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Rise: The Forgotten (Fantasy)


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#1 Rfn T Leurs

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 04:41 AM

REVISION 2: PLEASE SEE POST #14 AS OF 27/11/2010

REVISION 1: SEE POST #7 AS OF 11/11/2010

Firstly, a big thank you for taking the time to read over and critique my humble and completely novice query. Any and all opinions are welcome, that which doesn't kill, only makes you stronger after all. Thank you again, in advance, for your input, I greatly appreciate it and no doubt will go a long way to fullfilling this dream.


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An emotionally scarred and cynical, 21 year old, Gabriel, becomes embroiled in an ancient conflict over a long forgotten yet powerful artefact, and with the help of his powerful yet misguided companions, he sets out on a twisted journey to rise up against his enemies and embrace his destiny.

RISE: THE FORGOTTEN (82K) takes place in the mystical world of Ilunos, a land long divided by an age-old conflict between the desert kingdom of Hadir and the woodland kingdom of Meridia. However, in a sleepy woodland village, a young necromancer named Gabriel Redimir, is shattered when he discovers his master slain, by a mysterious band of mercenaries, Gabriel sets out alone on a path of vengeance.

When the King and Queen of Meridia are assassinated, the kingdom of Hadir is accused and war re-erupts across the borders of the two kingdoms. Chaos ensues as a long forgotten enemy rises, with the aid of the new Meridian King, against the army of Hadir. Gabriel must race across the land to confront his vile nemesis to prevent the destruction of the world and all he still holds dear.

I have lived within South Africa my entire life; I am 21 years of age and the youngest of three sons completing the family of five. I hold no degrees or writing accolades, relying almost entirely on my extremely vivid imagination, I write simply for the love of writing. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Pride is the greatest value a man may possess, until it becomes his burden.

#2 bigblackcat97

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 11:00 AM

Hi Rfn, and welcome. Thanks for critiquing other's queries - that's the best way to get feedback for yourself Posted Image


An emotionally scarred and cynical, 21 year old, Gabriel, becomes embroiled in an ancient conflict over a long forgotten yet powerful artefact, and with the help of his powerful yet misguided companions, he sets out on a twisted journey to rise up against his enemies and embrace his destiny.


Okay - there's nothing here in your hook that makes me say "Wow - this is really different from other fantasy out there." Also, there's a lot of leading - Gabriel is emotionally scarred an cynical, but we don't know why - plus that's not the best way to hook someone right off, describing your character in a negative manner (even if the negative traits in question are the character's saving grace in the plot). We have no idea what the artifact is or why it's powerful, who his companions are and why they're misguided. "Twisted journey" - nice I like that. Maybe this is where you hook lies? Plus - "rising up against his enemies" and "embracing his destiny" are fun little phrases, but they aren't really telling us anything.

RISE: THE FORGOTTEN (82K) takes place in the mystical world of Ilunos, a land long divided by an age-old conflict between the desert kingdom of Hadir and the woodland kingdom of Meridia. However, in a sleepy woodland village, a young necromancer named Gabriel Redimir, is shattered when he discovers his master slain, by a mysterious band of mercenaries, Gabriel sets out alone on a path of vengeance.



My congrats on writing a first time high fantasy novel under 100K. Seriously. The kingdom conflict here is worded well, but kingdom conflict is pretty typical for high F and we need to know what the conflict is over, and why your novel's conflict is different, and better than, the next guy's. You're re introducing Gabriel here, so you need to re write for flow - but the wording here is good. "Path of vengeance" I like - perhaps this is a good bridge to connect to the idea of his erstwhile companions on that path? You are over fond of commas. Kill some of those babies.

When the King and Queen of Meridia are assassinated, the kingdom of Hadir is accused and war re-erupts across the borders of the two kingdoms. Chaos ensues as a long forgotten enemy rises, with the aid of the new Meridian King, against the army of Hadir. Gabriel must race across the land to confront his vile nemesis to prevent the destruction of the world and all he still holds dear.



Okay cool - this sounds really interesting and is well worded. But who is the long forgotten enemy? Human? Monster? And how does this connect to our earlier story about Gabriel and his band of fellows on the path of vengeance? Also, I'd use dashes (-) instead of commas to offset "with the aid of the new Meridian King." Also, the phrase "all he holds dear" is pretty cliche. I'd strike it and end that sentence with "world" - it's strong enough on it's own.

I have lived within South Africa my entire life; I am 21 years of age and the youngest of three sons completing the family of five. I hold no degrees or writing accolades, relying almost entirely on my extremely vivid imagination, I write simply for the love of writing. Thank you for your time and consideration.



I'd scratch your bio as it's not relevant to the story. You don't have experience? No big deal - me neither, but I don't mention it. Your age and location and spot in the family dynamic is all irrelevant (no offense). I'd skip a bio para entirely.


Hope that helps! You've got the bones here, just need to flesh it out appropriately.

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#3 Rfn T Leurs

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 12:15 PM

Wow, that was incredible, thank you very much Black Cat. I must say I agree with what you say now that I see things from a different point of view. Thanks again for the input and please keep it coming. And I will try my best to spread my wisdom.
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#4 bigblackcat97

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 12:22 PM

No problem - thanks for taking criticism the way it's meant - to helpPosted Image


BBC

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#5 The Steel Man

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 01:00 PM

BBC, that was some critique. You spent a lot of time on it. And, Rfn you were so gracious with your thank you. This is exactly how AQC works.

#6 Rfn T Leurs

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 02:54 PM

Thanks very much Steel Man, yes it is. well, thats how it should work anyway.
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#7 Rfn T Leurs

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 02:38 AM

Embarking on a dark and twisted journey of revenge, Gabriel, a 21-year-old necromancer is forced into the pursuit of a much greater nemesis, when he discovers his master’s murder is only a bloody precursor to a far more sinister scheme that will bend his entire world to the will of a single megalomaniacal being.

RISE: THE FORGOTTEN (82K) takes place in the mystical world of Ilunos, a world ruled by powerful arcane magic and battle hardened hearts. However when the King of Meridia outlaws magic in all its forms throughout the kingdom and warlocks, necromancers, wizards and witches are hunted to near extinction. Gabriel finds himself in the centre stage of a fierce resistance against his very own king.

After a few narrow escapes and a lot of searching, Gabriel discovers his masters brutal death was only a bloody precursor to a devilish plot to destroy both Hadir and Meridia, bringing the world of Ilunos to its knees, by the dark will of a long banished and long forgotten warlock named Haine.

However, when the King and Queen of Meridia are assassinated the kingdom of Hadir is accused without question and war re-erupts across the borders of the two kingdoms before Gabriel can prevent it. Chaos ensues as Haine rises into power -with the aid of the new Meridian King, and marches against the army of Hadir. Gabriel must race across the land to confront his vile nemesis and prevent the destruction of his world.

Thank you for taking your time and consideration in reading this. I look forward to your response.

Attempt number two. I pretty much tore it apart and built it back up again after I realised that when I made changes, it didnt make any sense in relation to the actual story. Well let me know what you think. I wish I could spend more time on this site, but as it stands I'll have to make do. Thanks again for all the help so far, been pretty much priceless.
Pride is the greatest value a man may possess, until it becomes his burden.

#8 TJ Robinson

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 11:04 PM

Here's a few thoughts, hope they help. Sounds like an interesting read.

HOOK
Embarking on a dark and twisted journey of revenge, Gabriel, a 21-year-old necromancer is forced into the pursuit of a much greater nemesis, when he discovers his master’s murder is only a bloody precursor to a far more sinister scheme that will bend his entire world to the will of a single megalomaniacal being.[/b]

I have to admit I'm a little confused by your hook. I have a hard time following the sentence, and it seems to avoid the main conflict - at least the one I understand from your query. Maybe try switching it up a bit.

21-year-old necromancer Gabriel is forced onto a dark and twisted journey of revenge when he finds his people framed for the death of their king by an exiled warlock intent on returning as the kingdom's self-annointed ruler.

Not great but should hopefully give you an idea to start from.

The Mini-Synopsis - Once again, I found it difficult to follow. Your basic ideas are good, just shorten and clean it up. I've made a few changes in here that you can decide if you want to use, they're suggestions only.

RISE: THE FORGOTTEN (82K) takes place in the mystical world of Ilunos, a world ruled by powerful arcane magic and battle hardened hearts. When the King of Meridia outlaws magic in all its forms throughout the kingdom, however, Gabriel the necromancer finds himself hunted by his fellow citizens and is soon in the centre stage of a fierce resistance against his very own king. After narrowly escaping death, Gabriel is shocked to discover the banished and forgotten warlock Haine responsible for both the new law and the death of the king and queen as part of his devilish plot to rule Ilunos.

When the King and Queen of Meridia are assassinated, the citizens of Meridia assume the neighboring kingdom of Hadir is to blame. Chaos ensues as Haine uses this confusion to rise to power and marches against the army of Hadir before Gabriel can stop him. Gabriel must now race across the land to confront his vile nemesis and prevent the destruction of his world.

Hope this helps. If any of the edits don't fit your story, it may benefit you to go back through and try to reword your query to make it more understandable for someone who knows nothing about your book. I know that's tough, I've been facing the same problem with my query. Keep up the good work, you're getting close.

#9 bigblackcat97

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 08:30 AM

Embarking on a dark and twisted journey of revenge, Gabriel, a 21-year-old necromancer is forced into the pursuit of a much greater nemesis, when he discovers his master’s murder is only a bloody precursor to a far more sinister scheme that will bend his entire world to the will of a single megalomaniacal being.


I agree with TJ - the hook is great, but a little convoluted, I think. Try this: A young necromancer, Gabriel, embarks upon a dark and twisted journey to avenge his master's murder only to be diverted into pursuit of a much greater nemesis. The death of his master is only a bloody precursor to a more sinister scheme that will bend his entire world.....

RISE: THE FORGOTTEN (82K) takes place in the mystical world of Ilunos, a world ruled by powerful arcane magic and battle hardened hearts. However when the King of Meridia outlaws magic in all its forms throughout the kingdom and warlocks, necromancers, wizards and witches are hunted to near extinction. Gabriel finds himself in the centre stage of a fierce resistance against his very own king.



You've got an echo with "world." Try: ... takes place in the mystical world of Ilunos, which is ruled by arcane magic and battle hardened hearts. I struck "powerful" for flow as well. Drop "however" in then next sentence and "in all it's forms throughout the kingdom." I think this flows better : .... outlaws magic, wizards and witches are hunted to near extinction. I'd drop "warlocks and necromancers" too. I understand there's a distinction, but you're just trying to get the idea across here, which we don't know all four categories to do. I don't like the phrase "in the center stage." But that might just be me. I'd rather see: ... finds himself the reluctant leader of a fierce resistance against his own king. (I'd drop the "very.")

After a few narrow escapes and a lot of searching, Gabriel discovers his masters brutal death was only a bloody precursor to a devilish plot to destroy both Hadir and Meridia, bringing the world of Ilunos to its knees, by the dark will of a long banished and long forgotten warlock named Haine.



We've got the phrase "bloody precursor" here again, and are revisiting something that's already been covered in your hook. I'd try : Gabriel discovers that banning magic is the first step in a plot to destroy both H and M, an act that would bring Ilunos to its knees. The powerful hand and dark will of a banished and forgotten warlock named Haine is at the helm of this plot. Obviously that's not the best way to phrase that, but you get the idea of what I'm driving at.

However, when the King and Queen of Meridia are assassinated the kingdom of Hadir is accused without question and war re-erupts across the borders of the two kingdoms before Gabriel can prevent it. Chaos ensues as Haine rises into power -with the aid of the new Meridian King, and marches against the army of Hadir. Gabriel must race across the land to confront his vile nemesis and prevent the destruction of his world.



Drop your "however" for flow. Drop "without question" pop a comma after accused, and drop the next "and" before war. I'd just say war "erupts" not "re-erupts." I'd drop "before Gabriel can prevent it." I'd say Haine rises "to power" not "into power." I'd drop your "-" right before "with the aid." If you want something there, I'd use a comma. I'd drop "race across the land" cause it kind of makes me giggle at the image.


There's a lot of red typing up there, but don't be discouraged. Overall your query has improved tremendously - I see your plot now. You've got some good compelling phrases and I do think the hook is good, it just needs some tightening.


Why do you say this one "will have to do?" You don't want to burn bridges by sending out a sub par query letter before it's ready. Take your time and make sure the query is as good as possible before sending out. Yes, you'll get tired of it and become "query weary" but this is the first impression you make on an agent.

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#10 aworkinprogress

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 09:03 AM

Black Cats comments are right on target. I think you have a good query for an interesting book. By making a few changes as suggested you may have something that will work well. As far as the "race across the land" comment, maybe "race against time", just a thought.

#11 3MagicWords

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 06:24 PM

In your hook, I like putting the masters murder first, then his journey. Seems to be more chronological and succinct to me. Something like: After the murder of his master, Gabriel, a 21 year old necro, embarks on a dark and twisted journey of revenge. (in one sentence, we now know what happened, who's the MC, and what action he's going to take) What he discovers proves to be a far more sinister scheme and one that will pit him against his vile nemesis for the very survival of his world. (we now know that there is more to the masters death, probably the main plot, another major character and what's at stake - not friendship, not love, but the survival of his world! pretty heavy!

I think it should now be easier to explain the actual story by just expanding on the hook.

I've learned from the critiques of my own query letter here, that most of the details (age, height, weight, weather, etc.) in a query letter can be eliminated and saved for the actual manuscript. They are only flowers in the garden. What an agent wants to know in a query letter is if you are a great gardener!

I took my first hook from 6 sentences to 2 and I like it better.

How abaout this for the start of the second para. RISE: THE FORGOTTEN an 82,000 word fantasy (I did not know the genre before)takes place on Ilunos. A mystical world ruled by powerful arcane magic and battle hardened hearts. (this not only clearly defines the setting, it's not a rock strewn barren wasteland, but for me also ties in your next sentences about witches, warlocks etc. as the kind of place they would likely be found and that we will probably not be finding ugly grotesque creatures as you would find on a barren wasteland. So I am now beginning to see just what kind of story this is going to be.

Hope it helps. Keep at it.

#12 Rfn T Leurs

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 04:45 PM

Wow, again thanks to everyone for the great feedback, I know that time is valuable and I greatly appreciate it being spent helping me. As to you comment BBC, about the "Sub Par" query, it was not the query I was reffering to, but the fact I am unable to spend more time on this site than I would like.

A big thanks to TJ, aworkinprgress, 3MagicWords and of course you BBC. All the effort is priceless.

Thanks again, and I look forward to your opinions as soon as I have mastered the next revision.
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#13 bigblackcat97

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 10:48 PM

Wow, again thanks to everyone for the great feedback, I know that time is valuable and I greatly appreciate it being spent helping me. As to you comment BBC, about the "Sub Par" query, it was not the query I was reffering to, but the fact I am unable to spend more time on this site than I would like.

A big thanks to TJ, aworkinprgress, 3MagicWords and of course you BBC. All the effort is priceless.

Thanks again, and I look forward to your opinions as soon as I have mastered the next revision.


Ah, good. I don't want to see you put a ton of work into the query only to fire it off before it's truly ready b/c you're anxious Posted Image AQ is a priceless experience, but logged hours doesn't necessarily equal writing brilliance, hence BBC remains unagented.

In any case, your query has improved by leaps and bounds. Looks great, will have my eye out for the revision.

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#14 Rfn T Leurs

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 08:27 AM

Hello again, here is the latest revision. It's taken some time but I think im getting the hang of things now. Again thanks to all those who have helped build it up to where it is now, and thanks to those that will take the time and effort to read through this and give me some feedback, without all of you being so supportive I would still be lost at square one.

After the murder of his mentor, Gabriel, a young necromancer, embarks on a dark and twisted journey of revenge. What he discovers proves to be a far more sinister scheme and one that will pit him against his malevolent nemesis for the very survival of his world.

RISE: THE FORGOTTEN an 82,000-word fantasy takes place on Ilunos, a mystical world ruled by powerful arcane magic and battle hardened hearts. When the King outlaws magic, wizards and witches across the land become hunted prey, and slaughtered to near extinction. Here Gabriel finds himself engulfed in a struggle for survival against his own king, propelling him down a path he would have never chosen for himself.

After a few narrow escapes and a lot of searching, Gabriel discovers his master’s brutal death and the murder of countless other magic-users was only the bloody precursor to a devilish plot to destroy both Hadir and Meridia, bringing the world of Ilunos to its knees, by the dark will of a long banished and long forgotten warlock named Haine.

When Haine has the King and Queen of Meridia assassinated and frames the kingdom of Hadir, war erupts across the borders of the two kingdoms. Chaos ensues, as Haine grows ever more powerful within his new human host and with the aid of the new Meridian King, marches against the army of Hadir. Gabriel must hurry to uncover the truth, and find the strength to confront his vile nemesis and prevent the destruction of his world.

Thank you for taking your time and consideration in reading this. I look forward to your response.
Pride is the greatest value a man may possess, until it becomes his burden.

#15 Guinevere

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 11:52 AM

I really like this version - the plot comes through very clearly, the query is interesting, straightforward, and specific without going into too much detail.

Gabriel must hurry to uncover the truth, and find the strength to confront his vile nemesis and prevent the destruction of his world.

The only thing that bothered me was that "must hurry" seemed weak in comparison to the rest of your query. Vile nemesis and destruction of his world are big, bad things, and "must hurry" makes me think of being late to tea... I think you could even do without it - "Gabriel must uncover the truth and find the strength...", although I think (potentially) this might be a good place to discuss what's holding Gabriel back - I mean, obviously he HAS to do whatever he can to prevent the destruction of his world, so what does he have to find the strength against? What truth is he seeking? Is there something else going on with Gabriel (that you could explain in brief here?).

That's my one suggestion... overall, I think this query sounds really strong now!

#16 S.K. Keogh

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 11:31 PM

After the murder of his mentor, Gabriel, a young necromancer named Gabriel (THE REASON I CHANGED THIS IS BECAUSE "HIS MENTOR, GABRIEL" READ TO ME LIKE THE MENTOR'S NAME WAS GABRIEL; YOU DON'T WANT TO CONFUSE THE READER IN THE FIRST SIX WORDS) embarks on a dark and twisted journey of revenge. What he discovers proves to be a far more sinister scheme and one that will pit him against his malevolent nemesis for the very survival of his world.

RISE: THE FORGOTTEN an 82,000-word fantasy takes place on Ilunos, a mystical world ruled by powerful arcane magic and battle hardened hearts. When the King outlaws magic, wizards and witches across the land become hunted prey, and slaughtered to near extinction. Here Gabriel finds himself engulfed in a struggle for survival against his own king, propelling him down a path he would have never chosen for himself.

After a few narrow escapes and a lot of searching, Gabriel discovers his master’s brutal death and the murder of countless other magic-users was only the bloody precursor to a devilish plot to destroy both Hadir and Meridia, bringing the world of Ilunos to its knees, by the dark will of a long banished and long forgotten warlock named Haine.

When Haine has the King and Queen of Meridia assassinated and frames the kingdom of Hadir, war erupts across the borders of the two kingdoms. Chaos ensues, as Haine grows ever more powerful within his new human host and with the aid of the new Meridian King, marches against the army of Hadir. Gabriel must hurry to uncover the truth, and find the strength to confront his vile nemesis and prevent the destruction of his world.


The last two paragraphs' information needs to be saved for the synopsis. To put it in the query makes it too long. Remember, agents get about 300 of these a week, so they want to know in just a couple of paragraphs if the subject matter and overall story interests them.

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#17 Rfn T Leurs

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 03:21 AM

Thank you both for the input, I greatly appreciate the time and effort.

Guinevere, I understand your point of view and agree, fully. I will work on that part. Thank you for pointing that out.

Susan, your points are valid and I shall alter the opening line as you suggested. I must admit I overlooked that logical error. As for stripping the last two paragraphs, I am slightly cautious to do so, as its the meat of the story, added to the fact that there is no bio paragraph to fill out the query. Alot happens in the book and I don't want the query to be overlooked because I've torn out some of the most crucial events, I would rather it drew the agent in and made them want to finish reading the query enstead of giving them half the story, which might leave them asking to many questions to want to reply or am I just crazy? Perhaps I could edit the last two paragraphs into a single solid block, if you think it is absolutely vital?

Again thank you both for your valuable input. I look forward to hearing more in the future.
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#18 Peter Burton

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 11:04 AM

Not too sure if this will help much, Rfn, but I felt the synopsis could be just a little tighter

RISE: THE FORGOTTEN an 82,000-word fantasy takes place on Ilunos, a mystical world ruled by powerful arcane magic and battle hardened hearts. When the King outlaws magic, wizards and witches across the land become hunted prey, and slaughtered to near extinction. Here Gabriel finds himself engulfed in a struggle for survival against his own king, propelling him down a path he would have never chosen for himself.


Perhaps something like this?

RISE: THE FORGOTTEN an 82,000-word fantasy takes place on Ilunos, a mystical world ruled by powerful arcane magic and battle hardened hearts. When the King outlaws magic, wizards and witches across the land are slaughtered to near extinction. Gabriel soon finds himself embroiled in a struggle for survival against his own king, propelling him down a path he would have never chosen for himself.

Not much of a difference, I know, but it feels like it reads quicker to me.

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And just like us, you must have had, a Once Upon A Time."

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#19 bigblackcat97

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 09:19 AM

I like Peter's re write above, just for tightness. As far as striking the last two paras, it's really up to you. Even with them, I don't think that the query is overly long. I'd go ahead and send out a round of queries and see what kind of reaction you get. If you get zero requests, then you need to retool. I usually send out ten in a "bunch" and sit back and wait. Don't aim for you dream agents first, hit your mid listers and hone your query on them.

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#20 Rfn T Leurs

Rfn T Leurs

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 12:43 PM

gosh!: So after these edits, will I finally be done with this step??? That would be a nice thought. On the other hand, that means actually getting my synopsis done :sad:

Thank you all so very much for the helping hand. It has been absolutely invaluable. If I actually get this right, I will remember you all fondly. :biggrin:
Pride is the greatest value a man may possess, until it becomes his burden.




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