Query: ERHISTAUT (YA fantasy)

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stephanieheart
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Query: ERHISTAUT (YA fantasy)

Post by stephanieheart » April 26th, 2011, 6:54 pm

Hello everyone, I'm new here :) It would be lovely if people could offer some comments/suggestions on a query I am in the process of perfecting. Thank you so much, in advance!


Attn. Mr./ Mrs.:

ERHISTAUT is a 96,000-word fantasy novel for young adults.

The peasant girl, Heiren Delaire, never intended to fight demons. Or play a part in the murder of the king.

But now her country’s rule has passed to a fearsome army captain who has no right to the throne. Hopes of peace diminish, with the captain and his guards trying to usurp noble power and overtake the cities. Meanwhile, there are rumors of war brewing in the southern kingdoms.

As the days grow darker and more dangerous, seventeen-year-old Heiren finds herself at the head of a quest to recover a mighty weapon. This weapon, known as the Erhistaut, is a thing of legend; a sword forged by the demons for use in days of despair.

With the help of two other peasants and the knowledge of a wise man, Heiren must travel to this cave, abandon her fear, and collect the sword to save her kingdom. But the weapon may not be the righteous tool she thinks it is.

And Heiren may not be just a simple peasant after all.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Eveland Diaz

Meredith
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Re: Query: ERHISTAUT (YA fantasy)

Post by Meredith » April 26th, 2011, 11:36 pm

stephanieheart wrote:Hello everyone, I'm new here :) It would be lovely if people could offer some comments/suggestions on a query I am in the process of perfecting. Thank you so much, in advance!


Attn. Mr./ Mrs.:

ERHISTAUT is a 96,000-word fantasy novel for young adults. There are no iron-clad rules, but I would put this at the end. The title isn't the most interesting thing about your story.

TheAs a peasant girl, Heiren Delaire, never intended to fight demons. Or play a part in the murder of the king. You've got a fair number of sentence fragments and sentences starting with conjunctions. One may be okay, but you don't want to give the impression that your novel will be the same.

But now her country’s rule has passed to a fearsome I don't think you need the adjective, here. army captain who has no right to the throne. Hopes of peace diminish, I don't automatically get the connection between a usurper and peace or why that would be the driving motivation for a peasant girl. What's driving her to this quest, personally?with the captain and his guards trying to usurp noble power and overtake take over, not overtake the cities. Meanwhile, there are rumors of war brewing in the southern kingdoms.

As the days grow darker and more dangerous, seventeen-year-old Heiren finds herself at the head of a quest to recover a mighty just call it a legendary weapon here and then explain what it's supposed to be in the next sentence.weapon. This weapon, known as the Erhistaut, is a thing of legend; a sword forged by the demons for use in days of despair.

With the help of two other peasants and the knowledge of a wise man, Heiren must travel to this cave what cave? That's the first time a cave has been mentioned. , abandon her fear, and collect the sword to save her kingdom. But the weapon may not be the righteous tool she thinks it is.

And Heiren may not be just a simple peasant after all.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Eveland Diaz
Sounds like an interesting story.
MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com

Mark17
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Re: Query: ERHISTAUT (YA fantasy)

Post by Mark17 » April 27th, 2011, 10:10 am

This sounds really cool, here are some suggestions.
stephanieheart wrote:Hello everyone, I'm new here :) It would be lovely if people could offer some comments/suggestions on a query I am in the process of perfecting. Thank you so much, in advance!


Attn. Mr./ Mrs.:

ERHISTAUT is a 96,000-word fantasy novel for young adults. I agree with the previous poster, put this at the bottom.

The peasant girl, Heiren Delaire, never intended to fight demons. Or play a part in the murder of the king.

The part about murdering a king isn't any more shocking than fighting demons, they're both not something an ordinary peasant girl does. And the part about fighting demons and regicide is more interesting than her peasantness, so maybe bring that forward. What if it read something like this? 'Helen Delaire never intended to fight demons or murder a king.' Then something like 'She's just a peasant girl.' (But I'm sure you can do a better line than me... Maybe say something like Most peasents in her country (kingdom?) usually do XX, to make it a little more unique and show a little about her world.)

But now her country’s rule has passed to a fearsome army captain who has no right to the throne. Hopes of peace diminish, with the captain and his guards trying to usurp noble power and overtake the cities. Meanwhile, there are rumors of war brewing in the southern kingdoms.

I think it would probably be better to say 'When a fearsome army captain usurps her country's throne (saves some words and by moving usurp up you can imply that he has no right to the throne without repeating it.') and then follow that with how it impacts Heiren. Because as the above poster said, we don't quite get why a peasant girl needs to go on this quest.' Maybe something like this: 'When a fearsome army captain usurps her country's throne, Heiren can't sit by. The captain threatens war in the southern kingdoms, where Heiren's dog lives.' (I'm pretty sure her dog doesn't live there, but we need to know why the captain's threat of war in the southern kingdoms calls her to action.)

With the help of two other peasents (are they friends, if yes I think 'with the help of two friends' might work to tighten it) and a wise man Heiren leads a quest to recover a mighty weapon.This weapon, known as The legendary Erhistaut, a sword forged by the demons for use in days of despair, awaits in a cave in the southern kingdom (or something like that). Heiren must travel to this cave, abandon her fear, and collect the sword to save her kingdom. But the weapon may not be the righteous tool she thinks it is.

And Heiren may not be just a simple peasant after all. (The part about the sword not being a righteous tool is a good twist I think, you don't need to double twist here. It's almost like you're saying 'just kidding or the end?' at the end of the whole thing.) Thinking about it now, maybe this part about her not being a simple peasant would work at the beginning. 'Heiren never expected to kill a king, slay a demon, etc. Maybe she's not the simple peasant she thought she was.' Or not, if you like the twists at the end I don't think it hurts.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Eveland Diaz
Again, I think this sounds cool and you can clearly write. It seems you might just know your story too well, and need to take a step back and remember that a potential agent knows nothing about it. With another revision or two I think this can be something that really stands out. Good luck!

glj
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Re: Query: ERHISTAUT (YA fantasy)

Post by glj » April 27th, 2011, 12:13 pm

The peasant girl, Heiren Delaire, never intended to fight demons. Or play a part in the murder of the king.

But now her country’s rule has passed to a fearsome army captain who has no right to the throne. Hopes of peace diminish, with the captain and his guards trying to usurp noble power and overtake the cities. Meanwhile, there are rumors of war brewing in the southern kingdoms.
The first paragraph implies she will help in the murder of the king. The second paragraph makes me think that the king is already dead. And there is no mention of Heiren participating in the murder. So why is it mentioned in the first paragraph?

As the days grow darker and more dangerous, seventeen-year-old Heiren finds herself at the head of a quest to recover a mighty weapon. This weapon, known as the Erhistaut, is a thing of legend; a sword forged by the demons for use in days of despair.
I think that you could build more tension and interest by telling HOW Heiren, a seventeen-year-old peasant girl, becomes the head of the quest.
With the help of two other peasants and the knowledge of a wise man, Heiren must travel to this cave, abandon her fear, and collect the sword to save her kingdom. But the weapon may not be the righteous tool she thinks it is.
This last sentence hints at trouble. But it is not enough of a hint. Here is where you could really grab the reader's interest. For example, you could tell of some events caused by the sword that could be helpful to Heiren or could be bad, leaving the reader to wonder what might happen next. The sword could summon evil creatures, but then the sword explains that the evil creatures will help in the battle to regain the throne, and only want pay in the form of the dead bodies killed in the battles, and that they will return to the underworld. And Heiren rightfully doubts whether they will, but needs them so badly that she might have to accept their help anyway.

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wilderness
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Re: Query: ERHISTAUT (YA fantasy)

Post by wilderness » April 27th, 2011, 11:21 pm

stephanieheart wrote:Hello everyone, I'm new here :) It would be lovely if people could offer some comments/suggestions on a query I am in the process of perfecting. Thank you so much, in advance!


Attn. Mr./ Mrs.:

ERHISTAUT is a 96,000-word fantasy novel for young adults.

The peasant girl, Heiren Delaire, never intended to fight demons. Or play a part in the murder of the king. I like this opening.

But now her country’s rule has passed to a fearsome army captain who has no right to the throne. Hopes of peace diminish, with the captain and his guards trying to usurp noble power and overtake the cities. Meanwhile, there are rumors of war brewing in the southern kingdoms.

As the days grow darker and more dangerous, seventeen-year-old Heiren finds herself at the head of a quest to recover a mighty weapon. How does she find herself in the quest? Seems like you're skipping a big detail. Tell us what makes this peasant girl special and how she falls into the quest. The details in the inciting incident are what sets your story apart. This weapon, known as the Erhistaut, is a thing of legend; a sword forged by the demons for use in days of despair.

With the help of two other peasants and the knowledge of a wise man, Heiren must travel to this cave,(I don't understand the use of the word "this" in this cave, since you haven't mentioned a cave before) abandon her fear, and collect the sword to save her kingdom. But the weapon may not be the righteous tool she thinks it is. This is summarizing without specifics. See Nathan's post on specificity: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/03 ... eries.html

And Heiren may not be just a simple peasant after all.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Eveland Diaz
This is a pretty good start. We do get a sense of the plot and your writing and sentence structure seem good. But fleshing out some of the details will really make your story stand out. Why is Heiren different? How does a peasant girl get caught up in all this? What is her main obstacle? Also, you never really tied in how she is involved in a king's murder. I wasn't sure if you were referring to the original king or the army captain.

Hope that helps and good luck!

stephanieheart
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Re: Query: ERHISTAUT (YA fantasy)

Post by stephanieheart » April 28th, 2011, 9:09 pm

Ah, thank you guys for your suggestions! I've actually revised it a couple times since I posted. Here is what I have at the moment :)


Attn. Mr./Mrs. AGENT NAME:

Claws bathed in rotting flesh; lips dripping honeysuckle. Heiren Delaire feared bears more than plagues, boils, and flames lashing at her skin.

She never knew the animals were her guardians.

In her world, to have Greater Noble blood is to captivate and wield power over peasants and Lesser Nobles alike. It also breeds a connection with a specific, protective creature.

But the House of the Bear, Ursa, was lost eighteen years prior, its line of kings wrecked and pillaged in a murderous plot kept secret from the common peoples. Now a treacherous noble captain is threatening the current ruler, gathering followers amongst the guards and nobles to overtake him and tear the life from his limbs.

Seventeen-year-old Heiren unintentionally entrenches herself in the murderous plot when she fiercely flees her home for adventure under the twilight. Rising formidably from the wreckage of the scheme, she embraces a quest for reprieve and unwittingly sets a legend in motion—a legend of a sword more powerful than any man-made treasure, forged by the clawed demons for use in days of despair.

When the captain takes over and her country falls into chaos, the sword may be the only thing capable of restoring order, if it can be found. If it even exists. And if Heiren is desperate and fearless enough to seek it.

But she may not be just a simple peasant after all.

ERHISTAUT is a 96,000-word fantasy novel for young adults. Thank you very much for your consideration.

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Re: Query: ERHISTAUT (YA fantasy)

Post by AllieS » April 29th, 2011, 5:26 am

Claws bathed in rotting flesh; lips dripping honeysuckle. Heiren Delaire feared bears more than plagues, boils, and flames lashing at her skin. This doesn't grab me, and the way you start is a little confusing. I think starting with a straightforward: "Heiren Delaire fears bears more than plagues, boils, and flames lashing at her skin. She never knew the bears were her guardians." Though if it isn't only bears as her guardians, then I'd change "animals" to "bears," like I did in the example. Also, is the reference to the flames going to be included? Because otherwise it seems a little random.

She never knew the animals were her guardians.

In her world, don't need this to have Greater Noble blood is to captivate and wield power over peasants and Lesser Nobles alike. It also breeds Breeds? You mean they create offspring? Do you mean "creates" or something like that? a connection with a specific, protective creature.

But the House of the Bear, Ursa, was lost eighteen years prior, its line of kings wrecked and pillaged in a murderous plot kept secret from the common peoples. Now a treacherous noble captain is threatening the current ruler, gathering followers amongst the guards and nobles to overtake him and tear the life from his limbs.

All of this seems to have nothing to do with the comment you made at the beginning.

Seventeen-year-old Heiren unintentionally entrenches herself in the murderous plot when she fiercely don't need the adjective flees her home for adventure under the twilight. Rising formidably from the wreckage of the scheme, she embraces a quest for reprieve and unwittingly sets a legend in motion—a legend of a sword more powerful than any man-made treasure, forged by the clawed demons for use in days of despair.

I don't really know what you mean here. There's something about a sword, but it's all very vague.

When the captain takes over and her country falls into chaos, the sword may be the only thing capable of restoring order, if it can be found. If it even exists. And if Heiren is desperate and fearless enough to seek it.

But she may not be just a simple peasant after all.

Overall, I'm missing the linking elements. Each paragraph seems to contain separate ideas from the rest, and I can't get a good picture of what's happening or what the conflict is. Try to find the main points, and make sure you get them across.

stephanieheart
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Re: Query: ERHISTAUT (YA fantasy)

Post by stephanieheart » April 30th, 2011, 4:27 pm

Okay, thank you! I'm not gonna post anymore revisions on here, but you guys have been very helpful :)

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