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Age of Exploration

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#1 AndrewF

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 09:22 AM

Thank you everyone for your help, I just posted a revised query letter that addresses most of these changes. I look forward to your continued feedback and ways to improve. 

 

Edit: Thank you TCLark and others for the revisions.

 

Young Will Raynor is an impulsive dreamer longing to escape an ever-industrializing Britannica and its polluted skies. With no money to his name and empty pockets, Will signs over two years of his life to the Royal Navy. He hopes for a peaceful time sailing the high seas, but his ship embarks to the island of Arcadia to patrol its vast and perilous river system. Beyond Arcadia’s pristine shore is a town on the verge of revolution. Will is stunned to learn the rumors back home are true: the island is plagued with savage Orcs.   

 

Will’s hope for peace evaporates while sailing downriver as him and his crew are ambushed by Koko, a cunning Orc warlord. War erupts as Britannica’s iron-fisted control over the island crumbles. Koko is ruthless in battle, relentless on liberating his Orcs and a superb strategist. Will learns the Orcs are fighting for freedom, but his voice is ignored as Koko’s deranged son Wurgoth slaughters Britannica’s terrified Red Coats. Wurgoth has two goals, wrestle control of the Orcs from Koko’s powerful grip and ruthlessly purge the island of its invaders.   

   

As Britannica’s Empire crumbles around him, Will turns to Tavington, a young upstart Captain. Will advises him of Koko’s potential weakness while the pair devise a last ditch defense. Will stands shoulder to shoulder with his friends on the battle lines knowing the girl of his dreams waits behind him. No war hero, Will is nonetheless forced to fight in hopes of bringing peace and stability back to the island. This book follows Will from his arrival on a beautiful island colony to the carnage of war - an epic tale of empire versus rebellion and a young man thrust into battle.       

 

AGE OF EXPLORATION is a 95,000-word historical fantasy novel. I graduated from the University of Waterloo with a major in both Business and Military History. This story is a standalone novel with series potential.



#2 Nessa

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 11:49 AM

 

I have posted this here once before and have received great feedback, thank you for your help. My novel is now complete and I am looking for advice on my query letter, I have sent this out to some agents but received no word back. I look forward for your feedback and ways to improve, if anyone is interested in reading a few chapters I am looking for some beta readers. [If you're still looking for beta readers, you might want to postpone working on the query. Agents might not be requesting because of your query, pages, or both.]

 

Dear Agent   

  

Young Will Raynor joins the Navy to escape an ever-industrializing Britannica and its polluted skies. He hopes for a peaceful time sailing the high seas, but his ship embarks under orders to the island of Arcadia to patrol its vast and perilous river system. Beyond Arcadia’s pristine shore is a town on the verge of revolution. Will learns the rumors back home are true: the island is plagued with savage Orcs.       

 

While sailing downriver, Will and his crew are ambushed by a cunning Orc warlord. Battle for control of the island begins, and Will slips away through the gun smoke and chaos as the opening shots are fired. To survive, Will must outwit bloodthirsty Orcs, persevere through thick jungle, and find his way home.[Per what I've read from other query critiques, listing what the protagonist has to do is somewhat of a cliche.] With the help of a local girl, he might have a chance.[If a character is only mentioned once, you can cut them out of the query.] Meanwhile, Britannica’s iron-fisted control over the island crumbles to the warlord hellbent on liberating his Orcs. 

 

 

When given the opportunity to escape the carnage that surrounds him, Will recalls the slaughter of his shipmates and clenches his fists. The Orcs are pillaging what they can, destroying what they can’t, and killing all who stands in their way. Forsaking survival, Will chooses to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Britannica’s finest to prevent another slaughter. No war hero, Will is nonetheless determined to save the helpless from the warlord’s fury. This book follows Will from his arrival on a beautiful island colony to the carnage of war - an epic tale of empire versus rebellion and a young man thrust into battle.[Remove last sentence. Show this through your query.]     

 

AGE OF EXPLORATION is a 95,000-word Historical Fantasy novel and will appeal to fans of The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones[These comps are out of the querying league. Use recent comps that don't have TV/film adaptations or huge fandoms. Otherwise, it sounds like you're not up-to-date with the current market.]. I graduated from the University of Waterloo with a major in both Business and Military History.  This story is a standalone novel with series potential, it is under multiple submission.  

 


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#3 Joysworld

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 07:02 PM

 

I have posted this here once before and have received great feedback, thank you for your help. My novel is now complete and I am looking for advice on my query letter, I have sent this out to some agents but received no word back. I look forward for your feedback and ways to improve, if anyone is interested in reading a few chapters I am looking for some beta readers. 

 

Dear Agent   

  

Young Will Raynor joins the Navy to escape an ever-industrializing Britannica and its polluted skies. He hopes for a peaceful time sailing the high seas, (This is confusing for me. The Navy is milatry and yet he joined hoping for a peaceful time? but his ship embarks under orders to the island of Arcadia to patrol its vast and perilous river system. Beyond Arcadia’s pristine shore is a town on the verge of revolution. Will learns the rumors back home are true: the island is plagued with savage Orcs.     

 

While sailing downriver, Will and his crew are ambushed by a cunning Orc warlord. Battle for control of the island begins, and Will slips away through the gun smoke and chaos as the opening shots are fired. To survive, Will must outwit bloodthirsty Orcs, persevere through thick jungle, and find his way home. With the help of a local girl, he might have a chance. Meanwhile, Britannica’s iron-fisted control over the island crumbles to the warlord hellbent on liberating his Orcs. 

 

 

When given the opportunity to escape the carnage that surrounds him, Will recalls the slaughter of his shipmates and clenches his fists. The Orcs are pillaging what they can, destroying what they can’t, and killing all who stands in their way. Forsaking survival, Will chooses to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Britannica’s finest to prevent another slaughter. No war hero, Will is nonetheless determined to save the helpless from the warlord’s fury. This book follows Will from his arrival on a beautiful island colony to the carnage of war - an epic tale of empire versus rebellion and a young man thrust into battle.     

 

AGE OF EXPLORATION is a 95,000-word Historical Fantasy novel and will appeal to fans of The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. My understanding is you don't want to use comps that are older nor popular. I graduated from the University of Waterloo with a major in both Business and Military History.  This story is a standalone novel with series potential, it is under multiple submission.  

 



#4 AndrewF

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 08:30 AM

Thank you.

 

To Nessa, i'm looking for beta readers, not sure how to find any!

 

I only mention the girl because although she is important, and even gets a chapter from her POV I didn't want to fill the query with too much info on her and focus solely on Will. I also mention her to up the stakes, as she influences Will's decisions. I should update my query letter somehow. 

 

I only have that last sentence in there because I like the way it reads, maybe I could move it somewhere else in the query rather than delete? 

 

To Joysworld, Britannica is not at war right now so Will joined the navy looking for adventure learning to sail and seeing the world. It's also the only way he can afford to sail to the new world. 

 

To both of you, I need to use better comps, I've been told this before and have to improve there



#5 Nessa

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 03:15 PM



Thank you.

 

To Nessa, i'm looking for beta readers, not sure how to find any![There's a Wanted Ads section under "Writing and General Mayhem." You could also look on Twitter--there are CP match accounts. I think you're expected to return the favor for your partner, though. I found my CPs through fandoms and Query Tracker.]

 

I only mention the girl because although she is important, and even gets a chapter from her POV I didn't want to fill the query with too much info on her and focus solely on Will[For the query, it's okay to leave her out. Only include her if she is tied with the plot you're pitching. Otherwise, she's taking up space. The agent will assume there are other important characters. If she's tied to the stakes, you should show in the query how, because all I know is that she's a local girl who might be able to help. It's too vague.]. I also mention her to up the stakes, as she influences Will's decisions. [I can't assume that from what you've provided.]I should update my query letter somehow. 

 

I only have that last sentence in there because I like the way it reads, maybe I could move it somewhere else in the query rather than delete? [You can use it as a logline, but the majority of the query critiques I've seen here don't like filler sentences that could be conveyed in the pitch.

 

To Joysworld, Britannica is not at war right now so Will joined the navy looking for adventure learning to sail and seeing the world. It's also the only way he can afford to sail to the new world. 

 

To both of you, I need to use better comps, I've been told this before and have to improve there[My mentor advised me to step back from my manuscript and spend time reading. I read two books in my genre and age category and ended up with two excellent comps. I suggest going to a library or bookstore and grabbing the latest historical fantasy novels. Good comps will come.]


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#6 AndrewF

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 12:42 PM

I made some significant changes to the ending paragraph, there should be real stakes now. Let me know what you think. I still need some good comps.



#7 smithgirl

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 03:51 PM

Dear Agent:

  

Young Will Raynor joins the Navy to escape an ever-industrializing Britannica and its polluted skies. He hopes for a peaceful time sailing the high seas, but his ship embarks to the island of Arcadia to patrol its vast and perilous river system. Beyond Arcadia’s pristine shore is a town on the verge of revolution. Will learns the rumors back home are true: the island is plagued with savage Orcs.   

 

This isn't much of a hook. It's rather slow.  Also, the way you describe everything up to the Orcs, it sounds very real-world. Is Raynor a person from an all-human world, like ours, who hits a fantasy island? Or does Britannica also have fantastical beings? Are these rumors or "legends"?

 

Try to make your hook short and snappy. I tried a (bad) example below. 

 

Young Will Waynor joined the navy hoping for peaceful travels. Then his ship is not only attacked, but it's attacked by supernatural beings: Orcs.

 

While sailing downriver, Will and his crew are ambushed by Koko, a cunning Orc warlord. Battle for control of the island ensues begins, and Will slips away through the gun smoke and chaos as the opening shots are fired. To survive, Will must outwit bloodthirsty Orcs, persevere through thick jungle, and find his way home. Avoid vague lists like this. With the help of Victoria, a local girl with a mysterious tie to the island, he might have a chance. Why? Meanwhile, Britannica’s iron-fisted control over the island crumbles as Koko is hellbent on liberating his Orcs. This paragraph is vague and generic. You must be very specific.    

 

Only Will understands the Orcs are fighting for freedom, Freedom from what? So Will is on the Orcs' side? but his voice is ignored as Koko slaughters Britannica’s terrified Red Coats. I thought the fighting was on Arcardia? With Britannica’s Empire crumbling, Wasn't it as peace? Did the Orcs invade Britannica?  and families fleeing for shelter in Britannica’s last island fortress, Will plans a desperate defense with a young upstart Captain. Victoria squeezes Will’s shoulder as he clenches his fists knowing he must stop the conflict, and defeat the undefeated warlord. This is too specific. What happened to the captain? No war hero, Will is nonetheless determined to save the helpless from the warlord’s fury. This book follows Will from his arrival on a beautiful island colony to the carnage of war - an epic tale of empire versus rebellion and a young man thrust into battle. Your last sentence doesn't count as stakes.

 

AGE OF EXPLORATION is a 95,000-word historical fantasy novel and will appeal to fans of The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. I graduated from the University of Waterloo with a major in both Business and Military History.  Yes you need new comps. This story is a standalone novel with series potential.  

 

 

So your query is all over the place, story-wise. You need to cut this back to the basics:

 

 

1. Who is Will? 

2. What does he want? I'm really unclear about what Will wants. He seems to be doing many things.

3. What prevents him from getting what he wants?

4. What will happen if he fails?

 

Right now it's more of a really short synopsis then a pitch. Go back to the very basics, make is short and snappy. Ditch the captain--we never hear about him again. Victoria also appears, then disappears, then reappears to squeeze his shoulder. Make her essential to your story.  I know this is all easier said than done. It seems harder to write a query than a book.

 

Can you please review my own long-suffering query when you can? Thanks! http://agentquerycon...-post-76/page-4



#8 AndrewF

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 09:50 AM

Thank you, I changed it a bit. I really suck at query letters lol. 

 

Will is not really on anyone's side, he is caught in the middle of the war trying to survive. He know's the Orcs are not really bad but they are dangerous. He fights for Britannica to protect innocent people at the end. 



#9 smithgirl

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 10:21 AM

Hey Andrew, everyone sucks at query letters. :-)



#10 AndrewF

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 11:26 AM

Well I hope someone is good at them LOL. I just posted two query letters up there, let me know what direction you like more. Maybe I have to start big picture and work my way down to the smaller stuff



#11 Cez

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 01:20 AM

I think your first query makes more sense

 

Young Will Raynor joins the Navy to escape an ever-industrializing Britannica and its polluted skies. He hopes for a peaceful time sailing the high seas, but his ship embarks to the island of Arcadia to patrol its vast and perilous river system. Beyond Arcadia’s pristine shore is a town on the verge of revolution. Will learns the rumors back home are true: the island is plagued with savage Orcs.  

 

While sailing downriver, Will and his crew are ambushed by Koko, a cunning Orc warlord. Britannica’s iron-fisted control over the island crumbles as Koko is hellbent on liberating his Orcs. Only Will understands the Orcs are fighting for freedom, but his voice is ignored as Koko’s deranged son Wurgoth slaughters Britannica’s terrified Red Coats. Wurgoth has two goals, wrestle control of the Orcs from Koko’s powerful grip and ruthlessly kill every man, women, and child that breaths. So Wurgoth is the bad guy, not Koko? This makes it more clear why Will understands/ sympathizes with the orcs. What is Wurgoth's relationship with Koko. Does Koko condone his son's killing?

 

Will is no coward and is quick to action, but fears death. With Britannica’s Empire crumbling and the island burning around him, Will seeks safety and finds it in the form of a small sail boat. As he puts the horrific war behind him You mention he's not a coward, but running from the war seems cowardly, he is haunted by memories of Wurgoth. He recalls the butchering of his friends and decides to stay/return. This confused me. Did he leave and then come back? Was he on the point of leaving and changed his mind?   clenches his fists. Will elects to stay and stand shoulder to shoulder with his friends on the battle lines. No war hero, Will is nonetheless determined to save the lives of helpless from Wurgoth, even if it means giving his own... This book follows Will from his arrival on a beautiful island colony to the carnage of war - an epic tale of empire versus rebellion and a young man thrust into battle. This last part is like a summary of your query. It would be better if you ended it more dramatically.

 

AGE OF EXPLORATION is a 95,000-word historical fantasy novel. I graduated from the University of Waterloo with a major in both Business and Military History. This story is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

Good luck with your revisions. I hope this helped.



#12 AndrewF

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 11:05 AM

Thank you everyone for your help, I just posted a revised query letter that addresses most of these changes.



#13 TClark

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 12:46 PM

 

Thank you everyone for your help, I just posted a revised query letter that addresses most of these changes. I look forward to your continued feedback and ways to improve. 

 

Young Will Raynor is an impulsive dreamer longing to escape an ever-industrializing Britannica and its polluted skies. With no money to his name and empty pockets, (comma) he signs over two years of his life to the Royal Navy. (This sentence could be revised, such as: With no money to his name, Will signs over two tears of his life to the navy seeking adventure. Yet while He hopes for a peaceful (he joins the navy seeking peace? Use a different adjective) time sailing the high seas, but his ship embarks to the island of Arcadia to patrol its vast and perilous river system. Beyond Arcadia’s pristine shore is a town on the verge of revolution. Will learns the rumors  and Will is stunned to learn the rumors back home are true: the island is plagued with savage Orcs. 

 

Will’s hope for peace evaporates while sailing downriver as him and his crew Will's hope for a fun adventure is suddenly crushed after his ship is ambushed by Koko, a cunning Orc warlord. War erupts as Britannica’s iron-fisted control over the island crumbles. Koko is ruthless in battle, relentless on liberating his Orcs and a superb strategist. Will learns the Orcs are fighting for freedom, but his voice is ignored as Koko’s deranged son Wurgoth slaughters Britannica’s terrified Red Coats. Wurgoth has two goals, wrestle control of the Orcs from Koko’s powerful grip and ruthlessly kill every man, women, and child that breaths.    This doesn't flow well

 

With As Britannica’s Empire crumbles crumbling and the island burning around him, Will turns to Tavington, a young upstart Captain. Will advises him how the Orcs think and operate while the pair devise a last ditch defense. Will stands shoulder to shoulder with his friends on the battle lines knowing the girl of his dreams waits behind him (so now there is a girl critical to Will's character?_. No war hero, Will is nonetheless forced to fight in hopes of bringing peace and stability back to the island. This book follows Will from his arrival on a beautiful island colony to the carnage of war - an epic tale of empire versus rebellion and a young man thrust into battle. (good)

 

AGE OF EXPLORATION is a 95,000-word historical fantasy novel. I graduated from the University of Waterloo with a major in both Business and Military History. This story is a standalone novel with series potential.

 



#14 AndrewF

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 02:09 PM

 

 

Thank you everyone for your help, I just posted a revised query letter that addresses most of these changes. I look forward to your continued feedback and ways to improve. 

 

Young Will Raynor is an impulsive dreamer longing to escape an ever-industrializing Britannica and its polluted skies. With no money to his name and empty pockets, (comma) he signs over two years of his life to the Royal Navy. (This sentence could be revised, such as: With no money to his name, Will signs over two tears of his life to the navy seeking adventure. Yet while He hopes for a peaceful (he joins the navy seeking peace? Use a different adjective) time sailing the high seas, but his ship embarks to the island of Arcadia to patrol its vast and perilous river system. Beyond Arcadia’s pristine shore is a town on the verge of revolution. Will learns the rumors  and Will is stunned to learn the rumors back home are true: the island is plagued with savage Orcs. 

 

Will’s hope for peace evaporates while sailing downriver as him and his crew Will's hope for a fun adventure is suddenly crushed after his ship is ambushed by Koko, a cunning Orc warlord. War erupts as Britannica’s iron-fisted control over the island crumbles. Koko is ruthless in battle, relentless on liberating his Orcs and a superb strategist. Will learns the Orcs are fighting for freedom, but his voice is ignored as Koko’s deranged son Wurgoth slaughters Britannica’s terrified Red Coats. Wurgoth has two goals, wrestle control of the Orcs from Koko’s powerful grip and ruthlessly kill every man, women, and child that breaths.    This doesn't flow well

 

With As Britannica’s Empire crumbles crumbling and the island burning around him, Will turns to Tavington, a young upstart Captain. Will advises him how the Orcs think and operate while the pair devise a last ditch defense. Will stands shoulder to shoulder with his friends on the battle lines knowing the girl of his dreams waits behind him (so now there is a girl critical to Will's character?_. No war hero, Will is nonetheless forced to fight in hopes of bringing peace and stability back to the island. This book follows Will from his arrival on a beautiful island colony to the carnage of war - an epic tale of empire versus rebellion and a young man thrust into battle. (good)

 

AGE OF EXPLORATION is a 95,000-word historical fantasy novel. I graduated from the University of Waterloo with a major in both Business and Military History. This story is a standalone novel with series potential.

 

 

 

Thank you for your feedback, what do you think of the query letter? Does it grab your interest while teasing a good story or is it rather meh?

 

The girl is not overly critical, she is important to Will but not the plot. The thing is I have already name dropped so many characters I thought it might be too much if I threw in another name. Will is fighting to save Britannica's civilians and she is one of them, although the most important one to him. 

 

I used peaceful with the Royal Navy because he joined not to fight but to serve his two years then go to the new world. There is no other way he could afford to go. And since Britannica is not currently at war the Navy is at peace, but I see your viewpoint. I need a new adjective.  







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