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  1. #1
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    Trying a new 'approach' to my Ql

    Let me know what you all think

    Raven



    Dear Agent,
    Somewhere Street
    Somewhere town & city
    Somewhere 000000

    In tenth century Europe old soothsayer Cecilia is given a gift; she will not die. Trouble is, to her it’s a curse – she wants to die.

    Cecilia is the guardian and the gatekeeper. Perun, Slav God of Thunder & Lightning, has selected Cecilia to ensure the prophecy of one thousand years comes true, to break the curse of King Zvonimir and to capture the immortal and merciless Jezi Baba witches.

    The Jezi Babas, having tormented humanity throughout the centuries, now hunt as a pack. Their prey; all who share the blood of kings.

    Cecilia’s duty seems simple- to protect. She must protect a bloodline and a dynasty from the witches and their carnivorous minions, the hideous Vukodlaks. But this duty will span centuries of wars, famines, plagues and death. For Perun’s promise of humanities salvation will not come until the 21st century.

    Her reward – never to enter the afterlife and never to be reunited with her beloved parents.

    Her decision – one of blind faith and complete self-sacrifice.

    Her success - one that mankind depends on.

    ZVONIMIR’S 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 – throw it out

    SatyricalRaven



  2. #2
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    Re: Trying a new 'approach' to my Ql

    This is an improvement over the last version.
    n tenth century Europe old soothsayer Cecilia is given a gift; she will not die. Trouble is, to her it’s a curse – she wants to die.

    [s]Cecilia is the guardian and the gatekeeper.[/s] Unnecessary, given the next sentence. Perun, Slav God of Thunder & Lightning, has selected Cecilia to ensure the prophecy of one thousand years comes trueperiod , [s] tobreak the curse of King Zvonimir and to[/s] Unnecessary for the Q capture defeat? the immortal and merciless Jezi Baba witches comma who have tormented humanity throughout the centuries. .

    [s]The Jezi Babas, having tormented humanity throughout the centuries, now hunt as a pack. Their prey; all who share the blood of kings.[/s] IMO, this can go because the Q needs to concentrate on Cecilia,

    Cecilia’s duty seems simpleperiod - [s]to protect.[/s] She must protect a bloodline and a dynasty For the Q only one is needed from the witches and their carnivorous minions[s], the hideous Vukodlaks.[/s]The name isn't necessary in the Q But this duty will span centuries of wars, famines, plagues and death. For Perun’s promise of humanities humanity's salvation will not come until the 21st century.

    Her reward – never to enter the afterlife and never to be reunited with her beloved parents.

    Her decision – one of blind faith and complete self-sacrifice.

    Her success - one that mankind depends on. Meh. Sort of generic. A specific instance would be better.

    ZVONIMIR’S 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
    As written, you have 5 proper names in the Q. I recommend reducing to three. C, P, and the JBs. King Z and the hideous Vuks can go. And the JBs part in the Q can be downplayed to the role of the nameless, faceless evil, leaving more room for Cecelia.

    Stan

  3. #3
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    Re: Trying a new 'approach' to my Ql

    Raven,

    This is clearer, but I agree with Stan's comments. Additionally, I think you have the problem that, as the query reads, Cecilia's only real choice and hardship is at the very beginning, when she gives up the chance to be reunited with her parents in the afterlife. Beyond that it just seems like she's locked in for a thousand years. Does anything really happen in all those centuries? Are there any further personal stakes for Cecilia?

    Also, the "her reward, her decision, her success" thing is gimmicky and smacks of a dust-cover blurb. And stop referring to the Slav mythological creatures as "the enemy of all mankind." It's awkward and "creatures" is plural while "enemy" is singular.

    Finally, I swear to Perun, if you misuse the semicolon one more time...

    JH

  4. #4
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    Re: Trying a new 'approach' to my Ql

    No offense Rayven, but it reads like bad jacket copy or a b movie trailer from the 50's. And the story is still sounding very convoluted. For one thing it's not clear what Cecilia's curse of immortality has to do with the story. You say that it's trouble, but you do not show how it is trouble, And I think that's what's missing from the query. It just sounds like Cecilia is burdened with this great responsibility but you don't give us an idea what that burden does to her or how she handles it. And that's where your story lies. Not in the Jezi Babas o the Vukodlaks or King Zyonimir - but in the challenges your protagonist faces and what she does in the face of those challenges.

  5. #5
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    Re: Trying a new 'approach' to my Ql

    Thanks guys,

    I've been away in the country with my parents and have come back to the three comments which are much appreciated.

    Stan:
    I think I'm getting there with this one
    To be honest, I came up with it about 1 hour before I was packing for the weekend. I tried 5-6 versions and settled on this one as a 'starting point' - and will be seriously be looking at the points you raised/suggestions you made, when I finally get home. (I'm on the train as I type this)

    John
    Thanks
    OMG that damn semicolon! lol
    Again; good points and appreciate the the point of 'hardship in the beginning - what happens for the next 1000 years' issue.
    The problem here is this is a Historical-Fantasy. I have (finally) learned I either have to leave out historical points of importance or leave out the creation of the fantasy world - because there simply isn't enough 'space' to do credit to both within 300-400 words. (and what I end up doing is not enough for either leaving the reader knowing nothing and not interested/invested enough to ask for more)
    I will need to take some time out to figure out how to bring in the tension. And also how to make it clear this is only the first of many challenges Cecilia faces, without writing a synopsis.

    Simon
    As per the above comment to John, I am finding that if I put more detail into what Cecilia will be/is facing I then need to describe the world/time she is in and with it what is at risk and what (creature) is causing her to face that risk.
    I can see your point of a 'bad 50's jack cover' but I'll take that as getting closer to the right track. Because if its bad but not totally without merrit, then there's room for improvement. (or perhaps a real starting point?)

    I know its not right yet,but I also think I need a more minimalist approach to this QL simply because of the setting/timeframe and the temptation of over-writing.

    I think when I cut it back to Stans re-work, I will then have more room/words/space to fill out 'a bit' and hopefully remove some of the 50's jacket cover issue.

    Thanks again guys .
    if the wine is sour – throw it out

    SatyricalRaven

  6. #6
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    Re: Trying a new 'approach' to my Ql

    Hi Raven

    When I refer to something as bad jacket copy or a b movie trailer from the 50's - that is not a good thing. And in my eyes it means that you are on the wrong track.

    Also if you don't think you can focus your query around Cecilia, without adding even more details about her world, then I fear you may have bigger problems than just your query.

    Story is about your protagonist's goal, obstacle, conflict, journey, growth, etc., your setting and world should be secondary. If you can't nail your story down to your hero's journey, then I can't help wondering if your story is secondary to your world.

  7. #7
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    Re: Trying a new 'approach' to my Ql

    thanks Simon,

    my problem is not nailing down the story, my problem is nailing it down while doing it justice within a 300 word limit.

    I know what my story is. I also happen to know its good. I don't make statements lightly - in fact I don't think I've ever said that before. But writing a good story and a good QL are two entirely different things.

    I am fully aware I have work to do, hence the reason I am asking for assistance. I also know you where not offering buckets of praise. Regardless, we all need to start somewhere and I think, even if the QL still misses the mark, it is at least headed in the right direction.

    Of-course I could be competely wrong and am just as likely to start over. Tomorrow is another day
    if the wine is sour – throw it out

    SatyricalRaven

  8. #8
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    Re: Trying a new 'approach' to my Ql

    You should not be trying to do the story justice in your query, you should be trying to get someone to want to read your story. The more cluttered and less cleary your query is, the less likely someone is to want to read it.

    In Hollywood, we live and die by the logline. Which is a one sentence pitch. You've got to distill the story down to it's essence - frame the central conflict to give the reader a sense of who your protagonist is and what is at stake for him or her - and in 25 words hook the agent, producer, talent, etc.

    As an exercise to help you declutter the details and hone in on the heart of your story, try writing a logline for your book, then build up from there.

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