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


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#1 Wayfarer

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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!

 

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[Rev 6]

 

A wizened scholar and weathered adventurer, Aëros has spent his life exploring the unknown. But when a Shadow only he can see forces him on a journey into madness, he wonders if it would have been better to leave this unknown to its obscurity.

 

A doppleganger wreathed in darkness, the Shadow walks beside Aëros, twisting memories of friends and family into waking nightmares of their deaths. It guides him to the grave of Athair—a man guilty of genocide, a man it claims holds the key to the nightmare’s end, a man Aëros slew long ago.

 

As he wends his way through ashen vales, sentient forests, and hidden realms the journey grows ever more perilous and the nightmares ever worse. He slays monolithic serpents, depraved forest spirits, and Golem’s of ash, each a triviality in the wake of his unraveling sanity. Disillusioned by the erosion of his mind, Aëros questions the Shadow’s intent and considers turning back in spite of it.

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

 

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



#2 taylorhale

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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!

 

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[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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!






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