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Fusion (Fantasy novel query--complete reboot)


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#21 Koechophe

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 02:19 PM

Thank you both for the feedback.  Try number 8 happened!



#22 Ilovesoup

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 07:17 PM

Hello,

 

"In a land teeming with powerful animals, war rages between people who share their souls with the creatures and people who enslave them. (Ugh, still don't like this. I bet you can incorporate this below, but lead with Jake)

 

Jake never wanted to be like the hunters in his brutish, predatory gathering. When he deserts their traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, he's punished by being force-fed a fruit that turns him into an animal as well, so his people can hunt him down. His only hope for a cure rests in learning the secrets of Shadow Claw; the covert organization that rules his land.

 

 

Maybe this would make a better first paragraph just to give you an idea:

 

 

"Jake's spent all his life bonding with animals for power. He just never thought he'd get turned into one.

 

That's what happened when he deserted his gathering's brutal predatory ways. To make matters worse, now he's being hunted by them. His only hope for a cure rests in learning the secrets of Shadow Claw, the covert organization that rules his land and can also manipulate people and animals. (What is it exactly that they do?)"

 

Like the rest of his people, Lenjy wanted nothing more than to bond with an animal, only he chose the wrong one. His new animal companion is dead-set on infiltrating Shadow Claw, and is willing to kill whoever stands in his way. The creature (animal? Exactly what are these creatures anyway? I still don't know.) carries the ability to shape-steal, which devours an individual and gives Lenjy their appearance. Every time Lenjy shape-steals, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. 

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls with their animal companions. (WAIT! I thought Jake BECAME an animal! Did he bond with one too? Can you explain this bond? What benefits do you get out of this?) Both are perceived as threats by Shadow Claw, and must battle their arsenal of enslaved creatures, led by men who control the undead souls of their fallen prey.

 

If Jake and Lenjy can dethrone Shadow Claw for good, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who rebel. (I like the stakes a bit better, but I'm still missing a lot of the world building.)

 

FUSION (136,000 words) is a standalone work of high fantasy. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

I saw some improvement, but not a whole lot. I still have too many questions. I think if you fill in where I had questions, this query is going to sound better. And please work on your opening - a lot of others critiqued the same thing. Lead with character, not world building. Besides, it's more telling than showing.

 

Looking forward to your next revisions.



#23 Koechophe

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 12:59 AM

I'm having a hard time with the opening line, people earlier on gave it positive feedback, now it's getting negative feedback, so I'm torn as to who to listen to. I'm also torn because in high fantasy, it seems as though you would want to pitch with world building, as it tends to be the defining element of a book. I'll try another rendition and see how it flows all the same. 

 

Also, I keep having to say this, but I can't name the creatures in the query because they're animals of my own invention. Calling Jake's companion a Kentlepperren and Lenjy's companion a Veshkar doesn't add anything and will very quickly turn this query into name soup (in my opinion).  I'll still try to throw in some better descriptors to see if it adds anything. 

 

-See original post for try #9



#24 Erevos

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 07:23 AM

Hello there Koe and thank you for your comments on my query!!

I have to say I read a few of your previous drafts and I like 9 the best!

Try #9

 

 

(Still debating on whether or not to keep the opening line from before based on world building or not) 

 

 

"Jake finds strength in his cunning and skill. His people find strength in drinking the blood of beasts. Nice!

 

I pressed enter here... looks kind of better imo.

 

When Jake deserts their traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it  No reason for that. We know what his people do, he's punished by being turned into an animal as well, so his people can hunt him down. His only hope for a cure rests in working with his animal companion to discover the secrets of Shadow Claw; the covert organization that rules his land. This raises questions, but I'm guessing they will be hard to answer in a query. I will settle for Jake lives in a tribe, while the land is ruled by Shadow Claw? 

 

Like the rest of his people, Lenjy was desperate to bond with any animal who would take him... even a vengeful, amoral one. Reallly nice. 2 POV eh? The lizard he bonds with is dead-set on infiltrating Shadow Claw,Infiltrate to do what? and will killing whoever stands in his way. The creature can shape-steal, which devours an individual and gives Lenjy their appearance. Every time Lenjy shape-steals, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. Hm... okay this give me an insight on Lenjy's problems, which is nice, but I think you can shorten it: "Whenever the creature devours someone, Lenjy takes their appearance and something more -- their whispers start tormenting him, slowly taking over." Sooooooomething like that anyway.

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls and abilities with their bonded animals.  Both are perceived as threats by Shadow Claw, and must battle their arsenal of enslaved creatures, led by men who control the undead souls of their fallen preyThis paragraph works and all, BUT! Do they work together? Or each fights his own battle. You don't mention it. I think the most important thing is how different they are. One seeks a cure, while the other is dragged along by a revenge-hungry beast. This could be boosted imo.

 

If Jake and Lenjy can dethrone Shadow Claw for good, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who rebel. 

 

FUSION (136,000 words) is a standalone work of high fantasy, set in a world with new and intricate species of animals. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

All in all nice work!! Will comment on your next draft!


My query: http://agentquerycon...teampunksci-fi/

Let me know if you want me to look at yours. Will happily do so.


#25 Koechophe

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 10:37 AM

Hey, thanks for the comments. Here's number 10!



#26 Ilovesoup

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 08:31 PM

Hello, Koechophe,

 

Here are my revisions below.

 

 

"Jake finds strength in cunning and skill. His people find strength in drinking the blood of beasts. (Yes, thank you! But I still think a better hook would be the fact he gets turned into an animal more. That way, you can lead into the next paragraph)

 

When Jake deserts tradition by bonding with an animal, he's punished by being turned into an animal as well, so his people can hunt him down. His only hope for a cure rests in working with his animal companion to discover the secrets of Shadow Claw; the covert organization that rules his land. 

 

So in the above paragraph you use the word animal three times. Consider what I've written below:

 

Now he's turned into one, and to make matters worse, he's being hunted by his own people. His only hope for a cure rests in finding Shadow Claw, the covert organization that rules his land. (And here's where I have questions: Why does Shadow Claw have the answer? What do they do? And I cut working with animal companion because this early in the query, I have no idea what an animal companion is. A wolf? A bear? A creature you made up? Can you be specific?)

 

Like the rest of his people, Lenjy was desperate to bond with any animal who would take him... even a vengeful, amoral one. (Why is bonding special? Does it give humans power?) The lizard he bonds with is dead-set on infiltrating Shadow Claw, killing whoever stands in his way. The creature shape-stealing and which devours  devouring individuals, which an individual and gives Lenjy their appearance. Not only that: Lenjy hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. 

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls and abilities with their bonded animals.  Both are perceived as threats by Shadow Claw (Why are they perceived as threats by Shadow Claw? What does Shadow Claw want?? This is a question you should answer at the beginning of your query, when you first introduce this organization. Plus, you also mentioned that they have a "cure" for Jake. How?), and must battle their arsenal of enslaved creatures, led by men who control the undead souls of their fallen prey. 

 

If Jake and Lenjy can come together to dethrone Shadow Claw for good, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who rebel. 

 

FUSION (136,000 words) is a standalone work of high fantasy.

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

To be honest, the best part of your query is Lenjy's POV which, after tightening up that paragraph, reads pretty smoothly. But I'm still expecting a much better introduction that's going to get me hooked to keep reading. While your opening statement is better, you might want to consider revising it so that it flows into the next paragraph. Also, avoid using the word "animal" too much. I'm still wondering if these animals are our everyday animals or animals particular to your world.

 

Keep going, you're getting there.



#27 Erevos

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Posted 07 November 2018 - 07:38 AM

Hello again Koe and thank you for your amazing input on my query!

Soup here has made wonderful comments!

Here are my comments.

 

1. Imo, we don't really need an answer about what is an animal companion. I imagine it's something like The Golden Compass familiars and that works.

 

2. I know you can't really explain what the Shadow Clan is in your query, but a hint as to why they have a cure or what their sinister plans are can maybe help us understand better.

 

3. Soup is right about Lenjy. Why he wants a companion can help us understand his motives better.

 

4. I think what will greatly help us care for both Jake and Lenjy is if you gave us more stakes. Like let's say: "With time running out, Jake risks staying in his animal form forever." OR "Lenjy has to do that or else risks losing himself to the voices swirling in his mind."

 

5. You mention the utter annihilation of those who rebel. But... so far we only saw the two of them going against the Shadow Clan. Unless they try to stir a revolution, this falls empty. BUT if they are indeed working with others, then mention it.

 

6. You forgot to write YA, A genre

 

7. 136,000 is too much. I know it's the last thing you want to hear, but my high fantasy started as 110k -> 100k -> finally querried at 96k. And I still got 2 personal rejections mentioning that the word count was too much. I'd try and drop it considerably if I were you. It hurts, I know, but you can do it. Leave dialogue intact and try to cut from descriptions. Noone wants to read every little detail about a Great Hall or how the castle walls blazed red like blood in the setting sun. I'm not saying you're doing something like that. I only offer some tips to trim down the length.

 

Hope my comments helped a bit! 


My query: http://agentquerycon...teampunksci-fi/

Let me know if you want me to look at yours. Will happily do so.


#28 Koechophe

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Posted 07 November 2018 - 01:12 PM

I'm well aware that there will be agents who will reject this on premise because of word count, and I'm currently editing to trim it, but it's doubtful I'll be able to cut more than ~10k words off, simply because the world building and plot are both extremely complicated. You're not telling me anything I haven't already researched, but I'm willing to try my hand at a hard sell.

 

As far as the animals go, they are all ones I invented (as I've said in previous posts). In as much as I can tell, there is no way for me to establish this fact without totally breaking the third wall in the query (which I don't want to do) or throwing out animal names that the reader isn't going to recognize (which I also don't want to do), or else describing the charactaristics of the animals (which will take too long). 

 

Try #11 is a thing



#29 Erevos

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Posted 12 November 2018 - 01:59 PM

Hey there Koe!!

 

Jake finds strength in cunning and skill. His people find strength in drinking the blood of beasts. 

 

His only friend is the imaginary voice he speaks to in his dreams. When Jake hears that voice in an beast's roar, he violates his people's Pacts by refusing to kill the creature. I have to say I prefer the previous version. It was clear and sharp.  His punishment is being turned into an animal as well, to become his people's prey. Jake's only hope for a cure rests in working with the creature he saved to discover the secrets of Shadow Claw; the rulers of his land who cursed him. 

 

Like the rest of his people, Lenjy was desperate to bond with any animal who would take him... even a vengeful, amoral one. Not sure if I want to know WHY he bonds... I'm reading again and again this sentence and trying to think of me as an agent. Do I want more clarity? Maybe. If you can explain it in 4-5 words, then please do. If not, leave it. The lizard he bonds with is dead-set on infiltrating and bringing down Shadow Claw, killing whoever stands in his way. The creature uses shape-stealing to devour individuals and grant Lenjy their appearance. As Lenjy tries to help, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. K, this is great. I wonder if you can somehow shrink it a bit.

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls and abilities with their bonded animals. As their actions light the fire of rebellion, both are perceived as threats to Shadow Claw's rule, and are attacked by their arsenal of enslaved creatures, led by men who control the undead souls of their fallen prey. Great! But I dont think you need the "LED BY MEN WHO...."

 

If Jake and Lenjy can come together to dethrone Shadow Claw, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who rebel. 

 

FUSION (136,000 words) is a standalone work of high fantasy with series potential, set in a world with new and unique species of animals.

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

 

 

I have 0 complains really. I understand the story, I understand the 2 POV problems, I know their goals and the stakes. Pretty much for me it's good to go. The only thing that can really make a difference is if you can add some salt and pepper to excite an agent.


My query: http://agentquerycon...teampunksci-fi/

Let me know if you want me to look at yours. Will happily do so.


#30 Kjcloutier19

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Posted 24 November 2018 - 09:57 PM

Hi Koe! 

Sorry it took me so long to tag you back, life through some curveballs, but you were really helpful with my query, so I'm hoping that I might be helpful to you as well!

 

Try #11

 

 

"Jake finds strength in cunning and skill. His people find strength in drinking the blood of beasts. (This certainly grabs my attention)

 

His only friend is the imaginary voice he speaks to in his dreams. (Why is this? Is he an outcast?) When Jake hears that voice in a beast's roar, he violates his people's Pacts (Do you mean tradition? Because to me a pact an agreement between two people or groups. If you do need Pact, we may need a tiny bit of explanation here) by refusing to kill the creature. His punishment is being turned into an animal to become his people's prey. Jake's only hope for a cure rests in working with the creature he saved to discover the secrets of Shadow Claw; the rulers of his land who cursed him. (What is he turned into?)

 

Like the rest of his people, Lenjy was desperate to bond with any animal who would take him... even a vengeful, amoral one. (This paragraph is confusing partly because we're suddenly talking about someone else, and partly because I thought they killed the creatures, not bonded with them?) The lizard he bonds with is dead-set on infiltrating and bringing down Shadow Claw, killing whoever stands in his way. (Are these creatures like super smart then?) The creature uses shape-stealing to devour individuals and grant Lenjy their appearance. As Lenjy tries to help, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. (I don't think I'm understanding what Shadow Claw is. Aren't they Lenjy's rulers? If so, why on earth would he help to kill them all?)

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls and abilities with their bonded animals. As their actions light the fire of rebellion, both are perceived as threats to Shadow Claw's rule, and are attacked by their arsenal of enslaved creatures, led by men who control the undead souls of their fallen prey. (This is a great paragraph and makes things a little tiny bit clearer.)

 

If Jake and Lenjy can come together to dethrone Shadow Claw, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who rebel. 

 

FUSION (136,000 words) (You already know this is a bit long, as you commented on my 110K novel being long too lol) is a standalone work of high fantasy with series potential, set in a world with new and unique species of animals.

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

 

Okay, so I am very intrigued by your story premise, but at the same time, I am lost. With a query, you need to find a sweet spot where you leave just enough questions that the reader wants to find out more, but not too many questions where the reader isn't understanding what's happening at all. I feel I'm the latter. I pointed out a few questions above, and though not all of them need to be answered, I do think we need a clearer explanation of how this world works, and what the Shadow Claw really is, and why the characters are doing these things. I should also mention I did not read any previous versions so I'm seeing this with fresh eyes. I'm looking forward to one day reading this story! Best of luck. 

 


#31 Koechophe

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Posted 25 November 2018 - 07:58 PM

Heya, thanks for the feedback! looks like I'm still struggling with the primary problems in my query:

1) Helping people understand that the animals are ones I invented, and therefore not get confused at the fact that I never specify which specific type of animal

2) Making it obvious that Lenjy and Jake belong to two completely different groups of people.

 

I'll see what I can do for polish

As a side note, word counts are very much linked with genres. According to all my research, for a high fantasy my word count is actually in the right ballpark. See http://jetreidlitera...bsolute-no.html and https://thoughtsonfantasy.com/2017/02/14/how-long-should-a-fantasy-book-be/. There are definitely agents who will reject on premise, but realistically people don't write new-world high fantasies in word counts under 100k, and even up to 150k is considered the norm. 



#32 NerdWitch

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 11:28 AM

Try #11

 

 

"Jake finds strength in cunning and skill. His people find strength in drinking the blood of beasts. I LOVE this opening. Already want to know more.

 

His only friend is the imaginary voice he speaks to in his dreams. Where does the voice come from? When Jake hears that voice in a beast's roar, he violates his people's Pacts I agree with what somebody else wrote, tradition might be a better phrasing than packt by refusing to kill the creature. His punishment is being turned into an animal to become his people's prey. Jake's only hope for a cure rests in working with the creature he saved to discover the secrets of Shadow Claw; the rulers of his land who cursed him.

 

Like the rest of his people, Lenjy was desperate to bond with any animal who would take him... even a vengeful, amoral one.  The lizard he bonds with is dead-set on infiltrating and bringing down Shadow Claw, killing whoever stands in his way. The creature uses shape-stealing to devour individuals and grant Lenjy their appearance. As Lenjy tries to help, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. I think this confuses me a little bit because you suddenly jump to another person but overall I really like the character presentation here.

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls and abilities with their bonded animals. As their actions light the fire of rebellion, both are perceived as threats to Shadow Claw's rule, and are attacked by their arsenal of enslaved creatures, led by men who control the un-dead souls of their fallen prey. 

 

If Jake and Lenjy can come together to dethrone Shadow Claw, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. If they fail, Their failure it would mean the utter annihilation of those who rebel. 

 

FUSION (136,000 words)is a standalone work of high fantasy with series potential, set in a world with new and unique species of animals.

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

 

 

Overall, I really like the premise and the idea of the story. It's very unique and I'm keen to read more. I think you've got a strong query here and I could only really find a few grammatical "errors". Great work! 


Here's my latest query :) http://agentquerycon...turn-critique/ 

 

 


#33 Koechophe

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 06:09 PM

Heya, thanks for the feedback Nerdwitch. Just as an FYI, you ended up critiquing an older draft, since my current attempt is try #12 (and is found in the very first post, I'm actually pretty impressed you managed to dig through the comments to find #11) but barely anything changed between those drafts, except that I use the word "laws" instead of "pacts"



#34 SnowFox23

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 05:59 AM

Jake finds strength in cunning and skill. His people find strength in drinking the blood of beasts. Those freaks. The last line is intriguing, but Jake's bit is nothing special.

 

Jake's only friend is the imaginary voice he speaks to in his dreams. Now that's cool! That should be the opening hook. When he hears that voice in a beast's roar, he violates his people's laws by refusing to kill the creature. Jake's punishment is being turned into an animal what sort of an animal? mouse? tiger? antelope? to become his people's prey. Okay, I'm following. His only hope for a cure rests in working with the creature he saved to unravel the secrets of Shadow Claw; the covert rulers of the land who cursed him. Okay, I'm lost. You need specifics here. What creature did he save? We need visuals to grasp what is happening. What beast roared? What animal is Jake? Because at the moment there is a lot of info but none of it helps to paint a picture.

 

Like the rest of his pacifist people, Lenjy was desperate to bond with any animal who would take him... even a vengeful, amoral one. I'm lost here too. I'm assuming Lenjy is part of Jake's tribe? And why is he desperate to bond with an animal? Is Jake desperate too? Is that why Jake didn't kill the beast that roared? And, if so, why did Jake's people punish him by turning him into an animal if the goal is to bond with them?

 

The lizard he bonds with is dead-set on infiltrating and bringing down Shadow Claw, I still don't understand what Shadow Claw is, which is a shame because they sound cool as hell killing whoever stands in his way. The creature uses shape-stealing to devour individuals and grant Lenjy their appearance. As Lenjy tries to help, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. 

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls and abilities with their bonded animals. As their actions light the fire of rebellion, both are perceived as threats to Shadow Claw's rule, and are attacked by their deadly arsenal of enslaved creatures. those last 5 words are kick-ass

 

If Jake and Lenjy can come together to dethrone Shadow Claw, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who rebel. 

 

FUSION (132,000 words) is a standalone work of high fantasy with series potential, set in a world with new and unique species of animals.

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

It must be a special kind of torture to condense a 132,000 word high fantasy into 300 concise words.

My advice is to read as many high fantasy blurbs as possible to see how the authors unveil their unique worlds into seamless strokes. Good luck, you have a cool story in here.



#35 brandonyoung

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 08:23 AM

Try #12

 

 

"Jake finds strength in cunning and skill. His people find strength in drinking the blood of beasts. (Can't say I'm necessarily hooked, personally, just because of how vague this is. To me, these are just character traits, showing the difference between Jake and his people.)

 

Jake's only friend is the imaginary voice he speaks to in his dreams. When he hears that voice in a beast's roar, he violates his people's laws by refusing to kill the creature. Jake's punishment is being turned into an animal to become his people's prey. His only hope for a cure rests in working with the creature he saved to unravel the secrets of Shadow Claw; the covert rulers of the land who cursed him. (OK, lots to go through here. Imaginary voice is good. He hears it in a beast he is tasked to kill -- good and interesting, maybe even hook material. Just one question: has Jake already been turned into an animal when he sets out to find the cure? That's unclear.)

 

Like the rest of his pacifist people, Lenjy was desperate to bond with any animal who would take him... even a vengeful, amoral one. The lizard he bonds with is dead-set on infiltrating and bringing down Shadow Claw, killing whoever stands in his way. The creature uses shape-stealing to devour individuals and grant Lenjy their appearance. As Lenjy tries to help, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. (Not too sure about this. By introducing another viewpoint character in your query, I feel like you're wasting a lot of space that could be used to flesh out the first character. Try go for depth rather than scope.)

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls and abilities with their bonded animals. As their actions light the fire of rebellion, both are perceived as threats to Shadow Claw's rule, and are attacked by their deadly arsenal of enslaved creatures.

 

If Jake and Lenjy can come together to dethrone Shadow Claw, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who rebel. 

 

FUSION (132,000 words) is a standalone work of high fantasy with series potential, set in a world with new and unique species of animals.

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

 

Isn't Jake a pretty normal name for a high fantasy? Shouldn't he be, like, Ja'iiyke?

 

But on a serious note, there's really nothing in this that jumps out at me. My suggestion: focus on Jake and focus on the unique aspects of him, his mission, and the world. I get the impression that Jake likes animals, and maybe he has a bond with them that colours both the plot and his personality -- maybe inject some of that into your query. I don't know your story so I can't really help beyond the one-character suggestion. All I can say is find a unique angle and run with that. Or, at least, delve deeper into Jake as a character and give us some personal, emotional stakes. The utter annihilation of those who rebel is a given. At the moment, I just need something that makes me go, okay, there could be something good behind this.

 

Oh, and I'll just give my own personal take on the word count: It's long, but yeah you can get away with it. I wouldn't go longer than 120k on a debut epic fantasy, personally. What you have to think about is that the longer you make it, the more you need to justify the length, and the better the story has to be. I'm sure publishers will buy a brilliant 100k word fantasy over a brilliant 132k word fantasy, just because of shelf space and editing costs, and some production costs. So if you CAN trim it down, the smaller word count is going to look better.


I'm not currently in need of query letter revisions, but I am looking for some amazing beta readers. If you're interested in reading a very short standalone YA fantasy which is heavy on character, crying moments, and not so much on epic scopes and war, shoot me a DM and I'd love to lend you a copy. I'm also open to reading your novels in exchange!


#36 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 12:52 PM

Jake finds strength in cunning and skill. (Explain more... Cunning? What skill?) His people find strength in drinking the blood of beasts. (How?)
 
Jake's only friend is the imaginary voice that speaks with him he speaks to in his dreams (This sentence sounds more like a hook than the first two). When he hears that same voice in a beast's (What beast?) roar, he violates his people's the law by refusing to kill a creature. His punishment is being turned into an animal, to becoming his people's prey. His only hope for a cure is to work with the creature he saved to unravel the secrets of Shadow Claw, the covert rulers of the land who cursed him. 
 
Like the rest of his pacifist people (Different people? The last group didn't seem so passive.), Lenjy (This name is super different than Jake. Is that on purpose?) is desperate to bond with any animal who would take himeven a vengeful, amoral one. (Why?) The lizard he bonds with is dead-set on infiltrating and bringing down Shadow Claw, killing whoever stands in his way. The creature uses shape-stealing (Shape-stealing? I thought I read shapeshifting the first few times.) to devour people and grant Lenjy their appearance. As he tries to help, he hears whispers from dead men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. 
 
Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls and abilities with their bonded animals. (How is Jake sharing souls with the bonded animal? I thought he was just turned into one.) As their actions start a light the fire of rebellion, both are perceived as threats to Shadow Claw's rule, and are attacked by their deadly arsenal of enslaved creatures. If they team up to dethrone Shadow Claw, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would result in the utter annihilation of those who rebel. 
 
The story sounds interesting! There are just a few spots I'm confused about. I hope this helps though!
 
Please return the favor if you can: http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/


#37 kassamarandra

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Posted 22 December 2018 - 12:15 PM

Try #12

 

 

"Jake finds strength in cunning and skill. His people find strength in drinking the blood of beasts. (I'm sorry but this hook doesn't really work for me. I try to use this formula to find my hook: when (character) is faced with (inciting incident/ conflict) they must (overcome conflict) to (complete their stakes/ goals))

 

 

Jake's only friend is the imaginary voice he speaks to in his dreams. When he hears that voice in a beast's roar, he violates his people's laws by refusing to kill the creature. (creature is vague, so is beast in this context really, what type of beast is this?)  Jake's punishment is being turned into an animal to become his people's prey.(maybe raise the stakes to say he's going to be hunted as a beast by his own people? being hunted seems more urgent than "being prey" imo.--also what type of animal?) His only hope for a cure rests in working with the creature he saved to unravel the secrets of Shadow Claw; the covert rulers of the land who cursed him. 

 

Like the rest of his pacifist people, Lenjy (is this the creature Jake saved? If so, then I'd name him above, if it isn't then this sudden appearance of a new person is jarring) was desperate to bond with any animal who would take him... even a vengeful, amoral one. The lizard he bonds with is dead-set on infiltrating and bringing down Shadow Claw, killing whoever stands in his way. The creature uses shape-stealing to devour individuals and grant Lenjy their appearance. As Lenjy tries to help, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. 

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls and abilities with their bonded animals. As their actions light the fire of rebellion, both are perceived as threats to Shadow Claw's rule, and are attacked by their deadly arsenal of enslaved creatures.

 

If Jake and Lenjy can come together to dethrone Shadow Claw, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who rebel. 

 

FUSION (132,000 words) is a standalone work of high fantasy with series potential, set in a world with new and unique species of animals.

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

I've struggled with a multi person query myself, and they aren't easy. Unfortunately, I don't think this one is quite there yet. You've done well with keeping extra names out of the query (is this the reason for "creature" and "beast" throughout?) but I think by focusing on one person and their stakes you may find you have a stronger query. 

 

Hope this helps some 



#38 Koechophe

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Posted 24 December 2018 - 11:00 PM

Heya all, thanks for all the feedback! I'll work with it over the next few days and see what I can do. I'm not sure if this just reveals how subjective this all is, but a lot of the advice seems to read as contradicting other people's advice.

 

For instance, on my opening line I've gotten (just on this page, exact same iteration of my opening line):

"Nice"

"This certainly grabs my attention"

" I LOVE this opening. Already want to know more."

 

And:

"The last line is intriguing, but Jake's bit is nothing special."

"Can't say I'm necessarily hooked, personally, just because of how vague this is. To me, these are just character traits, showing the difference between Jake and his people"

"I'm sorry but this hook doesn't really work for me"

 

I think there's a lesson in there about query writing. I learned something, anyway. Thanks for all the advice, I'll return it as soon as I can!



#39 Koechophe

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Posted 31 December 2018 - 07:34 PM

Try 13 is a go. Hoping that this one increases the clarity without jeapordizing what people liked.



#40 Jemi

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Posted 01 January 2019 - 08:42 PM

Try #13

 

Living among bloodthirsty hunters, Jake's only friend is the imaginary voice he speaks to in his dreams.

 

When Jake hears that voice in a beast's roar, he violates his people's the Shadow's Claw's laws by refusing to kill the creature. The leaders of his people, known as Shadow Claw, punish Jake by turning him into an animal, to be hunted by his people. His only hope of regaining his humanity rests in working with his new animal companion to unravel Shadow Claw's secrets. (Sounding good - I just rearranged a bit to tighten it up. Is his companion the same being as the voice in his dreams? I assume so, but I think you need to state it, otherwise that part of your hook line never really goes anywhere)

 

Like the rest of his pacifist people, Lenjy was desperate to bond with any animal who would take him (if this is so important to a pacifist, you need to give us some idea as to WHY it's important. why does he want this bond so desperately?)... even a vengeful, amoral one. The lizard Lenjy bonds with is dead-set on enacting revenge against Shadow Claw, killing whoever stands in the way. The creature uses shape-stealing to devour individuals and grant Lenjy their appearance (good phrasing! Much more clear than before). As Lenjy infiltrates Shadow Claw, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. (his mind? his body? both?)

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls and abilities with their bonded animals. As their actions light the fire of rebellion, both are perceived as threats to Shadow Claw's rule, and are attacked by their deadly arsenal of enslaved creatures.

 

If Jake and Lenjy can come together to dethrone Shadow Claw, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who rebel. 

 

 

I think this is showing great progress - nicely done! Good luck with it!






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