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YA Fantasy with wolves.


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#1 SnowFox23

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 12:43 AM

Hey everyone,

I posted way back with my original query. I have changed it up, can you let me know your thoughts?

Thank you!

 

 

 

Version 1,000 it feels like:

 

The Kingdom of Nightling is cursed with eternal winter and if the cold doesn't kill you, the queen gladly will.

 

 

 

Seventeen year old Queen Lux, mute since birth, is the only human left in Nightling since closing it to visitors after years of betrayals from those she allowed in.  Those who promised friendship, only to mock her for her muteness. Those who promised love, only to attempt to take her crown. Those who turned her heart as cold as the snow that falls daily in her cursed kingdom.

 

 

The only things Lux has allowed herself to love are the two things that have never let her down: Leod, the leader of her wolf pack, and her cherished crow, Avalon, who speaks for her.  But when Leod and Avalon are kidnapped from Nightling, Lux finds a note demanding she leave her kingdom by morning or her beloved animals will be killed.

 

Determined to find them, Lux enlists the help of her ex, Timmy, who insists he knows where her animals are. But the further she follows him, the more she realises his devious motivations in finding her animals and getting her away from her kingdom.

 

Away from Nightling, Lux knows that she is leaving her kingdom open to take-over. But if she turns back now, she will spend a lifetime alone in her cursed kingdom without the beloved wolf who has heart, and the crow who has her voice.

 

 

 

 

NEWEST VERSION:  The Kingdom of Nightling is cursed with eternal winter and if the cold doesn't kill you, the queen gladly will.

 

Seventeen year old Queen Lux, mute since birth, has closed Nightling to visitors after years of betrayals from those she allowed in. Those who promised friendship, only to mock her for her muteness. Those who promised love, only to attempt to kill her and take her kingdom. Those who turned her heart as cold as the snow that falls daily in her cursed kingdom.

 

The only thing Lux has allowed herself to love are the two things that have never let her down: Her wolf pack, lead by Leod, and her beloved crow, Avalon, who speaks for her.

But when Leod and Avalon are kidnapped from Nightling, Lux finds a note telling her that if she does not leave her kingdom by morning, her beloved animals will be killed.

 

Determined to find them, Lux enlists the help of her former lover, Timmy, who insists he knows where her animals are. But the further she follows him, the more she realises his devious motivations in finding her animals and getting her away from her kingdom.

 

Away from Nightling, Lux knows that she is leaving her kingdom open to attack, but if she turns back and abandons her journey, she will lose the only two things she has ever allowed herself to love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kingdom of Nightling is cursed with eternal winter and if the cold doesn't kill you, the queen gladly will.

 

Seventeen year old Queen Lux has been mute since birth and has closed Nightling to visitors after years of betrayals from those she allowed in. Those who promised friendship, only to mock her for her muteness. Those who promised love, only to attempt to kill her and take her crown and kingdom. Those who turned her heart as cold as the snow that falls daily in her cursed kingdom.

 

Enraged by her treatment at the hands of others, the only thing Lux loves more than murdering those who enter her kingdom, are her wolf pack, lead by Leod, and her beloved crow, Avalon, who speaks for her.

 

But when Leod and Avalon are kidnapped from Nightling, Lux finds a note telling her that if she does not leave her kingdom by morning, her beloved animals will be killed.

 

Determined to find them, Lux enlists the help of her former lover, Timmy, who may have his own terrible motivations in finding her animals and getting her away from her kingdom.

 

By leaving Nightling, Lux knows that she is leaving her kingdom open to attack, but is she does not leave, she will lose the only two things she has ever allowed herself to love.

 

THE WOLF, THE CROW AND THE QUEEN is a YA Fantasy, complete at 70,000 words.



#2 W.P.

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 04:33 AM

The Kingdom of Nightling is cursed with eternal winter and if the cold doesn't kill you, the queen gladly will. ((Oooh! Really like this opening sentence. Certainly intriguing))

 

Seventeen-year-old Queen Lux has been mute since birth and ((I suggest keeping it short and like a "mention". Like, "Queen Lux, mute since birth, has closed..."))) has closed Nightling to visitors after years of betrayals from those she allowed in. Those who promised friendship, only to mock her for her muteness. Those who promised love, only to attempt to kill her and take her crown and ((crown and kingdom is sort of redundant and I think the flow of the sentence would be improved if it were just "kingdom"))) kingdom. Those who turned her heart as cold as the snow that falls daily in her cursed kingdom.

 

Enraged by her treatment at the hands of others,  ((this is repeating what you showed in both previous paragraphs perfectly well)) the only thing Lux loves more than murdering those who enter her kingdom, ((commas should not be placed between subject and verb. all of "the only thing (...) who enter her kingdom" is the subject. Also, The only thing (...) are her" sounds odd. Maybe "the only things (...) are"? )))   are her wolf pack, lead ((led)) by Leod, and her beloved crow, Avalon, who speaks for her.

 

But when Leod and Avalon are kidnapped from Nightling, Lux finds a note telling her that if she does not leave her kingdom by morning, her beloved animals will be killed.

 

Determined to find them, Lux enlists the help of her former lover, Timmy, who may have his own terrible ((shady? cruel? I just feel like "terrible" is underwhelming somehow. too vague.))) motivations in finding her animals and getting her away from her kingdom. 

 

By leaving Nightling, Lux knows that she is leaving her kingdom open to attack, but is ((if)) she does not leave, she will lose the only two things she has ever allowed herself to love. ((this makes me wonder, why she leaves in the first place. she's a queen, she can make others do it. others that are more skilled and who have trained for such missions. Of course she wants to go, it's personal for her, but why does SHE go? what makes her more apt than anyone else to do it? Does she have strong magic? Is she brighter than others? And it sounds a bit weird that she'd leave since that's why her animals were stole in the first place. the kidnappers want her out, and she's just giving it to them. sounds like the worst idea. If she's leaving the kingdom, then wouldn't the kidnappers give her back her animals? I'm confused... But of course, what makes sense in a novel is much harder to explain in a query, under 200 words. xD My suggestion is to clarify that or else she sounds very naive and has no idea what she's doing.)))

 

THE WOLF, THE CROW AND THE QUEEN is a YA Fantasy, complete at 70,000 words. ((sounds like a fairy tale. love it. Although some agents might frown at the low word count for a YA fantasy. Mine is pretty short too. ))

 

 

​Really enjoyed your query. Super interesting. Most comments are just nitpicking, except for that one where I ask for clarity of plot and intent. Anyway, I hope this helps. :)

 

If you have time, could you take a look at my query as well? http://agentquerycon...en-ya-fantasy/  



#3 Quillaby

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 05:23 AM

Hey everyone,

I posted way back with my original query. I have changed it up, can you let me know your thoughts?

Thank you!

 

 

The Kingdom of Nightling is cursed with eternal winter and if the cold doesn't kill you, the queen gladly will.

 

Seventeen year old Queen Lux has been mute since birthand has Lux has closed Nightling to visitors after years of betrayals from those she allowed in.

 

You see once we break this up into two sentences there's a disconnect between the statements. The phrasing of the second statement is also awkward.

 

 

 

Those who promised friendship, only to mock her for her muteness. Those who promised love, only to attempt to kill her and take her crown and kingdom. Those who turned her heart as cold as the snow that falls daily in her cursed kingdom.

 

 

 

Enraged by her treatment at the hands of others, tThe only thing Lux loves more than murdering those who enter her kingdom, are her wolf pack, lead by Leod, and her beloved crow, Avalon, who speaks for her.

 

I love the idea of a mute queen with a crow who speaks for her. Very neat.

 

But when Then Leod and Avalon are kidnapped from Nightling,. Lux finds a note telling her that if she does not leave her kingdom by morning, her beloved animals will be killed.

 

Determined to find them, Lux enlists the help of her former lover, Timmy, who may have his own terrible motivations in finding her animals and getting her away from her kingdom.

 

Why does she enlist Timmy? 

 

By leaving Nightling, Lux knows that she is leaving her kingdom open to attack, but is if she does not leave, she will lose the only two things she has ever allowed herself to love.

 

Except her extreme reaction to being betrayed suggests she did used to let people in. So this doesn't sit right.

 

 

THE WOLF, THE CROW AND THE QUEEN is a YA Fantasy, complete at 70,000 words.

 

My primary concern: I'm not sure what kind of character Lux is supposed to be or how we're supposed to feel about her. Are we supposed to sympathize with her? Because she doesn't evoke sympathy in this query letter. Growing mistrustful and bitter of outsiders after being mocked and betrayed is believable. You can create sympathy from that. But becoming a sadist -- which she is, if she's drawing pleasure from murdering people -- because of past betrayals is far more difficult to believe.

 

OR

 

Is Lux supposed to be a sadistic, Evil Queen, villain protagonist? If this is the case, you're a bit closer to hitting the mark. You'll need to make it clearer -- and tread carefully. It's very difficult to write a villain as a protagonist and keep the reader engaged. There needs to be enough complexity in their motivations to keep them from becoming caricatures (Regina from Once Upon A Time is a successful example; though not a protagonist, she could be). Unless Lux is truly a sadistic murderer struggling with all the urges and existential conflict that comes with being a psychopath, you'll have a hard time getting readers to buy into her actions.



#4 RosieSkye

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 04:01 PM

Hey everyone,

I posted way back with my original query. I have changed it up, can you let me know your thoughts?

Thank you!

 

 

The Kingdom of Nightling is cursed with eternal winter and if the cold doesn't kill you, the queen gladly will.

 

Seventeen year old Queen Lux has been mute since birth and has closed Nightling to visitors after years of betrayals from those she allowed in. Those who promised friendship, only to mock her for her muteness. Those who promised love, only to attempt to kill her and take her crown and kingdom. Those who turned her heart as cold as the snow that falls daily in her cursed kingdom. (I'd condense all this a bit - you're taking a while to make a clear point.)

 

Enraged by her treatment at the hands of others (Hmm, this is starting to feel a bit victim-y), the only thing Lux loves more than murdering those who enter her kingdom, are her wolf pack, lead by Leod, and her beloved crow, Avalon, who speaks for her. (It's understandable that she's pissed about how others have treated her, but by becoming a murderer, she's not eliciting much sympathy.)

 

But when Leod and Avalon are kidnapped from Nightling, Lux finds a note telling her that if she does not leave her kingdom by morning, her beloved animals will be killed.

 

Determined to find them, Lux enlists the help of her former lover, Timmy, who may have his own terrible motivations in finding her animals and getting her away from her kingdom.

 

By leaving Nightling, Lux knows that she is leaving her kingdom open to attack, but is if she does not leave, she will lose the only two things she has ever allowed herself to love. (I'm not getting a strong sense of her attachment to these animals. You're telling us that they mean a lot to her, but I'm not really feeling it.  Maybe work in an example or two of how they're there for her when nobody else is.)

 

THE WOLF, THE CROW AND THE QUEEN is a YA Fantasy, complete at 70,000 words.

 

 

As the above poster said, I'm not sure what kind of character Lux is supposed to be.  As is, she's coming across as pretty weak.  She's allowed herself to be repeatedly victimized, and rather than becoming stronger because of it, she's become evil.  (Unless you consider murdering your enemies becoming stronger, which some people might.  But for a YA heroine, I think agents are going to be more drawn to someone who rises above her past in a noble way, rather than sinking to the level of those around her.)

 

That being said, if you add more voice to your query and really let the reader inside Lux's head, you could pull off having a villainous MC that people will still root for.  I think in this case it's all in the delivery - and, of course, how you actually want Lux to be regarded.

 

Good luck!



#5 yawriter

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 06:43 PM

Hey there! Thanks for helping me with my query! Just first off, just a gentle reminder that a query from Dear Agent, to your name at the end needs to be around 250...4 paragraphs might be off putting to some agents. 

 

 

NEWEST VERSION:  The Kingdom of Nightling is cursed with eternal winter and if the cold doesn't kill you, the queen gladly will.

 

Seventeen-year-old Queen Lux, mute since birth, has closed Nightling to visitors after years of betrayals from those she allowed in. A little confusing of a hook. What is a Nightling?a place? Those who promised friendship, only to mock her for her muteness. Those who promised love, only to attempt to kill her and take her kingdom. Those who turned her heart as cold as the snow that falls daily in her cursed kingdom.Did this all happen in the past? I feel like it's a lot of background.

 

The only thing Lux has allowed herself to love are the two things that have never let her down: Her wolf pack, lead by Leod, and her beloved crow, Avalon, who speaks for her. I feel like this is a great place to just start the query..adding something about her muteness. 

 

But when Leod and Avalon are kidnapped from Nightling, Lux finds a note telling her that if she does not leave her kingdom by morning, her beloved animals will be killed.

 

Determined to find them, Lux enlists the help of her former lover, Timmy, who insists he knows where her animals are. But the further she follows him, the more she realises his devious motivations in finding her animals and getting her away from her kingdom.

 

Away from Nightling, Lux knows that she is leaving her kingdom open to attack, but if she turns back and abandons her journey, she will lose the only two things she has ever allowed herself to love. ​Maybe repeat the two things as a final oomph the end of this query. Blank and blank.

 

Hope this helped! Happy to look at another version whenever.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#6 Tree

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 11:04 PM

Hey everyone,

I posted way back with my original query. I have changed it up, can you let me know your thoughts?

Thank you!

 

 

 

NEWEST VERSION:  The Kingdom of Nightling is cursed with eternal winter This (plus wolves, plus talking crows) reminds me of A Song of Ice and Fire crossed with Frozen (I mean that as a compliment :) and if the cold doesn't kill you, the queen gladly will. Even though you refer to the curse twice, lifting it never comes up. Seems like it should.

 

Seventeen year old Queen Lux, mute since birth, has closed Nightling to visitors after years of betrayals How many years of betrayals has a 17 year old queen had? from those she allowed in. Those who promised friendship, only to mock her for her muteness. Those who promised love, only to attempt to kill her and take her kingdom. Those who turned her heart as cold as the snow that falls daily in her cursed kingdom. I like the  repetition. I question how much of this is backstory - could you leave this out to free up some room to address why leaving the kingdom will result in losing the kingdom (see my comments below)

 

The only things Lux has allowed herself to love are the two things that have never let her down: Hher wolf pack, lead by Leod, and her beloved "beloved" is repetitive, you just said it's one of two things she loves crow, Avalon, who speaks for her.  Does she love the whole pack or just Leod? If it's Leod rather than the pack as a whole, I'd suggest revising: Leod, the leader of her wolf pack, and Avalon, the crow who speaks for her.

 

 

But when Leod and Avalon are kidnapped from Nightling, Lux finds a note telling her that if she does not demanding she leave her kingdom by morning or her beloved animals will be killed. why? what happens if she leaves? Is her hold over the kingdom that tenuous? Who will take over if she leaves? Won't anyone uphold her reign if she's not there personally? 

 

Determined to find them, Lux enlists the help of her former lover YMMV but I find the word lover, especially in relation to a younger person, cringy. Ex-boyfriend might work better , Timmy, who insists he knows where her animals are. But the further she follows him, the more she realises his devious motivations is it possible to get more specific here? in finding her animals and getting her away from her kingdom.

 

Away from Nightling, Lux knows that she is leaving her kingdom open to attack still hung up on why her presence is crucial - a few words above explaining why leaving puts the kingdom at risk would help, but if she turns back and abandons her journey, she will lose the only two things she has ever allowed herself to love. You've repeated the same phrase here "only things she's allowed herself to love"



#7 SnowFox23

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 12:11 AM

thank you Tree, your comments were super helpful.

I agree with everything you stated. I need to show that Queen Lux is actually the only person left in her kingdom, that's why she's afraid to leave it.

Also, I'm probably the only person who has never read/seen A song of Ice and Fire, but Frozen is spot on. It's kind of a darker version of frozen.

 

Cheers mate!



#8 cmmg

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 05:32 PM

Hey everyone,

I posted way back with my original query. I have changed it up, can you let me know your thoughts?

Thank you!

 

 

 

Version 1,000 it feels like:

 

The Kingdom of Nightling is cursed with eternal winter and if the cold doesn't kill you, the queen gladly will.

 

 

Seventeen year old Queen Lux, mute since birth, is the only human left in Nightling since closing it to visitors after years of betrayals from those she allowed in (This is a very wordy sentence. I'd start it with the Queen. Pause. Then say there's only her.).  Those who promised friendship, only to mock her for her muteness. Those who promised love, only to attempt to take her crown. Those who turned her heart as cold as the snow that falls daily in her cursed kingdom. (I don't mind the sentences themselves, but they're not collaborative, they all sort of have the same effective, even though it sounds nice, and it does establish her. Maybe if you cut the first sentence and had these and somehow worked in that then the Queen was the only one left? Maybe that makes no sense.)

 

 

Ever since then (I think you need something to connect the past to the present here), The only things Lux has allowed herself to love are the two things that have never let her down: Leod, the leader of her wolf pack, and her cherished crow, Avalon, who speaks for her.  But when Leod and Avalon are kidnapped from Nightling, Lux finds a note demanding she leave her kingdom by morning or her beloved animals will be killed.(I'm sure she really loves these animals but these stakes aren't there. I mean, everyone loves their dog, but can looking for a lost pet hold an entire novel? Not by itself. I'd dig into the consequences for Lux here. "The only thing Lux has... Leod, the leader of her wold pack, without whom she would be [lost] (or something that shows what he gives to her so when he's not there we can appreciate what she's missing), and her crow Avalon, without who she would be unable to communicate with the outside world [for purpose X?/without whom she would be unabel to [X]. But when...]" This is tricky, because I know you want to make it clear Avalon is like her service animal and that she needs him to accomplish daily tasks, but I don't get that sense. Even though you literally said it, I think for most people there's still a beat missing of just how important it to be able to talk to people or have a service animal. Especially since Lux is the only one in her kingdom people might wonder why not being able to speak is such a big deal, and then wonder why she really needs the crow to begin with )

 

Determined to find them, Lux enlists the help of her ex, Timmy, who insists he knows where her animals are. But the further she follows him, the more she realises his devious motivations in finding her animals (What does "devious motivation in finding her animals mean? Do you mean he has ulterior motives? That's not clear. I say something more like "But the futher she follows him, the more she realises his motives aren't what they seem/she realizes his real motives" or something because right now this whole sentence is wordy and confusing.) and getting her away from her kingdom.

 

Away from Nightling, Lux knows that without her to guard Nightling (I think you need to change the order because it's not clear what the sentence means with that in the front. The phrase away from nighling just implies her location so it's not immediately clear that her being away is what is leading to the weakness in Nightling's secutiry.) she is leaving her kingdom open to take-over. But if she turns back now, she will spend a lifetime alone in her cursed kingdom without the beloved wolf who has heart, and the crow who has her voice (Again, the stakes feel very uneven here, I get it, she really loves her pets, but it's not worth a kingdom, is it?).

 

I think the biggest issues it to flesh out the stakes and give a better sense of why Lux really needs her animals, instead of just wants them. Right now, the stakes feel very uneven. I have pets, and I really love them, but I don't think looking for a pet can sustain a whole fantasy novel. In regards to the crow who can speak for Lux, I also think it's not clear to the reader why Lux couldn't get another one either, so it seems like this is just a personal thing, which I don't think is really even with "take over the whole kingdom."

 

I also think the hook could be a grabbier, if that makes sense. You have a neat first sense, but the rest of it doesn't really wow me. I think some of the prose is okay, but all it amounts to is "There's an evil queen." I think some development there would help. I do get a sense of her character, but not enough uniqueness to the world. Actually, in the whole query, I don't get a sense of Nighling, even though it's this whole secondary fantasy. If she has ice powers, is Nightling made of ice? the first sentence makes it seem dangerous, but the rest of the query ignores that implication and the danger is forgotten in favour or the more mundane, standard issues.

 

I'd also flesh out the complication with Timmy and/or the kingdom takeover. You have room there to be a little more specific and concrete and to show major drawing points to the book. This is more optional, but I think right now it feels vague, and while vagueness can be okay, the issue I had with this query is that it doesn't touch on any unique qualities of the book except in the vary beginning. For instance you have a pretty standard evil queen+evil person has one loved one+must save them+queen meets suspicious people +kingdom is at stake. It's not super original, but there's not much else in there. There are hints that the book itself is much more original, but I think you could dig into that.


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