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Eyes of Fire


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#1 Jbaydoun

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Posted 30 October 2018 - 05:31 PM

Dear Agent,

 

A slave’s life is not easy, especially when you're the only human in the kingdom.

 

Seventeen-year-old Rayth is out of options. When he is caught traveling through the Crimson Kingdom, the one place forbidden to humans, he is brought in chains before the entaari queen. Her judgment is severe, enslavement. His only crime? Being different.

 

Faced with a lifetime of serving the queen and her wicked children, Rayth plots his escape. But when the attempt goes south and leaves a score of men dead, he is condemned to the Arena, a massive battle pit where prisoners and slaves fight to the death, all for the enjoyment of the entaari crowd.

 

But there is a way out of the Arena.

 

By winning the crowds favor, Rayth could earn his freedom. But a century worth of hate and animosity stands in the way. Rayth must bridge that gap, he must sway the entaari hearts and show them that he’s not some human monster, but a man like themselves. The task won’t be easy. The pits are filled with vengeful men and women loyal to the queen and eager to silence the thorn in her side. Rayth must keep his wits about him and make friends along the way if he’s to survive the queen’s wrath and escape the Arena. 



#2 Jemi

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Posted 30 October 2018 - 07:30 PM

Not a bad start, but I'm left with a lot of 'why' questions. Obviously in a query, you want to leave some questions unanswered in order to lure that agent in to make them need more pages, but I'm not sure the questions I have are that kind of question (hope that makes sense!)

Dear Agent,

 

A slave’s life is not easy, especially when you're the only human in the kingdom. (I'm not sure you need this bit at all)

 

Seventeen-year-old Rayth is out of options. When he is caught traveling through the Crimson Kingdom, the one place forbidden to humans (Why is it forbidden? Why is he there? This is the crux of the story, the reason he's in trouble, so I think the answers need to be included & need to be compelling), he is brought in chains before the entaari (I feel like this should be capitalized but I'm not sure :smile: ) queen. Her judgment is severe, enslavement. His only crime? Being different (Again - we need to know why this is such a big deal. Are humans a threat somehow? How are the others different from humans? Why are the differences important? Is there a historic component here? Where are the other humans? His humanity seems to be the key to both the problem and the solution - give us at least a hint as to which part of his humanity is that key).

 

Faced with a lifetime of serving the queen and her wicked children (wondering why the queen wants this human to serve her family. wondering if the reason is tied to his humanity somehow), Rayth plots his escape. But when the attempt goes south and leaves a score of men dead, he is condemned to the Arena, a massive battle pit where prisoners and slaves fight to the death, all for the enjoyment of the entaari crowd.

 

But there is a one way out of the Arena.

 

By winning the crowds crowd's favor, Rayth could earn his freedom. But a century worth of hate and animosity stands in the way (here is our 1st hint as to why he's the only human but I'd like more!). Rayth must bridge that gap, he must sway the entaari hearts and show them that he’s not some human monster, but a man like themselves ​(another hint as to what the differences are, but I'd like more details as to what makes the 2 species different) . The task won’t be easy. The pits are filled with vengeful men and women loyal to the queen (if she's put them in a life/death pit why would they be loyal to her?) and eager to silence the thorn in her side. Rayth must keep his wits about him and make friends along the way if he’s to survive the queen’s wrath and escape the Arena. 

 

I hope some of that helps you out. I think adding some of the details will make your story stand out. 

Of course, if the advice doesn't resonate with you, feel free to ignore - it's your story and you'll know what's best.

Good luck with it!!



#3 mwsinclair

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Posted 31 October 2018 - 09:26 AM

(Nice to see you here again, Jemi!)



#4 Koechophe

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 08:22 PM

First off, I'd recommend posting the last paragraph here, if you've already written it. It really helps us critique if we know the genre of the novel especially, but also the length. If you haven't written it, the last paragraph should include:

1) The title of your novel

2) The genre of your novel

3) The word count of your novel

4) (optional) some comparisons to similar novels

5) (optional) a brief bio about you as an author.

 

It looks something like this: ______ is a _______ of _______ words, that will appeal to readers of _______ and _______. 

 

I'm going to critique under the assumption that this is YA fiction

Dear Agent,

 

A slave’s life is not easy, especially when you're the only human in the kingdom. I'd cut this. It doesn't draw me in and the first sentence of the first paragraph is a better hook than this. 

 

Seventeen-year-old Rayth is out of options. When he is caught traveling through the Crimson Kingdom, the one place forbidden to humans, he is brought in chains before the Entaari queen. Her judgment is severe, enslavement. His only crime? Being different. Almost every literary agent ever (I'm not exaggerating here) says that they hate seeing questions in a query. I'd reword to take it out. 

 

Faced with a lifetime of serving the queen and her wicked children, Rayth plots his escape. But when the attempt goes south and leaves a score of men dead, he is condemned to the Arena, a massive battle pit where prisoners and slaves fight to the death, all for the enjoyment of the entaari crowd.

 

But there is a way out of the Arena.

 

By winning the crowds favor, Rayth could earn his freedom. But a century worth of hate and animosity stands in the way. Rayth must bridge that gap, he must sway the entaari hearts and show them that he’s not some human monster, but a man like themselves. The task won’t be easy. The pits are filled with vengeful men and women loyal to the queen and eager to silence the thorn in her side. This statement makes no sense to me. If they're loyal to the queen, why are they condemned to the arena? If I was compelled to fight to the death, I wouldn't be feeling any warm fuzzies for the royalty.  Rayth must keep his wits about him and make friends along the way if he’s to survive the queen’s wrath and escape the Arena. 

 

There's a lot of fluff and stating the obvious that I struck out. It's more the content that concerns me, though. As a reader, I go through this and it just screams "generic" to me. Kid gets enslaved, then forced to fight in an arena. I feel like I've heard this story a hundred times. There's the suggestion that we've got something of a unique world through the name Etaari (which should probably be capitolized) but nothing unique about it is presented in the query, so it isn't enticing. I don't know if the query makes your book sound extremely stereotypical, or if the book itself is just stereotypical, but my advice would be to reflect deeply on why your book is different from gladiator/hunger games/maze runner, and try to portray that more deeply in the query. 

 

 

I critique because I care. Good luck and happy writing!






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