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Thread: New QL Attempt

  1. #1
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    New QL Attempt

    Its almost 1am here in Australia and I've been working on a new version of my QL for the past 10 hours or so.

    I've tried to take into account what has been said and hopefully this is an improvement.

    Thanks in advance,

    Raven


    Dear Agent,
    Somewhere Street
    Somewhere town & city
    Somewhere 000000

    Evil doesnít vanish simply because man relegates monsters to nightmares and fables.

    After more than sixty years of serving His word, Cecilia longed to be reunited with her parents in the afterlife Ė instead she is rewarded with the curse of immortality.

    Tenth century Europe and the old religions are disappearing. The faithful either abandoning their beliefs altogether or morphing their faith with Christianity. The teachings of the ĎAncientsí were dying together with the people who practiced them.

    In 924 AD, on All Hollows Eve, they begin their hunt again; the malicious Jezi Babas. Immortal, vile witches, who have throughout mankindís history, haunted and tormented, are again stalking. Once more, The Papuk Mountains echo with their shrieks.

    Perun; Slav God of Thunder and Lightning, entrusts Cecilia with the task of their capture and that of their minions, the carnivorous Vukodlak. Knowledgeable in the ways of the Ancients, Cecilia is a devoted follower of Perun.

    Perun gifts her with immortality. Only as an immortal can she hope to stop them. Only as an immortal can she save mankind from endless torture both in this world and the next. Only as an immortal can she never see her parents again.

    Cecilia could say no. She could simply pass to the next life. She could avoid the possibility of loosing the last thing she owns, her soul. However this is against everything her parents taught her, against her beliefs, against her faith.

    Even so, it is one thing to trade your place in the afterlife for the greater good, itís entirely another to survive - even as an immortal.

    ZVONIMIRíS CURSE is an 115,000-word historical fantasy set against European history and Slavic mythology.

    This story draws on my Croatian heritage interweaving Slav mythological creatures as the enemy of all mankind.

    Thank you for your time and consideration

    Kind Regards
    if the wine is sour Ė throw it out

    SatyricalRaven



  2. #2
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    Re: New QL Attempt

    Perun gifts her with immortality. Only as an immortal can she hope to stop them. Only as an immortal can she save mankind from endless torture both in this world and the next. Only as an immortal can she never see her parents again.

    The repetition isn't helping. It just gets boring.

    You're presenting an eight paragraph description in a query letter. It isn't a synopsis. If this was someone else's letter, you'd be telling them to cut it to a maximum of 3 descriptive paragraphs. How come you're dragging this thing out so long? Condense some of it.

  3. #3
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    Re: New QL Attempt

    I've said it before...follow some of your own advice on QL crits you've given to others.

    You're getting bogged down in way to much detail and adding things that are very preacherly (new word B). The lines that look to me to be absolute throw away are:

    - Evil doesnít vanish simply because man relegates monsters to nightmares and fables.
    - Tenth century Europe and the old religions are disappearing. The faithful either abandoning their beliefs altogether or morphing their faith with Christianity. The teachings of the ĎAncientsí were dying together with the people who practiced them.
    - Once more, The Papuk Mountains echo with their shrieks.
    - Even so, it is one thing to trade your place in the afterlife for the greater good, itís entirely another to survive - even as an immortal.

    What's at stake is vague. You mention the 'hunt' but what is that?

    We have no sense of where this takes place.

    Plus I thought Celia was some sort of Yoda to the 5 girls. What happened to them? In earlier QLs, they were your Pros.

    Also, for me, the bit around why does your Pro care, you have because Mummy and Daddy raised her that way. Not in those words but bottom line that's what your saying. To me that's a weak premise.

    Lastly, other may disagree but I've always had a tough time with all the names. I find every time I read the name of your Ant - Jezi Babas - I think (WTF kind of name is that) it doesn't have a nice, easy reading flow to it. I know this is minor and names may get changed at the editing stage but you don't want to scare away an agent because of all the difficult sounding names you have. Unless of course your targeting Slav agents only. In that case it might be fine. This could all be just me so maybe others might chime in and agree or disagree.

    Keep at it.

    DK

  4. #4
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    Re: New QL Attempt

    The Jezi Babas were featured in Slavic mythology (the most famous example, I'm assuming, being the Baba Yaga). I think if Raven abandoned the ties to that mythology she'd lose some of the appeal of her book. (Raven, to the best of my recollection I saw something once indicating you were female, but if I'm misremembering, apologies for the faux pas.)

    Here are my comments in caps...


    Dear Agent,
    Somewhere Street
    Somewhere town & city
    Somewhere 000000

    Evil doesnít vanish simply because man relegates monsters to nightmares and fables. I USED TO PUT "LOG LINES" IN MY QUERIES AS WELL, AND NOW THAT I SEE THIS, I'M STARTING TO UNDERSTAND WHY NOT TO DO IT. AS A READER COMING IN COLD, I DON'T REACT WELL TO THIS. IT REMINDS ME OF THOSE BOGUS "QUOTES" THEY PUT ON CHRISTMAS CARDS WHICH AREN'T REALLY QUOTES AT ALL, BUT SENTIMENTAL GENERALITIES. BUILD A HOOK LINE AROUND YOUR CHARACTER AND HER UNIQUE CONFLICT OR EXPERIENCE, DON'T GIVE US PLATITUDES ABOUT EVIL. IN THE FUTURE, I PROMISE I'LL DO THE SAME IN MY QUERIES!

    After more than sixty years of serving His word, WHOSE WORD? WHY NOT JUST SAY "SERVING PERUN, THE GOD OF THE THUNDERS" OR "FAITHFULLY OBSERVING HER DUTIES TO PERUN, GOD OF THE THUNDERS"? Cecilia IS CECILIA THE FORM IN WHICH THAT NAME APPEARED IN TRADITIONAL SLAVIC CULTURES? SEEMS SO WHITEBREAD TO ME. MY REVIEW OF WIKIPEDIA SUGGESTS THAT CECILIJA OR OTHER VARIANTS MIGHT BE MORE APPROPRIATE, BUT YOU WOULD PRESUMABLY KNOW BETTER THAN. I REALLY CAN'T HEAR THE NAME WITHOUT HEARING SIMON AND GARFUNKEL IN MY HEAD. SOMETHING SIMILAR HAPPENS WHENEVER I RUN ACROSS A GIRL NAMED LAYLA IN MY OFFICE longed to be reunited with her parents in the afterlife Ė instead she is rewarded with the curse of immortality. NEED TO DECIDE WHAT TENSE YOU'RE GOING TO WRITE THIS PART OF THE QUERY IN, AND THEN FOLLOW IT THROUGH. IF YOU'RE GOING WITH PRESENT TENSE, CHANGE "LONGED" TO "LONGS." IF YOU'RE GOING TO TREAT HER IMMORTALIZATION AS BACKSTORY, CHANGE "SHE IS REWARDED" TO "SHE WAS REWARDED." ALSO RETHINK "REWARDED WITH THE CURSE." I KNOW THE CONCEPT YOU HAVE BEHIND THIS CONTRADICTION BECAUSE I'VE SEEN PRIOR QUERIES, BUT THE READER NEW TO THIS WILL LIKELY ASSUME IT'S JUST INCONSISTENT WRITING. THINK ABOUT EITHER "SHE IS BURDENED WITH AN ETERNAL DUTY" OR "SHE IS REWARDED WITH IMMORTALITY, WHICH TURNS OUT TO BE A GREATER CURSE THAN DEATH."

    Tenth century Europe and the old religions are disappearing. The faithful ARE either abandoning their beliefs altogether or morphing YOU DON'T "MORPH WITH," YOU "MORPH INTO," AND IT DOESN'T DESCRIBE TWO THINGS MIXING UP TOGETHER, IT DESCRIBES ONE THING TRANSFORMING COMPLETELY INTO ANOTHER. I THINK YOU WANT A WORD THAT PERTAINS TO COMBINING OR MIXING their faith with Christianity. The teachings of the ĎAncientsí were dying together with the people who practiced them. CHANGED TENSES AGAIN (IT WAS "ARE" IN THE FIRST SENTENCE AND NOW IT'S "WERE" ). I DON'T THINK THIS CONCEPT NEEDS THREE PRECIOUS SENTENCES OF YOUR QUERY. YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE THIS IDEA IN A SINGLE CLAUSE OF A SENTENCE THAT KEEPS THE READER'S FOCUS ON CECILIA

    In 924 AD, on All Hollows HALLOWS' Eve, they begin their hunt again; CHECK YOUR SEMICOLON USAGE the malicious Jezi Babas. Immortal, vile witches, who have throughout mankindís history, haunted and tormented, are again stalking. THAT SENTENCE WAS PRETTY VILE RIGHT THERE Once more, The DON'T CAPITALIZE "THE" IN THIS CASE Papuk Mountains echo with their shrieks.

    Perun; I WILL TAKE AWAY YOUR LICENSE TO SEMICOLON, SO HELP ME PERUN Slav God of Thunder and Lightning, entrusts Cecilia with the task of their capture YOU MIGHT WANT TO SPECIFY THE JEZI BABAS RATHER THAN USE THE PRONOUN HERE, SINCE YOU'VE STARTED A NEW PARAGRAPH and that of their minions, the carnivorous Vukodlak. Knowledgeable in the ways of the Ancients, Cecilia is a devoted follower of Perun. LAST SENTENCE TOTALLY UNNECESSARY

    Perun gifts her with immortality. WE ALREADY KNOW THIS Only as an immortal can she hope to stop them. Only as an immortal can she save mankind from endless torture both in this world and the next. Only as an immortal can she never see her parents again. EXCEPT FOR THE "NEVER SEE HER PARENTS AGAIN" PART, NONE OF THIS NEEDS TO BE SAID OR ADDS ANYTHING TO THE QUERY

    Cecilia could say no. She could simply pass to the next life. She could avoid the possibility of loosing LOSING the last thing she owns, her soul. However this is against everything her parents taught her, against her beliefs, against her faith. IS THIS CHOICE THE REAL STORY OF YOUR BOOK? I THOUGHT MOST OF YOUR BOOK TOOK PLACE AFTER THIS DECISION

    Even so, it is one thing to trade your place in the afterlife for the greater good, REMEMBER THOSE SEMICOLONS YOU MISUSED ABOVE? WELL, ONE OF THEM SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE itís entirely another to survive - even as an immortal. THE READER WILL HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANS

    ZVONIMIRíS CURSE is an "A," NOT "AN," BECAUSE WHEN YOU SAY "ONE HUNDRED" ALOUD, YOU HAVE A CONSONANT SOUND AT THE BEGINNING (THE WUWU AT THE BEGINNING OF ONE) 115,000-word historical fantasy set against European history and Slavic mythology. YOU'VE PITTED YOUR BOOK IN A DEATHMATCH AGAINST A HISTORY AND A MYTHOLOGY? I THINK YOU MEANT AGAINST "THE BACKDROP OF" EUROPEAN HISTORY AND SLAVIC MYTHOLOGY

    This story draws on my Croatian heritage interweaving Slav mythological creatures as the enemy ENEMIES of all mankind. DON'T KNOW THAT THE LAST PART ADDS ANYTHING TO YOUR QUERY

    Thank you for your time and consideration

    Kind Regards


    Raven, as I've read this and previous queries, it seems like your story is: Cecilia was a faithful follower of Perun even when the old religions were no longer being popularly observed; she was getting on in years and looking forward to being reunited with her parents in the afterlife; Perun instead offered her the opportunity to serve him eternally in the war against the Jezi Babas, which would mean forever forfeiting the chance to be reunited with her parents; she selflessly agreed to do it; she maintained the battle lines against the Jezi Babas for centuries; she trained five apprentices to help her; now it's the 21st century and time for the final battle with the JBs.

    Why not just say that?

    JH

  5. #5
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    Re: New QL Attempt

    Thanks guys,

    I fully agree I can se the faults but its just so hard to 'cut anything out' of my own baby! (I know, I know lol)

    Leslee, thanks for the 3x ONLY comment. I personally like the repetition but then I am not writing this QL for me. If you find it annoying or not working, then others will do so also. As I'm not married to the idea, it must go.
    I'm simply not arrogant enough to disagree with you on it and not stupid enough not to listen

    DK, just a couple of things on the names. While I'm open to changing most anything, I have no intention of changing the names. As JH pointed out, its the entire premise and point of the 'bad guys' of the story.

    It seems odd that names like Perun, Jezi Baba and Cecilia, which a very easy to say, are coming across as difficult and annoying to you. But then again, just like a famous North American Indian Princess, I too found Anglo words such as HOUSE and TREE difficult when I was first learning English so I cannot disagree with you on this point. I'll just have to hope most readers of this genre don't see the names the same way you do

    I do appreciate the advice and help my friend but I would strongly recommend you not buy my book; should it ever be printed as the other names within it would simply drive you crazy! lol

    And just finishing on that note. The request I already have for a full, from a lit agent in the USA, is/was primarily because of the Slav Mythology and the names of the Slav Creatures. The reason why I am putting myself through so much pain getting the QL right is that 'from request to offer of representation' is a long road and I want to be ready should Ms. Agent declines me/my MS.

    By the way JH, Baba Yaga and Jezi Baba are the same. Some call her Jezi Baba and some Yaga. I have actually used YAGA as one of the witches names and Jezi as their group name. Just a personal choice more based on being Croatian rather than Polish etc.

    The last paragraph you wrote JH, I am going to really have to look at that one. Its simple and while I have something similar (to remind me of the 'storyline in a nutshell') - I've always thought it boring and not my voice.

    Perhaps I need to take myself out of this task to write this?.

    I know my QL is too long but I don't know what to cut out as there really is so much that is pivotal.

    I also know what sort of QL I need. One that is about 4-5 lines and tells/shows very little other than to make the reader want to 'lap-up' more. A taster if you will.

    I know what I need but damned if I know how to produce it.

    I'll ask that ppl not waste any further time on this one. As my favourite saying goes, the WINE IS SOUR - so its time to cut and start over.

    MUCH PPRECIATED -Thanks guys
    if the wine is sour Ė throw it out

    SatyricalRaven

  6. #6
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    Re: New QL Attempt

    Raven,

    I should have been more clear...when I said "Why not just say that?" I didn't mean literally to use those words (or even text that hewed close to those specific words). I meant "Communicate just those ideas and forget packing the other stuff into the query." It should, of course, carry your voice when you do it; in fact, it's vitally important that your voice come through when you write the query. I mean, at least per Query Shark, and I'm assuming other agents have similar priorities.

    JH

  7. #7
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    Re: New QL Attempt

    lol, no I knew what you meant!

    I should have been clearer in my reply.

    What I was trying to say was that I already have/had those words but every time I 'meated up' I found myself telling the entire story instead of finding that 'magic' formula where enough it said so as to make it interesting but not so much so as to create more questions than answers.

    On the upside, at least I know what a good QL looks like - I just have to write one myself now haha!

    But good point about the voice though. You are right of-course. I still need it to echo me and therefore the MS.

    Thanks JH
    if the wine is sour Ė throw it out

    SatyricalRaven

  8. #8
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    Re: New QL Attempt

    "I know my QL is too long but I don't know what to cut out as there really is so much that is pivotal."

    You know that annoying exercise I give writers all the time - what is your book about in ONE sentence. I suggest you do it. Write a single sentence that describes your storyline. Don't post it, just write it. Then work from that single line, with a clearer understanding of what is essential, and begin again to write a Q letter. See what happens. It may help.

  9. #9
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    Re: New QL Attempt

    Hi Leslee,

    Even before I read your suggestion, I decided to 'do that little annoying thing' (lol) - because well; lets face it, its a good start.

    Well I went to bed @ 1.30am this morning and got up not long after 5.30 am to 'start working' on the QL again.

    Its 1.30pm as I write this. I have taken 3x 10 minute breaks and guess what I have to show for 8 hours work........... nothing other than that first sentence (& I don't even like the sentence! lol)

    Honestly; I damn well hope MS Lit Agent who wants my full MS likes it because I am starting to feel like "those who can't do teach" when it comes to to writing a QL.
    if the wine is sour Ė throw it out

    SatyricalRaven

  10. #10
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    Re: New QL Attempt

    SR,

    You tried the mini-synop method. Now try another way. See if the three questions method gives any better result.
    What does Cecelia want? To die in peace
    What does she have to do to get it? Become immortal and fight the witches
    What happens if she fails? Ahhh...what? You don't specify.

    Maybe that's why you're having trouble. There's no stakes for Cecelia if she fails.

    Stan

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