Confessions of an Elder - Fantasy *updated*

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mfreivald
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Confessions of an Elder - Fantasy *updated*

Post by mfreivald » June 25th, 2010, 2:45 pm

(See updated version on third page.)

Hello, all.

My earlier versions, which weren't evaluated here, might have been too vague, and I didn't get a single request for pages from them. I hope to remedy that. Thanks for any and all assistance.

Dear <Agent Name>,

The sacred Vine, the wellspring of power that binds all life, can tempt the unvigilant man to destruction. No one knows this better than Elder Cale Barnside.

Every time Cale falls into the dark practice of bleeding the Vine, a member of his brotherhood must purify him. An assignment to rescue and escort the beautiful Lady Cresswell makes his weakness especially troublesome because he must carry the Honor of Cresswell, a sacred artifact that binds the Cresswell nobility in purpose and assures peace in the land. The Honor must be handled in a state of absolute purity.

His bleeding not only endangers the lady, but also attracts sorcerers determined to either make him one of their own or kill him. When they discover his possession of an artifact bound to the Vine with such potency, they pursue it with inexhaustible desire. Cale must choose between fighting the sorcerers with tremendous powers that will ruin the Honor and relying upon his inner strength to persevere.

CONFESSIONS OF AN ELDER is an adventurous 137,000 word fantasy novel that explores how small temptations can propel a man to decisions of mortal consequence, and how resisting one’s own evil is the most powerful first step to defeating the evil of others. Readers who liked Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earth Sea series will enjoy the old-world settings, the protagonist’s internal struggles, and the constrained magic abilities.

<Relevant credentials>.

<Reason for agent choice>.

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

Sincerely,

Mark Freivald
Last edited by mfreivald on August 3rd, 2010, 4:51 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Confessions of an Elder - Fantasy

Post by wilderness » June 25th, 2010, 5:00 pm

mfreivald wrote: Dear <Agent Name>,

The sacred Vine, the wellspring of power that binds all life, can tempt the unvigilant man to destruction. No one knows this better than Elder Cale Barnside.

Every time Cale falls into the dark practice of bleeding the Vine, a member of his brotherhood must purify him. What does bleeding the Vine do? Why does Cale keep doing it? It sounds like an addiction. An assignment to rescue and escort the beautiful Lady Cresswell makes his weakness especially troublesome because he must carry the Honor of Cresswell, a sacred artifact that binds the Cresswell nobility in purpose and assures peace in the land. The Honor must be handled in a state of absolute purity. What does the artifact have to do with Lady Cresswell? Who is Lady Cresswell and what does Cale rescue her from?


His bleeding not only endangers the lady, but also attracts sorcerers determined to either make him one of their own or kill him. Why does it attract sorcerers? Is there a particular villain you can name and describe? Being more specific is always better. When they discover his possession of an artifact bound to the Vine with such potency, they pursue it with inexhaustible desire. The blue part is awkward. Can you just say the the Honor? Cale must choose between fighting the sorcerers with tremendous powers that will ruin the Honor and relying upon his inner strength to persevere.

CONFESSIONS OF AN ELDER is an adventurous 137,000 word fantasy novel that explores how small temptations can propel a man to decisions of mortal consequence, and how resisting one’s own evil is the most powerful first step to defeating the evil of others. Readers who liked Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earth Sea series will enjoy the old-world settings, the protagonist’s internal struggles, and the constrained magic abilities.

<Relevant credentials>.

<Reason for agent choice>.

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

Sincerely,

Mark Freivald
Hi Mark,

This is a good start, but I think you can clarify it more. Also, I like the idea that your MC is struggling with an addiction, but I think you need to give him some more motivation.

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Re: Confessions of an Elder - Fantasy

Post by Meredith » June 25th, 2010, 5:50 pm

mfreivald wrote:Hello, all.

My earlier versions, which weren't evaluated here, might have been too vague, and I didn't get a single request for pages from them. I hope to remedy that. Thanks for any and all assistance.

Dear <Agent Name>,

The sacred Vine, the wellspring of power that binds all life, can tempt the unvigilant man to destruction. No one knows this better than Elder Cale Barnside.

Every time Cale falls into the dark practice of bleeding the Vine, a member of his brotherhood must purify him. I don't see a connection between these first two sentences. I would drop the part about purification and emphasize the addiction. An assignment to rescue and escort the beautiful Lady Cresswell makes his weakness especially troublesome Troublesome seems like too light a word for the possible consequences described below. because he must carry the Honor of Cresswell, a sacred artifact that binds the Cresswell nobility in purpose and assures peace in the land. The Honor must be handled in a state of absolute purity.

His bleeding not only endangers the lady, but also attracts sorcerers determined to either make him one of their own or kill him. When they discover his possession of an artifact bound to the Vine with such potency, they pursue it with inexhaustible desire. Cale must choose between fighting the sorcerers with tremendous powers that will ruin the Honor and relying upon his inner strength to persevere. This last sentence feels a little awkward.

CONFESSIONS OF AN ELDER is an adventurous 137,000 word fantasy novel that explores how small temptations can propel a man to decisions of mortal consequence, and how resisting one’s own evil is the most powerful first step to defeating the evil of others. I would not put the theme of the story into a query. Readers who liked Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earth Sea series will enjoy the old-world settings, the protagonist’s internal struggles, and the constrained magic abilities.

<Relevant credentials>.

<Reason for agent choice>.

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

Sincerely,

Mark Freivald
Interesting premise.
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Re: Confessions of an Elder - Fantasy

Post by notw » June 25th, 2010, 6:30 pm

mfreivald wrote:Hello, all.

My earlier versions, which weren't evaluated here, might have been too vague, and I didn't get a single request for pages from them. I hope to remedy that. Thanks for any and all assistance.

Dear <Agent Name>,

The sacred Vine, the wellspring of power that binds all life, can tempt the unvigilant man to destruction. No one knows this better than Elder Cale Barnside.

Every time Cale falls into the dark practice of bleeding the Vine, a member of his brotherhood must purify him I agree this is a little confusing.. An assignment to rescue and escort the beautiful Lady Cresswell makes his weakness especially troublesome because he must carry the Honor of Cresswell, a sacred artifact that binds the Cresswell nobility in purpose and assures peace in the land. The Honor must be handled in a state of absolute purity.

His bleeding not only endangers the lady, but also attracts sorcerers determined to either make him one of their own or kill him Does he carry the vine with him?. When they discover his possession of an artifact bound to the Vine with such potency, they pursue it with inexhaustible desire Might just be me but why is the artifact bound to the vine? . Cale must choose between fighting the sorcerers with tremendous powers that will ruin the Honor and relying upon his inner strength to persevere.

CONFESSIONS OF AN ELDER is an adventurous 137,000 word fantasy novel that explores how small temptations can propel a man to decisions of mortal consequence, and how resisting one’s own evil is the most powerful first step to defeating the evil of others. Readers who liked Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earth Sea series will enjoy the old-world settings, the protagonist’s internal struggles, and the constrained magic abilities.

<Relevant credentials>.

<Reason for agent choice>.

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

Sincerely,

Mark Freivald
Sounds like a very interesting story! Good luck with your next revision :)

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Re: Confessions of an Elder - Fantasy

Post by fivecats » June 25th, 2010, 11:09 pm

mfreivald wrote:Hello, all.

My earlier versions, which weren't evaluated here, might have been too vague...

Dear <Agent Name>,

The sacred Vine, the wellspring of power that binds all life, can tempt the unvigilant man to destruction. No one knows this better than Elder Cale Barnside.
This first sentence, your "grabber", comes across as somewhat vague to me. I get the idea of The Vine as being the source of life that binds us all. I don't get how that leads directly to "can tempt the unvigilant man...". Maybe it needs something of a transition into this idea. Something like, "Most (name of the people/society) live in respect of the shared power. Elder Cale Barnside, however, is drawn into abusing this power for his own gain"

I also don't get a sense of what Cale gets out of bleeding the vine. Is it a narcotic-like high? Limited, temporary power? W
mfreivald wrote:Every time Cale falls into the dark practice of bleeding the Vine, a member of his brotherhood must purify him.
Why is his abuse/dark practice tolerated by the brotherhood? Why would they then entrust a perilous task, one that would separate him from the brotherhood, a situation that might lead to him abusing the Vine again? (Unless they were setting him up, of course)
mfreivald wrote:An assignment to rescue and escort the beautiful Lady Cresswell makes his weakness especially troublesome because he must carry the Honor of Cresswell, a sacred artifact that binds the Cresswell nobility in purpose and assures peace in the land. The Honor must be handled in a state of absolute purity.

His bleeding not only endangers the lady, but also attracts sorcerers determined to either make him one of their own or kill him. When they discover his possession of an artifact bound to the Vine with such potency, they pursue it with inexhaustible desire. Cale must choose between fighting the sorcerers with tremendous powers that will ruin the Honor and relying upon his inner strength to persevere.
Are you referring to his prior bleeding of the vine? Or is he still doing it?

"inexhaustible desire" reads as awkward to me.
mfreivald wrote:CONFESSIONS OF AN ELDER is an adventurous 137,000 word fantasy novel that explores how small temptations can propel a man to decisions of mortal consequence, and how resisting one’s own evil is the most powerful first step to defeating the evil of others. Readers who liked Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earth Sea series will enjoy the old-world settings, the protagonist’s internal struggles, and the constrained magic abilities.
Actually, your word count might be the reason why you received no requests. A recent entry at QueryTracker.net (http://querytracker.blogspot.com/2010/0 ... ength.html) give 120,000 as the upper limit of epic Science Fiction/Fantasy.

I don't get a sense of any magical abilities from your query, much less "constrained" ones. Is this implied but not clearly stated?
______________________________________
Tom M Franklin
Franklin, Ink: Writing about Writing & Reading
http://tommfranklin.blogspot.com/

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Re: Confessions of an Elder - Fantasy

Post by fivecats » June 25th, 2010, 11:10 pm

mfreivald wrote:Hello, all.

My earlier versions, which weren't evaluated here, might have been too vague...

Dear <Agent Name>,

The sacred Vine, the wellspring of power that binds all life, can tempt the unvigilant man to destruction. No one knows this better than Elder Cale Barnside.
This first sentence, your "grabber", comes across as somewhat vague to me. I get the idea of The Vine as being the source of life that binds us all. I don't get how that leads directly to "can tempt the unvigilant man...". Maybe it needs something of a transition into this idea. Something like, "Most (name of the people/society) live in respect of the shared power. Elder Cale Barnside, however, is drawn into abusing this power for his own gain"

I also don't get a sense of what Cale gets out of bleeding the vine. Is it a narcotic-like high? Limited, temporary power? W
mfreivald wrote:Every time Cale falls into the dark practice of bleeding the Vine, a member of his brotherhood must purify him.
Why is his abuse/dark practice tolerated by the brotherhood? Why would they then entrust a perilous task, one that would separate him from the brotherhood, a situation that might lead to him abusing the Vine again? (Unless they were setting him up, of course)
mfreivald wrote:An assignment to rescue and escort the beautiful Lady Cresswell makes his weakness especially troublesome because he must carry the Honor of Cresswell, a sacred artifact that binds the Cresswell nobility in purpose and assures peace in the land. The Honor must be handled in a state of absolute purity.

His bleeding not only endangers the lady, but also attracts sorcerers determined to either make him one of their own or kill him. When they discover his possession of an artifact bound to the Vine with such potency, they pursue it with inexhaustible desire. Cale must choose between fighting the sorcerers with tremendous powers that will ruin the Honor and relying upon his inner strength to persevere.
Are you referring to his prior bleeding of the vine? Or is he still doing it?

"inexhaustible desire" reads as awkward to me.
mfreivald wrote:CONFESSIONS OF AN ELDER is an adventurous 137,000 word fantasy novel that explores how small temptations can propel a man to decisions of mortal consequence, and how resisting one’s own evil is the most powerful first step to defeating the evil of others. Readers who liked Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earth Sea series will enjoy the old-world settings, the protagonist’s internal struggles, and the constrained magic abilities.
Actually, your word count might be the reason why you received no requests. A recent entry at QueryTracker.net (http://querytracker.blogspot.com/2010/0 ... ength.html) give 120,000 as the upper limit of epic Science Fiction/Fantasy.

I don't get a sense of any magical abilities from your query, much less "constrained" ones. Is this implied but not clearly stated?
______________________________________
Tom M Franklin
Franklin, Ink: Writing about Writing & Reading
http://tommfranklin.blogspot.com/

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Re: Confessions of an Elder - Fantasy

Post by mfreivald » June 26th, 2010, 1:06 pm

Thank you wilderness, Meredith, notw, and fivecats. Great feedback.

I'll attempt to adequatly manage your questions in the next draft, then answer them more specifically after that, if needed.

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Re: Confessions of an Elder - Fantasy *update--v2*

Post by mfreivald » July 6th, 2010, 1:18 am

Here is a new version that attempts to address the issues raised above. Better?

Dear <Agent Name>,

The sacred Vine, the wellspring of power that binds all life, can tempt the unvigilant man to destruction. No one knows this better than Elder Cale Barnside.

Elders accept the Vine’s gifts to bring light and beauty to their works; sorcerers bleed it to destroy with fire and rot. Every time Cale falls into the dark practice of bleeding, he must find a member of his brotherhood to purify him. His weakness becomes especially grievous when the beautiful Lady Cresswell’s rescue from her fallen city places the Honor of Cresswell in his hands. The sacred artifact binds the Cresswell nobility in purpose and assures peace in the land, and an elder must handle it in a state of absolute purity.

Cale’s dalliances into bleeding endanger the lady and attract sorcerers determined to either make him one of their own or kill him. When their overlord discovers Cale possesses the Honor, he pursues it with unrelenting desire. Cale must either fight the overlord with tremendous powers that will ruin the Honor, or rely upon his inner strength to persevere.

CONFESSIONS OF AN ELDER is an adventurous 137,000 word fantasy novel set in a tumultuous epoch, when traditional kingdoms fight to survive and new powers emerge. Readers who liked Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earth Sea series will enjoy the old-world settings, the protagonist’s internal struggles, and the constrained magic abilities.

<Relevant credentials>.

<Reason for agent choice>.

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

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Re: Confessions of an Elder - Fantasy *update--v2*

Post by Krista G. » July 8th, 2010, 12:52 pm

mfreivald wrote:Dear <Agent Name>,

The sacred Vine, the wellspring of power that binds all life, can tempt the unvigilant man to destruction. No one knows this better than Elder Cale Barnside.

Elders accept the Vine’s gifts to bring light and beauty to their works; sorcerers bleed it to destroy with fire and rot. Every time Cale falls into the dark practice of bleeding, he must find a member of his brotherhood to purify him. His weakness becomes especially grievous when the beautiful Lady Cresswell’s rescue from her fallen city places the Honor of Cresswell in his hands. I stumbled over this sentence because I kept wanting to make "the beautiful Lady Cresswell" the subject of the subordinate clause instead of "the beautiful Lady Cresswell's rescue." It could definitely just be me, but you might consider rearranging the phrases in the sentence: "His weakness becomes especially grievous when the beautiful Lady Cresswell places the Honor of Cresswell in his hands after he rescues her from her fallen city." The sacred artifact binds the Cresswell nobility in purpose and assures peace in the land, and an elder must handle it in a state of absolute purity.

Cale’s dalliances into bleeding endanger the lady and attract sorcerers determined to either make him one of their own or kill him. When their overlord discovers Cale possesses the Honor, he pursues it with unrelenting desire. Cale must either fight the overlord with tremendous powers that will ruin the Honor, or rely upon his inner strength to persevere. Nice setup of the conflict.

CONFESSIONS OF AN ELDER is an adventurous 137,000 word fantasy novel set in a tumultuous epoch, when traditional kingdoms fight to survive and new powers emerge. Readers who liked Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earth Sea series will enjoy the old-world settings, the protagonist’s internal struggles, and the constrained magic abilities. I'm not a huge fan of this paragraph, just because it's all telling. We already get a sense of the tumultuous epoch, the old-world settings, the protagonist's internal struggles, and the contrained magical abilities from the pitch - you don't really need to spell them out here. You might try something like, "CONFESSIONS OF AN ELDER is an adventurous 137,000 word fantasy novel that will appeal to readers of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earth Sea series."

<Relevant credentials>.

<Reason for agent choice>.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you. I know Janet Reid doesn't like the phrase "I look forward to hearing from you," and I don't particularly care for it, either, just because in this day of no-response-means-no querying, it comes off as a little presumptuous.
I didn't read the first draft of your query, but I find this one clear and straightforward. I do wonder what sets this manuscript apart from all the others in which the main character finds a magical object and must protect it at all costs, risking his own self-destruction. If you could show us what makes your book unique, I think you'd really have something here.

Best of luck.
Author of THE REGENERATED MAN (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015)
Represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary
www.motherwrite.blogspot.com

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Re: Confessions of an Elder - Fantasy *update--v2*

Post by wilderness » July 8th, 2010, 2:12 pm

mfreivald wrote:
Dear <Agent Name>,

The sacred Vine, the wellspring of power that binds all life, can tempt the unvigilant man to destruction. No one knows this better than Elder Cale Barnside.

Elders accept the Vine’s gifts to bring light and beauty to their works; sorcerers bleed it to destroy with fire and rot. I don't understand what "destroy with fire and rot" means. Does this mean that bleeding gives them special powers with fire? Every time Cale falls into the dark practice of bleeding, he must find a member of his brotherhood to purify him. His weakness becomes especially grievous when the beautiful Lady Cresswell’s rescue from her fallen city places the Honor of Cresswell in his hands. There's too much going on in this sentence. Break it down and simplify. The sacred artifact binds the Cresswell nobility in purpose and assures peace in the land, and an elder must handle it in a state of absolute purity.

Cale’s dalliances into bleeding endanger the lady and attract sorcerers determined to either make him one of their own or kill him. When their overlord discovers Cale possesses the Honor, he pursues it with unrelenting desire. Cale must either fight the overlord with tremendous powers that will ruin the Honor, or rely upon his inner strength to persevere. I think you can be a bit more explicit here. You mean Cale can fight the overlord using the dark powers that bleeding gives him, or try to go it on his own, right? Maybe break the choices into two sentences so that you can explain it more clearly.


CONFESSIONS OF AN ELDER is an adventurous 137,000 word fantasy novel set in a tumultuous epoch, when traditional kingdoms fight to survive and new powers emerge. Readers who liked Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earth Sea series will enjoy the old-world settings, the protagonist’s internal struggles, and the constrained magic abilities.

<Relevant credentials>.

<Reason for agent choice>.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.
I think this is getting better, but you have the tendency to cram too much info in one sentence. It makes it hard to understand. Also, I agree with Krista that in addition to clarity, you want to make the book sound more unique. One way would be to give more details about Cale's personality. I do think it's interesting that he's drawn to dark practices but maybe explain why. Hope that helps.

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Re: Confessions of an Elder - Fantasy *updated-v2*

Post by mfreivald » July 9th, 2010, 10:11 am

Thanks, Krista G. and wilderness. I'll start on v3 today.

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Re: Confessions of an Elder - Fantasy *updated-v2*

Post by mfreivald » July 25th, 2010, 3:26 am

I reworked the query that I had, but I also made a whole new query with a different approach. Both are pasted below, with the new one first.

Any comments are appreciated, of course, but if you have no time, even just a vote for the first or second would be helpful to steer me in the right direction.

Thanks.

Here's the new one:

Dear <Agent Name>,

Cale Barnside, a brand new wizard, wants to earn the confidence of of his peers, but lack of discipline in the order has left him feeling more than a little wobbly. Even defeating a sorcerer gains him little faith. When he meets Laveenya, a Cresswell noblewoman with deep trust issues, he finds the biggest challenge of all.

Cale must escort Laveenya and her family’s sacred artifact, the Honor of Cresswell, past malevolent sorcerers to safety. Shamefully, he incinerates an irksome mosquito swarm and rots away inconvenient stone with wicked magic, which corrupts him and forces him to get purified before he can move the Honor. Things get worse when he does it again. And again.

CONFESSIONS OF AN ELDER is an adventurous 137,000 word fantasy novel examining a character with internal struggles that will appeal to fans of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earth Sea series.

<Relevant credentials>.

<Reason for agent choice>.

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



And here's the new version of the previous one:

Dear <Agent Name>,

The sacred Vine, the wellspring of power that binds all life, can tempt the unvigilant man to destruction. No one knows this better than Elder Cale Barnside.

Elders accept the Vine’s gifts to bring light and beauty to their works; sorcerers bleed it to destroy with fire and rot. Every time Cale falls into the dark practice of bleeding, he must find a member of his brotherhood to purify him. His weakness becomes especially grievous when the beautiful Lady Cresswell places the Honor of Cresswell in his hands. The sacred artifact binds the Cresswell nobility in purpose and assures peace in the land, and an elder must handle it in a state of absolute purity.

Cale tries to resist, but his dalliances into bleeding endanger the lady and attract sorcerers determined to either make him one of their own or kill him. When their overlord discovers Cale possesses the Honor, he pursues it with unrelenting desire. Cale must either fight the overlord with tremendous powers that will ruin the Honor, or rely upon his inner strength to persevere.

CONFESSIONS OF AN ELDER is an adventurous 137,000 word fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earth Sea series.

<Relevant credentials>.

<Reason for agent choice>.

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

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Re: Confessions of an Elder - Fantasy *updated-v3*

Post by Krista G. » July 26th, 2010, 11:19 pm

Personally, I prefer the latest incarnation of the second/original query. The revised original query gives us a better sense of the world and feels a little more fleshed out. Conversely, the newer query feels too lighthearted and almost minimizes the stakes with phrases like "he incinerates an irksome mosquito swarm." I do like the character development in the newer query, so if you could somehow incorporate a few character details into the revised original, that might be best.

If you do decide to go with the newer query, the phrase "and forces him to get purified before he can move the Honor" has got to go. Not only is it passive voice, it's, like, ten-year-old passive voice:)

On the whole, I still find this well presented and interesting-sounding. Good luck, mfreivald.
Author of THE REGENERATED MAN (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015)
Represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary
www.motherwrite.blogspot.com

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Re: Confessions of an Elder - Fantasy *updated-v2*

Post by Meredith » July 26th, 2010, 11:55 pm

Okay, having read the synopsis:
mfreivald wrote:I reworked the query that I had, but I also made a whole new query with a different approach. Both are pasted below, with the new one first.

Any comments are appreciated, of course, but if you have no time, even just a vote for the first or second would be helpful to steer me in the right direction.

Thanks.

Here's the new one:

Dear <Agent Name>,

Cale Barnside, a brand new wizard, wants to earn the confidence of of his peers, but lack of discipline in the order has left him feeling more than a little wobbly. Is it so much the confidence of his peers or making his father proud? I don't like the "more than a little wobbly" part. You could tighten it to just, "but he lacks the discipline required by his order". Or something like that. Even defeating a sorcerer gains him little faith. Since it doesn't seem central to the plot, I think I'd omit this. Instead, give a taste of his discipline problem, especially if it involves his temptation to use the magic inappropriately. You can leave the "Bleed the vine" terminology for the synopsis, where you have more room to explain it. But a hint that he has problems resisting uses that are forbidden by his order would work here, I think. When he meets Laveenya, a Cresswell noblewoman with deep trust issues, he finds the biggest challenge of all.

Cale must escort Laveenya and her family’s sacred artifact, the Honor of Cresswell, past malevolent sorcerers to safety. Why must he? Shamefully, he incinerates an irksome mosquito swarm and rots away inconvenient stone with wicked magic, which corrupts him and forces him to get purified before he can move the Honor. Things get worse when he does it again. And again. More of a hint at why things get worse. These actions seem minor. They don't highlight the stakes or the conflict. The point is his choice to use the magic in ways that have dangerous consequences, so make that stronger.

CONFESSIONS OF AN ELDER is an adventurous 137,000 word fantasy novel examining a character with internal struggles that will appeal to fans of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earth Sea series.

<Relevant credentials>.

<Reason for agent choice>.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.
I think the other version spends too much time setting up the premise and not enough on the story. This is better, but up the stakes and the conflict.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Confessions of an Elder - Fantasy *updated-v3*

Post by Scribble » July 27th, 2010, 7:55 am

Hi mfreival,
The story sounds like something I'd definitely go for if I saw it on a shelf, but the two queries seemed so different even though they were talking about the same book.

Query 1 (new one), flows well and is the clearer of the two. It has a very humorous tone with phrases like, 'a little wobbly', 'irksome', 'inconvenient stone', 'when he does it again. And again.' (love that last one)

Just a couple of little things, that I bet happened as you were editing (I'm always doing this stuff myself).
Cale Barnside, a brand new wizard, wants to earn the confidence of of his peers,
Typo there.
and rots away inconvenient stone with wicked magic
Here you either need 'an inconvenient stone' or 'rots away inconvenient stones'

Query 2 (new ver, previous one) on the other hand, is much more serious and really emphasises the conflict. I like the opening two sentences very much, but the following two is a bit of backstory. Thing is, I'm not sure if you can untangle them from the query as it's a central part of your story, but something along the lines of the clarity and flow of query 1 would be good.

Something that did occur to me is the question of whether the tone of your story is comic, dangerous, or both. Here you have two queries; one with a tone of light comedy, and the other all dark and dangerous. If your story has both these elements, then maybe you can try to include them both (I'm not saying just cherry-pick lines from each one and paste them together, but hey, if that works I won't tell).

I'm struggling with the problem on depth versus clarity on my query, too, so I'm not sure I'm the best person to give advice, but I hope some of this waffle is useful to you.

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