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THE LEGACY OF THE ANCIENTS (Modern Fantasy)


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#1 jimcombs111

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 02:50 PM

A young woman, who has given up on life, finds a haunting letter from her father who has been dead for 20 years informing her that her life is greater than it seems and that she is the last of a supernatural lineage.

In The Legacy of the Ancients: Book of Prophecy, Marie Kellerton has had a painful life. Her mother died when she was born and her father, who was declared insane after a lifetime of seeking a holy lost treasure, was mysteriously and brutally murdered when she was only ten. In addition, she has battled the ravages of drug and alcohol addiction most of her life. She feels her existence has been a waste until one day she is suddenly thrust into a centuries-old quest, picking up where her father left off. She wrestles with her newfound purpose and must overcome her past and face her fears to become what she was meant to be. Throughout her journey, she meets several allies to assist in her quest and discovers hidden supernatural abilities and a critical destiny for which she was created that will determine the fate of humankind.

The Legacy of the Ancients: Book of Prophecy (101,000 words) is a modern fantasy novel likely to appeal to those who enjoy mystery, suspense, and the supernatural.

I was inspired to write this novel drawing somewhat from my experience as the Assistant Director of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. I also have a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and have written several screenplays.

The full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration of my work and I look forward to speaking with you soon.

#2 buttercup1387

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 03:37 PM

A young woman, who has given up on life, finds a haunting letter from her father who has been dead for 20 years informing her that her life is greater than it seems and that she is the last of a supernatural lineage. (Not bad for a hook. Keep working on it because I feel it is too wordy.)

In The Legacy of the Ancients: Book of Prophecy, Marie Kellerton has had a painful life. Her mother died when she was born and her father, who was declared insane after a lifetime of seeking a holy lost treasure, was mysteriously and brutally murdered when she was only ten. (Okay, I suggest you re-work this sentence. Make sure when writing your query, you are showing not telling. Maybe change it to: Marie Kellerton's life is an unwritten story of pain. Never knowing her mother, her father....Something like that.) In addition, she has battled the ravages of drug and alcohol addiction most of her life. She feels her existence has been a waste until one day she is suddenly thrust into a centuries-old quest,("Suddenly thrust is a tad cliche. Make it more original.) picking up where her father left off. She wrestles with her newfound purpose and must overcome her past and face her fears to become what she was meant to be. (Wrestling with her newfound purpose, she overcomes....)Throughout her journey, she meets several allies to assist in her quest and discovers hidden supernatural abilities and a critical destiny for which she was created that will determine the fate of humankind.

The Legacy of the Ancients: Book of Prophecy (101,000 words) is a modern fantasy novel likely to appeal to those who enjoy mystery, suspense, and the supernatural.

I was inspired to write this novel drawing somewhat from my experience as the Assistant Director of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. I also have a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and have written several screenplays.

The full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration of my work and I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Great start to your query! You have a few things to work on like sentence wordiness. Keep it simple. Less is more sometimes. Sounds like a solid story and I look forward to your revisions!! :-)
If you want to make God laugh, just tell him YOUR plans.

#3 TansyRagwort

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 03:37 PM

Okay specific suggestions from me: Don't include your inspiration for the novel or your screenplays (unless they've sold). The Engineering degree also has nothing to do with this novel (but if it did then you could keep it).
Also, instead of starting with a young woman, start with your characters name.
Put your title in all caps and I'd only bother to put it at the end. Anytime you have it in your mini-synopsis (imo) its a flag for telling rather than showing. A flag doesn't mean you are doing it, but to me I'd rather just put business at the end. Most of the time titles are also in the subject line of your e-mail anyways, so the agent will know it by now.


General suggestions: You're being too vague here and focusing too much on how crappy Marie's life is. It's a bit depressing. And not in a good, I feel for her kind of way. Just a dump of all her problems. Makes her look like a weak character. Things that would help (imo): shorten up the description of her crappy life and give us more about how this letter is turning it around. What it means to her personally. How she feels about it. Why is she bothering to take up her dad's search if he's a crackpot?
And the vagueness is going to kill you here. You shouldn't just say "supernatural powers" or "critical destiny." That can apply to a million and one books. Maybe a million and two. It's a lot of books. You need to show us how yours is unique. Nothing here after her crappy life can't be applied to most other fantasy books. Modern or not. Don't try to be mysterious or hide things from the agent. It's not going to work. They've read too many letters like this. SPOIL THE CRAP OUT OF YOUR BOOK! Well, not the ending. But the twist. Your hook. I really know nothing from this letter about what happens. It sounds like National Treasure but with some kind of magic or supernatural twist, but I dunno. It could also be Harry Potter with a female adult protag. Anyways, I'm dragging this out too much. I hope this helps. It sounds like you care about your characters and your novel. Let us share in that okay? It'll be awesome if you do!

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#4 jimcombs111

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 06:14 PM

Awesome suggestions so far. Thank you folks so much. Keep them coming please! I am working on an update and will post it soon.

#5 jswwrites

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 06:15 PM

I agree with the above. Your sentences are long - try to make them shorter, the story more immediate, esp the first sentence. Your hook needs to grab the reader or they won't read the rest, so maybe something like: Marie Kellerton has had a painful life. Orphaned by ten, an addict by (age), adrift and alone. Until the day when... (short and sweet - I don't know what happened the day she was thrust into her family's quest, so here's a random ending. Until the day she discovers she's a reincarnated witch.)

I'd elaborate on what the quest is - are they looking for a particular thing? Are others looking for it too? Is it a race against time to save the world? That's exciting - so say it!

I like your story idea, and feel your pain trying to boil it down. Keep working on it! :smile:

#6 SueJay

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 08:08 PM

I agree with what everyone's said so far. Tell me less of what you've told me ie. shorten up the sentences, cut some of the depressing life story. And tell me more of what you're not telling me. You're not going to peak anyone's curiosity with vague references. Tell us exactly what kind of world we're talking about. What is she looking for? What are the stakes?

Also I want to know more about her as a person, and less about her circumstances. I don't really get a feel for who she really is.

Good luck!

#7 jimcombs111

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 06:49 PM

Okay. I'm having a challenging time redoing this (but I guess that's the reason for this forum). The feedback thus far has been incredible and I am sincerely grateful. When I wrote the first draft of the letter, I wanted to leave things vague to elicit curiosity which, according to your feedback, is not a good approach. So I am working on 'spoiling' the plot more but I need some help. (By the way, my book is copyrighted - I heard that is a good idea)

The book I wrote is essentially about an ancient book of prophecy that was written 2,500 years ago (fictitious of course). I said it was divinely inspired by God and was given to 4 children whom God bestowed supernatural abilities. The gifts He gave them included fighting skills (martial arts), healing, prophecy, and the ability to see and interact with the spiritual world all around us (angels and demons). The book of prophecy took 20 years to complete and during that time the children grew in their abilities. The children became strong in their skills and began fighting for noble causes and many others joined in their adventures until they grew into a small kingdom.

Once the book was completed (which held thousands of prophecies including the rise and fall of the Roman empire, Jesus, the United States rising to a world power, and even the name of the antichrist), another great power was discovered about the book. Whomever held it, the book would 'amplify' their soul. So if the person who possessed it was noble and good, then prosperity and peace would reign in the land. However if they were evil, then tyranny and oppression would dominate the land.

The book was stolen by the Roman emperor (that is my reasoning for why Rome grew to be a world power and that it suddenly fell in 476 A,D, - I know that is not the actual reason of course) and in 476 A.D. it was finally stolen back and split into 3 pieces and each piece was hidden in different places all across the world.

Fast-forward to the present day. Marie, obviously, has had a bad life. Then one day she finds a letter that has been sealed since her father was murdered 20 years ago. In the letter, he discloses all of this information to her and that he was not actually insane, but was the last male in the lineage going all the way back to the original 4 children that wrote the book 2,500 years ago. In addition, every one in her family line also has the same gifts that the original 4 children had. He tells her that he found the first portion of the book of prophecy and if he fails then she must retrieve it and find the other 2 portions and reunite them. The letter also tells her that her life in danger - that demons are hunting her to kill her and that he died protecting her identity as the "Chosen One" - the only one who can reunite all 3 portions of the book.

Since she has been a drug addict for 20 years, these God-given abilities have been suppressed and when she gets off drugs, they suddenly begin to manifest themselves. She begins to see demons (which she thinks are hallucinations), she can suddenly focus and fight with incredible martial arts skills even though she has never done it before, and she can be healed at incredible rates. But she doesn't know how to wield these new-found abilities. Also, several other people come into her life that seem to 'know' she is the 'Chosen One' (not Harry Potter .... lol) but she doesn't want to believe it.

The demons know there is a "Chosen One" and want to corrupt him or her in order to have them use the book to unleash evil upon the world. They thought the Chosen One was her father but didn't know he had a child. But as soon as Marie emerges using her gifts, the demons begin to hunt her.

So the book is about her trying to find this book of prophecy and fighting demons and nephilim that are after it as well. At first, she doesn't want these abilities and certainly doesn't want to be some Chosen One. But in order to prove herself, she has to endure several 'tests' of character that make her face her past and her fears (including witnessing her father being murdered as a vision or flashback from 20 years before).

This is actually the first book in a trilogy of a series I have been writing for several years. This first three books center around Marie and a brief history of the book of prophecy. There is an entire backstory I will write and a sequel trilogy that will center around her children.

So what are your thoughts on how much to spoil in the agent query letter and what should I include? I am currently working on a revision and will post it soon.

Thanks again tremendously for your feedback.

#8 jimcombs111

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:27 PM

Okay folks. Here is my latest revision. As always, comments are welcome.

Marie Kellerton finds a haunting letter from her murdered father informing her that she is the last in an ancient lineage of holy knights with supernatural abilities and is now being hunted by demons.

Marie has had a painful life. Orphaned at the age of ten and addicted to drugs nearly 20 years, she embarks upon a centuries-old search to find a holy Book of Prophecy as a final request from her father. She learns that long ago the Book was split into three pieces and hidden in different places across the globe and only she, the Chosen One, has the ability to reunite all the pieces. However, a demon army is also seeking the Book of Prophecy. It is said that once it is reunited the identity of the antichrist will be revealed and that using the power contained within the Book, he will unleash tyranny and oppression on all humankind. She decides to rise above her circumstances and race against the forces of evil to find, reunite, and guard the Book of Prophecy.

To assist in her quest, she discovers incredible abilities such as superhuman strength and fighting skills, healing, and the ability to see and interact with angels and demons that are all around us. But she wrestles with whether she really wants to be the Chosen One. In addition, complications arise as a love interest from her past resurfaces and reignites a lost passion.

The Legacy of the Ancients: Book of Prophecy (101,000 words) is a modern fantasy novel likely to appeal to those who enjoy mystery, suspense, and the supernatural.

The full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration of my work and I look forward to speaking with you soon.


#9 RPH

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:32 PM

Okay folks. Here is my latest revision. As always, comments are welcome.

Marie Kellerton finds a haunting letter from her murdered father informing her that she is the last in an ancient lineage of holy knights with supernatural abilities and is now being hunted by demons. [This sentence is way too long. You should break it up]

Marie has had a painful life. Orphaned at the age of ten and addicted to drugs nearly 20 years, she[I'm not getting how this is important. OK, I understand she was orphaned, but you kind of already told us that in your hook. And while we're on the topic, I don't understand how, at least 10-20 years later (depending on what age she became addicted to drugs) she finds out from her father's letter that she is just now being hunted by deamons] embarks upon a centuries-old search to find a holy Book of Prophecy, as a final request from her father. She learns that long ago the Book was split into three pieces and hidden in different places across the globe and only she, the Chosen One, has the ability to reunite all the pieces [It's probably just me, but I generally don't like using the same word twice in the same sentence. I think you can get away with it here if you really have to]. However, a demon army is also seeking the Book of Prophecy. It is said that once it is reunited the identity of the antichrist will be revealed and that using the power contained within the Book, he will unleash tyranny and oppression on all humankind. She decides to rise above her circumstances and race against the forces of evil to find, reunite, and guard the Book of Prophecy. [So wait - you say that if the book is reunited, the antichrist will unleash bad stuff on humankind. Marie is trying to reunite all the pieces, right? Won't she be responsible for revealing the identity of the antichrist and all of the bad stuff that follows?]

To assist in During her quest, she discovers incredible, abilities such as superhuman abilities, butstrength and fighting skills, healing, and the ability to see and interact with angels and demons that are all around us. But she wrestles with whether she really wants to be the Chosen One. But,In addition, complications arise as a love interest from her past resurfaces and reignites a lost passion. jeopardizes everything she has set out to accomplish.

The Legacy of the Ancients: Book of Prophecy (101,000 words) is a modern fantasy novel likely to appeal to those who enjoy mystery, suspense, and the supernatural.

The full manuscript is available upon request.[This goes without saying] Thank you for your time and consideration of my work and I look forward to speaking with you soon.



#10 jimcombs111

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 07:08 PM

Wow! This has indeed been an exciting challenge. Here is my third draft. Thanks to everyone who has helped in the sculpting of this letter.

Dear ...

Marie Kellerton finds a haunting letter from her murdered father informing her that she is the last in an ancient lineage of holy knights with supernatural qualities.

Honoring his last request, she picks up where her father left off and embarks upon a search to find a holy Book of Prophecy. She learns that centuries ago the Book was split into three pieces and hidden in different places across the globe and only she, the Chosen One, has the ability to reunite all the pieces. However, a demon army is hunting her and is seeking to use the Book of Prophecy for evil. It is said that when the antichrist rises he could possibly use the power contained within the Book to destroy humankind. The only way to overthrow evil’s dominance across the earth and prevent humanity’s destruction is with the Book. But not just anyone can control its influence. She must be tested to be of a noble heart to prove she is indeed the Chosen One in order to wield the Book’s power. She decides to rise above her circumstances and race against the forces of evil to find, reunite, and guard the Book of Prophecy.

To assist in her quest, she unlocks superhuman attributes that have been passed down from her ancestors. They include incredible strength and fighting skills as well as the ability to see and interact with angels and demons. But since she never knew she had these talents, she doesn’t know how to control them. She also wrestles with whether she really wants to be the Chosen One. In addition, a love interest from her past resurfaces that threatens everything she has set out to accomplish.

The Legacy of the Ancients: Book of Prophecy (108,000 words) is a modern fantasy novel likely to appeal to those who enjoy mystery, suspense, and the supernatural.

The full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and I look forward to speaking with you soon.

#11 jimcombs111

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 10:35 AM

Hopefully the latest query lines up better and makes things more clear. I also wonder if the category of Modern Fantasy fits best. It is not exactly Christian, but it does deal with the spiritual world.

#12 vondrac

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 10:47 AM

I made a couple of notes in italics, just my first impressions and I must say I've no experience with fiction queries.

Dear ...

Marie Kellerton finds a haunting letter from her murdered father informing her that she is the last in an ancient lineage of holy knights with supernatural qualities.
Informing her is such passive terminology for such a huge discovery. And the next paragraph implies the letter has asked her to embark upon this search and that he was some sort of holy knight, but you could maybe clarify this with another hooky sentence around about here.

Honoring his last request, she picks up where her father left off and embarks upon a search to find a holy Book of Prophecy. She learns that centuries ago the Book was split into three pieces and hidden in different places across the globe and only she, the Chosen One, has the ability to reunite all the pieces. However, a demon army is hunting her and is seeking to use the Book of Prophecy for evil. It is said that when the antichrist rises he could possibly use the power contained within the Book to destroy humankind. The only way to overthrow evil’s dominance across the earth and prevent humanity’s destruction is with the Book. But not just anyone can control its influence. She must be tested to be of a noble heart to prove she is indeed the Chosen One in order to wield the Book’s power. She decides to rise above her circumstances (what circumstances?) and race against the forces of evil to find, reunite, and guard the Book of Prophecy.

To assist in her quest, she unlocks superhuman attributes that have been passed down from her ancestors. They include incredible strength and fighting skills as well as the ability to see and interact with angels and demons. But since she never knew she had these talents, she doesn’t know how to control them. She also wrestles with whether she really wants to be the Chosen One. (This sentence looks like it could be a big theme in the book but starting the ideas with "She also" makes it sound like an afterthought.) In addition, a love interest from her past resurfaces that threatens everything she has set out to accomplish.

The Legacy of the Ancients: Book of Prophecy (108,000 words) is a modern fantasy novel likely to appeal to those who enjoy mystery, suspense, and the supernatural.

The full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and I look forward to speaking with you soon



If you want to return the favor and take a look over my query for Star-Crossed and Moonstruck, I would be very grateful.

#13 jimcombs111

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 04:46 PM

This is a bit off topic but being a first-time author working on several other books I sometimes get a bit overwhelmed when I see all the completed manuscripts on this forum alone and think about all the unpublished books of our that are out there. Sometimes I just want to give up because it seems so futile. But then something always pulls me back to write and express myself. I also re-evaluate my purpose. Am I writing for money and success or am I writing due to a deep passion within me?

I know many of us have spent months and even years on our books with the hopes of our work 'making it'. I want to encourage everyone out there who shares in this writing passion and not to give up. No matter if our books ever get published or not, we should persevere and write because it is our gift and passion. I'm certain that if you ask anyone who has achieved long-term success in any discipline, they'd say they 'failed' more than they succeeded.

I am saying this to extend a 'thank you' to everyone out there who contributes to this forum. With each other's critiques, we can only improve.

#14 jimcombs111

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 04:57 PM

Here is my latest revision:

Dear Ms. Agent:

Marie Kellerton finds a haunting letter from her murdered father revealing that she is the last in an ancient lineage of holy knights with supernatural qualities.

Honoring his last request, she picks up where her father left off and embarks upon a search to find a holy Book of Prophecy. She learns that centuries ago the Book was split into three pieces and hidden in different places across the globe and only she, the Chosen One, has the ability to reunite all the pieces. However, a demon army is hunting her and is seeking to use the Book of Prophecy for evil. It is said that when the antichrist rises he could use the power contained within the Book to destroy humankind. The only way to overthrow evil’s dominance across the earth and prevent humanity’s destruction is with the Book. But not just anyone can control its influence. She must be tested to be of a noble heart to prove she is indeed the Chosen One in order to wield the Book’s power. She decides to rise above her mundane existence and race against the forces of evil to find, reunite, and guard the Book of Prophecy.

To assist in her quest, she unlocks superhuman attributes that have been passed down from her ancestors. They include incredible strength and fighting skills as well as the ability to see and interact with angels and demons. But since she never knew she had these talents, she doesn’t know how to control them. Throughout her journey, she struggles with whether she really wants to be the Chosen One. In addition, a love interest from her past resurfaces and threatens everything she has set out to accomplish.

The Legacy of the Ancients: Book of Prophecy (108,000 words) is a modern fantasy novel likely to appeal to those who enjoy mystery, suspense, and the supernatural.

The full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and I look forward to speaking with you soon.




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