AUTUMN LEAVES - Query Help

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Dankrubis
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Re: AUTUMN LEAVES - Query Help

Post by Dankrubis » January 13th, 2010, 9:18 pm

Hilabeans wrote:Okay. Scalpels ready? Here's the next revision:

Dear Amazing Agent,

Just after seventeen-year-old Autumn Reed receives her powers, a civil war erupts. Autumn is an Elementalist, able to control the four elements and the rarest of kind of Lumen or gifted individual. I got tripped up on the blue here. I'm assuming the first 'of' is a mistake. I'd like to see a smoother way to explain what Lumen are. Maybe it's just the punctuation you employ, but it seems like it'd flow better with a parenthesis "...the rarest kind of Lumen (gifted individuals that can conjure magic). She has no idea how many people want to exploit her. Cool.

One day prior, she meets a mysterious man named Nathan. He’s a Mentalist and able to manipulate her mind. She can’t help but be attracted to him. While driving to her mother’s house, they are chased by two strangers. Henry, Autumn’s absent dad and the Lumen’s leader, sent them to capture her. I'm nitpicking, but I think the previous two sentences need slight revision. After "they are chased by two strangers." you introduce Henry. So my brain jumped ahead and assumed this Henry guy was one of the strangers chasing them. Then I had to reread a couple times to get everything straight. I'd suggest combining the two sentences and placing Henry at the end - "...chased by two strangers, sent by Henry, Autumn's absent dad and the Lumen's leader." Oh yeah, also nitpicky- I've found 'father' is more looming and scary than dad. So if you're going for looming and scary, give father a shot. In addition to having the same powers as his daughter, Henry is a Necromancer, one who raises the dead and uses souls to increase their power. Oh snap! Nathan and Autumn escape, but not for long.

Autumn’s perception of reality shatters with the revelation of a new world. I did a double-take here. Revelation of what new world? The world of magic? I got the impression before this sentence that all this magic was common knowledge to everyone - I just assumed that some people were gifted and most weren't. If the Lumens and magic are a secret world, make that a little more clear in the beginning. She recoils and tries to run away, but is calmed by her childhood friend, Jonah. Feelings develop between them and she’s forced to choose between him and Nathan.

Hope reawakens and Lumen Okay, I need more info on Lumen. Are they a race? Are they humans that can do magic? Are they aliens? Reason I ask is because as I read this sentence, I really felt like there needed to be a 'the' before Lumen, but that all depends on what Lumen are, I think? opposed to Necromancy plot to overtake Henry’s throne. War ignites within both the magic community and her family. Henry tries to persuade Autumn that their bond is strongest of all. Jonah and Nathan are both against her father, but still not on the same side. The future of the Lumen race So they are a race! Of humans? Enlighten us on this from the get-go. lies with Autumn’s decision, the choice of duty or love. Love the ending! It's like you built up to a musical crescendo using words- very cool.

Book info, my bio, and close.


Thanks in advance for your help. To those who have already commented, I owe you!!
I like the way you've described the story, very clean and understandable. My main concern is just making it flow a little smoother, but it's still not a huge problem. Good job!

Yoshima
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Re: AUTUMN LEAVES - Query Help

Post by Yoshima » January 13th, 2010, 10:03 pm

I agree with dankrubis about the "father" vs. "dad" thing. Dad's too informal a term to make him seem scary. Also agree that "the" would make "Lumen" seem more like a race of people rather than just a name. I was so-so about the phrase "revelation of a new world." Whenever I hear that phrase, I think of a whole separate planet/universe/dimension, not another aspect of the world we live in now. It's not something that will kill the query for me or anything, but just another thing to consider as you revise. It keeps getting better and better! ;)

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Hilabeans
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Re: AUTUMN LEAVES - Query Help

Post by Hilabeans » January 14th, 2010, 2:43 pm

Here is the next attempt:

Seventeen-year-old Autumn Reed is an Elementalist, the rarest kind of Lumen, able to control the four elements. Lumen, meaning light, are gifted individuals who live amongst us and can conjure magic. When Autumn receives her gifts, a civil war erupts. She has no idea how many people want to exploit her.

Before she learns of magic’s existence, Autumn meets a man named Nathan at the San Francisco airport. He’s a Mentalist, able to manipulate her mind. She has trouble fighting her attraction to him. On the ride home, they are followed by two strangers. They get too close and a dangerous car chase ensues on the rain-slicked streets of Palo Alto. Henry, Autumn’s absent father and the Lumen’s leader, sent the two henchmen to capture her. In addition to having the same powers as his daughter, Henry is a Necromancer, one who raises the dead and uses souls to increase their power. Nathan and Autumn escape, but not for long.

Autumn’s perception of reality shatters when her powers materialize. She recoils and tries to run away. Jonah, her childhood friend and Healer, convinces her to stay. Feelings develop between them and she’s forced to choose between him and Nathan.

With the arrival of Autumn’s abilities, hope reawakens for the Lumen opposed to Necromancy and they plot to overtake Henry’s throne. War ignites within both the magic community and her family. Henry tries to persuade Autumn that their bond is strongest of all. Jonah and Nathan are both against her father, but still not on the same side. The future of the Lumen race lies with Autumn’s decision, the choice of duty or love.

Book info. Bio. Close.

On your mark. Get set. Go kill it!

Thanks again!
hhs

Website - http://www.hilaryheskett.com | Blog - http://www.hilaryheskett.blogspot.com

"The two most powerful warriors are patience and time." - Tolstoy

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Dankrubis
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Re: AUTUMN LEAVES - Query Help

Post by Dankrubis » January 15th, 2010, 11:12 pm

Hilabeans wrote:Here is the next attempt:

Seventeen-year-old Autumn Reed is an Elementalist, the rarest kind of Lumen, able to control the four elements. I question if this sentence is grammatically correct. If you take out what's in between the commas, it reads "Seventeen-year-old Autumn Reed is an Elementalist able to control the four elements. I think a 'who is' might be appropriate? Then again I never took honors English classes or anything. Lumen, meaning light, are gifted individuals who live amongst us and can conjure magic. Better! When Autumn receives her gifts, a civil war erupts. She has no idea how many people want to exploit her. I failed to mention this last time but I will now. I have an uneasy feeling about this last sentence. It's like it's hanging off this paragraph. It's kinda sudden, it's not explained. But, reading the rest of the query, you don't have to jump through hoops to understand it. Again, I'm only slightly uneasy about it. If I'm the only one, ignore me.

Before she learns of magic’s existence, Autumn meets a man named Nathan at the San Francisco airport. He’s a Mentalist, able to manipulate her mind. She has trouble fighting her attraction to him. This might be a good opportunity to cause some intrigue in the reader. Does Autumn know this Nathan guy is a mentalist and making her like him? Isn't that, like, really shady? If she doesn't know, it'd be neat to neglect telling us his powers. Maybe just tell us that he's magical and she can't help but be attracted to him. Just a suggestion. On the ride home, they are followed by two strangers. They get too close and a dangerous car chase ensues on the rain-slicked streets of Palo Alto. Henry, Autumn’s absent father and the Lumen’s leader, sent the two henchmen to capture her. In addition to having the same powers as his daughter, Henry is a Necromancer, one who raises the dead and uses souls to increase their 'their' tripped me up here- maybe because you first use the singular 'one,' then go to 'their,' plural (sometimes). Maybe use 'magicians' or some synonym instead of 'one?' power. Nathan and Autumn escape, but not for long.

Autumn’s perception of reality shatters when her powers materialize. She recoils and tries to run away. Jonah, her childhood friend and Healer, childhood healer? Hmmm? convinces her to stay. Feelings develop between them and she’s forced to choose between him and Nathan. You've dropped the setting in this paragraph, and I think that's why I felt a little lost while reading it. Plus it feels a little tossed in, like- 'oh yeah! Jonah's there too, her childhood friend, and he's all hot and grown up now.' Maybe explain, in a concise a way as possible, how Jonah fits into the story besides being Autumn's childhood friend.

With the arrival of Autumn’s abilities, hope reawakens for the Lumen opposed to Necromancy and they plot to overtake Henry’s throne. War ignites within both the magic community and her family. Henry tries to persuade Autumn that their bond is strongest of all. Jonah and Nathan are both against her father, but still not on the same side. The future of the Lumen race lies with Autumn’s decision, the choice of duty or love. Again, love the last paragraph. There's nothing like a huge, magic battle between opposing armies of the same family.

Book info. Bio. Close.

On your mark. Get set. Go kill it!

Thanks again!
Great query! Just needs a little more tightening. One thing that confused me a bit- Autumn and her powers materializing. You introduce her as an Elementalist, her already having powers. Then two sentences later, you say a civil war erupts when she receives her gift. Then you go back in time to before she got her powers, then you talk about her powers materializing again. I get the structure of your query now- you start off explaining the whole story in the first paragraph, then you start over and go into more detail about what's going on. But it took me a few reads to figure it out, and the repeated mentions of Autumn's powers materializing kept throwing me. But, as I've mentioned before on these boards, I can be a little slow. I'm not saying you should change anything, I'm just saying that it took me a bit to get through it. All right I'll shut up. Good stuff!

Yoshima
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Re: AUTUMN LEAVES - Query Help

Post by Yoshima » January 18th, 2010, 5:24 pm

I agree with dankrubis's analysis, especially the part about the last sentence of the first paragraph. To me, it feels like telling. Here's my thought: so Nathan is manipulating her mind. I hear what dankrubis is saying about adding intrigue by not telling us his power, but I think it's crucial for the reader to understand what his power is. If anything, I would state why he's manipulating her in the first place; e.g. show her being exploited, instead of just telling us she is. Overall, though, great job on the revision!

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