Revised-YA Fantasy THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE

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Revised-YA Fantasy THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE

Post by suef » August 3rd, 2012, 9:47 pm

Ok, I've been dishing out advice, but now it's my time to see what you think. Here is my query:

Looks can be deceiving…even in a kingdom celebrating 100 years of peace between Ordinals (ordinary mortals) and Otherkin races.

12 year-old Prince Agmund knows this first hand. As King Ulrich Kingston’s only son and heir to the throne of Tairn Gire, his privileged life is anything but. The death of his mother leaves him disenchanted with his magical home, and he prefers solitude to daily arguments with his father. But even Agmund gets excited about the upcoming anniversary.

As the legendary event draws near, an unknown sorcerer invites the spirit of an evil king back to the land of the living. The two forge a deal, but every bargain has its price, and more than the loss of this sorcerer's soul is at stake-the evil spirit seeks revenge and he wants the royal family and anyone magical to pay. And pay they will…

Prince Agmund's world and the lives of everyone changes almost overnight. His Uncle Herek becomes king. Ordinals, the preferred citizens, distrust those with magical abilities. Nightly roundups lead to unexplained disappearances. And anyone labeled "different" must pretend to be the new normal or face the same.

As Agmund ages, danger closes in. Balthasar Maldue, his teacher, is more than what he appears to be. He vows to protect Agmund and others, even if Tairn Gire crumbles around them.

THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE: A PROPHESY REVISTED is a YA fantasy. The manuscript is complete at 101, 000 words.
Last edited by suef on August 13th, 2012, 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Query: THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE: A PROPHESY REVISITED

Post by AllieS » August 4th, 2012, 10:45 am

Looks can be deceiving…even in a kingdom celebrating 100 years of peace between Ordinals (ordinary mortals) and Otherkin races.

I think I like this hook, but be wary of starting with "looks can be deceiving." It's generic so I'm worried some agents might not look farther.

12 year-old Prince Agmund knows this first hand. As King Ulrich Kingston’s only son and heir to the throne of Tairn Gire, his privileged life is anything but.

Here are two sentences that don't really tell me anything. An heir to the throne isn't happy with his privileged life. Looking at the next few sentences in this paragraph, I think all this information could be compressed into a sentence or two at most. State that 12 heir to the throne Prince Agmund has been disenchanted with his magical home since his mother's death, but the anniversary promises _____ (insert something unqiue and exciting here.) The death of his mother leaves him disenchanted with his magical home, and he prefers solitude to daily arguments with his father. But even Agmund gets excited about the upcoming anniversary.

As the legendary event draws near, an unknown sorcerer invites the spirit of an evil king back to the land of the living. The two forge a deal, but every bargain has its price, and more than the loss of this sorcerer's soul is at stake-the evil spirit seeks revenge and he wants the royal family and anyone magical to pay. And pay they will…

Woah, you switch from Agmund to the sorcerer, who we don't even get the name of. Is there a way for you to convey this while keeping the focus with Agmund? Also, we could use more explanation here. Does the sorcerer invite the evil spirit back for a wish or something? The stakes of the deal aren't as clear as they could be.

Prince Agmund's world and the lives of everyone changes almost overnight. Generic. Ditch. His Uncle Herek becomes king. Ordinals, the preferred citizens, distrust those with magical abilities. Nightly roundups lead to unexplained disappearances. And anyone labeled "different" must pretend to be the new normal or face the same.

How do all these things change? What does his uncle becoming king have to do with this evil king's return? Did the spirit create an alternate universe? What exactly are these roundups? I realize you're concerned about keeping things tight, but to really get pulled in I'd love to have some more detail about this world.

As Agmund ages, danger closes in. Balthasar Maldue, his teacher, is more than what he appears to be. He vows to protect Agmund and others, even if Tairn Gire crumbles around them.

These last lines comes out of no where, with a whole new character and an age jump with Agmund. Stick to the previous issue, but add a portion about Agmund's personal dilemma/conflict and what he can do about it. Hope this helps!

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Re: Query: THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE: A PROPHESY REVISITED

Post by suef » August 4th, 2012, 1:02 pm

Thanks Allie!

Here is my new rewrite-a bit harder keeping it to that 250 mark I might add :) Tell me what you think...

100 years of peace between Ordinals (ordinary mortals) and Otherkin races ends on day 101…

For Twelve year-old Prince Agmund, heir to the throne of Tairn Gire, disenchantment with his magical home happens much sooner after the loss of his mother. He prefers solitude to daily arguments with his father, but the upcoming anniversary gives him hope. It’s a chance for father and son to reconnect, to forget the past and move on.

But someone else doesn’t want to forget the past, when evil kings ruled with dark magic. As the legendary event draws near, this unknown sorcerer invites the spirit of an evil king back to the land of the living, and makes a request-power over all. The sorcerer and spirit forge a deal, but every bargain has its price, and more than the loss of this sorcerer's soul is at stake. The evil spirit seeks revenge and wants the royal family and anyone magical to pay-and pay they all will...

King Ulrich’s assassination looks natural and Prince Agmund’s Uncle Herek is crowned king. Ordinals become the preferred citizens, distrusting those with magical abilities. Nightly roundups of anyone magical or “different” lead to unexplained disappearances. And everyone must pretend to be the new normal or face the same.

All hope lies in Agmund’s coronation and rule, but things can happen to make sure he isn’t around for too long...

THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE: A PROPHESY REVISTED is a YA fantasy. The manuscript is complete at 102, 000 words.

*My MS wordcount is 101,732 so I rounded up. I also hope this second version has enough detail without being too cumbersome.

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Re: Query: THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE: A PROPHESY REVISITED

Post by LurkingVirologist » August 4th, 2012, 7:39 pm

I've highlighted a few things in blue [and commented on them]. Red means I'd consider cutting.

"100 years of peace between Ordinals (ordinary mortals) and Otherkin races ends on day 101… [A century of peace between Ordinals (ordinary mortals) and Otherkin is at an end.]

[Since the death of his mother,]For Twelve year-old Prince Agmund, heir to the throne of Tairn Gire, disenchantment with his magical home happens much sooner after the loss of his mother. He prefers solitude to daily arguments with his father, but the upcoming anniversary gives him hope. It’s a chance for father and son to reconnect, to forget the past and move on. [personal pet peeve, but I've never liked the phrase 'forget the past,' since it implies a kind of willful blindness rather than a conscious desire to move forward in spite of the past]

But someone else doesn’t want to forget the past, when evil kings ruled with dark magic. As the legendary event draws near, this unknown [unknown makes him sound like an amateur or hack, or do you mean simply that this sorcerer is carefully concealing his identity?] sorcerer invites the spirit of an evil king back to the land of the living, and makes a request-power over all. The sorcerer and spirit forge a deal, but every bargain has its price, and more than the loss of this sorcerer's soul is at stake. The evil spirit seeks revenge and wants the royal family and anyone magical to pay-and pay they all will...

[From just this paragraph, I've no idea why the sorcerer or the evil spirit are up to no good, aside from a generic sort of 'mwahahhaa' evil. If they are to be significant characters, give us some context, an inciting event for the bad guys. If you've got a twist, you don't have to spill it here, but since the sorcerer and evil spirit get 1/3rd of the real estate in your query, I want to know they have motivation beyond a simple hatred of kittens]

King Ulrich’s assassination looks natural [Err...natural? Presumably this is a huge deal, on par with JFK, or is your world one in which noble blood is spilled frequently, in which case let us know] and Prince Agmund’s Uncle Herek is crowned king. Ordinals become the preferred citizens, distrusting those with magical abilities. [I'd suggest recasting this. A leader can't make their populace instantly racist, it has to be there, below the surface] Nightly roundups of anyone magical or “different” lead to unexplained disappearances. And everyone must pretend to be the new normal or face the same.

All hope lies in Agmund’s coronation and rule [minor question - but is his uncle crowned King or Regent? I don't know what rules of succession are followed in your world, but it struck me as odd that a king would give up his crown to a nephew], but things can happen to make sure he isn’t around for too long..."

It sounds like you've got an interesting story here, and unfortunately racism and bigotry are always topical. You've done a nice job of making that allegory clear without allowing it to usurp the plot (assassination, politics, sorcerer, evil spirit, etc.). I think you are on the right track with your query, in terms of laying out the major players and the main conflicts. Most of my comments had to do with context, which can be a real pain in the butt to slip into the text, but it's vital for a fantasy world since you can't always rely on reader experience to frame things. My (admittedly amateur) suggestion would be to cut first, pare the query down to the essential bits of plot, streamline that verbiage, then carefully build in the context we (the agent) need to know to understand each of those plot points. If it helps, think of it as a kind of 1-2-3 rhythm, introduce a character, give a bit of context, drop a plot point (or whatever order works), rinse and repeat.
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Re: Query: THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE: A PROPHESY REVISITED

Post by jenad » August 9th, 2012, 12:32 pm

Red means cut! Blue means change!

100 years of peace between Ordinals (ordinary mortals) and Otherkin races ends on day 101 (Unforunately, the ellipse has become so cliche that if I were reading over your query and saw it in the first sentence, I'd be a bit turned off. And what does 'day 101' mean? You mentioned 100 YEARS of peace and then changed to days. Slightly confused.)

For twelve-year-old Prince Agmund, heir to the throne of Tairn Gire, disenchantment with his magical home happens much sooner after the loss of his mother. He prefers solitude to daily arguments with his father, but the upcoming anniversary (anniversary of what? If it's his mother's death you may want to specify that) gives him hope. It’s a chance for father and son to reconnect, to forget the past and move on.

But someone else doesn’t want to forget the past, when evil kings ruled with dark magic.(This sentence doesn't read well. Slightly awkward.) As the legendary event draws near, (What event?) an unknown sorcerer invites the spirit of an evil king back to the land of the living, and makes a request--power over all. The sorcerer and spirit forge a deal, but every bargain has its price, and more than the loss of this sorcerer's soul is at stake. The evil spirit seeks revenge and wants the royal family and anyone magical to pay--and pay they all will...

King Ulrich’s assassination appears natural and Prince Agmund’s Uncle Herek is crowned king. Ordinals become the preferred citizens, distrusting those with magical abilities. Nightly roundups of anyone magical or “different” lead to unexplained disappearances. And everyone must pretend to be the new normal or face the same. (This paragraph has me hooked!)

All hope lies in Agmund’s coronation and rule, but things can happen to make sure he isn’t around for too long... (I'd change that clause after the comma. A little wordy)

THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE: A PROPHESY REVISTED is a YA fantasy. The manuscript is complete at 102, 000 words.

Good luck to you!

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Re: Query: THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE: A PROPHESY REVISITED

Post by theWallflower » August 9th, 2012, 5:09 pm

100 years of peace between Ordinals (ordinary mortals) and Otherkin races ends on day 101…
-This sentence isn't working for me. Not really sure why... maybe because it's the "tagline"y-ness of it. It doesn't grab my attention right away because I'm more interested in the character off the back, and I think that's what agents are looking for.
For Twelve year-old Prince Agmund, heir to the throne of Tairn Gire, disenchantment with his magical home happens much sooner after the loss of his mother. He prefers solitude to daily arguments with his father, but the upcoming anniversary gives him hope. It’s a chance for father and son to reconnect, to forget the past and move on.
-lowercase twelve
-you don't need "of Tairn Gire", because really, no one knows what that means
-why is he disenchanted? He lives in a MAGICAL HOME. How can anyone be disenchanged with that.
-anniversary of what?
-I think this can be condensed to a single sentence describing Prince Agmund's character -- he's a sullen prince with dead mom and argumentative father. That's his character.
-what do they argue about
But someone else doesn’t want to forget the past, when evil kings ruled with dark magic. As the legendary event draws near, this unknown sorcerer invites the spirit of an evil king back to the land of the living, and makes a request-power over all. The sorcerer and spirit forge a deal, but every bargain has its price, and more than the loss of this sorcerer's soul is at stake. The evil spirit seeks revenge and wants the royal family and anyone magical to pay-and pay they all will...
-unknown sorceror doesn't flip my cookie. That makes him seem like a generic bad guy.
-what event?
-This sounds like the plot (such as it was) to "Your Highness"
-Why is the evil king such a threat? Can't they just fight him?
-This paragraph has the most text of all of them, yet there are no named characters in it at all. That makes it sound like this is the meat of the story.
-Why does the spirit want revenge?
-By this time, I should know the character, the conflict, and the obstacles/stakes. But I know none of that. I'm not even sure who the main character is. Is it the prince or the sorceror?
-There's a lot of stylistic decisions that just come off as hammy, liek "Power over all" and "and pay they all will dot-dot-dot"
King Ulrich’s assassination looks natural and Prince Agmund’s Uncle Herek is crowned king. Ordinals become the preferred citizens, distrusting those with magical abilities. Nightly roundups of anyone magical or “different” lead to unexplained disappearances. And everyone must pretend to be the new normal or face the same.
-Who is King Ulrich?
-This is the first time Ordinals have been mentioned, and I still don't know what Otherkin means.
-"New normals" simply don't happen that fast. Why isn't a revolution happening? Magic people have more natural power, unless there's something I don't know.
All hope lies in Agmund’s coronation and rule, but things can happen to make sure he isn’t around for too long...
-This sentence makes no sense whatsoever. Each paragraph sounds like its own novel. There's a different POV in each--Prince Agmund, the sorceror, the king and his uncle, then the people
-"things can happen" is way too vague.
THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE: A PROPHESY REVISTED is a YA fantasy. The manuscript is complete at 102, 000 words.
102,000 is WAY too long for a YA fantasy. Most YAs top at 85,000.

I think you've got to go back to square one on this query. Figure out who your protagonist is (I think it's Prince Agmund) and figure out what he wants. The query needs to follow that main character and how he tries to get what he wants (related to the central conflict), and what will happen if he doesn't get it.
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Re: Query: THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE: A PROPHESY REVISITED

Post by suef » August 12th, 2012, 8:48 pm

Thanks everyone-I guess I need to take a look at this baby again! theWallflower I'm not worried about the word count just yet. YA fantasies can top out at around 100,000.

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Re: Query: THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE: A PROPHESY REVISITED

Post by gnf » August 12th, 2012, 11:10 pm

Suggestions in blue. Comments in bold. This was difficult to reword, because of missing information which made the logic seem odd. I'm sure you know how your story is working, but this query is not showing your logic. Spell-check is handy, too.

100 years of peace between Ordinals (ordinary mortals) and Otherkin races ends on day 101…
A century of peace between Ordinals and Otherkin is about to end.

After the loss of his motherFor Ttwelve year-old Prince Agmund [is he magical or ordinary?], heir to the throne of Tairn Gire, becomes disenchanted with home.disenchantment with his magical home happens much sooner. ]He prefers solitude to daily arguments with his father He argues daily with his father, King Ulrich, but the upcoming anniversary [of what, for what?] gives him hope could be a chance. It’s a chancefor father and son to reconnect, to forget the past. and move on.

But someone else doesn’t want to forget the past, when evil kings ruled with dark magic. As the legendary event draws near, this unknown sorcerer invites the spirit of an evil king back to the land of the living, and makes a request-power over all. The sorcerer and spirit forge a deal, but every bargain has its price, and more than the loss of this sorcerer's soul is at stake. The evil spirit seeks revenge and wants the royal family and anyone magical to pay-and pay they all will...
As the event draws near, a power-hungry sorcerer conjures the spirit of an evil king, and requests dominion over the living. And the price? Revenge.

King Ulrich’s assassination looks natural [how can an assassination look natural?] and Prince Agmund’s Uncle Herek is crowned king. Ordinals become the preferred citizens, distrusting those with magical abilities. Nightly roundups of anyone magical or “different” lead to unexplained disappearances. And everyone must pretend to be the new normal or face the same.
The assassination of King Ulrich throws the country in turmoil, and Prince Agmund's uncle is crowned king. Herek institutes sweeping changes against Otherkin, elevating Ordinals and provoking tensions between the two races. Otherkin withdraw, pretending to be Ordinals, or face curfews or imprisonment.

All hope lies in Agmund’s coronation and rule, but things can happen to make sure he isn’t around for too long...
Prince Agmund can do nothing until he replaces his uncle on the throne. And the likelihood that he will survive to his majority seems very slender.

THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE: A PROPHESY REVISTED is a 100 000 word YA fantasy. The manuscript is complete at 102, 000 words.

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YA Fantasay, THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE: A PROPHESY REVISITED

Post by suef » August 13th, 2012, 2:22 pm

Ok, I tried to take everyone's thoughts into account, adopting what I thought were the most insightful tips. Here is the update:
A kingdom united, equality among races-Prince Agmund’s dreams for the future, but an unidentified sorcerer pictures something else, and his vision doesn’t include the prince.

Agmund knows his kingdom’s past, how his ancestors defeated an evil king, and he knows its present-Ordinals (ordinary mortals) and Otherkin (other) races only tolerating one another. And after the death of his mother, Agmund’s own life turns sour when he becomes the target of his father’s grief. His only hope is his father’s upcoming celebration of virtually 100 years of peace in Tairn Gire. It’s a chance for races to come together, for father and son to reconnect and move on.

What Agmund doesn’t know are the plans of a mysterious sorcerer and this sorcerer’s relationship to the conquered king. The sorcerer invites the evil spirit back to the land of the living, and the two forge a deal. The stakes…renewed health, power, and revenge, and the price-the possible loss of this sorcerer’s soul, the death of the ruling family, and anyone else who gets in their way…

The resulting undisputed assassination of Agmund’s father throws the kingdom into turmoil. The prince’s uncle is crowned King Regent. Promotion of Ordinals to preferred citizen status causes more friction between the races. Nightly roundups of anyone “different” lead to unexplained disappearances. Otherkin races must pretend to be Ordinal or cease to exist.

Agmund can do nothing until he replaces his uncle on the throne, but the likelihood he will grow to maturity is another matter.

THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE: A PROPHESY REVISTED is a YA fantasy with serial intent. The manuscript is complete at 102, 000 words.

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Re: Revised-YA Fantasy THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE

Post by suef » August 14th, 2012, 2:09 pm

I changed things around again-LOL! Here's the latest version. What do you think?

A kingdom united, equality among races-Prince Agmund’s dreams for the future, but an unidentified sorcerer pictures something else, and his vision doesn’t include the prince.

Twelve year-old Agmund rolls his eyes when he has to read the history of Tairn Gire. He can barely lift the dusty tome explaining in meticulous detail how his ancestors conquered an evil king. Life is much colder now since the death of his mother, and in his father’s eyes, he does nothing right. Plus race relations between Ordinals (ordinary mortals) and Otherkin (mystical) races are at an all-time low. Hope lies in the upcoming celebration of virtually 100 years of peace. It’s a chance for races to come together, for father and son to reconnect and move on.

But Agmund’s hope means nothing to the mysterious sorcerer. The sorcerer invites the spirit of the dead king back to the land of the living, and the two forge a deal. The stakes…renewed health, revenge, and power, and the price-possible loss of this sorcerer’s soul, death of the ruling family, and anyone in their way…

Agmund’s father pays first and his death throws the kingdom into turmoil. A despised uncle is crowned King Regent. Promotion of Ordinals to preferred citizen status causes more friction. Nightly roundups of anyone “different” lead to unexplained disappearances. Otherkin races must pretend to be Ordinal or cease to exist.

Agmund’s rebuttals-feeble. He looks forward to replacing his uncle on the throne, but he’s in for the battle of his life.

THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE: A PROPHESY REVISTED is a YA fantasy with serial intent. The manuscript is complete at 101, 000 words.

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Re: Revised-YA Fantasy THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE

Post by kelseyebeach » August 14th, 2012, 8:17 pm

The story sounds very exciting. Your main goal should be differentiating it from other books and also adding more plot, less backstory, to the query.

A kingdom united, equality among races-Prince Agmund’s dreams for the future, but an unidentified sorcerer pictures something else, and his vision doesn’t include the prince. [The first part isn't a sentence. Maybe "these are Prince Agmund's dreams for the future"? I could take or leave this opening. It sounds a little generic.]

Agmund knows his kingdom’s past, how his ancestors defeated an evil king, and he knows its present-Ordinals (ordinary mortals) and Otherkin (other) races only tolerating one another. [My first question is what are the Otherkin? Magicians? Centaurs? This is how you can make your story stand out. And is Agmund an Ordinal or an Otherkin? Good addition of "HIS ancestors", as it makes the story more personal.] And after the death of his mother, Agmund’s own life turns sour when he becomes the target of his father’s grief, and his only hope is his father’sthe upcoming celebration of virtually 100 years of peace in Tairn Gire. It’s a chance for races to come together, for father and son to reconnect and move on.

What Agmund doesn’t know are the plans of a mysterious sorcerer and this sorcerer’s relationship to the conquered king. The sorcerer invites the evil spirit back to the land of the living, and the two forge a deal. The stakes…renewed health, power, and revenge, and the price-the possible loss of this sorcerer’s soul, the death of the ruling family, and anyone else who gets in their way… ["Stakes" should be "reward"? Also, watch your punctuation. After "stakes" you have an ellipsis, but after "prince" a dash. Finally, why would the sorcerer risk his life for the dead king? Does he get the health and power or the king?]

The resulting undisputed assassination of Agmund’s father throws the kingdom into turmoil. [It's undisputed, as in everyone believes it? No one tried to fight it?]

[I might shorten all of this to: "What Agmund doesn't know are the plans of a mysterious sorcerer. The sorcerer invites the evil spirit of the defeated king back to the land of the living. The king kills Agmund's father and retakes the throne, and the sorcerer wins eternal life." ... or whatever he gets.]

The prince’s uncle is crowned King Regent. [Why isn't the evil dead king a king again? Is the uncle in on the plot?] Promotion of Ordinals to preferred citizen status causes more friction between the races. Nightly roundups of anyone “different” lead to unexplained disappearances.leads to nightly roundups and unexplained disappearances of anyone "different". Otherkin races must pretend to be Ordinal or cease to exist.

Agmund can do nothing until he replaces his uncle on the throne, [why not?] but the likelihood he will grow to maturity is another matter. [Maybe "but he'll never reach 18 unless he defeats the sorcerer and sends the evil king back to the underworld.]

So what does Agmund do??? He's just watching so far. This is mostly backstory.

THE LEGEND OF TAIRN GIRE: A PROPHESY REVISTED is a YA fantasy with serial intent. The manuscript is complete at 102, 000 words.
[I agree with the comment above that your novel may be long. Have you been published before? Unpublished authors usually don't get as much leeway as published ones on page count. Also, if it has serial intent, make sure to point out that this book stands on its own. That makes it less of a gamble for an agent. Finally, since it's YA, try to mention Agmund's age. Originally he was 12, but then it looked like he was older for much of the book. I would give the older age, which would be closer to YA.]

I hope this helped. Great rewrites and good luck!

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