ANTEDILUVIAN query

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fishfood
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Re: ANTEDILUVIAN query

Post by fishfood » October 21st, 2010, 10:52 pm

I was browsing through some of the other comments and I wanted to step in and voice some thoughts to these suggestions. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is a difference between a query and a synopsis and in defense of this query I think a lot of posters are asking too much in terms of explanation. Theoretically if Auralius answered ALL the questions brought about, it would begin to look like a synopsis IMO. There is a word count that typically needs to be followed.

It's also possible Auralius needs to totally rewrite the query through a different character's pov since the query IS generating so many questions.

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wilderness
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Re: ANTEDILUVIAN query

Post by wilderness » October 22nd, 2010, 1:53 am

Hi fishfood --

In case you were referring to my critique -- my questions are not synopsis territory. I pointed to an article that Nathan posted and I stand by it. You should certainly not summarize plot details in a query because that is synopsis territory. However, whenever you insert a vague statement, e.g. "a devastating act of betrayal" you're not titillating us because we have no idea what you're talking about. Any statement made in a query should be specific, telling us exactly what happened. If you don't have room to explain it, then don't include it. But whatever you do, do not just summarize it in a completely vague way. Instead, focus, focus, focus on the real main plot points. But then be as specific as possible about what they are. Don't hold back.

Specificity is what makes a query stands out. And that's what Nathan's article was all about.

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Re: ANTEDILUVIAN query

Post by fishfood » October 22nd, 2010, 11:59 am

wilderness wrote:Hi fishfood --

In case you were referring to my critique -- my questions are not synopsis territory. I pointed to an article that Nathan posted and I stand by it. You should certainly not summarize plot details in a query because that is synopsis territory. However, whenever you insert a vague statement, e.g. "a devastating act of betrayal" you're not titillating us because we have no idea what you're talking about. Any statement made in a query should be specific, telling us exactly what happened. If you don't have room to explain it, then don't include it. But whatever you do, do not just summarize it in a completely vague way. Instead, focus, focus, focus on the real main plot points. But then be as specific as possible about what they are. Don't hold back.

Specificity is what makes a query stands out. And that's what Nathan's article was all about.
I wasn't referring to your critique specifically. And my own critiques also ask the writer to explain such things as "devastating act of betrayal and why Noah's lands were attacked." I think you answered the question perfectly which actually helps me out a lot too: "If you don't have room to explain it, don't include it." :)

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wilderness
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Re: ANTEDILUVIAN query

Post by wilderness » October 22nd, 2010, 12:11 pm

Ah, then I agree :) There's an art to choosing just the right details to include.

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Re: ANTEDILUVIAN query

Post by Joel Q » October 22nd, 2010, 1:48 pm

There are some good critiques in here so I won't add, unless you do another revision.

But I do have one question. What's at stake for the Nephilim? Did I miss it?
"Meanwhile, his Nephilim comrades must decide, once and for all, whether they will fight on the side of the humans...or the angels."

This goes back to the query/synopsis question. But I think if you put this line in there, we need to know.

Thanks
JQ

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Re: ANTEDILUVIAN query

Post by Auralius » October 22nd, 2010, 2:04 pm

My cup runneth over with excellent critiques! Thank you all a ton. Working on query revision now - will try to address a few of the specific comments when I post it. Thanks again, all. I feel like I'm miles ahead of where I started.

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Re: ANTEDILUVIAN query

Post by Auralius » October 22nd, 2010, 7:17 pm

Query version #4. Tried to walk that line between specificity and synopsis. Lots of suggestions incorporated - hope you see yours!

Dear [agent],

More than a thousand years have passed since the fall of man and the exit from Eden. The earth has been cursed, humans scrape meager livings from the soil, and legendary beasts roam the wilderness. The Grigori, angels charged with watching over mankind, have abandoned their appointed stations to take human wives. Their offspring are the Nephilim, giant warriors with birthrights in heaven and on earth.

When his lands are attacked by a leviathan, Noah, a hardworking farmer with a noble heritage, tasks himself with finding a way to defeat it. He enlists Nephilim aid to protect his family from the monstrous foe thought to be invincible. Bonds between the humans and the giants are forged in the heat of battle; however, peace won by a hard-fought victory is short-lived. The Grigori's lust for earthly power has grown murderous, and they now view Noah's family, as well as his mighty Nephilim allies, as a threat. What is more, Samyaza, the irresistible leader of the Grigori, has become obsessed with Noah's enchanting bride-to-be. Friendships and faith are soon tested, as a devastating act of betrayal by the woman he loves thrusts Noah into the middle of a revolution against the fallen angels.

Meanwhile, his Nephilim comrades must decide, once and for all, whether they will fight on the side of the humans...or the angels.

ANTEDILUVIAN is a [100,000] word [historical fiction/fantasy] novel that combines fascinating Biblical details of an ancient world and Stephen Lawhead's storytelling sensibilities, with hints of Danielle Trussoni's ANGELOLOGY and James Gurney's DINOTOPIA series. Although it stands alone as a single story, it has been written with multivolume potential in mind.

I'm interested in representation by your agency because [reason]. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

[My name here]

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Re: ANTEDILUVIAN query

Post by glj » October 22nd, 2010, 8:46 pm

More than a thousand years have passed since the fall of man and the exit maybe "exile" would be better, mankind didn't choose to leave from Eden. The earth has been cursed, humans scrape meager livings from the soil, and legendary beasts roam the wilderness. The Grigori, angels charged with watching over mankind, have abandoned their appointed stations to take human wives. Their offspring are the Nephilim, giant warriors with birthrights in heaven and on earth. So the Nephilim are half human, half angel? Divided loyalties?

When his lands are attacked by a leviathan, I would like a hint here, when I hear leviathan, for some reason I think of whales. Not a good nemesis on land Noah, this could be read as the leviathan is named "Noah" a hardworking farmer with a noble heritage, tasks himself Ooh, "tasks himself" sounds like corporate pep-talk speak with finding a way to defeat it. Why not just "he must defeat it"? He enlists Nephilim aid to protect his family from the monstrous foe thought to be invincible. Bonds between the humans and the giants are the giants the Nephilim? You may want to use only one term in order to prevent confusion. When I reread this, I changed my mind to think the leviathan are giants (plural)? Now I'm more confused. are forged in the heat of battle; I would break this into two sentences. "However, ..." however, peace won by a hard-fought victory is short-lived. The Grigori's lust for earthly power has grown murderous, and they now view Noah's family, as well as his mighty Nephilim allies, as a threat. What is more, Samyaza, the irresistible leader of the Grigori, has become obsessed with Noah's enchanting bride-to-be. Friendships and faith are soon tested, hmm, this is rather vague and does nothing for you as a devastating act of betrayal by the woman he loves thrusts Noah into the middle of a revolution against the fallen angels.

Meanwhile, his Nephilim comrades must decide, once and for all, whether they will fight on the side of the humans...or no ellipsis needed, this isn't being delivered as a punch line the angels. I agree that giving more info about the Nephilim's decision would generate more interest

ANTEDILUVIAN is a [100,000] word [historical fiction/fantasy] novel that combines fascinating Biblical details of an ancient world and Stephen Lawhead's storytelling sensibilities, This could come off as arrogant, so be careful when comparing your ms to an established author with hints of Sorry, this sounds like something a wine snob would say Danielle Trussoni's ANGELOLOGY and James Gurney's DINOTOPIA series. Although it stands alone as a single story, it has been written with multivolume potential in mind. Some agents say they don't want to hear about subsequent stories, though this is discreet

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Re: ANTEDILUVIAN query

Post by Auralius » October 24th, 2010, 5:05 pm

fishfood - thanks a ton for earlier critique - did I cover enough detail on the betrayal?

priya g - thanks for the encouragement - you've helped a lot.

wilderness - I think you were right about the level of specificity. I may have been treating it as more of a back-of-the-book teaser blurb than I should. How is it now?

Joel Q - you may be right

glj - couple good suggestions - "exile" does read better, and I will change "giants" to "Nephilim." Read Job 41 for the final word on the leviathan, then check out this bad boy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcosuchus

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Re: ANTEDILUVIAN query

Post by fishfood » October 25th, 2010, 8:48 pm

Auralius wrote:fishfood - thanks a ton for earlier critique - did I cover enough detail on the betrayal?

priya g - thanks for the encouragement - you've helped a lot.

wilderness - I think you were right about the level of specificity. I may have been treating it as more of a back-of-the-book teaser blurb than I should. How is it now?

Joel Q - you may be right

glj - couple good suggestions - "exile" does read better, and I will change "giants" to "Nephilim." Read Job 41 for the final word on the leviathan, then check out this bad boy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcosuchus
Hey, actually, regarding the betrayal, all you said was Grigori becomes obsessed with Noah's enchanted bride to be. That doesn't really explain anything. I'm assuming she cheats on Noah with the Grigori leader, but you could just say: Noah discovers his enchanting bride is having an affair with Samyaza driving him to seek revenge... Then it would make a whole lot of sense for Noah to be thrust into a revolution.

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Re: ANTEDILUVIAN query

Post by elfspirit » November 3rd, 2010, 9:02 pm

I really like this, and I would read it. Caveat: I just read Angelology, so the concept of the Nephilim may make more sense to me than it might to others. If you get further questions like who the heck are these Nephilim, anyway, consider a little more detail.

It sounds like a fascinating, and, I think, timely novel.

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Re: ANTEDILUVIAN query

Post by Michael Roland » November 4th, 2010, 7:44 am

My first time reading this, here goes...

More than a thousand years have passed since the fall of man and the exit from Eden. I agree, EXILE The earth has been cursed, humans scrape meager livings from the soil, and legendary beasts roam the wilderness. The Grigori, angels charged with watching over mankind, have abandoned their appointed stations to take human wives. Their offspring are the Nephilim, giant warriors with birthrights in heaven and on earth.OK, Got it.

When his lands are attacked by a leviathan,By a what? I'm totally lost here, don't know what that is, storm, bad half angel, space monster? Noah, a hardworking farmer with a noble heritage, tasks himself with finding a way to defeat itmust find a way to defeat it or lose everything. OR Are the stakes bigger? Is he only going to lose his land OR is the Earth or all of mankind in peril because of this?. He enlists Nephilim aid to protect his family from the monstrous foe thought to be invincible. Bonds between the humans and the giantsgiatns being Nephilim? are forged in the heat of battle; however, peace won by a hard-fought victory is short-lived. The Grigori's lust for earthly powerDo you mean power over Earth or some special power that Earth contains? has grown murderous, and they now view Noah's family, as well as his mighty Nephilim allies, as a threat. What is more, Samyaza, the irresistible leader of the Grigori,Perhaps, "What is more, the irresistible leader of the Grigor, Samyaza," I am already trying to keep the whole story in my head, it's easier, on first read to just know who he is right up front. has become obsessed with Noah's enchanting bride-to-be. Friendships and faith are soon tested, as A devastating act of betrayal by the woman he loves thrusts Noah into the middle of a revolution against the fallen angels.Um fallen angels are Nephilim or Grigor? Remeber the agent is reading this for the first time, like me. So it's easy to get confused.I will, however read it again later :o)

Meanwhile, his Noah'?Nephilim comrades must decide, once and for all, whether they will fight on the side of the humans...or the angels. Um, that's it? The grand finalle is "somebody is going to decide something."? I think we need something big here.

ANTEDILUVIAN is a [100,000] Are brackets correct style for a query? I don't know. word [historical fiction/fantasy] novel that combines fascinating Biblical details of an ancient world andwith Stephen Lawhead's storytelling sensibilities,sorry, again, I don't with hints of Danielle Trussoni's ANGELOLOGY and James Gurney's DINOTOPIA series.Possibley, " and will appeal to readers of Danielle Trussoin and James Gurney." I assume they are famous and have made tons of money for their agents? Although it stands alone as a single story, it has been written with multivolume potential in mind.Not sure here, from what I've read, agents get a bit touchy about authors telling them what they should think. I get what you are saying, but you might consider leaving it out or being more consice. Judgement call

I'm interested in representation by your agency because [reason]. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Sounds like a cool story. If I could read it the first time(the query) without being confused and it had a HUGE climax, I would want to see more.

Loads of potential here, but I don't think you can sell an epic fantasy on an old guy, maybe, losing some land and somebody have to "decide" something at the end.I'm going to guess there's more to it in the book, but how would the agent know?


Great work so far!

Auralius
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Re: ANTEDILUVIAN query

Post by Auralius » November 6th, 2010, 7:49 am

fishfood - I might just trust the reader to correctly make that same connection you did.

elfspirit - thanks for the encouragement! Seems like there have been a few Nephilim/fallen angel books put out lately, mostly YA and all modern. I began this before any of them came out, but I do think it may improve interest in the story's concepts.

Michael - thanks for the comments.

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Re: ANTEDILUVIAN query

Post by Auralius » February 23rd, 2011, 7:59 pm

Resurrected. Any comments and critiques from fresh eyes?

Also, how does this change to the last sentence sound:

"Meanwhile, his Nephilim comrades must decide, once and for all, whether they will fight on the side of the humans or the angels, and their choice may very mean the difference between the earth's salvation...or its damnation."

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Re: ANTEDILUVIAN query

Post by Guardian » February 23rd, 2011, 8:30 pm

ANTEDILUVIAN is a [100,000] word [historical fiction/fantasy] novel that combines fascinating Biblical details of an ancient world and Stephen Lawhead's storytelling sensibilities, with hints of Danielle Trussoni's ANGELOLOGY and James Gurney's DINOTOPIA series. Although it stands alone as a single story, it has been written with multivolume potential in mind.
Drop this part with the exception of the title and the word count.

1. It's rather a fantasy, regardless from the fascinating Biblical details. It's maybe not even a historical fiction, regardless if it's based on some parts of the Bible. Historical fiction must blend historical facts with imagination, but the bible and any other sacred books are cannot be really considered as historical facts as most of them never was proved. Historical fiction also shouldn't distort past reality or manipulate historical facts to make the novel more interesting or exciting. I guess this is not the case in your novel as it's also using an alternate timeline. So write, fantasy. Then when you get there, you may argue with the agent and discuss what the true genre of your novel is.
2. You may believe and say it's fascinating, but agents usually won't believe that, until they're not reading the entire novel. So drop that line.
3. Even if you're writing a trilogy, your first volume must stand on it's own. So write; "It's the series opener of XY."
4. And the most important, never compare your work with the work of others. Here is why...

I've checked the Angelology just to compare it with your novel (As you suggested in the query.). Here is a snippet from wikipedia...
"and a race of descendants of angels and humans called the Nephilim. The story blends ancient biblical pericopes, the myth of Orpheus, and the fall of rebel angels."

With the exception of Orpheus, the basics sounds the very same as yours. This is the primary danger when you're mentioning other novels. After this, yours sounds as a copy-paste novel (Which is presumably not. But as I also read your first query, it's giving this first impression because of this, "it's just like this and that" line.). Someone may look after it, someone who never read Angelology (Like humble me.) and will see the parallels between the mentioned novel and yours. This is killing your chances and you can't argue with it, as you're giving the gun into the hand of the agent. So never do this.

One last thing. As far as I know, as I'm also writing a trilogy, the query must hold the storyline of the first volume. I don't know this query is telling the whole story or not, but if it's telling the story of the trilogy, tell only the first volume in the query. If it's telling only the storyline of volume one, nice job. You have an intersting story.

I hope it helps! Good luck!

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