Query Revision: Euphonious Brine

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lunerunit
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Query Revision: Euphonious Brine

Post by lunerunit » May 1st, 2010, 4:20 pm

I hope that this is not a faux pas, but I started a new thread on a query in progress. I've taken all of your excellent advice and started over from scratch. What do you think? Just wanted to say, best feedback I've received anywhere so far (very candid). Thanks for your help, I'll be on the look out for anyone else who needs the favor returned.

Questions: Should my genre be YA fantasy or just fantasy?

Here goes, let me have it again:

Dear Agent,

Thirteen year-old Griffin Tutela doesn’t believe. His lineage is supposedly from another world and his family has been left on Earth to protect the gateway to the Aureus Wood, a sacred forest behind his Grandmother’s house. But he’s sure his family is crazy.

When a beautiful spirit appears to him, offering an enchanted weapon, called a Novacula, in exchange for entry into the forest, he cannot resist, and everything he believes changes. The spirit is truly an Alukah - a creature that gave up her soul for continued life in her deceased human body, and she works for Dolosus, the fallen God of the underworld, Inferus. Obsessed with his collection of souls, Dolosus seeks his prize specimen hidden within the Aureus Wood.

After Griffin realizes he’s been deceived, he sets off into the forest with his sister, Lark, intending to destroy Dolosus with his new weapon, but he finds that the weapon is not all he bargained for. It has a will of its own. And on top of that, the woodland and its mystical inhabitants are furious at Griffin for what he inflicted upon them and want him dead.

To save his own skin, his family and the forest they’ve sworn to protect, Griffin and Lark must find the High Guardian of the wood, a wicked-tempered Space Pixie, like an enormous dragonfly, called Euphonious Brine - the very prize Dolosus is after.

EUPHONIOUS BRINE is 110,000 word YA fantasy about a refugee space creature that makes her home on Earth amidst the classic Norse mythological forest, suggesting that aliens may not always be evil and might actually be here to protect the planet. Perhaps the human race is more connected to aliens and other worlds than we might want to believe.

I have chosen to submit to you because you represent my genre (personalized blurb about agent). I am published in A Collection of Oregon’s Young Poets, have written scripts for television commercials, and belong to the Authors of the Flathead (I know, funny name, but it is the name of the Indian tribe the valley is named after) in Montana.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Moi

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Re: Query Revision: Euphonious Brine

Post by NWolfe » May 1st, 2010, 6:03 pm

lunerunit wrote:
Dear Agent,

Thirteen year-old Griffin Tutela doesn’t believe. (This sentence confuses me. Doesn't believe what?) His lineage is supposedly from another world and his family has been left on Earth to protect the gateway to the Aureus Wood, a sacred forest behind his Grandmother’s house. But he’s sure his family is crazy. (This paragraph needs a lot of work. Who says his linage is from another world? His family? The last sentence really doesn't jibe stylistically with the rest.)

When a beautiful spirit appears to him, offering an enchanted weapon, called a Novacula, in exchange for entry into the forest, he cannot resist, and everything he believes changes. The spirit is truly an Alukah - a creature that gave up her soul for continued life in her deceased human body, and she works for Dolosus, the fallen God of the underworld, Inferus. (Both of these sentences are really long and halting. Try reading them aloud -- don't roll off the tongue too well, do they?) Obsessed with his collection of souls (Why?), Dolosus seeks his prize specimen hidden within the Aureus Wood.

After Griffin realizes he’s been deceived, he sets off into the forest with his sister, Lark, intending to destroy Dolosus with his new weapon, but he finds that the weapon is not all he bargained for. It has a will of its own. And on top of that, the woodland and its mystical inhabitants are furious at Griffin for what he inflicted upon them (What did he inflict on them?) and want him dead.

To save his own skin, his family and the forest they’ve sworn to protect, Griffin and Lark must find the High Guardian of the wood, a wicked-tempered (wicked-tempered is awkward) Space Pixie, like an enormous dragonfly, called Euphonious Brine (You may need to think of a better name. Just throwing that out there.) - the very prize Dolosus is after.

EUPHONIOUS BRINE is 110,000 word YA fantasy about a refugee space creature that makes her home on Earth amidst the classic Norse mythological forest, suggesting that aliens may not always be evil and might actually be here to protect the planet. Perhaps the human race is more connected to aliens and other worlds than we might want to believe. (Most agents dislike this kind of thematic discussion in a query.)

I have chosen to submit to you because you represent my genre (personalized blurb about agent). I am published in A Collection of Oregon’s Young Poets, have written scripts for television commercials, and belong to the Authors of the Flathead (I know, funny name, but it is the name of the Indian tribe the valley is named after) in Montana.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Moi
There's probably a good adventure story behind this, but stylistically the query doesn't flow. Agents are looking for the quality of your writing in a query -- don't pass on the opportunity to show it off.

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Re: Query Revision: Euphonious Brine

Post by rainbowsheeps » May 1st, 2010, 6:09 pm

lunerunit wrote:I hope that this is not a faux pas, but I started a new thread on a query in progress. I've taken all of your excellent advice and started over from scratch. What do you think? Just wanted to say, best feedback I've received anywhere so far (very candid). Thanks for your help, I'll be on the look out for anyone else who needs the favor returned.

Questions: Should my genre be YA fantasy or just fantasy?

Here goes, let me have it again:

Dear Agent,

I'll warn you. This might get a little messy. Hopefully, it helps.

Thirteen year-old Griffin Tutela doesn’t believe. His lineage is supposedly from another world and his family has been left on Earth to protect the gateway to the Aureus Wood, a sacred forest behind his Grandmother’s house. (I think the first two sentences need to be combined. But, also, I think there's a better way to say something like this. If the idea of his family being crazy is humorous in the book, this needs to be humorous here, too. If it's meant to be played straight... it still feels a little clumsy, honestly. If you said something like, "Thirteen year old Griffin Tutela always wondered why his family was so protective of the forest behind his Grandmother's house. But when they told him they were space aliens sent to Earth to protect the Aurelus Wood, Griffin thought they were joking. They weren't." it... I don't know, might flow better.But he’s sure his family is crazy.

When a beautiful spirit appears to him, offering an enchanted weapon, called a Novacula, in exchange for entry into the forest, he cannot resist, and everything he believes changes. (This sentence is long, and the part about "in exchange for entry into the forest" is odd. How is that a trade if she's just giving Griffin a weapon and passage into the forest? Also, why can't he resist, and how does everything he believe change? This seems like a very important plot point, so this is the part where you should take the story from Griffin's perspective and tell us what's going on in his head here, exactly, why he wants to go into the forest. What does he want to find out or do?) The spirit is truly an Alukah - a creature that gave up her soul for continued life in her deceased human body, and she works for Dolosus, the fallen God of the underworld, Inferus. (There's too much vocabulary to learn here. I'm assuming your giving the spirit a name and the fact she's working for a God to indicate this is why everything Griffin believes changes. I happen to be a strong advocate of following through the protagonist's point of view in a query, though, as if we're his shadow as he goes through the story. It's the easiest way I know how to show the audience what his conflict is, what he wants, what he has to do to get it and what kind of danger he's in (the stakes). Obsessed with his collection of souls, Dolosus seeks his prize specimen hidden within the Aureus Wood.

After Griffin realizes he’s been deceived, (Let's stop here. I know the spirit works for Dolosus, the bad guy, who wants something from the forest that Griffin's family is supposed to protect. But, how does he realize he's been deceived? How does he know the spirit works for the bad guy? This is unclear because, in the last paragraph, you told us about the spirit, but not through the eyes of Griffin, our protagonist. We need to hear the story from his perspective. It makes things clearer, easier to connect, and hopefully we care more about him. It's win win win.) he sets off into the forest with his sister, Lark, intending to destroy Dolosus with his new weapon, (run-on here) but he finds that the weapon is not all he bargained for. It has a will of its own. (What does the weapon do? Does it try to kill Griffin and his sister? Does it speak? What does it mean, exactly, for a sword to have a will?) And on top of that, the woodland and its mystical inhabitants are furious at Griffin for what he inflicted upon them and want him dead. (What did Griffin inflict upon them? I can't even blindly guess at what that could possibly mean. He and his family are supposedly protecting them, and Griffin himself is going to go kill a bad god who wants to collect the creature's souls. Why would they hold a grudge against him? This is something that absolutely must be explained.)

To save his own skin, his family and the forest they’ve sworn to protect, Griffin and Lark must find the High Guardian of the wood, a wicked-tempered Space Pixie, like an enormous dragonfly, called Euphonious Brine - the very prize Dolosus is after. (I like the big alien dragonfly idea though.)

EUPHONIOUS BRINE is a work of YA fantasy of approximately 110,000 words. YA fantasy about a refugee space creature that makes her home on Earth amidst the classic Norse mythological forest, suggesting that aliens may not always be evil and might actually be here to protect the planet. Perhaps the human race is more connected to aliens and other worlds than we might want to believe.

I have chosen to submit to you because you represent my genre (personalized blurb about agent). I am published in A Collection of Oregon’s Young Poets, have written scripts for television commercials, and belong to the Authors of the Flathead (I know, funny name, but it is the name of the Indian tribe the valley is named after) in Montana.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Moi
YA fantasy isn't my thing. I will say the combination of aliens and mythology seems original to me. I haven't seen it before, but it does strike me as very... unique, if not weird, but I don't read fantasy, so what do I know really?

Firstly, I think the plot should be described through Griffin's eyes and ears. As he learns about this world, we should too. Even in the query. I know you want to explain all of the intricate details you put into the story about spirits and things, but it leads to incoherence, as evident in the mid-section of this query.

Secondly, the issue of the spirit. The girl gave up her soul to live forever as a corpse. That kind of makes her a zombie, doesn't it? If she's a bag of meat walking around with no soul? (Assuming souls exist and all of that, which I am so not getting into it now.) I don't think you need to call her a zombie, but the problem I have is this. First, you call her a spirit. Then, you say she gave up her soul to the god Dolosus to be immortal, but soulless, in her dead body forever? Aren't those two things very contradictory? If she gave up her soul, doesn't she have no spirit left? Unless you're saying she gave up her soul, then her body went to work for the god Dolosus, and her soul... went to find Griffin to give him a sword and let him into the forest to kill the God and get her body back. But if that is true, that would make the "deception" Griffin discovers in the next paragraph even more confusing. I don't think any of this would come up if you just followed through in Griffin's perspective though.

Thirdly, the sword. It has a will of its own. One thought I considered when reading this is that the sword was causing Griffin to kill some of the creatures in the forest, which was why they all want him dead. You didn't explicitly say that, though, and I'm assuming that I'm wrong. But, the sword is only mentioned to have a will of its own, but that's not mentioned after that. Including when Griffin meets this giant dragonfly thing that he thinks can save them. If the sword is from the god Dolosus, and it has a will of its own, would it not be trying to force Griffin to kill the monster while Griffin is trying to save it/kill Dolosus? Wouldn't that be a big point of tension and conflict, and something that ought to be mentioned at the end to amp up stakes?

I think that I could go on with this. It's a lot of suggestions, and it might seem harsh, but I think... this query needs help. The good news is this: I think the solution to most of these problems is very simple. Before you rewrite this query, pretend you're a little person sitting on Griffin's shoulder as he goes through the story. What does he see, hear, feel? What does he discover? What does he want, and what must he do to reach his goal? What are the conflicts he faces, and what's at stake? All of this can be answered, and the plot can cleanly flow through this query if you just follow him. Everything else should fall into place if you do it right. We get a sense of who he is, why we should care about him, what's wrong, what he has to do to fix it and what happens to him (and others) if he doesn't.
lunerunit wrote:with rainbowsheeps... her suggestion
Also, absolutely no worries at all, but I'm a guy. I know the name and the icon (and perhaps other things?) make that surprising, but I am a heterosexual young adult male :P No offense taken at all, but just thought I'd let you know.

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Re: Query Revision: Euphonious Brine

Post by lunerunit » May 1st, 2010, 7:23 pm

Umm.... sorry about the "her" thing rainbowsheeps. I maybe should check the profiles before I make that assumption...yikes, I'm really striking out here...feeling like a boob yet again.

But, thanks for the valuable advice. You're damned good at your craft!

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Re: Query Revision: Euphonious Brine

Post by lunerunit » May 1st, 2010, 9:00 pm

You're opinions considered, here's the next revision. Might be too long now, though.

Dear Agent,

Griffin Tutela never believed the stories that his Grandma told him about the forest behind her house called the Aureus Wood. He rolls his eyes when she says that his lineage is from another world and that they've been left on Earth to protect the forest. But when a beautiful woman appears to him, claiming to be a magical spirit, Griffin begins to wonder if Grandma’s tales aren’t true. Batting her eyelashes and speaking sweetly in his ear, she asks him to let her into the forest because only a guardian, such as himself, can do this. To sweeten the pot, she offers him a Novacula, a blade that can slice through anything he wills it to. How can Griffin resist?

But the spirit deceives him. She is truly an Alukah - one that sold her soul for continued life in her beautiful human body, and she works for Dolosus, the fallen God of the underworld. When Griffin lets her in through the gateway, she brings her master, who seeks a prize hidden within the forest. As the sky turns black and the vibrant colors of the wood begin to drain, Griffin regrets his decision and knows that he has done a bad thing.

Intending to destroy Dolosus with his new weapon, Griffin enters the forest with is sister, Lark, in tow. But he finds that the Novacula is not all he bargained for. It has a will of its own and he will not be able to use it against its master. And on top of that, the woodland and its mystical inhabitants are furious at Griffin for letting Dolosus in and want the boy dead. To save his own skin, his family and the forest they’ve sworn to protect, Griffin and Lark must find the High Guardian of the wood, a Space Pixie, like an enormous dragonfly, called Euphonious Brine - the very prize Dolosus is after.

EUPHONIOUS BRINE is 110,000 word YA fantasy that I have chosen to submit to you because you represent my genre (personalized blurb about agent). I am published in A Collection of Oregon’s Young Poets, have written scripts for television commercials, and belong to the Authors of the Flathead in Montana.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
Moi

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Re: Query Revision: Euphonious Brine

Post by rainbowsheeps » May 1st, 2010, 10:34 pm

lunerunit wrote:You're opinions considered, here's the next revision. Might be too long now, though.

Dear Agent,

Griffin Tutela never believed the stories that his Grandma told him about the forest behind her house called the Aureus Wood. He rolls his eyes when she says that his lineage is from another world, (Missing comma) and that they've been left on Earth to protect the forest. But when a beautiful woman appears to him, claiming to be a magical spirit, Griffin begins to wonder if Grandma’s tales aren’t true. Batting her eyelashes and speaking sweetly in his ear, she asks him to let her into the forest because only a guardian, such as himself, can do this. To sweeten the pot, she offers him a Novacula, a blade that can slice through anything he wills it to. How can Griffin resist? (Yay, nice!)

But the spirit deceives him. She is truly an Alukah - one that sold her soul for continued life in her beautiful human body, and Sshe works for Dolosus, the fallen God of the underworld (Sorry. But it improves the flow, and it's not really necessary for the agent to know). When Griffin lets her in through the gateway, she brings her master, who seeks a prize hidden within the forest. As the sky turns black and the vibrant colors of the wood begin to drain, Griffin regrets his decision and knows that he has done a bad thing (Perhaps "made a mistake" instead of "has done a bad thing?" But nice! I especially like the touch about the sky turning black and colors draining).

Intending to destroy Dolosus with his new weapon, Griffin enters the forest with his sister, Lark, in tow. But he finds that the Novacula is not all he bargained for. It has a will of its own, (Missing comma) and he will not be able to use it against its master. And O on top of that, the woodland and its mystical inhabitants are furious at Griffin for letting Dolosus in and want the boy dead (Do they just want him dead, or are they trying to kill him?). To save his own skin, his family, (Missing comma) and the forest they’ve sworn to protect, Griffin and Lark must find the High Guardian of the wood, a Space Pixie, like an enormous dragonfly (The phrase "like an enormous dragonly" doesn't work well in the sentence as you have it), called Euphonious Brine - the very prize Dolosus is after.

EUPHONIOUS BRINE is 110,000 word YA fantasy that I have chosen to submit to you because you represent my genre (personalized blurb about agent). I am published in A Collection of Oregon’s Young Poets, have written scripts for television commercials, and belong to the Authors of the Flathead in Montana.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
Moi
Okay, so. I'm shocked at how much better this is. It improved a lot with just this one try. It is a bit on the long side, but the specific imagery used is effective, and I wouldn't cut it.

I don't think it's perfect yet. Aside from the things I mentioned above, I think you can cut down the word count a little bit with some tighter phrases here and there. I might have more constructive suggestions after I see the next revision.

Really, though, great job! It's definitely, definitely improving.

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Re: Query Revision: Euphonious Brine

Post by lunerunit » May 2nd, 2010, 2:06 pm

I tried and found it difficult to cut any more of this. Best I did was cut a line or two and try to combine a sentence. Don't know if it works better or not. I shifted around the last two paragraphs, don't know if I like that better either. My brain feels like mush. Any more suggestions?

Is the last line enough? On some examples I've noticed people say stuff like "Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to an opportunity to share the entire manuscript with you soon." Theory is that you sound confident.

Thanks again for the awesome feedback everyone!

Dear Agent,

Griffin Tutela never believes the stories that his Grandma tells him about the forest behind her house. He rolls his eyes when she says that his lineage is from another world and that they’ve been left on Earth to protect the forest’s gateway. But when a beautiful woman appears to him; claiming to be a magical spirit, Griffin begins to wonder if Grandma’s tales aren’t true. Batting her eyelashes and speaking sweetly in his ear, she asks him to let her into the forest because only a guardian, such as himself, can do this. To sweeten the pot, she offers him a Novacula, a blade that can slice through anything he wills it to. How can Griffin resist?

But the spirit deceives him. When Griffin lets her in through the gateway, she brings her master, Dolosus, the fallen God of the underworld. He seeks a prize hidden within the forest. As the sky turns black and the vibrant colors of the wood begin to drain, Griffin regrets his decision and knows that he has made a mistake. Intending to destroy Dolosus with his new weapon, Griffin enters the forest with his sister, Lark, in tow. But he finds that the Novacula is not all he bargained for. It has a will of its own, and he will not be able to use it against its master. On top of that, the woodland and its mystical inhabitants are furious at Griffin for letting Dolosus in and desire to kill the boy.

To save his own skin, his family, and the forest, Griffin and Lark must find the High Guardian of the wood, a Space Pixie, named Euphonious Brine - the very prize Dolosus is after.

EUPHONIOUS BRINE is 110,000 word YA fantasy that I have chosen to submit to you because you represent my genre (personalized blurb about agent). I am published in A Collection of Oregon’s Young Poets, have written scripts for television commercials, and belong to the Authors of the Flathead in Montana.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
Moi

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Re: Query Revision: Euphonious Brine

Post by Quill » May 2nd, 2010, 2:46 pm

lunerunit wrote:
Griffin Tutela never believes the stories that his Grandma tells him about the forest behind her house. He rolls his eyes when she says that his lineage is from another world
Good start.
and that they’ve been left on Earth to protect the forest’s gateway.
Gateway to what? Why are they protecting a gateway not on their home planet?
But when a beautiful woman appears to him; claiming to be a magical spirit, Griffin begins to wonder if Grandma’s tales aren’t true.
Omit semi-colon. Also, have him wonder, not begin to wonder. Just beginning to wonder sounds unrealistic. Also, wouldn't he wonder if the tales are true? (He already believe they aren't)
Batting her eyelashes and speaking sweetly in his ear,
Omit "in his ear" as not contributing to the query.
she asks him to let her into the forest because only a guardian, such as himself, can do this.
Convoluted and flat.
To sweeten the pot,
Too soon to use the word "sweet" again? I would substitute one of the "sweets".
she offers him a Novacula, a blade that can slice through anything he wills it to. How can Griffin resist?
Not sure about the rhetorical question. Depends what sort of person Griffin is. What is his age? So far all we know about him is that he is extremely skeptical, which wouldn't lead me to believe he'd be up for the deal. Also, to provide easier reading, how about omitting "Novacula, a blade" and just calling it a sword or knife, whatever it is. Simplify the terminology for the query. All you want to do is get the agent to request more, remember.
But the spirit deceives him. When Griffin lets her in through the gateway, she brings her master, Dolosus, the fallen God of the underworld. He seeks a prize hidden within the forest.
Okay, but instead of switching to his story, could you just say "...underworld, who seeks a prize..."?
As the sky turns black and the vibrant colors of the wood begin to drain,
Unnecessary poetry at this stage of the query. Omit.
Griffin regrets his decision and knows that he has made a mistake.
Omit either "regrets his decision" or "knows that he has made a mistake" to avoid redundancy.
Intending to destroy Dolosus with his new weapon, Griffin enters the forest
Good, this is the crux we've been waiting to get to.
with his sister, Lark, in tow.
Omit as a sidetrack. Not the time to intro the sister.
But he finds that the Novacula is not all he bargained for.
Employing the negative here is weak. And "not all he bargained for" is cliche.
It has a will of its own, and he will not be able to use it against its master.
Okay, good plot twist. But strengthen the phrasing of "has a will of its own"(cliche) "will not be able" (these words lack power; change the tense to present, for starters). Also, where did we establish that the blade belongs to Dolosus?
On top of that, the woodland and its mystical inhabitants are furious at Griffin for letting Dolosus in and desire to kill the boy.
Here again, the stage seems to be changing as we go along; now the woodland itself can be furious, and contains mystical inhabitants (not sure what that means), when at first we were merely told it was "the forest." I think it would be wise to lay some groundwork up front rather than springing this now.
To save his own skin, his family, and the forest, Griffin and Lark
"To save his own skin...Griffin and Lark" is not grammatically correct. Omit Lark for reasons given above.
must find the High Guardian of the wood, a Space Pixie, named Euphonious Brine - the very prize Dolosus is after.
Good. I'm liking the story. Eliminate comma after "Pixie." Actually, omit "a Space Pixie" and "named". We want the minimum of new terms and names.

In short, beef up the magical aspect of the woods and the reason for the gateway and guardianship (farther up in the query, if possible), and eliminate some of the crowd of names and plot points (the sister, the name of the blade). And brighten the language, removing anything that smacks of cliche or flat. It's already an interesting tale and the right length query, now make easy and fun to read.

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Re: Query Revision: Euphonious Brine

Post by lunerunit » May 2nd, 2010, 6:48 pm

Getting closer, I hope. Still not sure about the first paragraph.

Dear Agent,

Thirteen year-old Griffin Tutela never believes the stories that his Grandma tells him about the forest behind her house. He rolls his eyes when she says that his lineage is from another world and because they can communicate with the ancient trees, mythological creatures, and spirits within the forest, they’ve been left on Earth to protect the forest’s gateway. He snickers when he hears that there’s an invisible barrier around the wood, and his family decides who may enter.

But when a beautiful woman appears to him, claiming to be a magical spirit, Griffin wonders if Grandma’s tales are true. Batting her eyelashes and speaking with candied words, she asks him to let her into the forest. To sweeten the pot, she offers him a blade that can slice through anything he wills it to. Though hesitant, the knife has charmed him and Griffin cannot resist. But the spirit deceives him. When Griffin lets her in through the gateway, she brings her master, Dolosus, the fallen God of the underworld, who seeks a prize hidden within the forest. Immediately Griffin knows he has made a mistake.

Intending to destroy Dolosus with his new weapon, Griffin enters the forest. But he finds he cannot use it against the fallen God. Dolosus is its maker. On top of that, the inhabitants of the forest are furious at Griffin for letting Dolosus in and desire to kill the boy. To save his own skin, his family, and the forest, Griffin must find the High Guardian of the wood, Euphonious Brine - the very prize Dolosus is after.

EUPHONIOUS BRINE is 110,000 word YA fantasy that I have chosen to submit to you because you represent my genre (personalized blurb about agent). I am published in A Collection of Oregon’s Young Poets, have written scripts for television commercials, and belong to the Authors of the Flathead in Montana.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
Moi

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Re: Query Revision: Euphonious Brine

Post by Quill » May 2nd, 2010, 8:01 pm

Holy moly, what an improvement. And so quick. I think you're about there. I'm impressed.

1. I think the correct term is thirteen-year-old. Dash needed.

2. "Never believes" is a bit strong, perhaps. Is there any way to make him less strident in his denial? Or explain why he is so completely doubting.

On second thought, possibly simply put "disbelieves" instead of "never believes" and go with that. Best not to mess with the first para too much as it has a nice voice and conveys lots of info -- and inference.

3. After "...letting Dolosus in" put a comma, possibly, for clarity.

All in all, excellent.

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Re: Query Revision: Euphonious Brine

Post by lunerunit » May 2nd, 2010, 9:03 pm

I'm doing a couple of fist pumps right now. I feel like I've run a brain marathon to get here. I'm open to more comment and more fine tuning if anyone is up for it. I still feel that maybe I'm trying to cram too much into first paragraph, but maybe I've been looking at it too long.

Thanks to everyone, especially rainbowsheeps, NWwolf and Quill, and the others who put up with the rot I started out with. I'll do my best to help others once my brain recovers a couple days.

Just one little question (I'm pretty terrible with grammar):

Dear Agent,

Thirteen-year-old Griffin Tutela disbelieves the stories that his Grandma tells him about the forest behind her house. He rolls his eyes when she says that his lineage is from another world, should I put a comma here? and because they can communicate with the ancient trees, mythological creatures, and spirits within the forest, they’ve been left on Earth to protect the forest’s gateway. He snickers when he hears that there’s an invisible barrier around the wood, and his family decides who may enter.

But when a beautiful woman appears to him, claiming to be a magical spirit, Griffin wonders if Grandma’s tales are true. Batting her eyelashes and speaking with candied words, she asks him to let her into the forest. To sweeten the pot, she offers him a blade that can slice through anything he wills it to. Though hesitant, the knife has charmed him and Griffin cannot resist. But the spirit deceives him. When Griffin lets her in through the gateway, she brings her master, Dolosus, the fallen God of the underworld, who seeks a prize hidden within the forest. Immediately Griffin knows he has made a mistake.

Intending to destroy Dolosus with his new weapon, Griffin enters the forest. But he finds he cannot use it against the fallen God. Dolosus is its maker. On top of that, the inhabitants of the forest are furious at Griffin for letting Dolosus in, and desire to kill the boy. To save his own skin, his family, and the forest, Griffin must find the High Guardian of the wood, Euphonious Brine - the very prize Dolosus is after.

EUPHONIOUS BRINE is 110,000 word YA fantasy that I have chosen to submit to you because you represent my genre (personalized blurb about agent). I am published in A Collection of Oregon’s Young Poets, have written scripts for television commercials, and belong to the Authors of the Flathead in Montana.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
moi


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lunerunit
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Re: Query Revision: Euphonious Brine

Post by lunerunit » May 2nd, 2010, 9:43 pm

Thanks Ink!

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Re: Query Revision: Euphonious Brine

Post by Mel » May 3rd, 2010, 1:00 pm

WOW! Amazing improvement. Still not quite there. But SOOO much better.
lunerunit wrote:Getting closer, I hope. Still not sure about the first paragraph.

Dear Agent,

Thirteen year-old Griffin Tutela never believesdoesn't believethe stories that his Grandma tells himabout the forest behind her house. He rolls his eyes when she says that his lineage is from another world and because theycan communicate with the ancient trees, mythological creatures,[/s] and spirits within the forest ., they’ve been left on Earth to protect the forest’s gateway. He snickers when he hears that there’s an invisible barrier around the wood, and his family decides who may enter. He snickers at the idea his family protects the invisible barrier around the wood and can decide who enters.

But when a beautiful woman appears to him, claiming to be a magical spirit, Griffin wonders if Grandma’s tales are true. Batting her eyelashes and speaking with candied words, she asks him to let her intowants his permission to enterthe forest. To sweeten the pot, she offers him a blade that can slice through anything he wills it to[/s]. Though hesitant, the knife has charmed him andGriffin cannot resist. Griffen cannot resist when she offers him a blade than can slice through anything.But the spirit deceives him. When Griffin lets her inthrough the gateway, she brings her master, Dolosus, the fallen God of the underworld, who seeks a prize hidden within the forest. Immediately Griffin knows he has made a mistake.

Intending to destroy Dolosus with his new weapon, Griffin enters the forest. But he findshe cannot use it against the fallen God. I'm not sure here, but would either take out Dolosus is its maker or add it to the previous sentence. But he cannot use it against the fallen God who made it.Dolosus is its maker. On top of that, the inhabitants of the forest are furious with at Griffin for letting Dolosus in and desire to kill the boyhim. To save his own skin, his family, and the forest, Griffin must find the High Guardian of the wood, Euphonious Brine - the very prize Dolosus is after.

EUPHONIOUS BRINE is 110,000 word YA fantasy that I have chosen to submit to you because you represent my genre (personalized blurb about agent). I am published in A Collection of Oregon’s Young Poets, have written scripts for television commercials, and belong to the Authors of the Flathead in Montana.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
Moi

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HillaryJ
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Re: Query Revision: Euphonious Brine

Post by HillaryJ » May 3rd, 2010, 6:23 pm

lunerunit wrote:
Dear Agent,

Thirteen-year-old Griffin Tutela doesn't believe that his lineage is from another world, left on Earth to protect a forest behind his Grandma's house. But he can't dispute that his family can communicate with the ancient trees and spirits within the forest, or that they are the only ones who can breach the gateway to the forest. *breach the gateway is a bit awkward. Any reason it can't be called an entrance, or just say that they are the only ones who can see the entrance?*

A beautiful woman appears to Griffin, offering the boy a blade that can slice through anything in exchange for access to the forest. Charmed by the knife, Griffin cannot resist, but the spirit deceives him. When Griffin lets her in, she brings her master, Dolosus, a fallen God who seeks a prize hidden within the forest. Immediately Griffin knows he has made a mistake. *Except for her smuggling a dude in, and that dude being a fallen God of the underworld, I don't see the mistake? Does the forest begin to wail? Do the trees begin to die? Does the gateway crumble behind him? You need to explain what's so bad about this for the next paragraph to have meaning.*

Intending to fixing his mistake, Griffin follows Dolosus, but he finds he cannot use his new weapon against the fallen God. On top of that the inhabitants of the forest are furious at Griffin, and desire to kill the boy. To save his own skin, his family, and the forest, Griffin must find the High Guardian of the wood, Euphonious Brine - the very prize Dolosus is after.

EUPHONIOUS BRINE is 110,000 word YA fantasy that I have chosen to submit to you because you represent my genre (personalized blurb about agent). I am published in A Collection of Oregon’s Young Poets, have written scripts for television commercials, and belong to the Authors of the Flathead in Montana.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
moi
lunerunit,

I like the premise, and you've come a long way on the query. However, it's still quite long. Aim for a max of around 250 words in a query and cut as much exposition as possible. Also, some of the "showing" in this last version was too much. Is the spirit-woman speaking in candied words necessary for a brief description? No. I've basically gone through and done a hack job here, taking out unnecessary exposition and description (That doesn't equal bad. It equals nonessential). If you clarify what the problem with Dolosus being in the forest is, you'll probably be able to trim a bit more and heighten the urgency in the last paragraph.

You asked whether to call this YA fantasy or fantasy. It has the feel of an epic quest that could make it fantasy, and the word length is right for fantasy. But, a 13-YO protagonist and nothing that looks like mature content would probably put it in YA. The word count is pretty darn high for YA, though, even for fantasy. So, as you've been trimming your query, maybe take a look and see whether you can trim your story's word count as well.

Good luck. Also, I like your title.
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