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RED INITIATE

Fantasy Literary Fiction Science Fiction Offbeat/Quirky

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#1 mkuriel

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 10:43 PM

***Current as of 2:00 PM EDT on 19 April 18. Newest revision in post #1.***

 

Chapter Negative One: Query, RED INITIATE

 

RED INIIATE is a 130k word, character driven first-person narrative that should appeal to fans of Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles. Since the main character, Red, has a paranoid voice in his head, I hope you'll appreciate my jovial mistrust of genre expectations while using Fantasy ideas to push what I've learned as an engineer into the realm of Science Fiction. I also tastefully include romance and respectfully reject the expectation that Literary Fiction belongs only to intellectuals. - M. Kuriel

 

I need help to save my extra mental voice.

No. Wisdom is in no danger.

Stop whining. I've less than a month to figure out how to beat the Term of Remembrance.

No need. Calm down.

Can't. All I know about it is the name and that Kylia assists the ToR administrator. I'll ask her for help.

She isn't trustworthy.

Right. And she'll probably think I'm mad.

Yes.

Am I?

No.

What if I show her some of what my inner voice of wisdom has taught me?

That would ruin six orbits of pretending to be barely average without any guarantee of a favorable outcome.

Life is risk.

No, it's risk management. Analyze options.

Ok. One, do nothing, have a ToR as part of final Initiate tests, and lose Wisdom.

No, that's -

Two, ask for help, beat the ToR, advance to Novice.

That isn't -

Three, leave the Mage Sanctum only to starve to death. In the rain. Again.

The first time proved that It isn't possible to starve to death anymore.

Lucky for me. Is there a fourth option?

Four: Ask for help, reveal Battle Mage potential, die in 'training accident.'

Not liking these options. Anything else?

Five: Ask for help, reveal and lose Wisdom, get cut off from Talent, and get put into another cage by a sexual predator.

Hmm...sometimes Wisdom sounds paranoid.

It isn't paranoia if it's true.

That's option six! I'll prove that The Great Red is not paranoid or insane.

Interesting... That will require aspects of all the other options.

Sold. Let's get to work.

---

 

[Closing pleasantries and POC info]

 

(yes, the word count has increased... I discovered a lot of (sigh) extraneous telling as I went through my latest edit and have had to increase the word count to show pertinent details. Apparently, since I'm just crazy enough to apply the label of Literary Fiction to my work, I've set set myself free from many genre expectations.)

 

---
The response to this latest version evoked a startling personal realization that might help communicate my reason for sharing on this site:

 

The shotgun approach isn't for me. This process hasn't, for me, been about perfecting a query body I can then adapt and send to fifty agents/publishers to hopefully get 15 responses and a single agent/publisher. It's about distilling my story down to query requirements so I can craft individual queries to specifically chosen recipients. 

 

So I approach query writing from many different angles and collect feedback about what comes across each time. When the time comes, I'll craft six unique queries for six unique recipients. 

 

So yeah, I'm all over the place on this forum. Approaching the same topic from every perspective I can imagine is part of how I learn and explore. 

 

I can get how it could frustrate the people who stop to give feedback. That's not my intent; I'm grateful for all feedback: learning communication requires information exchange. 



#2 Springfield

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 11:35 PM

Why would Red choose to ignore an internal voice that never fails to explain to him exactly what he needs to know to survive? Why would a query start with a rhetorical question involving an unexplained scenario?

Her name is Sylia. Only his demonstration infuriates her and threatens his safe life at the Mage Sanctum. I'm not sure this is a sentence, as I've no idea what this refers to or means. His every attempt to return to anonymity makes everything worse. WHAT IS HAPPENING? He stumbles onto a murdered student, fights assassins, manipulates women, and flees a sentient spell across many dimensions.
 

After mending from his ordeal, Red must choose between a terrifying confrontation with the source of his paranoia or leaving the only place he's ever felt safe.
 

RED INITIATE is complete at 118,000 words and is an alternate world, Adult Fantasy that blends Stranger in a Strange Land with Harry Potter. It's my first novel and I'm working on the second.

 

This is a total scrap and redo, from the first word to the last. I have no clue what this is about, what's going on in it, anything at all. It's infuriating to keep reading a query like that. Those comps are individually completely inappropriate in every way, and don't go together in any way. 

 

Also, your thread title says NA, the thing does not.



#3 IslaCaribbe

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 09:50 AM

Got to agree with Springfield. No idea what this is about. Also, I would consider changing the characters' names. "Red" doesn't give a single hint if it's a man or woman, where they're from, or even if they're human. Sylia should either be Sylvia or something else, because Sylia is pronounce like "Cilia", the little fuzzy bits in eukaryotic cells. Biology term.

 

1. Who is the character

2. What is their comfy place

3. What changes and thrusts them into the story

4. What are the stakes

5. What are the consequences


Check out my query if you have time: A Goddess Calls


#4 mkuriel

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 11:19 AM

Posted the latest version above.



#5 JMB

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 05:00 PM

After reading the initial query and the revision, I have no idea what this story is about. You’ve used terminology from your story’s world for which I have no frame of reference. Try writing this without any specialized vocabulary.

#6 mkuriel

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 05:36 PM

After reading the initial query and the revision, I have no idea what this story is about. You’ve used terminology from your story’s world for which I have no frame of reference. Try writing this without any specialized vocabulary.

Revised, thanks for the feedback.



#7 JDCwrites

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 05:42 PM

 

I understand the trouble of writing a query for Fantasy; it's tough. It sounds like you have a rich world with multiple layers. There is a lot going on in those few sentences that it's a tad hard to follow. As a lover of Fantasy, I'd love to know what these things are. For an agent though, as I understand it, they want the core of the story. They aren't going to know what a Mage Sanctum is or who Ziterans are. You need to be more generic. I try to get in my character's head when I write a query and think, who is she, where/when does she come from, what is her major problem, why would a reader care, and how is this problem going to affect her. It seems you may have 2 POVs Red and Sylia. So in that case, who are both of them, where or when do they come from, what is their opposing problem or problem they are working on together, why should readers care, and how it will affect them.  I hope this helps.



#8 PureZhar3

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 05:59 PM

Red thought that demonstrating levitation and a way to contour lightning to his body ​it may help if you shortened this to "and contouring lightning" would impress Sylia.

 

It doesn't. She's furious and Red must convince her not to report him or he'll end up back on the streets again. ​Report him for what? You have an interesting idea, I think, but this jumps in as if the reader is supposed to know what is going on (we don't) Not that the school would expel him outright, it's that they have strict rules concerning paranoia that Red must never appear to violate ​Still lost, only this time, I'm noticing how many qualifying words you are using - "outright" "concerning" "appear". And hiding your full abilities for years at a time is a violation when people are capable of tearing the fabric of reality, causing earthquakes, or subverting free will. ​More lost.

 

But Red's ill-received demonstration has other consequences - it begins a series of events that have him fighting for his life and sanity​ Hm. this sounds interesting but is way too vague. Survival will still mean a choice between proving his mental stability or returning to starving on the streets. 

 

RED INITIATE is a new adult Fantasy complete at 118k words​ This is too many for a debut - try to cut it by *at least* 18,000 words. It's my first novel and I'm working on the second. Both of these would be turn-offs

​I have no clue what happened in this. Something to do with impressing a girl with powers, who might turn him in. To a school (which is also his home because if he's thrown out he'll be on the streets?) which has laws against insanity or something.

​Furthermore, it seems as if all of the aforementioned stuff is backstory that Red has no control over... you keep things ambiguous with whether the girl will turn him in... but then it appears she does. Then it seems as if Red's journey has to do with preventing the school from throwing him out. But then you talk about events that have him fighting for his life, and that seems pretty important - perhaps the focus of the entire story? Idk, it's all rather confusing.


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


#9 mkuriel

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 11:42 AM

The above query represents my latest attempt... I will do my utmost to reciprocate; please link  your queries as IslaCaribbe and PureZhar3 have and I will take add you to my list. 

 

BTW, I appreciate all the feedback. I've learned more about querying in the last 2 days than I had... well, ever. 



#10 Springfield

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 12:50 PM

***Most Recent Update Right here***

 

Until Red learned to hear his inner paranoid voice, everyone he asked for help either used or abused him. It started with other starving street kids and continues with the other students at the school Red attends. Tense changed and.... where are we? When? School? How old is he? Why are you so reluctant to let the reader know what's going on? But the school teaches the physics of consciousness, and treats paranoia the same way it does depression or anxiety – as a sign of unhealthy mental imbalance. Huh? No unstable students are allowed to learn more than safe control of their abilities without passing tests proven to restore stability. Abilities?

 

With advancement tests looming, Red chooses to ignore his inner voice and demonstrates abilities that he’s hidden for years. Only the demonstration begins a series of events that expose not only Red’s paranoia, but also a plot to assassinate the school’s elite students. After foiling the assassins, Red still has to choose between the paranoia that keeps him alive and the only home he’s ever known. This is all just vague and lacking a clear problem or stakes.
 

RED INITIATE is complete at 118k words and is an alternate-world, post-modern, new adult Fantasy. Do you mean YA? How old is he? There's a school. New adult isn't really a thing.

 

 

(I will, of course, add pleasantries at the beginning and POC info at the end. This seems long to me and every hook I try seems only to muck it up so I'll march with this for now. Thanks in advance,) How does this seem long? It's short. Your book, if it's YA, is long.



#11 mkuriel

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 07:44 PM

 

***Most Recent Update Right here***

 

Until Red learned to hear his inner paranoid voice, everyone he asked for help either used or abused him. It started with other starving street kids and continues with the other students at the school Red attends. Tense changed and.... where are we? When? School? How old is he? Why are you so reluctant to let the reader know what's going on? But the school teaches the physics of consciousness, and treats paranoia the same way it does depression or anxiety – as a sign of unhealthy mental imbalance. Huh? No unstable students are allowed to learn more than safe control of their abilities without passing tests proven to restore stability. Abilities?

 

With advancement tests looming, Red chooses to ignore his inner voice and demonstrates abilities that he’s hidden for years. Only the demonstration begins a series of events that expose not only Red’s paranoia, but also a plot to assassinate the school’s elite students. After foiling the assassins, Red still has to choose between the paranoia that keeps him alive and the only home he’s ever known. This is all just vague and lacking a clear problem or stakes.
 

RED INITIATE is complete at 118k words and is an alternate-world, post-modern, new adult Fantasy. Do you mean YA? How old is he? There's a school. New adult isn't really a thing.

 

 

(I will, of course, add pleasantries at the beginning and POC info at the end. This seems long to me and every hook I try seems only to muck it up so I'll march with this for now. Thanks in advance,) How does this seem long? It's short. Your book, if it's YA, is long.

 

Ok... revised again.



#12 darsenault

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 03:44 AM

***Most Recent Update as of 11:30 PM EST on 10 March 18***

 

After half the world's population died in a terrible war, the remains of each Nation agreed to form the Office of Peace to usher in a new age of cooperation and abundance. Guess no one told that to the starving street kids who beat Red and stole his food before he discovered his magic, and his inner voice of wisdom.

 

At 24, despite twelve years of safety and magical training at the Mage Sanctum, Red still lives as though everyone is out to get him. The trouble is that no Master will teach a student more than safe control of magic unless they are free of unhealthy mental imbalance. Red's justifiable paranoia is right at the top of the 'unacceptable' list.  Red succeeds at hiding the full extent of his ability, and his paranoia, masking both with 'performance anxiety.' Until the day he ignores his inner voice to demonstrate advanced magical understanding to the girl of his dreams, Sylia. Her resulting fury leads him to lose his temper and punch a hole in the fabric of reality. No big deal, really, it just causes a minor earthquake, an enchantment blackout, and forms a gateway to a dream dimension. The voiciness here sounds awkward- especially when these consequences seem like a pivotal part of the plot. When Red flees his room to buy time to think of an explanation, What is he responsible for, exactly? NOT teaching an unstable friend dangerous magic? he stumbles onto the corpse of a murdered student – the latest in a string of unsolved murders. Whoa, what? The ensuing investigation reveals Red’s ability to join the school’s elite students. His inner voice is quick to point out that now Red is next in line to have his heart ripped from his chest. Literally?????

 

You have five plots in a single paragraph. Red trying to learn magic and having to hide his paranoia in order to do so. Sylia unleashing armageddon. Red being blamed??? for that armageddon. A murder. Red being blamed for that murder???? Before that, you have another plot: the Office of Peace stuff- if that's not key to Red's story, it's backstory, so cut it from your query.

 

What you don't have, which I think might be most important to your plot, is: Red's magic comes with an inner instinct that unfailingly recommends to him the right choice to make. Unfortunately, Red isn't a very good listener.

 

To keep Sylia from reporting him, Red agrees to share his knowledge. Again, I'm convinced Red should be reporting SYLIA. As he meets with her, Red learns that his ‘inner voice’ might be a form of insanity made worse by Red's increasingly unusual dreams. This, I believe, is the plot. By using the gateway, and getting help from a being that lives in the dream dimension, Red escapes from his inner voice. When the assassins come for his heart, Red faces them alone. Heart stealing assassins!? That was literal? - Again, too many plots in a single query. You should end this after he jumps into the portal.

 

In order to survive, Red has to risk insanity - and his home at the Mage Sanctum - to reunite with his banished paranoia. 

 

RED INITIATE is complete at 118k words and is an adult Fantasy.  
 

----

Yes, I realize the thread title says "New Adult." Can anyone tell me how to edit it?

I'm also considering changing the title to Paranoia's Shadow. Thoughts? 

 

 

Okay, so I piled on criticism up there, so let me be helpful down here. It's easy to rip a query apart, but much harder to suggest a route for fixing it, so let's see how this goes...

Red's magical talents came with an unexpected side-effect; an inner voice which unfailingly recommends to him the right choices to make. Unfortunately, Red isn't a very good listener.

 

For twelve years, Red has studied at the Mage Sanctum, all the while hiding his inexplicable inner voice, and a deep-seated paranoia which would disqualify him for advanced training if it were ever discovered. These secrets catch up to him all at once when the girl of his dreams, Sylia, discovers all that he's been hiding. She attempts to blackmail him so that he'll share his advanced lessons with her. When he refuses, her fury triggers a magical meltdown, causing material damage in the form of meltdowns, and ethereal damage in the shape of a brand new gateway to the realm of dreams. 

 

Red must help Sylia cover up what happened in order to prevent the discovery of his own secrets. The effort leads him into the realm of dreams to face the being behind his inner voice, and the true cause of his long-lasting paranoia.

 

 

I probably got a few (or a lot) of points wrong here, but my goal was to cut a lot of the distractions out so that you had a decent skeleton to work with. Shuffle this into your own words, give it the flesh it needs, but ultimately: Focus. The hardest part of a query is that you only have 200 words- you can't put your whole story in there, just enough to get the agent to read pages.



#13 mkuriel

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 11:13 AM

Okay, so I piled on criticism up there, so let me be helpful down here. It's easy to rip a query apart, but much harder to suggest a route for fixing it, so let's see how this goes...

 

I probably got a few (or a lot) of points wrong here, but my goal was to cut a lot of the distractions out so that you had a decent skeleton to work with. Shuffle this into your own words, give it the flesh it needs, but ultimately: Focus. The hardest part of a query is that you only have 200 words- you can't put your whole story in there, just enough to get the agent to read pages.

 

Thanks! Next revision above. It's funny how my thinking about my story shifts as these queries evolve. Everything in the query still fits the narrative... but I will need to go back and ensure Sylia's piece of it comes across clearly. It will mean a few minor tweaks, but the overall story will only be stronger for it. 

 

Very grateful for all the feedback!



#14 mkuriel

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 03:32 PM

A question... but first, context. Though my novel fits in the Fantasy or High/Epic Fantasy genre, "magic" is treated as physics. I accomplish this by expounding on the idea that consciousness acts as a forcing function on the energy that comprises physical reality. I'll unpack that sentence below, but what I'd like to know, is does it matter to the query?

 

From the reader's POV, "the physics of consciousness" = "magic". So, is it better to err on the side of what's easily understood and call it magic, or do I need to introduce this idea in the query? 

 

 

----

The concept I'm playing with: Consciousness isn't a byproduct of evolution or the result of brain function - it's the core of what it means to exist. Reducing it as much as possible, it's awareness. Specifically, self-awareness that begins with "I Exist." From self-awareness comes a passion for self-discovery: the drive to discover all the ways that "I Exist." The passion creates energy, and that energy is used (by consciousness) to create new aspects of the awareness that can then continue the pattern of self-discovery. In that way, consciousness creates reality. Including physical reality.

 

It means that everything in physical reality exists as something that consciousness interprets. So you might ask, why can't I just use my awareness to create whatever I want? To which I'd reply, what makes you think you don't? You do. But the level of conscious creation that we experience and understand starts and stops in the womb. All other creation, except for the counter examples provided by mythology and religion, seems to be limited to what we can do with our bodies and the world as it exists around us. We don't have internal conscious access to the energy of creation - we can only play with the external remnants.

 

So what if we do have internal access to that energy? What would that look like?  To answer those questions, I imagined a society that has always had that direct access, and I started writing. Things change a lot when you don't need anything external to harness the power of creation - internal 'threats' become much more dangerous. Hence the reason why paranoia is such a big deal. 

 

But none of that really belongs in a query. I suppose I could start with, "To Red, magic is a physical science he's studied for twelve years at the Mage Sanctum."  ... Or, "When magic is understood as a physical science, anyone who has the broad ability to summon and use the energy of creation, or Mages,  become engineers."

 

Hmmm... I'm back to my original question. I think it's relevant because the characters in my story don't even have a word for magic, it's all just physics. Since I have a background in engineering and physics, establishing that connection in the query would enable me to use those credentials. 

 

If you made it this far, thank you. I'd appreciate your thoughts. 



#15 yawriter

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 07:35 PM

***Most Recent Update as of 3:55 PM EDT on 11 March 18***

 

Red's magical talents came with an unexpected side-effect; I would use (--) instead of a semi colon here an inner voice, which unfailingly recommends the choices that  to ensure his survival. Unfortunately, those choices reek of paranoia.I don't understand how an inner voice that helps someone survive is just paranoia? 

 

For twelve years, Red has studied at the Mage Sanctum, all the while hiding his inexplicable inner voice, which would disqualify him for advanced training if discovered. That was a fairly long sentence...followed by another long sentence. is there a way you can break this up? This secret catches up to him (what secrets?) when the girl of his dreams, Sylia, identifies the voice as a form of madness.  She blackmails Red, pretending interest in his advanced knowledge so she can help him confront his voice before it drives him insane. Though furious about her betrayal, Red agrees. What exactly is the betrayal?  As soon as he's alone, Red's inner voice pushes him into a meltdown, beginning a series of events designed to prove to Red why he'll never survive without the wisdom of paranoia.Another really long sentence here, but I like the premise!

 

To survive, Red demonstrates irrefutable proof of his madness. When the smoke clears, Red has to choose between a treatment that will free him from his inner voice, or give up his dream of mastering his magic.

 

RED INITIATE is complete at 118k words and is an adult fantasy.

 

 

----

Yes, I realize the thread title says "New Adult." Can anyone tell me how to edit it? You go to "use full editor" or something like that after you press edit on the thread

I'm also considering changing the title to Paranoia's Shadow. Thoughts? 

 

Please return the favor and let me know your thoughts on my query! 

 

http://agentquerycon...mance/?p=352436



#16 darsenault

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 12:14 AM

A question... but first, context. Though my novel fits in the Fantasy or High/Epic Fantasy genre, "magic" is treated as physics. I accomplish this by expounding on the idea that consciousness acts as a forcing function on the energy that comprises physical reality. I'll unpack that sentence below, but what I'd like to know, is does it matter to the query?

 

From the reader's POV, "the physics of consciousness" = "magic". So, is it better to err on the side of what's easily understood and call it magic, or do I need to introduce this idea in the query? 

 

 

----

The concept I'm playing with: Consciousness isn't a byproduct of evolution or the result of brain function - it's the core of what it means to exist. Reducing it as much as possible, it's awareness. Specifically, self-awareness that begins with "I Exist." From self-awareness comes a passion for self-discovery: the drive to discover all the ways that "I Exist." The passion creates energy, and that energy is used (by consciousness) to create new aspects of the awareness that can then continue the pattern of self-discovery. In that way, consciousness creates reality. Including physical reality.

 

It means that everything in physical reality exists as something that consciousness interprets. So you might ask, why can't I just use my awareness to create whatever I want? To which I'd reply, what makes you think you don't? You do. But the level of conscious creation that we experience and understand starts and stops in the womb. All other creation, except for the counter examples provided by mythology and religion, seems to be limited to what we can do with our bodies and the world as it exists around us. We don't have internal conscious access to the energy of creation - we can only play with the external remnants.

 

So what if we do have internal access to that energy? What would that look like?  To answer those questions, I imagined a society that has always had that direct access, and I started writing. Things change a lot when you don't need anything external to harness the power of creation - internal 'threats' become much more dangerous. Hence the reason why paranoia is such a big deal. 

 

But none of that really belongs in a query. I suppose I could start with, "To Red, magic is a physical science he's studied for twelve years at the Mage Sanctum."  ... Or, "When magic is understood as a physical science, anyone who has the broad ability to summon and use the energy of creation, or Mages,  become engineers."

 

Hmmm... I'm back to my original question. I think it's relevant because the characters in my story don't even have a word for magic, it's all just physics. Since I have a background in engineering and physics, establishing that connection in the query would enable me to use those credentials. 

 

If you made it this far, thank you. I'd appreciate your thoughts. 

 

 

While everything you've said is really interesting, you're right to assume it doesn't fit into the query. It's background that makes your novel thrive, but it's not what makes the story move. I have a very similar concept in my own novel. Magic is known as Talent, and is really heavily focused around belief, and the ability of belief to shape reality. But every time I try to include any of that in my query, it brings up twenty questions that I don't have the word-count to answer. 

 

You're in the same boat, it looks like. And since your query already suffers from being fairly complex, definitely in your benefit to err on the side of simplicity.



#17 mkuriel

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 01:25 PM

While everything you've said is really interesting, you're right to assume it doesn't fit into the query. It's background that makes your novel thrive, but it's not what makes the story move. I have a very similar concept in my own novel. Magic is known as Talent, and is really heavily focused around belief, and the ability of belief to shape reality. But every time I try to include any of that in my query, it brings up twenty questions that I don't have the word-count to answer. 

 

You're in the same boat, it looks like. And since your query already suffers from being fairly complex, definitely in your benefit to err on the side of simplicity.

 

I settled on a compromise... Instead of "magic" I call it a "Talent to control the energy of creation."  Once I squared away in my own thinking the idea that the central plot is Red''s confrontation with his "inner voice," the subplots and complications became obvious. 

Before, I'd thought that Red simply didn't want to get kicked out of school. Turns out it's a lot more fun to mess with the growing popular theme of "all answers are within you" by corrupting that inner voice. It's giving real flavor to the proof-reading I'm doing to ensure the ideas solidified by writing the query come across in the narrative.



#18 JRUET

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 04:16 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 :)

 

Red's Talent (I'd leave "talent" in lowercase, even if it's a proper noun in your novel, capitalizing it here just causes confusion)  to control the energy of creation includes an inner voice which that teaches and guides him. Unfortunately, it also never lets him forget that everyone is out to make him suffer. This is an interesting concept, but I think you need a "hookier" hook. It's too complicated a thought to grab me right off, try something more simple like "Red can control energy" (but better than my example ;)

 

For twelve years, Red has learned to use his Talent. When his teachers tell him that all paranoia is unhealthy and requires treatment, he hides his inner helper I'm not sure "inner helper" is the right word choice here. even changing it to "voices in his head" or the like might be more clear.  Knowing that he will never master his Talent alone, Red rebels against the voice I'm a little confused here, in two sentences you've infered he both protects and does protect his "devil on the shoulder" and unintentionally reveals it to the girl of his dreams, Sylia. She identifies it as a form of madness. To help Red realize that he's going insane, she makes him explain what the voice has taught him in exchange for keeping his secret. Red agrees, and then his inner voice pushes him into a series of events intending to prove that Red will only suffer without the wisdom of paranoia.

 

To survive, (Red demonstrates irrefutable proof of both his genius, and his madness.) this is the best line in your query. When the smoke clears, he has to choose between a treatment that will free him from his inner voice, or give up his dream of mastering his Talent. Aren't these the same thing? Isn't he choosing between being crazy and having a talent v/s being sane and powerless?

 

RED INITIATE is complete at 118k words and is an adult fantasy with series potential.

 

So your concept is interesting, but it's getting lost a bit. 

 

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?"

 

From what I understand in this query:

1. Red hears voices that help him perform "magic/science"

2. He goes to a school for "magic/science" that doesn't approve of said voice, so he hides it

3. When he needs help he turns to a girl that discovers his secret and tries to convince him to come clean (this part is a guess from me)

4. Red must to choose wether to battles psychosis or give in to it

 

what I don't understand is how the "voice" is controlling his "talent" and why it's a "one or the other thing", I also don't know why he would expose himself to Sylia if the "voice" that is controlling him doesn't want him to.

 

It's an interest mental health platform, but right now the query in bungling an interesting concept by not leading the reader toward what we're supposed to care about.

Try writing out:

1. What Red wants (to create, to use his talent, to not be crazy, something else)

2. What's in his way

3. What pushes him into action

4. What are the stakes if he fails (as well as what failure actually is)

 

It needs to be very clear to the reader which side we're rooting for- talent/madness or no talent/sanity.

 

Hope this is helpful ;)

 

I'd love feedback on my inquiry if you are able, thanks!http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/38524-agents-of-balance-ya-fantasy-last-revision-before-initial-inquiries/?p=353277



#19 mkuriel

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 07:33 PM

Thank you, JRUET, very useful! Revised and updated once more. This is fun!



#20 JDSmith

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 07:49 PM

***Most Recent Update as of 11:15 PM EDT on 12 March 18***

 

Red's Talent to control the energy of creation includes an inner voice which teaches and guides him. Unfortunately, it also never lets him forget that everyone is out to make him suffer. i feel very confused right now. you need to find a way to explain this better

 

For twelve years, Red has learned to use his Talent. When his teachers tell him that all paranoia is unhealthy and requires treatment, he hides his inner helper.  Knowing that he will never master his Talent alone, Red rebels against the voice and unintentionally reveals it to the girl of his dreams, Sylia. She identifies it as a form of madness. To help Red realize that he's going insane, she makes him explain what the voice has taught him in exchange for keeping his secret. Red agrees, and then his inner voice pushes him into a series of events intending to prove that Red will only suffer without the wisdom of paranoia.

 

To survive, Red demonstrates irrefutable proof of both his genius, and his madness. When the smoke clears, he has to choose between a treatment that will free him from his inner voice, or give up his dream of mastering his Talent.

 

RED INITIATE is complete at 118k words and is an adult fantasy with series potential.

 

 

 

 

----

I'm also considering changing the title to Paranoia's Shadow. Thoughts? hmm i really like Red Initiate, but it makes me think of a Soviet Russia story

I mainly just feel confused by this query. I don't feel a sense of stakes. Every sentence feels like a completely different idea and doesn't transition to the next. I think you just need to clean it up and make it flow better


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

 

First 250 words here: Woooo

 

Write on!






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Fantasy, Literary Fiction, Science Fiction, Offbeat/Quirky

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