Query Critique - Overcast Shadows - First Try

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shadow
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Re: Query Critique - Overcast Shadows - First Try

Post by shadow » March 20th, 2010, 9:11 pm

ONCE AGAIN SCROLL DOWN FOR THE REVISIONS!
Thanks so much for your tips all of you... I took the week or so to place the query in my drawer and revise and start from scratch. So here is what I got. Take a cain saw and rip it up!

Dear Agent,

Vitiosus is the prince of the Lasserta, a perfect and cold nation that strives for power and dominance over the humans. Raised by his father, the Lassertian King, in the spirit of hatred and anger towards humans, Vitiosus knows nothing of love nor peace. Yet something deep inside him feels very wrong and different. Unable to hold back his differences Vitiosus discovers his father’s darkest secret. A secret that could get Vitiosus to lose his throne and be rejected by his nation. He is half human. Digging even more in his past Vitiosus realizes that he was not an only son; he has a human half-brother, Gabriel. When the king suddenly passes away, Vitiosus falls in love with a human girl, Tiya, whose love for him lights the dark path to the throne. But when a group of rebels attack with wishes to rein the Lassertian and human nations Vitiosus and Gabriel must unite against the invasion before it is too late.

OVERCAST SHADOWS is an 88,000 word YA Fantasy novel.
Last edited by shadow on March 21st, 2010, 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Query Critique - Overcast Shadows - First Try

Post by GeeGee55 » March 21st, 2010, 3:08 pm

shadow wrote:Thanks so much for your tips all of you... I took the week or so to place the query in my drawer and revise and start from scratch. So here is what I got. Take a cain saw and rip it up!

The story is clearer in this version, but still needs a little work
Dear Agent,

Vitiosus is the prince of the Lasserta, a perfect and cold nation this could be taken to mean that the nation itself is perfect and has a cold climate, do you mean - a nation inhabited by cold and perfect beings? that strives for power and dominance over the humans. Raised by his father, the Lassertian King, in the spirit of hatred and anger towards humans, Vitiosus knows nothing of love nor peace. Yet something deep inside him feels very wrong and different.- this is too vague, perhaps say, he knows nothing of love or peace, yet he finds himself longing for it. Unable to hold back his differences Vitiosus discovers his father’s darkest secret. - you have two unconnected ideas in one sentence, either separate them or make the connection clear - I don't think he discovers his father's secret because he can't hold back his differences A secret that could get cause Vitiosus to lose his throne and be rejected by his nation. He is half human. Digging even more in his past Vitiosus realizes that he was not an only son; he has a human half-brother, Gabriel. When the king suddenly passes away, Vitiosus falls in love with a human girl, Tiya, whose love for him lights the dark path to the throne. But when a group of rebels attack with wishes to rein the Lassertian and human nations Vitiosus and Gabriel must unite against the invasion before it is too late.

OVERCAST SHADOWS is an 88,000 word YA Fantasy novel.
All these changes are really about being careful to say what you mean, careful to choose the right word and it can be so difficult to see that in your own work. Good luck. It sounds very interesting.

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Re: Query Critique - Overcast Shadows - First Try

Post by KappaP » March 21st, 2010, 4:23 pm

I've been keeping up with this query for a while now but have taken a break from posting, but I think you did a whole HECK of a lot better on this version!! Maybe I need to try the 'put it in a drawer' method of query writing and see if it helps me too. I have just a couple notes, but I think this is a really solid submission.

Dear Agent,

Vitiosus is the prince of the Lasserta, a perfect and cold nation"perfect and cold" rings oddly to me-- an above poster suggested clarifying if you mean the beings or not... because I assume you're describing the country, the landscape. that strives cut that-- strivingfor power and dominance over the humans. Raised by his father, the Lassertian King, in the spirit of hatred and anger towards humans, Vitiosus knows nothing of love nor peace. Yet something deep inside him feels very wrong and differenti agree with the poster above-- connect this sentence to the one before it and be SPECIFIC. Does he desire love and peace? Does he feel innately sympathetic toward humans? This is the catalyst for his struggle so be really as specific as possible about it so I can feel the tension. "Wrong and different" is so vague that it's meaningless, but I know there's something problematic you can specify.. Unable to hold back his differences Vitiosus discovers his father’s darkest secret. A secret that could get Vitiosus to lose his throne and be rejected by his nation. He is half human. see my note below about this Digging even more in cut words- digging intohis past Vitiosus realizes that "that" isn't necessary he was not anI kind of want you to say "not his human mother's only son" or something similar For some reason that connects things better in my mind. only son; he has a human (if you go with my earlier suggestion, cut "human" here) half-brother, Gabriel. When the king suddenly passes away, Vitiosus falls in love with a human girl, Tiya, whose love for him lights the dark path to the throne. see note below But when a group of rebels attack with wishes to rein the Lassertian and human nations Vitiosus and Gabriel must unite against the invasion before it is too late. gah!! we'd almost made it through with no cliche! "before it is too late" is too vague-- again be specific. Why don't they want to be reigned together? To protect their sovereign nations? End powerfully-- tell us exactly what the stakes are. Also, maybe say Vitiosus and Gabriel must unite their warring people together against the invasion so we're clear on the fact that they're both leading and it's not just V and G going at it alone.

OVERCAST SHADOWS is an 88,000 word YA Fantasy novel.

Like I said-- so much stronger than it has been! Don't be intimidated by all the red... those are quick fixes and you'll be on your way. I just had 2 points that bear a little more space.

1. "Unable to hold back his differences, Vitiosus discovers his father's darkest secret. A secret that could [cause] Vitiosus to lose his throne and be rejected by his nation. He is half human." This is your hook-- this is a hugely important concept to get across and I think these sentences aren't working as hard as they could. I know I hate when people rewrite for me, so I do apologize, but this is how I would write that sentence: "When Vitiosus stumbles upon his father's darkest secret, he understands his differences {again be specific if you can.} are rooted in a terrifying truth that could cost him his throne and his nation: he is half human." I think you need to keep all those ideas, but link them together into one sentence to make it more hook-y.

2. The Tiya sentence I'm 50/50 on. You either need to take it out or rewrite it so Tiya's not in it.... it's a whole other storyline that derails my focus from the one you're telling me about in the query. It's clear to me that he is the heir to the throne, but I also like that she "lights the dark path to the throne." It's a good sentence and I don't like cutting good sentences.... but yeah, that tidbit threw me out of the plotline a bit.

Great revision-- you are almost there!
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Re: Query Critique - Overcast Shadows - First Try

Post by shadow » March 21st, 2010, 5:00 pm

Revised Version Down!GeeGee and Kappa P! I can't thank you enough! My query was so bad before I am so happy things are looking up now and I deff. do recommend the drawer method. It works :) Here is a revision. Though the stakes are higher then I end the query with. The rebel leader is actually Gabriel's old friend that has fallen in love with Tiya and want's to marry Vitiosus' girl along with conquering his kingdom. It is only at the very end though that Gabriel and Vitiosus even discover that they are brothers. When they are fighting a duel and Gabriel takes an arrow, saving Vitiosus' life. There is lot's of sub story to how he even got to know her, but I want to make the query free of confusion and very clear so I hope this is better. Unless I missed anything I think that I took all your guys' suggestions :)

Dear Agent,

Vitiosus is the prince of the Lasserta, a nation inhabited by cold-blooded beings striving for power yet he finds himself longing for peace and freedom. Raised by his father, in the spirit of hatred and anger towards humans, Vitiosus is taught to be a dark warrior who is feared by all. But when he learns he's half-human and has a half-brother, Gabriel, he understands his differences could cost him his throne and his nation. Avenging the murder of his mother Vitiosus is determined to turn his sins around despite the fact that he is predicted to die. Fighting for freedom in his very own kingdom Vitiosus falls in love with a human girl from the dungeons, Tiya, whose love teaches him of morality and beauty, lighting the dark and lonesome path to the throne with hope. But when everything seems perfect a group of rebels attack the Lassertian and human nations, taking Tiya hostage, and threatening to trade in the lives of others for Vitiosus’. Vitiosus and Gabriel must unite their warring people against the rebels before the predicted turns to reality.

OVERCAST SHADOWS is an 88,000 word YA Fantasy novel
Last edited by shadow on March 22nd, 2010, 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Query Critique - Overcast Shadows - First Try

Post by KappaP » March 22nd, 2010, 4:07 am

Bam-- fantastic revision. Just very minor tweaks. You did really well with weaving the TIya thing in there without it distracting.

Dear Agent,

Vitiosus is the prince of the Lasserta, a nation inhabited by cold-blooded Unless they are reptiles, I think "cold-hearted" would be clearer beings striving for power, yet he finds himself longing for peace and freedom. Raised by his father no comma in the spirit of hatred and anger towards humans, Vitiosus is taught to betake out "is taught to be" makes this sentence a little clunky-- maybe take it out so "Vitiosus is a dark warrior feared by all." a dark warrior who is feared by all. But when he learns he's half-human and has a half-brother, Gabriel, he understands his differences could cost him his throne and his nation. Avenging the murder of his mother, Vitiosus is determined to turn his sins around despite the fact that he is predicted to die {despite... die} muddles this for me... I'd end at sins. Or clarify that doing so gets him thrown in prison (which I gather from the next sentence). "predicted to die" doesn't clarify anything for me, but him getting thrown in prison would.. Fighting for freedom in his very own kingdom commaVitiosus falls in love with a human girl from the dungeons, Tiya, whose love teaches him of morality and beauty, lighting the dark and lonesome path to the throne with hope. But when everything seems perfect take out "everything seems perfect." Sounds stronger w/ "When a group of rebels" a group of rebels attack the Lassertian and human nations, taking Tiya hostage, and threatening to trade in the lives of others for Vitiosus’. I think there's a small punctuation snafu-- Should read "human nations, taking TIya hostage and threatening to trade in the lives of others for Vitiosus, Vitiosus and Gabriel..."Vitiosus and Gabriel must unite their warring people against the rebels before the predicted turns to reality.

OVERCAST SHADOWS is an 88,000 word YA Fantasy novel

Nice work-- like I point out, the only part that made me go "huh" was when he avenges his since and is suddenly predicted to die and then suddenly meets a girl in prison.... I can imagine how those things link up, but if you tweak that sentence a little I probably wouldn't have the "huh" reaction. Great job!
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Re: Query Critique - Overcast Shadows - First Try

Post by shadow » March 22nd, 2010, 12:29 pm

KappaP wrote:Bam-- fantastic revision. Just very minor tweaks. You did really well with weaving the TIya thing in there without it distracting.

Dear Agent,

Vitiosus is the prince of the Lasserta, a nation inhabited by cold-blooded Unless they are reptiles, I think "cold-hearted" would be clearer beings striving for power, yet he finds himself longing for peace and freedom. Raised by his father no comma in the spirit of hatred and anger towards humans, Vitiosus is taught to betake out "is taught to be" makes this sentence a little clunky-- maybe take it out so "Vitiosus is a dark warrior feared by all." a dark warrior who is feared by all. But when he learns he's half-human and has a half-brother, Gabriel, he understands his differences could cost him his throne and his nation. Avenging the murder of his mother, Vitiosus is determined to turn his sins around despite the fact that he is predicted to die {despite... die} muddles this for me... I'd end at sins. Or clarify that doing so gets him thrown in prison (which I gather from the next sentence). "predicted to die" doesn't clarify anything for me, but him getting thrown in prison would.. Fighting for freedom in his very own kingdom commaVitiosus falls in love with a human girl from the dungeons, Tiya, whose love teaches him of morality and beauty, lighting the dark and lonesome path to the throne with hope. But when everything seems perfect take out "everything seems perfect." Sounds stronger w/ "When a group of rebels" a group of rebels attack the Lassertian and human nations, taking Tiya hostage, and threatening to trade in the lives of others for Vitiosus’. I think there's a small punctuation snafu-- Should read "human nations, taking TIya hostage and threatening to trade in the lives of others for Vitiosus, Vitiosus and Gabriel..."Vitiosus and Gabriel must unite their warring people against the rebels before the predicted turns to reality.

OVERCAST SHADOWS is an 88,000 word YA Fantasy novel

Nice work-- like I point out, the only part that made me go "huh" was when he avenges his since and is suddenly predicted to die and then suddenly meets a girl in prison.... I can imagine how those things link up, but if you tweak that sentence a little I probably wouldn't have the "huh" reaction. Great job!

Thanks for all your help KappaP! Here is the revised version: Do you guys think that this one might be it? I am so darn excited!


Dear Agent,

Vitiosus is the prince of the Lasserta, a nation of cold-hearted beings striving for power, yet he finds himself longing for peace and freedom. Raised by his father in the spirit of hatred and anger towards humans, Vitiosus is a dark warrior who is feared by all. But when he learns he's half-human and has a half-brother, Gabriel, he understands his differences could cost him his throne and his people. Avenging the murder of his mother, Vitiosus is determined to turn his sins around. Fighting for freedom in his very own kingdom, Vitiosus falls in love with a human girl from the dungeons, Tiya, whose love teaches him of morality and beauty, lighting the dark and lonesome path to the throne with hope. But when a group of rebels attack the Lassertian and human nations, taking Tiya hostage and threatening to destroy Vitiosus’ kingdom, Vitiosus and Gabriel must unite their warring people against the rebels before the predicted apocalypse turns to reality.

OVERCAST SHADOWS is an 88,000 word YA Fantasy novel
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Re: Query Critique - Overcast Shadows - First Try

Post by KappaP » March 22nd, 2010, 3:58 pm

I think this is fantastic, very good improvements and you polished it up nicely. Good luck on the agent hunt!
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Re: Query Critique - Overcast Shadows - First Try

Post by JaEvans » March 26th, 2010, 12:24 pm

I have not been commenting but I have been reading the posts. Your revisions are fantastic. I like this version but there are two spots that I found myself thinking about. I have highlighted them below.

Dear Agent,

Vitiosus is the prince of the Lasserta, a nation of cold-hearted beings striving for power, yet he finds himself longing for peace and freedom. Raised by his father in the spirit of hatred and anger towards humans, Vitiosus is a dark warrior who is feared by all. But when he learns he's half-human and has a half-brother, Gabriel, he understands his differences could cost him his throne and his people. Avenging the murder of his mother, Vitiosus is determined to turn his sins around. Fighting for freedom in his very own kingdom, Vitiosus falls in love with a human girl from the dungeons, Tiya, whose love teaches him of morality and beauty, lighting the dark and lonesome path to the throne with hope.This sentence is tricky and I had to read it over two times. But when a group of rebels attack the Lassertian and human nations, taking Tiya hostage and threatening to destroy Vitiosus’ kingdom, Vitiosus and Gabriel must unite their warring people against the rebels before the predicted apocalypsehere I am wondering what prediction was made and by whom. turns to reality.

Aside from those parts this is fantastic and I find myself wanting to read the book. Now if I can just get my query to read as well.

Good work.
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Re: Query Critique - Overcast Shadows - First Try

Post by JustineDell » March 26th, 2010, 12:53 pm

shadow wrote:
Dear Agent,

Vitiosus is the prince of the Lasserta, a nation of cold-hearted beings striving for power, yet he finds himself longing for peace and freedom. Raised by his father in the spirit of hatred and anger towards humans, Vitiosus is a dark warrior who is feared by all. But when he learns he's half-human and has a half-brother, Gabriel, he understands his differences could cost him his throne and his people.

New Paragraph? The first one seemed overly long. Plus, it makese the first paragraph end on a pretty nice hook. Avenging the murder of his mother, Vitiosus is determined to turn his sins around. Hmm...what sins? Fighting for freedom in his very own kingdom, Vitiosus falls in love with a human girl from the dungeons, Tiya, whose love teaches him of morality and beauty, lighting the dark and lonesome path to the throne with hope. <--Long sentence alert. Is there a way to break this up? But when a group of rebels attack the Lassertian and human nations, taking Tiya hostage and threatening to destroy Vitiosus’ kingdom, Vitiosus and Gabriel must unite their warring people against the rebels before the predicted apocalypse turns to reality.

Suggestion for last two sentences to break them up:

A group of rebels attack the Lassertain and human nations, kidnap Tiya, and threaten to destroy Vitiosus' kingdom. Vitiosus and Grabriel must unit their warring people against the rebels before the predicted apocalypse turns to reality.


OVERCAST SHADOWS is an 88,000 word YA Fantasy novel
Hey Shadow! I really like how you shortened this baby up. I've made a few minor suggestions. There are only a few more points I would like to add. The "turn his sins around" part is a little vague. The "apocalypse" part had me wondering exactly what led up to that.

Nice job!

~JD

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Re: Query Critique - Overcast Shadows - First Try

Post by shadow » March 29th, 2010, 10:13 am

Thanks for your help guys! I am addressing those issues that you guys pointed out. I will post a revision possibly sometime today :)
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Re: Query Critique - Overcast Shadows - First Try

Post by mrpluckey » March 29th, 2010, 1:26 pm

Dear Agent,

Dear Awesome Agent,

I chose to submit to you because of your wonderful taste in Young Adult, and because you represent a few novels like “” and “” that I have read and enjoyed.

Two half brothers forcefully separated at birth. One human and one Lasserta. One turned to protecting his valley as a seeker. The other killed to live as a warrior. I understand why you want to put this here, but I agree with the others. It doesn't work. Starting with the next paragraph makes it much stronger.

Vitiosus is a young Lassertian Prince that agree with bron. should say questions his nation’s cruelty towards the human race. Yet he follows his duties as a warrior until he is forced to face an equal adversary, a human seeker he cannot drive himself to kill. He cannot explain his bonds with the human until he discovers the truths about his mother. Wishing to keep his secrets in the dark, the King orders for Vitiosus’ execution. To make things worse a group of rebels take hold of Tiya, the human girl Vitiosus fell for, and now he must discover the reason for his father’s hate and unite with his worst enemy, his half-brother, before time runs out for Tiya and the Kingdom is conquered by the rebellion.

‘OVERCAST SHADOWS' is a 88,000 work of YA Fantasy.

Thank you for your time, and will be glad to send you the full manuscript at your request.

Best wishes,[/quote]
Good Luck!!

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Re: Query Critique - Overcast Shadows - First Try

Post by JTB » March 29th, 2010, 3:14 pm

nice

my one comment is that the mention of the predicted 'apocalypse' sent me back into the query looking for where this was mentioned and it wasn't, so no tie up.

The above version by Mrpluckey states it's a 'rebellion' - which makes sense, since thats what's happening

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Re: Query Critique - Overcast Shadows - First Try

Post by shadow » March 29th, 2010, 6:24 pm

Thanks guys for the crits! Mrplucky you critiqued my old version but tha nks anyways and JTB I will for sure switch that up in my newest which I am preparing. Maybe I should start a new thread with it... hmmm.... Cause this one is getting very long and confusing,
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