuse a reader some. Keep things clear by minimizing new terms. We need Ohshus, but otherwise none of the new terms really seemed critical. Even describing Ohshus as a binder didn't really pay off, because you start by describing him this way, and then never follow up. I'm sure this power he has must be important to the story. So make sure to include a bit more on that, so we aren't left wondering why it even matters that he's a binder.

 

Like I said, though, you're off to a solid start, and I actually am interested in the concept. Keep revising and you'll get there. Good luck.


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


#3 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 08:57 AM

I really like your story idea, for reasons explained below. :) But the query definitely needs work.

 

Thanks everyone who takes the time to look at this rough draft.

 

I will do my best to reciprocate a critique for anyone who critiques. It might be at a slower rate than average user though--I probably will only be able to do 1-2 critiques a day.

 

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

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre binder (I think of a schoolwork binder, so you might want to capitalize this to turn it into a proper noun, "Binder") —a melder of energy between worlds—and not one for civil wars (this phrase is a bit oblique; make it more definite: "And he detests civil wars." WHY does he detest civil wars? Because he knows he'll be useless? Because his parents died in one? Because he's simply a pacifist?). But after ending up on the wrong side of one, he finds himself cut off from the only life he ever wanted to live (explain this a bit: does he want to be married, have children, etc?). Now Ohshus has to disappear out of the reach of his former order if he wants to stay alive. This sets him on a path through violent lands held by creatures that whole armies are afraid to face. Innumerable hordes of ikers (you might want to capitalize this too, and explain it) infest the Great Rifts, and far worse, the shuuv (again, maybe capitalize?)—hulking beasts crudely gouged with human features (what makes them so dangerous?) —restlessly rove the plains.

 

To survive this, Ohshus must form 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. (I absolutely LOVE these two sentences. They humanize your MC, they introduce an interesting failing, and they raise the personal and emotional stakes instantly.) The further their company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of his company, the only thing that may be able to keep them alive (I'm a bit confused... is his control the only thing keeping them alive, or the existence of the company itself?). Matters spin further out of his grasp (More tension! Hurray! :)) when, in a place long secluded from civilization, they inadvertently awaken a very old 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. (I adore this as a last sentence to the query. Consequently...)

 

Their story doesn’t matter to their world, but it matters to them. (...I think you can leave this sentence out entirely. It undercuts the tension you've build up and suggests that the story you're telling is inconsequential, not worth investing in.)

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 113,000 word epic fantasy novel available upon request. This story is a standalone with series potential. I look forward to hearing from you soon. (This is a little bit pushy. I'd leave it out and go straight to "Thank you for your time and consideration.")

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Contact Stuff

 

I think you have a story with good potential here -- I'm liking your characterization of your MC in the query. You just need to fine-tune it and punch it up a bit. :) Good first effort, I look forward to reading your next iteration of the query!



#4 PureZhar3

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 05:06 PM

Thanks everyone who takes the time to look at this rough draft.

 

I will do my best to reciprocate a critique for anyone who critiques. It might be at a slower rate than average user though--I probably will only be able to do 1-2 critiques a day.

 

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

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre binder—a melder of energy between worlds—and not one for civil wars. But after ending up on the wrong side of one, he finds himself cut off from the only life he ever wanted to live. ​which is? Now Ohshus has to disappear out of the reach of his former order ​can you give a more specific definition than "former order" if he wants to stay alive. This sets him on a path through violent lands held by creatures that whole armies are afraid to face ​this is too vague - many fantasy worlds have this. Be specific, or leave it out. Innumerable hordes of ikers ​what is this? infest the Great Rifts ​what are these? the violent lands?, and far worse, the shuuv—hulking beasts crudely gouged with human features—restlessly rove the plains. ​the dash, while important, makes this sentence hard to follow

 

To survive this, Ohshus must form and capably lead ​chose one or the other a band of fighters as desperate as he is ​I simply don't know why he's desperate. But the real problem is Ohshus is not a capable leader ​the real problem is that I don't know why or how he ended up on the wrong side of the civil war, or why that sets him on a violent path. And he probably never will be. ​well then he'll die? The further their company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of his company ​wait, so he did this already? if so, say he "forms" vs "must form", the only thing that may be able to keep them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp ​it sounds as if this is all just happening to him, which doesn't  make him a super intriguing main character. Can you write this from a sense of Ohshus responding and altering events, as an active blazer of his world? when, in a place long secluded from civilization, they inadvertently awaken a very old power that could threaten the world they just left behind ​again, this is most fantasy novels. But Ohshus and his company aren’t going to save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves. ​interesting

 

Their story doesn’t matter to their world, but it matters to them. ​maybe, but currently they don't matter to us (heck, we don't even know much about "they), so their story doesn't matter to us either

 

THE SHIRK MASTER ​this could be me, but this is a little weird is a 113,000 word epic fantasy novel available upon request. This story is a standalone with series potential. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Contact Stuff

 

​The biggest problem that I have with your query is the fact that it is very vague. I don't know half of what is happening, and while you start out explaining things well, it quickly devolves to you using word lingo that I don't understand, and that you don't fully explain. Remember, the story is in the specifics. Also, this is written in a way where everything seems to be happening to Ohshus, rather than him impacting and influencing events. Which isn't very interesting for a reader. Maybe try to frame it some other way.


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


#5 Temeraire

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 06:25 PM

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre binder—a melder of energy between worlds This isn't the clearest explanation, and the wording makes it sound like mediocre is as much a profession as binder, like "mediocre binder" is his official title—and not one for civil wars Is anyone?. But after ending up on the wrong side of one What is the wrong side? , he finds himself cut off from the only life he ever wanted to live which is?. Now Ohshus has to disappear out of the reach of his former order if he wants to stay alive. This sets him on a path through violent lands held by creatures that whole armies are afraid to face. Why? Where is he going? what's his plan? Innumerable hordes of ikers infest the Great Rifts, and far worse, the shuuv—hulking beasts crudely gouged with human features—restlessly rove the plains. I don't think you need this sentence. With such a short space of words, you can't really describe these creatures so we really see them, and you already said they're fierce and dangerous in the previous sentence. 

 

To survive this, Ohshus must form and capably lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. Why? Why can't he hack it alone, or make a few choice contacts and try and settle down somewhere, like Yoda? Or just keep moving about and become a nomad? But the real problem is Ohshus is not a capable leader. And he probably never will be. So why is he even attempting it? The further their company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of his company, the only thing that may be able to keep them alive. Why is it keeping them alive? What does the company offer Ohshus and the others that they couldn't get elsewhere? Matters spin further out of his grasp when, in a place long secluded from civilization, they inadvertently awaken a very old Is there a better/cooler word than "very old"? 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.

 

Their story doesn’t matter to their world, but it matters to them. I don't see how this fits with the rest of the stakes. 

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 113,000 word epic fantasy novel available upon request. This story is a standalone with series potential. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Contact Stuff

 

This sounds interesting, but your query really needs work. I need a clearer idea of the stakes and why Ohshus makes the decisions he does. He seems to be making plans that completely contradict his character - why? Why is he doing what he does? Also, how big a part does his magic play in the plot? It's mentioned at the beginning, and never again, even though it seems like it could be a factor in how he gets to be leader of a company he isn't qualified to lead. 


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 TeaTime

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 09:43 PM

Thanks everyone for giving such great feedback. I've made some of the easy changes, & am mulling over the harder stuff. Hopefully, I'll have the next draft in a little while.

 

I've critiqued two queries & a synopsis from you who reviewed my query. If you have anything you'd like reviewed & I haven't done so yet, let me know.

 

Thanks again, you're the best


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


#7 TeaTime

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 04:06 PM

Hi everyone, I made some changes, added some info to some of the questions that came up in the critiques.

 

All of the query is a bit longer now, it probably needs a tad bit more trimming.

 

Thanks for all of your help. As always, I will do my best to (slowly but surely) reciprocate any critiques for anyone who has a query, etc., of their own that they would like critiqued.

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

 

Old/Former Draft 2

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of energy between worlds—and not one for civil wars. But after ending up on the wrong side of one, he finds himself barred forever from the only life he ever wanted to live. His order of Binders had provided him tranquil shelter and the only facilities capable of performing his abstract research. Now Ohshus has to disappear out of the reach of his former order if he wants to outrun the death mark on his back. This means fleeing known civilization, setting him on a path through violent lands held by creatures that whole armies are afraid to face. Worst among these are the shuuv—hulking beasts crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. They restlessly rove the plains, each capable of running down and crushing a mount in its jaws.

 

To survive this, Ohshus must form 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 company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of his company. And keeping his company 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 113,000-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


#8 galian84

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 09:35 PM

Hi everyone, I made some changes, added some info to some of the questions that came up in the critiques.

 

All of the query is a bit longer now, it probably needs a tad bit more trimming.

 

Thanks for all of your help. As always, I will do my best to (slowly but surely) reciprocate any critiques for anyone who has a query, etc., of their own that they would like critiqued.

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

 

Draft 2

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder (As one critter mentioned above, this makes his title sound like "mediocre Binder". I know what you're trying to say, but it's confusing at first glance)—a melder of energy between worlds—and not one for civil wars. But after ending up on the wrong side of one, he finds himself barred forever from his tranquil Order. the only life he ever wanted to live. His order of Binders had provided him tranquil shelter and the only facilities capable of performing his abstract research(backstory that isn't necessary for your query). Now Ohshus has to disappear out of the reach of his former order if he wants to outrun the death mark on his back. (who/what wants to kill him? His former Order?) This means fleeing known civilization, setting him on a path through violent lands held by creatures that whole armies are afraid to face. Worst among these are the shuuv—hulking beasts crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. They restlessly rove the plains, each capable of running down and crushing a mount in its jaws. (How big of a role do these shuuv play in your overall story? They're not mentioned again later. I think a more appropriate place for this sentence would be in your synopsis)

 

To survive this (vague, survive what? The land? The creatures?), Ohshus must form and capably lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is (where is he getting this army from?). 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 company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears (can you do more showing here? What happens to make him fear that he's losing control? Do they get into a fight/disagreement? Etc) he's losing control of his company. And keeping his company 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 (Eh? This came out of nowhere). But Ohshus and his company aren’t going to save the world. They'll be lucky if they can save themselves. (This doesn't relate to your last sentence, so they awaken an evil power, yet their only goal is to save themselves?)

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 113,000-word epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Contact Stuff

Hi there, my $0.02 above. Better than the first query, just needs a little more tweaking, IMO. Your concept sounds interesting and your MC also sounds like an interesting character, but you have a lot going on, which might be too much for a query letter, where you have to grab the reader/agent's attention and keep it. Hope some of these suggestions help somewhat, and I look forward to your next revision, if you decide to revise again. Good luck!



#9 PureZhar3

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 07:43 PM

Hi everyone, I made some changes, added some info to some of the questions that came up in the critiques.

 

All of the query is a bit longer now, it probably needs a tad bit more trimming.

 

Thanks for all of your help. As always, I will do my best to (slowly but surely) reciprocate any critiques for anyone who has a query, etc., of their own that they would like critiqued.

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

 

Draft 2

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of energy between worlds—and not one for civil wars. But after ending up on the wrong side of one, he finds himself barred forever from the only life he ever wanted to live ​which is? you're getting dangerously close in these sentences to vagueness, but I don't think it's so bad it's unbearable. His order of Binders had provided him tranquil shelter and the only facilities capable of performing his abstract research ​which is?. Now Ohshus has to disappear out of the reach of his former order if he wants to outrun the death mark on his back ​this could be far more impactful if we knew why he had the death mark. This means fleeing known civilization, setting him on a path through violent lands held by creatures that whole armies are afraid to face ​if the vagueness had stopped at the second sentence, I could have stood it. Unfortunately, it didn't. Now, you're a lot more specific in this. But you're not all the way there. What are these violent lands? I was about to ask about the beasts, but you go on to describe the worst of them, so good with that. Worst among these are the shuuv—hulking beasts crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. They restlessly rove the plains this would be an excellent place to capture us with an adj that captures the imagery of the plains, each capable of running down and crushing a mount in its jaws.

 

To survive this, Ohshus must form 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. ​Well then your stakes are moot, because we know assume he will die. Take out this "and he probably never will be" Not even his arcane skills can hide that. The further their company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of his company. And keeping his company 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.​against, you're kind of dashing your stakes against the rocks here. This sounds more like a peak at the ending rather than a "read on!" bit

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 113,000-word epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Contact Stuff

​Better, but I still think you could afford to be more specific. Also, near the end, it still felt like your character was having everything happen to him, instead of influencing anything. Just a thought. Hopefully that helps!

 

​Also, I just rewrote my query, so I would appreciate it if you would check it out (the newest version is in the original post)


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


#10 smithgirl

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 01:33 PM

Dear Agent:

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of energy between worlds—and not one for civil wars. But after ending up on the wrong side of one, Of a world or a war? he finds himself barred forever from the only life he ever wanted to live. You need to start your query with a catchy 1 or 2-sentence hook. You should set this part off as your hook, then rephrase this part to make it more snappy and exciting. However, I don't see the connection between binding energy between worlds and getting stuck in a civil war. I also don't understand what it means to meld the energy between worlds.

 

His order of Binders had provided him tranquil shelter and the only facilities capable of performing his abstract research. Now Ohshus has to disappear out of the reach of his former order if he wants to outrun the death mark on his back. Why doe he have a death mark on his back? This means fleeing known civilization, setting him on a path through violent lands held by creatures that whole armies are afraid to face. Too vague. Worst among these are the shuuv—hulking beasts crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. They restlessly rove the plains, each capable of running down and crushing a mount in its jaws.

 

To survive this, Ohshus must form 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 company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of his company. And keeping his company 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 110,000-word Always round your word count. epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

So your query is too wordy and vague. Recall, this needs to be a sales pitch.You also spend a fair amount of time disparaging your MC (he is mediocre, not a capable leader and never will be). No! You should't bash your MC! He needs to be flawed but not hopeless sounding. You write that he's not a capable leader -- not yet! He must find the inner strength to do so! Focus on what he needs to do and how he is getting better at these things. He needs obstacles but a chance at overcoming them. Your query doesn't make me interested in Ohschus at all. He just sounds like a boring loser. Like galian said, your MC needs to be active. Things are just happening to him. I'm sure there's more to him than that, but that's how it's coming across. 

 

You need to make your query snappy and more exciting. You especially need to make it more specific -- tell us exactly what Ohshus is doing, not just some vague info that he's facing bad guys. Start your query over and be very specific, make us want to invest ourselves in Ohshus emotionally. Make him maybe weak at first with potential.

 

Query writing is hard so don't be discouraged. Good luck!



#11 rhwashere

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 03:10 PM

Hi everyone, I made some changes, added some info to some of the questions that came up in the critiques.

 

All of the query is a bit longer now, it probably needs a tad bit more trimming.

 

Thanks for all of your help. As always, I will do my best to (slowly but surely) reciprocate any critiques for anyone who has a query, etc., of their own that they would like critiqued.

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

 

Draft 2

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder (I like this beginning!)—a melder of energy between worlds (Unfortunately, I have no idea what this means. Is there a point to this melding? What does it do?)—and not one for civil wars. But after ending up on the wrong (try "losing" instead; it's more clear) side of one, he finds himself barred forever from the only life he ever wanted to live. (Which is what?) His order of Binders had provided him tranquil shelter and the only facilities capable of performing his abstract research. (And now I'm lost. I think you're trying to introduce too much here. Binders, civil wars, now abstract research... all in three sentences. I suggest eliminating all unnecessary details and focus on Ohshus. What does he want? What's stopping him from getting it?) Now Ohshus has to disappear out of the reach of his former order (Why is it former order now? I thought they were offering him shelter?) if he wants to outrun the death mark on his back. (Yet another detail you've introduced out of thin air) This means fleeing known civilization, setting him on a path through violent lands held by creatures that whole armies are afraid to face. Worst among these are the shuuv (Is this essential to understanding the story?)—hulking beasts crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. They restlessly rove the plains, each capable of running down and crushing a mount in its jaws.

 

To survive this, Ohshus must form and capably lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is. But the real problem is Ohshus is not a capable leader. (Now, it's interesting again. Know why? Because we're back to your main character and his relatable struggle. This should be the focus the whole way through.) And he probably never will be. (Excellent) Not even his arcane skills can hide that. The further their company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's losing control of his company. And keeping his company 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. (Wonderful ending!)

 

THE SHIRK MASTER is a 113,000-word epic fantasy novel. This story is a standalone with series potential.

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Contact Stuff

 

So, my recommendation would be to cut back on some of those world-building details and focus on your MC's struggle. The first sentence and last paragraph do this well, but most of the first paragraph loses sight of that.


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


#12 TeaTime

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 11:02 PM

Hey everyone, thank you for the great feedback.

 

I'll take the time now to apply it to the next draft.

 

I've left comments on three queries from the last four posters, but let me know if I missed anyone's query or synopsis that's out there.

 

Thanks again


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


#13 TeaTime

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 09:02 PM

Some more changes, hopefully some of the parts are a littler clearer.

 

I'll reciprocate any critiques for anyone who has a query out there. Thanks everyone

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

 

Old/Former Draft 3

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magic between worlds—and not one for civil wars. But after landing on the losing side of one within his Binding order, he’s barred forever from its comforts, protection, and the sole means of performing his quiet research, severing him from the only life he ever wanted to live. Now Ohshus has to disappear out of the reach of his hostile order if he wants to outrun the new death mark on his back. 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. 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 his company 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


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


#14 Emily804

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 03:42 PM

 

Some more changes, hopefully some of the parts are a littler clearer.

 

I'll reciprocate any critiques for anyone who has a query out there. Thanks everyone

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

 

Draft 3

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magic between worlds—and not one for civil wars. (How is this relevant? What about this: Ohshus is a Binder--a melder of magic between worlds.) But After landing on the losing side of one within his Binding order, he’s barred forever from its comforts, protection, and the sole means of performing his quiet research, severed from the only life he ever wanted to live. Now Ohshus has to disappear out of the reach of his hostile order if he wants to outrun the new death mark on his back. 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. 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 (this makes it sound like he's running a business). And keeping his company 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

 

 

A lot of the sentences in this are long and confusing. Try reordering them and seeing how that works. I think you might be having similar issues with your query as I am. When you have a unique world you've created it's hard to condense it down into a query.

 

Some questions to consider answering in your query:

Why was your main character exiled from his Binding order?

What is it about him specifically that makes him unable to lead? Is he socially awkward? Is he prone to violent rages? 

How do they wake the ancient power? What is so dangerous about this power?

Could you start by saying "an outcasted Binder accidentally wakes an ancient and dangerous power"?


Query Compatibility YA sci-fi: http://agentquerycon...lity-ya-sci-fi/


#15 rhwashere

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 04:59 PM

The first paragraph is much clearer this time around, though I might restructure it a bit. Something like “Ohshus may be a mediocre Binder—a welder of energy between worlds—but he is content with the protections, research projects, and sense of belonging his order provides. Or, he was until a civil war split his order in two, with him on the losing side.”

That way, you can jump right from civil war to a fight for survival, without losing momentum.

Also, after thinking more about it, I would eliminate the last two sentences of your concluding paragraph. They destroy the tension that arises with the introduction of the “ancient power”. End on the ancient power.

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


#16 Nikita

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 06:03 PM

 

Some more changes, hopefully some of the parts are a littler clearer.

 

I'll reciprocate any critiques for anyone who has a query out there. Thanks everyone

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

 

Draft 3

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magic between worlds—and not one for civil wars. The phrase 'not one for civil wars' is tripping me up. Does this mean he's not a fighter? Just not interested in politics? Afraid of confrontation? I think a more specific explanation would fit better, and then you could just start off the next sentence with, "But after landing on the losing side of a civil war..." But after landing on the losing side of one within his Binding order, he’s barred forever from its comforts, protection, and the sole means of performing his quiet research, severing him from the only life he ever wanted to live. Now Ohshus has to disappear out of the reach of his hostile order if he wants to outrun the new death mark on his back. A death mark sounds a lot more serious than just being barred from the comforts of his Binding order! Right now your focus seems to be on Ohshus' wish for a quiet life, but this right here is a hook, and it's what precipitates his flight into the Barren Wastes. Don't bury this under lesser stakes! 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. 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.I also think 'company' isn't the right word here. And keeping his company 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. I love this 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

 

I think you have some really great stuff here, and it sounds like a fascinating story. Also, thanks for critiquing my query!



#17 9emilylime9

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 01:12 AM

 

Some more changes, hopefully some of the parts are a littler clearer.

 

I'll reciprocate any critiques for anyone who has a query out there. Thanks everyone

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

 

Draft 3

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre Binder—a melder of magic between worlds—and not one for civil wars. But after landing on the losing side of one within his Binding order, he’s barred forever from its comforts, protection, and the sole means of performing his quiet research, severing him from the only life he ever wanted to live. (reorder. See below). Now Ohshus has to disappear out of the reach of his hostile order if he wants to outrun the new death mark on his back. This means fleeing known civilization by and slipping through violent lands held by the shuuv—hulking beasts crudely gouged with human features and intelligence. The shuuv who 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 (Why must he be the one to lead them?). But the real problem is Ohshus is not a capable leader and he probably never will be. Not even with his arcane skills can hide that. The further their his newly formed company strays from civilization, the more Ohshus fears he's is losing control of his company. And, even though keeping his company together may be the only thing that can keep them alive. Matters spin further out of his grasp Especially when, in a place long secluded, they inadvertently awaken an ancient power that could threaten destroy (I'm assuming) 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 like this ending sentence a lot)

 

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

 

 

 

The first paragraph is much clearer this time around, though I might restructure it a bit. Something like “Ohshus may be a mediocre Binder—a welder of energy between worlds—but he is content with the protections, research projects, and sense of belonging his order provides. Or, he was until a civil war split his order in two, with him on the losing side.”

That way, you can jump right from civil war to a fight for survival, without losing momentum.

 

I agree with above ^^^^^

Also, after thinking more about it, I would eliminate the last two sentences of your concluding paragraph. They destroy the tension that arises with the introduction of the “ancient power”. End on the ancient power.

 

Your story sounds really unique, and I think if you just reorder and tighten some of your sentences, you'll have a solid query!



#18 Gabe S.

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 10:49 AM

I see why you put in “mediocre binder”, but in a query show that he’s mediocre and it looks like you do later on down. Last thing people want to read about is a so-so average dude. It’s like trying to be the okay-est employee in a company. Also, on describing the MC, stick to the most important characteristics and be brief. I have spent many an hour farting around in a thesaurus trying to find the best word to use in just one sentence in a query.

Outside of this I like the underdog story.

If you'd like, you can critique my query at: http://agentquerycon...aded-ya-sci-fi/


#19 TeaTime

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 02:02 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.

 

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. 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. 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


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


#20 KET Writes

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 03:13 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 (Could you put "violence" or "conflict" here? what is it about civil wars that he doesn't like?). But after being forced to pick sides within his Binding Order, he finds himself on the losing side of a civil war. (I made this change because I feel like it's more powerful to end your opening with the phrase "civil war" vs  the word "one". 

 

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. (This phrase confuses me. A loose end for who to tolerate? In the next sentence, I understand that it's the Order, but it made me pause. Also why is he a loose end?) Now he has to disappear out of his hostile Order’s reach to outrun the new death mark on his back. 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. ​While I think this is super interesting, it's a lot of information in one paragraph. I was just starting to wrap my head around the Order, the civil war, and why he was forced to run away, now I stop, and think, wait, was that not the conflict? is it about escaping the shuuv? Obviously in an epic fantasy, you will have lots of layers, and lots of conflict, but in a query letter, you won't be able to squish it all in.

 

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, 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

 

I feel like this a really cool and conflict-packed premise, but I feel like each paragraph is a stand alone conflict. I don't see the through-line just yet. The first paragraph makes the story seem like it's all about a civil-war, the second, about fighting the shuuv, the third, about Ohshus' struggle becoming a leader. I would choose one of those, and try to thread it through all the paragraphs. Personally I really love your closing paragraph, so I would see how you could tie some of those themes into your opening two.

 

I hope that feedback helps!!

 

 

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If my feedback was helpful, I'd appreciate some thoughts on my YA Urban Fantasy Query !

 






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