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The Shirk Master (Fantasy)

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#41 Bkrasnik

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 05:48 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

 

 

 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. (I agree with mkuriel on this part)

 

With his reconstituted Order (What is this reconstituted Order exactly? I need some clarification here.) 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. (You gave too much time to these beasts. We will have a chance to get all the gory details when we read your book. I would say delete the last sentence.)

 

To survive this, Ohshus recruits and attempts to lead a band of fighters as desperate as he is (why are these guys also desperate? Needs more context). But Ohshus is not a capable leader. His arcane (I looked at synonyms for arcane, and I am not sure how this word makes any sense here.) 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. (So he recruited a band of fighters to get through the shuuv and find the distant lands? I feel like this needs something more, escaping beasts just doesn’t feel like enough to uphold a plot.)

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 (Why is the world he left behind important to him? Based on the information given, it seems like a bad place). But Ohshus and his company can’t save the world (If you say they can’t save the world, it gives away some mystery that might be nice here). 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

 

I think there needs to be more plot elements added into your query to give your story more depth. Maybe giving more information about the young woman and her threat can help. Good luck!   


Have a moment to offer up some very much appreciated feedback? :)

My Young Adult Dystopian Query: http://agentquerycon...ate-on-post-15/


#42 cmmg

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 10:57 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 (Does he really lose it, or is he on the losing side? This implies that he's somehow at the top, and I think that's at odds with you describing him as mediocre ) within his Binding Order upends everything, forces him to abandon his quiet research, the only thing he loves. (This does a good job at introduce the character's personal struggles and goals, but you can strengthen the wording and the goals here are not the same as the goals he has elsewhere)

 

With his reconstituted Order now wanting him dead (I think this is a bit wordy, but maybe it's just me), 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. (Something about the transition between these sentences can be improved but I can't put my finger on it. "This way leads" feels discordant in tone a little to the preceding sentence and the "this" was a little confusing for me at first. And the "they restlessly rove" seems off. It's mostly the "they" I think the second half of that sentence is good but the transitions don't feel right. Also not sure the last sentence is necessary)

 

To survive this, Ohshus recruits and attempts (even though you're using attempts to imply he's bad at it, I think the thing  is he does lead them. Even if it's poorly. And adding attempts weakens the sentence) 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 (I really like the last two sentences, they give a good sentence of the conflict!). 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. (ALSO I feel like the "They can't save the world" thing here is not really literal. Everyone seems to take this literally, but I took this as a voice thing, to emphasis that they are up against insurmountable odds (I mean, they might save the world after all) if you were going for that, I'd leave it.)

 

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

 

The only thing that I'm sort of concerned with, is that I'm not clear about the win/loss scenario here. I think there's an engaging hook, and the obstacles and complications at the end feel very real, but how does Ohshus win? He's fleeing, but is it to somewhere specific? Is this a "once he reaches location X he will be granted asylum!" situation? You make it more clear how he can lose (by being eaten) but by not making it clear how he wins, it's harder to figure out what he wants/his motivation. I mean, I get that he wants to survive, but I feel like maybe it can be a little more clear how they save themselves.

 

On the other hand, if this is a "I must live out the rest of my life as a fugitive" situation, then I don't know what to tell you. I mean, if he has to hide forever, there's no real to occur there, so his motivation will feel a little stagnant after a while (though in the book I assume he'll have to deal with the ancient power and he'll have new goals cropping up.) I'm not sure if I'm articulating this in an understandable way, but I'm not really sure how he can achieve his ultimate motivation, if that makes sense.

 

In terms of the second paragraph, I do think it's important that you mention he's feeling to a land beyond their reach, only because it gives some sense of his ultimate goal, but the focus on the shuuvs is a bit long.

 

I'm not sure that the hook misleads the query, but I do think it could be more connected and some information could be better integrated. You could even conceivable start with "After picking the losing side of a civil war, Ohshus must flee known civilization for distant lands beyond the reach of his former Binding Order." or something. You want to get across that he's an academic and not good at politics, but I'm not sure that matters to the rest of the query. And there are other ways to insert that, especially when talking about how he sucks at leadership.


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synopsis


#43 TeaTime

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 04:30 PM

Thanks for the great feedback everyone. I'll reciprocate any critiques as always.

 

I've changed up the beginning, hopefully it's a bit better.

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

 

Draft 8

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre wizard—and terrible at politics. Content in the quiet research he loves so much, fallout from a civil war in his wizard’s Order suddenly forces him to abandon everything to run for his life.

 

With his reconstituted Order executing dissenters, Ohshus flees known civilization for distant regions beyond their reach. This way leads through expanses restlessly held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts crudely gouged with human features.

 

To survive, 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


#44 Bkrasnik

Bkrasnik

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 05:09 PM

Thanks for the great feedback everyone. I'll reciprocate any critiques as always.

 

I've changed up the beginning, hopefully it's a bit better.

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

 

Draft 8

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ohshus is a mediocre wizard—and terrible at politics (I love this beginning, it has a nice comedic touch to it that get's me hooked). Content in the quiet research he loves so much (You don't want to say content and loves so much, it is redundant; Pick a better synonym for loves so much and do that one), fallout from a civil war in his wizard’s Order (what is this order exactly? I think you should clarify this for the reader) suddenly forces him to abandon everything to run for his life. (Good, gives a sense of urgency.)

 

With his reconstituted Order executing dissenters(I don't see how dissenters makes sense here and I still have no idea what this "order" is.), Ohshus flees known civilization for distant regions beyond their reach (Beyond whose reach?). This way leads through expanses restlessly held by the shuuv—hulking lion-like beasts crudely gouged with human features.

 

To survive, 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 (I think if you could elaborate on what you mean by this it would add a lot of value to your story. Losing control, like losing his mind? Or are the band of fighters rebelling against him?) Get into the specifics here). 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

This version is definitely better than the last, especially the hook and the third paragraph. But I feel like you are not providing enough details on what exactly the journey of these band of fighters entails, except that there are shuuv's and Ohshus is afraid of losing control. I want details. What are some of the specific obstacles that they face on their journey? What is the transformation of character as a result of this journey? 

 

Also, if you bring up this ancient power threatening the world they left behind, but they don't intend to do anything about it, why are you even bringing it up? Because it sounds like this is a huge threat, but instead of seeing how the wizards respond to it, they are more worried about just surviving and fighting off shuuvs. 

 

Also, I liked how you said he is "terrible at politics," but your query never addresses that again. In order to keep this, you would need to elaborate on this.


Have a moment to offer up some very much appreciated feedback? :)

My Young Adult Dystopian Query: http://agentquerycon...ate-on-post-15/






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