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Iris Mjolnir Spawn of War - YA Fantasy - Revision #8


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#1 JDSmith

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 04:18 PM

UPDATED QUERY AT POST #39

 

I appreciate critiques!

 

Dear (insert agent here),

 

I immediately thought of sending you my YA apocalyptic fantasy novel, IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR because of your focus on unique YA literature.

 

Iris Mjolnir’s world is abruptly turned upside down when the apocalypse breaks out, releasing every monster known to man and more. Now, Iris must abandon her home alongside her faithful Maltese companion, Bentley, in order to survive. Talk about your typical Saturday morning. But, just when she thinks her situation could not get stranger, a young man with giant wings feathered in black falls from the sky.

 

The infatuated pair soon find themselves united with a small group of teenage survivors, but something’s not right in the charred remains of their world. One of their new allies stole a glowing orb known as the Key and unknowingly drew the attention of the Dark One. If they don’t return the Key to him, he will destroy Iris’ newfound family. If they surrender, the remnants of humanity will pay the ultimate price. An ancient pact between four malevolent forces may be the only path to their salvation whether they like it or not.

 

Suddenly, a burning red rage ignites within Iris, and a surprisingly familiar call beckons her to accept her birthright as the Spawn of War. No pressure or anything.

 

IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR is a 92,000 word, young adult, apocalyptic fantasy novel.

 

I am a first-time novelist. I currently have a Facebook page and website dedicated to my novel (jdsmithauthor.com). This novel is the first in a four-part series. I have developed concept art for all of the main characters, monsters, and antagonists as well as cover art for each novel.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration!


I'd really appreciate help with my query: Iris Mjolnir Spawn of War

 

First 250 words here: Woooo

 

Write on!


#2 Nonicks

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 04:44 PM

I'm reading queries on this forum for fun. There are lots of queries. In fact, they are so many, that I realized I sometimes read the first line, the last paragraph, and then the rest of the query. It's not on purpose and I don't really know why I'm doing it. I'm not an agent, but the way I read queries made me think that some of them do what I do.

 

I thought this line "I immediately thought of sending you my YA apocalyptic fantasy novel, IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR because of your focus on unique YA literature." was generic - it could fit any agent out there.

 

I'd erase the Bio section, too. It's irrelevant unless you have many followers. If you do, mention this fact in your query.

 

I had a hard time pronouncing "Mjolnir’s" and my first thought was to stop reading the query. But I kept reading a bit more. I stopped after the first line because there was nothing unique in it and it actually reminded me of many other queries I've read.

 

I hope this helped you. :)



#3 beautifulblue19

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 05:15 PM

 

 

Dear (insert agent here),

 

I immediately thought of sending you my YA apocalyptic fantasy novel, IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR because of your focus on unique YA literature. I've heard contrating information about including this type of opener. Some say you need it, some say it's unnecessary. Maybe split the difference and move it to the end.

 

Iris Mjolnir’s world is abruptly turned upside down when the apocalypse breaks out, releasing every monster known to man and more. Now, Iris must abandon her home alongside her faithful Maltese companion, Bentley, in order to survive. Talk about your typical Saturday morning. Since you said this turned her upside down, implying that this is typical doesn't work. And it doesn't quite work as a joking aside, either, because I don't know how atypical it is in your fantasy world. But, just when she thinks her situation could not get stranger, a young man with giant wings feathered in black The phrase feathered in black sounds needlessly complicated falls from the sky.

 

The infatuated When did they become infatuated? pair soon find themselves united with a small group of teenage survivors, but something’s not right in the charred remains of their world. One of their new allies stole a glowing orb known as the Key and unknowingly drew the attention of the Dark One The dark one of comes out of nowhere here. I'd mention that earlier. If they don’t return the Key to him, he will destroy Iris’ newfound family. If they surrender, the remnants of humanity will pay the ultimate price. An ancient pact between four malevolent forces may be the only path to their salvation whether they like it or not.  I don't think you need to get into the solution here, it adds an additional layer of complexity that makes the ideas harder to follow

 

Suddenly Suddenly relative to what event? It's not clear where in all of this, this call takes place. Maybe just drop the suddenly?, a burning red rage ignites within Iris, and a surprisingly familiar call beckons her to accept her birthright as the Spawn of War. No pressure or anything.

 

IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR is a 92,000 word, young adult, apocalyptic fantasy novel.

 

I am a first-time novelist. I currently have a Facebook page and website dedicated to my novel (jdsmithauthor.com). This novel is the first in a four-part series. I have developed concept art for all of the main characters, monsters, and antagonists as well as cover art for each novel.

Most of the advice I've seen implies that first timers are better off leaving themselves out and letting the story speak for itself. Although that's another thing where people disagree... sigh.

Thank you for your time and consideration!

 

It sounds like an interesting story to me, but the letter is a bit muddy. I uploaded my first query letter yesterday, and I think we tripped up on a lot of similar things. It's better to be clear on less of the story, than to try and fit more in and cause confusion. The agent just needs enough to be curious.



#4 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 06:44 PM

I appreciate critiques!

 

Dear (insert agent here),

 

I immediately thought of sending you my YA apocalyptic fantasy novel, IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR because of your focus on unique YA literature. (I would put stuff like this at the end and just start with your hook.  Also, this sounds like a very generic personalization, which can hurt instead of help.)

 

Iris Mjolnir’s world is abruptly turned upside down when the apocalypse breaks out, releasing every monster known to man and more. Now, Iris must abandon her home alongside her faithful Maltese companion, Bentley, in order to survive. Talk about your typical Saturday morning. But, just when she thinks her situation could not get stranger, a young man with giant wings feathered in black falls from the sky.

 

The infatuated pair soon find themselves united with a small group of teenage survivors, but something’s not right in the charred remains of their world. One of their new allies stole a glowing orb known as the Key and unknowingly drew the attention of the Dark One. After reading the whole query, the real conflict and what makes this story different is this.  You should give it more focus.  If they don’t return the Key to him, he will destroy Iris’ newfound family. If they surrender, the remnants of humanity will pay the ultimate price. An ancient pact between four malevolent forces may be the only path to their salvation whether they like it or not.

 

Suddenly, a burning red rage ignites within Iris, and a surprisingly familiar call beckons her to accept her birthright as the Spawn of War. What? Where did this come from? No pressure or anything.

 

IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR is a 92,000 word, young adult, apocalyptic fantasy novel.

 

I am a first-time novelist. Don't tell them that. I currently have a Facebook page and website dedicated to my novel (jdsmithauthor.com). Again, leave this out unless you have a massive following online. This novel is the first in a four-part series. "This novel is a standalone with series potential" is usually how to go about pitching novels in a series.  The agents are only interested in one story. I have developed concept art for all of the main characters, monsters, and antagonists as well as cover art for each novel. Yet again, agents don't care.  It would probably be best to just say in this paragraph "IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR is a 92,000 word, young adult, apocalyptic fantasy novel.  It is a stand alone with series potential." or something along those lines.  If you have no prior credentials, less is always best.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration! (no exclamation mark!)

 

Like the person above me said, this is very muddy.  Also, there are a million and one post apocalyptic YA stories out there, so you want to show right away what makes yours different.  I think it would be much more gripping if you dove right in with the conflict concerning the Dark One and the Key.  And definitely clarify what the Spawn of War is.  Sometimes when you've been writing a story for a long time, things that are obvious to you are very confusing to someone looking at it for the first time.



#5 Emily804

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 12:52 AM

I appreciate critiques!

 

Dear (insert agent here),

 

I immediately thought of sending you my YA apocalyptic fantasy novel, IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR because of your focus on unique YA literature. (If you're going to personalize for each agent you probably want to state the genre they're interested instead of using the word "unique")

 

Iris Mjolnir’s world is abruptly turned upside down when the apocalypse breaks out, releasing every monster known to man and more. Now, Iris must abandon her home alongside her faithful Maltese companion, Bentley, in order to survive. Talk about your typical Saturday morning. But, just when she thinks her situation could not get stranger, a young man with giant wings feathered in black falls from the sky.

​Here's what I would suggest: "When the apocalypse breaks out every monster known to man and more is released. In order to survive, Iris must abandon her home alongside her faithful companion, Bentley. When she thinks her situation could not get stranger, a young man with giant wings falls from the sky."

In general, cut down on the word count whenever you can. 

 

The infatuated pair (Is this Iris and the man with giant wings? Add a sentence to clarify who the infatuated pair are) soon find themselves united with a small group of teenage survivors, but something’s not right in the charred remains of their world. One of their new allies stole a glowing orb known as the Key and unknowingly drew the attention of the Dark One. If they don’t return the Key to him, he will destroy Iris’ newfound family. If they surrender, the remnants of humanity will pay the ultimate price. An ancient pact between four malevolent forces may be the only path to their salvation whether they like it or not.

 

Suddenly, a burning red rage ignites within Iris, and a surprisingly familiar call beckons her to accept her birthright as the Spawn of War. No pressure or anything.

 

IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR is a 92,000 word, young adult, apocalyptic fantasy novel.

 

I am a first-time novelist. I currently have a Facebook page and website dedicated to my novel (jdsmithauthor.com). This novel is the first in a four-part series. I have developed concept art for all of the main characters, monsters, and antagonists as well as cover art for each novel.

(Publishers will design the cover for the novels. Some agents, will want to know about your website and even your Facebook page. Others will not. Check the preference of the agent you are sending to before including this.)

 

Thank you for your time and consideration!

 

I know I made a lot of edits but overall this query is really good! I would just advise getting rid of the unnecessary words. 


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


#6 Springfield

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 02:04 AM

I appreciate critiques!

 

Dear (insert agent here),

 

I immediately thought of sending you my YA apocalyptic fantasy novel, IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR because of your focus on unique YA literature. I presume you'd have something more specific than this.

 

Iris Mjolnir’s You're going to run into problems, big problems. world is abruptly turned upside down when the apocalypse breaks out, I dunno what that means. releasing every monster known to man and more. Known to... Now, Iris must abandon her home alongside her faithful Maltese companion, Bentley, in order to survive. Do you mean she and Bentley abandon ship or she abandons her home and Bentley (which is what it says)? The former, ok, the latter, I'm done with Iris, who I hope is soon eaten by something. Talk about your typical Saturday morning. But, just when she thinks her situation could not get stranger, a young man with giant wings feathered in black falls from the sky.

 

The infatuated pair What infatuated pair? soon find themselves united with a small group of teenage survivors, but something’s not right in the charred remains of their world. One of their new allies stole a glowing orb known as the Key and unknowingly drew the attention of the Dark One.What is happening?  If they don’t return the Key to him, he will destroy Iris’ newfound family. If they surrender, the remnants of humanity will pay the ultimate price. An ancient pact between four malevolent forces may be the only path to their salvation whether they like it or not.

 

Suddenly, a burning red rage ignites within Iris, and a surprisingly familiar call beckons her to accept her birthright as the Spawn of War. What? No pressure or anything.

 

IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR is a 92,000 word, young adult, apocalyptic fantasy novel.

 

I am a first-time novelist. I currently have a Facebook page and website dedicated to my novel (jdsmithauthor.com). Jesus -- take this down, all of it, immediately. This novel is the first in a four-part series. I have developed concept art for all of the main characters, monsters, and antagonists as well as cover art for each novel.  And never, ever mention these things again.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration!

 

The main problem is you've got a very generic story with too little info about the character or any specifics that differentiate it from the bajillion other chosen-one deals. You've also got odd gaps in the linear setup.



#7 JDSmith

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 11:51 PM

Thanks to all who gave critiques! they helped a lot!

 

UPDATED VERSION 

Questions:

1. I excluded Iris' last name from the query to not complicate the reading as much but left it in the title. I recognize that "Mjolnir" is a bugger to pronounce at first, but I just love how it looks. I figured taking it out of the summary is good and I can discuss it later on with an agent if I get signed. If worst comes to worst, I'll just title it "Spawn of War". Not much of a question rather than an update. lol

2. One of the themes in my book in a broad sense is "evil" in the sense of the word. Again, very broad summation... So, I wanted to express that in the query since that's what I think makes my book different. Iris is just a teenager who ends up learning some pretty bad stuff about herself and struggles to discern whether she is a "good" or "bad" person. Does that at least kind of show in this version of the letter?

3. The book centers around Iris, but there are a lot of important characters. The three that share Iris' "evil problem", who are mentioned at the end of the query, I consider main characters as well. The fact that there is four of them is super important in the story, and I wanted to express that my listing them. Is it alright that I mentioned them the way I did? Should I mention them at all?

4. Bentley is a very big part of the book. The entire first quarter of the story consists of Iris surviving with her little ball of fluff she calls a dog. It adds heart to the grim atmosphere. I know there is a rule about only naming your MC and Antagonist, but is naming Bentley alright?

 

Here's the query:

 

When every mythical creature known to man comes to life and ravages the world, Iris must abandon her home with her Maltese dog, Bentley, by her side. She’s surprised by her sudden ability to slay monsters and craft weapons of destruction. With a mace that harnesses lightning in her hand, she fights to survive on a daily basis. When she thinks her situation could not get stranger, a young man with giant black wings falls from the sky.

 

Iris and the stranger soon find themselves united with a group of teenage survivors when they help save them from a pack of Darklings. It turns out that one of their new allies stole a glowing orb known as the Key and drew the attention of an entity of darkness known as Krux. If they do not return the Key to him, he will destroy Iris’ newfound family. He has scoured the charred remains of the world for the Key and will not allow pestersome children stop him now. However, these teens are more than they appear. There’s a malevolent presence as ancient as the birth humanity in Iris, the winged boy, a poisonous girl, and a cursed old friend. To save her friends, Iris might have to accept the evil within herself and embrace the red rage of War.

 

IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR is a 92,000 word, young adult, apocalyptic fantasy novel. It is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

J.D. Smith


I'd really appreciate help with my query: Iris Mjolnir Spawn of War

 

First 250 words here: Woooo

 

Write on!


#8 Springfield

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 02:48 AM

Thanks to all who gave critiques! they helped a lot!

 

UPDATED VERSION 

Questions:

1. I excluded Iris' last name from the query to not complicate the reading as much but left it in the title. I recognize that "Mjolnir" is a bugger to pronounce at first, but I just love how it looks. I figured taking it out of the summary is good and I can discuss it later on with an agent if I get signed. If worst comes to worst, I'll just title it "Spawn of War". Not much of a question rather than an update. lol

 

It's not the pronounceabiity. it's that it's a Marvel thing, possibly trademarked, associated with Thor very specifically. 

 

2. One of the themes in my book in a broad sense is "evil" in the sense of the word. Again, very broad summation... So, I wanted to express that in the query since that's what I think makes my book different. Iris is just a teenager who ends up learning some pretty bad stuff about herself and struggles to discern whether she is a "good" or "bad" person. Does that at least kind of show in this version of the letter?

 

You have to find something that differentiates your thing from the thousands of similar things, and that's not it.

 

3. The book centers around Iris, but there are a lot of important characters. The three that share Iris' "evil problem", who are mentioned at the end of the query, I consider main characters as well. The fact that there is four of them is super important in the story, and I wanted to express that my listing them. Is it alright that I mentioned them the way I did? Should I mention them at all?

4. Bentley is a very big part of the book. The entire first quarter of the story consists of Iris surviving with her little ball of fluff she calls a dog. It adds heart to the grim atmosphere. I know there is a rule about only naming your MC and Antagonist, but is naming Bentley alright?

 

Yes.

 

Here's the query:

 

When every mythical creature known to man comes to life and ravages the world, age Iris must abandon her home with her Maltese dog, Bentley, by her side. She’s surprised by her sudden ability to slay monsters and craft weapons of destruction. There's not enough info here -- this is just vague and telly. With a mace that harnesses lightning in her hand, she fights to survive on a daily basis. When she thinks her situation could not get stranger, a young man with giant black wings falls from the sky.

 

Iris and the stranger soon find themselves united with a group of teenage survivors when they help save them from a pack of Darklings. It turns out that one of their new allies stole a glowing orb known as the Key and drew the attention of an entity of darkness known as Krux. If they do not return the Key to him, he will destroy Iris’ newfound family. He has scoured the charred remains of the world for the Key and will not allow pestersome children stop him now. However, these teens are more than they appear. There’s a malevolent presence as ancient as the birth humanity in Iris, the winged boy, a poisonous girl, and a cursed old friend. To save her friends, Iris might have to accept the evil within herself and embrace the red rage of War. This reads like a synopsis, isn't about Iris, and is also vague and telly.

 

 

IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR is a 92,000 word, young adult, apocalyptic fantasy novel. It is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

J.D. Smith

 

What is her problem? What are the stakes? 

 

Also, the site with your book cover and stuff is still up.



#9 lnloft

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 06:52 AM

I'll come back later when I have time to do an actual query critique, but for now regarding the name: Mjolnir is not "a Marvel thing", because first it was part of Norse mythology. Pretty sure that's going to prevent some trademarking. Personally, I like the name Iris Mjolnir, because it invokes a certain badassitude, and if I saw a book with her name in the title, I would at least pick it up to look a little closer (I think that would even have applied when I was in the YA age category, although there's always the chance I might put it down disappointed after realizing it has nothing to do with Norse mythology).

 

However, sometimes it's not just about facts. Some people are commenting on the pronounce-ability of Mjolnir, and others are being distracted by the connection to Marvel. These are things to think about. Again, I like the name, and chances are there will be some agents out there who do as well, but it's also possible there will be agents (and potential readers, which the agents will think about), who will take one look at that name and think it's too difficult to pronounce, or that it's a Marvel derivative (whether that's true or not). It's unfortunately something you need to consider.


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


#10 rhwashere

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 09:58 AM

What do you think about opening with this “evil” idea? I don’t know the nature of this “evil”, but you might want to hint at it in your hook. Something like, “Iris has ______ inside her, but she doesn’t realize it until the end of the world.”

Also something you want to state early is what Iris wants. Survival, yes, but what else drives her? If you wrote one sentence that sums her up, what would it be? That’s one thing that is lacking in your query. She has a lightning mace, but who cares? How does she feel about killing with it? How does witnessing the end of the world affect her? How does her goal change from survival?

We need to know more about Iris.

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


#11 Springfield

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 11:04 AM

I'll come back later when I have time to do an actual query critique, but for now regarding the name: Mjolnir is not "a Marvel thing", because first it was part of Norse mythology. Pretty sure that's going to prevent some trademarking. Personally, I like the name Iris Mjolnir, because it invokes a certain badassitude, and if I saw a book with her name in the title, I would at least pick it up to look a little closer (I think that would even have applied when I was in the YA age category, although there's always the chance I might put it down disappointed after realizing it has nothing to do with Norse mythology).

 

However, sometimes it's not just about facts. Some people are commenting on the pronounce-ability of Mjolnir, and others are being distracted by the connection to Marvel. These are things to think about. Again, I like the name, and chances are there will be some agents out there who do as well, but it's also possible there will be agents (and potential readers, which the agents will think about), who will take one look at that name and think it's too difficult to pronounce, or that it's a Marvel derivative (whether that's true or not). It's unfortunately something you need to consider.

 

Oh, oops. Well, that'd make sense given Thor, heh. 

 

Sorry, didn't realize, but I think that does speak to your second point.

 

This also made me wonder as I first figured you were correct, then wondered if you could tm something old if you use it as a specific -- it's trademarked with an umulat and as part of a larger name, but not by Marvel, no.



#12 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 11:09 AM

What do you think about opening with this “evil” idea? I don’t know the nature of this “evil”, but you might want to hint at it in your hook. Something like, “Iris has ______ inside her, but she doesn’t realize it until the end of the world.”

 

I second this.

 

Also, regarding the name.  You could just change the name of your story to "Spawn of War" in the query if you're concerned about it affecting your chances negatively.  Then, when an agent gets hooked, they'll read the last name in the sample pages instead of the query and might not judge so harshly.  I actually like the last name, I haven't seen any Marvel movies, nor do I know much about Norse mythology, so I had no prior connections to the name and just thought it looked cool.



#13 JDSmith

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 09:28 PM

Thank you guys so much for the feedback. I rewrote the query. I hope this version is closer! 

 

Dear agent,

 

Iris is a survivor of a monstrous takeover that has left the world in ruin. After losing everyone she loves, her only family left is a Maltese dog named Bentley. But without her brother to guide her, enduring is going to be more of a challenge than ever.

 

She had closed herself off when he died one year before the world ended, but if Iris wants to survive in this new domain of chaos she finds herself in, she must learn to accept others into her life once again. Even if that includes an otherworldly boy who fell from the sky.

 

When Iris and her new friends steal an enchanted orb, they draw the attention of an entity of darkness known as Krux. He invades Iris’ dreams, threatening to brutally execute her friends unless she returns what is rightfully his. Iris can’t face losing her new family but she knows Krux’s intentions are malevolent.

 

Iris may have to accept the fact that she is the reincarnation of an ancient evil in order to protect her new family. She would die for her friends, but embracing the rage within her could turn her into something worse than Krux. If she doesn’t, the world will succumb to the entity of darkness and all Iris has come to love will be destroyed again.

 

IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR is a 92,000 word, young adult, apocalyptic fantasy novel. It is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

J.D. Smith


I'd really appreciate help with my query: Iris Mjolnir Spawn of War

 

First 250 words here: Woooo

 

Write on!


#14 Springfield

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 10:15 PM

Thank you guys so much for the feedback. I rewrote the query. I hope this version is closer! 

 

Dear agent,

 

Iris is a survivor of a monstrous takeover that has left the world in ruin. Still no age... takeover of what. by what...? After losing everyone she loves, her only family left is a Maltese dog named Bentley. But without her brother to guide her, enduring is going to be more of a challenge than ever.

 

She had closed herself off when he died one year before the world ended, but if Iris wants to survive in this new domain of chaos she finds herself in, she must learn to accept others into her life once again. Even if that includes an otherworldly boy who fell from the sky.

 

When Iris and her new friends What friends? What is happening? steal an enchanted orb, they draw the attention of an entity of darkness known as Krux. He invades Iris’ dreams, threatening to brutally execute her friends unless she returns what is rightfully his. Iris can’t face losing her new family but she knows Krux’s intentions are malevolent.

 

Iris may have to accept the fact that she is the reincarnation of an ancient evil in order to protect her new family. She would die for her friends, but embracing the rage within her could turn her into something worse than Krux. If she doesn’t, the world will succumb to the entity of darkness and all Iris has come to love will be destroyed again. This is vague and referencing things that have't been explained at all.

 

IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR is a 92,000 word, young adult, apocalyptic fantasy novel. It is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

J.D. Smith

This is super confusing.

 

Character, problem, stakes.



#15 JRUET

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 04:47 PM

Note: I didn't not read former renditions/critiques so as to come at it fresh. If you've already addressed a point in the comments and I missed it making points here redundant, apologies :)

 

Dear agent,

 

Iris is a survivor of a monstrous takeover that has left the world in ruin Off to a good start, I'm interested :). After losing everyone she loves, her only family all she has left is a Maltese dog named Bentley is Bentley super critical to the story? Cuz I feel like you has a super strong start, then I learn that her family is dead... except for the dog, which while he might be a comfort, wouldn't actually be that helpful in the apocalypse (unless he is?). But without her brother to guide her, enduring is going to be more of a challenge than ever. I'm not sure why the brother is more important than the rest of her family? Did he formerly tell her what to do? I'm a little thrown by this sentence, it makes you MC seems like a bit of a weakling that can't take care of herself

 

She had closed herself off when he died one year before the world ended this feels repetitive, we already know he's dead and the world is altered, but if Iris wants to survive in this new domain of chaos she finds herself in, she must learn to accept others into her life once again. Even if that includes an otherworldly boy who fell from the sky. This is the first interesting thing since your hook, I want more of this ;)

 

When Iris and her new friends steal an enchanted orb why would she do this? what are the stakes?, they draw the attention of an entity of darkness known as Krux. He invades Iris’s dreams, threatening to brutally execute her friends I thought she only had one friend and the dog? unless she returns what is rightfully his. Iris can’t face losing her new family but she knows Krux’s intentions are malevolent this seems like clumsy word choice, I know what you're going for, but it doesn't quite hit the mark.

 

Iris may have to accept the fact that she is the reincarnation of an ancient evil in order to protect her new family This kind of comes out of left field. It's interesting but totally diverts from the story you've previously been setting up for the reader. She would die for her friends, but embracing the rage within her could turn her into something worse than Krux. If she doesn’t, the world will succumb to the entity of darkness and all Iris has come to love will be destroyed again. Okay good, I've got stakes now! I'd consider dumping a lot of the backstory up to this point and expanding on her potential reincarnation and the problems with it. 

 

Something along the lines of:

-when X falls from the sky...

-Iris opens her heart again after losing her family in X...

-they have to steal (why?)

-this causes blowback 

-finds out she's a reincarnation that could cause bad stuff

-stakes (damned if ya do, damned if ya don't kind of thing)

 

IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR is a 92,000 word, young adult, apocalyptic fantasy novel. It is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

J.D. Smith

 

So I think you've got some super interesting point getting buried by a lot of fluff. Based on the title I was expecting reference to Norse Mythology, so I felt a bit like I got left hanging on that point. I think you ned to flesh out the stakes a bit more to make the read more enticing, and give us a reason to root for Iris even when we're not sure if she's going to turn into a "goody" or a "baddy"

 

I think on your next go-round you need to be a bit more brutal with word choice. As a former teacher I used to make my students defend their writing by asking the questions: "why this word in this place, and not a different word in another place?"

 

Hope this helps with revisions and isn't too harsh (I was a very mean grader as a teacher)

 

 

I'd love feedback on my inquiry if you are able, thanks!

 

 

http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/38524-agents-of-balance-ya-fantasy-2nd-revision-options/#entry353945

 



#16 JDSmith

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 11:16 PM

JRUET: Thank you so much for your suggestions! They helped me a lot! Let's hope fourth time's the charm!

 

Dear agent,

 

Seventeen-year-old Iris is a survivor of a monstrous takeover that has left the world in ruin. She fights monsters of myth on a daily basis and fearfully lives in isolation. One day, an otherworldly boy falls from the sky and lands in her care. Iris opens her heart again for the first time in months after losing her family and accidentally burns down her shelter trying to impress him. With nowhere else to go, the two find refuge with a small group of survivors.

 

Since the beginning of the end, an ancient, hostile pulse has emerged in Iris’s soul. She’s tried desperately to ignore it but is forced to face it when a dark entity named Krux begins to open up the crust of the Earth. His intentions are ambiguous, but Iris can’t risk losing anyone again.

 

She may only have one choice to save her new family: to accept the fact that she is the reincarnation of an ancient evil. She would die for her friends, but embracing the Rage of War building within her could turn her into something worse than Krux. If she doesn’t, the world will succumb to the entity of darkness and all she has come to love will be destroyed again.

 

IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR is a 92,000 word, young adult, apocalyptic fantasy novel. It is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

J.D. Smith


I'd really appreciate help with my query: Iris Mjolnir Spawn of War

 

First 250 words here: Woooo

 

Write on!


#17 rhwashere

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 09:39 AM

I think this is a lot better from where you started. I only have a few suggestions to make it sharper and punchier.

1. Something about the first paragraph feels weak or passive. “Monstrous takeover” doesn’t usually imply a takeover by literal monsters, so I would scrap that and the entire second sentence in favor of a more visceral image. Show me what this takeover looks like: harpies descending on school playgrounds, gorgons terrorizing shopping malls, etc. The second half of the paragraph is fine, except I prefer when the boy had black wings.

2. I like the second paragraph a lot, except for the last sentence. If a dark entity opens up the earth’s crust, I don’t doubt his intentions. Cut that sentence and move on to the last paragraph.

3. The stakes paragraph is really good. I would just make it simpler. A-like so:

To save her new family, she must embrace the evil power that rages inside her, even if it means becoming something worse than Krux. Because if she doesn’t, the world will succumb to the entity of darkness and all she has come to love will be destroyed again.

This keeps you from introducing new (and potentially confusing) concepts at the end, and makes the impact of her situation strong.

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


#18 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 09:49 AM

I personally think the stronger hook line would be: Since the beginning of the end, an ancient, hostile pulse has emerged in Iris’s soul.

It shows us the world has ended, and is way more gripping than the first line you have.



#19 mkuriel

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 11:03 AM

Agree with DisgruntledWriter.

 

Your first sentence, "Seventeen-year-old Iris is a survivor of a monstrous takeover that has left the world in ruin"  contains what could be interpreted as an internal contradiction: if monsters take over, why did they ruin the world? Also, it doesn't convey any personal conflict or challenge other than implying that it's hard to survive when monsters have ruined the world. Know what? It's hard to survive when they haven't... or when the monsters are people... but I digress...

 

A possible way to tighten up the second sentence: Everyday she fights mythological monsters while living in fear and isolation. < The key to take from this, IMO, is how to rearrange sentences to reduce redundant wordiness: on a daily basis becomes Everyday; monsters of myth: mythological monsters. 

 

But there's a bigger issue with the second sentence: How does a 17 year old live alone and manage to fight monsters that have destroyed civilization? 

Which is all why I like DisgruntledWriter's opening sentence, I just think you tie in some personal conflict to really suck in the recipient of that letter:

The hostile pulse in Iris's soul grew each time she slew the monsters that ruined her world. 

 

Or something similar that's supported by the narrative. Personally, I don't care for "hostile pulse." It's vague. Hostile emotions? Dark powers? Some sort of corruption? From the rest of the query it sounds like maybe a form of corruption - I'm not certain why you tie the controversial word 'soul' to it. With that in mind:

 

Everyday Iris struggled with the inner corruption that grew when she used it to destroy the monsters that ruined her world. 

 

You can go many routes after that - expanding on anything in that first sentence, just tie it back. I.e. the otherworldly boy somehow helps with the corruption at the cost of getting Krux's attention. The death of her parents and brother woke the power to kill the monsters. Simply killing the monsters isn't enough, now she struggles not to feast on their tainted flesh... 

 

Even if it isn't 100% accurate, err on the side of conciseness in queries (I think...). "A dark entity named Krux": "The demon Krux"; cut all your adverbs (-ly words) ; "may only have": "only has"; introductions like 'One day' - unnecessary since everything happens 'one day'; 

And the sentence on accepting the fact that she's the reincarnation of an ancient evil presents no choice. Can she choose to accept or reject what she might have been before this incarnation? As I understand Karma, even if she was, then it would only mean that 1. she's meant to be something evil that destroys everything and has a karmic debt for not getting the job done the first time or 2. has a karmic debt for the evil done the first time and needs to atone. Is her choice wrapped up in how she clears a karmic debt? That's interesting...

 

I've no idea what's in the narrative so take all of this with a grain of salt. You don't want to put anything in the query that isn't backed up in the story.

 

Hope that helps, and good luck!

 



#20 JDSmith

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 06:39 PM

Revision #5

Thanks for all of your help! I feel like I'm getting closer!

 

Dear Agent,

 

Since the beginning of the end, an ancient, hostile pulse has emerged in seventeen-year-old Iris’s soul. It grows stronger every time she slays one of the mythological monsters that ravaged her world. She tries to ignore it while living in isolation in the Redwood Forest until an otherworldly boy with giant black wings falls from the sky. Iris opens her heart again for the first time in months after losing her family and accidentally burns down her shelter trying to impress him.

 

With nowhere else to go, the two find refuge with a small group of survivors. There is an inexplicable bond between them that tugs at the pulse within Iris and drives her to protect them at all costs. She will be forced to face the power within her when a dark entity named Krux begins to open up the Earth’s mantle.

 

To save her new family, she may have to embrace the evil power that rages inside her, even if it means becoming something worse than Krux. Because if she doesn’t, the world will succumb to the entity of darkness and all she has come to love will be destroyed again.

 

IRIS MJOLNIR SPAWN OF WAR is a 92,000 word, young adult, apocalyptic fantasy novel. It is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

J.D. Smith


I'd really appreciate help with my query: Iris Mjolnir Spawn of War

 

First 250 words here: Woooo

 

Write on!





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