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CASTING (Young Adult Fantasy)


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#21 PureZhar3

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 07:32 PM

Having faced discrimination for being black in the past, 17-year-old Valerie Smol is intimidated to discover that she has telekinetic abilities and that she can use her newfound powers to defend the powerless. ​better, though I don't think the full connection is made b/w having faced discrimination and wanting to defend the powerless (BUT please wait and see if others say the same thing, I could be wrong)

 

When Valerie accidentally displays magic in front of her mother, she is shipped away to a secluded island full of witches being kept secret from the world. Valerie is abandoned to the mercy of those who run it. Downtrodden and alone, she is astonished when she meets Alex, a fellow magic user ​(wizard? that is traditionally the male user) and quickly develops an attraction to his nonchalant attitude about life on the island that seems to directly oppose her own. ​I like that you took my advice, but now that I'm reading it this clause seems to packed with information (sorry). Can you either shrink down the description of what he's nonchalant about or else change/shrink it to adjectives

 

 

When Alex contracts a murderous curse that brings it​no apostrophes host​given the word "curse", "victim" is probably a better word than "host" here back from the dead with a hunger for flesh, Valerie is forced to search for a cure for the ailment because of the decisions of one of her past lives from centuries ago. ​Okay, so this is a paragraph with a wealth of important information. What I would suggest doing is changing the clause I underlined into one full sentence. Then take the remaining part of the sentence and expand on it - Valerie decides to search for the cure why, and explain to some degree about her past life (and if you can't do that concisely, you may have to cut it and come up with another *still accurate* explanation for why she must search for the cure

 

As the solution to the curse rests on one decision, Valerie must decide whether to end magic and save humanity by effectively destroying the magic behind the curse or saving magic and killing all of the undead. A choice that would be easy if her friends weren’t slowly joining the ranks of the undead.

 

​Everything but the last two paragraphs are much better. And don't get me wrong, the final paragraphs are still good (they're nice and focused now). However, the stakes are still highly confusing. What I would suggest doing:

​1) like I said before, change the clause I underlined into its own sentence

2) use a single sentence right after that to explain that Valerie decides to search for a cure because she cares about Alex (or something similar, if that totally isn't true. If it's more or less true, just say it. The query is short enough that it's allowed to be technically inaccurate - that is, nuanced issues can be simplified)

​3) then expand the second paragraph to explain the decision she finds she must make... say she learns that she must do _____ to end the curse

​4) use what she learned to define the stakes in the final paragraph (which is mostly done, but it will need slightly tailored to the choice that she has to make)

 

​Let me ask you, how far into your story does this query currently go? That is, when in the story does she have to make this choice?


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


#22 Jthatcher

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 10:03 PM

 

Having faced discrimination for being black in the past, 17-year-old Valerie Smol is intimidated to discover that she has telekinetic abilities and that she can use her newfound powers to defend the powerless. ​better, though I don't think the full connection is made b/w having faced discrimination and wanting to defend the powerless (BUT please wait and see if others say the same thing, I could be wrong)

 

When Valerie accidentally displays magic in front of her mother, she is shipped away to a secluded island full of witches being kept secret from the world. Valerie is abandoned to the mercy of those who run it. Downtrodden and alone, she is astonished when she meets Alex, a fellow magic user ​(wizard? that is traditionally the male user) and quickly develops an attraction to his nonchalant attitude about life on the island that seems to directly oppose her own. ​I like that you took my advice, but now that I'm reading it this clause seems to packed with information (sorry). Can you either shrink down the description of what he's nonchalant about or else change/shrink it to adjectives

 

 

When Alex contracts a murderous curse that brings it​no apostrophes host​given the word "curse", "victim" is probably a better word than "host" here back from the dead with a hunger for flesh, Valerie is forced to search for a cure for the ailment because of the decisions of one of her past lives from centuries ago. ​Okay, so this is a paragraph with a wealth of important information. What I would suggest doing is changing the clause I underlined into one full sentence. Then take the remaining part of the sentence and expand on it - Valerie decides to search for the cure why, and explain to some degree about her past life (and if you can't do that concisely, you may have to cut it and come up with another *still accurate* explanation for why she must search for the cure

 

As the solution to the curse rests on one decision, Valerie must decide whether to end magic and save humanity by effectively destroying the magic behind the curse or saving magic and killing all of the undead. A choice that would be easy if her friends weren’t slowly joining the ranks of the undead.

 

​Everything but the last two paragraphs are much better. And don't get me wrong, the final paragraphs are still good (they're nice and focused now). However, the stakes are still highly confusing. What I would suggest doing:

​1) like I said before, change the clause I underlined into its own sentence

2) use a single sentence right after that to explain that Valerie decides to search for a cure because she cares about Alex (or something similar, if that totally isn't true. If it's more or less true, just say it. The query is short enough that it's allowed to be technically inaccurate - that is, nuanced issues can be simplified)

​3) then expand the second paragraph to explain the decision she finds she must make... say she learns that she must do _____ to end the curse

​4) use what she learned to define the stakes in the final paragraph (which is mostly done, but it will need slightly tailored to the choice that she has to make)

 

​Let me ask you, how far into your story does this query currently go? That is, when in the story does she have to make this choice?

 

 

The book ends on her making the choice. The choice is defined in the earlier parts of the story, however. 



#23 Oldborne

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 02:03 AM

Having faced discrimination for being black in the past, 17-year-old Valerie Smol isn’t new to being different, but when she learns that she has magical abilities, she begins to ponder if she can use her newfound powers to defend the defenseless. Feels like a pretty long sentence and not particularly punchy. I'd try to break it into two sentences to make it snappier. The first could be something like: Discrimination isn't new to 17-year-old Valerie Smol.  

 

 

When Valerie accidentally displays magic in front of her mother, she is shipped away to a secluded  secret island full of witches being kept secret from the world.  and Valerie is abandoned to their mercy of those who run it. Downtrodden and alone, she is astonished when she meets Alex, a warlock, and quickly develops an attraction to his nonchalant attitude about life on the island. A viewpoint that seems to directly oppose her own. This paragraph reads a little unnaturally to me. If the island is secret, how did Valerie's mother know to send her there? Are the witches the ones who run it? Is she astonished by Alex's attitude or just that there's a guy on the island? I think this paragraph would serve better as a solid introduction to the island and why/how Valerie is sent there.  

 

 

When Alex contracts interesting that people in this world can contract curses a murderous curse that brings its victim back from the dead with a hunger for flesh, he is banned from the island. This is confusing because up to this point I'd assumed the island is a punishment for being a magic-user. So saying he's been banned from the island feels like saying someone's been banned from prison. Valerie is forced to search for a cure, or the end to magic not sure what this means, for the ailment before time runs out and he dies- and comes back as the undead. A task bestowed upon her by Helena’s, an incarnation of herself from decades past, choice, and her love for Alex. Not entirely sure what this last sentence means, but the stakes are good. There's a goal here: save Alex before he becomes a zombie. 

 

 

As the solution to the curse rests on her decision, Valerie must decide whether to end magic and save humanity by destroying the magic behind the curse or to save magic and kill all of the undead. This reads very confusingly. I think the excess use of the word 'magic' is a bit much A choice that would be easy if her friends weren’t slowly joining the ranks of the undead. 

Overall it sounds like an interesting world that you're not entirely conveying through the query. The bits I understood were fine, but there's a lot of world building that's missing and leaves gaps in the reader's mental image. Thankfully your query is on the short side as it stands so you've got room to add more details. A good rule of thumb is to try to make it impossible for a question to be asked whilst reading.

Good luck with this and please, take my comments with a pinch of salt. It's all subjective and I'm no expert.

Best of luck with this! 


All feedback appreciated: http://agentquerycon...ust-sf-mystery/

 





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