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Elementals (high/ epic fantasy)

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#1 kassamarandra

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 08:21 PM

I was here a year ago to workshop my query and am now finishing up a lengthy revision for the same project (so if you remember my previous query, it's not the same story). I will happily return the critique if you would kindly link your query with your response.

 

***NOTE*** Vashti is a FEMALE I'm not sure where the confusion is coming in, but I've tweaked the paragraph. her name is put in so many times to clear the confusion as to which "she" I'm referring to. 

Malidorcha King=Antagonist / Ember=MC #1 / Vashti=MC #2 (and the opening POV)

 
Thank you in advance for any feedback.
CM
_____________________________________
 
Version 1:
As a Greater Elemental, Ember could once move mountains and call up storms, turn the earth molten in one breath and quench it with the next. Now, she can't even plant a seed without getting her hands dirty. 
 
Centuries after Ember sealed herself in Pangaea's portal, her nemesis, The Malidorcha King created Vashti—the only other Greater Elemental in existence— with the goal to break Ember's seal and reopen access to a world he covets. When Vashti succeeds and releases Ember, she wakes to discover she's not only missing memories of the millennia leading up to the seal's creation, but also her connection to the very elements she was created from. And with Vashti upsetting the delicate balance of Pangaea, Ember needs her connection to the elements more than ever.
 
With once-peaceful clans warring, abnormal migratory patterns upsetting ecosystems, and infertility on the rise, Ember is left to question if Vashti's truly to blame for Pangaea's imbalances, or if something more sinister is at work. Because if Ember is to bring balance back to the world and stop the Malidorcha King, she must reconnect with the elements and recover her memories. If she can't, Vashti will go through the portal and commit genocide to clear the way for the Malidorcha King to claim the other world as his own.
 
ELEMENTALS is an adult epic fantasy told from multiple points of view, with strong female leads set in a complex secondary world. bla bla bla wordcount/ bio/ wrap-up


#2 JRUET

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Posted 01 March 2018 - 12:26 AM

As a Greater Elemental, Ember could once move mountains and call up storms, turn the earth molten in one breath, and quench it with the next. Now, she can't even plant a seed without getting her hands dirty. This is great, I'm hooked :)
 
Centuries after Ember sealed herself in Pangaea's portal I'm not sure why she'd do this to herself, she seemed bad ass in the hook, but I'm willing to let it slide because, as I said, ya hooked me, her nemesis, The Malidorcha King to cut down on character names I have to remember, you could leave this out and just refer to "her nemesis" creating the creature, since I'm assuming that's the major issue here created Vashti—the only other Greater Elemental in existence. His goal: I'm not a huge fan of colons, it gives me the impression you're forcing info on me... this might be an entirely person issue though to break Ember's seal and reopen access to a world he covets(is this Pangaea? For some reason I imagined her sealing herself in like, a box, or a shell or something, not an entire world, so you might want to make that more clear). When Vashti succeeds so I think you could combine these two sentences/ ideas since you tell us what he wants and follow up with the fact that he's actually already achieved it and releases Ember, she wakes to discover she's not only missing memories of the millennia leading up to the seal's creation if she's missing the memories, how does she know she's missing the memories? sometimes memory loss can be a catch-22 plot point, but also her connection to the very elements she was created from. And with Vashti upsetting the delicate balance of Pangaea, Ember needs her connection to the elements more than ever.
 
With once-peaceful clans are warring, abnormal migratory patterns upsetting ecosystems, and infertility is on the rise,. Ember is left to question if Vashti's is truly to blame for Pangaea's imbalances, or if something more sinister is at work I'm not sure I like that you just stole the bad guy from me.... Because if Ember is to bring balance back to the world and stop the Malidorcha King, she must reconnect with the elements and recover her memories. If she can't, Vashti will go through the portal and commit genocide to clear the way for the Malidorcha King to claim the other world as his own.
 
ELEMENTALS is an adult epic fantasy told from multiple points of view, with strong female leads set in a complex secondary world. bla bla bla wordcount/ bio/ wrap-up
 
1. I think you need to decide if MK is the real bad guy, or if it's something else. I felt a bit of ping-pong about who I was supposed to be rooting against- MK, Vashti, or "something more sinister"
2. I need a bit more about what Pangaea is- is it a world, a state, a shell? You don't need huge back story, just something like "Ember's world, Pangaea" etc.
3. So if Vashti is this BA elemental, how is the King controlling him? 
4. I think you've got a super interesting concept here, and while I understand the stakes (bad guy(s) gonna wipe out the world if good girl doesn't stop them) I'm not totally sure how Ember is going to accomplish it. From your set up it seems like she used to be awesome, but lost her awesome-ness and is floundering memory-less and ability-less. She's up against some seriously steep odds, so what does she have in her court?
 
Hope that's not too overwhelming, good luck with edits!
 
If you get a chance I'd appreciate feedback as well http://agentquerycon...on/#entry353277


#3 Gabe S.

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Posted 01 March 2018 - 09:48 AM

So, Ember sealed herself into Pangaea’s portal. Does this mean she sealed off access to the whole planet, like planet Druidia in Spaceballs? Does the king need to access the planet through a portal? Did she live in the portal or on the planet, until V-man released her?

That’s the only thing that tripped me up.
It’s an interesting concept and multiple POVs definitely add layers to this story line.

If you'd like, you can critique my query at: http://agentquerycon...a-sci-fi/page-2


#4 kassamarandra

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Posted 01 March 2018 - 12:02 PM

Thank you Gabe & JRUET. I'll get to your queries shortly. 

 

Apparently I need to clarify that Vashti is also a female LOL! 

 

Both of you touch on the world. Unfortunately, world building is to be kept to a minimum in queries, and to avoid further muddling and confusion, I will not be adding in more about the world other than perhaps clarifying it is a world. 

 

JRUET: 

--This is something that will be altered based on MSWL and other research on the agents. It shows that I understand what they're looking for and adds to the personalization. with strong female leads set in a complex secondary world.

--The missing memories are only partial and, don't worry, I've covered it in the ms, but this isn't something to get into in a query. 
--As for your othre questions, the "something more sinister" isn't hidden from the reader throughout the book, MK is the antagonist, and Vashti is the 2nd MC--all who are the "bad guys", and as for the how is the MK controlling Vashti, that's something left for the book. You can't explain everything in a query ;) 

 

Gabe:

--Does the king need to access the planet through a portal? too complicated for the query, but he believes it's his "destiny" to rule the world on the other side. 

--Did she live in the portal or on the planet, until V-man released her? also too complicated for the query. She is in stasis. She is physically the seal. 

 

Thank you again for both of your feedback. I'll take your critiques into further consideration. 



#5 Maghranimal

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Posted 01 March 2018 - 01:22 PM

As a Greater Elemental, Ember could once move mountains and call up storms, turn the earth molten in one breath and quench it with the next. Now, she can't even plant a seed without getting her hands dirty. I think this is a good hook. Short and to the point + intrigue.
 
Centuries after Ember sealed herself in Pangaea's portal, her nemesis, The Malidorcha King created Vashti—the only other Greater Elemental in existence. His goal: to break Ember's seal and reopen access to a world he covets. When Vashti succeeds and releases Ember, she wakes to discover she's not only missing memories of the millennia leading up to the seal's creation, but also her connection to the very elements she was created from. And with Vashti upsetting the delicate balance of Pangaea, Ember needs her connection to the elements more than ever.
 
I am curious if you can get to the threat of MK/Vashti a little quicker, without really giving us much backstory. "Centuries later, the only other Greater Elemental in existence..." etc. In the following paragraph, you mention how Vashti will go through and commit genocide, which is WAYYY higher stakes than "reopening access to a world he covets." We don't know how violent/cruel the MK is in the first paragraph. 
 
With once-peaceful clans warring < I think you could use more visceral imagery here to convey how devastating this is. 
 
[abnormal migratory patterns upsetting ecosystems] < clunky. 5 multi-syllable words in a row is a mouthful.
 
and infertility on the rise, Ember is left to question if Vashti's truly to blame for Pangaea's imbalances, or if something more sinister is at work. Because if Ember is to bring balance back to the world and stop the Malidorcha King, she must reconnect with the elements and recover her memories < consider activating this sentence. If she can't, Vashti will go through the portal and commit genocide to clear the way for the Malidorcha King to claim the other world as his own.
 
I generally favor fewer names, and I agree with the past reviewers that it is a little difficult to keep things straight here. Do we necessarily need to mention Vashti so often? It seems like MK is the true villain, and might be easier to say that he's the one committing genocide and unleashing his wrath upon the world she loves. 
 
First saying "is Vashti truly to blame..." and then "If she can't Vashti will go through the portal...genocide" conflict for me. I don't think it's necessary to try and stoke our intrigue with the "if something more sinister is at work," as we're already intrigued by all this other stuff. Muddles it a bit. In the query, why not let us think Vashti is responsible for this? He's already responsible for potential genocide.
 
ELEMENTALS is an adult epic fantasy told from multiple points of view, with strong female leads set in a complex secondary world. bla bla bla wordcount/ bio/ wrap-up


#6 9emilylime9

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 12:10 AM

 

I was here a year ago to workshop my query and am now finishing up a lengthy revision for the same project (so if you remember my previous query, it's not the same story). I will happily return the critique if you would kindly link your query with your response.

 

***NOTE*** Vashti is a FEMALE I'm not sure where the confusion is coming in, but I've tweaked the paragraph. her name is put in so many times to clear the confusion as to which "she" I'm referring to. 

Malidorcha King=Antagonist / Ember=MC #1 / Vashti=MC #2 (and the opening POV)

 
Thank you in advance for any feedback.
CM
_____________________________________
 
Version 1:
As a Greater Elemental, Ember could once move mountains and call up storms, turn the earth molten in one breath and quench it with the next. Now, she can't even plant a seed without getting her hands dirty. 
 
Centuries after Ember sealed herself in Pangaea's portal (are there multiple worlds here with portals between them? I would clarify that with a couple words, here. Also, why would she seal herself into the portal?), her nemesis, The Malidorcha King created Vashti—the only other Greater Elemental in existence— with the goal to break Ember's seal and reopen access to a world he covets (why does he covet it? Also is he immortal? Not sure if there's an easy way to work that in.). When Vashti succeeds and releases Ember, she wakes to discover she's not only missing memories of the millennia leading up to the seal's creation, but also her connection to the very elements she was created from. And with Vashti upsetting the delicate balance of Pangaea, Ember needs her connection to the elements more than ever.
 
With once-peaceful clans warring, abnormal migratory patterns upsetting ecosystems (maybe put this more simply: "collapsing ecosystems"), and infertility on the rise, Ember is left to question if Vashti's truly to blame for Pangaea's imbalances, or if something more sinister is at work. Because (And instead of Because?) if Ember is to bring balance back to the world and stop the Malidorcha King, she must reconnect with the elements and recover her memories. If she can't, Vashti will go through the portal and commit genocide to clear the way for the Malidorcha King to claim the other world as his own. (Why does she care about this world? I as a reader care, but why is this character fighting for it?)
 
ELEMENTALS is an adult epic fantasy told from multiple points of view, with strong female leads set in a complex secondary world. bla bla bla wordcount/ bio/ wrap-up

 

Sounds like a really cool story, and your hook is great! I think that there are a few non sequiturs in the query, itself, where I think a few extra words here and there might provide some clarity. Great draft, though!







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