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Fusion (Fantasy novel query--complete reboot)


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#41 W.P.

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 11:35 AM

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

 

When Jake hears that voice in a beast's roar, he violates his people's laws by refusing to kill the creature. The leaders of his people, ((to avoid repetition in the same sentence)) 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 ((who? the beast with the voice he heard in his dreams?)) to unravel Shadow Claw's secrets.

 

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 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. As Lenjy infiltrates Shadow Claw, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. ((this paragraph is much stronger. great stuff))

 

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. ((implied)) 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"

 

 

 

Honestly, there isn't much I can point out except a few nitpicks. Your story sounds super cool and complex. It's tough to get it all into a query, but you did it! I was confused by the last sentence of the second paragraph, but other than that the query is pretty clear. I'm not sure about the first sentence/hook on its own but it does segue well into the second paragraph, so it's not much of a problem. 

 

 

Anyway, thanks so much for the critique! I hope some of this was helpful as well.



#42 kassamarandra

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 01:38 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 (same?) voice in a beast's roar, he violates his people's laws by refusing to kill the creature. (I would phrase this differently. "he refuses to kill the creature, violating his clan's law." the flow of the sentence feels better that way imo) The leaders of his people, (by putting clan in the previous sentence, you remove the repeat in this sentence) known as Shadow Claw, punish Jake by turning him into an animal, to be hunted by his people(repeat) His only hope of regaining his humanity rests in working with his new animal companion to unravel Shadow Claw's secrets. (I like these stakes)

 

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 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. As Lenjy infiltrates Shadow Claw, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. (the introduction of Lenjy throws the query off. You've lost all the clarity of the last paragraph in this one imo. I get having multiple POV's but single person queries are much more popular with agents right now because they want personal stakes. I only just felt like I was getting to know Jake when you threw Lenjy at me) 

 

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 the end stakes should be a choice. What does Jake have to lose?)

 

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"

 

 

 

Hi again, 

 

I'm sorry but this query just doesn't answer what I want to know from a query. I like the first paragraph, but you lose me in paragraph 2. The dual POV is jarring and throws off the reader and the stakes. What does Jake want? to become human again & get revenge on the clan? Okay, but what is standing in his way and how he will get it? Overall, your story sounds like it is really cool, but I just don't think the query shows that just yet. 



#43 Koechophe

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 02:59 PM

 

I'm sorry but this query just doesn't answer what I want to know from a query. I like the first paragraph, but you lose me in paragraph 2. The dual POV is jarring and throws off the reader and the stakes. What does Jake want? to become human again & get revenge on the clan? Okay, but what is standing in his way and how he will get it? Overall, your story sounds like it is really cool, but I just don't think the query shows that just yet. 

While I do appreciate the feedback, I'm determined to keep both POVs in the query. I've tried drafts where there's only one, and I end up hating them. For high/epic fantasy, the world is just as important as the characters, and the only way I can show the contrast in civilizations and cultures in the query is to keep it multi-pov. 



#44 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 03:03 PM

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: not sure about that phrase. Does he hear the voice in other types of roars too? -- It took me a while to get what you mean here. I think you should rephrase it.), he violates his people's laws by refusing to kill the creature (Why kind of creature?). The leaders of his people, known as Shadow Claw, punish Jake by turning him into an animal so he could be hunted by his (own) people. His only hope of regaining his humanity rests in working with his new animal companion to unravel Shadow Claw's secrets. (How? Like it is a curse he can reverse? How does he know that's what he needs to do?)
 
Like the rest of his pacifist people, Lenjy was desperate to bond with any animal who would take himeven an vengeful, amoral one (That makes it sound like everyone in his village wants an amoral animal to bond with. Perhaps put a "but" or so in there to show that Lenjy is different.). The lizard Lenjy bonds with is dead-set on enacting revenge against Shadow Claw (why?) and killing whoever stands in the way. The creature uses shape-steals to devour individuals and grant Lenjy their appearance. As Lenjy infiltrates Shadow Claw, he hears whispers from the men (What men?) that his creature had slaughtered. Their cruel personalities start to take over Lenjy (How? In what way?)
 
Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls and abilities with their bonded animals (What ability does Jake has? Isn't he just trapped with a kind of curse? Also, I thought they were just bonded with the creatures, not sharing souls.). 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 together, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who rebel. (The last two sentences doesn't really blend with the rest of the query as much.)
 
Overall, I think the query has improved. There was just some spots to clarify that I found mainly. Good luck!
 
If you can, I have a new draft posted: http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/


#45 Koechophe

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 03:07 PM

Heya, thanks for the critique Robin. I'm feeling like a broken record here, but I can't specify the type of creatures that are used in this book because I invented them, and throwing in the unique names and descriptions kills the clarity and brevity of the query.  Try # 14 is a go



#46 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 01:46 AM

Oh, sorry. ^^' I didn't see that before, but I get that struggle. I have the same issue with my novel. I recently named "water spirits" in my query because that's about all the magical creatures that I didn't fully create on my own and even that's a stretch. So, I get not telling their names. Perhaps there's another way I can think of while editing it again. Let's see:

 

 

While living among bloodthirsty hunters, Jake's only friend is the voice that he speaks to in his dreams. (If I didn't mention it last time, great hook by the way. It improved a lot.)
 
When Jake hears his friend's voice when a beast's roars (Do you think that would work better?), he violates his people's laws by refusing to kill the creature. His rulers - known as Shadow Claw - (puts more emphasis.) punish Jake by turning him into an animal, so he can to be hunted as prey. (Perhaps add a sentence about his bond with the beast or sharing his ability with the beast here.) His only hope to regaining his humanity rests in working with the creature he saved to unravel Shadow Claw's secrets. (Is it like a spell that could be reversed?)
 
Lenjy is desperate to bond with any animal who would take him like the rest of his pacifist people. Except, he would even take an amoral one. (Wording it like that helps the reader realized earlier on that we switched to Lenjy here and it also makes sure that the hook (aka: vengeful, amoral one) is just for Lenjy and not for his people. It also puts it in present tense. Also "his people" makes him seem like a ruler. Is he?)
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 Lenjy bonds with is dead-set on getting revenge on Shadow Claw, killing whoever stands in their way. The creature uses shape-stealing (powers) to devour people and grant Lenjy their appearance. As Lenjy infiltrates Shadow Claw, he hears whispers from the men that his creature slaughtered. and Their cruel personalities start to take over him. 
 
Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls and abilities (Didn't show that as much, so I wouldn't mention it.) 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  a deadly arsenal of enslaved creatures.
 
If Jake and Lenjy cannot come together to dethrone Shadow Claw, they will liberate men and beasts alike. T  their failure would mean the any rebellion would be utter annihilated. (I think that runs smoother at the end.) of those who rebel. 
 
I think it's running a lot smoother. I would just clean up a few spots. Good job!
 
If you can, please critique mine in return: http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/


#47 W.P.

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 06:17 AM

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

 

When Jake hears his friend's voice in a beast's roar, he violates his people's laws by refusing to kill the creature. His rulers, known as Shadow Claw, punish Jake by turning him into an animal, to be hunted as prey ((implied)). His only hope of regaining his humanity rests in working with the creature he saved to unravel Shadow Claw's secrets. ((it's much clearer now! But it does make me wonder, what does the creature have to offer? how could a creature help Jake unravel those secrets? is it an intelligent beast? or is it just strong and fast or something?))

 

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 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. As Lenjy infiltrates Shadow Claw, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. ((great paragraph. succinct and engaging. I wish the previous paragraph was more like this. although the other paragraph is clear in the sense that it easy to take in, this one is clear in the sense that I can see it in my mind. this one is more immersive.))

 

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.  ((this underlined part could be trimmed down to "... rebellion, the Shadow Claw send their deadly arsenal of enslaved creatures to attack/capture/kill Lenjy and Jake."))

 

If Jake and Lenjy can come together to dethrone Shadow Claw, they will liberate men and beasts alike. Their failure would mean ((result? <-- sounds more "punchy" I think)) the utter annihilation of those who rebel. ((good, clear stakes. But I'm wondering what is the connection between the two main characters. how do they meet? do they get along? what is their dynamic like? also, you say Jake is turned into an animal, but you don't say which one. If it's one that you invented, is it possible to describe it vaguely? like "a wolf-like beast" or something?))

 

 

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. ((maybe you could put this before the summary so the agent reads the query knowing that you created the beasts and animals. knowing it beforehand will change the way one reads the query.))

 

 

I hope this helps. Thanks so much for the critique! :)



#48 JDSmith

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 01:02 AM

Try #14

 

Living among bloodthirsty hunters, Jake's only friend is the voice he speaks to in his dreams. ugh! another great hook! teach me wise one!

 

But when the voice suddenly comes out of a beast, Jake violates his people's laws by refusing to kill it (idk if this is exactly what happens but I felt it made the sentence flow better) His rulers, known as Shadow Claw, punish Jake by turning him into an animal, to be hunted as prey. His only hope of regaining his humanity rests in working with the creature he saved to unravel Shadow Claw's (dark?) secrets.

 

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 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. As Lenjy infiltrates Shadow Claw, 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. Their failure would result in 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"

 

The rest of this is solid

 
Before critiquing, please read this:
The reason I use the term "creature" and "animal" so frequently is because I invented all of the animals in this novel. Referencing them by name is pointless (no one has any clue what a Veshkar is). If you have suggestions as to a way I can distill that in the query without breaking immersion, please let me know.
I wrote this because hearing the same critique ("you need to tell us what animal") over and over again is kind of pointless.
 
I think using "creature" and "animal" is fine. The way you describe Lenjy's creature as a lizard helps. Maybe do something like that with Jake's creature? I honestly think that if you did put in the actual name of each creature it would be too confusing. Not because of the lack of knowledge of what a Veshkar is but simply because there would be an abundance of names cluttering the query. I think this is a solid query, especially with that hook!
 
My only issue with it was the first sentence of the second paragraph describing Jake meeting the creature. I tweaked it how I think it should be but you do you. That first clause should be easier to read than it is now.
 
Once again though, solid work.

I'd really appreciate help with my query: Iris Mjolnir Spawn of War

 

First 250 words here: Woooo

 

Write on!


#49 Caligulas

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 01:57 PM

Try #14

 

Living among bloodthirsty hunters, Jake's only friend is the voice he speaks to in his dreams. (This doesn't hook me because I don't get it. It's almost like two completely separate thoughts rammed together)

 

When Jake hears his friend's voice in a beast's roar (Annihilation?), he violates his people's laws by refusing to kill the creature. His rulers, known as Shadow Claw, punish Jake by turning him into an animal, to be hunted as prey. His only hope of regaining his humanity rests in working with the creature he saved to unravel Shadow Claw's secrets. (So this book is essentially from the point of view of two people in animal bodies? )

 

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 Lenjy bonds with is dead-set on enacting revenge against Shadow Claw (I'm not sure what's the split between animal and human here), killing whoever stands in the way. The creature uses shape-stealing to devour individuals (Literally?) and grant Lenjy their appearance. As Lenjy infiltrates Shadow Claw (Him or the lizard, it seems like he's being mind controlled or something), he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. (What?)

 

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. Their failure would result in the utter annihilation of those who rebel. (I think the query mostly works. It's kinda confusing at points, but mostly fine)

 

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"

 
Before critiquing, please read this:
The reason I use the term "creature" and "animal" so frequently is because I invented all of the animals in this novel. Referencing them by name is pointless (no one has any clue what a Veshkar is). If you have suggestions as to a way I can distill that in the query without breaking immersion, please let me know.
I wrote this because hearing the same critique ("you need to tell us what animal") over and over again is kind of pointless. 
 

Backstory:

 

I highly doubt anyone will remember me from 2013, but I was actually pretty active on this site a while back. I went through the query process hardcore as a 16 year old, trying to publish my very first book. I was profusely rejected. After time passed and I gained a bit of objectivity, I realized that I wasn't where I needed to be to publish. So I kept practicing, went on a 2-year volunteer mission to scotland, and grew up. Five books and five years later, here I am, ready to try again.

 

Any/all feedback is appreciated and loved. Thanks!

 

First post:

 

"In a world filled with powerful creatures, a perpetual war exists between those who bond with animals and those who enslave them.

 

When Jake turns against his people’s traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, he barely escapes them with his life. Jake is found and captured, and force-fed a fruit which transforms him into an animal so he can be hunted by his own people. As Jake searches for a cure, he must learn to work with and trust his animal companion.

 

Lenjy, who finds a bond after fourteen years of searching, ends up falling into his creature’s ploy for revenge against Shadow Claw--an organization dedicated to seizing power by controlling Mythical creatures. Lenjy’s creature teaches him how to kill individuals and absorb their form. To infiltrate Shadow Claw, Lenjy must brave the whispers and dark impulses of the men he overtakes.

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to hold onto their humanity while sharing souls with their animal companions. Both become steeped in a tremendous struggle against Shadow Claw’s vast array of creatures, led by people who’ve learned how to command the very shadows themselves.

 

Their success would liberate men and beasts alike. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who refuse to control and kill.

 

FUSION (138,000 words) is a standalone epic fantasy novel.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration"



#50 Koechophe

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 11:28 PM

Hey guys, I'm back! New query is up, I'd love any/all feedback on it.



#51 Bibliophyl

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 07:06 PM

Let's see if my fresh eyes can be of use!

 

"Men gain power from the bonds they form with beasts. These bonds also grant rage and malice, and they lead others to hunt men down like the beasts they’ve formed friendships with. All of the query-writing advice I've heard says to start with your MC. It takes 4-5 sentences to get to your MC since even the beginning of your following paragraph is about the society, not your MC. I think you should establish the MC first, because this world-building stuff doesn't hook me without that connection. 

 

Jake’s people live to hunt. Prestige, wealth, and romantic attraction are centralized around one’s ability to slay powerful creatures. But when Jake watches eight of his blade-brothers die in their attempt to hunt a mythical creature, he becomes disgusted with his people’s culture. Jake encounters a Kentlepperren on a hunt, but rather than killing the beast, he befriends it, and they begin forming a bond. [this seems to be the inciting incident--I'd do what you can to move this up] For this, Jake faces the wrath of Shadow Claw—the secret rulers of most of the known world who fear the power Jake gains from his Kentlepperren. 

 

Lenjy’s people live to form bonds with animals. But after eight years of trying, Lenjy still can’t find a creature that will give him the time of day. [this is immediately more interesting to me because I've got a character, situation, and problem right from the get go] When Lenjy gets desperate enough to venture from the safety of his homeland, he finally manages to bond with a Veshkar. But the sociopathic creature is dead set on using Lenjy to infiltrate and destroy Shadow Claw. The creature gives Lenjy the ability to kill other people and assume their bodies and memories. Lenjy is perpetually haunted by both the men he turns into and by a gnawing feeling that something is eating away at his morality and turning his heart black. 

 

Shadow Claw keeps the world in its clutches by controlling men and beasts through fear. As Jake fights back against the organization, he must learn to stem the destructive rage of the creature he bonded with. As Lenjy draws deeper into the organization, he must decide how dark he is willing to become in order to eradicate Shadow Claw’s darkness. I get that this is dual POV, but there's no hint of any connection between the two characters. Do they meet? Do they have to team up? As written it sounds like two completely separate stories. 

 

If they can succeed, they’ll create a world where men and beasts live by trust and friendship rather than by fear and brutality. 

 

FUSION (136,000 words) is a standalone high fantasy. The elements of emotional connection and insurrection will appeal to readers of Sanderson’sThe Stormlight Archive. 

 

I am currently pursuing a degree in English from BYU-Idaho, and I work as a copy editor for the school’s online courses (so I fix courses that say to “complete the assignment with a fiend” and to “write an outline for your essay that includes segmented body parts”). I've heard it's best to stay away from attempts at humor in a bio and keep things professional. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration."

 

I hope that was helpful! I definitely think you should make it more explicit how the 2 stories are connected. Good luck!



#52 lnloft

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 07:12 PM

Hey guys. So college happened, and I've neglected this website and my query for the last few months. It's actually been really good, since I put a lot of distance between myself and my writing. But now, I'm in the process of heavily revising Fusion and trying to prepare it for publication.

 

I read the query that I went round after round on, and I honestly didn't like it. It sounded flat, info-dumpy, and didn't convey the essence of my book, in many ways. I've read through all my previous drafts, and I didn't like any of them either. I know my last query got pretty positive reviews, but I've started from scratch to see if I can do better. For reference, my last query is listed below under "Try 15" (yes, this is actually the 15th draft). I'd really appreciate it if you guys would compare the two and give me feedback on which is better and why.

 

New try: 

 

"Men gain power from the bonds they form with beasts. These bonds also grant rage and malice, and they lead others to hunt men down like the beasts they’ve formed friendships with.  Start with the MCs, so we know who the story's about. I also don't think these lines add anything that we don't get later.

 

Jake’s people live to hunt. Prestige, wealth, and romantic attraction are centralized around one’s ability to slay powerful creatures. But when Jake watches eight of his blade-brothers die in their attempt to hunt a mythical creature, he becomes disgusted with his people’s culture. Jake encounters a Kentlepperren on a hunt, but rather than killing the beast, he befriends it, and they begin forming a bond. For this, Jake faces the wrath of Shadow Claw—the secret rulers of most of the known world who fear the power Jake gains from his Kentlepperren. I like Jake's paragraph better in the older version. I think it's easier if we don't have the species name, since it is a bit of a mouthful. The sentence I underlined also immediately made me think of How to Train Your Dragon, and the older version didn't give me quite the same vibe. I also like how the older version compares how Jake finds strength to how his people do: good parallels in sentence structure, and succinctly laying out the cultural norms.

 

Lenjy’s people live to form bonds with animals. But after eight years of trying, Lenjy still can’t find a creature that will give him the time of day. When Lenjy gets desperate enough to venture from the safety of his homeland, he finally manages to bond with a Veshkar. But the sociopathic creature is dead set on using Lenjy to infiltrate and destroy Shadow Claw. The creature gives Lenjy the ability to kill other people and assume their bodies and memories. Lenjy is perpetually haunted by both the men he turns into and by a gnawing feeling that something is eating away at his morality and turning his heart black. I'm a little more back and forth on which of Lenjy's paragraphs is better. I'd probably go with a mix of both. The older one is more succinct, but I do like the ending sentence of this one. I think if you go back to Jake's old paragraph, I'd love to see Lenjy's paragraph start with the same structure of, "Lenjy verbs ABC. His people verb XYZ." I think if you can pull that off, it would set up a nice duality between the two leads.

 

Shadow Claw keeps the world in its clutches by controlling men and beasts through fear. As Jake fights back against the organization, he must learn to stem the destructive rage of the creature he bonded with. As Lenjy draws deeper into the organization, he must decide how dark he is willing to become in order to eradicate Shadow Claw’s darkness. This paragraph is good.

 

If they can succeed, they’ll create a world where men and beasts live by trust and friendship rather than by fear and brutality. This is a little weak, though.

 

FUSION (136,000 words) is a standalone high fantasy. The elements of emotional connection and insurrection will appeal to readers of Sanderson’s [space] The Stormlight Archive. 

 

I am currently pursuing a degree in English from BYU-Idaho, and I work as a copy editor for the school’s online courses (so I fix courses that say to “complete the assignment with a fiend” and to “write an outline for your essay that includes segmented body parts”). Agents know what a copy editor does, and while I see the attempt at levity, it more comes across clunky and actually made me pause for a moment to figure out if you had made a typo or not.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration."

 

 

Try #15

 

Jake finds strength in his cunning and skill. His people find strength in drinking the blood of beasts. When Jake deserts their traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, 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;, [comma] the covert organization that rules his land. 

 

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 Shadow Claw, and will kill whoever stands in his way. The creature can shape-steal, which devours an individual and gives Lenjy their appearance. Reread this sentence. The grammar is off. Apparently "shape-steal" can devour an individual and give Lenjy their appearance, rather than that being a description of shape-stealing. 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 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 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.

 

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"

Your old version is tighter. There are things you can steal from your new version, but I'd honestly stick to futzing with the old one. I've noticed that if I leave my query sitting too long I always seem to decide it's flat and ineffective, despite getting positive feedback on it previously. We can go round and round on this dance, but at a certain point we do just have to call it. Good luck.


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.

 

I've got 250 words I'd love your feedback on: Untitled fantasy project


#53 Anna.k

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 03:19 PM

 

Try #15

 

Jake finds strength in his cunning and skill. His people find strength in drinking the blood of beasts. (Cool hook, but maybe combine the two sentences into one?) When Jake deserts their traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, he's punished by being turned into an animal as well, so his people can hunt him down (Cool--this is clear) 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. (Covert Organization reads a bit sci fi to me, which is confusing as far as the genre goes as it was reading like a high fantasy up till then)

 

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 Shadow Claw, and will kill whoever stands in his way. The creature can shape-steal, which devours an individual and gives Lenjy their appearance (Confused by this..Lenjy gets what appearance? I thought you were talking about Jake being the lizard creature but I'm not sure now if Lenjy is a different creature, or what he is exactly since you mentioned animal companion) Every time Lenjy shape-steals, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. (So kind of werewolf/ schizo? Lol. Cool idea but this para needs some re-wording for clarification)

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls and abilities with their bonded animals.(So they're both human who each have bonded animals. Definitely make that clear before here) Both are perceived as threats by Shadow Claw, (Why? What makes them so dangerous? An amoral lizard doesn't sound so lethal lol) 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 (If they fail, it )would mean the utter annihilation of those who rebel. (Clear on the stakes here, but the Shadow Claw org still sounds vague and I'm not sure why they are involved or what they want with these creatures/animal bonded people...Otherwise this version is the better one IMO. And thanks for your help with my query!)

 

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"

 

 



#54 Jemi

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 01:50 PM

 

Jake finds strength in his cunning and skill. His (I'd combine these with 'while his') people find strength in drinking the blood of beasts. When Jake deserts their traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, 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. (I think this works - I have a much clearer idea of how J's world works)

 

Like the rest of his people, Lenjy was (is - keep it in present) desperate to bond with any animal who would (will) take him... even a vengeful, amoral one. The lizard he bonds with is dead-set on infiltrating Shadow Claw, and will kill 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. (again - I like the improvements - a much clearer picture of your world. I like how you link both by naming the Shadow Claw)

 

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 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 (I think you'd be better off with 'all' or 'all who dare to' - those sounds just a tad waeker) 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"

 

 

Nice! I find this much easier to follow than previous versions. You've laid out the complexities of the world clearly.

I'd suggest showing somewhere in those last 2 paragraphs that J & L & their beasts are working together (if they are). If they are, then maybe a simple statement of how they link up would work.



#55 kassamarandra

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 02:29 PM

New try: (this one has too many proper nouns)

 

"Men gain power from the bonds they form with beasts. These bonds also grant rage and malice, and they lead others to hunt men down like the beasts they’ve formed friendships with. 

 

Jake’s people live to hunt. Prestige, wealth, and romantic attraction are centralized around one’s ability to slay powerful creatures. But when Jake watches eight of his blade-brothers die in their attempt to hunt a mythical creature, he becomes disgusted with his people’s culture. Jake encounters a Kentlepperren on a hunt, but rather than killing the beast, he befriends it, and they begin forming a bond. For this, Jake faces the wrath of Shadow Claw—the secret rulers of most of the known world who fear the power Jake gains (I think this tidbit should be brought into the query below) from his Kentlepperren. 

 

Lenjy’s people live to form bonds with animals. But after eight years of trying, Lenjy still can’t find a creature that will give him the time of day. (while I'm not a fan of the "give him the time of day" bit, I think this info should also be included in the below query) When Lenjy gets desperate enough to venture from the safety of his homeland, he finally manages to bond with a Veshkar (take out this proper noun and let the reader know it's a lizard). But the sociopathic creature is dead set on using Lenjy to infiltrate and destroy Shadow Claw. The creature gives Lenjy the ability to kill other people and assume their bodies and memories. Lenjy is perpetually haunted by both the men he turns into and by a gnawing feeling that something is eating away at his morality and turning his heart black. (actually, I prefer this paragraph altogether, to the one in the paragraph below except for the proper nouns)

 

Shadow Claw keeps the world in its clutches by controlling men and beasts through fear. As Jake fights back against the organization, he must learn to stem the destructive rage of the creature he bonded with. As Lenjy draws deeper into the organization, he must decide how dark he is willing to become in order to eradicate Shadow Claw’s darkness. (instead of "must learn" & "must decide" (these feel passive) this last bit needs more struggle)

 

If they can succeed, they’ll create a world where men and beasts live by trust and friendship rather than by fear and brutality. (I'm not sure this is really all that strong on stakes.)

 

FUSION (136,000 words) is a standalone high fantasy. The elements of emotional connection and insurrection will appeal to readers of Sanderson’sThe Stormlight Archive. 

 

I am currently pursuing a degree in English from BYU-Idaho, and I work as a copy editor for the school’s online courses (so I fix courses that say to “complete the assignment with a fiend” and to “write an outline for your essay that includes segmented body parts”).

 

Thank you for your time and consideration."

 

 

Try #15 (this one is much clearer)

 

Jake finds strength in his cunning and skill. His people find strength in drinking the blood of beasts. When Jake deserts their traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, 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. (I feel like this opening, while good, doesn't really hook me. I understand the plot from this, so that's a plus, but this feels more like a twitter pitch--like this could be expanded into a query all it's own) 

 

Like the rest of his people, Lenjy (I'm immediately thrown by the new POV. Personally I prefer single POV queries) 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 Shadow Claw, and will kill 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,(for some reason I'm not a fan of the phrase "his creature slaughtered") and their cruel personalities start to take over. (what are Lenjy's stakes? what does he have to lose? Are the personalities that take over permanent?)

 

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 (this "their" made me stop and think if this is the SC or the MCs) arsenal of enslaved creatures, led by men (is this the SC or the MCs?) 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. ("of those who rebel" feels vague and flat.)

 

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"

 

 

 

I think that you could actually combine these two queries into one, I like parts from each. 

 

Hopefully my comments help bring some clarity for you.

If you have a minute, and don't mind, you can find my query here

Cas



#56 bookgirl_kt

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 05:35 PM

A couple thoughts on your two versions which I hope you will find useful:

 

I actually like your old version better than your new one. But for some very specific reasons, and I think you could revise the new version to have the strengths of the old one.

 

1. The old version is shorter. This may vary from person to person, but I've found shorter tends to work better with agents.

 

2. The old version introduces the second protagonist faster. I think that's necessary: when I got to him, I was surprised we were adding a new character around when I was expecting the query to wrap up. The general rule I've seen with queries is what you do with your old one: introduce one character in the first paragraph and the other in the next one.

 

3. The new version introduces a lot of world-building and new terms. Enough to get overwhelming for new readers.

 

That said, one big strength of the new query is that it's a lot more detailed. You also include some great, vivid turns of phrase. You're clearly a really good writer! I think if you can manage to cut down the new query so it's as short as the old one, that will be the best version.






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