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  1. #1
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    Query --need help

    Hello everyone,
    I'm new to Writersnet and would appreciate some feedback on this query. Any tips would be helpful.
    Thanks,
    Stacy

    Dear Agent,

    Patience Kell just escaped a lab run by a man with a twisted scheme to create rapture in the Upperrealm at the expense of innocent lives. Now, she is seeking refuge in the Underrealm far from scalpels and needles. The Underrealm has its own troubles, though, and being an outsider, Patience is on her own to battle the betrayal, torture, and death that rules her dark haven. She manages just fine until Nex shows up, a powerful man who seemingly has no emotions and won’t leave her alone.

    Nex is a Guardian, a being meant to protect the balance between the realms, but due to a violent past, he could care less about the balance. Hardened and miserable, he wants to be left alone and feel nothing. But, when Nex realizes Patience is the key to a cure that can rid him of his past, he will do anything to keep her.

    Violence breaks out as an ancient evil from Nex's past resurfaces, and this time it will stop at nothing to finish what it failed years ago. And, Nex's obsession with Patience is just what the evil needs in order to bring him down. If it gets Nex, the balance that keeps the realms separated will crumble and evil will take both realms. Nex must reenter his prior hell in order to save Patience before the evil destroys her and his only chance at peace.

    IN THE SHADOWS is a fantasy adventure complete at 110,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.



  2. #2
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    Re: Query --need help

    I'd like to give this a thorough critique but it will have to wait to see if I have some free time this evening. For now, though, one minor nit: some people don't mind that through usage "could care less" has become the equivalent of "couldn't care less." Some people are driven to transports of rage by the use of "could care less." I wouldn't gamble that the agent you query is a member of the more relaxed group...

  3. #3
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    Re: Query --need help

    "Patience Kell just escaped a lab run by a man with a twisted scheme to create rapture in the Upperrealm at the expense of innocent lives."

    That is one tough opening sentence. You're trying to pack too much into it.

    If you break it down:

    Patience Kell
    just escaped a lab
    run by a man
    with a twisted scheme
    to create rapture
    in the Upperrealm
    at the expense of innocent lives


    You could easily pick one of those ideas, develop it and start with a stronger sentence. Check out all the prepositions. Yikes!

    Also, "just escaped a lab" is unintentionally funny. It could be a laboratory or a big dog.

  4. #4
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    Re: Query --need help

    Thanks so much for the eye-opener. I guess I never thought of "lab" being a dog when I wrote it. That is rather comical. As for that sentence, I am working on changing it.
    Thanks again,
    Stacy

  5. #5
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    Re: Query --need help

    Ok Question, If Nex couldn't care less about his duty as a Guradian, then isn't the Realm already unbalanced?

    I stopped for the longest time trying to figure out what exactly 'evil' could do that was worse that doning nothing and ensuring everything fails/falls apart.

    I am sure you have the answer but I felt like 'evil' was just finishing off what Nex had already started and therefore the story was lost on me.

    JMHO
    if the wine is sour – throw it out

    SatyricalRaven

  6. #6
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    Re: Query --need help

    Okay, I'm back! I brought presents for all.

    Here are my comments in caps...


    Patience Kell just escaped a lab run by a man with a twisted scheme to create rapture in the Upperrealm at the expense of innocent lives. LESLEE OWNS THIS SENTENCE, HEED HER WORDS Now, she is seeking refuge in the Underrealm far from scalpels and needles. THIS IS VALUABLE QUERY REAL ESTATE TO WASTE ON TELLING US SHE'S TAKEN REFUGE IN THE UNDERREALM - MAYBE EXCISE ALL THE STUFF ABOUT THE MAN AND HIS SCHEME IN THE FIRST SENTENCE AND THEN COMBINE THE TWO SENTENCES The Underrealm has its own troubles, though, and being an outsider, Patience is on her own to battle the betrayal, torture, and death that rules her dark haven. WE DON'T REALLY GET A SENSE OF WHAT THE UPPERREALM AND THE UNDERREALM ARE, AND TELLING US THAT "BETRAYAL, TORTURE, AND DEATH" SOMEHOW "RULE" HER "DARK HAVEN" DOESN'T DO MUCH TO HELP She manages just fine until Nex shows up, a powerful man who seemingly has no emotions and won’t leave her alone. PERHAPS YOU COULD MAKE THIS MORE COMPELLING BY TELLING US THAT AS AN OUTSIDER, SHE HAS TO SURVIVE A DANGEROUS PLACE WITHOUT HELP - AND NOW SHE HAS TO DEAL WITH A POWERFUL NEWCOMER WHO WANTS TO DO SOMETHING TO HER

    Nex is a Guardian, a being meant to protect the balance between the realms, but due to a violent past, he could care less about the balance. Hardened and miserable, he wants to be left alone and feel nothing. But, when Nex realizes Patience is the key to a cure that can rid him of his past, he will do anything to keep her. THESE SENTENCES ARE CLUNKY. YOU NEED TO SIMPLIFY YOUR SENTENCES AND MAKE THEM MORE CONCRETE, NOT STRING A BUNCH OF VAGUE PHRASES TOGETHER ("PATIENCE IS THE KEY TO A CURE THAT CAN RID HIM OF HIS PAST"?)

    Violence breaks out as an ancient evil from Nex's past resurfaces, and this time it will stop at nothing to finish what it failed years ago. TELLS US VERY LITTLE And, Nex's obsession with Patience is just what the evil needs in order to bring him down. THE READER HAS NO IDEA HOW THAT WORKS If it gets Nex, the balance that keeps the realms separated will crumble and evil will take both realms. AS SOMEONE ELSE MENTIONS, WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS OR WHY WE SHOULD CARE Nex must reenter his prior hell in order to save Patience before the evil destroys her and his only chance at peace. WAIT, IS NEX NOW THE PROTAGONIST? FRANKLY, FROM WHAT CAME BEFORE, I THOUGHT (A) PATIENCE WAS THE PROTAGONIST AND (B ) NEX WAS SEXUALLY HARASSING HER

    IN THE SHADOWS is a fantasy adventure complete I SEE PEOPLE SAYING "COMPLETE" OR "COMPLETED" BUT AS FAR AS I KNOW IT'S UNNECESSARY - JUST SAY IT'S A 110,000-WORD FANTASY-ADVENTURE at 110,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration. THAT'S OKAY, THIS ONLY TOOK ME A FEW MIN...OH, YOU MEAN THE AGENT'S TIME AND CONSIDERATION


    Stacy, the plot is hard to follow here and it doesn't seem from this that there is a core story about either Patience or Nex. I'd recommend writing out a summary of each character's story - not a plot synopsis, a one- or two-page description of what each character goes through in the book and how it's important that that particular character is in the middle of all this. If you could plunk your average housewife from New Jersey into Patience's place or put Trogdor the Burninator in Nex's place and still come out with basically the same book, you might want to rethink things.

    Good luck.

    JH

  7. #7
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    Re: Query --need help

    Stacy,

    You've been given some great advice. Only major thing I didn't see mentioned is the question of character focus.

    You signal that Patience is the main character by leading with her POV, but the rest of the Q is from Nex's POV. You never come back to Patience so we're left wondering why she's the opening act.

    I'm guessing your manuscript switches between both characters' POVs, which can be tough to deal with in a Q. Most of the time, Q writers opt to stick with one POV for the Q. If you want to include both, consider bookending the Q with a narrator's voice that includes both characters.

  8. #8
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    Re: Query --need help

    I mentioned that, C K, but didn't make the point as well as you did.

  9. #9
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    Re: Query --need help

    Actually, I think you made it better. I just failed to see it.

  10. #10
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    Re: Query --need help

    Thanks for your help all of you. I'm taking your advice and working on it.
    Stacy

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