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Soul Hosts (fantasy) (will return crits, just point me the right direction)

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#1 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 09:17 AM

Hello-- if you need a crit of yours just point me in the right direction.

I am trying to choose and edit to make the best book blurb possible for my self-published book on Amazon.

Blurb one:

Unauthorized wizards are being imprisoned in the Red Kingdom. Fifteen-year-old Wayden has one living in his head.

 

15 years ago, in a bid to strengthen his power, the Dracon slayed his finest wizards in an attempt to steal their souls and magical abilities. But the effort failed, and the sorcerer’s souls scattered across the world, entering into the minds of infants. These children, now grown, are compelled into action when it becomes clear the Dracon will be making a second attempt to seize their abilities.

 

 With little knowledge of what is transpiring, and aware of only a binding spell that connects them, they must fight the Dracon and ward off the emergence of an even darker evil.

 

Blurb two:

 

Wayden doesn’t know why he has a wizard in his mind or the reason a strange-gray skinned man follows him and then promptly proceeds to take a job in the orphanage where Wayden dwells.

 

As he struggles to find answers, a new boy arrives at the orphanage. Wayden feels an enmity for this boy as he is the same race as the person who killed Wayden’s mother. The boy, Rif, turns out also to have a mysterious sorcerer of his own dwelling in his mind.

 

The two soul hosts become friends and together plant to find a way to free Wayden’s long-lost brother who was captured by the same winged wolf riding slavers who killed Wayden’s mother.

 

Wayden and Rif join forces with two young women who have a mystery of their own that needs resolving. Three Moons Night is approaching and the people who committed the original atrocity are coming to try their dark magic again, this time with even more at stake.



#2 Caligulas

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 05:27 PM

Hello-- if you need a crit of yours just point me in the right direction.

I am trying to choose and edit to make the best book blurb possible for my self-published book on Amazon.

Blurb one:

Unauthorized wizards are being imprisoned in the Red Kingdom. Fifteen-year-old Wayden has one living in his head. (I don't think this works as a hook because I have no idea what this means. I'm 110% confused, not intrigued to move on)

 

15 years ago, in a bid to strengthen his power, the Dracon (is this a title or a name?) slayed his finest wizards in an attempt to steal their souls and magical abilities. But the effort failed, and the sorcerer’s souls (I don't read fantasy, but you've said, Dracon, wizards, and sorcerer's. Helps to keep the descriptors similar because I'm not sure if you're saying the Dracon's souls, which would be weird because he doesn't own them, or the wizards' souls which is written improperly) scattered across the world, entering into the minds of infants. (I don't understand this. As far as most people understand it, we all are born with a soul. So how can they now have two souls?) These children, now grown, are compelled into action when it becomes clear the Dracon will be making a second attempt to seize their abilities. (Compelled into action is vague)

 

 With little knowledge of what is transpiring, and aware of only a binding spell that connects them, they must fight the Dracon and ward off the emergence of an even darker evil. (Ends vague as well)

 

Blurb two:

 

Wayden doesn’t know why he has a wizard in his mind or the reason a strange-gray skinned (Hyphen appears to be in the wrong spot) man follows him and then promptly proceeds to take a job in the orphanage where Wayden dwells. (This is a clunky sentence and would work better separated into two)

 

As he struggles to find answers, (Vague, struggles how?) a new boy arrives at the orphanage. Wayden feels an enmity for this boy as he is the same race as the person who killed Wayden’s mother. (I don't think this line does you any favors, it adds a subplot the blurb doesn't need and makes your MC look like a racist...no bueno) The boy, Rif, turns out also to have a mysterious sorcerer of his own dwelling in his mind. (I really don't get this. It sounds like some weird schizophrenia)

 

The two soul hosts become friends and together plant (Plan?) to find a way to free Wayden’s long-lost brother who was captured by the same winged wolf riding slavers who killed Wayden’s mother. (Extremely complicated sentence. It's clunky and just throws a ton of information at me that's hard to digest)

 

Wayden and Rif join forces with two young women who have a mystery of their own that needs resolving. (Super, duper vague) Three Moons Night is approaching and the people who committed the original atrocity (Don't know what you're talking about, too much info not told in an understandable way) are coming to try their dark magic again, this time with even more at stake. (Don't tell me, show me)

 

The second one is better, more concrete, but it's all over the place and I can't make sense of it. You're bringing in too many characters and your MC's goal is not clear. It needs to go back to the basics, what does MC want, what's standing in their way, what will they do to get what they want. 

 

Hope this helps!



#3 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 06:26 PM

Wayden doesn’t know why he has a wizard in his mind or the reason a gray-skinned man follows him through an alley before proceeding to take employment in the orphanage where Wayden dwells.

 

As he struggles to find answers, a new boy arrives at the orphanage. Wayden feels an irrational enmity for this small, stuttering boy, simply because he is the same race as the person who killed Wayden’s mother. The boy, Rif, turns out to have a sorcerer in his mind as well.

 

The two soul hosts become friends and join forces with three young women who have mysteries of their own that needs resolving. All five soul hosts, now on the run, struggle to stop the engineers of an atrocity that resulted in the dead Wizards’s consciousnesses beings relocated into their minds from wreaking an even worse havoc.

 

They have to figure out now only how to stop their powerful enemies, but determine who they truly are, no easy task when some of the maybe inside their own minds.



#4 hgrevemberg

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 06:58 PM

Wayden doesn’t know why he has a wizard in his mind or the reason a gray-skinned man follows him through an alley before proceeding to take employment in the orphanage where Wayden dwells. 

this is better than the first iteration, focusing on the protagonist. It feels a bit stiff. I get the impression with this, and the last, that the mechanics are good, but there's a polish needed, as a piece of prose.

 

As he struggles to find answers, a new boy arrives at the orphanage. Wayden feels an irrational enmity for this small, stuttering boy, simply because he is the same race as the person who killed Wayden’s mother. The boy, Rif, turns out to have a sorcerer in his mind as well. 

this could be cleaner, first mention of sorceror in the mind - need some world building.

 

The two soul hosts become friends and join forces with three young women who have mysteries of their own that needs resolving. All five soul hosts, now on the run, struggle to stop the engineers of an atrocity that resulted in the dead Wizards’s consciousnesses beings relocated into their minds from wreaking an even worse havoc.

 

why are they on the run? what are they joining forces against? SAeems to lose focus on main character's plight.

 

They have to figure out now only how to stop their powerful enemies, but determine who they truly are, no easy task when some of the maybe inside their own minds.

 

who are the enemies? The enemy/energy source need introducing.



#5 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 28 January 2019 - 11:04 AM

Wayden doesn’t know why he has a wizard in his mind.

 Nor does he know the reason a gray-skinned man stalks him through an alleyway and then takes employment in the orphanage where he dwells.

 

As Wayden struggles to find answers, a new boy arrives at the orphanage. He feels an irrational enmity for this small, stuttering boy, based simply on him being the same race as the slaver who killed his mother.

 

The boy, Rif, turns out to have a sorcerer in his mind as well. The two soul hosts become friends and join forces with three young women who have mysteries of their own. All five soul hosts, now on the run from slavers, burrowing monsters, and murderous bureaucrats, struggle to stop their enemies from inflicting an even worse atrocity.

 

They must not only stop their enemies but determine their identity--no easy task when some of them may be located inside their very minds.



#6 W.P.

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 11:34 AM

Sorry, it took me so long to return the favor. I was offline for some weeks. But here I am!

 

 

Wayden doesn’t know why he has a wizard in his mind. ((not sure this is working as a hook. it's a bit vague and it sounds like Wayden is just having "thoughts" which isn't a big deal--without context. maybe "he has a wizard within him"?)

 Nor does he know the reason a gray-skinned man stalks him through an alleyway and then takes employment in the orphanage where he dwells. ((Now here I see a hook! the underlined part, not the "he doesn't know" thing. that beginning removes the tension imo.))

 

As Wayden struggles to find answers, ((this is a bit too vague, I think. what is he doing to find answers? answers to what? the man's identity? what he wants from Wayden?)) a new boy arrives at the orphanage. He feels an irrational enmity (("straight away dislikes")) for this small, stuttering boy, based simply on him being who's the same race as the slaver who killed his mother.

 

The boy, Rif, turns out to have a sorcerer in his mind as well. The two soul hosts become friends and join forces with three young women who have mysteries of their own. ((too vague to make an impact))All five soul hosts, now on the run from slavers, burrowing monsters, and murderous bureaucrats, ((why are they being chased?)) struggle to stop their enemies from inflicting an even worse atrocity. ((no idea what this might be about.))

 

 

They must not only stop their enemies  ((from doing what? too vague))but determine their identity--no easy task when some of them may be located inside their very minds. ((interesting!))

 

 

The premise sounds super interesting, but too much is being hinted at and being left out. So it can get confusing and vague. My main suggestion would be to first give us a hint of character to both boys (right now they are too vague in terms of personalities). Also, I think it's important to flesh out the wizard in mind thingy. Especially what that entails and why they are being chased.

 

Right away, I noticed the query was really short, so don't worry about word count. You still have room to beef it up. :D 



#7 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 04:30 PM

Wayden doesn’t know why he has a wizard in his mind.

 

 Nor does he know the reason a gray-skinned man stalks him through an alleyway and then takes employment in the orphanage where he dwells.

Wayden struggles to find answers from visiting royalty, a girl who hosts a wraith, an old woman who likes to dance on window ledges, his gray-skinned pursuer, and a boy named Rif.

 

Rif has a sorcerer in his mind as well--one who may have the answers Wayden needs. But the boy is in trouble, accused of murder. In order to save his friend Rif has to confront a criminal who deals in magical ‘soul sucking’ narcotics, fight and escape winged wolf riding slavers, confront a dragon, deal with crazed immortals, and worst of all, face off against his own friends.

 

OR

 

 

Sent out in the rain to retrieve a message, Wayden finds himself chased by a gray skinned man while talking to a wizard whose consciousness has just awoken inside his head. The mage is little help though as he is not a powerful wizard and his memories of how he came to be inside Wayden’s mind is fragmented at best.

 

The gray skinned man mysteriously takes up employment at the orphanage where Wayden lives and a boy who shares Wayden’s birthday comes to stay at the orphanage. That isn’t the only thing they have in common. They both have wizards in their minds. When the other boy becomes suspected of murder, Wayden moves to clear his friends name by confronting some dangerous characters.

 

Will Wayden save his friend or end up wrapped up in a web of danger?



#8 W.P.

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 10:34 AM

Hi Joseph 

 

I actually like the second version better. So I'll be critiquing that one, if that's ok.

 

 

"Sent out in the rain to retrieve a message, ((this is pretty vague and doesn't tells us anything. do we need it? I think the hook would be stronger without it)) Wayden finds himself chased by a gray skinned man while talking to a wizard whose consciousness has just awoken inside his head. ((I feel like we have too much here. but not enough about Wayden. No sense of who he is or a life before the gray skinned man's appearance. maybe that would help us care a little?)) The mage is little help though as he is not a powerful wizard and his memories of how he came to be inside Wayden’s mind is fragmented at best.

 

The gray skinned man mysteriously takes up employment at the orphanage where Wayden lives and a boy who shares Wayden’s birthday comes to stay at the orphanage. That isn’t the only thing they have in common. They both have wizards in their minds. When the other boy becomes suspected of murder, Wayden moves to clear his friend's name by confronting some dangerous characters. ((I really like the idea and the conflict, but it's hard for me to picture the story. the atmosphere and the characters and setting. We don't need all of it, of course, but a feel for it would be nice. right now, everything is a bit too vague. I don't know who the characters are and the bits of magic that are introduced are too vague.))

 

 

Will Wayden save his friend or end up wrapped up in a web of danger?"

 

 

I think that what the query needs is a bit "direction". Right now, it reads like a quick info dump. By "direction" I mean direction of the narrative. What is the theme/moral/point of the story? What is the character arc? you don't need them here, of course, but if you think of those, then you will know what to focus on, how to set up the query and how to end it. 

 

Also, I do think the fact that the characters aren't "known" to us is a major factor. For instance, the appearance of the gray skinned man should be creepy or troubling, but it doesn't feel that way, because I can't picture it.   Saying "Wayden finds himself chased by a gray skinned man" isn't as easy to picture as (and I'm making this up since I have no idea what's going on with your actual novel) "Wayden's least favorite people are adults. His parents abandoned him and the adults who cme to his orphanage never look at him twice. Worst of all, the only grown-up that notices him is a scary gray-skinned man that follows him throughout the day and watches him from a distance." <---not the best example, but it shows what I mean: I hint of character, conflict and life. Plot is great, but people care only about it if we care about characters. 

 

I hope some of this helps. :)



#9 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 11:41 AM

Sent out in the rain to retrieve a message, sixteen-year-old Wayden finds himself chased by a gray-skinned man and spoken to by a wizard whose consciousness is emerging inside his mind. The mage is little help against his pursuer though as he is not a powerful wizard and his memories of how he came to be inside Wayden’s mind are fragmented at best.

 

The gray-skinned man instead of killing Wayden takes up employment at his orphanage and appearing unduly excited by the arrival of a boy who shares Wayden’s birthday. The boy, Rif, is the same race as the person who fired an arrow into Wayden’s mother and at first Wayden considers exacting revenge upon the small, stuttering boy, but the boy quickly grows on him and they become friends.

 

Their birthday isn’t the only thing they have in common. They both have wizards in their minds. When Rif becomes suspected of murder, Wayden moves to prove his friend’s innocence by confronting dangerous enemies and finds himself sinking into worse and worse danger. He finds himself allying with a girl who has  wraith in her mind and another who is the daughter of the slaver who captured both Wayden’s brother and father. And the only thing more dangerous than all these enemies are his allies.



#10 Jemi

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 12:00 PM

Sent out in the rain to retrieve a message, sixteen-year-old Wayden finds himself chased by a gray-skinned man and spoken to by a wizard whose consciousness is emerging inside his mind. (The intriguing part of this is the wizard in his mind - can you get there more quickly? A lot of queries use shorter sentences to keep the pace moving) The mage is little help against his pursuer though as he is not a powerful wizard and his memories of how he came to be inside Wayden’s mind are fragmented at best. ​(I'm wondering about the tone of your book - serious or with some comedy??) 

 

The gray-skinned man instead of killing Wayden takes up employment at his orphanage (This seems a little odd - are the 2 events connected?) and appearing unduly excited by the arrival of a boy who shares Wayden’s birthday. The boy, Rif, is the same race as the person who fired an arrow into Wayden’s mother and at first Wayden considers exacting revenge upon the small, stuttering boy, but the boy quickly grows on him and they become friends. (you're packing a lot into your sentences. I think you could eliminate a lot of the details to improve the pace)

 

Their birthday isn’t the only thing they have in common. They both have wizards in their minds. When Rif becomes suspected of murder, Wayden moves to prove his friend’s innocence by confronting dangerous enemies and finds himself sinking into worse and worse danger. He finds himself allying with a girl who has  wraith in her mind and another who is the daughter of the slaver who captured both Wayden’s brother and father. And the only thing more dangerous than all these enemies are his allies. (really like that last line!)

 

 

Sounds like an intriguing story with some fun twists and turns!

 

I think you could tighten things up and focus on the many parts that make your story unique and toss some of the backstory. For instance - the grey-skinned man disappears from the query and I assumed he was an important character because he's the first one mentioned. I'm guessing he might be a mentor type character but I'm not sure if he's important enough to include.

From what I understand, queries that focus mostly on the characters and emotions tend to have the best success - could you tweak it in that direction??

 

- As an orphan, Wayden isn't used to close relationships. Having a wizard take up residence inside his mind makes him long for solitude again...

- When an incompetent wizard pops into Wayden's head and almost gets him killed, the 16yo orphan ...

- Weird enough that the new kid in the orphanage shares Wayden's birthday, but when they discover they each have a wizard living inside their heads, things go from weird to scary quickly...

 

None of my hooks are much good (my sentences are too long too! :)) and they probably don't match your tone/voice/story, but they're just to show you what I mean by tightening up. Let us in and show us how Wayden feels - he's got a wizard in his mind. Does he think that's awesome or annoying? is he intrigued? Is this normal in his world? Does he think he's going crazy? Does the guy hear all his thoughts - does he hate the lack of privacy?

 

I hope some of that makes some sense to you! If it doesn't, feel free to ignore it - it's your story and you'll know best what will work. Good luck with it!



#11 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 12:26 PM

Sent out in the rain to retrieve a message, sixteen-year-old orphan Wayden finds himself chased by a gray-skinned man and spoken to by a wizard whose consciousness is emerging inside his mind. The mage is little help against his pursuer though as he is not a powerful wizard and his memories of how he came to be inside Wayden’s mind are fragmented at best.

 

The gray-skinned man instead of killing Wayden mysteriously decides to take up employment at the orphanage. His pursuer appears unduly excited by the arrival of a boy who shares Wayden’s birthday. The boy, Rif, is the same race as the person who fired an arrow into Wayden’s mother. Wayden considers exacting revenge upon the small, stuttering boy, but the boy grows on him and they become friends.

 

Their birthday isn’t the only thing they have in common. They both host the souls of wizards in their minds. When Rif becomes suspected of murder, Wayden moves to prove his friend’s innocence by confronting dangerous enemies. He finds himself sinking into escalating danger and mystery. To survive, he allies with a girl who has  wraith in her mind and another who is the daughter of the slaver who captured Wayden’s brother and father.

 

And the only thing more dangerous than all these enemies are his allies.



#12 hannahb712

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Posted 28 February 2019 - 03:39 PM

Hey! Sorry for the delay in checking out your post! I've been away on vacation! (Also I have not looked at the other comments, sorry if there are repeats!)

 

Hannah

 

 

Sent out in the rain(Is the rain necessary to comment about? If not, take it out.) to retrieve a message, sixteen-year-old orphan, Wayden, finds himself suddenly chased by a gray-skinned man. I don't know if it's just me, but I'm not liking these two elements put together in one sentence. Is there something that happens more spefically, to get the wizard to appear? Like does the gray-skinned man touch him on the shoulder or something? For example, When he's sure he's lost all chance of escape, unepextedly a wizard emerges inside his mind. Fill in the blank, or feel free to swap out the details I've underlined. Also, I personally see mages and wizards are two different things, so I wouldn't use them interchangeably with one another. However, the mage is of little help against Wayden's pursuer seeing as he's not too powerful, and not to mention, his memories of how he came to be inside Wayden’s mind are fragmented at best.

 

How did we get from being chased to this guy suddenly working at the place he lives? Maybe add a transition sentence here. Example (feel free to change details again):  Somehow managing to slip by, Wayden discovers he can't celebrate yet, when  the gray-skinned man mysteriously decides to take up employment at the orphanage. His pursuer appears unduly excited by the arrival of a boy who shares Wayden’s birthday. The boy, Rif, is the same race as the person who fired an arrow into Wayden’s mother. Wayden considers exacting revenge upon the small, stuttering boy, but the boy grows on him and they become friends.

 

Their birthday isn’t the only thing they have in common. They both host the souls of wizards in their minds. When Rif becomes suspected of murder, Wayden moves to prove his friend’s innocence by confronting dangerous enemies. He finds himself sinking into escalating danger and mystery. To survive, he allies with a girl who has  wraith in her mind and another who is the daughter of the slaver who captured Wayden’s brother and father.

 

And the only thing more dangerous than all these enemies are his allies. I like this line!

 

Okay, I sort of stopped editing only because I feel a little lost towards the end. I feel like there are a lot of details you're giving us that we don't need. Here are some things to help you!

 

Who is the main character, What do they want, Who or what is stopping them, What happens if they don’t get what they want (the stakes), then your title, genre and category, word count, and a brief bio if you have it.

 

 

Hope that helps! :) 

 

Hannah

 

Also, here is the beginning finalized with my edits:

 

 

Sent to retrieve a message, sixteen-year-old orphan, Wayden, finds himself suddenly chased by a gray-skinned man. When he's sure he's lost all chance of escape, unepextedly a wizard emerges inside his mind.  However, the mage is of little help against Wayden's pursuer seeing as he's not too powerful, and not to mention, his memories of how he came to be inside Wayden’s mind are fragmented at best.



#13 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 01:00 AM

Sixteen-year-old Wayden discovers he shares a lot in common with the new boy he is trying to hate. They were both born the same day, Three Moons Night, they both live at the Dracon’s Home for Unadoptable Children, and they both have wizards dwelling in their mind.

 

How the wizards got there not even they know, but the mage in Wayden’s head helps him realize that he isn’t angry at the new boy, Rif, so much as he is angry at himself. Getting past his hatred, Wayden becomes friends with Rif and they face danger together and in order to save lives they must reveal their magic. Which gets them into serious trouble as unauthorized magic is illegal in the Red Kingdom.

 

Worse than that dead bodies keep turning up where ever Rif goes, and he is accused of murder. Wayden has to unravel the mystery of who is the Red Killer, and the greater mystery of how did he get a wizard in his head and what is going to happen in a couple of days on the next Three Moons Night. To do so he has to make some unlikely allies: a slaver’s daughter, a girl who hosts a wraith in her mind, a Princess with a bone-tearing Immortal trapped in her mind, and of course, Rif. They must face powerful enemies and even worse, each other. Some of the enemies may even be in their own minds.



#14 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 08:19 PM

Sixteen-year-old Wayden discovers that he shares a lot in common with Rif, the new boy he is trying to hate (This sentence kind of hooks me, but it also leaves me thinking against the Wayden for a bit because why is he "trying" to hate someone? Why would he want to do that? If not trying to get that across, try "with the new boy he despises" or so.). They were both born the same day called Three Moons Night, they both live at the Dracon’s Home for Unadoptable Children, and they both have wizards dwelling in their mind. (Like they're interested in wizards or that wizards are casting spells on them?)

 

They don't even know how the wizards got there not even they know, but the wizard in Wayden’s head helps him realize that he isn’t angry at the new boy, Rif, so much as he is angry at himself. (Why?) Getting past his hatred, Wayden becomes friends with Rif (That was fast.) and they face danger together. (What danger? What's going on besides kids not liking each other?) In order to save lives, they must reveal their magic. (What magic? Like the wizards' magic or do they have their own magical powers?) Which gets them into serious trouble since unauthorized magic is illegal in the Red Kingdom(I wouldn't introduce too many new concepts. Like, if you're not going to explain what the Red Kingdom is, I wouldn't mention it at all.)

 

Worse than that is the fact dead bodies keep turning up where ever Rif goes (??? why?)which gets him accused of murder. Wayden has to unravel the mystery of who is the Red Killer (Who?), and the greater mystery of how did he get a wizard in his head and what is going to happen in a couple of days on the next Three Moons Night. (This feels more like an info dump.) To do so he has to make some unlikely allies: a slaver’s daughter, a girl who hosts a wraith in her mind, a Princess with a bone-tearing Immortal trapped in her mind, and of course, Rif. (Huh? None of these were introduced before?) They must face powerful enemies and even worse, each other. Some of the enemies may even be in their own minds. (The last sentence sounds cool.)

 

You start off more strong, but it feels more like an info dump towards the end of the query. Make sure that every single new concept (name, place, etc.) that is mentioned that you also introduce what it is. I also wouldn't introduce more than like 5-7 or even less. Try to grasp the reader's attention with the less amount of details.

 

The story feels interesting and seems like it has potential though. Good job so far!



#15 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 09:01 PM

Fifteen-year-old Wayden discovers he shares a lot in common with the new boy he’s been trying hard to hate.  He and Rif were both born on Three Moons Night, live at the Dracon’s Home for Unadoptable Children, and host the consciousness of a wizard in their mind.

 

How could he be so linked with a Tulkarian, the same race as the Skyraider archer who fired a fatal arrow into his mother? He hadn’t felt so connected to anyone since his brother, Mavik, had been seized by Skyraiders.

 

Rif decides to help Wayden in his plan to rescue his brothers from the Skyraiders, but when Rif is accused of murder, Wayden must work to prove his innocence. To do so Wayden must confront a mage who practices soul stealing, the very art that caused the wizards to be placed in their minds so many years ago.

 

When Rif and Wayden are forced to use their magic to protect innocents, both of them are taken into custody. But prison turns out to be an opportunity as well as an obstacle as Wayden befriends another soul host--Alaina, the daughter of the Skymaster.

 

The Skymaster has plans to sacrifice Mavik, Alaina, Rif, Wayden, and hundreds of others on the coming Three Moons Night. As the soul hosts maneuver to stop the massacre, they face fearsome enemies both outside them and within.



#16 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 01:25 PM

Fifteen-year-old Wayden discovers he shares much in common with the new boy he’s trying hard to hate.  He and Rif were both born on Three Moons Night, abode at the Dracon’s Home for Unadoptable Children, and inexplicably host the consciousness of dead wizards in their minds.

 

How could he be so linked with a Tulkarian, the same race as the Skyraider archer who fired a fatal arrow into his mother five years ago? He hadn’t felt this connected to anyone since his brother, Mavik, had been seized by Skyraiders on that same fateful day.

 

So pained by the past, Wayden is tempted to shove Rif down a staircase as an act of vengeance. With the help of the wizard residing in his head, Wayden learns that the person he is truly angry at is himself, for failing to save his brother and mother, and in order to forgive himself, he must let go of hate and overcome his prejudice.

 

He befriends Rif, who in turn agrees to help Wayden in his suicidal plan to rescue his brothers from the Skymaster’s slave camp.

But when Rif is accused of murder, Wayden must work to prove his new friend’s innocence. He confronts a mage who dwells in alleys practicing soul stealing, the very art that caused the wizards to be placed in their minds so many years ago.

 

On the verge of discovering what happened on the previous Three Moons Night, and of what will be happening again shortly on the next one, Rif and Wayden are attacked by monsters who threaten their fellow orphans. Wayden and Rif are forced to reveal their magic to protect innocent lives and are taken into custody as a result.

 

But prison turns out to be an opportunity obstacle as Wayden befriends another soul host--Alaina, the daughter of the Skymaster. Together he and Alaina must free a captured dragon in order to break up a ritual where the powers that be plan to sacrifice Mavik and hundreds of other innocents on the convergence of the three moons.

 

As the soul hosts maneuver to stop the massacre, they face fearsome enemies, outside them, beside them, and within.



#17 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 02:34 PM

Fifteen-year-old Wayden discovers he shares much in common with a new boy he’s trying hard to hate (Why does he want to hate him?). Him and Rif were both born on Three Moons Night, abode (abode? Not a common word. Sounds off.) at the Dracon’s Home for Unadoptable Children, and inexplicably host the consciousness of dead wizards in their minds inexplicably(Much better! Also, I'd put "inexplicably" at the end to keep the verb parallel.)

 

How could he be so linked with a Tulkarian, the same race as the Skyraider archer who fired a fatal arrow into his mother five years ago? (Confusing. 1. What's a Tulkarian? 2. What's a Skyraider? 3. How are they of the same race? & Who is the "he" that you're referring to? The dead wizard or Riff? Cause this is pointing towards the wizard since you mentioned him last.) He hadn’t felt this connected to anyone since his brother, Mavik, had been seized by Skyraiders on that same fateful day.

 

Pained by his past, Wayden is tempted to shove Rif down a staircase as an act of vengeance. (This explains his attitude more, but I still think the first sentence should be changed a tad. Also, I'd make this paragraph and the second paragraph combined. Try to word it down to "Since Riff is of the same race as the man who killed Wayden's mother" or so.) With the help of the wizard residing in his head, Wayden learns that the person he is truly angry at is himself (How? Be more specific. Also, why is the wizard doing this for him?), for failing to save his brother and mother, (When he was 10? Too young to save anyone.) and In order to forgive himself, he must let go of hate and overcome his prejudice.

 

He befriends Rif, who in turn agrees to help Wayden in his suicidal plan to rescue his brothers from the Skymaster’s slave camp. (His brothers were captured? When? Why?) But when Rif is accused of murder, (Why?) Wayden must work to prove his new friend’s innocence. He confronts a mage who dwells in alleys practicing soul stealing, the very art that caused the wizards to be placed in their minds so many years ago. (Does he know that or are you just giving the reader's that information?)

 

Honestly, I had a thought pop into my head about here when I was reading this. Why not start the query from the night his mother died and his brothers get kidnapped. Use that to build Wayden's hate and want for revenge. Then the second paragraph can start like, "Five years later, he met a boy of the same killer race, but they both have a lot in common", etc. I think you explaining what happened on that night more will set this query up nicely. - You don't have to though. Just an idea.

 

On the verge of discovering what happened on the previous Three Moons Night (I'm still not sure what this is.), and of what will be happening again shortly on the next one, Rif and Wayden are attacked by monsters who threaten their fellow orphans. (Fellow orphans? Who?) Wayden and Rif are forced to reveal their magic to protect innocent lives and are taken into custody as a result. (Did they know they had magic before? Where did this magic come from? Were they magical the whole time?)

 

Also, you don't want to give too much away in the query. Like dive into the first 30ish pages or so. I feel like I'm getting 1/2 through the novel right about here. Save some key points and plot twists for when the agent reads your novel. You already have a lot going for you right now; you don't need to give everything away.

 

But prison turns out to be an opportunity obstacle (Why are they in prison?) as Wayden befriends another soul host--Alaina, the daughter of the Skymaster. Together he and Alaina must free a captured dragon in order to break up a ritual where the powers that be plan to sacrifice Mavik and hundreds of other innocents on the convergence of the three moons. (Like, as I mentioned before this paragraph, I wouldn't even mention Alaina in the query at all. Keep to about three different characters at most. You have about five-six right now.)

 

I also want to know a lot more about the "bad" people. Like why did they murder his mother? What do they want now? Why are they wanting Rif as a murderer? Etc. Dive into their story a bit too.

 

As the soul hosts (??? Do you mean Rif and Wayden, or?) maneuver to stop the massacre, they face fearsome enemies, outside them, beside them, and within. (The ending sounds cool.)

 

Overall, I can see the improvement. Like I stated before, don't put your focus on the novel as getting to know the characters and the backstory. We want to know what happened to get us to here, not where we're going just yet. I think you're getting better though. Good job!



#18 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 04:03 PM

Fifteen-year-old Wayden discovers he shares much in common with the new boy he’s trying hard to hate.  He and Rif were both born on Three Moons Night, dwell at the Dracon’s Home for Unadoptable Children, and inexplicably host the consciousness of dead wizards in their minds.

 

How could Wayden be so linked with a boy who is the same race as the winged-wolf riding raider, who fired a fatal arrow into his mother five years ago? He even feels a magical bond with Rif, one he hadn’t felt since his brother, Mavik, had been seized by those Skyraiders on that same fateful day.

 

Pained by the past, Wayden is tempted to shove Rif down a staircase as an act of vengeance. Guided by the wisdom of the wizard residing in his head, Wayden learns that the person he is truly angry at is himself for failing to save his brother and mother, and in order to forgive himself, he must let go of hate and overcome prejudice.

 

He befriends Rif, who in turn agrees to help Wayden in his suicidal plan to rescue Wayden’s brother Mavik from the Skymaster’s slave camp. But when Rif is accused of murder, Wayden must work to prove his new friend’s innocence. He confronts a mage who dwells in alleys practicing soul stealing, the very art that caused the wizards to be placed in their minds so many years ago.

 

As they learn what happened on the previous Three Moons Night, the night both he and Rif were born and the wizard’s souls entered their bodies, they become aware an even worse massacre will occur on the rapidly approaching next convergence of the three moons.

 

Before they can act on their knowledge, Rif and Wayden are attacked by monsters who threaten them along with their fellow orphans. Wayden and Rif are forced to reveal the magic their wizards possess in order to protect innocent lives and are arrested as a result.

 

But prison turns out to be an opportunity as Wayden befriends another soul host--Alaina, the daughter of the Skymaster. Together he and Alaina must free a captured dragon in order to break up a ritual where the powers that be plan to sacrifice Mavik and hundreds of other innocents on the convergence of the three moons.

 

As the soul hosts maneuver to stop the massacre, they face fearsome enemies, outside them, beside them, and within.



#19 Koechophe

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 09:57 PM

Heya Joseph, I decided to come out of hibernation to help you with yours (Midterms happened and free time stopped happening. I hope my advice can be of some use to you. 

 

 

Fifteen-year-old Wayden discovers he shares much in common with (You've told us nothing here, and this isn't particularly grabbing.) the new boy he’s trying hard to hate.  He and Rif were both born on Three Moons Night, dwell at the Dracon’s Home for Unadoptable Children, and inexplicably host the consciousness of dead wizards in their minds. This is extreme info-dump. 1. we don't need to know the exact day they were born for the query. 2. We don't need to know the name of the orphanage. 3. This could easily be cut.

 

Here's how you can shorten (a lot). "Fifteen-year-old Waden wishes the wizard in his head would shut up." I think that's honestly all you need. The way you presented it is bland, but if you throw a bit of voice in there, and make it a representation of the character, then you've got a much more solid start.

 

How could Wayden be so linked with a boy who is the same race as the winged-wolf riding raider, who fired a fatal arrow into his mother five years ago? He even feels a magical bond with Rif, one he hadn’t felt since his brother, Mavik, had been seized by those Skyraiders on that same fateful day. (You just dropped 6 characters in the same paragraph (rif, mavik, mother, brother, winged-wolf riding raider, skyraider). Honestly, I don't think we need any of this. It's backstory. Cut it and move to the juice.

 

Pained by the past, Wayden is tempted to shove Rif down a staircase as an act of vengeance. Guided by the wisdom of the wizard residing in his head, Wayden learns that the person he is truly angry at is himself for failing to save his brother and mother, and in order to forgive himself, he must let go of hate and overcome prejudice. This just doesn't grab me either. Maybe you can give a passing nod to the aforementioned rivalry, but telling us "he goes on an emotional journey to overcome his racism" just isn't grabbing for a query. 

 

He befriends Rif, who in turn agrees to help Wayden in his suicidal plan to rescue Wayden’s brother Mavik from the Skymaster’s slave camp (Uhm... why didn't Wayden try this before? Is there some inciting incident that made Waden either A. find out where Mavik was or B. made Wayden think he actually had a chance at rescuing them).. But when Rif is accused of murder (Yup, this totally comes out of left field), Wayden must work to prove his new friend’s innocence. He confronts a mage who dwells in alleys practicing soul stealing (This too. These events seem totally unrelated, to the point where they sound nonsensical), the very art that caused the wizards to be placed in their minds so many years ago.

 

As they learn what happened on the previous Three Moons Night, the night both he and Rif were born and the wizard’s souls entered their bodies, they become aware an even worse massacre will occur on the rapidly approaching next convergence of the three moons (Again, this completely comes out of left field. A Massacre? Who's doing it? Why are they doing it? Who are they massacring? Just totally random).

 

Before they can act on their knowledge, Rif and Wayden are attacked by monsters who threaten them along with their fellow orphans (Uhm... why? What kind of monsters?). Wayden and Rif are forced to reveal the magic their wizards possess in order to protect innocent lives and are arrested as a result (Is magic illegal? That would be nice to know. It would be great to shove it into the hook sentence, since it adds a lot more drama to the idea. The hook "In a society where magic is illegal, fifteen-year-old Wayden has a wizard in his head that won't shut up." is a pretty awesome hook.).

 

But prison turns out to be an opportunity as Wayden befriends another soul host--Alaina, the daughter of the Skymaster Okay, there's just too many characters here. Way too many. . Together he and Alaina must free a captured dragon Uhm... okay in order to break up a ritual where the powers that be plan to sacrifice Mavik and hundreds of other innocents on the convergence of the three moons Again, completely out of left field .

 

As the soul hosts maneuver to stop the massacre, they face fearsome enemies, outside them, beside them, and within.

 

Okay, so this is extremely long. Way, way too long to be query, we're moving into the realm of watered-down synopsis. I actually am not entirely sure that this has gotten any better throughout the drafts, I think it's just gotten longer with more detail, which isn't what you're looking for. 

 

Here's the deal with queries. You want to query maybe 10% of the book (generally the first 10%). Set the stage, show us an inciting incident, and then leave us wondering what the hero is going to do with it. Throughout this process, I would say that 3 characters should be your limit. Your hero, your antagonist (or antagonist organization) and maybe 1 more (or 2 if you mention them in passing in such a way that they aren't confusing). 
 

So here's how you go about that:  Pretend you've only read the first 5 chapters of your book, and write a query about them. That's it. Then, add in some of the larger stakes at the end like (if he can't learn to work with his rival Rif and the annoying wizard in his head, then (something bad will happen)." 

 

I'd also recommend doing some research on Query Shark. but not at the failed ones. Look at the tab for queries that worked. Look at the flow and patterns. They'll be different than what you've got there. 

 

Hope this is useful. Good luck, all the best. If you want to do mine, it's in my signature, though it's been languishing at the bottom of the forums for a while now. 
 



#20 Stephen G. Bria

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 02:05 AM

Not going to go over it with a comb since you'll probably make some corrections based on the above, but in terms of general advice? Shorten it. It's far too long. Start with a lot of the fluff. 

 

Just delete the third paragraph for example. 

 

Just condense, simplify, and make sure everything is explained without getting caught up in the minutia. 







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