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  1. #1
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    Query help - Fantasy

    I patted myself on the back, after managing to squeeze a 120,000 Fantasy-Fiction into a two paragraph synopsis. However, my newest query (example below), is also getting the stamp of rejection. Any suggestions?



    Dear Agent,

    The purest love created in the universe, sours to the deepest betrayal. Perfection is shattered into imperfection amidst the destruction of existence. All caused by a single act, a single choice. And, this—was only the beginning. Now, a new universe has formed, created by the only survivor of the prior existence, the one whose single choice destroyed it all.

    Her universe has become draped in corruption. To save it, she has made another choice—the choice to revive an ancient soul. The only one capable of restoring the balance, but by doing so, she risks unleashing the darkest force ever known.

    I offer for your consideration, my completed 120,000 w/c fantasy fiction manuscript, under the working title, “Avoria: Shattered Past.”


    -Synopsis-

    The first installment revolves around the secret past of Haldon, the first being created in the first existence, and his counterpart, Avoria. And, the choice she made that led to the destruction of a perfect universe. Haldon, revived by Avoria, is born without the memories of his previous life. However, as he carries out his mission to destroy the source of corruption, the buried memories of betrayal and pain, take shape as a second personality in his mind. The second personality, calling itself the Velart, is an entity of malice, fixated on avenging himself upon Avoria.

    Haldon eventually recovers his full memory, and struggles to fight against the Velart inside of him. During an emotional and final encounter with Avoria, he manages to forgive her betrayal before losing complete control. In the end, Avoria is forced to destroy the Velart, and her truest love along with him.

    -Market-

    "Avoria: Shattered Past," will attract readers who enjoy dark dramatic plot, containing elements of magic, and a wide spectrum of mythical and original races. The story is emotionally character driven, but maintains balance through its flashes of humor, and large-scale action settings.

    Thank you for your consideration.


    Sincerely,

    Azrial Lane



  2. #2
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    Re: Query help - Fantasy

    Azrial,

    Lean back. Pour a glassa.

    I'll offer a few comments. They're in CAPS in the body of your Q. Not yelling at you. Just makin' 'em easy to see.

    The purest love created in the universe, sours to the deepest betrayal. YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS. YOUR DREAM AGENT DOESN'T HAVE A CLUE. Perfection is shattered into imperfection amidst the destruction of existence. HUH? SEE ABOVE. All caused by a single act, a single choice. DO YOU REALIZE YOU HAVE NOT REVEALED ANYTHING YO MAKE YOUR DREAM AGENT SIT UP AND SAY, "HOLY JUMPIN' JESUS! I GOTTA SEE THIS MANUSCRIPT. And, this—was only the beginning. THE BEGINNING OF WHAT? Now, a new universe has formed, created by the only survivor of the prior existence, the one whose single choice destroyed it all. WHO IS THE ONLY SURVIVOR?

    Her universe has become draped in corruption. WHAT CORRUPTION? WHORES ON EVERY CORNER? PREACHERS ON EVERY CORNER? GIMME SOMETHING TO CHEW ON. To save it, she has made another choice—the choice to revive an ancient soul. The only one capable of restoring the balance, but by doing so, she risks unleashing the darkest force ever known. WHAT IS THE DARKEST FORCE EVER KNOWN? ROGUE CHOCOLATE? DARTH VADER ON SPEED?

    TOSS THIS Q. SHRED IT. NOTHING ABOUT IT WORKS. IT'S ALL GENERIC STUFF. DOESN'T COMMUNICATE A SINGLE THING SPECIFIC ENOUGH TO GET THIS READER EVEN MILDLY INTERESTED. GIMME SOME SPECIFICS. SOMETHING TO MAKE ME CARE ABOUT YOUR MC.

    ASK YOURSELF WHAT YOUR TALE IS REALLY ABOUT. YOU KNOW, WHO IS AT RISK? WHAT DOES SHE/HE HAVE AT STAKE?

    Turning CAPS off.

    This is not close to a query letter. I can't quite guess what it is. This also makes me wonder if your manuscript is ready.

    Give some thought to posting the first page in the Writing Craft forum here. Do not do so unless you're prepared for honest comments.

    Hope this helps. Feel free to ignore. Others may disagree with my thoughts.

    Cur

  3. #3
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    Re: Query help - Fantasy

    My responses in bold.


    > The purest love created in the universe, sours to
    > the deepest betrayal. YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS.
    > YOUR DREAM AGENT DOESN'T HAVE A CLUE. It means the purest love in the universe (usually involving two people) sours to betrayal (one of them betrays the other) Perfection
    > is shattered into imperfection amidst the
    > destruction of existence. (Gathering from the previous sentence, it's safe to assume that the betrayal caused this.)HUH? SEE ABOVE. All
    > caused by a single act, a single choice. (This also ties into the above line. It highlights that the betrayal was from a single choice)DO YOU
    > REALIZE YOU HAVE NOT REVEALED ANYTHING YO MAKE
    > YOUR DREAM AGENT SIT UP AND SAY, "HOLY JUMPIN'
    > JESUS! I GOTTA SEE THIS MANUSCRIPT. And,
    > this—was only the beginning. THE BEGINNING OF
    > WHAT? (the story) Now, a new universe has formed, created by
    > the only survivor of the prior existence, the one
    > whose single choice destroyed it all. WHO IS THE
    > ONLY SURVIVOR? (First word on the next sentence, and then we discover a name on synopsis. This I can understand fixing...I did this mostly for dramatic purposes. =) However, if I added a name below, I would have to add names above--adding to the weight. Meh, they can wait for another inch of white space. )
    >
    > Her universe has become draped in corruption. WHAT
    > CORRUPTION? WHORES ON EVERY CORNER? PREACHERS ON
    > EVERY CORNER? GIMME SOMETHING TO CHEW ON. Draped -- blanketing universe. It's naturally, a large threat. I wanted to focus on the main plot between the two main characters. Straying into the subplot would have added a lot of explanation. I make the reader aware of a first objective (added complexity) , but I highlight the main plot. Got to trim the fat.
    > it, she has made another choice—the choice to
    > revive an ancient soul. The only one capable of
    > restoring the balance, but by doing so, she risks
    > unleashing the darkest force ever known. WHAT IS
    > THE DARKEST FORCE EVER KNOWN? ROGUE CHOCOLATE?
    > DARTH VADER ON SPEED? It is the darkest force ever known, and explained in synopsis. This is only the opening. Trick is, the novel is 120k, and I have to maintain a balance. If I strafe in one direction too far, I am forced to add, possibly, two more paragraphs. I'm not bashing your reasoning, just explaining mine. I appreciate your feedback, I look forward to hearing more.
    >

  4. #4
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    Re: Query help - Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by Azrial
    > Now, a new universe
    > has formed, created by the only survivor of the
    > prior existence, the one whose single choice
    > destroyed it all.

    >
    > The first installment revolves around the secret
    > past of Haldon, the first being created in the
    > first existence, and his counterpart, Avoria. And,
    > the choice she made that led to the destruction of
    > a perfect universe
    . Haldon, revived by Avoria--
    >
    > Haldon eventually recovers his full memory, and
    > struggles to fight against the Velart inside of
    > him. During an emotional and final encounter with
    > Avoria,
    he manages to forgive her betrayal before
    > losing complete control
    . In the end, Avoria is
    > forced to destroy the Velart
    , and her truest love
    > along with him.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cur
    ASK YOURSELF WHAT YOUR TALE IS REALLY ABOUT. YOU KNOW, WHO IS AT RISK? WHAT DOES SHE/HE HAVE AT STAKE?
    From reading the above, I would think that the universe being at stake was apparent. Why else would she be forced to destroy her truest love? I don't know, maybe you are right. I think I may need to dumb it up slightly. It's either too much or too little. I only trimmed it this thin to be considerate. I trust too much in other peoples eyes.

  5. #5
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    Re: Query help - Fantasy

    Azrial,

    My bad.

    I thought you said your Q wasn't working, and that you wanted suggestions.

    You have patiently explained to this reader why everything works.

    Yup, you'd have to "dumb it up" a lot for this raggedy ol' reader to make any sense of it.

    Cur

  6. #6
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    Re: Query help - Fantasy

    It was a factual statement; you should not take it personally. Everything that you listed was explained in the original query. So, it appears I will need to reiterate what is already there. That way, they are picked out more easily. When you have to repeat something multiple times, or have to make it blare off the page, for those who lack the ability to derive a conclusion--yes, I refer to it as, "having to dumb it down." I actually think you nailed the issue right on the head. You should take it as a compliment.

    Thank you!

  7. #7
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    Re: Query help - Fantasy

    Your query isn't working because it tells us absolutely nothing about the plot, characters, or conflict. I'd ditch it and start over.

  8. #8
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    Re: Query help - Fantasy

    Azrial,

    Fellow fantasy writer here, hope my comments are helpful.

    Everything Smiling Curmudgeon and Jena Grace said was right on point. If SC didn't understand something from your query, the fault doesn't lie with him, it lies with your query. The way to deal with his comments is not to give retorts to each comment - it's to go back to your query and look at it and figure out why the query is not communicating what you want to communicate.

    Overall, I think you need to understand that a lot of portentous-sounding statements do not a query make. You need to get the agent hooked by introducing your main character, explaining in fairly concrete terms what challenge he/she/it has to face, and giving the agent an idea what's at stake for the character if he/she/it fails.

    Your query does not even give your main character's name. That indicates to me that you haven't done enough research as to what is needed for a successful query letter. I'd recommend googling "Query Shark" and reading a number of entries in Janet Reid's blog with her incisive comments. Once you've done that, throw this query straight in the trash, start over, and if you like, repost here. I don't think you'll get more comments from Smiling Curmudgeon but if you demonstrate that you really want to develop a working query and you're willing to accept constructive criticism (rather than simply defending your query as is), you may get some valuable help here.

    Good luck.

    JH

  9. #9
    Senior Member Keith .'s Avatar
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    Re: Query help - Fantasy

    You'll find dozens of sites offering query critiques. Most will tell you your query is wonderful and sing praises to that purple glob of prose you posted in the OP. They 'll include smiley faces and gifs of cartoon animals jumping for joy at the thought of reading your post. It does wonders for your self esteem and virtually guarantees a drawer full of rejection slips. It also saves you the trouble of firing back at accomplished writers who are fighting a deadline, working two jobs, yet still take time to offer comments to those who've asked for the honest opinions they're now bitching about.

    Your intended query (I say intended because it isn't a query) makes no sense, rambles along unfocused, is improperly formatted, tells nothing about your characters and is hopelessly overwritten and overly dramatic. My first impression, fairly or unfairly, is that your 120k manuscript could be cut to 90k (75 if it wasn't fantasy). That just my opinion and, of course, you may feel free to ignore it. Some folks here are damned good at whipping a query into shape for submission to agents and/or editors. Cur is one of them. Your loss. Good luck.
    ________________________________________________

    People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.
    - Bob Dylan

  10. #10
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    Re: Query help - Fantasy

    Yes, exactly as I stated with my last reply. I need to add more detail, it is too vague. I apologize that you misinterpreted as defending. In the first post I was adding my reasoning behind it. By doing so, it could be analyzed properly. I appreciate the outstanding feedback from everyone! I have returned to the drawing board! =)

    Again, thank you!

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