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Tangled Threads (Fantasy Epic)

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#1 BrookeJS

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 10:34 PM

All feedback appreciated. Will critique back! Thank you!

 

Revision in Post #22

 

Updated as of 2:14pm April, 18th

 

 

When Keirann rudely mocks a group of Sephtian monks, followers of an outcast faith, she unwittingly releases a stone of power. Caught in a blaze of light that results in a horrifying vision, a male voice in her head declares her the Feyling – fated protector against prophesied calamity. The only problem? Keirann, one of the Ouala-elect – destined to become the leader of the Faithful of Illyia – does not believe any of it and she certainly has no power!

 

As a Weaver, Keirann is supposed to be extraordinarily talented in the magical arts but she proves resistant and defiant to all her training. Keirann’s home, Kenderas, is a secluded mountain village, famous as the home of the Luan – elite and deadly soldiers in the service to the High King of Angern. All Keirann ever wanted was to become one of the Luan but this is forbidden to her. Weaver’s must never be involved in battle, for their talents are too easily abused, capable of causing untold damage to the etheric fabrics of the world and anyone who does so would be a scourge and labeled Unraveler.

 

When her estranged, and heavy-handed father, provides Keirann with an ultimatum; become Ouala or be married off and provide an heir, Keirann reacts in anger unknowingly revealing herself as an Unraveler. Feeling trapped, she chooses freedom. Unwilling to sacrifice her life for a faith she does not believe in and an absurd ill-gotten destiny, Keirann flees Kenderas. Accompanied by a glowing wisp named Twigs and the strange talking stone, she seeks to make a new life, while dangerous mercenaries are close on her heels. Destiny is a fickle mistress and try as she might Keirann cannot escape. Tragedy strikes and Keirann must face the devastating and life-altering consequences of her choices. Meanwhile, ancient forces stir, mythical beasts awaken, and dark forces snarl at Keirann’s feet forcing her to face her destiny or perish along with all she loves.

 

TANGLED THREADS is an epic fantasy complete at 114,000 words and will appeal to fans of Anne Bishops Black Jewels Trilogy or Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...epic/?p=355403 

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

 


#2 Springfield

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 11:03 PM

Hello folks! My name is Brooke and I am new here. I have recently finished my first novel and while I am finalizing edits I am also beginning to practice my query letters. I'm new to all of this and I could really use help from those who are in the same boat as me and professionals who've been here before! I will also be perusing the forum and providing critiques for others as well! I'm excited to be here and ready to learn and I appreciate any and all advice!

 

Hi :)

 

When Keirann rudely mocks a group of Sephtian monks, followers of an outcast faith, she unwittingly releases a stone of power. Caught in a blaze of light that results in a horrifying vision, a male voice in her head declares her the Feyling – fated protector against prophesied calamity. The only problem? Keirann, one of the Ouala-elect – destined to become the leader of the most powerful faith in all Angern – does not believe any of it and she certainly has no power!

            Tangled Threads the first installment in The Legend of Angern, a multi-book series, takes the reader on an epic, fantasy, adventure when Keirann tries to run from family, duty, herself, and the menacing forces that will do anything, hurt anyone, to obtain the stone she holds. Ancient forces stir, mythical beasts awaken, and dark forces snarl at Keirann’s feet forcing her to face her destiny or perish along with all she loves.

 

This is short and way too confusing. There's no setting, no info, no genre or category even, but it just sounds like a kind of vague fantasy magic fae thing. You need a character, a problem, stakes, but within a framework to understand the specifics and their relevance.



#3 BrookeJS

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 11:06 PM

I realized after I posted that it was clearly very short and I was missing a lot of information but didn't see a way to delete. I'll be waiting to see if I get a few more replies and then add in more information. When you say "need a character" I am assuming you mean describe the character's personality and motives?


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...epic/?p=355403 

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

 


#4 BrookeJS

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 12:41 AM

​.


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...epic/?p=355403 

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

 


#5 rhwashere

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 10:23 PM

So, the first issue I see is that you have WAY too many personal pronouns. There are a ton of names and concepts that you introduce in this query and it really muddies it up. We don’t need to know all that to understand the story. You’ve got to really strip this story to the bare bones for the query.

Second, you’ve got at least 5 conflicts going here when there should only be 1: Keriann is chosen for a destiny but she doesn’t believe in it, Keriann is supposed to be a mage but wants to be a soldier, Keriann is supposed to be the next religious leader but she doesn’t believe in it either, Keriann is going to be married off but she doesn’t want it, Keriann runs away and is chased by mercenaries for some reason. Pick a conflict (or two) and stick to it. Focus on how she handles that conflict and the consequences that result.

You mention tragedy and consequences for her choices, but we are given no idea as to what these are, and so we don’t care about them. If you aren’t going to expound on them, don’t mention them in the first place.

I know that’s a lot of suggestions. The best thing you can do is immerse yourself in successful queries until you get a sense of what works. I did this for the first time myself not that long ago, and some resources that helped me were the Successful Queries section on this website, the Successful Queries series over at writersdigest.com, and of course the Query Shark blog. Study these resources til your eyes bleed. Then keep trying. It’s a process and it takes time. Just keep working at it and it’ll eventually get easier.

Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...de-32318/page-4


#6 BrookeJS

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 10:33 PM

Thank you for the feedback! I've already been reading as much as I can get my hands on (and continue to do so) and you think you're doing good until you get fresh eyes on it! I'll see if I can't wittle it down following your suggestions. 


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...epic/?p=355403 

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

 


#7 BrookeJS

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 12:48 AM

​​Here is my next attempt. I will admit I am iffy on the first paragraph but I am trying to set the scene and give a feel to this world. It is a big story and there are a lot of interweaving pieces (hence the title). So it is difficult to narrow down one or two specific events that sets everything in motion. 

 

Revision #1

 

Newest in post #12

 

Thousands of years ago, the world ended. No one knows what came before, as the only remnant is a scar cleaving the land in two: World’s Loss. When followers of an outcast faith begin venturing into the wastes, never to return, the Faithful of Illyia take notice. Their duty is to preserve life and guide the lost into Illyia’s grace.

 

Keirann is one of eight Ouala-elect, successors for the Ivory Throne – voice of Illyia. What is seen as an honor to most is a cage for Keirann. Resisting her training in the magical arts of weaving and denying the very faith she must uphold, she is determined to escape. When Keirann rudely mocks a group of Sephtian monks, she unwittingly releases a stone of power. Caught in a blaze of light that results in a horrifying vision, a male voice declares her the Feyling – fated protector against prophesied calamity. Learning that dangerous agents may now come for her and the stone, Keirann foolishly disregards the threat. After all, there is no truth to the gods.

 

Accompanied by a glowing wisp named Twigs and the strange talking stone, Keirann flees to make a new life. However, destiny is a fickle mistress and Keirann realizes that her choices have deadly consequences when mercenaries prove they will hurt and kill anyone who gets in their way. Now Keirann must choose, turn back and accept the mantle of duty or selfishly continue running from an ill-gotten fate and endangering all.

 

TANGLED THREADS is an epic fantasy complete at 114,000 words and will appeal to fans of Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy or Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. 


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...epic/?p=355403 

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

 


#8 BrookeJS

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 10:23 PM

Bumping in hopes of getting some replies.


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...epic/?p=355403 

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

 


#9 mkuriel

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 11:50 PM

​​Here is my next attempt. I will admit I am iffy on the first paragraph but I am trying to set the scene and give a feel to this world. It is a big story and there are a lot of interweaving pieces (hence the title). So it is difficult to narrow down one or two specific events that sets everything in motion. 

 

Revision #1

 

 

Thousands of years ago, the world ended. No one knows what came before, (imprecise language leads to contradiction: if the world ended, then people would have too. And if no one knows what came before, they don't know the world ended. So what exactly, ended? Civilization? And thousands of years is a long time, what keeps the memory alive?) as the only remnant is a scar cleaving the land in two: World’s Loss. (um... what does a scar that cleaves the land in two look like? is the Earth split into a binary planet with two halves circling each other? Is it a grand canyon? Oh, and if a scar cleaves the land in two, then the world definitely didn't end - it experienced a cataclysmic, maybe even apocalyptic change.) When followers of an outcast faith begin venturing into the wastes, never to return, the Faithful of Illyia take notice. Their duty is to preserve life and guide the lost into Illyia’s grace. (There's no hook in this leading paragraph. There's backstory, but I'm not sure it matters to a query. If it does, you need to trim it back to the essentials: You've a post-apocalyptic setting where the survivors are governed by a religious sect who are losing control.)

 

Keirann is one of eight Ouala-elect, successors for the Ivory Throne – voice of Illyia. What is seen as an honor to most is a cage for Keirann. Resisting her training in the magical arts of weaving (sounds like she's making baskets) and denying the very faith she must uphold, she is determined to escape. When Keirann rudely mocks (it's always rude to mock, so the phrasing is redundant) a group of Sephtian monks, she unwittingly releases a stone of power. (there's no logic to this: how does mocking someone release a stone of any kind? Deus ex machina.) Caught in a blaze of light that results in a horrifying vision, a male voice declares her the Feyling fated protector against prophesied calamity. Learning that dangerous agents may now come for her and the stone, Keirann foolishly disregards the threat. After all, there is no truth to the gods. (You're dumping way too many nouns into the query. That's bad because they don't mean anything to anyone who hasn't read your story. Suggest trimming it back to no more than the three most important to the story. Now, you should consider rewording these sentences so they deliver what your story's about. The key details that I can discern: Keirann (for some reason that didn't make it into the query) doesn't believe in the gods of the religious sect that she may one day need to lead. Which means she also doesn't believe the prophecy of a horrific future only she can prevent. That sounds like your hook...)

 

Accompanied by a glowing wisp named Twigs and the strange talking stone, Keirann flees to make a new life. However, destiny is a fickle mistress and (this phrase seems out of place) Keirann realizes that her choices have deadly consequences when mercenaries prove they will hurt and kill anyone who gets in their way. (what does this have to do with anything? The inclusion of mercenaries comes from nowhere. Oh, I see, these are the 'agents' that may come for her and the stone. I think I dismissed that because so many things may or might happen that it's not worth paying attention to them. I need to know what does happen, why, and what it means.) Now Keirann must choose, turn back and accept the mantle of duty or selfishly continue running from an ill-gotten fate and endangering all. (Again, lots of fallacious logic that doesn't follow. What mantle of duty? If Keirann honestly thinks the prophecy no more than an addled fever dream, why would she believe she has any duty? And what is this 'ill-gotten fate' that she's fleeing? I thought she was fleeing from a life she didn't want...)

 

TANGLED THREADS is an epic fantasy complete at 114,000 words and will appeal to fans of Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy or Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. 

 

In  a word: unclear. 

 

Succinct advice: Slow down. Even the most Tangled of Threads has endpoints, find yours and deliver the story. Here's a shell of what came across to me:

 

Keirann decided one day to discard her privileged upbringing and just be free. The problem is that her childish tantrum could doom humanity.

 

Keirann was born into the religious class that rules the survivors of an apocalypse. But she doesn't believe in god and hates magic and decides to run away. On the way out the door, a glowing stone tells her that the everyone will perish unless she... Know what? It doesn't matter because god isn't real and Kierann isn't some stupid messiah. But the pretty stone keeps her warm at night so she keeps it. Then she flees into the wilderness where she's happy and free.

 

When the priests she abandoned send mercenaries after her, she must decide whether to go back to a life she hates, or kill them and continue running. 

 

If it isn't obvious, I don't really get the stakes. I'm certain there's more to this story than a spoiled child that's throwing a tantrum but I couldn't tell you what it is.

 

Hope that helps,



#10 Oldborne

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:29 AM

​​Here is my next attempt. I will admit I am iffy on the first paragraph but I am trying to set the scene and give a feel to this world. It is a big story and there are a lot of interweaving pieces (hence the title). So it is difficult to narrow down one or two specific events that sets everything in motion. 

 

Revision #1

 

 

Thousands of years ago, the world ended. No one knows what came before, as the only remnant is a scar cleaving the land in two: World’s Loss. When followers of an outcast faith begin venturing into the wastes, never to return, the Faithful of Illyia take notice. Their duty is to preserve life and guide the lost into Illyia’s grace. You're right to be iffy about this paragraph. World building in querys is really tough and something I struggle the most with. It's hard to know what's too much info because we, having written the book, feel every part of it's important. Either way, my advice would be to condense this into a single sentence and find a way to introduce it seamlessly in the next paragraph. Start with the MC. 

 

Keirann is one of eight Ouala-elect, successors for the Ivory Throne – voice of Illyia one too many descriptors here. If you're sat on the throne is can be assumed you're the voice of your country . What is seen as an honor to most is a cage for Keirann Nice. Resisting her training in the magical arts of weaving consider capitalising Weaving or finding another way to make it stand out. Took me a few reads to realise 'weaving and denying' wasn't your magical system and it's only weaving. and denying the very faith she must uphold a little vague here. What's the faith? Is the faith the magic?, she is determined to escape Why? We need a little more than just the fact she feels cagged. When Keirann rudely mocks a group of Sephtian this means very little to me monks , she unwittingly releases a stone of power this also means little to me. Caught in a blaze of light that results in a horrifying vision, a male voice declares her the Feyling – fated protector against prophesied calamity. Learning that dangerous agents may now come for her and the stone, Keirann foolishly disregards the threat. After all, there is no truth to the gods. Not enough context for this to make sense. I don't know what her gods are or how they have a hand in magic etc. 

 

Accompanied by a glowing wisp named Twigs and the strange talking stone it talks?, Keirann flees to make a new life. However, destiny is a fickle mistress kind of cliche wording, consider re-writng it but it's probably not that important and Keirann realizes that her choices have deadly consequences when mercenaries prove they will hurt and kill anyone who gets in their way. Now Keirann must choose, turn back and accept the mantle of duty or selfishly continue running from an ill-gotten fate and endangering all. 

 

TANGLED THREADS is an epic fantasy complete at 114,000 words and will appeal to fans of Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy or Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. 

First off, there's an awful lot of concepts happening here and not nearly enough context to support them all. The second paragraph in particular reads more like a synopsis than anything else. You can probably cut half of it in concepts alone. Don't get me wrong, they sound like great concepts and you're very clearly a skilled writer (I certainly enjoyed your prose at least) but you need to have more focus where the query's concerned.

Keirann being one of eight successors is mentioned and then never expanded upon so I don't think that's important for the query. The stone talking doesn't matter. We either need more 'weaving' or none of it, the same can be said for the 'faith', and I don't know what a 'Sephtian' is or why their monks drop stones of power when accosted.

So tighten the focus on the plot: why exactly does Keirann not want to sit on the Ivory Throne? What does she need or want instead? What's stopping her getting it? What happens if she doesn't get it? Then dial back on some of the ideas and sprinkle a little worldbuilding in to support the concepts you keep. 

This has plenty of potential and I can tell you're skilled enough to pull it off.

Good luck!   


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

 


#11 BrookeJS

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:42 AM

Thank you to you both for your feedback! 

 

Oldborne, I especially appreciate your reply, all criticism has been constructive but I have been having a little difficulty weeding out what I might ​be doing right, so your highlights definitely helped (and thank you for liking my work =) ). I'm working on another draft, the issue is as you all have pointed out there are a lot of concepts (and I obviously think everything is important lol). I'm trying to take pieces of everyone's advice and I'm working on a new draft but it's longer and coming out more like a synopsis. It's hard to address the integral issues without providing copious amounts of backstory. Hopefully my next one eliminates the key problems, though I know it will need to be scaled down. 


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...epic/?p=355403 

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

 


#12 BrookeJS

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 04:19 PM

I've tried to listen to all feedback and adjust accordingly. I am liking this newest version so far and so I'm hoping it addresses the concerns raised. I realize it's over word count but currently I don't see how to solve that. Thank you again to everyone who has provided feedback so far and continues to do so! It is much appreciated!

 

 

 

             After losing her mother at a young age, Keirann’s life has been one of pain and frustration. Her father’s long absences are a relief from a scathing tongue and stinging hand. She would rather spend her days hunting in the woods, experimenting with herbal remedies or carousing with local soldiers.

 

            Keirann is one of eight, chosen successors to the Ivory Throne – voice of the goddess Illyia and a host of other obnoxious titles too exhausting for her to pay any mind. What is seen as an honor for most is a cage for Keirann. The Faith has dictated her life from the start, resulting only in skepticism and loss and she rebels against societies expectations at every turn. Faith, for her, has only been an excuse for others to take and abuse. Even Keirann’s mentor uses religion as a means to shape her into something against her nature – for Keirann can barely manage even the simplest of Weavings, an important magical caveat for a leader of the Faith. If the gods were real, certainly, her mother would still live and she would not be such a disappointment. Keirann decides she will forge her own destiny, regardless of the machinations of family and duty. Except destiny hardly heeds the desires of anyone, let alone a young woman. 

 

            When Keirann disrespects a group of monks, in an effort to disprove their radical views, she lays her hand upon a local shrine convinced it holds no power. Only for it to split in two, revealing a mysterious stone. Caught in a blaze of light that results in a horrifying vision, a sonorous voice declares her the Feyling – figure of ancient myth and protector against coming catastrophe. Keirann is quick to disregard the warning; certain it holds no truth. Soon, however, agents of calamity and war begin to come for her and the stone – believing it a source of great power.

 

            Accompanied by a puckish wisp and the undesired stowaway in her head, Keirann flees her twin destinies, determined to make a life of her own choosing but destiny is not so easily thwarted. She swiftly learns her choices have deadly consequences as mercenaries follow, proving they will kill anyone in their way. Now Keirann must choose: sacrifice her freedom to protect those she loves or continue forward, risking everything.

 

            TANGLED THREADS is a fantasy epic about a young woman’s struggle to be true to herself in the face of free will and fate, both paths being fraught with peril. Complete at 114,000 words, this work will appeal to fans of Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy and Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files.


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...epic/?p=355403 

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

 


#13 TeaTime

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 10:22 PM

             After losing her mother at a young age, Keirann’s life has been one of pain and frustration (This opening line feels a bit generic). Her father’s long absences are a relief from a scathing tongue and stinging hand. She would rather spend her days hunting in the woods, experimenting with herbal remedies or carousing with local soldiers.

 

            Keirann is one of eight, (No comma?) chosen successors to the Ivory Throne – voice of the goddess Illyia (Maybe be careful about limiting the query's introduction of non-essential proper nouns) and a host of other obnoxious titles too exhausting for her to pay any mind. (Funny voice) What is seen as an honor for most is a cage for Keirann. The Faith has dictated her life from the start, resulting only in skepticism and loss and  she rebels against societies expectations at every turn. Faith, for her, has only been an excuse for others to take and abuse. Even Keirann’s mentor uses religion as a means to shape her into something against her nature – for Keirann can barely manage even the simplest of Weavings, an important magical caveat for a leader of the Faith. If the gods were real, certainly, her mother would still live and she would not be such a disappointment. Keirann decides she will forge her own destiny, regardless of the machinations of family and duty. Except destiny hardly heeds the desires of anyone, let alone a young woman. 

 

            When Keirann disrespects a group of monks, in an effort to disprove their radical views, she lays her hand upon touches a local shrine to disprove its power (or something like that) convinced it holds no power. Only for it to split in two, revealing a mysterious stone. Caught in a blaze of light that results it catches her in a horrifying vision, (End sentence here maybe) a sonorous voice declares her the Feyling – figure of ancient myth and protector against coming catastrophe. Keirann is quick to disregard the warning; certain it holds no truth. Soon, however, agents of calamity and war begin to come for her and the stone – believing it a source of great power.

 

            Accompanied by a puckish wisp and the undesired stowaway in her head, Keirann flees her twin destinies (Is this as Throne successor & Feyling? I'm not entirely sure), determined to make a life of her own choosing comma but destiny is not so easily thwarted. She swiftly learns her choices have deadly consequences as mercenaries follow, proving they will killing anyone in their way. Now Keirann must choose: sacrifice her freedom to protect those she loves (Who does she love? The query doesn't make it sound like there's anyone like that in her life.) or continue forward, risking everything. (These stakes are big but vague--which two decisions exactly are on the table here?)

 

            TANGLED THREADS is a fantasy epic about a young woman’s struggle to be true to herself in the face of free will and fate, both paths being fraught with peril. Complete at 114,000 words, this work will appeal to fans of Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy and Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files.

 

I've mostly just put in some suggested cuts to help bring this query down to a more manageable length. These were just the cuts that seemed most natural on my read through, but some different combinations of cuts might work better.

 

If you play around with those & hone in on the most essential plot & character details, I think you'll be able to make a great query with this story's interesting world & political/religious system. Best of luck  :smile: 


Feel Free to Check Out My Current Query Letter Here, Thank You


#14 Oldborne

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 05:47 AM

​ I've tried to listen to all feedback and adjust accordingly. I am liking this newest version so far and so I'm hoping it addresses the concerns raised. I realize it's over word count but currently I don't see how to solve that. Thank you again to everyone who has provided feedback so far and continues to do so! It is much appreciated!

 

Just a quick FYI: I don't know if it was intentional but you don't need to indent your query.

 

             After losing her mother at a young age, Keirann’s life has been one of pain and frustration Somewhat cliché The loss of a mother, whilst always sad, is common (and natural) and not nearly enough of a hook. Unless she died in a way that's particularly distressing to Keirann? Or her death is foreboding of Keirann's fate or something she'll need to overcome? . Her father’s long absences are a relief from a scathing tongue and stinging hand. She would rather spend her days hunting in the woods, experimenting with herbal remedies or carousing with local soldiers probably the poshes worded way someone's been referenced to doing drugs and drinkingThe latter half of this paragraph is great -- you just need a much stronger hook. 

 

            Keirann is one of eight deleted that rogue apostrophe chosen successors to the Ivory Throne – voice of the goddess Illyia and a host of other obnoxious titles too exhausting for her to pay any mind Good voice but the whole successor thing comes out of left field given the context of the first paragraph. Maybe mention that her dad's the King perhaps? Assuming he is the King. It doesn't sound like that's how this government works, but the paragraph should have some connection to her status. What is seen as an honor for most is a cage for Keirann. The Faith has dictated her life from the start, resulting only in skepticism and loss and she rebels against societies expectations at every turn. Faith, for her, has only been an excuse for others to take and abuse. Even Keirann’s mentor uses religion as a means to shape her into something against her nature – for Keirann can barely manage even the simplest of Weavings, an important magical caveat for a leaders of the Faith. If the gods were real, certainly, her mother would still live and she would not be such a disappointment. That statement is stronger without the random self-loathing. Keirann decides she will forge her own destiny, regardless of the machinations of family and duty. Except destiny hardly heeds the desires of anyone, let alone a young woman.  The sentence before this one is about a young woman seizing her own life, it has much more power. 

 

            When Keirann disrespects a group of monks, in an effort to disprove their radical views, she lays her hand upon a local shrine convinced it holds no power. I like the sentiment here but it can be worded better. A small, two or three words, about Keirann becoming a protester or militarising against the Faith would help set the tone and lead into her disrespecting the monks. Only for it to split in two, revealing a mysterious stone. Caught in a blaze of light that results in a horrifying vision, a sonorous voice declares her the Feyling – figure of ancient myth and protector against coming catastrophe. Keirann is quick to disregard the warning; certain it holds no truth. Soon, however, agents of calamity and war begin to come for her and the stone – believing it a source of great power.

So I don't think you need anything beyond this paragraph. You'll need to re-word and add proper stakes here, but at this point you have everything a query needs. Anything more and you're going into a synopsis.  
 

            Accompanied by a puckish wisp and the undesired stowaway in her head, Keirann flees her twin destinies, determined to make a life of her own choosing but destiny is not so easily thwarted. She swiftly learns her choices have deadly consequences as mercenaries follow, proving they will kill anyone in their way. Now Keirann must choose: sacrifice her freedom to protect those she loves or continue forward, risking everything.

 

            TANGLED THREADS is a fantasy epic about a young woman’s struggle to be true to herself in the face of free will and fate, both paths being fraught with peril. Complete at 114,000 words, this work will appeal to fans of Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy and Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files.

There's still too many details but a lot less than before so it's going in the right direction. Remember, less is more. Keirann's goals are clearer now and I like that she's very against the faith to the point that she causes the plot. She's very active in the query and that's great. What you need most is a much stronger hook and to still cut back on some frivolous details.

Much better than before.

Best of luck! 


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

 


#15 BrookeJS

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 01:08 PM

Hi guys! Thank you for the additional feed back. I'm going to try and answer a few questions and provide some additional feedback. Maybe if you guys see why ​I'm adding certain bits of information it'll help me figure out what's the most pertinent to include in the query. This isn't a query, just info.

 

First: Keirann isn't the Queen of this world. Think the Pope and the vaitcan or the Divine on the Sunburst Throne from the Dragon Age series of books and games. There still exists a monarchy outside of the organization of religion but the religion is the main focus of the story.

 

I'm going to refer to Keirann as "K" for simplicity. K's mother was the previous Ouala (title of the leader of the faith) and died horribly. Her death has heavily impacted K and left her with the unreasonable expectations that she is supposed to take her mother's place. Weaving, the magical system of this world, is very important. Whoever is Ouala is supposed to be very powerful, but K's aversion to this position, pain and denial choke of her own abilities (not that they don't exist). This is why I feel the line of her being a disappointment is important, it directly leads into her unbelief of the goddess Illiya (a common complaint in above posts). Her father is a Cleric in the faith but I don't think that's important for the query. The fact that she is one of eight is important because it's partly why she runs away. She thinks "hey there's others more qualified than me, they can have the job" but if she doesn't comply she gets married off to keep the bloodline going. There are eight candidates as part of this worlds archaic traditions to always make sure they have a strong weaver whose blood can be traced back to the very first of their faith. Since K's mom was the previous Ouala, it's automatically assumed she will succeed. The rest is currently just for show (unless she died, etc, etc.). 

 

K gets incensed by the presence of the monks proselytizing amongst a group of refugees. So she walks up and gives them attitude. It's not so much her protesting, etc. They try and convince her there is truth to their words and say if she touches this shrine she'll feel the presence of their ​god. Which of course she scoffs at and to prove them wrong - the rest you know. So, for me, that's difficult to pair down into a few punchy words. But it's key to really cementing her decision to leave (and other reasons). 

 

So maybe this will help you guys understand why certain points I keep putting in there because they tie into her motivations. So if someone can see how I could possibly reword a few areas your help is greatly appreciated! I'm kind of stuck on revising this latest version.


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...epic/?p=355403 

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

 


#16 BrookeJS

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 02:37 AM

Newest Queries, updated as of April, 16th at 1:31am (why am I awake..)

 

​I know no one has responded to my above post even though it wasn't a query. But I began messing around and I have two different versions that I'm going to post below. I'm attempting to change up the hook while still providing pertinent information. The first one I managed to get the word count down to around 300 or so. The second is a tiny bit shorter at about 270. At this point I'm feeling if the hook is strong enough I'm not going to care too much about the word count because if an agent likes it, they'll keep reading. I've had really positive feedback on my prior version from an editor and author outside of this forum.  For simplicities sake I've left off the part of word count etc, as it's currently not important in figuring out the meat of the query.

 

As always your comments are greatly appreciated!

 

 

​#1

 

 

Lenya, leader of the Faithful is dead, her life cut short by a cruel blade. She left behind an unwanted legacy for a daughter tormented by despair. Keirann’s world is one of frustration and loss. Her father’s long absences are a relief from a scathing tongue and stinging hand. She would rather spend her days hunting in the woods, experimenting with herbal remedies or carousing with local soldiers.

 

Keirann is one of eight chosen successors to the Ivory Throne – voice of the goddess Illyia and a host of other obnoxious titles too exhausting for her to pay any mind. What is seen as an honor for most is a cage for Keirann. The Faith has dictated her life from the start, resulting only in skepticism, and she rebels at every turn. Faith, for her, is only an excuse for others to take and abuse. Even Keirann’s beloved mentor uses religion as a means to manipulate her – for Keirann can barely manage even the simplest of Weavings, an important magical caveat for a leader of the Faith. Lacking in any belief of her own, Keirann decides she will forge her own destiny, regardless of the machinations of family and duty.

 

During an encounter with followers of a radical faith, Keirann accidentally releases a mysterious stone. Caught in a blaze of light that results in a horrifying vision, a sonorous voice declares her the Feyling – figure of ancient myth and protector against coming catastrophe. Keirann is quick to disregard the warning; certain it holds no truth. Soon, however, agents of calamity and war begin to come for her and the stone – believing it a source of great power.

 

Convinced she must leave, Keirann flees her twin destinies, but she swiftly learns her choices have deadly consequences. Now Keirann must choose: sacrifice her freedom or continue forward, risking everything.

 

 

 

​#2

 

Keirann is one of eight chosen successors to the Ivory Throne – voice of the goddess Illyia and a host of other obnoxious titles too exhausting for her to pay any mind. What is seen as an honor for most is a cage for Keirann.

 

After her mother’s death left her with an unwanted legacy, the Faith has dictated her life. Demanding from her, in the form of a heavy-handed father, compliance to a faith she rejects. She would rather spend her days hunting in the woods, experimenting with herbal remedies or carousing with local soldiers, so she rebels at every turn. Faith, for her, is only an excuse for others to take and abuse. Even Keirann’s beloved mentor uses religion as a means to manipulate her – for Keirann can barely manage even the simplest of Weavings, an important magical caveat for a leader of the Faith. Lacking in any belief of her own, Keirann decides she will forge her own destiny, regardless of the machinations of family and duty.

 

During an encounter with followers of a radical faith, Keirann accidentally releases a mysterious stone. Caught in a blaze of light that results in a horrifying vision, a sonorous voice declares her the Feyling – figure of ancient myth and protector against coming catastrophe. Keirann is quick to disregard the warning; certain it holds no truth. Soon, however, agents of calamity and war begin to come for her and the stone – believing it a source of great power.

Convinced she must leave, Keirann flees her twin destinies, but she swiftly learns her choices have deadly consequences. Now Keirann must choose: sacrifice her freedom or continue forward, risking everything.


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...epic/?p=355403 

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

 


#17 galian84

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 02:53 PM

​#2

 

Keirann is one of eight chosen successors to the Ivory Throne – voice of the goddess Illyia and a host of other obnoxious titles too exhausting for her to pay any mind. (I think the first part of the sentence stands just fine by itself, especially since the goddess isn't mentioned again). What is seen as an honor for most is a cage for Keirann.  

 

After her mother’s death left her with an unwanted legacy, the Faith has dictated her life. Demanding from her, in the form of a heavy-handed father, compliance to a faith she rejects. (No need for this sentence, IMO. We already know she doesn't want to be a part of the Faith from your previous sentence) She would rather spend her days hunting in the woods, experimenting with herbal remedies or carousing with local soldiers, so she rebels at every turn. (Saying "she'd rather spend her days" implies that she's rebelling) Faith, for her, is only an excuse for others to take and abuse. (Might be better off moving this sentence right after your first one so it flows better) Even Keirann’s beloved mentor uses religion as a means to manipulate her (how so? And if he's her mentor, why is he manipulating her?) – for Keirann can barely manage even the simplest of Weavings, an important magical caveat for a leader of the Faith. Lacking in any belief of her own, Keirann decides she will forge her own destiny, regardless of the machinations of family and duty.

 

During an encounter with followers of a radical faith, Keirann accidentally releases a mysterious stone. Caught in a blaze of light that results in a horrifying vision, a sonorous voice declares her the Feyling – figure of ancient myth and protector against coming catastrophe. Keirann is quick to disregard the warning; certain it holds no truth. Soon, however, agents of calamity and war begin to come for her and the stone – believing it a source of great power. (Okay. *This* seems like the meat of your story, and it should come sooner. After reading this, most of your second paragraph is just backstory and not relevant to your query. Flesh this out, what makes this unique from other fantasy stories with the same premise?)

 

Convinced she must leave, Keirann flees her twin destinies, but she swiftly learns her choices have deadly consequences. Now Keirann must choose: sacrifice her freedom or continue forward, risking everything. (While this is well-written, you lost me here. What two destinies? What is she going to risk? Her family and her Faith, which she doesn't want to be part of, anyway?)

Hi Brooke! I'm going to critique this version of your query because the first line was more attention-grabbing than version #1. While it definitely is better than your previous versions, I still think it could be pared down even more and still get your point across, while filling in some info to flesh out the situation and Keirann's character more. As of right now, it does read more like a synopsis than a query.

 

My thoughts above! I hope they don't come across too harsh, wasn't intended that way. Take from it what you will :)

 

On that note, I completely understand how many tries it can take to get a query just right, and mine's not even there yet, after multiple revisions. Because while we, as the writer, know our books well, sometimes we forget that that's not true for someone reading this for the first time.

 

Good luck, you're getting there!



#18 BrookeJS

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 03:01 PM

Hi Brooke! I'm going to critique this version of your query because the first line was more attention-grabbing than version #1. While it definitely is better than your previous versions, I still think it could be pared down even more and still get your point across, while filling in some info to flesh out the situation and Keirann's character more. As of right now, it does read more like a synopsis than a query.

 

My thoughts above! I hope they don't come across too harsh, wasn't intended that way. Take from it what you will :)

 

On that note, I completely understand how many tries it can take to get a query just right, and mine's not even there yet, after multiple revisions. Because while we, as the writer, know our books well, sometimes we forget that that's not true for someone reading this for the first time.

 

Good luck, you're getting there!

 

Hi Galian, 

 

Thank you for your comments. I've gotta say I'm confused by the fact no one understands her "twin destines" it's her future position as leader of the faith that she is running from and her new title as "feyling" that she also runs from. I feel the "risk everything" line is more understood in my earlier versions because it's clear that her choice to run away ends up with people dying. So she has to either turn back to protect people (sacrificing her freedom) or she says screw it and keeps going, which puts peoples lives in jeopardy. 

 

As for the line about her mentor, I'm keeping it in because it is important to the query and the over all story. I tried changing the wording for sake of word count. In the prior versions it says her mentor is "shaping her into something she doesn't want to be" (magically). Keirann is resistant to pretty much everything everyone is asking of her and the magic side of things is directly tied into what is required of her as future leader of this faith (and its why she thinks she's a disappointment). It's a catch-22 sort of thing. Either really explain it or leave it as is and people will learn the answer in the book.


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...epic/?p=355403 

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

 


#19 BrookeJS

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 08:48 PM

Okay, new version here! Not deleting the above just yet to give everyone a chance to compare. Thank you again for all the comments. 

 

 

 

The Feyling is a creature of myth and legend. Folk claim that, long ago, the Feyling bartered her soul, and her lover, for the power to seal away unimaginable evil. The tale has always been just that – a story – an analogy for the goddesses love for the world.

 

That is until Keirann accidentally releases a mystical stone from an ancient shrine. Engulfed in a blaze of light, a voice sounds in her head – declaring her Feyling, bearer of great power and promising to aid her in defeating coming catastrophe. Witnesses of the event begin spreading word of the old prophesy. It doesn’t help that Keirann is one of eight candidates to become High Priestess of the Faith.

 

Two fates converge and Keirann, feeling suffocated and afraid, decides to run away. She never wanted the role of High Priestess, let alone the mantle of Feyling. She doesn’t believe in the goddess and she certainly doesn’t believe in ancient myths. The Faith has only ever caused her pain and loss, taking and abusing where it will. She would rather spend her days hunting, experimenting with herbal remedies, and carousing with local soldiers. Keirann decides she will forge her own destiny, regardless of the machinations of those closest to her.

 

Soon, however, agents of calamity and war begin to come for her and the stone – believing it a source of great power. Keirann flees her twin destinies but she swiftly learns her choices have deadly consequences. Now Keirann must choose: sacrifice her freedom or continue forward, putting at risk all she left behind.


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...epic/?p=355403 

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

 


#20 Aightball

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 10:39 PM

Holy cow!  If I were an agent, I'd be requesting the full on this one, no joke!  I can't see anything I'd change.  Others may feel otherwise, but I feel this is ready


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Query: http://agentquerycon...3-love-and-war/

Blog: http://aightball.wordpress.com

Synopsis:

Twitter Hook(s):

Short Story "Anguish", in Winter's Regret: http://www.amazon.co...winter's regret

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