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RED INITIATE

Fantasy Literary Fiction Science Fiction Offbeat/Quirky

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#61 Bkrasnik

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 02:05 PM

***Current as of 12:00 AM EDT on 14 April 18. Newest revision in post #1.***

 

Dear [agent name],

 

Another vomit all over the teacher that already thinks Red's crazy. Thank you, Wisdom.

 

For the past twelve years, whenever Red comes close to revealing more skill than an average Initiate at the Mage Sanctum, his arms start itching. He shakes. And then Red vomits all over his teacher before the idiot finishes casting a protective ward. Wisdom times it perfectly every time.

 

Wisdom?

 

That's Red's best friend. Sometimes it sounds like a mewling cat. Yes, it. IT is Red's second mental voice. Or Inner Voice of Wisdom, depending on Red's mood and the volume of the whine.

 

Wind and rain! Red's not supposed to talk about IT. He must because the Sanctum Masters test everyone for mental stability and Wisdom might not survive. Seriously, the test turns interesting people into well-adjusted, complacent idiots.  

 

But Wisdom won't let him ask for help. And the last time Red ignored Wisdom he was trapped by a sexual predator. The best part of the following week was being locked in a cage...

 

Red would rather nearly freeze to death in a rainstorm... again... than think about that. But he has to because he's going to ignore Wisdom for the second time.

 

He will save his friend. No matter the consequences.

 

RED INITIATE is complete at 118k words and would appeal to fans of the Magicians and The Wise Man's Fear.

 

[Closing pleasantries and POC info]

 

 

Preface: I read your most recent query as of this morning (April 14) and I wasn’t feeling it. I think this version is MUCH better and you just need to make it more concise and tweak a few things. This is my opinion of course, so see what others say as well. (And thank you again for providing comments on my own query!)

 

 

Dear [agent name],

 

Red needs to save his best friend. The only trouble is that it's an extra voice in his head called Wisdom. Good.

 

Red's earliest memory is of waking up alone in an alley when he was six. No one would help him - in fact, the destitute people he met abused him until Wisdom started explaining things to him. For six years, Wisdom kept him alive. It told him where to go to survive the harsh winter storms. It taught him to steal food, fight, and placate stronger street kids. (I agree with Teatime on this part. Make this more concise in the exact way he rewrote this part for you) The one time Red didn't listen, he was locked in a cage by a sexual predator. GOOD. To escape, his best friend taught him to use his Talent to control Elemental energy. 

 

But that was all before Red was accepted to the Mage Sanctum to learn to use his Talent.  He entered as an Initiate twelve years ago and Wisdom never let him trust anyone.  Nearing his coming of age and the end of his Initiate studies, Red must pass tests to advance to Novice. One of those tests will ensure Red's mental stability. After all, most people have a Talent and the last time a mentally unstable person rose to power, half the population died. Red doesn't care. (Not sure what this is referring to exactly? Red doesn’t care that half the population died or what exactly? Either way, I think this makes Red sound a little cold and it would put me off from his character, so I suggest deleting it.) Wisdom keeps him safe and teaches him. Only neither Red nor Wisdom know if it (I don’t like how “it” sounds here. Might want to change this.) can survive the Sanctum's test. 

 

For the second time in his life (I agree with Teatime about this),  Red disagrees with Wisdom about what to do. In retaliation, Wisdom makes Red cast a spell that nearly kills him, revealing that it exists separately from him. Now Red has to determine if he can live without his best friend or find a way to coexist that won't threaten his sanity. VERY GOOD last sentence.

 

RED INITIATE is complete at 118k words and would appeal to fans of The Name of the Wind for it's blending of science fiction and fantasy themes in a new world. It would also resonate with fans of the Magicians for it's adult themes and the expansion of the idea that, "A great Magician is Magic." But the people in the story don't even have a word in their language for magic - it's all energy and physics. I have a background in engineering, which is applied physics.


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

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


#62 Bkrasnik

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 01:50 PM

***Current as of 10:20 PM EDT on 16 April 18. Newest revision in post #1.***

 

Dear [agent name],

 

The Hunter's song brings the calm soothing troubles with a balm. Red's mental trigger drains away emotions and makes Wisdom clear.

 

Ah, but Red isn't supposed to tell anyone about mental triggers. Very few Elementalists have Psion abilities - and triggering altered mental states or casting spells using thought-phrases is not something taught to Mage Sanctum Initiates. It's not safe. Luckily, Red has Wisdom.

 

That's Red's best friend. Sometimes it sounds like a mewling cat. Yes, it. IT is Red's second mental voice. Or Inner Voice of Wisdom, depending on Red's mood and the volume of the whine.

 

Wind and rain! Red's not supposed to talk about IT. He must because the Sanctum Masters test everyone for mental stability and Wisdom might not survive. Seriously, the test turns interesting people into well-adjusted, complacent idiots.  

 

But Wisdom won't let him ask for help. And the last time Red ignored Wisdom he was trapped by a sexual predator. The best part of the following week was being locked in a cage...

 

Red would rather nearly freeze to death in a rainstorm... again... than think about that. But he has to because he's going to ignore Wisdom for the second time.

 

He will save his friend. No matter the consequences.

 

RED INITIATE is complete at 118k words and would appeal to fans of the Magicians and The Wise Man's Fear.

Dear [agent name],

 

Dear [agent name],

 

The Hunter's song brings the calm soothing troubles with a balm. (How are troubles “calm” and “soothing”? Doesn’t make sense to me.  And this opening doesn’t give me anything concrete. It tells me nothing about your story. I suggest changing this.) Red's mental trigger drains away emotions and makes Wisdom clear.

 

Ah, but Red isn't supposed to tell anyone about mental triggers. Very few Elementalists have Psion abilities - and triggering altered mental states or casting spells using thought-phrases is not something taught to Mage Sanctum Initiates. It's not safe. Luckily, Red has Wisdom. (Why isn’t it safe? Give me some stakes.)

 

That's Red's best friend. Sometimes it sounds like a mewling cat. Yes, it. IT is Red's second mental voice. Or Inner Voice of Wisdom, depending on Red's mood and the volume of the whine. (I am confused. So at first I thought Wisdom and IT are two distinct voices. And then you say IT is sometimes an inner voice of wisdom. I thought IT was the mewling cat. This needs to be clarified.)

 

Wind and rain! (Not feeling this phrase. It feels sporadic and adds no value.) Red's not supposed to talk about IT. He must because the Sanctum Masters test everyone for mental stability and Wisdom might not survive. Seriously, the test turns interesting people into well-adjusted, complacent idiots. (I am feeling a little uncomfortable right now because I feel like you tried to make me laugh or smile and it didn’t work.)

 

But Wisdom won't let him ask for help. And the last time Red ignored Wisdom he was trapped by a sexual predator. The best part of the following week was being locked in a cage...(This last sentence is confusing to me. There is no context here. It also seems like you are trying to be funny, but it’s falling flat for me again.)

Red would rather nearly freeze to death in a rainstorm... again... than think about that. But he has to because he's going to ignore Wisdom for the second time.

 

He will save his friend. No matter the consequences.

 

RED INITIATE is complete at 118k words and would appeal to fans of the Magicians and The Wise Man's Fear.

You have a very unique story. But this query is very confusing. You are following a weak plot. Your story is floating up in the air, and you have nothing to ground it. Give some context. Tell us the stakes. Introduce another important character in your book, because right now all we have is Red and his inner voices. Oh and please stop making cheap attempts to be funny. It’s not working.  

P.s. As I mentioned in the last critique, your previous version was wayyyy better.

​Hope this helps!!


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

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


#63 BrookeJS

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 07:40 PM

***Current as of 7:00 PM EDT on 18 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, is very nearly a paranoid schizophrenic, you might appreciate that the author mistrusts genre expectations while using Fantasy ideas to push what he's learned as an engineer into the realm of Science Fiction. He also tastefully includes romance and psychology and rejects the expectation that Literary Fiction belongs only to intellectual elites. - M. Kuriel  ​Never refer to yourself in 3rd person. This smacks of arrogance. "Look at me! I'm an amazing writer you'll love the story I have to tell!" Most agents will toss this aside the second they read these lines. Never use the phrase "You will appreciate" when talking to an agent. Let them decide for themselves what they will appreciate. Unless mental health is actually a main point of this book and you've done your research on mental health (it's clear you haven't, considering you're using a phrase such as "paranoid schizophrenic") avoid making any declarations such as this. Honestly, it's unprofessional, the language is pompous and utterly lacking in any semblance of humility. 

 

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 changed... 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.)  ​<---- Yeah, don't do that.

 

This isn't a query - it's a snap shot from your book. I'd suggest doing more research on what agents are looking for when writing a query, because instead of taking advice from those who have commented you go in a completely different direction every time. 


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...-back/?p=356112

If you could spare a moment I would really appreciate critiques on my synopsis: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=355669

 


#64 mkuriel

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 12:58 PM

This isn't a query - it's a snap shot from your book. I'd suggest doing more research on what agents are looking for when writing a query, because instead of taking advice from those who have commented you go in a completely different direction every time. 

 

Fair observations, thank you. 

 

This helped me realize what's been bugging me about all the queries I've written: 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 and see what happens from there.

 

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

 

I can get how it's frustrating though. Unfortunately, learning communication requires communicating with other people. And a query is just a specific communication.



#65 galian84

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 01:47 PM

mkuriel, I came here to reciprocate your (super helpful) crits on my own query. I definitely think your most recent revision is a step back from your previous ones...your previous versions, while they may have been vague, gave a much better idea to your story/characters.

 

Query writing is definitely a different beast than writing the novel (believe me, I know!)

 

I look forward to your next revision and will go ahead and do a LBL then.



#66 BrookeJS

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 02:49 PM

Fair observations, thank you. 

 

This helped me realize what's been bugging me about all the queries I've written: 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 and see what happens from there.

 

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

 

I can get how it's frustrating though. Unfortunately, learning communication requires communicating with other people. And a query is just a specific communication.

 

Fair enough. You do what works for you. However, I will say that, that particular method seems as if it may lead to a lot of unnecessary additional work for you. You're going to have a stronger query in the long wrong if you focus on one and perfect it. Just my two cents! Good luck!


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...-back/?p=356112

If you could spare a moment I would really appreciate critiques on my synopsis: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=355669

 






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