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Fusion (Fantasy novel query)


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#1 Koechophe

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Posted 30 September 2018 - 10:26 PM

Try #12

 

 

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

 

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. 

 

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. 

 

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"

 

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"



#2 Dollophead

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Posted 30 September 2018 - 10:50 PM

In a world filled with powerful creatures, When I hear anything that starts with "In a world," I just think of the Honest Trailers guy. Open with something more specific; what world is this? what are the 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 you don't need this, you can just flow into this next sentence --> 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. Not really a critique, but is there a different word you can use than "animal companion?" I think of "familiar," for example. Idk I think it'd just give the sentence more of an oomph.

 

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. If these creatures are mythical, can you specify what species they are? Like instead of "his creature's ploy" you can say, "his griffin's ploy." To infiltrate Shadow Claw, Lenjy must brave the whispers and dark impulses of the men he overtakes. Does he only kill bad men? Interesting.

 

So...I'm a little confused about what "absorb their form" means. Can Lenjy shapeshift into the people he kills? That's what I imagine. Do you think you can clarify a little, just so you don't lose us going into the next paragraph?

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to hold onto maintain 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. Are the shadows also mythical creatures, or are we talking about forces of darkness here?

 

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

 

FUSION (138,000 words) is a standalone epic fantasy novel. 138k is really long for a first novel. When I was querying mine at 130k, I was rejected. Every. Single. Time. I know you're doing epic fantasy, but it's really hard to break out into publishing with a debut novel that long. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

Just some clarification and some fine tuning and I think you'll be good. See if you can get that word count down!



#3 Koechophe

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 10:16 AM

Second try taking the feedback into account:

 

"Dangerously powerful creatures fill the land, and a perpetual war exists between those who bond with them and those who enslave them.

 

When Jake deserts his people’s traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, he is captured and force-fed a fruit which transforms him into an animal, so he can be hunted by his own gathering. As Jake searches for a cure, he must learn to stem the volatile impulses of 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 powerful creatures. Lenjy’s creature teaches him how to kill individuals and absorb their form, becoming a perfect facsimile of his victim. To infiltrate and destroy Shadow Claw, Lenjy must brave the whispers and dark impulses of the men he overtakes.

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain 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 enslave the very shadows themselves.

 

Their success would liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. 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 which plunges the reader into a world filled with new and unique creatures. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

Notes:

Thanks so much for the critique! To clarify, all of the animals are ones I invented, so the names of the creatures (Kentlepperren, Veshkars, etc) would be completely lost on the reader, and I don't think it would add to the query to throw them in. The word "Mythical" is one my own affectation, and doesn't refer to modern society's "mythical". I took it out to avoid confusion.

 

If there's any good way to indicate that it's all unique creatures that I invented in the query, I'd love some advice on that. I couldn't figure out how to say that without totally breaking the 4th wall. Likewise, the world name (Jarath) is of my own invention, and would be lost on the reader too.

 

Does adding the bit at the end help clarify this, or is it still too ambiguous and should be removed?



#4 SnowFox23

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 12:50 AM

"Dangerously powerful creatures fill the land, and a perpetual war exists between those who bond with them and those who enslave them.

hmm. I re-read this opening a few times but it didn't quite capture me.

 

When Jake deserts his people’s traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, he is captured and force-fed a fruit which transforms him into an animal, so he can be hunted by his own gathering. holy crap, that's pretty cool. As Jake searches for a cure, he must learn to stem the volatile impulses of 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 powerful creatures. this is a very long line, and I had to re-read it a few times to fully understand what you meant. Maybe kill the bit about how long he waited to find a bond, it doesn't really add much and it just slows the sentence down.

 Lenjy’s creature teaches him how to kill individuals and absorb their form, becoming a perfect facsimile of his victim. To infiltrate and destroy Shadow Claw, Lenjy must brave the whispers and dark impulses of the men he overtakes.

This whole paragraph didn't work for me. It is a bit pedestrian rather than impactful. Also, what does Lenjy think of it all? what is he feeling? Does he want to destroy the shadow claw?

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain 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 enslave the very shadows huh? themselves.

 

Their success would liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who refuse to control and kill.

 

There is a cool story in here, I can tell. But this query just didn't grab me. I feel like there is a lot of 'telling' rather than showing. Like: 'Both become steeped in a tremendous struggle' how? What struggle?

Their success would liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches  how would it liberate them, though? I don't understand.

Their failure would mean the utter annihilation how will they be annihilated?

 

Queries suck, I know. But right now I just don't understand the stakes enough to understand your story. The premise is super cool, though :)

 

 

FUSION (138,000 words) is a standalone epic fantasy novel which plunges the reader into a world filled with new and unique creatures.



#5 Koechophe

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 09:10 AM

Hey, thanks so much for the feedback snowfox! Super helpful in refining my query.

 

"In a land teeming with powerful creatures, a perpetual war exists between those who bond with them and those who enslave them.

 

Jake has always wanted to be different from his brutish, predatory people. When he deserts his people’s traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, he is captured and force-fed a fruit which transforms him into an animal so that he can be hunted by his own gathering. As Jake searches for a cure, it's all he can do to keep his animal companion's violent and volatile impulses in check.

 

Lenjy has been doggedly seeking an animal bond for the last eight years, but the creature he finds isn't what he expected. It carries a the ability to shape-steal, which kills an individual and grants Lenjy their appearance. Lenjy's creature also holds a chilling disregard for human life and is bent on using Lenjy to exact revenge upon Shadow Claw--an organization that controls most of the known world with enslaved creatures. But every time Lenjy shape-steals, he hears whispers of the men his creature killed, and their cruel personalities start to take over. 

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls with their animal companions. As Shadow Claw wages war against the bonded people, Jake and Lenjy come to their aid, hoping to destroy Shadow Claw once and for all. Standing in their is way Shadow Claw's vast array of powerful creatures, led by people who’ve enslaved the immortal shadows from the Darkland of souls.

 

Their success would liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who refuse to control and kill.

 

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

 

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

-Notes:

This time I tried to focus on removing generality and strengthening characterization, to show rather than tell. I'm still unsure about the first line, any advice on how/what to articulate would be great. Thanks for the feedback!



#6 mcnamml

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 01:59 PM

"In a land teeming with powerful creatures, a perpetual war exists between those who bond with them and those who enslave them.

 

Jake has always wanted to be different from his brutish, predatory people (Are these people the Shadow Claw?). When he deserts his people’s their traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, he is captured and force-fed a fruit which transforms him into an animal so that he can be hunted by his own gathering. As Jake searches for a cure, it's all he can do to keep his animal companion's violent and volatile impulses in check. This sentence isn't bad, just a possible suggestion that hints towards a more "playful" relationship since your previous query denotes that they must work together and trust eachother -"With an animal companion that has a propensity for violence and is hardly stable, the only salvation Jake can hope for is to find a cure."

 

Lenjy (What is his relation to Jake, are they from the same predatory people? If he is from the people who chose to bond, do they have a name? If not, disregard.) has been doggedly seeking an animal bond for the last eight years, [but the creature he finds isn't what he expected.] -This line is used too often in queries and feels a bit "hokey". It carries a the ability to shape-steal, which kills an individual and grants Lenjy their appearance. Lenjy's creature also holds a chilling disregard for human life and is bent on using Lenjy to exact revenge upon Shadow Claw--an organization that controls most of the known world with enslaved creatures. But every time Lenjy shape-steals, he hears whispers of the men his creature killed, and their cruel personalities start to take over. Great plot twist and great revelation to keep the query captivating.

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls with their animal companions. As Shadow Claw wages war against the bonded people, Jake and Lenjy come to their aid, hoping to destroy Shadow Claw once and for all. How did Lenjy and Jake come together? Standing in their is way Shadow Claw's vast array of powerful creatures, led by people who’ve enslaved the immortal shadows from the Darkland of souls.

 

Their success would liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who refuse to control and kill.

 

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

 

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

-Notes:

This time I tried to focus on removing generality and strengthening characterization, to show rather than tell. I'm still unsure about the first line, any advice on how/what to articulate would be great. Thanks for the feedback!



#7 Koechophe

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 04:32 PM

Thanks for the feedback man! It's great for helping me polish the query. Only minor changes, but here we go:

 

 

"In a land teeming with powerful creatures, a perpetual war exists between people who bond with them and people who enslave them.

 

Jake always wanted to be different from his brutish, predatory people. When he deserts their traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, he is captured and force-fed a fruit which transforms him into an animal so that he can be hunted by his own gathering. As Jake searches for a cure, it's all he can do to keep his animal companion's violent and volatile impulses in check.

 

Lenjy has been doggedly seeking an animal bond for the last eight years, but he's completely unprepared for the creature he finds. It carries the ability to shape-steal, which kills an individual and grants Lenjy their appearance. Lenjy's creature also holds a chilling disregard for human life, and is bent on using Lenjy to exact revenge upon Shadow Claw--an organization that controls most of the known world through enslaved creatures. Every time Lenjy shape-steals, he hears whispers of the men his creature killed, and their cruel personalities start to take over. 

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls with their animal companions. As Shadow Claw wages war against the bonded people, Jake and Lenjy each come to their aid, hoping to destroy Shadow Claw once and for all. Standing in their way is Shadow Claw's vast array of powerful creatures, led by people who’ve enslaved immortal shadows from the Darkland of souls.

 

Their success would liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who refuse to control and kill.

 

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

 

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

To answer some of your questions:

-No, Jake's people are not Shadow Claw. Shadow Claw is more like a meta-government which quietly rules, rather than a dictatorship.

-No, Jake and Lenjy are not from the same people (I'd hoped that was somewhat obvious by the contrast between Jake's story being hunted down by his people for not killing an animal VS Lenjy's story of searching for an animal for years and years.)

-Yes, Lenjy is from the people who bond. The closest thing they have to a name is the Grey people, but that title means nothing without context. I avoided throwing it in there to avoid excessive name usage. 

-Jake and Lenjy don't come together (at least not until towards the end of the book, their paths cross, but they rarely work together). I reworded slightly to hopefully make that more apparent. 



#8 RoseGlacier

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 06:20 PM

Hey, rad concept you have here. I think you're well on your way to crafting a good query. I hope my notes and questions provide some insight into what might be confusing for readers.

 

==

 

Thanks for the feedback man! It's great for helping me polish the query. Only minor changes, but here we go:

 

 

"In a land teeming with powerful creatures, a perpetual war exists between people who bond with them and people who enslave them. [Huge improvement over your first draft!]

 

Jake always wanted to be different from his brutish, predatory people. [Finding myself wishing for a synonym for 'people' here since it's already been used twice in the previous sentence. Clan?] When he deserts their traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, he is captured and force-fed a fruit which transforms him into an animal so that he can be hunted by his own gathering [His own gathering? Gathering of what? Like, he's the leader of a gathering? Unclear to me]. As Jake searches for a cure, it's all he can do to keep his animal companion's violent and volatile impulses in check. [By companion, do you mean the creature he has transformed into? Is he occupying the body of a creature, or is HE the creature?]

 

Lenjy has been doggedly seeking an animal bond for the last eight years, but he's completely unprepared for the creature he finds. It carries the ability to shape-steal, which kills an individual and grants Lenjy their appearance. Lenjy's creature also holds a chilling disregard for human life, and is bent on using Lenjy to exact revenge upon Shadow Claw--an organization that controls most of the known world through enslaved creatures. Every time Lenjy shape-steals, he hears whispers of the men his creature killed, and their cruel personalities start to take over.  [Interesting concept]

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls with their animal companions [Aha. I kind of wish you'd open with this information to introduce us to the concept of sharing souls with the creatures, and to both Jake and Lenjy as examples of the two different groups of people, before launching into their stories.] As Shadow Claw wages war against the bonded people, Jake and Lenjy each come to their aid, hoping to destroy Shadow Claw once and for all. Standing in their way is Shadow Claw's vast array of powerful creatures, led by people who’ve enslaved immortal shadows from the Darkland of souls. [Immortal... shadows? WHat's the Darkland of Souls? I'm confused]

 

Their success would liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who refuse to control and kill.

 

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

 

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

To answer some of your questions:

-No, Jake's people are not Shadow Claw. Shadow Claw is more like a meta-government which quietly rules, rather than a dictatorship.

-No, Jake and Lenjy are not from the same people (I'd hoped that was somewhat obvious by the contrast between Jake's story being hunted down by his people for not killing an animal VS Lenjy's story of searching for an animal for years and years.)

-Yes, Lenjy is from the people who bond. The closest thing they have to a name is the Grey people, but that title means nothing without context. I avoided throwing it in there to avoid excessive name usage. 

-Jake and Lenjy don't come together (at least not until towards the end of the book, their paths cross, but they rarely work together). I reworded slightly to hopefully make that more apparent. 

 

==

 

 

 



#9 Koechophe

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 06:56 PM

Heya Rose, thank you so much for your feedback! I'm always appreciative when people tell me things that don't make sense to them, since that's my biggest bane in querying--trying to make everything entry-level. Here's another try.

 

 

"In a land teeming with powerful animals, a perpetual war exists between people who share their souls with the creatures and people who enslave them instead.

 

Jake always wanted to be different the hunters in his brutish, predatory gathering. When he deserts their traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, he is captured and force-fed a fruit which transforms him into an animal so that his own people can hunt him down. As Jake and his animal companion search for a cure, it's all Jake can do to keep the creature's violent and volatile impulses in check.

 

Lenjy has been doggedly seeking an animal bond for the last eight years, but he's completely unprepared for the creature he finds. It carries the ability to shape-steal, which kills an individual and grants Lenjy their appearance. Lenjy's creature also holds a chilling disregard for human life, and is bent on using Lenjy to exact revenge upon Shadow Claw--an organization that controls most of the known world through enslaved creatures. Every time Lenjy shape-steals, he hears whispers of the men his creature killed, and their cruel personalities start to take over. 

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls with their animal companions. As Shadow Claw wages war against the bonded people, Jake and Lenjy each come to their aid, hoping to destroy Shadow Claw once and for all. Standing in their way is Shadow Claw's vast array of powerful creatures, led by people who’ve learned to control the undead souls of their fallen prey

 

Their success would liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who refuse to control and kill.

 

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

 

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

Notes:
-Hopefully this clarifies the relationship with Jake and his animal a bit better

-Please let me know if adding to the starting line is a wise choice, I think the new phraseology is much more compelling

-Everyone seems confused by the line about shadows, so I reworked it into an alternate (but still accurate) wording. 

 



#10 JDSmith

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 05:48 PM

 

Heya Rose, thank you so much for your feedback! I'm always appreciative when people tell me things that don't make sense to them, since that's my biggest bane in querying--trying to make everything entry-level. Here's another try.

 

 

"In a land teeming with powerful animals, a perpetual war exists between people who share their souls with the creatures and those who enslave them instead. And that, folks, is how you hook someone

 

Jake always wanted to be different than the other hunters in his brutish, predatory gathering. When he deserts their traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, he is captured and force-fed a fruit which transforms him into an animal so that his own people can hunt him down. (oh shit ok tension! stakes! Woohoo!) As Jake and his animal companion search for a cure, it's all Jake can do to keep the creature's violent and volatile impulses in check(Animal friends! And also, this sentence feels clunky. The "as" clause feels out of place with the second clause)

 

Lenjy has been doggedly seeking an animal bond for the last eight years, but he's completely unprepared for the creature he finds. It carries the ability to shape-steal, which kills an individual and grants Lenjy their appearance. Lenjy's creature also holds a chilling disregard for human life, and is bent on using Lenjy to exact revenge upon Shadow Claw (Huh?)--an organization that controls most of the known world through enslaved creatures(wait what?). Every time Lenjy shape-steals, he hears whispers from the men his creature killed, and their cruel personalities start to take over. (Oooh interesting tradeoff for taking their form)

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls with their animal companions. As Shadow Claw wages war against the bonded people, Jake and Lenjy each come to their aid, hoping to destroy Shadow Claw once and for all. Standing in their way is Shadow Claw's vast array of powerful creatures, led by people who’ve learned to control the undead souls of their fallen prey (Huh? What? This paragraph comes out of nowhere. out of all the paragraphs, this one needs to be refined. Sentences feel rushed and clunky here.)

 

Their success would liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who refuse to control and kill.  (So the bad people would die if they failed? Win win? I'm kind of confused.)

 

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

 

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

Notes:
-Hopefully this clarifies the relationship with Jake and his animal a bit better

-Please let me know if adding to the starting line is a wise choice, I think the new phraseology is much more compelling

-Everyone seems confused by the line about shadows, so I reworked it into an alternate (but still accurate) wording. 

 

 

So I'm really intrigued but confused at the same time. How do the rules work involving creature bonding? Are they with you for life or something? Interesting that there are two different points of view, both struggling to maintain their humanity. Jake's been turned into a creature himself and Lenjy's creature is evil. Lenjy's stuff pretty much comes out of nowhere. At that point I was really invested in what was going on with Jake, to get ripped away from it and shown this new character's struggle felt jarring. Maybe a "meanwhile" or something could help with the transition? I think that with a better understanding of this world's rules, the second paragraph will make more sense. Maybe it just needs to be simplified. Does having a creature give you special abilities? because that's what threw me off with Lenjy's paragraph.

 

Ok now that I'm done word vomiting, I think we need some areas to be simpler but we also need more of an understanding of the world to feel grounded while reading this. In fact, the opening line is a perfect place for that. Maybe then you won't even have to cut stuff.

 

Forgive me, my comments on this site are very "stream of consciousness"-y

 

I'd really appreciate your feedback on my query linked below. I've read your other critiques on other queries and you seem to really know your stuff


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

 

First 250 words here: Woooo

 

Write on!


#11 HarlequinWriter

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 07:10 PM

In a land teeming with powerful creatures, a perpetual war exists between people who bond with them and people who enslave them. This isn't a bad sentence but I feel like this is clearer: Perpetual war exists between people who bond with powerful creatures and those who seek to enslave them. 

 

Jake always wanted to be different from his brutish, predatory people. When he deserts their traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, he is captured and force-fed a fruit which transforms him into an animal so that he can be hunted by his own gathering. As Jake searches for a cure, it's all he can do to keep his animal companion's violent and volatile impulses in check.

 

Lenjy has been doggedly seeking an animal bond for the last eight years, but he's completely unprepared for the creature he finds. It carries the ability to shape-steal, which kills an individual and grants Lenjy their appearance grants their appearance to Lenjy. Lenjy's creature also holds a chilling disregard for human life, and is bent on using Lenjy to exact revenge upon Shadow Claw--an organization that controls most of the known world through enslaved creatures I would break this up into two sentences. Every time Lenjy shape-steals, he hears whispers of the slaughtered men his creature killed It's already stated his creature kills which allows shape-stealing, so no need to be repetitive, and their cruel personalities start to take over. 

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls with their animal companions. As Shadow Claw Looking at previous responses, it appears you should give more information on Shadow Claw wages war against the bonded people, Jake and Lenjy each come to their aid, hoping to destroy Shadow Claw once and for all Did Jake and Lenjy meet up?. Standing in their way is Shadow Claw's vast array of powerful creatures, led by people who’ve enslaved immortal shadows from the Darkland of souls. What is Shadow Claw's ultimate goal? Also the part about the Darkland souls feels like it came out of nowhere 

 

Their success would liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who refuse to control and kill.

 

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

 

Thank you for your time and consideration"

 

Some of the sentences had strange/confusing word order and at times, you used so many pronouns that it was difficult to know what you were talking about, but I hope I was able to help. Thank you for you critique on my query!



#12 Koechophe

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 10:37 PM

(Snip)

 

Hey, I really appreciate the feedback! Just want to point out that it's on a previous draft, the original post and post number 9 have the latest one (though I might be doing some edits with the newest feedback regardless. 



#13 Koechophe

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 10:59 PM

Okay, try number 6! 

 

(So that I don't have to keep editting 2 drafts when I spot something, please refer to the first post)



#14 JDSmith

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 02:39 PM

Try #6

 

 

"In a land teeming with powerful animals, a perpetual war exists between people who share their souls with the creatures and people who enslave them.

 

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 is captured and force-fed a fruit that transforms him into a creature, so his own people can hunt him down. While Jake and his animal companion search for a cure, it's all Jake can do to keep the creature's violent and volatile impulses in check.

 

Lenjy doggedly sought an animal bond for eight years, but he's completely unprepared for the creature he finds. It carries the ability to shape-steal, which kills an individual and gives Lenjy their appearance. Lenjy's creature also holds a chilling disregard for human life, and is bent on manipulating Lenjy to fulfill its own shadowy agenda. 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. Both are perceived as threats by an organization known as Shadow Claw, which uses enslaved animals to covertly dominate most of the known world. As Jake seeks a cure and Lenjy seeks his creature’s revenge against Shadow Claw, they each must battle Shadow Claw’s arsenal of enslaved creatures, led by men who’ve learned to control the undead souls of their fallen prey.

 

If Jake and Lenjy succeed, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who refuse to control and kill.

 

FUSION (138,000 words) is a standalone work of high fantasy. I am currently studying English at BYU-Idaho, and my hobbies include writing, class, homework, working at Wallmart, and sleep (in that order).

 

Thank you for your time and consideration

 

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"

Okay! compared to the post I accidentally critiqued, this is much much better. Everything is easy to understand now and conveys the plot very well! Try #6 is a win


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

 

First 250 words here: Woooo

 

Write on!


#15 Dollophead

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 09:53 PM

I think you should double-check that Wallmart up there XD

 

But great query! It's very strong now. The only thing I'd recommend is taking out your hobbies and lowering the word count. 



#16 Koechophe

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Posted 24 October 2018 - 05:50 PM

So... any further thoughts? I waited a few weeks and came back to it, and still couldn't think of anything to change.



#17 efowler

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Posted 25 October 2018 - 08:05 PM

Hey! I didn't read the other comments, so hopefully this has some fresh feedback for you. Sorry if it has repeated content :)

 

Try #6

 

 

"In a land teeming with powerful animals, a perpetual war exists between people who share their souls with the creatures and people who enslave them. (I'd strike out the beginning part then rearrange. The hook doesn't need to be super specific where we need all the details of what the animals are. The hook of "there is a war going on between people who share their souls with others and people who enslave others souls" is quite the hook. Of course, reword, but just an example)

 

Jake never wanted to be like the hunters in his brutish, predatory gathering. (Or this could be the hook, and you can work up to what you have above. The current one is just a lot on info to start out with. This hook gives the character & his motives & part of the setting pretty clearly.) When he deserts their traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it (Can you say, "When he was caught saving an animal,..."), he is captured and force-fed his tribe captures and feeds him (I would even say "curses him into a creature...", we don't need to know it's a fruit in the query, right?) a fruit that transforms him into a creature so his own people can hunt him down (break apart this sentence so that 'his own people can hunt him down' is separated. That's a bold statement & from that, we can tell the stakes). While Jake and his animal companion search for a cure, it's all Jake can do to keep the creature's violent and volatile impulses in check. (Not needed in the query)

 

Lenjy (who?) doggedly sought an animal bond for eight years, but he's completely unprepared for the creature he finds. It carries the ability to shape-steal, which kills an individual and gives Lenjy their appearance. Lenjy's creature also holds a chilling disregard for human life, and is bent on manipulating Lenjy to fulfill its own shadowy agenda. Every time Lenjy shape-steals, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. (This paragraph is hard to follow. Who is Lenjy and how does he relate to Jake? It feels like a different story. There's a lot of telling in here, not much voice. I think a lot of it is actually unnecessary. Maybe this paragraph could be about how Jake met Lenjy, then transition into the next paragraph. If Jake is the main character, we don't need to know much about Lenjy in the query. Really just how he relates to Jake.)

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity (Yeah, I like this! Definitely reassures that the last sentence I stroke out was unnecessary). while sharing souls with their animal companions. Both are perceived as threats by an organization known as Shadow Claw, which uses enslaved animals to covertly dominate most of the known world. As Jake seeks a cure and Lenjy seeks his creature’s revenge against Shadow Claw, they each must battle Shadow Claw’s arsenal of enslaved creatures, led by men who control the undead souls of their fallen prey.

(Try adding this more naturally in. "But when the Shadow Claw tries to ________ Jake and Lenjy, they must battle their arsenal of enslaved creatures and undead souls." And the ____ should be an action that describes what the Shadow Claw is - like, what part in your book does Jake & Lenjy meet the Shadow Claw & we can see that they're enslaving animals?)

 

If Jake and Lenjy succeed, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who refuse to control and kill. (The If, Then is a little off... Maybe something like "They are so close to abolishing Shadow Claw. But failure means utter annihilation for all." But written better :) )

 

FUSION (138,000 words) is a standalone work of high fantasy. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration

 

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"



#18 Koechophe

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 10:21 AM

Thanks for the feedback! I took a bit of it onboard and incorperated it into the Query



#19 Ilovesoup

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 08:41 PM

Hello, Koechophe!

 

I was intrigued by your story, how you queried when you were younger but didn't land any hits and now you're trying again. I'm in the same boat, really :)

 

Here are my thoughts on your query below, coming at it with fresh eyes.

 

 

"In a land teeming with powerful animals, a perpetual war exists between people who share their souls with the creatures and people who enslave them. (To be honest, I don't like this opening. I think it's important to lead with the main character, not the world building. As a fantasy reader, this doesn't really draw me in).

 

You should start with this:

 

Jake never wanted to be like the hunters in his brutish, predatory gathering. (Can you make this more snappy? Like, "Jake can do this and that, but being a brutish predator is not in his agenda" or something like that). When he deserts their traditions by bonding with an animal rather than killing it, he is captured and force-fed a fruit that transforms him into a creature so his own people can hunt him down. (Okay, wait, does he BECOME a creature or BOND with one?)

 

Lenjy (Who is Lenjy? What happened to Jake?) doggedly sought an animal bond (what's the significance of this bond?) for eight years, but he's unprepared for the creature he finds (What creature?). It carries the ability to shape-steal, which kills an individual and gives Lenjy their appearance (Gives Lenjy their appearance? So the creature takes other people's identities and gives it to Lenjy?). Lenjy's creature also holds a chilling disregard for human life, and is bent on manipulating Lenjy to fulfill its own shadowy agenda. Every time Lenjy shape-steals, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. 

 

 

Lenjy came out of left field here, and I'm not sure what he adds to the query at this point. There's no lead-in, so I'm confused about what he does.

 

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls with their animal companions. (So eating the fruit turns you into a creature? Or bonds with them?) Both are perceived as threats by an organization known as Shadow Claw, which uses enslaved animals to covertly dominate most of the known world. As Jake seeks a cure and Lenjy seeks his creature’s revenge against Shadow Claw, they each must battle Shadow Claw’s arsenal of enslaved creatures, led by men who control the undead souls of their fallen prey.

 

If Jake and Lenjy succeed, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who refuse to control and kill. (So, the annihilation of innocent people?) 

 

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

 

Thank you for your time and consideration

 

Okay, so I have a lot of questions about HOW Shadow Claw plans on using these enslaved animals. Are Lenjy and Jake enslaved creatures too? Or not yet? Also, is this how the book is written - in two POVs? If not, I would stick to Jake OR Lenjy. At least, the way you have it here is a little confusing. I actually like your first post a lot better than this. Can you try to clarify a bit of the points above? And please specify who Lenjy is in the query - a friend, relative, someone in the same boat as Jake, etc.

 

Hope this helps.



#20 Jemi

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Posted 02 November 2018 - 09:31 AM

 

 

In a land teeming with powerful animals, a perpetual war exists between people who share their souls with the creatures and people who enslave them. (I'd be tempted to cut this. It comes across as more of a pitch than part of the query. I always think it's best to dig right in with a character we can care about)

 

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 is captured and force-fed  a fruit that transforms him into a creature so his own people can hunt him down. (This includes most of your first line so I definitely feel you can eliminate that bit. I think you can tighten a bit by combing the 1st 2 ideas... Jake deserts his gathering's brutish traditions when he bonds with... (I'd name the animal rather than using the generic word) .. As punishment, he is transformed into a (specific name again). Now he is prey for his former family..

 

Lenjy doggedly sought an animal bond for eight years (why does he want to bond? what's the advantage?), but he's unprepared for the creature he finds. It carries the ability to shape-steal, which kills an individual and gives Lenjy their appearance. Lenjy's creature also holds a chilling disregard for human life, and is bent on manipulating Lenjy to fulfill its own shadowy agenda. Every time Lenjy shape-steals, he hears whispers from the men his creature slaughtered, and their cruel personalities start to take over. (this leaves me wondering why he chose to bond at all. I'm also a bit confused -- does the bonding mean they share 1 body now, or are they bonded as a team of human/creature)

 

Both Lenjy and Jake struggle to maintain their humanity while sharing souls with their animal companions. Both are perceived as threats by an organization known as Shadow Claw, which uses enslaved animals to covertly dominate most of the known world. As Jake seeks a cure and Lenjy seeks his creature’s revenge against Shadow Claw, they each must battle Shadow Claw’s arsenal of enslaved creatures, led by men who control the undead souls of their fallen prey. (I think you can tighten this up as well - we need to know why/how Jake & Lenjy team up against Shadow Claw)

 

If Jake and Lenjy succeed, they will liberate men and beasts alike from Shadow Claw's clutches. Their failure would mean the utter annihilation of those who refuse to control and kill. (why is everything resting on their success? I can see why the success works, but I'm not sure about this being the last chance for the world)

 

 

Sounds like you've got an intriguing story here. It's tough to distill the complexities down to a smooth query. Don't get too bogged down in explaining the details. You obviously need some to show that your story is unique and stands out, but I think a little tightening up will help your query attract an agent's attention more easily.

Hope some of that helps. If the advice doesn't resonate, feel free to ignore it - it's your story so you'll know best. Good luck!






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