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Tailing Shadows - Epic Fantasy - Will return crits


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#1 Sreid

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 02:33 PM

Latest version in post # 4

 

 

 

Dear [agent’s name],

 

Though Stamnon makes a miserable shepherd, being bitten by wolves isn’t the change he wants. His rescuer is a feared and respected scholar, Nayvee. Overcoming his shock, Stamnon seizes his chance to become her apprentice. Nayvee explains how a shade, an immortal emissary of her ancient foe--the Lord of Shades--bit him in the attack. It infected Stamnon with its spirit and will soon possess him.

 

Stammnon resists the wolf-shade, but even with Nayvee’s help, he only delays the inevitable. Nor can she stop the shade’s lord, whose apocalyptic armies again seek mankind’s annihilation. Both Stamnon and Nayvee must kill shades to end their evil--tasks requiring an immortal. They need a god, and only one will do--the king who deserted his pantheon. Together, they chase ancient hints as to the lost god’s whereabouts, never more than hours ahead of the Lord of Shades’ henchmen. 

 

All the while, Stamnon wonders what shades and scholars want with a simple shepherd, and why his fate is bound to some lost god. Long after Nayvee breathes her last, and Mowro incinerates the great library where Stamnon might have found answers, he feels himself losing to the shade within. He now must somehow kill both the wolf and Mowro, with or without a god, before becoming a miserable thrall under their command. 

 

TAILING SHADOWS is an epic fantasy with series potential, complete at 125,000 words. Fans of Michael J Sullivan’s AGE OF MYTH will enjoy this. Included is a short synopsis and the first chapter [I’ll change this as needed]

 

Thank you for your time and consideration



#2 ddcash80

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 09:29 PM

It's been a while, but I'm back with a new query for additional help. If you haven't read any previous queries, fantastic. If you have, you have my most sincere appologies. I hope this time is better.

 

 

 

Dear [agent’s name],

 

Though Stamnon makes a miserable shepherd, being bitten by wolves isn’t the change he wants. This starts off too vague/weird. When I first read this is, it sounds like he doesn't want to be bitten by a wolf(of course, no one wants that). but what you want to simply say is that he was actually bitten by a wolf (the present tense makes it unclear in the way its written, so clarify so it's easier to read). The "weird" vibe is that it also sounds like he's changing his job from shepherd to wolf bait. His rescuer is a feared and respected scholar, (not the best description. I can accept "respected scholar" without thinking, but "feared and respected" makes me pause. does she have some powers? is she an outlaw? and the next sentence shows that the MC doesn't really fear her) Nayvee. Overcoming his shock, Stamnon seizes his chance to become her apprentice. Nayvee explains how a shade, an immortal emissary of her ancient foe--the Lord of Shades--bit him in the attack. too much info dump. just say he was bitten by a wolf-shade which will soon possess, etc. bring in the lord shade later. It infected Stamnon with its spirit and will soon possess him.

 

Stammnon (MC's name changed)resists the wolf-shade, but even with Nayvee’s help, he only delays the inevitable. Nor can she (awkward transition: he delays the inevitable, nor can SHE?)stop the shade’s lord, whose apocalyptic armies again since you don't discuss this previous time, just let us assume it's the first time. it will leave less questions in the reader's head. seek mankind’s annihilation. Both Stamnon and Nayvee must kill shades to end their evil-- a tasks (killing shades sounds like one task) requiring an immortal. They need a god, and only one will do--the king who deserted his pantheon use a layman's term. Together, they chase ancient hints as to the lost god’s whereabouts, never more than hours ahead of the Lord of Shades’ henchmen.  good line, keep this.

 

All the while, Stamnon wonders what shades and scholars want with a simple shepherd this didn't make sense with the first paragraph where it seemed like Stamnon was just randomly bitten and he actually begged to be the apprentice, and why his fate is bound to some lost god. Long after Nayvee breathes her last, and Mowro (random name insertion not good, who's this? at first I thought it was just a disgruntled librarian. you can just say the library was destroyed) incinerates the great library where Stamnon might have found answers, he feels himself losing to the shade within. He now must somehow kill both the wolf and Mowro (I don't know who these antagonists are. I assume Mowro is a librarian or the Lord of Shades? but I shouldn't have to think about it. Put his name up top with the Lord's introduction, or even better just refer to him as the evil Lord-less names better. And who's this "wolf"? earlier it sounded like a pack of wolves, and they were just minions of the big guy. So if they are just sidekicks, the only thing MC really has to deal with is the Lord?, with or without a god (earlier you said a god is required, now it's not really required? I would fix this), before becoming a miserable thrall under their command. good stakes, fix earlier parts of this ending.

 

TAILING SHADOWS is an epic fantasy with series potential, complete at 125,000 words. Fans of Michael J Sullivan’s AGE OF MYTH will enjoy this. Included is a short synopsis and the first chapter [I’ll change this as needed]

 

Thank you for your time and consideration

Sounds like a good story but you need to make the query simpler and easier to digest. I had to read it multiple times and was left with many questions.



#3 Sreid

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 12:29 PM

Thanks so much for highlighting all the areas of confusion. Some of it was just sloppy on my part (Lord of Shades = Mowro, wolf-shade = wolf). Others were things I tried that didn't work. This story is super hard to condense into a query. This is probably the 50th version, many of which weren't fit for public consumption.



#4 Sreid

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 08:11 AM

I'm torn between covering a narrow timeframe in my query or a broader one. Therefore I'm posting 2 altervatives. Please only write comments for the one you think has the most potential.

 

 

1. Dear [agent’s name]

Stamnon will break his bonds of indentured servitude and see the world, but not at the cost of his younger brother’s life. Father forces both brothers to tend his sheep high in the mountains, and that stingy ogre won’t even spring for a heeler, though he knows young Kerion is dying of consumption. Stamnon can’t afford to remain righteous like his brother. At first light tomorrow he must steal the years of wages father owes him and whisk his brother to civilization and a heeler.

But Stamnon realizes the fall equinox is the worst night of the year to make plans. It’s when everything goes wrong, especially if it’s your birthday. Stamnon just turned 20, going from teenager to man. However, no one ever told him those born this night are cursed with magical abilities when they reach adulthood--a curse that eventually drives them mad.

A storm sweeps up the mountain, and under the howling wind’s cover, wolves attack. The two shepherds rush to their flock’s aid. But these aren’t ordinary wolves, and here Stamnon’s plan goes awry. Instead of being scared off by shepherds and their staffs, they turn on them. The pack leader, a grey monstrosity, shreds Kerion’s left calf. Stamnon keeps the pack at bay as the two shepherds back into a hill-side ruin--once a temple. Stamnon magically sees the building in all its glory, with its deity standing before him, but as suddenly as it comes, the vision shatters. Wolves are at his brother’s throat. Unless Stamnon can use his newfound magic, or someone rescues them, neither brother will last the night.

With 125,000 words, TAILING SHADOWS is a completed epic fantasy with series potential. Fans of Michael J Sullivan’s AGE OF MYTH will enjoy this. Included is a short synopsis and the first chapter [I’ll change this as needed].

Thank you for your time and consideration.



2. Dear [agent’s name],

Stamnon is miserable as a shepherd, but wolves killing his brother killed and narrowly escaping the same fate isn’t the adventure he seeks. His rescuer is a feared and respected scholar and magician, Nayvee--feared most for the blood-thirsty horses she rides. When she offers to make him her apprentice, Stamnon seizes the chance . His brother would have wanted him to move on.

Stamnon overhears Nayvee say a wolf-shade she’d been tracking bit him in the attack. Its spirit infected Stamnon and will soon possess him. His fledgling magical ability helps him resists the wolf-shade, but it only delays the inevitable. Nayvee, for all her power, can’t stop her ancient foe either, the Lord of Shades. His apocalyptic armies seek mankind’s annihilation for their part in his epoch of imprisonment. Stamnon and Nayvee must kill shades to end their evil, a task requiring an immortal--a god--and only one will do, the king who deserted his pantheon. Together, they chase ancient hints to the lost god’s whereabouts, never more than hours ahead of Mowro’s henchmen.

All the while, Stamnon wonders what wolf-shades and scholars want with a simple shepherd, and why his fate is bound to some lost god. Long after shades turn Nayvee to stone, and the Lord of Shades incinerates the great library where Stamnon might have found answers, he feels himself losing to the wolf-shade within. He must try to kill both the wolf and its lord, with or without a god, or become a shade’s thrall. But Stamnon is no longer convinced the wolf-shade is all bad. It also wants its lord dead.

TAILING SHADOWS is an epic fantasy with series potential, complete at 125,000 words. Fans of Michael J Sullivan’s AGE OF MYTH will enjoy this. Included is a short synopsis and the first chapter [I’ll change this as needed]

Thank you for your time and consideration



#5 CarterT

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:07 PM

Hey, I'm just going to give some general points (not line by line). 

 

First off, I prefer the timeline of the second (the first feels too much like a synopsis with the play by play).  Okay. I'm not sure which I prefer any more. The first might be better, it takes us to the point where the first major choice is made, but you've got to find a way to make it less synopsis-like. (Also, spelling of healer? Unless it's something special, but if that's the case, leave it out completely because it just looks like a type-o.)

 

However!

 

I think you have too many characters in the second, and it's making it confusing. Stamnon, Nayvee, Lord of Shades, Wolf-Shade, God, brother, Mowro, blood-thirsty horses. Which of these are actually really important to the query? Try to cut it way down. Keep it to Stamnon's wants/needs/goals, and try not to name-drop too much. It's a fine line, since I gather all those play a major role in the book, but it'll give you more room to focus on your MC. 

 

Though I mentioned/thought I preferred the timeline of the second, I also think you're giving too much away. Nayvee's death sounds like a big deal, and I wonder how far into the book it is. A friend of mine suggested keeping a query to the first 50 pages of the book (and while I rarely actually follow that...) I do keep it in mind while trying to structure what I'm talking about. (And this is where I started thinking the first might be better after all.)

 

You've got a lot going on in both. Distill it down to the core points (with enough details to whet the appetite), but this isn't the main dish, so you don't have to get EVERYTHING in there. Also, everybody will find something that they think could be improved on (me included), so ultimately you've gotta go with what feels right to you. 



#6 Sreid

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 01:05 PM

Thanks so much for your considered and helpful advice. I hate query letter writing. I'd much rather write another novel instead. That is especially true for this story, which is being very uncooperative with regards to queries.



#7 JDSmith

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 08:31 PM

 

2. Dear [agent’s name], I tweaked the first two paragraphs to trim the unnecessary details. I don't know all of the details to your story, so I made some assumptions that could be false. I hope this helps you forms some ideas for how you can structure it!

Stamnon is miserable as a shepherd, but after wolves kill his brother and he barely escapes with his life, he finds himself on the adventure he never sought for. He is rescued by the feared and respected magician, Nayvee. When she offers to take him under her wing, Stamnon seizes the chance without hesitation.

She tells Stamnon that one of the wolves that attacked him was a shade. Its bite has infected him and will soon possess him. His fledgling magical ability helps him resists the wolf-shade for the time being, but it only delays the inevitable. Nayvee, for all her power, can’t stop her ancient foe either, the Lord of Shades. His apocalyptic armies seek mankind’s annihilation for their part in his imprisonment. Only one can defeat him, the lost king. Together, they chase ancient hints to the lost god’s whereabouts, never more than hours ahead of Mowro’s henchmen.

All the while, Stamnon wonders what wolf-shades and scholars want with a simple shepherd, and why his fate is bound to some lost god. Long after shades turn Nayvee to stone, and the Lord of Shades incinerates the great library where Stamnon might have found answers, he feels himself losing to the wolf-shade within. He must try to kill both the wolf and its lord, with or without a god, or become a shade’s thrall. But Stamnon is no longer convinced the wolf-shade is all bad. It also wants its lord dead. (This paragraph feels like it's adding too much)

TAILING SHADOWS is an epic fantasy with series potential, complete at 125,000 words. Fans of Michael J Sullivan’s AGE OF MYTH will enjoy this. Included is a short synopsis and the first chapter [I’ll change this as needed]

Thank you for your time and consideration

 

It almost seems to me that these queries are telling different plots. One says his magic comes with his birthday but the other says its because he got bit, so which one is it? I like the broad aspect of #2 more, because #1 feels like too much time is spent with the father. I think the wording can be streamlined. There seems to be a lot going on in both versions. Cut it down to at the very most three names: Stamnon, Nayvee, and the bad guy.

 

I hope this helps! I'd really appreciate if you could look at my query too!

 

-JD


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

 

First 250 words here: Woooo

 

Write on!


#8 SuzieTheWriter

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 12:23 PM

I'm torn between covering a narrow timeframe in my query or a broader one. Therefore I'm posting 2 altervatives. Please only write comments for the one you think has the most potential.

 

 

1. Dear [agent’s name]

Stamnon will break his bonds of indentured servitude and see the world, but not at the cost of his younger brother’s life. Father forces both brothers to tend his sheep high in the mountains, and that stingy ogre won’t even spring for a heeler, though he knows young Kerion is dying of consumption. Stamnon can’t afford to remain righteous like his brother. At first light tomorrow he must steal the years of wages father owes him and whisk his brother to civilization and a heeler.

But Stamnon realizes the fall equinox is the worst night of the year to make plans. It’s when everything goes wrong, especially if it’s your birthday. Stamnon just turned 20, going from teenager to man. However, no one ever told him those born this night are cursed with magical abilities when they reach adulthood--a curse that eventually drives them mad.

A storm sweeps up the mountain, and under the howling wind’s cover, wolves attack. The two shepherds rush to their flock’s aid. But these aren’t ordinary wolves, and here Stamnon’s plan goes awry. Instead of being scared off by shepherds and their staffs, they turn on them. The pack leader, a grey monstrosity, shreds Kerion’s left calf. Stamnon keeps the pack at bay as the two shepherds back into a hill-side ruin--once a temple. Stamnon magically sees the building in all its glory, with its deity standing before him, but as suddenly as it comes, the vision shatters. Wolves are at his brother’s throat. Unless Stamnon can use his newfound magic, or someone rescues them, neither brother will last the night.

With 125,000 words, TAILING SHADOWS is a completed epic fantasy with series potential. Fans of Michael J Sullivan’s AGE OF MYTH will enjoy this. Included is a short synopsis and the first chapter [I’ll change this as needed].

Thank you for your time and consideration.


I like the second hook a lot better! So I'll critique the second:
2. Dear [agent’s name],

Stamnon is miserable as a shepherd, but wolves killing his brother killed and narrowly escaping the same fate isn’t the adventure he seeks(Like I said, prefer this one but also wolves killing his brother killed? What does that mean?) His rescuer is a feared and respected scholar and magician, Nayvee--feared most for the blood-thirsty horses she rides. When she offers to make him her apprentice, Stamnon seizes the chance. His brother would have wanted him to move on.

Stamnon overhears Nayvee say a wolf-shade she’d been tracking bit him in the attack. Its spirit infected Stamnon and will soon possess him. I think you do a good job of staying in a fantasy tone in the query letter! His fledgling magical ability helps him resists the wolf-shade, but it only delays the inevitable. Nayvee, for all her power, can’t stop her ancient foe either, the Lord of Shades. (Don't think this is grammatically correct). His apocalyptic armies seek mankind’s annihilation for their part in his epoch of imprisonment. (This is so wordy....and kind of just a lot to take in). Stamnon and Nayvee must kill shades to end their evil, a task requiring an immortal--a god--and only one will do, the king who deserted his pantheon. Maybe split up some of the sentence before this. Together, they chase ancient hints to the lost god’s whereabouts, never more than hours ahead of Mowro’s henchmen. (This is too all-knowing. Maybe just say something like 'but Mowro's henchmen are on their tail').

All the while, Stamnon wonders what wolf-shades and scholars want with a simple shepherd, and why his fate is bound to some lost god. Long after shades turn Nayvee to stone, and the Lord of Shades incinerates the great library where Stamnon might have found answers, he feels himself losing to the wolf-shade within. He must try to kill both the wolf and its lord, with or without a god, or become a shade’s thrall. But Stamnon is no longer convinced the wolf-shade is all bad. It also wants its lord dead.

 

Yeah, I feel the paragraph above is just giving us too much information about the story. I'd keep a little to the reader's imagination.

TAILING SHADOWS is an epic fantasy with series potential, complete at 125,000 words. Fans of Michael J Sullivan’s AGE OF MYTH will enjoy this. Included is a short synopsis and the first chapter [I’ll change this as needed]

Thank you for your time and consideration


Please check out my latest query:

http://agentquerycon...antic-thriller/


#9 Anna.k

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 02:05 PM

I'm torn between covering a narrow timeframe in my query or a broader one. Therefore I'm posting 2 altervatives. Please only write comments for the one you think has the most potential.

 

 

1. Dear [agent’s name]

Stamnon will break his bonds of indentured servitude and see the world, but not at the cost of his younger brother’s life. Father forces both brothers to tend his (mountain?) sheep high in the mountains, and that stingy ogre (Is his father an ogre? Are they ogres? Unclear) won’t even spring for a heeler, (What's a heeler? My first thought is some sort of sheep herder/helper, but the next half of the sentence makes me think you mean Healer..?) though he knows young Kerion (is this his brother?) is dying of consumption. Stamnon can’t afford to remain righteous like his brother.(I don't know what this means?) At first light tomorrow he must steal the years of wages father owes him and whisk his brother to civilization and a heeler. (Ah, I get the MC goal now, just a little re-wording I.e., he has no choice but to steal the years of wages his father owes him...)

But Stamnon realizes the fall equinox is the worst night of the year to make plans.(Not crazy about this phrasing.) It’s when everything goes wrong, especially if it’s your birthday. Stamnon just turned 20, going from teenager to man. However, no one ever told him those born this night are cursed with magical abilities when they reach adulthood--a curse that eventually drives them mad.(Ah I get it now, but this could be condensed into a shorter sentence. I.e, He's born on a cursed night, and when he reaches his 20th year he will come into his magical abilities which are....such and such)

A storm sweeps up the mountain, and under the howling wind’s cover, wolves attack. The two shepherds rush to their flock’s aid. But these aren’t ordinary wolves, and here Stamnon’s plan goes awry. Instead of being scared off by shepherds and their staffs, they turn on them. The pack leader, a grey monstrosity, shreds Kerion’s left calf. (OK now you're getting way deep into the story. Cut scenery descriptions and adjectives etc etc keep it simple.) Stamnon keeps the pack at bay as the two shepherds back into a hill-side ruin--once a temple. Stamnon magically sees the building in all its glory, with its deity standing before him, but as suddenly as it comes, the vision shatters. Wolves are at his brother’s throat. Unless Stamnon can use his newfound magic, or someone rescues them, neither brother will last the night. (This seems like a lot of extraneous detail. Suggest again to chuck non essential descriptors and characters and 'visions'.I.e., Stamnon starts this perilous journey regardless of the cursed night in order to save his brother. Wolves attack and they're extra bad because...something something...Now Stamnon must use his powers to save his brother...How? What is this magic? Why is it cursed? Why is it a bad thing?)

With 125,000 words, TAILING SHADOWS is a completed (when you're querying, it should always be a completed novel goes without saying) epic fantasy of 125,000 words with series potential. Fans of Michael J Sullivan’s AGE OF MYTH will enjoy this (May enjoy this, don't get too confident now lol) Included is a short synopsis and the first chapter [I’ll change this as needed].

Thank you for your time and consideration.



2. Dear [agent’s name],

Stamnon is miserable as a shepherd, but wolves killing his brother killed and narrowly escaping the same fate isn’t the adventure he seeks. His rescuer is a feared and respected scholar and magician, Nayvee--feared most for the blood-thirsty horses she rides. When she offers to make him her apprentice, Stamnon seizes the chance . His brother would have wanted him to move on.

Stamnon overhears Nayvee say a wolf-shade she’d been tracking bit him in the attack. Its spirit infected Stamnon and will soon possess him. His fledgling magical ability helps him resists the wolf-shade, but it only delays the inevitable. Nayvee, for all her power, can’t stop her ancient foe either, the Lord of Shades. His apocalyptic armies seek mankind’s annihilation for their part in his epoch of imprisonment. Stamnon and Nayvee must kill shades to end their evil, a task requiring an immortal--a god--and only one will do, the king who deserted his pantheon. Together, they chase ancient hints to the lost god’s whereabouts, never more than hours ahead of Mowro’s henchmen.

All the while, Stamnon wonders what wolf-shades and scholars want with a simple shepherd, and why his fate is bound to some lost god. Long after shades turn Nayvee to stone, and the Lord of Shades incinerates the great library where Stamnon might have found answers, he feels himself losing to the wolf-shade within. He must try to kill both the wolf and its lord, with or without a god, or become a shade’s thrall. But Stamnon is no longer convinced the wolf-shade is all bad. It also wants its lord dead.

TAILING SHADOWS is an epic fantasy with series potential, complete at 125,000 words. Fans of Michael J Sullivan’s AGE OF MYTH will enjoy this. Included is a short synopsis and the first chapter [I’ll change this as needed]

Thank you for your time and consideration

My first impression is that both of these queries look a bit too long. I'm not sure what the word count is. I think the first one is clearer, but still could use some reworking. Good luck!!

I'd also appreciate a look at my query, thanks!!

http://agentquerycon...d-2-ya-fantasy/






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