Re: ELEMENTUM - Fantasy (REVISION #1)

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CharleeVale
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Re: ELEMENTUM - Fantasy (REVISION #1)

Post by CharleeVale » July 6th, 2010, 3:18 am

REVISION IS POSTED BELOW




My first ever draft of a query for my soon-to-be-finished MS! I'm looking for totally honest feedback!

---

Maintaining world peace is hard enough, it’s even harder if you don’t know you’re the one meant to do it.

Lieth Elior is an assassin of the highest skill, forced by the Forum to aid them in their conquest to take over all the Elemental Spheres. When Lieth takes a commission to kill the daughter of a noble, his entire life is changed. Livana is an object of questionable heritage that divides the court down the middle. She is the also mysterious figure that has been appearing in Lieth’s dreams since childhood. Now he is faced with a choice: kill the woman he loves, or incur the anger of the most powerful criminal organization in the world.

Meanwhile, on the edges of society, Kadar, the Prince of Outcasts has taken an interest in one of his prisoners. Kalantha: A woman whose fire is not just her element; it is in her spirit. Her incredible skills with a sword capture the attention of the forest, and her determined resistance draws Kadar closer to something he had given up on finding.

The four are thrown together by a blow of fate, and bound by shared tragedy. Taking clues from the other’s lives, the couples discover that the danger that plagued them all is deeper and more wide spread than they had ever imagined. Their only hope is rely on each other, and bring to light the conspiracy before that is threatening the world before it is too late.

ELEMENTUM is a Young Adult Fantasy of 130,000 words.

Personal stuff

Agent stuff

Thank you for your consideration
Last edited by CharleeVale on July 12th, 2010, 9:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: ELEMENTUM - Fantasy

Post by Krista G. » July 6th, 2010, 10:27 am

CharleeVale wrote:Maintaining world peace is hard enough, it’s even harder if you don’t know you’re the one meant to do it. I think you need stronger punctuation between the two halves of this sentences, something like a semicolon or a long dash.

Lieth Elior is an assassin of the highest skill, forced by the Forum to aid them in their conquest to take over all the Elemental Spheres. When Lieth takes a commission to kill the daughter of a noble, his entire life is changed. Livana is an object of questionable heritage that divides the court down the middle. Not sure I like Livana being referred to as an object. Also, why does she divide the court down the middle? She is the also mysterious figure that has been appearing in Lieth’s dreams since childhood. Now he is faced with a choice: kill the woman he loves (Does he even know her, or has he just seen her in his dreams? Because falling in love with a dream woman is a little strange...), or incur the anger of the most powerful criminal organization in the world.

Meanwhile, on the edges of society (You could probably do without the phrase "on the edges of society"), Kadar, the Prince of Outcasts has taken an interest in one of his prisoners. You missed the comma on the other side of the phrase "the Prince of Outcasts." Also, you might consider changing the period at the end of this sentence to a colon (if you take my next suggestion). Kalantha: A woman whose fire is not just her element; it is in her spirit. The punctuation in this sentence doesn't seem right to me. First, capitalizing the first word after the colon in this sentence doesn't really work, since you didn't do the same thing in the previous paragraph (and both after-colon statements aren't complete sentences). And I'm not digging the semicolon. One revision suggestion: "Kalantha, a woman whose fire is not just her element, but in her spirit." But even that's a little rough. You may want to come up with completely different wording here, since the two parts of this sentence don't have parallel structure (that is, there's a prepositional phrase in the second half of the sentence, but not the first). Her incredible skills with a sword capture the attention of the forest, and her determined resistance draws Kadar closer to something he had given up on finding. What?

The four are thrown together by a blow of fate, and bound by shared tragedy. Taking clues from the other’s lives (This should be "others'," with the apostrophe on the other side of the "s"), the couples discover that the danger that plagued them all is deeper and more wide spread than they had ever imagined. "Widespread" is one word. And what's the danger? Their only hope is rely on each other (Missing "to" between "is" and "rely"), and bring to light the conspiracy before that is threatening the world before it is too late. Extra "before" between "conspiracy" and "that." Also, this paragraph is pretty vague. I don't really get a sense of the main conflict of the book, what problem they have to overcome.

ELEMENTUM is a Young Adult Fantasy of 130,000 words. Hmm. You may want to give us a better sense of the characters' ages, because I assumed this was adult fantasy until I got to this line.

Personal stuff

Agent stuff

Thank you for your consideration
Overall, this reads pretty clearly, but you may want to consider cutting out some of these characters. Four people are a lot to cover in just a few paragraphs, so we miss out on a lot of the story because you spend so much time introducing characters. You might ask yourself who the bulk of the story revolves around and just focus on him or her.

Good luck with this. I'll be excited to see your next draft.
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Re: ELEMENTUM - Fantasy

Post by Quill » July 6th, 2010, 10:43 am

CharleeVale wrote: Maintaining world peace is hard enough, it’s even harder if you don’t know you’re the one meant to do it.
Not sure "meant to do it" agrees in tense with "Maintaining"

Maintaining is hard enough...if you're the one meant to be doing it?

Also, does it make sense? You say maintaining is hard, but imply that he is not doing it yet.
Lieth Elior is an assassin of the highest skill, forced by the Forum to aid them in their conquest to take over all the Elemental Spheres. When Lieth takes a commission to kill the daughter of a noble, his entire life is changed.
Good, but the phrase "his entire life is changed" is weak; it tells instead of showing, it doesn't tell much, and the word "entire" is a weak modifier.
Livana is an object of questionable heritage that divides the court down the middle.
Unclear. Is Livana an object or a person? If a person shouldn't it be "who divides" not "that divides"? And, dividing the court down the middle doesn't tell us much, doesn't illuminate who (or what) Livana is.
She is the also mysterious figure that has been appearing in Lieth’s dreams since childhood. Now he is faced with a choice: kill the woman he loves, or incur the anger of the most powerful criminal organization in the world.
Hold the phone. You jump from appearance in dreams to woman he loves. When did this love occur? Maybe add a sentence of explanation.
Meanwhile, on the edges of society, Kadar, the Prince of Outcasts
"Edges" plural is confusing. At how many edges can one person be?
has taken an interest in one of his prisoners. Kalantha: A woman whose fire is not just her element; it is in her spirit.
Replace semicolon with comma.
Her incredible skills with a sword capture the attention of the forest, and her determined resistance draws Kadar closer to something he had given up on finding.
"draws (him) closer to something he had given up on finding" is awkward. It is also unclear. What is the something?
The four are thrown together by a blow of fate, and bound by shared tragedy.
"Blow of fate" and "shared tragedy" don't tell us much. Please illuminate by saying what they are so we get a feel for the story and can empathize with your characters.
Taking clues from the other’s lives,
This is also too general. Also awkwardly written. Possibly omit.
the couples discover that the danger that plagued them all
Plagues, not plagued. Omit " all" as redundant to "couples" and "them"
is deeper and more wide spread
Isn't "widespread" one word?
than they had ever imagined.
Omit "ever" as a weak modifier. Also, "imagined" doesn't seem powerful enough here. Had they imagined this, or more feared it.
Their only hope is rely on each other, and bring to light the conspiracy before that is threatening the world before it is too late.
Looks like you have some extra words following "conspiracy"
ELEMENTUM is a Young Adult Fantasy of 130,000 words.
I don't believe "fantasy" would be capitalized.

Sounds like an interesting tale, but I think we need more plot specifics in your query, in place of some of the placeholders (the generalities). I would also like to know more about the characters, like, who is this Prince of Outcasts; sounds like a criminal, and you have the four teaming up against greater criminals; how does that work?

A couple comments about the book itself:

I notice your two pairs of characters have very similar names: Li/ Li and Ka/Ka. Is that intentional? I've heard that this is not a good idea, as it can cause the reader to stumble. I noticed myself getting tripped up on it.

You are probably also aware, that even with YA fantasy, around 130,000 words is above the comfort level of many agents for debut books. I trust you have pared it down as much as possible.

Good luck with your project.

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Re: ELEMENTUM - Fantasy

Post by HillaryJ » July 7th, 2010, 2:12 am

CharleeVale wrote:
---

Maintaining world peace is hard enough, it’s even harder if you don’t know you’re the one meant to do it. *This pitch line doesn't work for me, because I have no idea who it refers to, or if it refers to all of them. You don't have to have a pitch line.*

Lieth Elior is an assassin of the highest skill, forced by the Forum to aid them in their conquest to take over all the Elemental Spheres. When Lieth takes a commission to kill the daughter of a noble, his entire life is changed. Livana is an object of questionable heritage that divides the court down the middle. She is the also mysterious figure that has been appearing in Lieth’s dreams since childhood. Now he is faced with a choice: kill the woman he loves, or incur the anger of the most powerful criminal organization in the world. *You have several strong elements back to back and interesting, key details between the two parties and the forces that align against or around them. The next paragraph, by contrast, feels somewhat vague and slightly weaker.*

Meanwhile, on the edges of society, Kadar, the Prince of Outcasts has taken an interest in one of his prisoners. Kalantha: A woman whose fire is not just her element; it is in her spirit. Her incredible skills with a sword capture the attention of the forest, *Is this literal? Like, the fringes of society are literally woods?* and her determined resistance draws Kadar closer to something he had given up on finding.

The four are thrown together by a blow of fate, and bound by shared tragedy. *More specific, please. "A blow of fate" feels like a cliche. Is there an event, a catastrophe, a betrayal, a mistake?* Taking clues from the other’s *(others'?)* lives, the couples discover that the danger that plagued them all is deeper and more wide spread than they had ever imagined. Their only hope is rely on each other, and bring to light the conspiracy *Oh, there's a conspiracy? Maybe this is the specific "thing" that we're looking for earlier. You can't afford to be vague and mysterious in a query. Sort out this last paragraph so that every word is essential and revealing.* before that is threatening the world before it is too late.

ELEMENTUM is a Young Adult Fantasy of 130,000 words.

Personal stuff

Agent stuff

Thank you for your consideration
As someone else already pointed out, this doesn't read like YA. It sounds like adult situations, especially when you start with an assassin and then talk about two couples possibly falling in love. Specifying ages would help. Even better would be bits about how they are thrown into positions of responsibility too early, without fully understanding how their actions might affect the world, etc.

This is well-written, but it needs to be tightened up and heightened. Also, do you have any room on the length? That's long for a debut in YA, even an epic fantasy.

Good luck.
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Re: ELEMENTUM - Fantasy

Post by LSimon » July 8th, 2010, 11:23 am

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ELEMENTUM - Fantasy

New postby CharleeVale » 06 Jul 2010, 03:18
My first ever draft of a query for my soon-to-be-finished MS! I'm looking for totally honest feedback!

---

Maintaining world peace is hard enough, it’s even harder if you don’t know you’re the one meant to do it.

Lieth Elior is an assassin of the highest skill, forced by the Forum to aid them in their conquest to take over all the Elemental Spheres. When Lieth takes a commission to kill the daughter of a noble, his entire life is changed. Livana is an object of questionable heritagea fact that divides the court down the middle. She is the also mysterious figure that has been appearing in Lieth’s dreams since childhood. Now he is faced with a choice: kill the woman he loves, or incur the anger of the most powerful criminal organization in the world.Referring to a person as "an object" is strange to me, I would cut the part in red and add the blue (or something like it) to clarify and make it less awkward

Meanwhile, on the edges of society, Kadar- the Prince of Outcasts, has taken an interest in one of his prisoners. Kalantha: A woman whose fire is not just her element; it is in her spirit. Her incredible skills with a sword capture the attention of the forest,The forest is sentient? and her determined resistance draws Kadar closer to something he had given up on finding.

The four are thrown together by a blow of fate, and bound by shared tragedy. Taking clues from the other’s lives, the couples discover that the danger that plagued them all is deeper and more wide spread than they had ever imagined. Their only hope is rely on each other, and bring to light the conspiracy before that is threatening the world before it is too late. This whole section feels vague and cliche...I would go for a bit more detail.
ELEMENTUM is a Young Adult Fantasy of 130,000 words.

Personal stuff

Agent stuff

Thank you for your consideration

:) Good Luck, Keep trying!

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Re: ELEMENTUM - Fantasy

Post by sarahdee » July 9th, 2010, 5:21 am

It seems to have =everything there - I made a few suggestions to make it read easier. Hope that helps. Good luck.


Maintaining world peace is hard enough, it’s even harder if you don’t know you’re the one meant to do it. Nice tagline to draw them in but the wording is a little awkward - perhaps "Maintaining world peace is hard enough, especially if you do not know that you are the one that will do it"

Lieth Elior is an assassin of the highest skill, forced by the Forum to aid them in their conquest to take over all the Elemental Spheres. When Lieth takes a commission to kill the daughter of a noble, Livana, his entire life is changed. Livana is an object of questionable heritage that divides the court down the middle. She is the also mysterious figure that has been appearing in Lieth’s dreams since childhood. Now he is faced with a choice: kill the woman he loves, or incur the anger of the most powerful criminal organization in the world. I would just say Livana has a questionable heritage

Meanwhile, on the edges of society, Kadar, the Prince of Outcasts has taken an interest in one of his prisoners. Kalantha: A woman whose fire is not just her element; it is in her spirit. Her incredible skills with a sword capture the attention of the people of the forest, and her determined resistance draws Kadar closer to something he had given up on finding. If this is all in your synopsis, why not just shorten it to 'her determined resistance intrigues Kadar.

The four are thrown together by a blow of fate, and bound by shared tragedy. Taking clues from the other’s lives, the couples discover that the danger that plagued them all is deeper and more wide spread than they had ever imagined. Their only hope is rely on each other, and bring to light (expose?) the conspiracy before (should that 'before' be there) that is threatening the world before it is too late.

ELEMENTUM is a Young Adult Fantasy of 130,000 words.

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Re: ELEMENTUM - Fantasy

Post by WilliamMJones » July 9th, 2010, 3:02 pm

CharleeVale wrote: Maintaining world peace is hard enough, it’s even harder if you don’t know you’re the one meant to do it. I'm not sure this part works. It sets the stakes (world peace) before any of the characters are introduced. I'm not sure an agent would care about the world at this point.

Lieth Elior is an assassin of the highest skill, forced by the Forum to aid them in their conquest to take over all the Elemental Spheres. When Lieth takes a commission to kill the daughter of a noble, his entire life is changed. Livana is an object of questionable heritage that divides the court down the middle. She is the also mysterious figure that has been appearing in Lieth’s dreams since childhood. Now he is faced with a choice: kill the woman he loves, or incur the anger of the most powerful criminal organization in the world. Saying they are in love is a little sudden. Have they actually met?

Meanwhile, on the edges of society, Kadar, the Prince of Outcasts has taken an interest in one of his prisoners. Kalantha: A woman whose fire is not just her element; it is in her spirit. What do you mean by saying fire is her element? If each person has an element, you might want to explain that a little better. It sounds interesting and could make your query stand out. Her incredible skills with a sword capture the attention of the forest, and her determined resistance draws Kadar closer to something he had given up on finding. Captured the attention of the forest, or the people in it? And "something he had given up on finding" is a little vague.

The four are thrown together by a blow of fate, and bound by shared tragedy. What is this blow of fate? Why are they bound together? Taking clues from the other’s lives, the couples discover that the danger that plagued them all is deeper and more wide spread than they had ever imagined. Their only hope is rely on each other, and bring to light the conspiracy before that is threatening the world before it is too late. Who are the ones behind the conspiracy? What are there goals? Why is it such a big problem?

ELEMENTUM is a Young Adult Fantasy of 130,000 words.

Personal stuff

Agent stuff

Thank you for your consideration

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Re: ELEMENTUM - Fantasy (REVISION #1)

Post by CharleeVale » July 12th, 2010, 9:33 pm

This is really good guys! Thanks!

I have a couple questions before I post the revision. A couple of you mentioned that you didn't think it wasn't Young adult, and that is kind of true. The story is aimed at people ages 16-24. I don't really think that would be considered adult literature, but it might be too old to be considered YA. I'm kind stuck.

Anyway, thanks for your help! Keep the query-ripping critiques coming!

_________________

Peace has existed since before the ancients divided the elements between the peoples, but not anymore. Now it is balanced on a pinnacle so fragile, one man’s decision may change the world. One thing is certain: if the world is to avoid war, Livana Viett must survive.

Livana is a girl of questionable heritage, and it seems everyone is trying to kill her. Most notably is the Forum, a terrorist organization on their quest for power. The Forum dispatches their best assassin, Lieth Elior, to destroy her. However, the one thing they do not know, is that Lieth has been marked by the fates to alter the balance of their power.

Lieth has been given a gift: dreams. He dreams of a girl he does not know, but in a life full of pain, betrayal, and death, Lieth finds she is the only thing he can cling to. Through endless forays into the woods in which he sees her, Lieth searches for the girl he has come to love. He never expected that she would be one of his targets. Now he is faced with a choice: kill the woman he loves, or incur the anger of the most powerful criminal organization in the world.

Try as they might to hide, the Forum’s fingers stretch everywhere. Even to the Forest city, where Kadar, the Prince of Outcasts, takes a more than usual interest in one of his prisoners: Kalantha, a girl of the Fire who has taken the spark of her element to heart. Her incredible skills with a sword capture the attention of the those around her, and her determined resistance draws Kadar closer to something he had given up on finding.

The four meet at the coastal Sanctuary, where Livana is seeking healing from the latest attempt on her life, and Kalantha is fighting to survive a mortal wound. Taking clues from the others lives, the couples discover the depth of the Forum’s reach, and struggle to find a way to stop the unraveling of their world. Before it is too late.

ELEMENTUM is a (TBD genre) of 130,000 words.

(Agent stuff)

(Personal stuff)

Thank you for your consideration
Last edited by CharleeVale on July 13th, 2010, 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ELEMENTUM - Fantasy (REVISION #1)

Post by Krista G. » July 13th, 2010, 10:37 am

CharleeVale wrote:Peace as (I think you mean "has") existed since before the ancients divided the elements between the peoples, but not anymore. Now it is balances (You could go with either "is balanced" or "balances" here, but "balances" would be more straightforward) on a pinnacle so fragile, one man’s decision may change the world. Who's the one man? And what's he deciding? This sentence seems too vague to be doing you much good. One thing is certain: if the world is to avoid war, Livana Viett must survive. I like this line, although I'm not sure why Livana's survival is the only thing that can forestall a war.

Livana is a girl of questionable heritage, and it seems everyone is trying to kill her. Why? This sentence implies that her questionable heritage is the thing that's making everyone want to kill her, but I'm not making that logical jump. Most notably is the Forum, a terrorist organization on their quest for power. Again, why specifically does this group want to kill her? The Forum dispatches their best assassin, Lieth Elior, to destroy her. However, the one thing they do not know, (I don't think you need this comma - it creates an unnatural pause) is that Lieth has been marked by the fates to alter the balance of their power.

Lieth has been given a gift: dreams. He dreams of a girl he does not know, but in a life full of pain, betrayal, and death, Lieth finds she is the only thing he can cling to. Through endless forays into the woods in which he sees her, Lieth searches for the girl he has come to love. He never expected that she would be one of his targets. Now he is faced with a choice: kill the woman he loves, or incur the anger of the most powerful criminal organization in the world. I like the moral dilemma you present here. In fact, it's kind of a natural stopping point, if you decide to cut down on some of your plot and/or character description.

Try as they might to hide, the Forum’s fingers stretch everywhere. Even to the Forest city, where Kadar, the Prince of Outcasts, takes a more than usual interest in one of his prisoners: Kalantha, a girl of the Fire who has taken the spark of her element to heart. Her incredible skills with a sword capture the attention of the those around her, and her determined resistance draws Kadar closer to something he had given up on finding. What?

The four meet at the coastal Sanctuary, where Livana is seeking healing from the latest attempt on her life, and Kalantha is fighting to survive a mortal wound. Taking clues from the others (You missed the apostrophe after "others") lives, the couples discover the depth of the Forum’s reach, and struggle to find a way to stop the unraveling of their world. Before it is too late.

ELEMENTUM is a (TBD genre) of 130,000 words.

(Agent stuff)

(Personal stuff)

Thank you for your consideration
Again, this is all right, but again, I wonder if you're trying to do too much with it. I'm of the opinion that the manuscript should be better than the query, so even if you leave out a lot of characters and plot points, that's okay. Hook agents with the main story arc, and then let them discover the depth of your manuscript after they've requested pages. But that could just be me.

Good 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: ELEMENTUM - Fantasy (REVISION #1)

Post by Emily J » July 13th, 2010, 11:14 am

CharleeVale wrote: Peace as pervious poster pointed out typo here as existed since before the ancients divided the elements between the peoples, but not anymore. i feel like the opening line could be stronger, who are the ancients? Now it it is an indefinite pronoun, is it peace? or the world? is balances it is balances is grammatically incorrect on a pinnacle so fragile, one man’s decision may change the world. who is this one man? vague One thing is certain: i would use a comma not a colon here if the world is to avoid war, Livana Viett must survive.

Livana is a girl of questionable heritage, wait what, then I am really confused as to who the one man is, also, what does questionable heritage mean? and it seems everyone is trying to kill her. Most notably is the Forum, awkward construction here a terrorist organization on their on a quest for power perhaps? quest for power. The Forum dispatches their best assassin, Lieth Elior, to destroy her. why? I don't feel like I have gotten any of the whys yet However, the one thing they they is another indefinite pronoun, probably you mean the Forum, but be careful when you use pronouns that it is clear what they are standing in for do not know, this comma feels awkward is that Lieth has been marked by the fates like the three from Greek mythology? to alter the balance of their ack another indefinite pronoun! whose? power.

Lieth has been given a gift: dreams. hmm i get that gift every night :) He dreams of a girl he does not know, i think this should be a semi-colon, these are both complete sentences but in a life full of pain, betrayal, and death, Lieth finds she is the only thing he can cling to. stylistically speaking, it is sometimes not considered wise to end with a preposition (not grammatically incorrect tho) Through endless forays into the woods in which he sees her, Lieth searches for the girl he has come to love. He never expected that she would be one of his targets. Now he is faced with a choice: kill the woman he loves, or incur the anger of the most powerful criminal organization in the world. this is a great conflict, my instincts say that the query should end here, this is setting the stakes clearly and effectively

Try as they might to hide, the Forum’s fingers stretch everywhere. Even to the Forest why is forest capitalized? city, where Kadar, the Prince of Outcasts, ok, Prince of Outcasts is a cool title, I admit, but it is starting to feel like too many characters now takes a more than usual interest in one of his prisoners: Kalantha, and now name soup has officially set in a girl of the Fire why is fire capitalized? who has taken the spark of her element to heart. what does this mean? Her incredible skills with a sword capture the attention of the those around her, and her determined resistance resistance to what? and does it matter that this resistance is determined? draws Kadar closer to something he had given up on finding. what had he given up on finding? you see how you are begging the question here

The four meet at the coastal Sanctuary, is sanctuary being used as a noun or a pronoun? where Livana is seeking healing from the latest attempt on her life, and Kalantha is fighting to survive a mortal wound. Taking clues from the others i think you mean others' but it might make more sense to say "Taking clues from each other's lives, ... lives, the couples discover the depth of the Forum’s reach, and struggle to find a way to stop the unraveling of their world. their world is unraveling? hmm? Before it is too late.

ELEMENTUM is a (TBD genre) of 130,000 words. if this is YA that's pretty lengthy

(Agent stuff)

(Personal stuff)

Thank you for your consideration
I see the issue with the query is that you seem to have 4 central main characters. My guess is they are all equally important so I understand you want to work them all into the query. Still, it feels a bit lengthy to me and the end of paragraph 3 reads stronger to me than the actual last paragraph of the query. I would suggest finding a way to pare down the query, to focus on the main conflict, and I am not sure about the unraveling of their world if you mean that literally or figuratively.

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