Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
- - - - -

Tales of Adventure: The Wayfarer [Adult (Psychological) Fantasy] - Critique for Critique


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Wayfarer

Wayfarer

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 244 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 09 August 2018 - 01:26 PM

Hello fellows! It's been a while since I've been around. Been working on my story the past few months, but I believe I'm at the point where I'm set to begin revising my query again. You'll find it below, and as the title says, I will always reciprocate for advice or feedback left. Thank you!

 

---

[Rev 8]

 

Aëros has two shadows. One is cast by the sun, the other by insanity.

 

A doppleganger wreathed in darkness, the Shadow walks beside Aëros, visible only to him. It twists memories of family and friends into waking nightmares of their deaths. In the nightmares, they die at the hand of Athair, a man Aëros killed long ago. The Shadow claims the secret to ending the nightmares rests with Athair’s grave. Wary, but desperate, Aëros has no choice but to visit the dead.

 

As he wends his way through ashen vales, sentient forests, and hidden realms, his nightmares worsen. It becomes difficult to distinguish them from memory, and he slips further into madness as his perception of reality fractures. Horrified by the erosion of his mind, Aëros’ distrust in the Shadow deepens. He questions whether the doppleganger is not itself causing his madness, and considers turning back from his quest, thinking it a trap.

 

The Shadow urges Aëros forward, for it knows the secret of his madness—the nightmares are memory. It is a truth Aëros has repressed, a truth that will devour his mind unless he reaches the grave. Only then will he be able to choose: acceptance or denial. The former means a life and a future, the latter means wandering in madness, a husk devoid of its sanity.

 

While the choice seems clear, the truth is a burden he has already forsaken once, and its remembrance may yet make insanity seem a mercy in comparison.



#2 taylorhale

taylorhale

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 98 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationCanada

Posted 09 August 2018 - 02:05 PM

Hello fellows! It's been a while since I've been around. Been working on my story the past few months, but I believe I'm at the point where I'm set to begin revising my query again. You'll find it below, and as the title says, I will always reciprocate for advice or feedback left. Thank you!

 

---

[Rev. 1]

 

Dear - Literary Agency,

 

The Shadow crept from the asylum of memory, leading Aëros back into its depths. A doppleganger wreathed in darkness, a phantom only he can see, it summons memories of his family and nightmares of their deaths. It points westwards, claiming it will not cease until he ventures to the Barrows—an ancient necropolis in the far reaches of the world. Desperate to rid himself of the Shadow and its nightmares, Aëros departs from his wife and his son in hopes of preserving his sanity. (I will be honest - this reads very strange to me, more like a synopsis than a query... What is The Shadow? Who is Aeros? What doppleganger? I have no idea what world this is set in or what's going on. It needs to be something more like "When [some descriptor, age, who he is - is he a blacksmith? A farmer? A soldier?] Aeros is visited by the Shadow (need to explain what this is), it plagues him with images of his family and their deaths. The Shadow claims it will not cease until Aeros ventures to the Barrows, an ancient necropolis in the far reaches of the world." Also, I thought his family was dead? So the Shadow is showing him something that COULD happen to his still living family? Then get rid of the word "memory" and clarify that the shadow is showing him something that has not yet passed)

 

He wends his way through sentient forests, ashen vales, and hidden realms in the wake of his darkling guide. His path assails him with forest spirits twisted by the will of a dead man (who?), an ancient creature woven of lost souls, and the stubbornness of companions he chances upon along the way. As he nears his journey’s end, the nightmares worsen, and he considers turning back. The Shadow warns him that both before and behind lead to madness, but behind he will have no choice in its coming.

 

His sanity slipping Aëros must decide, ignore the Shadow and turn back, dismissing its warning as deception. Or trust in its augury, continuing on regardless of what the nightmares and his journey’s end may bring. (I'm confused... This all reads more like a series of events than a plot. I can't really tell if the Shadow is the villain or not. And it's never stated what the Shadow wants him to do in the Barrows. You just say as he nears the end of his journey, he starts getting bad dreams and wants to turn around. But we don't know what he's even searching for, or why he's journeying other than that the Shadow wants him to. I think this query could use a lot more clarity)

 

TALES OF ADVENTURE: THE WAYFARER, complete at 87,000 words, is a standalone adventure fantasy novel featuring prominent psychological elements. This is my debut novel.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Cordially,

 

- [Name]

 

Hey there, I hope this helps :-) I was quite confused, but I think the query will make a lot more sense of you add some details and sort of explain what the actual plot is other than Aeros wandering around because a Shadow told him to. I don't really know who Aeros is or what he wants. I assume he's trying to save his family because the Shadow is threatening him. But it's not clear. The Shadow's motivations would also definitely help round this out, in my opinion.

 

Would you mind taking a look at my query when you have the chance? :-) http://agentquerycon...it-in-dual-pov/



#3 Wayfarer

Wayfarer

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 244 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 10 August 2018 - 09:41 AM

New revision's up, hopefully less confusing now.

 

I'll take a look at yours now!



#4 Cez

Cez

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 225 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationAfrica
  • Publishing Experience:Queried and querying.

Posted 11 August 2018 - 05:21 AM

[Rev 3] This version makes much more sense than Rev 1 and 2. 

 

Aëros has a Shadow only he can see.

 

As an adventurer, seeking the unknown has always been his way of life. But when the Shadow offers I think 'threatens him into' would be a better phrase here. It doesn't seem like he has much of a choice. him a journey into madness I suggest you give more details up front, like does this shadow live inside Aeros? Does it just live with him and follow him about? Is it inside his head? his curiosity swiftly unravels into fear.

 

Suggestion for your first line: As an adventurer, seeking the unknown has always been Aeros' way of life. But when a shadow only he can see/living in his head/following him about, threatens him into/ demands that he take a dangerous journey, he hesitates/is wary/...

 

A doppleganger wreathed in darkness Can yo make this clearer? Does this mean the shadow is like a visible dark mass that follows him about?, the Shadow roots through Aëros’ memories, twisting nostalgia into nightmare I suggest you rephrase this and make it clearer. I'm not sure what you mean here by nostalgia. Does this shadow constantly give him visions, or does it plague his dreams with nightmares? Joyous thoughts of friends and family are corrupted by visions of their deaths, and the Shadow offers only one escape from the suffering; a pilgrimage to the grave of Athair, a murderer Aëros killed long ago. Desperate, Aëros sets out for the grave, for the Shadow claims it will only depart once he has arrived. This part is much clearer. This is what you need in the rest of your query.

 

He wends his way through ashen vales, sentient forests, and hidden realms as he traverses the westernmost regions of Eave. Is Eave the name of a country, or a world? Is this grave in a very perilous location?. Yet he finds the nearer he draws to the grave the worse the nightmares become. When a comrade dies in a nightmare and is soon after brought to the brink of death in reality, Aëros considers turning back from his quest. Fearing to lose other comrades?

 

Untrusting Please use another word here, this one doesn't' fit. of the Shadow as his sanity slips away, Aëros must decide; turn back, dismissing the Shadow’s warning as deception. Or continue in hopes of bringing an end to both it and its nightmares.  You could make this last paragraph stronger. Make the stakes higher. What might happen if he turns back? What is the shadow warning him will happen? If he goes on, he may lose his sanity, what else? Does he have friends he might lose?

 

Overall your query sounds intriguing. It makes me think of The Name f the Wind, that kind of fantasy, so your overall 'atmosphere' is pretty good. My biggest problem is that the details you give are too vague.

 

Thank you for your notes on my query.



#5 Wayfarer

Wayfarer

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 244 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 11 August 2018 - 10:12 PM

Cez, thank you for your insight. It was very helpful. I've made a substantial revision to try my best to address the points you've raised.



#6 CavalierdeNuit

CavalierdeNuit

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 32 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northwest

Posted 12 August 2018 - 03:32 PM

As a wayfarer, what exactly is a wayfarer? In what world does he belong? seeking the unknown why does he do this? Is it his job in his realm? Is he the Atlas of his world, holding everything together? If his sanity goes, does his world fall apart for everyone? has always been Aëros’ way of life. But when a Shadow this should not be capitalized. You could say but when a shadow known as Sorea (Aeros's name backward seems appropriate, considering it's a doppelganger) forces him on a journey... only he can see forces him on a journey into madness, his interest in the unknown quickly unravels into the fear of it. 

 

A doppleganger wreathed in darkness, please either name the shadow or don't capitalize the noun the Shadow walks beside Aëros, twisting memories of friends and family into waking nightmares of their deaths. As his sanity fractures, the Shadow warns that there is but one way to preserve it;  use a colon here: a pilgrimage to the grave of Athair, a murderer Aëros killed long ago. This guy sounds like his nemesis. Is he back from the grave and after Aeros again? Do wayfarers also kill bad guys? Desperate, Aëros accepts and sets out for the grave.

 

As he wends his way through ashen vales, sentient forests, and hidden realms the journey grows ever more perilous and the nightmares ever worse. Disillusioned by the constant horrors he must face both in the outer world and within his mind, Aëros considers turning back, even in spite of the Shadow’s threats that it will never depart unless he reaches the grave.

 

As his resolve weakens and his sanity slips further away, Aëros must decide; turn back in hopes of finding another way to prevent his madness, risking the chance of it coming even swifter. Or continue, trusting the Shadow in hopes that it speaks true so that he may return to his family and his life as more than the hollow man he is becoming. Are his family's and friend's lives at stake as well? If Aeros loses his sanity, will people die?

 

This feels very vague. It needs a lot more detail, and higher stakes, like the people he loves could die, his village could burn, etc. Also, I would give the shadow a name. You can do a lot with this, and I like where it's going, but it just needs more detail. I wish you the best of luck with it!



#7 Wayfarer

Wayfarer

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 244 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 12 August 2018 - 09:01 PM

Kind of feels like you're asking a lot of questions just to ask questions. I think it's pretty clear what a wayfarer is if you finish the first line. Or at least clear enough to have a simple understanding.

 

Why exactly shouldn't 'Shadow' be capitalized? That's what Aeros refers to it as, just Shadow or the Shadow. I don't see why it needs a name.

 

As for stakes, I don't see why losing one's sanity isn't high enough stakes as it is. If the way I've written it doesn't feel strong enough that's one thing, but to artificially add in "higher stakes" in the form of cliche tropes seems pretty silly.

 

I'm open to criticism, I revised my last query nearly one hundred times with help from the community here. But your critique doesn't really feel substantial.



#8 Tyokunbo

Tyokunbo

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 42 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented, media
  • LocationAfrica
  • Publishing Experience:I'm a Nigerian journalist and writer. I have published LABULABU MASK, a novel(Macmillan Nigeria). I have also published in print and online magazines such as Rake Journal, BBC Focus on Africa Magazine, Flask Review, Zapata!, Liberation Lit, Sage of Consciousness Review, Africa Writer.Com , Big Pulp, the One World anthology, The November 3rd Club, Mobius - A Journal for Social Change, Dog Eat Crow Magazine, 5923 Quarterly, Contemporary World Literature Journal, Bicycle Review, May Day Magazine, Saraba, Pulse Literary Review, Fertile Source, and the Mainstay Press Anthology. I have stories about to be published in Imitation Fruit and Wilderness House Literary Review. I've just complete my short story collection.

Posted 13 August 2018 - 01:26 PM

Seeking the unknown has always been Aëros’ way of life. (Who is Aeros? Perhaps a little introduction) But when the Shadow only he can see forces him on a journey into madness, his love of the unknown swiftly unravels into fear of it.

A doppleganger wreathed in darkness, the Shadow walks beside Aëros, twisting memories of friends and family into waking nightmares of their deaths. It claims to be bound to Athair, a murderer Aëros slew long ago,(What made Aeros slay Athair? Perhaps this might made readers understand the reason for Aero's nightmare) and that his grave holds the end of the nightmares. His sanity fracturing, Aëros has no choice but to make the pilgrimage to the Barrows—the necropolis where Athair’s unmarked grave rests.

As he wends his way through ashen vales, sentient forests, and hidden realms the journey grows ever more perilous and the nightmares ever worse.(Perhaps you could be more specific. What happened during the perilous journey, the outer world of it? The specific nature of the nightmares). Disillusioned by the constant horrors he must face both in the outer world and within his mind, Aëros considers turning back, hoping he may find another way to prevent his growing madness.(Which other way is he considering to prevent his growing madness? What will be the consequence if he makes this choice?)

But the Shadow urges him forward, for it remembers what truly happened with Athair—it remembers what Aëros has forgotten. (What does Athair remember? What does Aeros forget?) The grave will unveil the truth behind the Shadow and the nightmares, and only by reaching it and accepting what he finds will Aëros be able to move on from both.Yet the truth is a burden he has already forsaken once, and its remembrance may just make insanity seem a gift in compare. (I like how you phrase the possible result of the journey. Perhaps the possible consequence for not undertaking the journey could also be included here for a tidy ending of the query.)


It's clear Aeros is undergoing pain, but the reader may need to know the reason he killed Athair for Aeros to gain sympathy. We also need a clearer picture of the consequence if he does not go to Athair's grave. Who is Aeros? We will definitely want to know more about Athair, since he is important to the query. We know Aeros faces obstacles going to Athair's grave, but you can make them more specific and gripping.I'm sure the novel has a lot of things going on. The query will be stronger if you include more details.

 

 

 

Could you kindly help review my long-suffering query at #21 on the link below

http://agentquerycon...ic/38912-kari/.


 



#9 Wayfarer

Wayfarer

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 244 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 13 August 2018 - 09:27 PM

Thank you for the advice. I made some further changes in light of some of it, though I'm still intending to keep the "truth" a mystery in the query, as it's the twist at the end of the novel that ties a lot of the subliminal plot points together, and is a little too complex for the query. I'll take a look at your query now!



#10 Andrew Rosenberg

Andrew Rosenberg

    Noveling Forever!

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 136 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Northwest

Posted 19 August 2018 - 02:56 PM

I find this somewhat vague. I think if you're much more concrete (as much as you can about a shadow) it might be easier to absorb.

 

Hello fellows! It's been a while since I've been around. Been working on my story the past few months, but I believe I'm at the point where I'm set to begin revising my query again. You'll find it below, and as the title says, I will always reciprocate for advice or feedback left. Thank you!

 

---

[Rev 6]

 

A wizened scholar and weathered adventurer, Not sure that tells me anything. Aëros has spent his life exploring the unknown.Like?  But when a Shadow only he can see forces him how? on a journey into madness :wacko: , he wonders if it what? would have been better to leave this unknown to its obscurity. probably. but why is this a problem? 

 

A doppleganger wreathed in darkness not picturing this, the Shadow walks beside Aëros, twisting memories of friends and family into waking nightmares of their deaths kind of passive. Aeros' brain seethes with images of his friends drowning in blood while Shadow laughs.. It who? guides him to the grave of Athair—a man guilty of genocide, a man it claims who might holds the key like what? to the nightmare’s end, a man Aëros slew long ago. 

 

As he Aeros wends his way through ashen vales, sentient forests, and hidden realms, the journey grows ever more perilous how perilous? show and the nightmares ever worse.show He slays monolithic serpents, depraved forest spirits, and Golem’s of ash, kewl but why does this matter? You even say here it doesn't --> each a triviality in the wake of his unraveling sanity. show Disillusioned ?? that's it?  by the erosion of his mind, Aëros questions the Shadow’s intent and considers turning back in spite of it what?.

But the doppelgänger urges him forward, for it knows the truth of his madness. which is? A truth that can end it end what?, a truth he has long repressed and can only remember by reaching the grave.who's grave? his or Athair? Should he turn back now it will continue to fester until his mind rots and insanity consumes him. awkward. 

 

Yet this hidden truth is a burden he has already forsaken once, and its remembrance may just make insanity seem a mercy in compare. vague. 

 

So essentially the story is a fight between his sanity or facing the real demon in his soul? 

I like the concept of buried secrets/repressed memories, I use that a lot in my story.

Also wondering what's at stake here. So he goes insane. So what? What are the cconsequences of this? I have very little sense of this world or what fighting Shadow will accomplish in the end.

Try to reduce the use of 'it', it's inherently ambiguous. 



#11 Wayfarer

Wayfarer

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 244 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 19 August 2018 - 07:34 PM

I find this somewhat vague. I think if you're much more concrete (as much as you can about a shadow) it might be easier to absorb.

Thanks for the critique, Andrew. It was helpful, and my newest revision is an attempt to remove ambiguity and add detail. I'll head over to your query now to repay the favor.



#12 Wayfarer

Wayfarer

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 244 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 25 August 2018 - 06:50 AM

Made further revision.



#13 Kimseal

Kimseal

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 71 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:SFWA member, short story sales to pro markets, first novel on submission to editors now

Posted 25 August 2018 - 12:01 PM

[Rev 8]

 

Aëros has two shadows. One is cast by the sun, the other by insanity.

 

A doppleganger wreathed in darkness, the Shadow walks beside Aëros, visible only to him. It twists memories of family and friends into waking nightmares of their deaths. In the nightmares, they die at the hand of Athair, a man Aëros killed long ago. The Shadow claims the secret to ending the nightmares rests with Athair’s grave. Wary, but desperate, Aëros has no choice but to visit the dead.

 

As he wends his way through ashen vales, sentient forests, and hidden realms, his nightmares worsen. It becomes difficult to distinguish them from memory, and he slips further into madness as his perception of reality fractures. Horrified by the erosion of his mind, Aëros’ distrust in the Shadow deepens. He questions whether the doppleganger is not itself causing his madness, and considers turning back from his quest, thinking it a trap.

 

The Shadow urges Aëros forward, for it knows the secret of his madness—the nightmares are memory. Maybe italicize 'are' for emphasis. It is would rather have contraction 'It's' here a truth Aëros has repressed, a truth that will devour his mind unless he reaches the grave. Only then will he be able to choose: acceptance or denial. The former means a life and a future, the latter means wandering in madness, a husk devoid of its don't think you need an its here sanity.

 

While the choice seems clear, the truth is a burden he has already forsaken once, and its remembrance may yet make insanity seem a mercy in comparison.

 

I hope I've got the right revision here. 

 

This all seems clear. I understand what's happening. I know what Aeros's problem is and I know what choice he faces. I'm really not sure what else you could do here, unless you wanted to put in specifics of his lost family. That would up the impact of the nightmares, but it would also take up a lot of space and I don't know that's the way to go. I like this version.



#14 Andrew Rosenberg

Andrew Rosenberg

    Noveling Forever!

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 136 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Northwest

Posted 26 August 2018 - 11:25 AM

Much better. I think my question right now is "so?" Meaning, what's the consequence of losing his sanity?

Is he the only thing keeping the world from destruction? Are there other people involved that would be impacted?

 

Hello fellows! It's been a while since I've been around. Been working on my story the past few months, but I believe I'm at the point where I'm set to begin revising my query again. You'll find it below, and as the title says, I will always reciprocate for advice or feedback left. Thank you!

 

---

[Rev 8]

 

Aëros has two shadows. One is cast by the sun, the other by insanity.  gosh!:

 

A doppleganger wreathed in darkness, the Shadow walks beside Aëros, visible only to him. It twists memories of family and friends into waking nightmares of their deaths. In the nightmares, they die at the hand of Athair, a man Aëros killed long ago. The Shadow claims the secret to ending the nightmares rests with Athair’s grave. Wary, but desperate, Aëros has no choice but to visit the dead.

 

As he wends his way through ashen vales, sentient forests, and hidden realms, his nightmares worsen. It becomes difficult to distinguish them from memory, and he slips further into madness as his perception of reality fractures. Horrified by the erosion of his mind, Aëros’ distrust in the Shadow deepens. He questions whether the doppleganger is not itself causing his madness, and considers turning back from his quest, thinking it a trap.

 

The Shadow urges Aëros forward, for it knows the secret of his madness—the nightmares are memory. It is a truth Aëros has repressed, a truth that will devour his mind unless he reaches Athair's grave. Only then will he be able to  He must choose: acceptance or denial. The former means a life and a future, the latter means wandering in madness, a husk devoid of its sanity.

 

While the choice seems clear, the truth is a burden he has already forsaken once, and its remembrance may yet make insanity seem a mercy in comparison.

I have a feeling that Shadow is actually Athair. 






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users