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FIRE WITHIN (Fantasy)

Fantasy Fiction

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#1 Raichu

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 05:35 PM

Latest revision is on post #9

 

 

Hi there,
I think I have a dozen different versions of this query letter, but this is the one I think is the best. Right, I'm just going to put it out there without explaining anything. Hope to get some honest feedback on my query and I will try to pay it forward to the best of my ability :-)


Dear [Agent's Name],
 

Ivan Styles, second son of the mighty Lord Edric Styles of Northumbria, is defeated.
 

He yearns for the headsman’s axe to deliver him from the daily torture of his gaolors and the nightly misery inflicted by his own guilt-sodden thoughts. Kinslayer. The word was first uttered by his father and then echoed by every person Ivan has met since. And, as his own memories of the event are chaotic and clouded, Ivan can’t contradict them.
 

Confused and vulnerable as he was when they found him, it was his father’s poorly veiled threat against Ivan’s wife and child that made him admit to the crime. In exchange, his father promised to keep them safe. However, when Ivan receives a cryptic message from outside that suggests his wife and child are already dead, along with a key to his cell, he begins to question the truths his father told and the gaolors has ingrained in him.
 

Was it truly his sword that took the life of his lovely sister? Or was it just a way for Lord Edric to get rid of the unruly son and his lowborn disgrace of a wife?
 

The key to his cell has given Ivan a second chance, if only he has the courage to seize it. He must decide whether he will trust his father’s story and let the headsman end his misery or attempt a breakout and step back into the world. If he returns home to seek the truth, it will be to a city where everyone, both noble and commoner, thinks he murdered his own sister.
 

FIRE WITHIN is a 132,000-word epic fantasy for adults set in a world full of history and intrigue. It is the first novel in a series of four. It is written from multiple points of view and will appeal to readers of XXXX (Haven’t found any comps yet).
 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#2 galian84

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 08:59 PM

Hi there,
I think I have a dozen different versions of this query letter, but this is the one I think is the best. Right, I'm just going to put it out there without explaining anything. Hope to get some honest feedback on my query and I will try to pay it forward to the best of my ability :-)


Dear [Agent's Name],
 

Ivan Styles, second son of the mighty Lord Edric Styles of Northumbria, is defeated. (Lots of names here. And without any context and not knowing who Ivan is, why should I care that he's defeated?)
 

He yearns for the headsman’s axe to deliver him from the daily torture of his gaolors and the nightly misery inflicted by his own guilt-sodden thoughts (what thoughts? And what's so bad about them that he'd rather die?). Kinslayer. The word was first uttered by his father and then echoed by every person Ivan has met since. And, as his own memories of the event (what event?) are chaotic and clouded, Ivan can’t contradict them. (I'm not quite sure I fully understand what's going on. Did he kill someone in his family?)
 

Confused and vulnerable as he was when they (who?) found him, it was his father’s poorly veiled threat against Ivan’s wife and child (what threat?) that made him admit to the crime (what crime?). In exchange, his father promised to keep them safe. However, when Ivan receives a cryptic message from outside that suggests his wife and child are already dead, along with a key to his cell (eh? He was in jail this whole time?), he begins to question the truths (vague, need specifics. What truths and why is he suddenly questioning them?) his father told and the gaolors has ingrained in him.
 

Was it truly his sword that took the life of his lovely sister? Or was it just a way for Lord Edric to get rid of the unruly son and his lowborn disgrace of a wife? (Getting interesting. However, I've heard mixed comments on rhetorical questions in queries. I'll let other critters comment on this, who would know more about this issue than I would)
 

The key to his cell has given Ivan a second chance, if only he has the courage to seize it. He must decide whether he will trust his father’s story and let the headsman (executioner? I'm not familiar with the term 'headsman') end his misery or attempt a breakout and step back into the world. If he returns home to seek the truth, it will be to a city where everyone, both noble and commoner, thinks he murdered his own sister. (Interesting stakes. But the events leading up to it aren't all that clear)
 

FIRE WITHIN is a 132,000-word epic fantasy for adults set in a world full of history and intrigue. It is the first novel in a series of four (suggest calling it a "standalone with series potential"). It is written from multiple points of view and will appeal to readers of XXXX (Haven’t found any comps yet).
 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Hi there! My $0.02 above, take from it what you will. Your story sounds like it could be interesting (and fantasy is totally one of my favorite genres), but unfortunately your query isn't showcasing what's unique about it, and what sets it apart from the other fantasy stories out there. 

 

I don't mean to come off harsh, but specifics are definitely your friend, here. The prose is good but I'm not clear what your story is about, and Ivan seems very passive in all this.

 

Good luck!



#3 Raichu

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 03:25 PM

Thank you for the comments :-) It is very helpful to see how others, who are not as zoomed in on the story as I am, read the query. Helps to see what needs to made clearer and I can definitely see how you got a bit lost in the first part here :-)

I will add your $0.02 to my wallet and revise my query. Thanks again!



#4 Bkrasnik

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 05:00 PM

Hi there,
I think I have a dozen different versions of this query letter, but this is the one I think is the best. Right, I'm just going to put it out there without explaining anything. Hope to get some honest feedback on my query and I will try to pay it forward to the best of my ability :-)


Dear [Agent's Name],
 

Ivan Styles, second son of the mighty Lord Edric Styles of Northumbria, is defeated.
 

He yearns for the headsman’s axe to deliver him from the daily torture of his gaolors and the nightly misery inflicted by his own guilt-sodden thoughts. Kinslayer. The word was first uttered by his father and then echoed by every person Ivan has met since. And, as his own memories of the event are chaotic and clouded, Ivan can’t contradict them.
 

Confused and vulnerable as he was when they found him, it was his father’s poorly veiled threat against Ivan’s wife and child that made him admit to the crime. In exchange, his father promised to keep them safe. However, when Ivan receives a cryptic message from outside that suggests his wife and child are already dead, along with a key to his cell, he begins to question the truths his father told and the gaolors has ingrained in him.
 

Was it truly his sword that took the life of his lovely sister? Or was it just a way for Lord Edric to get rid of the unruly son and his lowborn disgrace of a wife?
 

The key to his cell has given Ivan a second chance, if only he has the courage to seize it. He must decide whether he will trust his father’s story and let the headsman end his misery or attempt a breakout and step back into the world. If he returns home to seek the truth, it will be to a city where everyone, both noble and commoner, thinks he murdered his own sister.
 

FIRE WITHIN is a 132,000-word epic fantasy for adults set in a world full of history and intrigue. It is the first novel in a series of four. It is written from multiple points of view and will appeal to readers of XXXX (Haven’t found any comps yet).
 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

Dear [Agent's Name],

 

Ivan Styles, second son of the mighty Lord Edric Styles of Northumbria, is defeated. (You will need to give more context here. Defeated can mean just about anything without context—ranging from being defeated after taking a bad exam to something much more serious. So right now, I am not feeling any kind of strong emotion towards Ivan.)

 

He yearns for the headsman’s axe to deliver him from the daily torture of his gaolors and the nightly misery inflicted by his own guilt-sodden thoughts. (Good—shows a little bit of your writing style). Kinslayer. The word was first uttered by his father and then echoed by every person Ivan has met since. And, as his own memories of the event are chaotic and clouded, Ivan can’t contradict them. (Ok this last section does not seem to transition well from the previous thought. You need to build on what you just mentioned, instead of changing directions. It is also confusing, because I don’t know what is going on.)

 

Confused and vulnerable as he was when they found him, it was his father’s poorly veiled threat against Ivan’s wife and child that made him admit to the crime. In exchange, his father promised to keep them safe. (I am increasingly confused). However, when Ivan receives a cryptic message from outside that suggests his wife and child are already dead, along with a key to his cell, he begins to question the truths his father told and the gaolors has ingrained in him. (This last sentence is VERY GOOD but it will only work when I understand everything before it.)

 

Was it truly his sword that took the life of his lovely sister? Or was it just a way for Lord Edric to get rid of the unruly son and his lowborn disgrace of a wife?

 

The key to his cell has given Ivan a second chance, if only he has the courage to seize it. He must decide whether he will trust his father’s story and let the headsman end his misery or attempt a breakout and step back into the world. If he returns home to seek the truth, it will be to a city where everyone, both noble and commoner, thinks he murdered his own sister. GOOD.

 

FIRE WITHIN is a 132,000-word epic fantasy for adults set in a world full of history and intrigue. It is the first novel in a series of four. It is written from multiple points of view and will appeal to readers of XXXX (Haven’t found any comps yet).

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

You have an interesting story here, but there is a lot of confusion from the beginning that you need to clarify. I think you have a strong ending, but it will only work when I understand everything before it. Thank you for providing feedback on my own query and good luck!


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

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


#5 mkuriel

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 09:14 PM

Hi there,
I think I have a dozen different versions of this query letter, but this is the one I think is the best. Right, I'm just going to put it out there without explaining anything. Hope to get some honest feedback on my query and I will try to pay it forward to the best of my ability :-)


Dear [Agent's Name],
 

Ivan Styles, second son of the mighty Lord Edric Styles of Northumbria, is defeated. [agree with other critics - too vague. Based on the rest of the query: captured or imprisoned might fit better. Even that isn't much of a hook because it doesn't really say anything. You might want to give some context for the intrigue mentioned: Kinslayer. One word from the Lord of Northumbria and Ivan Styles' plans came undone.]
 

He yearns for the headsman’s axe to deliver him from the daily gaolor's torture of his gaolors and the nightly misery inflicted by his own guilt-sodden thoughts. [wordy, suggestions aimed at trimming the wordiness without altering meaning] Kinslayer. The word was first uttered by his father and then echoed by every person Ivan has met since. [since he's being tortured in gaol, suggest giving this sentence some punch. Kinslayer. It's whispered by the whip and squealed by thumb-screws.] And, as his own memories of the event are chaotic and clouded, Ivan can’t contradict them. [both like and dislike the sentence. had to read it a couple times to get what you're doing with it. Because, since the construction little sense makes, conveys with prose the very concept the sentence delivers. Invisible prose is supposed to be best -- this construction calls attention to the prose. It's a style choice most readers will not thank you for. Contrast: Ivan's memories of his sister's murder are so vague that he can't contradict the accusation.]
 

Confused and vulnerable as he was when they found him, it was his father’s poorly veiled threat against Ivan’s wife and child that made him admit to the crime. In exchange, his father promised to keep them safe. However, when Ivan receives a cryptic message from outside [redundant] that suggests [weak] his wife and child are already dead, along with a key to his cell, [the placement of this phrase confuses everything. When a key to Ivan's cell arrives with a message that claims his wife and child are dead,...] he begins to question the truths his father told and the gaolors has ingrained in him. [vague... he questions why his father and gaolors try so hard to drench his hands in his sister's blood. or work tirelessly to beat a confession from him. or anything that's concrete.]
 

Was it truly his sword that took the his sister's life? of his lovely sister? Or was it just a way for Lord Edric to get rid of the unruly son and his lowborn disgrace of a wife? (there's no context within this query to support this, suggest cutting it.)
 

The key to his cell has given Ivan a second chance, if only he has the courage to seize it. He must decide whether he will trust his father’s story and let the headsman end his misery or attempt a breakout and step back into the world. If he returns home to seek the truth, it will be to a city where everyone, both noble and commoner, thinks he murdered his own sister. [this last bit is wordy and unexciting. More on that below. all you really say here is: Ivan has a choice: lose his head or escape to learn the truth of his sister's murder.]
 

FIRE WITHIN is a 132,000-word epic fantasy for adults set in a world full of history and intrigue. [um... no. It's set on Earth, in England - specifically, Northumbria. It could be periodic (medieval) fiction, possibly 'low' fantasy - but there's not a single sentence in this query that hints 'epic fantasy.']   It is the first novel in a series of four. [unless you've written the other four novels, it only has series potential. If you have written the other four, you should explicitly state that you have] It is [repetitive] written from multiple points of view and will appeal to readers of XXXX (Haven’t found any comps yet).
 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Overall impression: unremarkable. I wasn't drawn in by the hook, had to slog through long, wordy, and distracting sentences just to figure out that it's a story about a guy who might have killed his sister and might do something about it, and then get hit by 132k words at the end. I'm left wondering if you use 132k words to convey a story that's complete at 96k.

 

Okay, so that's a bit of tough love. Tactless honesty.

 

Here's some more: I think you're a good writer. I also think there's a lot more to this story than you've conveyed in this query. Now you might think that I'm just trying to end this critique on a high note. And there's some truth to that. But it's more true that I don't know you and am not invested at all in what you think. So I've no reason to pull any punches.

 

I think you're a good writer because, whether intentional or not, you don't just deliver concepts with sentences, you deliver them with prose. That's both good and bad depending entirely on the POV of the reader. That is to say, some readers (overwhelming majority) hate being distracted from the story, while others enjoy it if the distractions add layer and nuance. 

 

You say there's intrigue, fantasy, and multiple POV's. Knowing nothing about your story, I'd have to take that on faith because there's only hints of the former and nothing of the latter.

 

Could you rewrite this entirely to bring those ideas out? Here's a shell that might help:

 

The death of a noblewoman in Northumbria, 450 A.D. nearly changed the course of history.

 

The Lord accuses and imprisons his son before ordering a confession beaten from him. Then he locks the boy's low-born mother in a tower and orders his son's wife and child executed.

 

The son, crazed out of his mind, escapes from jail. He claims innocence of his sister's murder and, holding his broken son's body in his arms, justice against his father.

 

But the Necromancer behind the scenes wants more blood. Tasty delicious vein-nectar that will give her Lord the power he craves. And deliver the royal child she wants... for supper.

 

Only the righteous fury of a second-son stands between the Lord of Northumbria and an evil pact that will drown the world in blood.

 

Inner Fire is complete at 132k words and combines elements of Epic Fantasy with History. It is told form multiple POV's and would appeal to fans of [insert comps based on matching agent preferences].

 

Hope that helps,



#6 BrookeJS

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 10:15 PM

Hi there,
I think I have a dozen different versions of this query letter, but this is the one I think is the best. Right, I'm just going to put it out there without explaining anything. Hope to get some honest feedback on my query and I will try to pay it forward to the best of my ability :-)


Dear [Agent's Name],
 

Ivan Styles, second son of the mighty Lord Edric Styles of Northumbria, is defeated.
 

He yearns for the headsman’s axe to deliver him from the daily torture of his gaolors and the nightly misery inflicted by his own guilt-sodden thoughts. Kinslayer. The word was first uttered by his father and then echoed by every person Ivan has met since. And, as his own memories of the event are chaotic and clouded, Ivan can’t contradict them.
 

Confused and vulnerable as he was when they found him, it was his father’s poorly veiled threat against Ivan’s wife and child that made him admit to the crime. In exchange, his father promised to keep them safe. However, when Ivan receives a cryptic message from outside that suggests his wife and child are already dead, along with a key to his cell, he begins to question the truths his father told and the gaolors has ingrained in him.
 

Was it truly his sword that took the life of his lovely sister? Or was it just a way for Lord Edric to get rid of the unruly son and his lowborn disgrace of a wife?
 

The key to his cell has given Ivan a second chance, if only he has the courage to seize it. He must decide whether he will trust his father’s story and let the headsman end his misery or attempt a breakout and step back into the world. If he returns home to seek the truth, it will be to a city where everyone, both noble and commoner, thinks he murdered his own sister.
 

FIRE WITHIN is a 132,000-word epic fantasy for adults set in a world full of history and intrigue. It is the first novel in a series of four. It is written from multiple points of view and will appeal to readers of XXXX (Haven’t found any comps yet).
 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Greetings and welcome! So, I'd first like to start by saying you clearly have a natural talent for writing and I enjoy the voice coming through in your prose. It's beautiful and it immerses me immediately into this medieval (post-medieval, don't know the proper term for the time period lol and sorry for typos my computer is being silly.) Fair warning, my experience here is that some people can be unjustly harsh. We are all here to learn but that also doesn't mean that every opinion is correct. Take what you read with a grain of salt, adapt what you want but I think it's important to always trust your gut! 

 

That being said, I'm going to avoid going through with a red pen on round one and wait till your next version. My biggest issue with your query is I really didn't know what was happening. As one person pointing out the hook does fall a little flat. I had to reread several times before I realized that the first line didn't in fact say the King was dead but his son was defeated. So that begs the question, defeated by what? I understood he was waiting for hanging but because of the first line I initially assumed when the phrase kinslayer was brought up it meant he killed the king. Boy, was I surprised to find out that he was in prison for supposedly killing his sister. So, I think you need to start with that. It reads a little backwards at the moment. Hopefully my questions help pinpoint the areas that are pertinent and can be tightened up. 

 

 

I also think you'd do yourself a big favor to play up the fact that he doesn't remember the night of his sisters death. If there are outside forces trying to manipulate that maybe consider starting with -why- he is convicted. Was he found over her body? Is he a threat to his fathers rule, does he hate him only because his son's wife (I'm assuming its not his mother) is lowborn? Or, I suppose his brothers since if he is the second son then he isn't first in line, unless he was favored above his brother for some reason? 

 

 

Another little piece of information (and you may already be aware) but 132k words is very big. Especially, if this is your first novel and if you don't have any prior published work. Agents may skip right past you because its so large and even if we know there is a reason for our word count they automatically assume it's too wordy. I had to cut my first draft into 2 books because of how large it was and my final count is around 114k which I've been told is still too big and the aim should be 100k. There's obviously some wiggle room but you need to make sure your query is rock solid if there is no getting the word count down.

 

Overall I'm intrigued and I look forward to reading your next 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

 


#7 Raichu

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 04:14 PM

Hello again,

 

Thank you all for very helpful critiques of my first query. What I gather from most of the comments is that it's not clear enough and that the query did not convey the true "epicness" of my story. Also, wordiness, word count.

 

Before posting, I read a lot of advice online about focusing on my MC and keeping it simple: "Who's your MC, what does he want, what's keeping him from getting it and what happens if he doesn't get it."

 

This revision goes away from the previous thought and zooms out a bit from the original. Let me know what you think. 

 

Question: In your opinion, would you build more on the original query or the one below?  

 

 

REVISION #1:

 

Dear [Agent's name],
 

The history of the Taroshian Empire is spattered with blood and there’s more to come. After 200 years of oppression, the wolf-like humanoids (known as Olso) of Olsok Dûr have shed the shackles of the Empire and butchered the entire population of Middleheim. Now, the Olso spill across the Red Strait into Greenwood, the last barrier before they reach the Imperial heartlands.

 

Half a world away, Ivan Styles is rotting away in prison. He yearns for the headsman’s axe to deliver him from his gaolors’ torture and his own guilt-sodden thoughts. His father, Lord Edric Styles, named him murderer and threatened to have Ivan’s wife executed unless he confessed to killing his sister. Since Ivan’s own memories of the event are chaotic and clouded, he succumbs to his father’s wishes.
 

However, when a message that claims Ivan’s wife is already dead, is smuggled into his cell, he begins to question why his father was so determined to see him imprisoned. Was it truly his sword that took his sister’s life? Or was it just a way for Lord Edric to get rid of the unruly son?

 

Hellbent on revenge and finding the truth, Ivan escapes from prison and returns home to seek out his father with sword in hand. While the soldiers of the Empire are drawn away east towards the threat of the Olso, Ivan initiates a rebellion to overthrow his corrupt father. In a city where both nobles and commoners see him as a kinslayer, Ivan must work against the rising tide of his own reputation to unite her people against the corrupt leadership.

 

Meanwhile, the young Princess Animaelin Noble, whose family has fallen from grace, lives under cover of a different name. Her father and brother silently await the whisper of opportunity to reclaim their title of old, while Animaelin herself prays for normality.

 

Word reaches them of Ivan’s rebellion and Animaelin’s brother overreaches in his attempt to get contact. With their secret identities suddenly exposed and chaos spreading throughout the Empire, the Nobles must decide whether they will risk it all for another chance at claiming the crown or fade away from history.

 

FIRE WITHIN is a 132,000-word epic fantasy for adults set in a world full of history and intrigue. It is written from multiple points of view and will appeal to readers of XXXX (Haven’t found any comps yet).

 

Thank you for your time and consideration. 



#8 BrookeJS

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 02:57 PM

Hello again,

 

Thank you all for very helpful critiques of my first query. What I gather from most of the comments is that it's not clear enough and that the query did not convey the true "epicness" of my story. Also, wordiness, word count.

 

Before posting, I read a lot of advice online about focusing on my MC and keeping it simple: "Who's your MC, what does he want, what's keeping him from getting it and what happens if he doesn't get it."

 

This revision goes away from the previous thought and zooms out a bit from the original. Let me know what you think. 

 

Question: In your opinion, would you build more on the original query or the one below?  

 

 

REVISION #1:

 

Dear [Agent's name],
 

The history of the Taroshian Empire is spattered with blood and there’s more to come. After 200 years of oppression, the wolf-like humanoids (known as Olso) of Olsok Dûr have shed the shackles of the Empire and butchered the entire population of Middleheim. Now, the Olso spill across the Red Strait into Greenwood, the last barrier before they reach the Imperial heartlands. ​If you feel this information is pertinent to the query then shorten it up and place it somewhere in the middle paragraph. Remember your first sentence or two is supposed to be your hook. Even if you start it with something like "Ivan wants to die." I'd be like, well that's interesting...why does the MC want to die?

 

Half a world away, Ivan Styles is rotting away in prison. He yearns for the headsman’s axe to deliver him from his gaolors’ torture and his own guilt-sodden thoughts. His father, Lord Edric Styles, named him murderer and threatened to have Ivan’s wife executed unless he confessed to killing his sister. Since Ivan’s own memories of the event are chaotic and clouded, he succumbs to his father’s wishes. ​Again, this all can be simplified. Start with "Wrongly convicted of his sisters murder, Ivan rots in prison. Yet, even he isn't sure he's innocent." - then expand, tell us why he believes the lies. 
 

However, when a message that claims Ivan’s wife is already dead, is smuggled into his cell, he begins to question why his father was so determined to see him imprisoned. Was it truly his sword that took his sister’s life? Or was it just a way for Lord Edric to get rid of the unruly son? ​Tighten up. Just say "A mysterious message arrives claiming his wife is already dead." (this has a dun, dun dun, feel to it haha). Ivan now feels incentivized to learn the truth. We don't need the internal monologue of "why would my father do this to me?" Ivan wants to learn the truth, bam. Simple and straightforward but put your own little flare to it. 

 

Hellbent on revenge and finding the truth, Ivan escapes from prison and returns home to seek out his father with sword in hand. ​This is where I think, if it's pertinent to the query, you mention the kingdom is facing civil war --> that makes this line make more sense, but I'm iffy on if you even need it. While the soldiers of the Empire are drawn away east towards the threat of the Olso, Ivan initiates a rebellion to overthrow his corrupt father. In a city where both nobles and commoners see him as a kinslayer, Ivan must work against the rising tide of his own reputation to unite her people against the corrupt leadership.

 

Meanwhile, the young Princess Animaelin Noble, whose family has fallen from grace, lives under cover of a different name. Her father and brother silently await the whisper of opportunity to reclaim their title of old, while Animaelin herself prays for normality.

 

Word reaches them of Ivan’s rebellion and Animaelin’s brother overreaches in his attempt to get contact. With their secret identities suddenly exposed and chaos spreading throughout the Empire, the Nobles must decide whether they will risk it all for another chance at claiming the crown or fade away from history. ​Not sure if this is needed, again. Play around with different ways of writing all this and put it together in as simplified of a format as you can, but I don't think introducing the princess does anything for your query except convolute it and raise too many unnecessary questions. 

 

FIRE WITHIN is a 132,000-word epic fantasy for adults set in a world full of history and intrigue. It is written from multiple points of view and will appeal to readers of XXXX (Haven’t found any comps yet).

 

Thank you for your time and consideration. 

 

So, this is essentially a synopsis. I feel that there is far too much going on. Narrow down the focus. If you want us to root for Ivan, than stick with him. I feel this was a step in the wrong direction for your original query. There were mistakes in the first one but you were still going generally in the right direction. Your introduction of the princess (which, maybe it's just me, but I'd fidget with her name, that's super difficult to pronounce even in my head and if your reader keeps getting slowed up by one name they get frustrated and quit).  Your query should be around 250 words give or take this is about 400 (one of my queries was as well, so I get it!). Sorry for all the scratch marks it can be a bit shocking the first time you see it, I know it was for me. It doesn't mean anything is bad but that from my perspective it's not necessary and doesn't benefit your query. I hope this help! I look forward to the next one! =) Keep it up!


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 Raichu

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 05:37 PM

Thanks for reading and critiquing. I've zoomed back in and tried to make things more concise than it was in the first query. I feel like it may be too wordy again, but I'm not sure what to cut without losing my voice. Any tips will be greatly appreciated. 

Revision #2:

Dear [Agent’s name]

 

When the daughter of Lord Edric Styles is found murdered next to a passed-out drunk in the slums of Bergen, both nobles and commoners call for a beheading. The victim's older brother, Ivan, wants vengeance like the others, but it’s his head they’re calling for.

 

Ivan has no memory of his sister’s death. His father names him murderer and forces him to confess by threatening to execute Ivan’s lowborn wife unless he complies. For her sake, Ivan confesses and is sent to the Imperial Prison to await his death.

 

Riddled with guilt and forced to suffer cruel torture, Ivan soon yearns for the sweet relief of death. But when a mysterious message arrives claiming his wife is already dead, Ivan begins to question why his father was so eager to tie a noose around his neck.

 

Desperate to learn the truth, Ivan escapes from prison, but soon learns that the world he returns to is not the same as the one he left. Civil war threatens to topple the Taroshian Empire and her people are frightened. If Ivan returns home, it will be to a city with sharpened knives where everyone thinks he’s a kinslayer. And in the slums of Bergen, wherein the answers to his wife’s predicament and his sister’s murder lie, life is cheaper than ever.

 

FIRE WITHIN is a 132,000-word epic fantasy for adults set in a world full of history and intrigue. It is written from multiple points of view and will appeal to readers of XXXX (Haven’t found any comps yet).

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#10 BetsyEm

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 08:42 PM

Thanks for reading and critiquing. I've zoomed back in and tried to make things more concise than it was in the first query. I feel like it may be too wordy again, but I'm not sure what to cut without losing my voice. Any tips will be greatly appreciated. 

Revision #2:

Dear [Agent’s name]

 

When the daughter of Lord Edric Styles is found murdered next to a passed-out drunk in the slums of Bergen, both nobles and commoners call for a beheading. The victim's older brother, Ivan, wants vengeance like the others, but it’s his head they’re calling for. Man, as a woman, starting your query with a dead unnamed woman kinda turns me off. 

 

Ivan has no memory of his sister’s death. Why not? Was he a baby? Did something happen to his memories? His father names him murderer why? and forces him to confess by threatening to execute Ivan’s lowborn wife unless he complies. For her sake, Ivan confesses and is sent to the Imperial Prison to await his death. More women dying/being threatened to advance a man's story. This is rough for me. If you query any woman, she's going to notice this too. 

 

Riddled with guilt for what? and forced to suffer cruel torture, Ivan soon yearns for the sweet relief of death. But when a mysterious message arrives claiming his wife is already dead, Ivan begins to question why his father was so eager to tie a noose around his neck. Me too. 

 

Desperate to learn the truth, Ivan escapes from prison, but soon learns that the world he returns to is not the same as the one he left. Civil war threatens to topple the Taroshian Empire and her people are frightened. If Ivan returns home, it will be to a city with sharpened knives where everyone thinks he’s a kinslayer. And in the slums of Bergen, wherein the answers to his wife’s predicament and his sister’s murder lie, life is cheaper than ever.

 

FIRE WITHIN is a 132,000-word epic fantasy for adults set in a world full of history and intrigue. It is written from multiple points of view and will appeal to readers of XXXX (Haven’t found any comps yet).

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

My biggest piece of feedback is just that I don't care about Ivan. I don't really know anything about him except all the women in his life are dead, which doesn't intrigue me. What makes us care about Ivan? Why are we rooting for him? 

 

I also don't really understand how this is fantasy. Admittedly it isn't my genre, and with epic fantasy, obviously you'll have a lot going on. I do want to know what makes your world special. 


Currently working on my query for The Great and Terrible Carter Dynasty


#11 BrookeJS

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 09:42 PM

Thanks for reading and critiquing. I've zoomed back in and tried to make things more concise than it was in the first query. I feel like it may be too wordy again, but I'm not sure what to cut without losing my voice. Any tips will be greatly appreciated. 

Revision #2:

Dear [Agent’s name]

 

When the daughter ​give us her name of Lord Edric Styles ​daughter of the king is found murdered next to a passed-out drunk in the slums of Bergen, both nobles and commoners call for a beheading ​(This might be stronger if you start with "Nobles and commoners call for a beheading when...). The victim's older brother,​Prince Ivan, wants vengeance like the others ​for his sister, but it’s his head they’re ​people calling for. ​I like this as your hook, it's great.

 

Ivan has no memory of his sister’s death. His father names him murderer and forces him to confess by threatening to execute Ivan’s lowborn wife unless he complies​ <-- first half of the sentence implies this, so it's not needed. For her sake, Ivan confesses and is sent to the Imperial Prison to await his death. ​Again, I feel you might have more strength in this part if you reverse it. Mention his wife is being threatened by his father for unknown reasons. Unless Ivan has a big block of memory missing (which if he does I think you should tell us) why on earth would he believe his father? You had it before when you were mentioning necromancy (I think you did at least, my apologies if I am wrong), I think you have enough room to find a way to keep that in there especially if you tighten up in some other areas.)

 

Riddled with guilt ​(so, again this part is confusing. Why is he riddled with guilt? You're missing the key bit of information of why Ivan would even begin to believe the lies?) and forced to suffer cruel torture, Ivan soon yearns for the sweet relief of death ​we already know he is waiting to die. But when a mysterious message arrives claiming his wife is already dead, Ivan begins to question why his father was so eager to tie a noose around his neck​Why hasn't he been questioning his motives from the start?

 

Desperate to learn the truth, Ivan escapes from prison, but soon learns that the world he returns to is not the same as the one he left. Civil war threatens to topple the Taroshian Empire and her people are frightened. If Ivan returns home, it will be to a city with sharpened knives where everyone thinks he’s a kinslayer. And ​(don't start sentences with and) in the slums of Bergen, wherein the answers to his wife’s predicament and his sister’s murder lie, life is cheaper than ever ​(I'm not understanding this last line. What do you mean by life is cheaper than ever?).

 

FIRE WITHIN is a 132,000-word epic fantasy for adults set in a world full of history and intrigue. It is written from multiple points of view and will appeal to readers of XXXX (Haven’t found any comps yet).

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Hello again! Good work on this. I know it might seem like a lot of red, again. Don't be discouraged. This is much better than your previous versions. Initially I didn't think I'd have that many comments but as I read it through a second time a few additional things popped out. You're definitely headed in the right direction but I think you're missing a few key details. Really focus on the stakes at the end and tell us why Ivan wants to even fight for a country that's betrayed him. Hope you find this helpful I'm looking forward to the next one! If you're able I'd love to hear your thoughts on my query =) you can find it in the link below!


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

 






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