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Syche: The Dark Element -- YA, Fantasy Adventure


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#1 Stephen G. Bria

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 12:25 AM

#23

 

Dear Agent,

     Seventeen year old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal. He will never be called on a whirlwind quest to save the world, he will never inherit awesome super powers, and as much as he may day dream otherwise, his life will never be anything other than what he makes it.

     But in a world where powerful elements and those who control them, the Syches, lie just beyond society’s view, Joshua is plunging into adventure with his fire controlling brother Kael and face a world he has always wished he was a part of.

     It’s a treasure hunt! If Joshua and Kael can face down the league of assassins known as the Dark Element that hounds their path and brave the perils of a world long forgotten, Joshua just may find the legendary Book of Light and become the hero he tells himself he is.

     Syche: The Dark Element is Y.A. Fantasy Adventure novel complete at 100,000 words.

 

 

Additionally, would there be a better way to phrase the last sentence, if the genre leans a bit towards young adult? It's pretty close to straddling that line, and I was wondering how obvious I need to make that.

 

Thanks for any feedback.



#2 kotafjones

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 06:37 PM

Dear Agent,

     Seventeen-year-old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal. We're getting some voice here which I like. He will never be called on a whirlwind quest to save the world, he will never inherit awesome super powers, and as much as he may day dream otherwise, his life will never be anything other than what he makes it. Okay, so I get that he isn't super-duper, but I think we need a hook here. Not just a description of the character. This second line doesn't feel neccesary to me.

     But in a world where powerful elements and those who control them, the Syches, lie just beyond society’s view, Joshua is plunging into adventure with his fire controlling brother Kael and to face a world he has always wished he was a part of. I would go ahead and move this up to the first paragraph. Maybe "Seventeen year old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal. But in a world where powerful elements and those who control them......." That is more of a hook and punch. The second paragraph should descuss what this adventure is and why they must go on it.

     It’s a treasure hunt! If Joshua and Kael can face down the league of assassins known as the Dark Element that hounds their path and brave the perils of a world long forgotten, Joshua just may find the legendary Book of Light and become the hero he tells himself he is. I'm a little lost here atm. What is the Book of Light? Maybe you can expand on this a little more if it's important to the plot. Why do they need it and what will happen if they don't succeed?

     Syche: The Dark Element is Y.A. Fantasy Adventure novel complete at 100,000 words.

 

I hope this helps some. I like that this is short and concise but I feel like there are a lot of hidden elements to your story that you need to pull out. (Just the important stuff anyways. Who, What, and Why. I need to understand what's at stake here because I couldn't really find anything so far. Good work, keep going!



#3 kathleenq

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 07:22 PM

Dear Agent,

     Seventeen year old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal. He will never be called on a whirlwind quest to save the world, he will never inherit awesome super powers, and as much as he may day dream otherwise, his life will never be anything other than what he makes it.

     But in a world where powerful elements and those who control them, the Syches, lie just beyond society’s view, Joshua is plunging into adventure with his fire controlling brother Kael and face a world he has always wished he was a part of.

     It’s a treasure hunt! If Joshua and Kael can face down the league of assassins known as the Dark Element that hounds their path and brave the perils of a world long forgotten, Joshua just may find the legendary Book of Light and become the hero he tells himself he is.

     Syche: The Dark Element is Y.A. Fantasy Adventure novel complete at 100,000 words.

 

 

Additionally, would there be a better way to phrase the last sentence, if the genre leans a bit towards young adult? It's pretty close to straddling that line, and I was wondering how obvious I need to make that.

 

Thanks for any feedback.

I think the way you did the genre is fine, but there's really not much of a query here. I'm not sure why I should care about the characters, and there's really not even enough for me to figure out if I know what's going on or not. You need some more plot and a point. Why are they going on the hunt? How is it important? What happens if they fail and conversely, why do they need to succeed?


Query: Glass Domes


#4 Stephen G. Bria

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 01:12 AM

Thanks for the feedback; it definitely was non-descript. Here's the best I got trying to be a little more descriptive:

 

Dear Agent,

  Seventeen year old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal. But in a world where powerful elements and those who control them, the Syches, lie just beyond society’s view, Joshua is plunging into adventure with his fire controlling brother Kael and face a world he has always wished he was a part of.

  With a cadre of dangerous assassins called the Dark Element at their back, Joshua and Kael will face any danger to find the powerful artifact known as the Book of Light to bring back their dead mother from the grave. By the seat of his pants and on the strength of his wit, Joshua may come to realize that saving the girl and winning the day may be too much for someone more special, and let alone for an ordinary guy out of his element.

  Syche, the Dark Element is Y.A. Fantasy Adventure novel complete at 100,000 words.

 

 

Now it may be a bit of a pipe dream,  but I was hoping to write a query that was the anti-thesis of your standard query. My manuscript is essential a complete reversal for what you'd typically find in the genre, and I have no idea how to evenly remotely demonstrate that (I'm really bad at queries). If anyone has any ideas how to really shake things up, that'd be great. Otherwise thanks for any input at all.



#5 callalilly

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 08:47 PM

Hi Stephen G. Bria. I'm hoping the below will help you, and if not please ignore :)

 

Thanks for the feedback; it definitely was non-descript. Here's the best I got trying to be a little more descriptive:

 

Dear Agent,

  Seventeen year old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal (Please don't hate me for saying this, but I feel I must say this if in the long run it aids you: Be careful in query writing when labeling a character as being normal. I understand completely the idea of establishing your character as a run-of-the-mill guy, but I've read many articles where agents get so tired of reading queries that state characters as being normal and than X, Y, and Z happens that changes them into the extraordinary. (Other readers may disagree with this -so follow your gut). Of course establish your character, but I advise care in describing them as normal). But in a world where powerful elements and those who control them, the Syches, lie just beyond society’s view, Joshua is plunging into adventure with his fire controlling brother Kael to face a world he has always wished to be a part of.

 

  With a cadre of dangerous assassins called the Dark Element (Unneeded info in a query perhaps? Key in your book though) at their back, Joshua and Kael will face any danger to find the powerful artifact known as the Book of Light to bring back their dead mother from the grave. By the seat of his pants and on the strength of his wit, Joshua may come to realize that saving the girl and winning the day may be too much for someone more special, and let alone for an ordinary guy out of his element. (This reads like a book flap, which I like since it reveals the main plot of the book. As a query, I kind of want more information though -I see from the below that you're going for a different feel than the standard query and wish I could offer more sustenance in your hope to accomplish your query. I can only hope what I have offered has some good points (and again, if not, please pay no mind) and wish you luck!

 

  Syche, the Dark Element is Y.A. Fantasy Adventure novel complete at 100,000 words.

 

 

Now it may be a bit of a pipe dream,  but I was hoping to write a query that was the anti-thesis of your standard query. My manuscript is essential a complete reversal for what you'd typically find in the genre, and I have no idea how to evenly remotely demonstrate that (I'm really bad at queries). If anyone has any ideas how to really shake things up, that'd be great. Otherwise thanks for any input at all.


 ,Query I'm fighting with: http://agentquerycon...-post-22/page-2

 


#6 Stephen G. Bria

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 01:22 AM

Thanks for the feedback. If you look at my very first entry and the first paragraph, how do you feel about that in regards to your take on the "normal part". I was originally trying to drive home the idea that it was the opposite of your standard, hero's quest story/ query that you are referencing and that the main character isn't going to undergo a change that makes them special.

 

Should I go back and try to emphasize that a bit more?

 

 As well, you are saying you want a bit more. Can you tell me what it is you'd like? Information, more character in the way it's written?



#7 Stephen G. Bria

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 01:36 AM

Okay so I came up with this in the meantime. I was going for as much personality as possible with some subverting of expectations compared to the dull queries you normally see about "normal" people. 

 

Dear Agent,

  Seventeen year old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal. That’s it. What? You were expecting the part where we find out how special he’s about to become. Sure, he isn’t you’re average kid --traveling the world, looking for treasure, surviving by his wit and snarky attitude, but he can’t do anything that any other person can’t. Not unlike his fire wielding brother and travel companion Kael.

  With a cadre of dangerous assassins hounding their steps, Joshua will use his wit and penchant for absurdism to overcome the dangers even his super-powered brother can’t defeat to find the powerful artifact known as the Book of Light and bring back their dead mother from the grave. Joshua is determined to save the girl and win the day, even if he’s out of his element.

  Syche, the Dark Element is Y.A. Fantasy Adventure novel complete at 100,000 words.



#8 kathleenq

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 06:36 PM

I think the main issue with your query isn't the description of Joshua, it's actually quite good. It's that this reads like a book jacket, not a query. There's no plot. What's Joshua doing on his adventure? How is the girl involved? Was she kidnapped and now he has to go save her? Why are assassins trying to kill Kael and a totally normal guy? The end goal, apparently, is that he's bringing his dead mother back to life. Or is it to get the girl? Choose one! Etc


Query: Glass Domes


#9 callalilly

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 09:44 PM

Thanks for the feedback. If you look at my very first entry and the first paragraph, how do you feel about that in regards to your take on the "normal part". I like that your revised version was cut down from the original, but regardless of which way you decide to use, I still suggest caution -agents are tired of the "normal" angle of queries from what I've read. BUT this is just what I've seen -do what you feel is a good fit.

 

I was originally trying to drive home the idea that it was the opposite of your standard, hero's quest story/ query that you are referencing and that the main character isn't going to undergo a change that makes them special. (I get what you're saying, but don't know if it was read that way -perhaps get some other individuals opinions; they may disagree with me.)

 

Should I go back and try to emphasize that a bit more? (Again -see what others say, I'm just one person with this view of it.)
 

 

 As well, you are saying you want a bit more. Can you tell me what it is you'd like? Information, more character in the way it's written? (I suggest looking at Kathleenq's thoughts, maybe her questions will give you some ideas of where to go. Also, I see she maybe had the same confusion I did -the girl mentioned, is this Joshua's mom or another girl?)

 

Hope that helps, write again if you need clarification with what I suggested. Good luck!


 ,Query I'm fighting with: http://agentquerycon...-post-22/page-2

 


#10 Stephen G. Bria

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 02:03 AM

Well, I read book covers and based my query off that tone, but it's pretty clear now that I completely missed the point. So here's a new, hot take structured off the successful query section. Just go ahead and ignore anything posted before.

 

     Seventeen year old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal. That’s it. What? You were expecting the part where we find out how special he’s about to become. Rather, with his wits and fire controlling brother Kael in tow, Joshua crafts and plan and sneaks a mysterious fortress in the mountains in order to find a clue to his life long treasure hunt for the Book of Light, an artifact that may just bring his dead mother back to life.

    Finding the next clue to his puzzle, rescuing a borderline psychotic girl named Gianna, and pissing off an organization of super powered assassins, the trio plunges headlong into a frantic chase across the continent trying to put together the clues and retrieve the sought after treasure before being caught or killed by a horde of super powered assassins hounding their trail and the threat of a dangerous empire that looms beyond.

     The treasure hunt forges ahead through a modern world falling apart on its seams at the brink of war and into an old world of the elements and the destroyed civilizations that have been forgotten. With his new travel companion not on the level, his family ties coming back to haunt him, and no powers to rely on, it may take more than Joshua’s usual sarcasm to watch his own neck, protect the girl, and save the day.

     Syche: the Dark Element is a YA Modern Fantasy complete at 100,000 words that will appeal to those looking for a fresh spin on the YA genre.



#11 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 10:22 AM

Well, I read book covers and based my query off that tone, but it's pretty clear now that I completely missed the point. So here's a new, hot take structured off the successful query section. Just go ahead and ignore anything posted before.

 

     Hi, if you can return the crit on my query Soul Hosts, it would be appreciated

Seventeen year old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal. That’s it. What? You were expecting the part where we find out how special he’s about to become. i don't think you need this, trust that we will infer this Rather, with his wits and fire controlling brother Kael in tow, Joshua crafts and plan and sneaks a mysterious fortress in the mountains and here he turns out to be normal at all, just your average  secret fortress sneaking guy, I did that yesterday too :-b in order to find a clue to his life long treasure hunt for the Book of Light, not normal, I would definitely cut the normal guy stuff an artifact that may just bring his dead mother back to life.

    Finding the next clue to his puzzle, rescuing a borderline psychotic girl named Gianna, and pissing off an organization of super powered assassins,these aren't keys to the puzzle so the sentence structure is wrong the trio plunges headlong into a frantic chase across the continent trying to put together the clues and retrieve the sought after treasure before being caught or killed by a horde of super powered assassins hounding their trail and the threat of a dangerous empire that looms beyond.

     The treasure hunt forges ahead through a modern world falling apart on its seams at the brink of war and into an old world of the elements and the destroyed civilizations that have been forgotten. With his new travel companion not on the level, his family ties coming back to haunt him, and no powers to rely on, it may take more than Joshua’s usual sarcasm to watch his own neck, protect the girl, and save the day. sounds a bit too typical protect the girl and save the day queries are tough you'll get there

     Syche: the Dark Element is a YA Modern Fantasy complete at 100,000 words that will appeal to those looking for a fresh spin on the YA genre.



#12 Stephen G. Bria

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 03:42 AM

Okay, just a few more tweeks then:

 

  Seventeen year old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal. He wishes he had powers like his fire controlling brother, but he doesn't and he never will. Rather, with his with and an acute knowledge of how adventures should go, Joshua crafts a plan and sneaks into a mysterious fortress in the mountains in order to find a clue to his life long treasure hunt for the Book of Light, an artifact that may just bring his dead mother back to life.

  Finding the next clue to his puzzle, rescuing a borderline psychotic girl named Gianna, and pissing off an organization of super powered assassins, the trio plunges headlong into a frantic chase across the continent trying to put together the clues and retrieve the sought after treasure before being caught or killed by a horde of super powered assassins hounding their trail and the threat of a dangerous empire that looms beyond.

  The treasure hunt forges ahead through a modern world falling apart on its seams at the brink of war and into an old world of the elements and the destroyed civilizations that have been forgotten. With his new travel companion not on the level, his family ties coming back to haunt him, and no powers to rely on, it may take more than Joshua’s usual sarcasm to watch his own neck, let alone prevent his quest from careening into a quagmire of lies, betrayal, and death as Joshua learns that real adventures may not be the same as the stories he’s so fond of.

 

  Syche: the Dark Element is a YA Modern Fantasy complete at 100,000 words that will appeal to those looking for a fresh spin on the YA genre.



#13 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 10:59 PM

     Seventeen year old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully (I would use only one of those.) normal. (Why is this a bad thing? Don't people normally want to be normal? -- If this is a different kind of world though, could word it like: "In a world full of magic, Joshua Rasgard is painfully normal." ) He wishes he had powers like his fire controlling (Not firestarter? "Fire controlling" sounds a tad odd to me.) brother, but he can't and he never will. However, with his with and an acute knowledge of how adventures should go, Joshua crafts a plan and sneaks into a mysterious fortress in the mountains in order to find a clue to his life long treasure hunt for the Book of Light, an artifact that may just bring his dead mother back to life. (That's a lot packed into one sentence. Why does he want an adventure so much? What is the Book of Light exactly? When did his mother die? How did his mother die? I feel like this should be unpacked more into multiple sentences.)

 

     Finding the next clue to his puzzle (What clue? What puzzle?), rescuing a borderline psychotic girl named Gianna, and pissing off an organization of super powered assassins, (This almost seems like an info dump. Like who's Gianna? And why assassins? Why would anyone be after them? They haven't done anything wrong that I've known.) the trio (His brother tagged along too? I thought he was just going himself to prove something or so.) plunges headlong into a frantic chase across the continent to try to put together the clues and retrieve the sought after treasure before being caught or killed by a horde of super powered assassins hounding their trail and the threat of a dangerous empire that looms beyond. (This sentence is so long that it's hard to read. Messes with the flow too.)

 

     The treasure hunt forges ahead through a modern world, falling apart on its seams at the brink of war and into an old world of the elements and the destroyed civilizations that have been forgotten. (???) With his new travel companion not on the level (You mean Gianna?), his family ties coming back to haunt him (I think you're just hinting at too many things. It seems like you want to hint at all these things that happen in the book, but it's confusing a bit. I get that you love this book; it's just hard to follow along for me. I want to know more of the context of this world first off. Then dive into Joshua and how he feels about everything. Gianna almost seems irrelevant at this point cause her character is not as thought out here. I'd perhaps go more into the relationship between him and his brother. I'm curious about that.), and no powers to rely on, it may take more than Joshua’s usual sarcasm to watch his own neck (If the character is the MC and sarcastic, it'd be so great to hear that tone in a query!), let alone prevent his quest from careening into a quagmire of lies, betrayal, and death as Joshua learns that real adventures may not be the same as the stories he’s so fond of. (This last sentence is a bit vague. Is there any way to unpack it?)

 

Overall, it sounds interesting. I just want to know MORE. Like more about the world they're in, more about Joshua, more about Joshua's relationship with his brother and his mom. Go into more of his mother's death and why he's after the Book so much. Go into the bad guys (assassins) and like explain their thoughts/ideals more. I just want to have a deeper understanding of it all.

 

It does sound cool and I'm interested in where you take this query. Good job so far!

 

 

 

 

If you can, please return the favor: http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/



#14 Stephen G. Bria

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 01:05 AM

Rewrote it all and just focused on the premise. Clearly something wasn't working.

 

  Seventeen year old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal. His fire wielding, slightly younger brother Kael? Not so much. In a modern world where the four classical elements reign supreme, Joshua survives by his wit and acute knowledge of how adventures should go.

Five years ago, after the death of their mother, Joshua and Kael ran away from home on a quest to find a legendary treasure that would brig her back to life. And today is the day they’ve run out ideas.

  With no other leads, Joshua and Kael decide to poke the hornet’s nest. A man who has the information the information they seek is held captive by a cadre of element controlling assassins. Joshua’s convoluted plan for a heist quickly goes slightly awry after gaining the needed information when he saves a prisoner-- a borderline psychotic, ex-assassin named Gianna.

  With a drove of assassins at their backs attempting to reclaim Gianna, an unreliable brother, and no powers, Joshua might not be the hero he thinks he is. Hell, he isn’t even sure he’s getting out of this one in one piece.

  A fresh, sarcastic take on the genre, Syche: the Dark Element is a YA, Fantasy/Adventure novel complete at just under 100,000 words.

 



#15 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 02:18 PM

     Seventeen-year-old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal (Why is this a bad thing? Or more, why does he think this is a bad thing? Just trying to think of more ways your first sentence could pop more.). His fire wielding, slightly younger brother Kael? (? What about him?) Not so much. (?) In a modern world where the four classical elements reign supreme (Like the elements are in control? Explain more! This sounds interesting. (Oh: Idea! "In a modern world where the four classic elements control everything, seventeen-year-old Joshua Rasgard is painfully normal.")), Joshua survives by his wit and acute knowledge of how adventures should go. (Survives what?)

     After the death of their mother, Joshua and Kael ran away from home on a quest to find a legendary treasure that would bring her back to life. And Five years later, today is the day they’ve run out ideas. (lol)

     With no other leads, Joshua and Kael decide to poke the hornet’s nest. A man who has the information (What information exactly?) the information they seek is held captive by a cadre (word sounds weird here) of element controlling assassins. Joshua’s convoluted heist plan for a heist quickly goes slightly awry after gaining the needed information when he saves a prisoner who is a borderline psychotic, ex-assassin named Gianna. (You've explained who she is more now, which is good. I still want more information as of why it goes awry.)

     With a drove of assassins on their backs who want to attempting to reclaim Gianna, an unreliable brother, and no powers, Joshua might not be the hero he thinks he is. (He thought he was a hero? From what you said before, I would think the kid hates himself.) Hell, he isn’t even sure he’s getting out of this one in one piece.

     A fresh, sarcastic take on the fantasy/adventure genre, Syche: the Dark Element (Name of the book is always like: SYCHE: THE DARK ELEMENT)is a YA Fantasy/Adventure novel complete at just under 100,000 words.

 

Honestly, this is a lot better than the last one I read. The first paragraph is what is throwing me off though. I get what you're trying to do, but it feels as if it's setting up a whole different book than the rest of the query. The rest of the query seems to run together well. I'd just focus more on that first paragraph. And explain a bit more about the world here too. I think knowing the boundaries and what to expect from the world would help, but only like a sentence or two. I also don't think I got almost anything about the brothers' relationship with each other in this version.

 

Overall, I think you got a lot of improvement done. Good job!



#16 Stephen G. Bria

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 11:49 PM

Thanks for the advice. That's all pretty helpful. My solution for the first paragraph was just to rearrange it. I didn't add anything about the world as a whole. It's already a little longer than I'd like, so I'm trying to keep it as concise as possible.

 

  In a modern world where the four classical elements are controlled by those born with the gift, seventeen-year-old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal. And that’s not changing. Joshua survives by his wit and acute knowledge of how adventures should go, unlike his fire wielding younger brother Kael who Joshua can’t help but envy.

  After the death of their mother, Joshua and Kael ran away from home on a quest to find a legendary treasure that would brig her back to life. Five years later, today is the day they’ve run out ideas.

  With no leads, Joshua and Kael decide to poke the hornet’s nest. A man who has the information they seek is held captive by an organization of element controlling assassins. Joshua’s convoluted plan for a heist quickly goes awry when he saves a prisoner-- a borderline psychotic, ex-assassin named Gianna. The stealth mission really goes up in flames as Kael sets literally everything on fire to his brother’s exasperation.

  With a group of super powered assassins bent on revenge and reclaiming their prisoner at their heels, Joshua, Kael, and Gianna (with nowhere else to go) embark on their quest across sea and continent attempting to complete their treasure hunt before they are captured, or worse.

  A fresh, sarcastic take on the YA Fantasy/Adventure genre, SYCHE: THE DARK ELEMENT is complete at just under 100,000 words.

 



#17 Bibliophyl

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 12:07 PM

I didn't read any of the previous comments/versions so as to come at it fresh!

 

 In a modern world where the four classical elements are controlled by those born with the gift, seventeen-year-old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal. [after the first part of this sentence, I don't really know what normal means...does that mean he has the gift or not? what is "normal" in this world?] And that’s not changing. Joshua survives by his wit and acute knowledge of how adventures should go, unlike his fire wielding younger brother Kael who Joshua can’t help but envy. [I feel like you could get at this information in a more concise, direct way. Something like..."17 year old Joshua is jealous of his brother's ability to control fire." That's the meat of the conflict you're setting up in this first paragraph. And then maybe add one or two more sentences of worldbuilding to flesh things out.]

 

  After the death of their mother, Joshua and Kael ran away from home on a quest to find a legendary treasure that would bring her back to life. Five years later, today is the day they’ve run out ideas.

  With no leads, Joshua and Kael decide to poke the hornet’s nest. A man who has the information they seek is held captive by an organization of element controlling assassins. Joshua’s convoluted plan for a heist quickly goes awry when he saves a prisoner [it might be a good hint of character to mention why he saves her]-- a borderline psychotic, ex-assassin named Gianna. The stealth mission really goes up in flames as Kael sets literally everything on fire to his brother’s exasperation. [I like the part about setting things on fire literally, but I feel it would read stronger without the "to his brother's exasperation"]

  With a group of super powered assassins bent on revenge and reclaiming their prisoner at their heels, Joshua, Kael, and Gianna (with nowhere else to go) embark on their quest across sea and continent attempting to complete their treasure hunt before they are captured, or worse. If the treasure hunt is the meat of the plot, I find myself wanting a few more concrete details about it. "Legendary treasure" as you put it earlier is a bit vague. What is it actually?

  A fresh, sarcastic take [I've heard people warn against describing your own work like that. Might be safer to cut] on the YA Fantasy/Adventure genre, SYCHE: THE DARK ELEMENT is complete at just under 100,000 words. I'd recommend saying 99,000 words or whatever it is. The six figures might be immediately off-putting, even with the "just under." I know agents are very concerned with appropriate word count, and my instinct is that making it seem shorter rather than longer will benefit you here.

 

I hope that was helpful! Good luck!



#18 epercak

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 02:06 PM

Thanks for the comments on my query!

Thanks for the advice. That's all pretty helpful. My solution for the first paragraph was just to rearrange it. I didn't add anything about the world as a whole. It's already a little longer than I'd like, so I'm trying to keep it as concise as possible.

 

  In a modern world where the four classical elements are controlled by those born with the gift, seventeen-year-old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal. And that’s not changing. Joshua survives by his wit and acute knowledge of how adventures should go, unlike his fire wielding younger brother Kael who Joshua can’t help but envy. The previous sentence is confusing and unclear. 

  After the death of their mother, Joshua and Kael ran away from home on a quest to find a legendary treasure that would brig her back to life. Five years later, today is the day they’ve run out ideas. (Both these sentences could use a rewrite. The tenses are awkward and the "run out of ideas" is weak. 

  With no leads, Joshua and Kael decide to poke the hornet’s nest. Cliché A man who has the information they seek is held captive by an organization of element controlling assassins. Joshua’s convoluted plan for a heist quickly goes awry when he saves a prisoner-- a borderline psychotic, ex-assassin named Gianna. The stealth mission really goes up in flames cliché as Kael sets literally everything on fire to his brother’s exasperation.

  With a group of super powered assassins bent on revenge and reclaiming their prisoner at their heels, Joshua, Kael, and Gianna (with nowhere else to go) embark on their quest across sea and continent attempting to complete their treasure hunt before they are captured, or worse. This needs to be explained or abandoned. As is, it's a vague and trite place to end.

 

  A fresh, sarcastic take The writing needs to establish this on its own merits. Telling the reader what it wants to be isn't helpful. on the YA Fantasy/Adventure genre, SYCHE: THE DARK ELEMENT is complete at just under 100,000 words.

 

I think you need to clarify details better. The stakes are confusing. Whatever makes it stand out from similar works in the genre is lost in awkward language. 



#19 G A Johnson

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 04:04 PM

I'm going to be super nit picky in an attempt to offer you something constructive. Really, I think you're doing great:smile: 

 

 In a modern world where the four classical elements are controlled by those born with the gift, seventeen-year-old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal. And that’s not changing. Joshua He (you haven't introduced a new name, so there's no need to clarify yet) survives by his wit and acute knowledge of how adventures should go, unlike his fire wielding younger brother Kael who Joshua can’t help but envy.

  After the death of their mother, Joshua and Kael the brothers ran away from home on a quest to find a legendary treasure that would brig her back to life. Five years later, today is the day they’ve run out ideas.

  With no leads, Joshua and Kael decide to poke the hornet’s nest. A man who has the information they seek is held captive by an organization of element controlling assassins. Joshua’s convoluted plan for a heist quickly goes awry when he saves a prisoner-- a borderline psychotic, ex-assassin named Gianna. The stealth mission really goes up in flames as Kael sets literally (this word has been used to death, colloquially speaking)  everything on fire to his brother’s exasperation dismay (same effect, fewer characters).

  Pursued by With a vengeful group of super powered assassins bent on revenge and reclaiming their prisoner at their heels, Joshua, Kael, and Gianna (with nowhere else to go) (We can just assume that) embark on their a quest across sea and continent (sounds like you're trying to avoid land with thesaurus)  attempting to complete their treasure hunt before they are captured, or worse.

  A fresh (agents hate when you self-attribute intangibles.) sarcastic take on the YA Fantasy/Adventure genre, SYCHE: THE DARK ELEMENT is complete at just under 100,000 words.



#20 Stephen G. Bria

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 12:05 AM

I realized looking this all over that the core issue seems to selling the book on its premise/ basic set up. Which I don't think works because it takes the  basic elements of the genre and THEN turns them on their head and treats them differently. In terms of basic set up, everything that I try to write just seems like bland YA garbage. In the spirit of that, I'll go ahead and post a second with a bit more kick that pulls out, strips some of the detail, and looks at the bigger picture. 

 

 

#1

 

Dear Agent,

  In a modern world where the four classical elements are controlled by the select few born with the gift, seventeen-year-old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal. And that’s not changing. No really. He survives by his wit and acute knowledge of how adventures should go, unlike his fire wielding younger brother Kael who Joshua secretly envies.

  After the death of their mother, the brothers ran away from home on a quest to find a legendary treasure that would bring her back to life. Five years later, today is the day they’ve run out ideas.

  With no leads, Joshua and Kael decide to poke the hornet’s nest. A man who has the information they seek is held captive by an organization of element controlling assassins. Joshua’s convoluted plan for a heist quickly goes awry when he saves a prisoner-- a borderline psychotic, ex-assassin named Gianna-- due to his obsession with being a hero. The stealth mission really goes up in flames, literally, as Kael sets everything on fire to his brother’s dismay.

  Pursued by a vengeful group of super powered assassins bent on reclaiming their prisoner, the chances of completing their treasure hunt unlikely, and his own powerlessness making him a liability, Joshua will die before admitting he’s out of his element. 

  SYCHE: THE DARK ELEMENT is a YA Fantasy/Adventure complete at just under 100,000 words.

 

#2

 

  In a modern world where the four classical elements are controlled by the select few born with the gift, seventeen-year-old Joshua Rasgard is horribly, painfully normal. And that’s not changing. In spite of this, or maybe due to it, Joshua is obsessed with being the hero. Armed with his wits and knowledge of how adventures should go, Joshua refuses to be overshadowed by his younger, fire wielding brother Kael.

  After the death of their mother, the brothers ran away from home on a quest to find a legendary treasure that would bring her back to life. Five years later, today is the day they’ve run out ideas. Desperate to obtain any information, the brothers decide to poke the hornet’s nest and break into the fortress of an organization of element controlling assassins. Joshua’s convoluted plan for a heist quickly goes awry when he saves a prisoner-- a borderline psychotic, ex-assassin named Gianna.

  This decision, like most of Joshua’s others, is very poorly made. Attempting to finish treasure hunt and revive the dead will only bring death. Trying to save the girl invites betrayal. If he can’t admit his own limitations, he may doom the world while he’s at it. But Joshua would rather die than admit he’s out of his element.

  SYCHE: THE DARK ELEMENT is a YA Fantasy/Adventure complete at just under 100,000 words.






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