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  1. #1
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    QL Re-try Any better?

    Well it's 6.30am here and the sun is just coming out. I woke up to work on the at 4.30am so I'm giving it another go. Having taken time away from the QL process, I'm hoping its better..........and yes, before anyone screams at me, I know its on the long side, but when I try and cut out 150 odd words, it just doesn't sound like my voice. Any suggestions greatly appreciated. I'm off to try and get some sleep now, will check later to see what everyone says

    Cecilia is about to sacrifice everything she desires for everything she believes in.

    Jezi Babas rarely hunt as a pack, but when they do, the devastation is almost immeasurable. Throughout time, a Jezi Baba’s appearance has been the forbearer of disaster; the falling of Atlantis, the destruction of Pompeii, the betrayal of Jesus. Now they hunt together, immortal conveyers of misery, and the Croatian Royal bloodline is their target.

    By 924AD elderly Cecilia has few desires. Serve Perun, Slav God of Thunder, to her dying day and be reunited with her parents in the afterlife. But the arrival of the Jezi Babas changes everything. After Cecilia’s first encounter with them, she knows the omen is bleak. When Perun tells her the witches intend to make the mortal Realm a permanent hell, her heart tells her she must help. Perun charges Cecilia to be the gatekeeper, ensuring the fulfilment of a prophecy. The key to the prophecy and to the witches defeat lay in King Tomislav’s descendents.

    Cecilia forfeits her place in the Ever-Lasting-Spring, for the greater good of her people and all mankind. However to help, Cecilia knows she must live for more than one thousand years. It falls on Cecilia to ensure that in the late 20th century, five women with the blood of kings in their veins; are born. The prophecy says that together, the five women are the tool by which to defeat the witches. To ensure their births Cecilia must become immortal. Becoming immortal means she can protect the bloodline. However, immortality also means she can never enter Paradise.

    Her mission is to protect a family lineage, while watching hundreds of thousands suffer and die, while watching mans resolve tested and countless souls lost. And she must do this with complete, unwavering faith. If the gatekeeper loses faith then the gates of misery will be open to all creatures of evil.

    The five must reach adulthood.
    But only a witch can be killed with the blood of another witch. Perun has gambled on the underlying goodness of mortals. For within the veins of the five, runs not only the blood of kings but the blood of a Jezi Baba. Now, after more than one thousand years, comes the moment of truth. Every mortal being has the right to free-will, even those prophesized. In the 21st century, Cecilia and mankind will know if the five of the prophecy choose to battle or join the Jezi Babas. And Cecilia will know if she has succeeded or simply succeeded in creating new witches.

    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
    if the wine is sour – throw it out

    SatyricalRaven



  2. #2
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    Re: QL Re-try Any better?

    Your hook is promising, but you then shift your focus from Celia's desires, sacrifice and beliefs to the Jezi's, and you are still cluttering it with exposition about the mythology and your world, i.e the "Ever-Lasting-Spring". I would suggest adding a word that defines Celia in your hook i.e. The soothsayer, or whatever.

    I'd go straight from your first sentence to something like, "At (however old she is) all Celia wants is to live out her remaining days in peace until she can join her parents in the afterlife" and go from there

    Keep your focus on Celia. if you mention anybody else, it shouid be in relation to Celia. Just give enough info so we know what they are. i.e The Jezi Baba, evil witches (or whatever they are.) Don't take an entire paragraph to describe them and what they do.

    You are making progress, Rayven. Now keep going.

  3. #3
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    Re: QL Re-try Any better?

    Raven,

    I'm sorry, but I see this as a step backward. You lost me at the hook line, which is generic and meaningless. Then without transition you spend a paragraph on the Jezi Babas. The reader has no clue what's going on at that point.

    All the over-the-top pronouncements tumble upon each other. It seems like you keep trying to write this like you're that guy who narrates the previews in movies - you know, where every single word is delivered as the height of drama. "She knows the omen is bleak"? Jeesh. "The five must reach adulthood." "But only a witch can be killed with the blood of another witch." These may come across as weighty statements to you; to me, it's like you're trying to bludgeon me over the head with How Important These Phrases Are, instead of just telling me what the heck happens. If that's the "voice" you're so anxious should come across in the query, I'm afraid it's a voice I find off-putting. Maybe an agent would take to it, but I kind of suspect not.

    At least you're focusing a bit more on Cecilia's story. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem, at this point, like there's much of a story there. Cecilia was given a choice between joining her parents in death or being immortal and fighting the Jezi Babas, and she chose to fight the Jezi Babas because she's so selfless. After that the bulk of the book is just the fight and vague prophecies and yada yada yada.

    And then there are the semicolons. Again. Still wrong. Some more.

    I know you've been working hard on this, and I'm guessing you've been going over the comments and really thinking about them and trying to apply them to the query. The queries, however, don't actually reflect the comments. This one looks like you just went back and wrote another bunch of high-sounding, melodramatic dust-cover blurbs.

    Hook, setting forth the central issue of your book in interesting, concrete terms. A couple of paragraphs of synopsis setting up the main character's conflict and the stakes for her. Conclusion with title and word count. If you post that, I'll comment.

    JH

  4. #4
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    Re: QL Re-try Any better?

    Much appreciated to both of you

    As you can see, I didn't do well with the sleep idea, gave up after a few hours of tossing and turning.

    Simon:
    Will look at those suggestions. I guess I was going over what was said by many and trying to create an atmosphere where the reader understood these were not your ordinary witches with broomsticks and pointy hats. Certainly will try to see where/how it would be best to remove and then add just a line or so.

    John:
    OMG, I really do appreciate your comments, but here's the thing, and this may or may not sound truthful, however, the above is actually how I speak, day to day. OK I don't talk about witches and soothsayers, but the vocab and style. Perhaps I need to not write as I talk. I have taken what you said to heart and perhaps between the two comments I can find a medium. I don't think Simon was saying the hook is right just yet, but headed in the direction. Perhaps some of your suggesitons will bring it a bit closer.

    I'll see what other comments I get and perhaps after finally getting some sleep, I'll give a revision a shot.

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

    SatyricalRaven

  5. #5
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    Re: QL Re-try Any better?

    Rayven, try to describe the Jezi's in a few words, a sentence at most. Word choice is key here. Think about the most important thing you want convey about them. Pick one thing.

    I do agree with John that you are over hyping this a bit. I think I mentioned in an earlier attempt that it reminded me of a bad movie trailer. It still does. Even if this is the way you talk, you need to tone it down for the query. Is this the same tone in the novel? If so I fear it might be tiring to read.

  6. #6
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    Re: QL Re-try Any better?

    You had a pretty good one. What happened? This is back to a synopsis.

    Stan

  7. #7
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    Re: QL Re-try Any better?

    Hi Stan,

    still have it but almost everyone told me it wasn't working.

    I don't delete anything, I just date and keep.
    I'm trying a new approach and then I'll re-read the last one. (I haven't even looked at it for weeks)
    I'll then see which one 'feels' better and take it from there.

    I guess I'm trying to be open to options rather than being married to one idea.

    Hi again Simon,

    Trust me, I take who you guys say seriously. If my style is not coming across as real, then I have to accept this and change it; or as you say, tone it down. (Dad is constantly tell me to 'dumb things down' too, not because people don't understand but because it can come off unreal/fake - it's OK though, he blames himself for teaching me Latin at such an early age and reading to me stories/articles beyond my years.)

    I also blame my love of Shakespeare and the fact that I couldn't speak a word of English when I started school. Perhaps I over-compensated

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

    SatyricalRaven

  8. #8
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    Re: QL Re-try Any better?

    You lost me at the hook line, which is generic and meaningless.

    I'm with John. It's a very weak opening line. Sorry.

  9. #9
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    Re: QL Re-try Any better?

    NO, no, don't be sorry. The truth only hurts if it’s peppered with insult. I would rather get it wrong here than later.

    Thanks Leslee.

    Actually, I've just re-read the previous QL and it has some good points. I think this one has some too. I'm mixing and matching the two.
    I've come up with a new opening parargrah and if you'all don't mind, let me know if it works.

    In tenth century Europe soothsayer Cecilia is given a choice, the gift of immortality or the gift of eternal peace. With the later comes a tranquil afterlife but a tormented conscience. With the former comes an eternity hunted by witches and no hope of entering the afterlife. The choice is one not even a talented soothsayer foresaw.
    if the wine is sour – throw it out

    SatyricalRaven

  10. #10
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    Re: QL Re-try Any better?

    It's still not feeling focused. How can you have a tranquil afterlife if you have a tormented conscience? You also haven't given any upside to her choosing eternal life. An eternity being hunted by witches along with no hope of what you want most (to enter the afterlife). I think you need to reframe the dilemma here. Start by asking yourself what are the consequences if she chooses death and how do those consequences relate to her morality and worldview?

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