Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
- - - - -

THE GODCURSED (YA Fantasy) - Will Return Critique

Fantasy Young Adult

  • Please log in to reply
29 replies to this topic

#1 crestakaz

crestakaz

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 64 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 26 February 2018 - 02:21 PM

LATEST HERE (working on rewrites)

 

Hi everyone. I was looking to get some feedback on my query. I posted for this novel before, but the MS has changed pretty much 100%, so I didn't want people reading the old versions and getting confused on plot points. As always, I'm more than happy to help out on your queries as well :)

 

Two questions:

1) It seems to be trending towards putting novel info (e.g. title + word count) at the bottom of the query instead of at the top. Is that correct? What if I wanted to say, something along the lines of, "I saw on your website you're looking for X type of books, and I think mine fits," etc.? Where should I include that?

2) I'm looking to trim down on overall wordcount. Any suggestions?

 

Thanks in advance!!--

 

Dear (Agent),

 
No human has set foot into the Realm, a land ruled by monsters and magic, in almost two hundred years. But when Atya’s best friend and ward Princess Ilianna is sent to spy on the Realm’s leader, Atya must brave its nightmarish dangers with her.
 
Seventeen-year-old Atya leads a charmed life in Veturia, a country cursed with the howling winds of eternal winter. But her life is more than ballgowns and festivals—she is Blessed, one granted powers by the gods to protect Princess Ilianna. So, when rebels overtake the capital in a bloody coup and force Ilianna to act as spy in the Realm, Atya chooses to follow her into that terrifying land.
 
Plunged into the dark world of half-human, half-beast creatures called the Godcursed, Atya and Ilianna find themselves locked in a race against time to uncover the monsters’ secrets before the rebels execute their families. As they struggle to find the key to their freedom, the two girls discover Veturia is merely a stage, they the puppets, and the rebels the masters holding the strings. Worse yet, Atya’s powers may not be the gods-given gift as she’s always been told.
 
But in the Realm, they may have moved from being performers in the rebels’ show to pawns in the Godcursed’s game.
 
Now that the stage is crumbling, they must choose between working with the monsters they fear and the monstrous rebels they know— that is, unless they can find a way to cut their strings and topple the board before time runs out.
 
But leaving the Realm may not be as easy as entering it.
 
THE GOCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words.
 
Thank you very much for your time.
 
Sincerely,
Name


#2 smithgirl

smithgirl

    smithgirl

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 726 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 26 February 2018 - 03:43 PM

 

Two questions:

1) It seems to be trending towards putting novel info (e.g. title + word count) at the bottom of the query instead of at the top. Is that correct? What if I wanted to say, something along the lines of, "I saw on your website you're looking for X type of books, and I think mine fits," etc.? Where should I include that? There are some differences of opinion on this issue. I always put all all this info at the end, and I think that's the most standard view. But some people prefer to put it at the beginning. In the end, it's up to you.

 

2) I'm looking to trim down on overall wordcount. Any suggestions?

 

 

Dear (Agent):

 
No human has set foot into the Realm, a land ruled by monsters and magic, in almost two hundred years. But when Atya’s best friend and ward comma Princess Ilianna comma is sent to spy on the Realm’s leader, Atya must brave its nightmarish dangers with her. This is a snappy hook except you must set Ilianna's name off in commas (I was super confused when I first read it). Also, it seems strange that your ward would be your best friend. Because usually a ward's guardian is much older than their ward -- more like a parent figure.
 
Seventeen-year-old Atya leads a charmed life in Veturia, How can Atya be a guardian at only 17? So is Iliana super young? a country cursed with the howling winds of eternal winter. It sounds like a contradiction that Atya lives a charmed life in a place that is cursed and has eternal winter. Can you rephrase? But her life is more than ballgowns and festivals—she is Blessed, one granted powers by the gods to protect Princess Ilianna. So, when rebels overtake the capital in a bloody coup and force Ilianna to act as spy in the Realm, Atya chooses to follow her into that terrifying land.
 
This first paragraph largely re-states the first one. I think you can omit some of the redundancy. Still, up until now your query is pretty specific. After this, it becomes very vague an confusing.
 
Plunged into the dark world of half-human, half-beast creatures called the Godcursed, Atya and Ilianna find themselves locked in a race against time to uncover the monsters’ secrets before the rebels execute their families. This is too vague. As they struggle to find the key to their freedom, the two girls discover Veturia is merely a stage, they the puppets, and the rebels the masters holding the strings. Worse yet, Atya’s powers may not be the gods-given gift as she’s always been told. This paragraph is all too vague.
 
But in the Realm, they may have moved from being performers in the rebels’ show to pawns in the Godcursed’s game. What?
 
Now that the stage is crumbling, they must choose between working with the monsters they fear and the monstrous rebels they know— that is, unless they can find a way to cut their strings and topple the board before time runs out. I'm totally lost. What board?
 
But leaving the Realm may not be as easy as entering it. I feel like you somehow have multiple paragraphs vying to be your final paragraph.
 
THE GODCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words.
 
Thank you very much for your time.
 
Sincerely,
Name

 

 

 

So your query starts well and it has a nice snappy writing style, but it's much too vague. You need to rewrite to be very specific, tell us exactly what Ilinianna and Atya are doing. At the same time, don't include more of the story than you can clarify in the query.  By the end, I have no idea what's going on.

 

Another thing that threw me was the ward word. You usually see that word in a historical context, of an older man who takes on the guardianship of a young man or woman, or even a child, if their parents die. So it was very confusing to me that you described the princess as being Atya's ward. I think it would be much clearer if you just describe her as being Iliana's protector. If you clarify this relationship in the book, then maybe it's fine to leave it there, but in the limited context of a query I think it causes a lot of confusion which you could eliminate by just saying the Atya is her protector.



#3 crestakaz

crestakaz

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 64 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 26 February 2018 - 03:55 PM

 

So your query starts well and it has a nice snappy writing style, but it's much too vague. You need to rewrite to be very specific, tell us exactly what Ilinianna and Atya are doing. At the same time, don't include more of the story than you can clarify in the query.  By the end, I have no idea what's going on.

 

Another thing that threw me was the ward word. You usually see that word in a historical context, of an older man who takes on the guardianship of a young man or woman, or even a child, if their parents die. So it was very confusing to me that you described the princess as being Atya's ward. I think it would be much clearer if you just describe her as being Iliana's protector. If you clarify this relationship in the book, then maybe it's fine to leave it there, but in the limited context of a query I think it causes a lot of confusion which you could eliminate by just saying the Atya is her protector.

 

 

You're completely right. After I posted it and reread it, I started realizing it was all far too vague. I'll definitely be working on that aspect for the next go around. Thank you so much for your critique!



#4 Gabe S.

Gabe S.

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 51 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, self-published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Wrote stuff already

Posted 26 February 2018 - 04:06 PM

 

Hi everyone. I was looking to get some feedback on my query. I posted for this novel before, but the MS has changed pretty much 100%, so I didn't want people reading the old versions and getting confused on plot points. As always, I'm more than happy to help out on your queries as well :)

 

Two questions:

1) It seems to be trending towards putting novel info (e.g. title + word count) at the bottom of the query instead of at the top. Is that correct? What if I wanted to say, something along the lines of, "I saw on your website you're looking for X type of books, and I think mine fits," etc.? Where should I include that?

2) I'm looking to trim down on overall wordcount. Any suggestions?

 

Thanks in advance!!--

 

Dear (Agent),

 
No human has set foot into the Realm, a land ruled by monsters and magic, in almost two hundred years. But when Atya’s best friend and ward Princess Ilianna is sent to spy on the Realm’s leader, Atya must brave its nightmarish dangers with her. What is Atya's position/rank? Reading further ahead, I can tell that she's the protagonist, but in this second sentence that is not clear yet. Usually the 'princess' is assumed to be the protagonist, and if this is not the case, I'd suggest making it abundantly clear that Atya is the MC, not Illianna.
 
Seventeen-year-old Atya leads a charmed (privileged - charmed would mean sunshine and singing birds, but that's not the case here) life in Veturia, a country cursed with the howling winds of eternal winter. But her life is more than ballgowns and festivals—she is Blessed, one granted powers by the gods to protect Princess Ilianna. So, when rebels overtake the capital in a bloody coup and force Ilianna to act as spy in the Realm, Atya chooses to follow her into that terrifying land. I'd add in a quick blurb (I kno, tough to do in a query) about the rebel's motivations on the coup and sending the ladies off to the badlands.
 
Plunged into the dark world of half-human, half-beast creatures called the Godcursed, Atya and Ilianna find themselves locked in a race against time to uncover the monsters’ secrets before the rebels execute their families. (If Atya's family is also on the line, did her volunteering to go with the Princess prevent the family's execution? Just thinking out loud.) As they struggle to find the key to their freedom, the two girls discover Veturia is merely a stage, they the puppets, and the rebels the masters holding the strings. Worse yet, Atya’s powers may not be the gods-given gift as she’s always been told.
 
But in the Realm, they may have moved from being performers in the rebels’ show to pawns in the Godcursed’s game.
 
Now that the stage is crumbling, they must choose between working with the monsters they fear and the monstrous rebels they know— that is, unless they can find a way to cut their strings and topple the board before time runs out. I like the analogy. The 'stage is crumbling' might play a little too hard into the analogy, so I'd revise that.
 
But leaving the Realm may not be as easy as entering it.
 
THE GOCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words.
 
Thank you very much for your time.
 
Sincerely,
Name

 

 Question 1: This depends on the agent or agency. Some have prerequisite formatting they expect in a query. As usual, when you're doing your agent review, make sure you follow her/his/their guidelines. The QueryShark always says put the housekeeping at the bottom since agents have precious little time for the slush pile and want to see your goods first.

 

Question 2: I'd say between 250-275 as a guideline, but not a rule. If you keep them reading after the first 2 sentences, you have a better chance of having them at least read to the next paragraph. .

 

Been down the road of the query exposing flaws in the MS. It's a great, but frustrating tool. What I ended up doing between revising queries is study my manuscript like you'd have to study and dissect a project book in English class. Doing this will make you an expert in what you wrote and give you the ability to better relate your new-found knowledge of what you wrote in the query (I know - weird, but sometimes you don't know what you wrote until you read it in detail).


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


#5 Kelz1990

Kelz1990

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 55 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Southeast

Posted 26 February 2018 - 07:14 PM

 

Hi everyone. I was looking to get some feedback on my query. I posted for this novel before, but the MS has changed pretty much 100%, so I didn't want people reading the old versions and getting confused on plot points. As always, I'm more than happy to help out on your queries as well :)

 

Two questions:

1) It seems to be trending towards putting novel info (e.g. title + word count) at the bottom of the query instead of at the top. Is that correct? What if I wanted to say, something along the lines of, "I saw on your website you're looking for X type of books, and I think mine fits," etc.? Where should I include that?

2) I'm looking to trim down on overall wordcount. Any suggestions?

 

Thanks in advance!!--

 

Dear (Agent),

 
No human has set foot into the Realm, a land ruled by monsters and magic, in almost two hundred years. But when seventeen-year-old Atya’s best friend and ward Princess Ilianna is sent to spy on the Realm’s leader, Atya must brave its nightmarish dangers with her. What are the dangers in the Realm?
 
Seventeen-year-old Atya leads a charmed life in Veturia, a country cursed with the howling winds of eternal winter. But her life is more than ballgowns and festivals. (new sentence here) She is Blessed, one granted powers by the gods to protect her best friend and ward, Princess Ilianna. So,  (no comma) when rebels overtake the capital in a bloody coup and force Ilianna to act as spy in the Realm, Atya chooses to follow her into that terrifying land.
 
Plunged into the dark world of half-human, half-beast creatures called the Godcursed, Atya and Ilianna find themselves locked in a race against time to uncover the monsters’ secrets before the rebels execute their families. As they struggle to find the key to their freedom, the two girls discover Veturia is merely a stage, that they are the puppets, and the rebels are the masters holding the strings. Worse yet, Atya’s powers may not be the gods-given gift as she’s always been told. She's got powers now? 
 
But in the Realm, they may have moved from being performers in the rebels’ show to pawns in the Godcursed’s game.
 
Now that the stage is crumbling, they must choose between working with the monsters they fear, (comma added) and the monstrous rebels they know-that is, unless they can find a way to cut their strings and topple the board before time runs out.
 
But leaving the Realm may not be as easy as entering it.
 
THE GOCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words.
 
Thank you very much for your time.
 
Sincerely,
Name

 

 

A couple of quirks here and there, but still a decent query. 



#6 9emilylime9

9emilylime9

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 38 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 27 February 2018 - 12:10 AM

 

Hi everyone. I was looking to get some feedback on my query. I posted for this novel before, but the MS has changed pretty much 100%, so I didn't want people reading the old versions and getting confused on plot points. As always, I'm more than happy to help out on your queries as well :)

 

Two questions:

1) It seems to be trending towards putting novel info (e.g. title + word count) at the bottom of the query instead of at the top. Is that correct? What if I wanted to say, something along the lines of, "I saw on your website you're looking for X type of books, and I think mine fits," etc.? Where should I include that? I agree with the previous posters, the bottom is usually the best place.

2) I'm looking to trim down on overall wordcount. Any suggestions? If you're talking about lowering the WC of your manuscript, it depends on how much you want to trim. For a small amount (ie less than 5,000 words), look at your exposition/worldbuilding and try to remove everything that is not relevant to the plot, which will hopefully tighten your narrative. For a larger amount, really examine every scene. How does it advance the plot? How does it develop your characters? If it doesn't seem to drive your story forward, it should be on the chopping block.

 

Thanks in advance!!--

 

Dear (Agent),

 
No human has set foot into the Realm, a land ruled by monsters and magic, in almost two hundred years. But when Atya’s best friend and ward Princess Ilianna is sent to spy on the Realm’s leader, Atya must brave its nightmarish dangers with her. (This is a decent hook, but I wonder if you can do better. Instead of the vague "monsters and magic" maybe this is the time to bring in something a little more specific about the Godcursed. Or perhaps you could go in a different direction and start with Atya and how she has been Blessed to be a protector. That is an interesting twist on the usual "chosen one" narrative.)
 
Seventeen-year-old (include Atya's age when you first introduce her) Atya leads a charmed life in Veturia, a country cursed with the howling winds of eternal winter. But her life is more than ballgowns and festivals—she is Blessed, one granted powers by the gods to protect (age-year-old) Princess Ilianna of Veturia. So, when rebels overtake the capital in a bloody coup and force Ilianna to act as spy in the Realm, Atya chooses to follow her into that terrifying land. follows her. (I think the curse of eternal winter is an interesting detail but also leads to more questions-- such as, "who cursed it?" If it has to do with the rebels or the Godcursed, maybe include it, otherwise don't)
 
Plunged into the dark world of half-human, half-beast creatures called the Godcursed, Atya and Ilianna find themselves locked in a race against time to uncover the monsters’ secrets before the rebels execute their families (Maybe include the rebel's intent to kill their families in the previous paragraph). As they struggle to find the key to their freedom, the two girls discover Veturia is merely a stage, they the puppets, and the rebels the masters holding the strings. Worse yet, Atya’s powers may not be the gods-given gift as she’s always been told. (I would include a few more details: What is the key to their freedom? How are the rebels holding the strings? And what is the complication to Atya's powers? Beyond that, what, exactly, are her powers?)
 
But in the Realm, they may have moved from being performers in the rebels’ show to pawns in the Godcursed’s game. (Is the plot here more political or a quest? Again, what is their goal, exactly, while they are in the Realm?)
 
Now that the stage is crumbling (what's falling apart?), they must choose between working with the monsters they fear and the monstrous rebels they know— that is, unless they can find a way to cut their strings and topple the board before time runs out.
 
But leaving the Realm may not be as easy as entering it. (Nice)
 
THE GODCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words.
 
Thank you very much for your time.
 
Sincerely,
Name

 

 

Sounds interesting, and you do a great job of conveying the urgency, but I think you need to add a few more sentences with details, especially if those details are setbacks and complications in the plot.



#7 crestakaz

crestakaz

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 64 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 27 February 2018 - 12:53 PM

A huge, huge thanks to all of you who reviewed my query! I've given another go at it, hopefully with better results. It's still a little rough around the edges, but hopefully it's much clearer than its terribly vague predecessor.

To clarify things from last time:

- This book is much more focused on political intrigue than questing, though there are some action/adventure elements.

- I used “ward” for lack of a better word to describe their relationship. Atya is 17, Ilianna 16. I decided to cut it entirely to avoid confusion.

- “execute their families”—Atya’s family ends up being tied up in this, but when she makes the decision to go to the Realm, she is unaware her family is at stake too. So, that doesn’t influence her initial decision.

- “cut their strings and topple the Godcursed’s board before time runs out.” This was a phrase referring to the other statement of them being the rebels’ puppets and the Godcursed’s pawns. I decided to cut the metaphor, at least for now.

Questions for this time:

- To clarify, I'm looking to trim words off the query. Current wordcount is 277, and from what I've read, the goal is usually max 250...? Any thoughts?

- "Unravel the mystery surrounding the Godcursed” is probably a little vague, isn’t it?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

No human has set foot into the Realm, a land ruled by monsters and magic, in almost two hundred years. But when Atya’s best friend, Princess Ilianna, is sent to spy on the Realm’s leader, Atya must brave its nightmarish dangers with her.
 
Seventeen-year-old Atya leads a privileged life in Veturia, a country cursed with the howling winds of an eternal winter. But her life is more than ballgowns and festivals—she is Blessed, one granted powers by the gods to heal Princess Ilianna of any wound. Her life is upended when rebels overtake the capital in a bloody coup. Their leader has one goal: to wage war with the undefeated Realm and reclaim land they stole. He believes Ilianna is the key to success. But Atya is convinced without her, Ilianna doesn’t stand a chance. So, she follows her into that terrifying land.
 
Plunged into the dark world of half-human, half-beast creatures called the Godcursed, Atya and Ilianna find themselves locked in a race against time to uncover the monsters’ weakness before the rebels execute their families. As they unravel the mystery surrounding the Godcursed, they learn Atya’s powers may not be a gods-given gift as she’s been told. And when they discover what the rebels really want is a human girl whose unusual powers are not too unlike Atya’s own, they have to choose: either work with the monsters they fear, or face the monstrous rebels they know. But if they fail to find a way to both appease the rebels and trick the Godcursed, they may have no home to return to.
 
And leaving the Realm may not be as easy as entering it.
 
THE GODCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words.


#8 9emilylime9

9emilylime9

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 38 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 27 February 2018 - 01:30 PM

 

A huge, huge thanks to all of you who reviewed my query! I've given another go at it, hopefully with better results. It's still a little rough around the edges, but hopefully it's much clearer than its terribly vague predecessor.

To clarify things from last time:

- This book is much more focused on political intrigue than questing, though there are some action/adventure elements.

- I used “ward” for lack of a better word to describe their relationship. Atya is 17, Ilianna 16. I decided to cut it entirely to avoid confusion.

- “execute their families”—Atya’s family ends up being tied up in this, but when she makes the decision to go to the Realm, she is unaware her family is at stake too. So, that doesn’t influence her initial decision.

- “cut their strings and topple the Godcursed’s board before time runs out.” This was a phrase referring to the other statement of them being the rebels’ puppets and the Godcursed’s pawns. I decided to cut the metaphor, at least for now.

Questions for this time:

- To clarify, I'm looking to trim words off the query. Current wordcount is , and from what I've read, the goal is usually max 250...? Any thoughts?

- "Unravel the mystery surrounding the Godcursed” is probably a little vague, isn’t it? (just a little. I assume it's the mystery of where they came from? But that can be clarified without adding to word count, I think.)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

No human has set foot into the Realm, a land ruled by monsters and magic, in almost two hundred years. But when Atya’s best friend, Princess Ilianna, is sent to spy on the Realm’s leader, Atya must brave its nightmarish dangers with her. ("Spy on" I think undercuts the danger you want to convey. It's more passive. I would suggest working in the rebels, here, maybe: "But when seventeen-year-old Atya's best friend, Princess Ilianna, is sent to the Realm by rebel forces...")
 
Seventeen-year-old Atya leads a privileged life in Veturia, a country cursed with the howling winds of an eternal winter. But her life is more than ballgowns and festivals—she is Blessed, one granted powers by the gods to heal Princess Ilianna of any wound. But Her privileged life is upended when rebels overtake the capital in a bloody coup. Their leader has one goal: to wage war with the undefeated Realm and reclaim land they stole. He believes Ilianna is the key to success. (this raises more questions than it answers. If there's a simple reason that the leader believes this I would include it, otherwise, I would omit this sentence) But Atya is convinced without her, Ilianna doesn’t stand a chance. So, she follows her into that terrifying land. (These sentences are a little awkward, and i'm not sure they're necessary. You've established that they are best friends and that Atya is Ilianna's protector, so it seems natural that that would happen).
 
Plunged into the dark world ("world" more implies an adventure story. "Court" might better convey that it is a political story, if it takes place mostly in a single court. If not, I think a term more specific to the political premise would be better) of half-human, half-beast creatures called the Godcursed, Atya and Ilianna find themselves locked in a race against time (I would find a fresher way to word this.) to uncover the monsters’ weakness before the rebels execute their families. As they unravel the mystery surrounding the Godcursed, they learn Atya’s powers may not be a gods-given gift as she’s been told (perhaps this sentence might be a good place to slip in the connection between the magic of Atya's powers and the magic of the Godcursed? Right now it is a bit of a non sequitur). And when they discover what the rebels really want is a human girl whose unusual powers are not too unlike Atya’s own with powers like Atya's (I thought that Atya's powers would be well-known, if she's the Princess' guard, so this puzzles me), they have to choose: either work with the monsters they fear, or face the monstrous rebels they know. But if they fail to find a way to both appease the rebels and trick the Godcursed, they may have no home to return to.
 
And leaving the Realm may not be as easy as entering it.
 
THE GODCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words.

 

I like the additions you made to the second half of the query!



#9 Emily804

Emily804

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 93 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northwest

Posted 27 February 2018 - 01:45 PM

 

A huge, huge thanks to all of you who reviewed my query! I've given another go at it, hopefully with better results. It's still a little rough around the edges, but hopefully it's much clearer than its terribly vague predecessor.

To clarify things from last time:

- This book is much more focused on political intrigue than questing, though there are some action/adventure elements.

- I used “ward” for lack of a better word to describe their relationship. Atya is 17, Ilianna 16. I decided to cut it entirely to avoid confusion.

- “execute their families”—Atya’s family ends up being tied up in this, but when she makes the decision to go to the Realm, she is unaware her family is at stake too. So, that doesn’t influence her initial decision.

- “cut their strings and topple the Godcursed’s board before time runs out.” This was a phrase referring to the other statement of them being the rebels’ puppets and the Godcursed’s pawns. I decided to cut the metaphor, at least for now.

Questions for this time:

- To clarify, I'm looking to trim words off the query. Current wordcount is 277, and from what I've read, the goal is usually max 250...? Any thoughts?

- "Unravel the mystery surrounding the Godcursed” is probably a little vague, isn’t it?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

No human has set foot into the Realm, a land ruled by monsters and magic, in almost two hundred years. But when Atya’s best friend, Princess Ilianna, is sent to spy on the Realm’s leader, Atya must brave its nightmarish dangers with her.
 
Seventeen-year-old Atya leads a privileged life in Veturia, a country cursed with the howling winds of an eternal winter. But her life is more than ballgowns and festivals—she is Blessed, one granted powers by the gods to heal Princess Ilianna of any wound. Her life is upended when rebels overtake the capital in a bloody coup. Their leader has one goal: to wage war with the undefeated Realm and reclaim land they stole. He believes Ilianna is the key to success. But Atya is convinced without her, Ilianna doesn’t stand a chance. So, she follows her into that terrifying land.
 
"she is Blessed, one granted powers by the gods to heal Princess Ilianna of any wound" ​The phrasing here is off. It seems like it should be, "she is a Blessed, one granted" But saying someone is "a Blessed" definitely sounds awkward. You could try: "But her life is more than ball gowns and festivals--she is Blessed. The gods have granted her the power to heal Princess Iliana of any wound."
 
Plunged into the dark world of half-human, half-beast creatures called the Godcursed, Atya and Ilianna find themselves locked in a race against time to uncover the monsters’ weakness before the rebels execute their families. As they unravel the mystery surrounding the Godcursed, they learn Atya’s powers may not be a gods-given gift as she’s been told. And when they discover what the rebels really want is a human girl whose unusual powers are not too unlike Atya’s own, they have to choose: either work with the monsters they fear, or face the monstrous rebels they know. But if they fail to find a way to both appease the rebels and trick the Godcursed, they may have no home to return to.
 
And leaving the Realm may not be as easy as entering it.
 
THE GODCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words.

 

 

Overall this is pretty good. There was only one place that I thought absolutely needed editing (my comments are above). The ending paragraph has a lot of information, consider trying to work some of that information into an earlier paragraph or, unless you really need it a lot, consider cutting it.


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


#10 crestakaz

crestakaz

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 64 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 02 March 2018 - 06:59 AM

All right, guys. I've made another attempt and tried to freshen it up a little bit. Hopefully it's improved, though I know it still needs some polish.

Questions for this time around:
- Does any of the query come off as queerbaiting?
- In the last paragraph, I'm having issues with phrasing the last sentence. I need to express that the girl and Atya have powers that are similar in that they're both extraordinary, but their powers don't at all serve the same funtion (e.g. if they were elementals, which they're not, one would be rock, the other fire). I know that, as-is, the sentence is terribly awkward. Any ideas?
 

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

Dear (Agent),
 
No human has set foot in the Realm, a land ruled by monsters and magic, in almost two centuries. But when Atya’s best friend, Princess Ilianna, is sent there by rebel forces, Atya unhesitatingly braves its nightmares to keep her safe.
 
Seventeen-year-old Atya’s life in Veturia, a country cursed with the howling winds of an eternal winter, is more than ballgowns and festivals. She is Blessed, a person granted powers by the gods to heal Princess Ilianna of any wound. Her charmed existence is uprooted when rebels overthrow the capital in a bloody coup. Their leader has one goal: to exact vengeance on the Realm and reclaim Veturia’s honor. Believing Ilianna key to finding the monsters’ weakness, he forces her to spy on the Realm’s leader under the guise of a political marriage.
 
Plunged into the lush court of the half-human, half-beast creatures called the Godcursed, Atya and Ilianna find they may have moved from being the rebels’ puppets to the Godcursed’s pawns. With their families’ lives on the line, they must navigate the court and its many temptations without being caught, or worse, ensnared.
 
But underneath the dark veneer of the Godcursed and their sinister magic lies an unwelcome truth: Atya’s powers may not be a gods-given gift as she’s always been told. And when the two girls discover what the rebels really want is a human girl with extraordinary powers like Atya’s and the potential to destroy nations, they must choose between working with the monsters they fear or the monstrous rebels they know.
 
THE GODCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words with appeal to those who enjoy the political intrigue of Holly Black’s THE CRUEL PRINCE and the dark magic of Leigh Bardugo’s THE GRISHA TRILOGY.


#11 Gabe S.

Gabe S.

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 51 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, self-published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Wrote stuff already

Posted 02 March 2018 - 09:53 AM

 

All right, guys. I've made another attempt and tried to freshen it up a little bit. Hopefully it's improved, though I know it still needs some polish.

Questions for this time around:
- Does any of the query come off as queerbaiting? Negative, Ghostrider.
- In the last paragraph, I'm having issues with phrasing the last sentence. I need to express that the girl and Atya have powers that are similar in that they're both extraordinary, but their powers don't at all serve the same funtion (e.g. if they were elementals, which they're not, one would be rock, the other fire). I know that, as-is, the sentence is terribly awkward. Any ideas? Left Comments after sentence in question.
 

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

Dear (Agent),
 
No human has set foot in the Realm, a land ruled by monsters and magic, in almost two centuries. But when Atya’s best friend, Princess Ilianna, is sent there by rebel forces, Atya unhesitatingly braves its nightmares to keep her safe.
 
Seventeen-year-old Atya’s life in Veturia, a country cursed with the howling winds of an eternal winter, is more than ballgowns and festivals. She is Blessed, a person granted powers by the gods to heal Princess Ilianna of any wound. Her charmed existence is uprooted when rebels overthrow the capital in a bloody coup. Their leader has one goal: to exact vengeance on the Realm and reclaim Veturia’s honor. Believing Ilianna's the key to finding the monsters’ weakness, he (I kinda wanna know his name. I know you don't want to sprinkle names in a query.) forces her to spy on the Realm’s leader under the guise of a political marriage. You know what tripped me up? At the end of this paragraph, I completely forgot that the 'Realm' was separate from Veturia. I just automatically assumed that the 'Realm' meant Veturia AND the land of the monsters. Can you re-name the land of the monsters? Might just be me, though.
 
Plunged into the lush court of the half-human, half-beast creatures called the Godcursed, Atya and Ilianna find they may have moved from being the rebels’ puppets to the Godcursed’s pawns. (For some reason I kept thinking the Godcursed lived in the wild like savages. Well, I guess they have a kingdom too. Maybe the 'Realm' name threw me off. I pictured a post-kingdom interregnum with ruins and monsters living in tribes among them.) With their families’ lives on the line, they must navigate the court and its many temptations without being caught, or worse, ensnared.
 
But underneath the dark veneer of the Godcursed and their sinister magic lies an unwelcome truth: Atya’s powers may not be a gods-given gift as she’s always been told. And when the two girls discover what the rebels really want is a human girl with extraordinary powers like Atya’s and the potential to destroy nations, they must choose between working with the monsters they fear or the monstrous rebels they know. Screw the rebels - I'm going with the Beasts from Beauty and the Beast! What are the rebels going to do with the human girl w/powers? I think that's where the quirk in this last sentence is and I think you state it with "and the potential to destroy nations". So, the rebels want Atya because she can wipe out whole countries and they plan on doing this with the Realm.
 
THE GODCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words with appeal to those who enjoy the political intrigue of Holly Black’s THE CRUEL PRINCE and the dark magic of Leigh Bardugo’s THE GRISHA TRILOGY.

 

Outside of the comments, I think you are pretty damn close here.

You can totally blame it on me, but while reading, I kept thinking the Godcursed were monsters that live in the wild, and not in a civilized kingdom. I guess the naming threw me off.


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


#12 rhwashere

rhwashere

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 223 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 02 March 2018 - 11:33 AM

Fresh eyes here, but I found the query hard to follow.

It wasn’t clear to me who the MC was, probably because the first character you introduce is not Atya but Atya’s friend, then the rest focuses on Atya.

Then, there’s the lengthy (for a query) description of Veturia, which distracts from what you set up before. Afterward, it becomes clear that your hook was in media res, but I find that disorienting in queries.

I would recommend starting with Atya and her desire to keep the princess safe, something she seems to have been born to do, given her powers. Then show how that is put to the test when rebels overtake the kingdom and plunge her into danger by sending her to the Realm. It’s a slight reorganization of what you have, but this would better put the focus on Atya and make the query easier to follow. The last two paragraphs can stay largely the same.

To answer your questions:

1. If you hadn’t mentioned queer baiting, I don’t think I would have had any indication of your characters’ sexuality.

2. I would split the sentence in two. They find out... Now they must choose...

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


#13 LolaInSlacks88

LolaInSlacks88

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 18 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:My first two novels were a high-fantasy pair published by Greyhart Press, called 'The Lineage of Tellus.'

Posted 02 March 2018 - 05:43 PM

 

Dear (Agent),

 
No human has set foot in the Realm, a land ruled by monsters and magic, in almost two centuries. But when Atya’s best friend, Princess Ilianna, is sent there by rebel forces, Atya unhesitatingly braves its nightmares to keep her safe. Upon reading the next paragraph, I found this one confusing. Is Veturia a country that's part of the Realm? If so, how has no one set foot in the Realm? You may want to clarify this.
 
Seventeen-year-old Atya’s life in Veturia, a country cursed with the howling winds of an eternal winter, is more than ballgowns and festivals. She is Blessed, a person granted powers by the gods to heal Princess Ilianna (just the Princess?) of any wound. Her charmed existence is uprooted when rebels overthrow the Veturia's capital in a bloody coup. Their leader has one goal: to exact vengeance on the Realm and reclaim Veturia’s honor. Believing Ilianna key to finding the monsters’ weakness, (Why is she the key?) he forces her to spy on the Realm’s leader under the guise of a political marriage.
 
Plunged into the lush court of the half-human, half-beast creatures called the Godcursed, Atya and Ilianna find they may have moved from being the rebels’ puppets to the Godcursed’s pawns. With their families’ lives on the line, they must navigate the court and its many temptations without being caught, or worse, ensnared. Isn't this essentially the same thing as 'caught'? Maybe 'drawn into the intrigue.'
 
But underneath the dark veneer of the Godcursed and their sinister magic lies an unwelcome truth: Atya’s powers may not be a gods-given gift as she’s always been told. And when the two girls discover what the rebels really want is a human girl with extraordinary powers like Atya’s and the potential to destroy nations, they must choose between working with the monsters they fear or the monstrous rebels they know. This last word lacks the 'oomph' of a punchy ending. I know what you're trying to get at here, but I think there's a stronger way to phrase it. Maybe 'loathe' or 'abhor.'
 
THE GODCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words. with appeal It would appeal to those readers who enjoy the political intrigue of Holly Black’s THE CRUEL PRINCE and the dark magic of Leigh Bardugo’s THE GRISHA TRILOGY.
 

 

Hi! Thanks for the super in-depth critique of my query. I appreciate it so much.

 

Yours has a lot of information in it. There's a rich, layered world with the Realm, Veturia and all of the intrigue, and obviously a Princess, rebellion, and magical powers. There's so much here it comes across a bit muddled. I agree that Atya and the Princess seem equally important and Atya isn't the clear MC. There's no queer-baiting at all, but if you want to appeal to the #ownvoices crowd, I'd actually mention the bond between the girls. It isn't queer-baiting if it's crucial to the plot. I'm also not clear on why the rebels want the Princess to go to the Realm when Atya is the one with such strong power. Maybe an inciting incident reveals this which needs to be mentioned?

 

Queries are a pain because it's hard to straddle the too much/not enough information line ... But err on the side of too much, because agents will be frustrated when they have questions with no clear answers. That said, I think you have a nice voice here and an understanding of grammar/structure. Just focus on answering some of these questions!

 

Hope that helped. Thanks again :)



#14 PureZhar3

PureZhar3

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 385 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 02 March 2018 - 08:05 PM

 

All right, guys. I've made another attempt and tried to freshen it up a little bit. Hopefully it's improved, though I know it still needs some polish.

Questions for this time around:
- Does any of the query come off as queerbaiting?
- In the last paragraph, I'm having issues with phrasing the last sentence. I need to express that the girl and Atya have powers that are similar in that they're both extraordinary, but their powers don't at all serve the same funtion (e.g. if they were elementals, which they're not, one would be rock, the other fire). I know that, as-is, the sentence is terribly awkward. Any ideas?
 

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

Dear (Agent),
 
No human has set foot in the Realm, a land ruled by monsters and magic, in almost two centuries. But when Atya’s best friend, Princess Ilianna, is sent there by rebel forces, Atya unhesitatingly braves its nightmares to keep her safe. ​This hook works, but it doesn't overwhelm me with intrigue, either.
 
Seventeen-year-old Atya’s life in Veturia, a country cursed with the howling winds of an eternal winter, is more than ballgowns and festivals. She is Blessed, a person granted powers by the gods to heal Princess Ilianna of any wound. Her charmed existence is uprooted when rebels overthrow the capital in a bloody coup. Their leader has one goal: to exact vengeance on the Realm and reclaim Veturia’s honor. Believing Ilianna key to finding the monsters’ weakness, he forces her to spy on the Realm’s leader under the guise of a political marriage.
 
Plunged into the lush court of the half-human, half-beast creatures called the Godcursed, Atya and Ilianna find they may have moved from being the rebels’ puppets to the Godcursed’s pawns. With their families’ lives on the line, they must navigate the court and its many temptations without being caught, or worse, ensnared.
 
But underneath the dark veneer of the Godcursed and their sinister magic lies an unwelcome truth: Atya’s powers may not be a gods-given gift as she’s always been told. And when the two girls discover what the rebels really want is a human girl with extraordinary powers like Atya’s and the potential to destroy nations, they must choose between working with the monsters they fear or the monstrous rebels they know.
 
THE GODCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words with appeal to those who enjoy the political intrigue of Holly Black’s THE CRUEL PRINCE and the dark magic of Leigh Bardugo’s THE GRISHA TRILOGY.

 

This is great. I'm really intrigued - certainly want to read it.

I definitely see what you mean about the last line. My first suggestion would be to tighten the end parallel - "they must choose between working with the monsters they fear or the monsters they know." (or, alternatively, the humans they know, etc, something contrasting those two) As for the rest of the sentence, I'm not sure exactly what you mean. The rebels want some girl who has powers similar to Atya's? A girl whose powers can destroy nations? Is this a girl in the Godcursed land? If you give me more detail, I may be able to suggest a better crafting of the sentence, but as-is I don't think I have enough to go on.


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


#15 Nessa

Nessa

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 276 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented
  • LocationUS West Coast
  • Publishing Experience:Harmony Ink Press
    #AMM mentee

Posted 03 March 2018 - 05:30 PM

All right, guys. I've made another attempt and tried to freshen it up a little bit. Hopefully it's improved, though I know it still needs some polish.

 

Questions for this time around:
- Does any of the query come off as queerbaiting? ​Nope
- In the last paragraph, I'm having issues with phrasing the last sentence. I need to express that the girl and Atya have powers that are similar in that they're both extraordinary, but their powers don't at all serve the same funtion (e.g. if they were elementals, which they're not, one would be rock, the other fire). I know that, as-is, the sentence is terribly awkward. Any ideas? 
 

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

Dear (Agent),
 
No human has set foot in the Realm, a land ruled by monsters and magic, in almost two centuries. But when Atya’s best friend, Princess Ilianna, is sent there by rebel forces, Atya unhesitatingly braves its nightmares to keep her safe.​[This is nice, but in my opinion, a bit too vague. I'm not sure what kind of monsters and magic we're looking at. Currently I'm thinking of orcs and goblins. Traditional stuff. It's not unique enough.]
 
Seventeen-year-old Atya’s life in Veturia, a country cursed with the howling winds of an eternal winter, is more than ballgowns and festivals​[Is she a princess? Somebody with a title? The first part of the sentence makes me think she's a commoner. After the ballgowns are mentioned, I'm wondering about her status.]. She is Blessed, a person granted powers by the gods to heal Princess Ilianna of any wound​[If I'm being picky, I'd like to know if she is blessed to only heal the princess...or if she can heal other people and is ​tasked ​with healing the princess.]. Her charmed existence is uprooted when rebels overthrow the capital in a bloody coup. Their leader has one goal: to exact vengeance on the Realm and reclaim Veturia’s honor. Believing Ilianna key to finding the monsters’ ​[I still don't know what you're referring to by monsters. Can you establish the sort of fantasy world we're looking at?]weakness, he forces her to spy on the Realm’s leader under the guise of a political marriage.
 
Plunged into the lush court of the half-human, half-beast creatures​[If these are the monsters, I suggest you introduce them sooner.] called the Godcursed, Atya and Ilianna find they may have moved from being the rebels’ puppets to the Godcursed’s pawns. With their families’ lives on the line, they must navigate the court and its many temptations without being caught, or worse, ensnared.
 
But underneath the dark veneer of the Godcursed and their sinister magic lies an unwelcome truth: Atya’s powers may not be a gods-given gift as she’s always been told. And when the two girls discover what the rebels really want is a human girl with extraordinary powers like Atya’s and the potential to destroy nations, they must choose between working with the monsters they fear or the monstrous rebels they know.
 
THE GODCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words with appeal to those who enjoy the political intrigue of Holly Black’s THE CRUEL PRINCE and the dark magic of Leigh Bardugo’s THE GRISHA TRILOGY.​[I love THE CRUEL PRINCE as a comp.]

I love dogs


#16 crestakaz

crestakaz

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 64 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 06 March 2018 - 02:42 PM

Okay, I've tried freshening things up some, but I don't know with what degree of success. It's still veryyyy rough and needs some (definite) trimming and polish, but my main question for this time is this: Is the base info there?

Answering questions from last time:

 

General: I was worried about queerbaiting because several people who've read my query jump to the conclusion that Atya/Ilianna have some kind of romantic ties, when really, I just wanted to focus on their friendship. (There are LGBTQIA characters, but it's just not them.)

 

Nessa: She's actually the daughter of a royal adviser, but that would be a lot to put into the query. I hope rephrasing it this time made it clearer. Also, yes, she can only heal Princess Ilianna (as far as she knows and has been told). Not sure how to better incorporate that, or if it needs to be. (Side note: I love The Cruel Prince. I just hope I'm not doing it a disservice by comping my own MS to it lol)

 

This time, I've decided to color code my questions relating to specific areas of the query to make it easier to reference. (Yes, I did just waste half my lunch break doing that).

 

1. Is this a better, hookier hook? It's probably too long at this point, isn't it?

2. I worry that dropping the part about Veturia being basically cursed with the "howling winds of an eternal winter" causes me to lose some unique-ish atmosphere, but I also don't want the reader getting too tangled up in what's, for the purpose of this query, essentially unnecessary details. Thoughts?

3. I kept feeling like every time I added more info about the rebels' motives to clarify, it ended up just muddying the query as a whole with an overload of information. Can I get away with limiting the info to just this?

4. I wanted to explicitly frame this as a choice Atya makes rather than one she's forced into. Is it just repetitive?

5. I really don't want this to come off as "chosen one with super-duper powers"--am I currently risking it looking like that?

 

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

 

Dear (Agent),

All that separates the human nation of Veturia and The Realm, a land ruled by magic and half-man, half-beast monsters called the Godcursed, is a wall. A wall that no Veturian has dared cross in centuries. A wall that, despite what terrors lie on the other side, seventeen-year-old Atya doesn't hesitate to traverse when it means keeping her best friend safe1.

Atya loves her life in Veturia2. While she bears the secret burden of being Blessed—a person granted powers by the gods to heal Princess Ilianna, her dearest friend, of any wound—the endless parade of ballgowns and festivals suits her just fine. More than anything, Atya wants absolutely nothing to change.

But a bloody coup by rebels extinguishes this hope. Their leader sends Ilianna to spy on the Godcursed under the guise of a political marriage to their leader so she can uncover the monsters' weakness3. Atya, certain Ilianna will fail without her, follows her into that nightmarish land4.

 

With their families' and their own lives on the line, Atya and Ilianna must navigate the lush court of the Realm and its many temptations without being caught as spies, or worse, ensnared as prey. But underneath the dark veneer of the Godcursed and their sinister magic lies an unwelcome truth: Atya's powers may not be a gods-given gift as she's been told, and they may be far stronger than even she knows5.

The two girls learn what the rebels really want and what the Godcursed have fought for centuries to keep secret is Atya and others like her, who have the potential to build or destroy nations. Now, they must find a way to appease the rebels and trick the Godcursed, or there may be no home to return to.

 

THE GODCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words with appeal to those who enjoy the political intrigue of Holly Black’s THE CRUEL PRINCE and the dark magic of Leigh Bardugo’s THE GRISHA TRILOGY.



#17 janeald

janeald

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 80 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:I have only published journalistic work.

Posted 06 March 2018 - 06:51 PM

Okay, I've tried freshening things up some, but I don't know with what degree of success. It's still veryyyy rough and needs some (definite) trimming and polish, but my main question for this time is this: Is the base info there?

Answering questions from last time:

 

General: I was worried about queerbaiting because several people who've read my query jump to the conclusion that Atya/Ilianna have some kind of romantic ties, when really, I just wanted to focus on their friendship. (There are LGBTQIA characters, but it's just not them.)

 

Nessa: She's actually the daughter of a royal adviser, but that would be a lot to put into the query. I hope rephrasing it this time made it clearer. Also, yes, she can only heal Princess Ilianna (as far as she knows and has been told). Not sure how to better incorporate that, or if it needs to be. (Side note: I love The Cruel Prince. I just hope I'm not doing it a disservice by comping my own MS to it lol)

 

This time, I've decided to color code my questions relating to specific areas of the query to make it easier to reference. (Yes, I did just waste half my lunch break doing that).

 

1. Is this a better, hookier hook? It's probably too long at this point, isn't it?

2. I worry that dropping the part about Veturia being basically cursed with the "howling winds of an eternal winter" causes me to lose some unique-ish atmosphere, but I also don't want the reader getting too tangled up in what's, for the purpose of this query, essentially unnecessary details. Thoughts? I think it was a good idea to drop this. That can be saved for the synopsis.

3. I kept feeling like every time I added more info about the rebels' motives to clarify, it ended up just muddying the query as a whole with an overload of information. Can I get away with limiting the info to just this?

4. I wanted to explicitly frame this as a choice Atya makes rather than one she's forced into. Is it just repetitive?

5. I really don't want this to come off as "chosen one with super-duper powers"--am I currently risking it looking like that?

 

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

 

Dear (Agent),

All that separates the human nation of Veturia and The Realm, a land ruled by the Godcursed magic beasts, and half-man, half-beast monsters called the Godcursed, is a wall. A wall that no Veturian has dared cross in centuries. A wall that, d Despite what terrors lie on the other side, seventeen-year-old Atya doesn't hesitate to traverse/climb the wall when it means keeping her best friend safe1.

Atya loves her life in Veturia2. While she bears the secret burden of being Blessed—a person granted powers by the gods to heal the princess Princess Ilianna nice name!, her dearest friend, of any wound—the endless parade of ballgowns and festivals suits her just fine. More than anything, Atya wants absolutely nothing to change. This sentence makes me stumble a bit. If is good, she shouldn't be thinking about how much she wants  it to stay the same. She's just enjoying life and then boom something happens.

But when rebels lead a bloody coup by rebels extinguishes this hope. the princess is sent Their leader sends Ilianna to spy on the Godcursed under the guise of a political marriage to their leader so she can uncover the monsters' weakness3. Atya, certain the princess Ilianna will fail without her, follows her into that nightmarish land4.

 

With their families' and their own lives on the line, Atya and Ilianna must navigate the lush court of the Realm and its many temptations without being caught as spies, or worse, ensnared as prey. Prey? (Question: If she's the new queen/married into Realm royalty, why would she be prey? Wouldn't the subjects know who she is?) But underneath the dark veneer of the Godcursed and their sinister magic lies an unwelcome truth: Atya's powers may not be a gods-given gift as she's been told. Suggestion that I think can help with the 'chosen one' feel: Not only is there more to her powers, she may not be the only one.  and they may be far stronger than even she knows5.

The two girls learn what the rebels really want and what the Godcursed have fought for centuries to keep secret is Atya and others like her, who have the potential to build or destroy nations. Now, they must find a way to appease the rebels and trick the Godcursed, or there may be no home to return to. (I think this paragraph gives away too much)

 

THE GODCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words with appeal to those who enjoy the political intrigue of Holly Black’s THE CRUEL PRINCE and the dark magic of Leigh Bardugo’s THE GRISHA TRILOGY. Nice last sentence.

 

 

I hope my suggestions help! I would love your feedback on my query. It also has a wall lol: http://agentquerycon...girls/?p=353998



#18 JRUET

JRUET

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 35 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS West Coast

Posted 06 March 2018 - 07:19 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),

All that separates the human nation of Veturia and The Realm is this the whole name, or are they two separate entities?, a land ruled by magic and half-man, half-beast monsters called the Godcursed, is a wall. A wall that no Veturian has dared cross in centuries. A wall that, despite what terrors lie on the other side, seventeen-year-old Atya doesn't hesitate to traverse I don't think this is the best word choice here, it can mean "cross" but more specifically it's usually referring to moving across something in a sideways manner- i.e. to "traverse" a mountain would be to go around at the same elevation as opposed to "climbing" it which would indicate moving upward when it means keeping her best friend safe1This hook interests me, and I think it makes question four clear- she is obviously choosing to do this and therefore the things that follow.

Atya loves her life in Veturia2. While she bears the secret burden is it a secret if she's healing the princess, who I'm assuming is a notable figure around town? of being Blessed—a person granted powers by the gods to heal Princess Ilianna, her dearest friend same friend from previous paragraph?, of any wound—the endless parade of ballgowns and festivals suits her just fine I like this imagery- makes me think Throne of Glass, however it does paint you MC as a bit shallow/ self-indulgent, hopefully that's the goal?. More than anything, Atya wants absolutely nothing to change this word/clause order throws me a bit.

But a bloody coup by rebels extinguishes this hope. Their leader sends Ilianna to spy on the Godcursed under the guise of a political marriage to their leader so she can uncover the monsters' weakness3. I like the inclusion of the coup, it give us a jumping off point. I think you should make it more clear the coup is successful and the princess/ monarchy is no longer in charge. Otherwise I wonder how they're making the princess do anything Atya, certain Ilianna will fail without her, follows her into that nightmarish land4. I don't think this is necessarily repetitive, but I'm not particular keen on the pricess at this point, like what does she have to offer supposedly bad ass, gifted Atya? 

 

With their families' and their own lives on the line, Atya and Ilianna must navigate the lush court of the Realm and its many temptations I think "lush" makes us assume enough that this is unnecessary without being caught as spies, or worse, ensnared as prey I like this dichotomy. But underneath the dark veneer of the Godcursed and their sinister magic lies an unwelcome truth: Atya's powers may not be a gods-given gift as she's been told, and they may be far stronger than even she knows5It's pretty "chosen one with super power"-y right now. I think if you want to avoid this the princess needs to be less of a weakling that can't do anything without Atya

The two girls learn what the rebels really want and what the Godcursed have fought for centuries to keep secret. is Atya and others like her, who have the potential to build or destroy nations Consider splitting this into two sentences. I like the ideas, but I had to read it multiple times to untangle. Now, they must find a way to appease the rebels and trick the Godcursed, or there may be no home to return to.

 

THE GODCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words with appeal to those who enjoy the political intrigue of Holly Black’s THE CRUEL PRINCE and the dark magic of Leigh Bardugo’s THE GRISHA TRILOGY.

 
I like you concept, and your query is interesting. I personally don't mind the "super girl" persona you've created for your main character, but I don't find the princess particularly interesting/ likable so if she's also a major player and she isn't a wimp I might clean her up a bit. I tried to answer your questions as they were posed. Hope this is helpful and thanks for the feedback on my query!


#19 LolaInSlacks88

LolaInSlacks88

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 18 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:My first two novels were a high-fantasy pair published by Greyhart Press, called 'The Lineage of Tellus.'

Posted 07 March 2018 - 05:45 AM

 

Dear (Agent),


All that separates the human nation of Veturia and The Realm, a land ruled by magic and (you can cut this to shave your hook down) half-man, half-beast monsters called the Godcursed, is a wall. A wall that no Veturian has dared cross in centuries. A wall that, despite what terrors lie on the other side, (you can also cut this because it's implied Atya will cross the wall despite anything she knows is beyond it) seventeen-year-old Atya doesn't hesitate to traverse when it means keeping her best friend safe1. (I think you can make a few cuts here and it'll be a great hook.)

Atya loves her life in VeturiaYou're okay with your cuts here. The atmosphere will remain present in your sample pages. While she bears the secret burden of being Blessed—a person granted powers by the gods to heal Princess Ilianna, her dearest friend, of any wound—the endless parade of ballgowns and festivals suits her just fine. More than anything, Atya wants absolutely nothing to change.

But a bloody coup by Veturian rebels extinguishes this hope. Taking advantage of their success, Their leader sends Ilianna to spy on the Godcursed under the guise of a political marriage to their leader so she can uncover the monsters' weaknessThis sentence ran a little long. I think you can do without this part or simplify it/make a separate sentence. The synopsis can clarify the rebels' motivations. Atya, certain Ilianna will fail without her, follows her into that nightmarish land4. You could incorporate the 'nighmarish land of howling winds and eternal winter' here if you're still missing it. As for the question: it's a clear decision made by Atya.

 

With their families' and their own lives on the line, Atya and Ilianna must navigate the lush court of the Realm and its many temptations without being caught as spies, or worse, ensnared as prey. But underneath the dark veneer of the Godcursed and their sinister magic (since you mention magic here, you definitely don't need it in your hook) lies an unwelcome truth: Atya's powers may not be a gods-given gift as she's been told, and they may be far stronger than even she knows5. I agree with JRUET: Atya is defined as superpowered simply by Ilianna's absence of power. Is she intellectually gifted? Maybe mention her prowess in the section where they choose to send her to the Godcursed as a spy. That will balance it out.

The two girls learn what the rebels really want and what the Godcursed have fought for centuries to keep secret: is Atya and others like her, who have the potential power to build or destroy nations. Now, they must find a way to appease the rebels and trick the Godcursed, or there may be no home to return to. The stakes need more clarity. Why didn't the rebels go for Atya if they wanted her all along, and why bother with powerless Iliana in that case? And why do the girls need to trick the Godcursed? How? I like the premise, but the stakes aren't clear to me. The gist of it reads: Human nation separated from magic monsters by a wall, girl who has the power to heal her best friend, the Princess, and a rebellion that wants this powerful girl but sends the princess to the Godcursed instead. Powerful girl's powers are even stronger than she knew and more like her exist, the rebels want their power, the Godcursed tried to keep it secret, and after Atya crosses the wall she and the princess discover this secret power. Then they must appease the rebels and trick the Godcursed somehow. But why/how are they appeasing the rebels and planning to trick the Godcursed? And who is threatening Veturia? The Godcursed or the rebels?

 

THE GODCURSED is a YA fantasy novel complete at 100,000 words with appeal to those who enjoy the political intrigue of Holly Black’s THE CRUEL PRINCE and the dark magic of Leigh Bardugo’s THE GRISHA TRILOGY.

 

Hi! I hope my last comment didn't come off as too glib/flippant; I just wanted to summarize the beats of your story as I perceived them within this query. You've been immensely helpful and supportive of my query, so I want to offer all the help I can with yours as well! This one reads much better than the last, but I think most of the work to be done is in clarifying your stakes. Also, the princess seems helpless and lacks character-defining traits: give her a few words or a phrase and it will help level her out with Atya and explain why the rebels would choose her over Atya and her powers.

 

Hope this helps! 

 

Best,

L



#20 crestakaz

crestakaz

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 64 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 07 March 2018 - 07:31 AM

Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who has put in time to critquing my query. You've all been a great help! I'll make sure to get to your queries in return.

Honestly, though, this is getting quite frustrating. I feel like I have to go far more vague with my query or risk just infodumping everything into it, the latter of which seems like the worse of the two options. I've drawn up a couple of drafts which answer everyone's questions, but it goes well into the 350 words+ territory, which is just absurd. It's becoming a synposis. Every time I add a detail that answers one person's question, it raises a quesiton for someone else. It's starting to feel like a never-ending game of Whack-A-Mole right now, lol.

I've yet to figure out a way to simplify everything down into something everyone understands (and most importantly,, interests them), so I'm just going to scrap this thread until I decide to bother with my query again.





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users