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Dunlocan, YA Fantasy, will critique back, see post 14 for new version


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#1 sarahja

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 02:27 PM

Hi! I've been fiddling with this for a long time and could really do with a fresh pair of eyes. I think I'm too close to the story to see what is unnecessary detail/necessary worldbuilding, and also whether it makes sense. Do we need to know why Lucy kept it secret/lied? I feel like putting that in is taking too much away from the plot, especially since the story starts with Holly's plan. But I worry that leaving it out makes things seem confused/muddled/like I don't actually make that clear in the story.
 
Please comment, I'll totally return the favour!
 
 
NEW VERSION IN POST #14

 

Dear Agent,

By the time seventeen year old Holly follows her strange neighbour Lucy into the timeless paradise hidden beneath her tiny island home, it's on the brink of collapse.

The people of Dunlocan have been sealed inside their magical defences for centuries, waiting to be re-discovered...and now that it's finally happened, they must wait even longer while the world decides who has a claim on their enchanted land. Or so they're told. In reality, nobody but Lucy even knows they exist. Years pass, tempers flare, and by the time Lucy turns to Holly to help her save the world she loves, Dunlocan is about to implode.

This ageless realm is the closest thing to magic that Holly's ever seen. But if it ever did stand a chance of surviving its introduction to the modern world, it doesn't now. Holly concocts a crazy plan that'll use her anonymity in this sealed world to convince Dunlocan's people of progress, maybe buying enough time to allow its King to restore his fracturing land enough to make freedom possible...if Lucy doesn't intervene, that is.

But when betrayal puts their secret in the hands of a charismatic madman set on shutting Dunlocan's borders forever, she must find a way to undo the damage their lies have caused before the truth turns her dangerous new friends into deadly enemies.

details/wordcounts/personalisation/comp titles here.


If you have the time, please take a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...can-ya-fantasy/


#2 Bkrasnik

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 04:18 PM

 

Hi! I've been fiddling with this for a long time and could really do with a fresh pair of eyes. I think I'm too close to the story to see what is unnecessary detail/necessary worldbuilding, and also whether it makes sense. Do we need to know why Lucy kept it secret/lied? I feel like putting that in is taking too much away from the plot, especially since the story starts with Holly's plan. But I worry that leaving it out makes things seem confused/muddled/like I don't actually make that clear in the story.
 
Please comment, I'll totally return the favour!
 
 

Dear Agent,

By the time seventeen year old Holly follows her strange neighbour Lucy into the timeless paradise hidden beneath her tiny island home, it's on the brink of collapse. (interesting)

The people of Dunlocan have been sealed inside their magical defences (defenses?) for centuries, waiting to be re-discovered...and now that it's finally happened, they must wait even longer while the world decides who has a claim on their enchanted land. Or so they're told. In reality, nobody but Lucy even knows they exist. Years pass, tempers flare, and by the time Lucy turns to Holly to help her save the world she loves, Dunlocan is about to implode (provide more details on what you mean by implode. Do you mean go up in flames and completely demolished? Or do you mean something else? Also, why is the enchanted place about to implode?).

This ageless realm is the closest thing to magic that Holly's ever seen. But if it ever did stand a chance of surviving its introduction to the modern world, it doesn't now (would is . Holly concocts a crazy plan that'll use her anonymity (what do you mean by that exactly?)  in this sealed world to convince Dunlocan's people of progress, maybe (hoping to)  buying enough time to allow its King to restore his fracturing land enough to make freedom possible (freedom in what sense, provide more context)...if Lucy doesn't intervene, that is.

But when betrayal puts their secret in the hands of a charismatic madman set on shutting Dunlocan's borders forever, she must find a way to undo the damage their lies have caused before the truth turns her dangerous new friends into deadly enemies. (confusing)

details/wordcounts/personalisation/comp titles here.

 

 

I think you have an interesting story here, but a lot is going on in your query without enough context. I would simplify a bit, and provide more background on the key points presented. Good luck!


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

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


#3 SnowFox23

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 02:00 AM

By the time seventeen year old Holly follows her strange neighbour Lucy into the timeless paradise hidden beneath her tiny island home, This sentence is way too long and cumbersome, unfortunately. (It's 28 words long.) The idea is cool, though.

it's on the brink of collapse.

The people of Dunlocan have been sealed inside their magical defences for centuries, waiting to be re-discovered...and now that it's finally happened, they must wait even longer while the world decides who has a claim on their enchanted land. Or so they're told. In reality, nobody but Lucy even knows they exist. Years pass, tempers flare, and by the time Lucy turns to Holly to help her save the world she loves, Dunlocan is about to implode. How are they imploding?

This ageless realm is the closest thing to magic that Holly's ever seen. But if it ever did stand a chance of surviving its introduction to the modern world, it doesn't now. Why, though? I think you need to explain how they're imploding. ly concocts a crazy plan that'll use her anonymity in this sealed world to convince Dunlocan's people of progress, what progress?! maybe buying enough time to allow its King to restore his fracturing land enough to make freedom possible...if Lucy doesn't intervene, that is. I am fully lost now.

But when betrayal puts their secret in the hands of a charismatic madman set on shutting Dunlocan's borders forever, she must find a way to undo the damage their lies have caused before the truth turns her dangerous new friends into deadly enemies.

 

I like this idea, and it sounds very cool, but I found myself quite lost. I don't really understand the stakes or anybody's motivations. It might be cool to focus on Holly and Lucy going into Dunlocan, and working from there.

That's just me, though. I know how hard it is to query a Fantasy, it sux!



#4 Denisa

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 08:10 AM

Dear Agent,

By the time seventeen year old Holly follows her strange neighbour Lucy into the timeless paradise hidden beneath her tiny island home, it's on the brink of collapse. Interesting!

The people of Dunlocan have been sealed inside their magical defences for centuries, waiting to be re-discovered...and now that it's finally happened, they must wait even longer while the world as in the real world? decides who has a claim on their enchanted land So what you're saying is that there's a sot of civil war about to start?. Or so they're told. this begs the question by whom? In reality, nobody but Lucy even knows they exist. Years pass, tempers flare, and by the time Lucy turns to Holly to help her save the world she loves, Dunlocan is about to implode. we don't really understand what the people of Dunocan need. Do they need a king, or for the real word to know about them (why is it vital, why is it important that the earthlings so to speak know about the dunlocans)? 

This ageless realm is the closest thing to magic that Holly's ever seen. But if it ever did stand a chance of surviving its introduction to the modern world, it doesn't now​ again, we need to know why this is important. and the reason we need to know is because it's motivation for the characters in the book, it's an element that moves the plot, so it needs to be clear. for example: if the Dunlocan don't transcend into the real word, an apocalypses of fire will rain over them. See what I mean? There has to be a motivation behind it all. Holly concocts a crazy plan be specific here (and I'm not saying go full in, just a few words like Holly disguise herself as a ... unicorn? and shows the people what great thing is whatever the progress you mention ahead--again be a bit more specific, but don't drown in details )that'll use her anonymity in this sealed world to convince Dunlocan's people of progress, maybe buying enough time to allow its King to restore his fracturing land enough to make freedom possible...if Lucy doesn't intervene, that is. Why would Lucy intervene since she was the one to ask Holly for help in saving this magic world in the first place?
 

But when betrayal puts their secret in the hands of a charismatic madman set on shutting Dunlocan's borders forever, she must find a way to undo the damage their lies have caused before the truth turns her dangerous new friends into deadly enemies. This is a bit confusing too. 


#5 sarahja

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 10:34 AM

Thanks for your comments!  I have had real trouble trying to make this less confusing so hearing what does confuse you/what wording is the issue is really helping.

@Bkrasnik The world is falling apart not in a physical sense but in a people turning against one another sense. I've tried to make this a bit clearer. I also think a problem is that I've made it sound like Dunlocan is proper big when it's actually like a tiny city/the people are sealed in a small place that was never really their world, and I hope that's clearer now! Thanks for making me aware of it.

@SnowFox23 This is my first proper fantasy that I've tried to query and it is such a nightmare, lol. Even opening chapters I've struggled a lot with because I find the balance with world-building/plot so hard to find, I feel like there's too fine a line between slow and confusing. The problem is that Lucy has been going to Dunlocan for years and Holly for quite a while before the story starts, so I don't want to put a load of backstory in but no guts. Your comments have really shown me what was confusing/what I was forgetting that the reader doesn't know because they're not me and they haven't been staring at this MS for way too long, so thanks! Hope it's clearer now. Are you working on a query currently?

@Denisa Thanks! Your comments have showed me how far I was from conveying Dunlocan like it actually is. It's not a proper big world, it's like a small group of people from our world who created a place where they could be safe/where time had no effect, then they got cut off from the rest of the world. I hope I've made that clearer now!

 

 

Dear Agent,
 
By the time Holly discovers the timeless paradise hidden beneath her tiny island home, it's on the brink of collapse.
 
Once the greatest fortress ever made, Dunlocan has been trapped within its magical defences for centuries, its people longing to re-join civilisation. And now they've finally been re-discovered, they must wait for the world to decide who has a claim on their enchanted, ageless land. At least, that's the story told by Lucy, the teenager who first stumbled across their fairytale world. The story believed by the naive boy king at its centre. The story that's convincing more and more of his people that peace with the outside world is impossible. And by the time Lucy turns to Holly for help, its the story that's about to destroy the city that even time can't touch.
 
Holly has wasted the first seventeen years of her life on the forgotten island of Corrbee, but she intends to spend the rest of it being the girl who unveiled a  real fairytale realm to the modern world. She just has to heal it first. Introducing herself as the ruler of Corrbee, she offers Dunlocan a treaty that'll be the first step in reviving confidence in its fragile King and undoing the damage caused by Lucy's lies. But when her identity falls into the hands of a charismatic madman bent on shutting Dunlocan's borders forever, Holly must find a way to silence him before the truth turns those she's trying to help into deadly enemies.
 
other info/comps/stats here.
 
Thanks again guys!

SEE POST #8


If you have the time, please take a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...can-ya-fantasy/


#6 cmmg

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 04:18 PM

If you format your new one in a reply people can't reply to that only the commented you make above it

 

 

 

By the time Holly discovers the timeless paradise hidden beneath her tiny island home, it's on the brink of collapse.
 
Once the greatest fortress ever made, Dunlocan(I think this can be clearerly that the fortress is the paradise hidden beneath her island and not somethign totally differnt) has been trapped within its magical defences for centuries, its people longing to re-join civilisation. And now they've finally been re-discovered, they must wait for the world to decide who has a claim on their enchanted, ageless land. At least, that's the story told by Lucy, the teenager who first stumbled across their fairytale world. (I'm really getting lost as to who the main character is. Having one sentence about what she finds is okay, but the rest feels like exposition which recentralizes Dunlocan and not Holly as the MC and then talks about Lucy, such that at the end of this paragraph Lucy has the major role even though the query started with Holly) The story believed by the naive boy king at its centre (what are you trying to get across in this sentence). The story that's convincing more and more of his people that peace with the outside world is impossible (why would this story convince people peace is impossible? He just said they were trapped not in hiding?). And by the time Lucy turns to Holly for help, its the story that's about to destroy the city that even time can't touch.(I see what you're trying to do with the parrallels but it's not wroking for you because there's just SO MUCH going on)
 
Holly has wasted the first seventeen years of her life on the forgotten island of Corrbee, but she intends to spend the rest of it being the girl who unveiled a  real fairytale realm to the modern world (I would cut the above paragraph and start with this). She just has to heal it first. Introducing herself as the ruler of Corrbee, she offers Dunlocan a treaty that'll be the first step in reviving confidence in its fragile King and undoing the damage caused by Lucy's lies. But when her identity falls into the hands of a charismatic madman bent on shutting Dunlocan's borders forever, Holly must find a way to silence him before the truth turns those she's trying to help into deadly enemies.
 
I think the main issue is that too many things are being intorduced without a quick way to explain them, and there's a lot of exposition bogging down the beginning. Start with the character and what she wants, and then what's in her way. There's so much about the setting and the state she finds things in, but that's not really interesting because it's exposition, and not action.
 
Here's something you can do: Holly finds island + wants to help it _ THEN FINDS OUT LUCY HER FRIENDS ALREADY FOUND IT (as a complication/obstacle to getting what Holly wants). Now you have Lucy's whole thing before there's a reason to care about.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

synopsis


#7 smoskale

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 11:13 PM

Dear Agent,

 
By the time Holly discovers the timeless paradise hidden beneath her tiny island home, it's on the brink of collapse. Great hook.(See below) 
 
Once the greatest fortress ever made, Dunlocan has been trapped within its magical defences for centuries, its people longing to re-join civilisation. And now they've finally been re-discovered, they must wait for the world to decide who has a claim on their enchanted, ageless land. At least, that's the story told by Lucy, the teenager who first stumbled across their fairytale world. The story believed by the naive boy king at its centre. The story that's convincing more and more of his people that peace with the outside world is impossible. And by the time Lucy turns to Holly for help, its the story that's about to destroy the city that even time can't touch.
 
Holly has wasted the first seventeen years of her life on the forgotten island of Corrbee, but she intends to spend the rest of it being the girl who unveiled a  real fairytale realm to the modern world. She just has to heal it first. Introducing herself as the ruler of Corrbee, she offers Dunlocan a treaty that'll be the first step in reviving confidence in its fragile King and undoing the damage caused by Lucy's lies. But when her identity falls into the hands of a charismatic madman bent on shutting Dunlocan's borders forever, Holly must find a way to silence him before the truth turns those she's trying to help into deadly enemies.
 
other info/comps/stats here.
 
Thanks again guys!
 
It sounds like a great story.
 
A few thoughts, FWIW. 
I think it would help to make the sentences less compounded. There is a lot going on in sentence 2, 3, 4, for example. I would suggest breaking them apart into more digestible pieces of information. 
​Second, watch your use of passive voice. I see a bunch of instances of it here. When possible, choose active voice, and strong verbs (i.e. That's the story Lucy spinned, after she discovered the fairytale world. The teenager convinced the boy-king of her lies. And now more and more people believe it, doubting that there could ever be peace with outside world) 
Third, it seems to me you don't need to mention Carrbee at all. It would simplify your narrative and reduce the number of names to three––better.
Third, the bit about the treaty and Holly's identity is confusing. What does that mean that Holly's identity falls into someone's hands? Like, her SSN? 
 
Overall, it seems to me there is a thread here you can build around: story-telling, and lying for greater good (and the consequences of that.) Lucy told a story (a lie, I understand) that makes dwellers of Dunlocan uniquely to rejoin the world. 
 
By the time Holly discovers the timeless paradise hidden beneath her tiny island home, it's on the brink of collapse. 
Lucy, the teenager who discovered the magical realm, spinned a lie to (WHY did she do it). Because of it, the world that stood up to everything, can disappear forever. But not if Holly can help it. Determined to unveiled a  real fairytale realm to the modern world, she embarks on a mission to heal it. (WHY does she tell her lie?) I.e. To give herself much-needed credibility, Holly inflates her credentials as she offers Dunlocan a treaty that'll be the first step in reviving confidence in its fragile King and undoing the damage caused by Lucy's lies. Her plan backfires when a charismatic madman learns the truth. He will use the information to shutt Dunlocan's borders forever,  unless Holly finds a way to silence him.


#8 sarahja

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 07:14 AM

@cmmg Thank you! You were totally right about the exposition/too much Lucy/everything, and I really think this version is a lot stronger thanks to your points. Thanks so much.

@smoskale THANK YOU. This was so incredibly helpful, especially that bit you typed at the end. I have no idea why I couldn't figure out that I could cut the exposition to just that myself, but seeing it written like that was like having something click. You're magic.

 

Dear Agent,

 

By the time seventeen-year-old Holly discovers the timeless paradise hidden beneath her tiny island home, it's on the brink of collapse.

 

Lucy, the teenager who first stumbled upon the realm of Dunlocan, spun a lie to protect her perfect fairytale from reality. Now its frustrated people are trapped in eternal stagnation, waiting for help that won't come. The truth could set them free, but it'll also tear their crumbling society apart...starting with the naive young king at its center.

 

Determined to unveil a real myth to the modern world, Holly knows she'll have to undo the damage caused by Lucy. But this is no fairytale, and she'd better be more than a random teenager if she's to have a hope of saving this enchanted land. Taking on a new identity, Holly makes the King of Dunlocan an offer that'll help him regain his people's trust and heal his fractured court. But her plan backfires when a charismatic madman learns the truth and uses it to try and seal Dunlocan's borders forever.

 

Deets here.

 

SEE #14


If you have the time, please take a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...can-ya-fantasy/


#9 lnloft

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 06:27 PM

@cmmg Thank you! You were totally right about the exposition/too much Lucy/everything, and I really think this version is a lot stronger thanks to your points. Thanks so much.

@smoskale THANK YOU. This was so incredibly helpful, especially that bit you typed at the end. I have no idea why I couldn't figure out that I could cut the exposition to just that myself, but seeing it written like that was like having something click. You're magic.

 

Dear Agent,

 

By the time seventeen-year-old Holly discovers the timeless paradise hidden beneath her tiny island home, it's on the brink of collapse.

 

Lucy, the teenager who first stumbled upon the realm of Dunlocan, spun a lie to protect her perfect fairy [space] tale from reality. Now its frustrated people are trapped in eternal stagnation, waiting for help that won't come. The truth could set them free, but it'll also tear their crumbling society apart...starting with the naive young king at its center. The big problem here is that you start your query with Holly, then go to Lucy, but then the next two sentences of this paragraph are about the people of Dunlocan. Also, I'm not quite sure what kind of world Dunlocan is. For some reason I'm imaging it full of tiny people, like Liliputians, but I think that was because of the word "tiny" that wasn't even referring to them. And also, why is it on the brink of collapse? I'm not clear on that.

 

Determined to unveil a real myth to the modern world, Holly knows she'll have to undo the damage caused by Lucy. But this is no fairy tale, and she'd better be more than a random teenager if she's to have a hope of saving this enchanted land. This sentence just bothers me. Because I don't know enough about Holly, so to me she literally is a random teenager. Taking on a new identity, Holly makes the King of Dunlocan an offer that'll help him regain his people's trust and heal his fractured court. But her plan backfires when a charismatic madman learns the truth and uses it to try and seal Dunlocan's borders forever.

 

Deets here.

I'm just... hmm. I purposely didn't read the earlier draft, so I don't know if some of the stuff I'm asking about would be cleared up by the exposition there (which if it is opens up a whole can of worms). But things just overall feel disjointed. What is destroying Dunlocan? Why should I care about Dunlocan? Why does Holly care? Why should I care about Holly? I think this needs more focus on Holly. Can you cut Lucy from the query? For all the purposes of what you have for this version, I feel you could, because basically you could have something along the lines of "it's been kept hidden by a lie" (although you might need something slightly more specific than that). But Lucy doesn't really do anything right now, so she's just a distraction. Give us more about Holly, more of what she does and WHO she is. I don't know that that will fix everything yet, but it'll stop me from feeling like Holly is just "a random teenager". Good luck.


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#10 AstrMikeDexter

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 08:05 PM

@cmmg Thank you! You were totally right about the exposition/too much Lucy/everything, and I really think this version is a lot stronger thanks to your points. Thanks so much.

@smoskale THANK YOU. This was so incredibly helpful, especially that bit you typed at the end. I have no idea why I couldn't figure out that I could cut the exposition to just that myself, but seeing it written like that was like having something click. You're magic.

 

Dear Agent,

 

By the time seventeen-year-old Holly discovers the timeless paradise hidden beneath her tiny island home, it's on the brink of collapse. I'm having a little trouble envisioning this world so some clarity could strengthen this. Also, what is meant by "timeless paradise?"

 

Lucy, the teenager who first stumbled upon the realm of Dunlocan, spun a lie to protect her perfect fairytale (What do you mean by fairytale here?) from reality. Now its frustrated people are trapped in eternal stagnation (Eternal stagnation is vague. I think I'd like to see a little more so that I care that these people are in trouble), waiting for help that won't come. The truth could set them free, but it'll also tear their crumbling society apart...starting with the naive young king at its center.

 

Determined to unveil a real myth (this is an oxymoron) to the modern world, Holly knows she'll have to undo the damage caused by Lucy. (Maybe some brief info on how they cross paths?) But this is no fairytale, and she'd better be more than a random (I would use a more descriptive word than random) teenager if she's to have a hope of saving this enchanted land. Taking on a new identity (Why does she need to take on a new identity?), Holly makes the King of Dunlocan an offer that'll help him regain his people's trust and heal his fractured court. But her plan backfires when a charismatic madman learns the truth and uses it to try and seal Dunlocan's borders forever.

 

Deets here.

This sounds like a great story and something I'd really like! Good luck!


Any help with my query would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


#11 yawriter

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 08:17 PM

​First, Thank you for the wonderful feedback on PIECES OF ALICE :) I will be using some of your ideas in my next draft

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

By the time seventeen-year-old Holly discovers the timeless paradise hidden beneath her tiny island home, it's on the brink of collapse.

 

Lucy, the teenager who first stumbled upon the realm of Dunlocan, spun a lie to protect her perfect fairytale from reality. What I'm not sure about is why you introduce Holly in the hook and then don't mention her in the second paragraph at all...I'm not even sure how Lucy is related to Holly. Now, its frustrated people are trapped in eternal stagnation, waiting for help that won't come. The truth could set them free, but it'll also tear their crumbling society apart...starting with the naive young king at its center. I'm still unsure what the main plot is. hidden city..but people are stuck there...something about a truth...

 

Determined to unveil a real myth to the modern world, Holly knows she'll have to undo the damage caused by Lucy. But this is no fairytale, and she'd better be more than a random teenager if she's to have a hope of saving this enchanted land. ​Why is saving the land important to them? other than just it be doing the right thing...this is a great way to put more stakes. Taking on a new identity, Holly makes the King of Dunlocan an offer that'll help him regain his people's trust and heal his fractured court. But her plan backfires when a charismatic madman learns the truth and uses it to try and seal Dunlocan's borders forever.

 

Deets here.

 

Great job! keep hacking away. Let me know if you'd like for me to look at another version.



#12 smoskale

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 03:19 PM

I think you have to give more detail and try to tell a story complete in itself, within the space of the query. Right? Someone who has no knowledge of your book must read it and understand the MC, her motives, her choice, and the stakes. These are all kind of obscured or missing in this version. Do not despair. It gets better! Keep at it.

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

By the time seventeen-year-old Holly I'd like a sentence more about Holly before she discovers the world. Make us like her. Is she bullied, sensitive, bookish? Does she spend her days dreaming about magic world that nobody believes in? Then tell us about the world she discovers  discovers the timeless paradise hidden beneath her tiny island home, it's on the brink of collapse.

 

Lucy, the teenager who first stumbled upon the realm of Dunlocan, spun a lie to protect her perfect fairytale from reality. There's a missing logical link here. Lucy told a lie, fine. Why does it lead to Dunlocan's people being trapped, etc? Now itsDunlocan' frustrated people are trapped in eternal stagnation, waiting for help that won't come. The truth could set them free this is a bit of a cliche, also not clear what you mean. If they learn X, they could do Y, but their crumbling society with a naive young king at the reign may crumble because Z, but it'll also tear their crumbling society apart...starting with the naive young king at its center.

 

Determined to unveil a real myth to the modern world,Perhaps this is what we should know about Holly: that she has an ambition to prove to the world that doubted her that myths do exist. That is a good characterization, if true :) Holly knows she'll have to undo the damage caused by Lucy. But this is no fairytalethis is a bit of a throwaway, and also a cliche. What are you trying to say? Is Holly facing real-life dangers? Then name them., and she'd better be more than a random teenager I think you might be speaking to Holly's character (i.e. her self-doubt, or others' doubt in her), but we don't know about that, so it sounds too vague and again like cliche if she's to have a hope of saving this enchanted land. Taking on a new identity, Holly makes the King of Dunlocan an offer that'll help him regain his people's trust and heal his fractured court.This is too vague--what offer? Why does she need to take on a new identity? How will her offer help the king? Also, the next sentence suggests Holly's offer is a lie (or do you refer to her identity?)--but we don't know what the lie is  But her plan backfires when a charismatic madman learns the truth and uses it to try and seal Dunlocan's borders forever.

 

Deets here.



#13 TheBest

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  • Publishing Experience:I've just finished my first young and new adult Sci-fi novel, which I'm very proud of, and eager to get published. I've written two plays and a novella, self-published online.

Posted 25 June 2018 - 08:52 PM

Dear Agent,

 

By the time seventeen-year-old Holly discovers the timeless paradise hidden beneath her tiny island home, it's (Which? Island or paradise? This is confusing. I like the concept, but consider rephrasing.) on the brink of collapse.

 

Lucy, the first teenager who first stumbled to stumble upon the realm of Dunlocan, spun a lie to protect her perfect fairytale from reality. (Love this concept. New take an old idea  Very interesting stuff!) Now, its the kingdom's frustrated people are trapped in eternal stagnation, waiting for help that won't will never come. The truth (Of what? Make it clear. Agents love to stamp on queries about unstated truths. I think it sounds good, but it's a big phobia among agents.) could set them free, but it'll also tear their crumbling society apart...starting with the naive young king at its center. (King came out of left field. Cut him out, or introduce him earlier.)

 

Determined to unveil a real myth to the modern world, Holly knows she'll have to undo all the damage lying-Lucy has done by Lucy. But this is no fairytale, and she'd better be more than a random teenager if she's to have a hope of saving this enchanted land. (Too vague. Give details as to exactly what is expect of her, or cut.) Taking on a new identity (What identity? Be specific here. Specific is always best.) , Holly makes the young King of Dunlocan an offer that'll help him regain his people's trust and heal his fractured court. But her plan backfires when a charismatic madman learns the truth and uses it to try and seal Dunlocan's borders forever. (Introduce charismatic madman earlier. These stakes are good, but they come out of left field.)

 

Deets here.

 

I love your story's concept. I'm a big fan on old school portal fantasy, and geek out over all things Oz. I bet a lot of other agents and readers will too. I also believe that your query has too few details, and tends to bring stakes out of left field. Make sure that everything big in your query is set up, and has logical flow. Ie no Deus ex Machina, or if so, use it sparingly. Everything should flow with 'so', logical connections between every major event. This keeps things simple, even if your story isn't. Also, be sure all of your characters are either introduced organically, or are set up. Especially big characters, like the king and the madman. Your story really pulls me in, which is a great sign! I'd definitely want to read it, just from the bits you've given here. Beef up the query details and logical flow, and you'll be all set. Good luck!

 

​I'd love your opinion on the first 250 words of my urban fantasy YA novel! You can find that here http://agentquerycon...-back/?p=357822



#14 sarahja

sarahja

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 06:51 AM

Thank you all for you help! I've been thinking a lot about the plot because I think that some of the issues with making the query clear/concise are also cluttering my opening chapters. I have changed the premise slightly but I think it helps strengthen the plot/pitch, so please let me know what you think. Thanks again.

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

A troubled seventeen-year-old returns to the island where she, as a child, uncovered an enchanted, hidden fortress…only to discover that her ex-best friend is exploiting it in order to live out her own personal fairy tale.

 

Holly Caldwell was ten years old when she stumbled upon Dunlocan and spent one perfect summer exploring it alongside her best friend, Lucy. When her parents shuttled her back to the mainland and Lucy's contact died out, Holly was devastated. Seven years later, she's worse. Nothing she's done since has ever measured up to that summer, and she has a hard time imagining it ever will. But when Holly finally finds a way back to Dunlocan, she discovers it in tatters. Even worse, she's partly to blame. As children, Holly and Lucy discovered that if the people of Dunlocan stepped foot outside their timeless realm, they wither and die in a matter of days. Determined to protect their beloved friends from the reality of eternal imprisonment, the girls spun a lie that has kept Dunlocan waiting ever since on rescue that'll never come.

 

Frustrations have torn the close-knit world apart, and the characters who lit their childhood are barely shadows of themselves. But Lucy, now central to Dunlocan as its only contact with the outside world, has no plans to change that. Determined to undo the damage she caused, Holly blackmails Lucy into helping her prepare Dunlocan for a truth that'll destroy the last hope of this ailing world and maybe allow it to move on. But her plan backfires when a betrayal puts their secret in the hands of a charismatic madman bent on leading Dunlocan in a final and fatal charge against the outside world.

 

Deets here.


If you have the time, please take a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...can-ya-fantasy/


#15 Bkrasnik

Bkrasnik

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 02:51 PM

Thank you all for you help! I've been thinking a lot about the plot because I think that some of the issues with making the query clear/concise are also cluttering my opening chapters. I have changed the premise slightly but I think it helps strengthen the plot/pitch, so please let me know what you think. Thanks again.

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

A troubled seventeen-year-old (give us her name) returns to the island where she, as a child, uncovered an enchanted, hidden fortress…only to discover that her ex-best friend is exploiting it in order to live out her own personal fairy tale. (I like this, but when you use the word exploiting, I think of sex trafficking and a lot of other horrible things. When I hear that she is exploiting it by living out a personal fairytale that sounds relatively innocent compared to what I imagined. So I would work on tweaking this to show us the real threat that comes with using this hidden fortress for a personal fairytale.)

 

Holly Caldwell was ten years old when she stumbled upon Dunlocan and spent one perfect summer exploring it alongside her best friend, Lucy (This is a wordy sentence, I would make it more concise). When her parents shuttled her back to the mainland and Lucy's contact died out (why did Lucy's contact die out?), Holly was devastated. Seven years later, she's worse. Nothing she's done since has ever measured up to that summer, and she has a hard time imagining it ever will. (Again, very wordy. I would combine the gist of all of this into one sentence. Maybe start with, "Ever since her parents shuttled....Holly's life had crumbled apart.")  But when Holly finally finds a way back to Dunlocan, she discovers it in tatters. Even worse, she's partly to blame. As children, Holly and Lucy discovered that if the people of Dunlocan stepped foot outside their timeless realm, they wither and die in a matter of days (I am a little confused--so you are saying she finds it in tatters because the Dunlocan people step out of their world they will die in a few days. Holly knew this was an issue back when she was a kid, so it was already in tatters then too. This is not supposed to be surprising to her now because nothing has changed. Also you never explained why she is partly to blame for this). Determined to protect their beloved friends from the reality of eternal imprisonment, the girls spun a lie that has kept Dunlocan waiting ever since on rescue that'll never come.

 

Frustrations have torn the close-knit world apart, and the characters who lit their childhood are barely shadows of themselves. But Lucy, now central to Dunlocan as its only contact with the outside world, has no plans to change that (why not? What is Lucy's motivation for this action?). Determined to undo the damage she caused, Holly blackmails Lucy into helping her prepare Dunlocan for a truth that'll destroy the last hope of this ailing world and maybe allow it to move on. But her plan backfires when a betrayal puts their secret in the hands of a charismatic madman bent on leading Dunlocan in a final and fatal charge against the outside world.

 

Deets here.

 

This is an interesting story, but there are a few things you need to work on: 

 

1. You need to make it more concise--it takes you a few sentences to say something that should only take one. 

2. There are some issues with logical flow. Make sure that every sentence is logically connected to the following one, and the justifications and motivations make sense and align with the emotional truth of the character. 

3. You provide a lot of context, but I think you can trim down some of it, because you are providing a little too much. 

 

Also, in the intro you mention that her ex-best friend is exploiting this fortress to live out her personal fairytale, but you never talk about that again. If you mention it once, you need to make sure that you also make that the central point in your query. 


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

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





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