Fantasy Query, feedback please

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jhoward
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Fantasy Query, feedback please

Post by jhoward » May 4th, 2010, 2:23 am

I am not sure what I think of my latest version. Honestly this query writing has me turned inside out. Which way is up? down? But seriously, I welcome any and all feedback.


More than anything, sixteen year old Sydney Hart wants her family back. She doesn’t even know they are alive until her brother, using his ability to navigate dimensions, returns her to Barathio. Their reunion unwittingly activates a series of events that could lead them to their parents. Or destroy Barathio.

Through letters and clues hidden by their parents, the siblings piece together their family’s arduous past…and reveal their own impending destinies. The Capulet (Dryad) and Montague (Valerian) like marriage of their parents ushered Barathio’s great oppression. Now everyone suffers Ze’el’s tyrannical rule, except the one village whose charmed protection was purchased by the voluntary extradition of the Hart family. For fifteen years Lord Ze’el has wanted two things which are now conveniently within his grasp: that last unmolested people and the Harts.

Harts are in Barathio again. The charm is compromised. Ze’el and his dragon army are more than ready. And Syd finds herself the subject of a romance war. Two young men, born enemies, continually vie for Sydney’s divided affections. When she learns one of her mother’s innate abilities was to lure men, she wonders if this blight is her endowment as well. Does either really care for her? Neither of which she can imagine living without.

Being half Valerian, half Dryad and raised outside the Barathian dimension gives Syd a true uniqueness. She may be the only one that can save Barathio. Or bring about its demise. Sydney is forced to make an important decision. Staying in Barathio is the only way she can remain with her brother and feuding beaus. It also holds the clues necessary to locate her parents. But staying also puts Barathio in its greatest danger ever.

kathleen
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Re: Fantasy Query, feedback please

Post by kathleen » May 4th, 2010, 12:36 pm

I am guessing this is YA but the voice doesn't sound YA. I'm not too good at this yet, but I do think you may want to insert more voice into your query. May be wrong though!

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karenbb
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Re: Fantasy Query, feedback please

Post by karenbb » May 4th, 2010, 1:26 pm

My overall impression is that your description of the plot is confusing, partly because of the proper nouns you use in your book. It's hard to keep up with what's happening and who's who at the same time (maybe I have limited mental capacity today). Is there a way for you to still give detail, but introduce fewer characters? Or, introduce them without names, like you did with the two men vying for her attention.

I agree with the first post also, that there doesn't seem to be a voice. I have found it quite difficult to inject voice into a query, but I know it can be done so keep trying--I am!

Good luck!

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Re: Fantasy Query, feedback please

Post by brandi_fey » May 4th, 2010, 3:42 pm

jhoward wrote:I am not sure what I think of my latest version. Honestly this query writing has me turned inside out. Which way is up? down? But seriously, I welcome any and all feedback.


More than anything, sixteen-year-old Sydney Hart wants her family back. She doesn’t even know they are alive until her brother, using his ability to navigate dimensions, returns her to Barathio (What is Barathio? A planet? A magical kingdom?). Their reunion unwittingly activates a series of events that could lead them to their parents. Or destroy Barathio. (This is telling and doesn't really do anything for me. Could you be more specific? Let us know why?

Through letters and clues hidden by their parents, the siblings piece together their family’s arduous past…and reveal their own impending destinies. The Capulet (Dryad) and Montague (Valerian) like marriage of their parents ushered Barathio’s great oppression. (Instead of comparing this to Shakespeare's work, just say "Their parents' forbidden marriage...") Now everyone suffers Ze’el’s tyrannical rule, except the one village whose charmed protection was purchased by the voluntary extradition of the Hart family.(Who are all these people? There are way too many names here. Slim it down to the MC(s) and the Villain.) For fifteen years Lord Ze’el has wanted two things which are now conveniently within his grasp: that last unmolested people and the Harts.

Harts are in Barathio again. The charm is compromised. Ze’el and his dragon army are more than ready. And Syd finds herself the subject of a romance war. Two young men, born enemies, continually vie for Sydney’s divided affections. When she learns one of her mother’s innate abilities was to lure men, she wonders if this blight is her endowment as well. Does either really care for her? Neither of which she can imagine living without. (Is her power the main conflict? If not, I think you can do without mentioning it here.)

Being half Valerian, half Dryad and raised outside the Barathian dimension gives Syd a true uniqueness. She may be the only one that can save Barathio. Or bring about its demise. (This sounds familiar...you've said this in your first paragraph.) Sydney is forced to make an important decision. Staying in Barathio is the only way she can remain with her brother and feuding beaus. It also holds the clues necessary to locate her parents. But staying also puts Barathio in its greatest danger ever.
There's a lot of telling here, but I cannot grasp the main plot. You need to narrow your focus to the main story arc (which I'm assuming is Sydney trying to find her parents without destroying Barathio). There's a lot of repetition here as well. Look closely at your paragraphs and make sure you're not saying the same thing two different ways. In a query, less is often more, so try to keep that in mind with your next draft.

I wish you the best of luck with this. Happy writing!

writermorris
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Re: Fantasy Query, feedback please

Post by writermorris » May 4th, 2010, 4:48 pm

I'm having a hard time following the plot -- there are a lot of names and an entire new world happening here. Thankfully, your synopsis is really short right now. Give yourself the breathing room to explain a bit more. I'm assuming here that though you posted in "queries" this is really your synopsis. If I'm wrong, check out Nathan's query letter blog post: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2008/03 ... d-lib.html

Good luck!
writermorris
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kathleen
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Re: Fantasy Query, feedback please

Post by kathleen » May 4th, 2010, 5:01 pm

I agree with the post above saying there are a lot of names provided in the query. I thought you only want to include 2-3 in a query (though I may be wrong). It does make it a bit confusing. However, I do understand what you are trying to convey. I think we both have the same sort of problem though your query reads better than mine!!

jhoward
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Re: Fantasy Query, feedback please

Post by jhoward » May 6th, 2010, 4:12 pm

Thank you all who took the time to offer your advice. If you feel so inclined to grace me with another round of critiques here is another attempt.

Sixteen year old Sydney Hart discovers her family is alive when she is reunited with her brother. Using his unique abilities the siblings return to the dimension of Barathio, where they were born. And their parents are still missing. Now they find Barathio’s evil ruler Ze’el wants nothing less than the Hart family dead.

Her parents’ forbidden marriage led to Ze’el’s tyrannical reign over Barathio. Their voluntary extradition from the dimension purchased a charm protecting their village from his depredation. For fifteen years Lord Ze’el has craved two things, both now conveniently within his grasp: that last unmolested village and the Harts.

Harts are in Barathio again. The charm is compromised. Ze’el and his dragon army are more than ready. And Syd is forced to make an important decision. Staying in Barathio is the only way she can remain with her brother. It also holds the clues necessary to locate her parents. But staying also puts her family in their greatest danger ever.

ceiser
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Re: Fantasy Query, feedback please

Post by ceiser » May 6th, 2010, 5:10 pm

Hi, jhoward. I think you've made some real improvements, but I came away feeling this way after reading:

Paragraph 1: The Harts are in Barathio, Ze'el wants to kill them.
Paragraph 2: The Harts are in Barathio, Ze'el wants to kill them.
Paragraph 3: The Harts are in Barathio, Ze'el wants to kill them.

You do provide us with a little more information in each following paragraph, but it all felt a bit circular to me.

Also, Syd's decision about having to stay or leave: would that leave her brother in Barathio? If so, wouldn't that be sufficient to ruin the charm and give Ze'el the chance he needs to invade anyway?

I know how hard this is, I'm still struggling with my own query, so keep at it and good luck!
jhoward wrote:Thank you all who took the time to offer your advice. If you feel so inclined to grace me with another round of critiques here is another attempt.

Sixteen year old Sydney Hart discovers her family is alive when she is reunited with her brother. Using his unique abilities the siblings return to the dimension of Barathio, where they were born. And their parents are still missing. Now they find Barathio’s evil ruler Ze’el wants nothing less than the Hart family dead.

Her parents’ forbidden marriage led to Ze’el’s tyrannical reign over Barathio. Their voluntary extradition from the dimension purchased a charm protecting their village from his depredation. For fifteen years Lord Ze’el has craved two things, both now conveniently within his grasp: that last unmolested village and the Harts.

Harts are in Barathio again. The charm is compromised. Ze’el and his dragon army are more than ready. And Syd is forced to make an important decision. Staying in Barathio is the only way she can remain with her brother. It also holds the clues necessary to locate her parents. But staying also puts her family in their greatest danger ever.

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theWallflower
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Re: Fantasy Query, feedback please

Post by theWallflower » May 7th, 2010, 10:36 am

Sixteen year old Sydney Hart discovers her family is alive when she is reunited with her brother. Using his unique abilities the siblings return to the dimension of Barathio, where they were born. And their parents are still missing. Now they find Barathio’s evil ruler Ze’el wants nothing less than the Hart family dead.
-How was she reunited with her brother? How did that meeting go? Lots of drama there, don't skip it.
-Unique abilities? Like what? Magic? Telepathy? I want to know about these unique abilities.
-I'm confused, are her parents dead or missing. You said her family is alive, but that could mean anything.
-What has Sydney been doing, since she believes her family is dead. Where does she live? What's her role in life? I want to get a sense of her character and personality.
-What is Barathio? Is that a country?
-How did they find out Ze'el wants them dead? And why?
Her parents’ forbidden marriage led to Ze’el’s tyrannical reign over Barathio. Their voluntary extradition from the dimension purchased a charm protecting their village from his depredation. For fifteen years Lord Ze’el has craved two things, both now conveniently within his grasp: that last unmolested village and the Harts.
-How in the world did a forbidden marriage lead to a tyrant gaining reign over a country?
-That second sentence makes no sense to me.
-I don't like the word "depredation"
-"unmolested" is bad word choice
-This paragraph is all backstory. Get rid of it. I want to know who the protagonist is and what problem she faces. I'm not quite sure of her problem, and I definitely don't know what she's going to do about it.
Harts are in Barathio again. The charm is compromised. Ze’el and his dragon army are more than ready. And Syd is forced to make an important decision. Staying in Barathio is the only way she can remain with her brother. It also holds the clues necessary to locate her parents. But staying also puts her family in their greatest danger ever.
-This charm is too vague. Give us something tangible to visualize.
-Dragon army? An army of dragons? Do they wear little helmets and have tiny swords?
-Too many fragmented sentences.
-This paragraph doesn't give me any new information.
-You've given me a premise, but not a plot. You need to outline what happens, not give the backstory. Do like this: Character A finds himself in situation B only to discover that C and that he must D.
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ddegreeff
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Re: Fantasy Query, feedback please

Post by ddegreeff » May 8th, 2010, 12:16 am

Definitely too many fragmented sentences, such as the first sentence of the last paragraph. I'm also still having trouble grasping the main plotline. Is there a plan to fight the villain, or is the only decision reside in staying or going?
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