Query: The Valley and the Shadow - new version page 3

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Tycoon
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Re: Query: The Valley and the Shadow

Post by Tycoon » February 8th, 2010, 5:44 pm

This is the one you should go with.. I rearranged it... tell me what you think.

Lucinda’s fate has always been dictated by circumstances beyond her control. So when she is offered liberation from the cruel world of the living she turns her back on God. Forsaking the light of the His sun, she embraces a dark immortality and becomes a vampire.

Lucinda is tortured with both the memories of her mortal life and the harsh reality of what she has become. She struggles as she searches for her place within the world, distressing over the thought of an eternity as a hunter and killer.

Lucinda hopelessly attempts to find some peace within herself before she falls to darkness and becomes something she abhors - a devil in the night.

Complete at 120,000 words, THE VALLEY AND THE SHADOW explores the life of a vulnerable young woman during the harsh years of the French Revolutionary War.

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Re: Query: The Valley and the Shadow

Post by TheShadow » February 8th, 2010, 6:31 pm

Thanks, Tycoon, I like it. I think I want to keep the timeframe in the beginning, though. I'm not sure it matters but I think it adds to the setting/ambiance/atmosphere as the reader continues on through the query. What do you think?
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Re: Query: The Valley and the Shadow

Post by Yoshima » February 9th, 2010, 12:05 am

Hi Shadow! More feedback for you from fresh eyes. I haven't read your previous versions or the comments so I'm sorry if any of this is conflicting/repetitive. Hope it's helpful and doesn't make you more frustrated with query-writing.


***

During the years of the French Revolutionary Wars, Lucinda’s fate has always been dictated by circumstances beyond her control (Hmm. The first phrase sounds like past tense, like a "back in the day..." thing, but then the next phrase is present tense. I think it would make your sentence stronger to start with Lucinda and tell us the setting when you tell us about the cruel world. This may just be personal preference so feel free to ignore.). When she is offered liberation from the cruel world as a vampire, she turns her back on the light of the sun and God and embraces Dark Immortality. (I like this a lot. Dark Immortality has a nice ring to it.)

Distraught with the memories of her mortal life (why? I thought she was turning her back...), Lucinda is tortured with the harsh reality of what she has become (give me an example of the harsh reality, if at all possible. I completely understand that you might not have room to, but since you're writing about vampires, a very hot topic right now, you have to try extra hard to show me what makes your vampires different/why I should read about yours and not someone else's. Adding a detail here might help with that.). She struggles as she searches for a place within (in?) the world, and with the distressing thought of eternity as a hunter and killer of what she had once been.

Lucinda hopelessly attempts to find some peace within herself before she falls into darkness and becomes a devil in the night like the vampires she abhors. (I'm not sure about the word "hopelessly." It doesn't give off the sense of urgency that you're going for with the rest of the sentence.)

Complete at 120,000 words, THE VALLEY AND THE SHADOW explores the life of a vulnerable young woman whose life had always been controlled by others, and the same woman when she is given power of those who had once oppressed. (Love the concept of giving a lady all the power. ;) )

OR, something I came up with real quick.

Lucinda is a vampire who hunts for blood (don't need "who hunts for blood." She's a vampire. It goes without saying.) in a France torn by revolution. With each death she loses more of what connects her to the land and people she had once been among.

Even as she tries to convince herself that there can be good found within the world, she hunts and kills with uncompassionate efficiency. The burdens of what she has become catches up with her and she grasps at the fleeting remnants of her lost humanity.

Lucinda must find solace within herself, and within her dark past, before she falls to the curse of what she is.

This feels too short for me, though the sentences were much stronger than the ones above. I really like the last sentence of this, though, and think you should consider putting it in your other draft. It has the urgency that was missing above.

THE VALLEY AND THE SHADOW is a supernatural/paranormal fiction complete at 120,000 words.

***

The second is fast paced, more action if you will. Who knows which agent would like which one better. (That is the question, isn't it? Sigh. Gotta love Query Hell.)

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Re: Query: The Valley and the Shadow

Post by TheShadow » February 9th, 2010, 1:45 am

Thanks for your insight, Yoshima! I'm letting everything stew around in my rattled brains right now, trying to find the right angle to this. Your comments will be very helpful.
Yoshima wrote:The second is fast paced, more action if you will. Who knows which agent would like which one better. (That is the question, isn't it? Sigh. Gotta love Query Hell.)
This is oh so very true. I dont even want to count the number of queries and revisions I've done for this one MS now.
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Re: Query: The Valley and the Shadow

Post by TheShadow » February 10th, 2010, 11:49 pm

Here is the newish version. Don't be gentle.

New Version Several Posts Down


Lucinda is a vulnerable young woman in a France starved by famine and torn with revolution. When offered liberation as a vampire from the oppressive world, she turns her back on humanity and embraces Dark Immortality.

Given the strength to never be exploited by men again, the gift to see thoughts and visions of memories, and the maddening ability to hear the hidden voices of countless souls and spirits, Lucinda relishes in her freedom from the unrewarding life that took so much away.

She soon becomes tortured with both the memories of her mortal life and the harsh reality of what she has become. She struggles to find a place in the world she abandoned, and with the thought of eternity as a predator of what she once was.

Lucinda must find solace within herself, and within her dark past, before she falls to the curse of what she is.

THE VALLEY AND THE SHADOW, a [whatever the hell genre this is] fiction complete at [probably too many] words, is my first novel.
Last edited by TheShadow on February 11th, 2010, 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Query: The Valley and the Shadow

Post by aspiring_x » February 11th, 2010, 12:15 am

TheShadow wrote:Here is the newish version. Don't be gentle.


Lucinda is a vulnerable young woman in a France starved by famine and torn with revolution. When offered liberation as a vampire from the oppressive world, she turns her back on humanity and embraces Dark Immortality.I did love this version: she turns her back on the light of the sun and God and embraces Dark Immortality

Given the strength to never be exploited by men again, the gift to see thoughts Just watch out for anything resembling Twilight too much. Vampires and mind reading are both really big elements of those books, and as I've watched your query develope over time, it is not a Twilight ripoff. You just need to make that clear.and visions of memoriesUh oh. This sounds like what Renesmee can do in Breaking Dawn., and the maddening ability to hear the hidden voices of countless souls and spiritsare they the people she's killed? I LOVE this!, Lucinda relishes in her freedom from the unrewarding life that took so much away.not crazy about this...hmm...

She soon becomes istortured with both bythe memories of her mortal life and ,the harsh reality of what devil in the night she has become. She struggles to find a place in the world she abandoned, and with the thought of eternity as a predator of what she once wasthe butcher of humanity... ok, mine is no better, but something darker, harder, stronger here.

Lucinda must find solace within herself, and within her dark past, before she falls to the curse of what she is.I think you made this clear in the above paragraph.

THE VALLEY AND THE SHADOW, a [whatever the hell genre this is] fiction complete at [probably too many] words, is my first novel.
You're doing great work on this Shadow! This query is so close to being appealing to me, and I'm not really a vampire fan (blood makes me want to vomit). Keep plugging away! You're almost there!

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Re: Query: The Valley and the Shadow - new version page 3

Post by TheShadow » February 11th, 2010, 12:51 am

Thanks, aspiring_x. The last thing I want is for this to sound like that (dreaded) book, so I will keep what you said in mind. I must admit I had to look up "Breaking Dawn", and again, I will keep this in mind for changes.

Thanks for your suggestions. Much appreciated! =)
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Re: Query: The Valley and the Shadow

Post by Serzen » February 11th, 2010, 2:01 pm

TheShadow wrote: Lucinda is a vulnerable young woman in a France starved by famine and torn with revolution. When offered liberation as a vampire from the oppressive world as a vampire, she turns her back on humanity and embraces Dark Immortality.

Given the strength to never again be exploited by men again, the gift to see thoughts and visions of memories, and the maddening ability to hear the hidden voices of countless souls and spirits, Lucinda relishes in or see alt txt her freedom from the unrewarding life that took so much away.

She soon becomes tortured with both the memories of her mortal life and the harsh reality of what she has become. She struggles to find a place in the world she abandoned, and with the thought of eternity as a predator of what she once was.

Lucinda must find solace within herself, and within her dark past, before she falls to the curse of what she is. see below
Off the bat: I tried to post this last night, but I think I hit submit at the same time Nathan was restructuring the boards, so it probably got lost. I think I can re-create my thoughts, though.

A few word order suggestions that I think read more nicely. It's a personal choice.

alt text I think that this should read either "relishes her freedom" or "revels in her freedom", depending on the verb you feel most inclined to use.

below (?dunno why I chose that) I know that you've used "has become" up above but it would also be correct here. The present perfect tense is used to describe actions that have begun but not yet ended. The present continuous is also used to describe ongoing actions, but has idea that the actions started more recently. If you want to keep it as "is", I might suggest looking at other verbs to replace "falls"; succumb is a good one or "is lost to".

Good work, though. Just my thoughts.

~Serzen
Il en est des livres comme du feu de nos foyers; on va prendre ce feu chez son voisin, on l’allume chez soi, on le communique à d’autres, et il appartient à tous. --Voltaire

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Re: Query: The Valley and the Shadow - new version page 3

Post by TheShadow » February 11th, 2010, 3:06 pm

Thanks, Serzen. Here is an updated version.


Lucinda is a vulnerable young woman in a France starved by famine and torn with revolution. When offered liberation from the oppressive world as a vampire, she turns her back on the light of the sun and God and embraces Dark Immortality.

The dark gift empowers her with freedom over the exploits of men, and with the addictive ability to live through memories of times long past, but it also curses her to hear the hidden voices of countless souls. The reality of what she has become tortures her, as do the distant memories of her abandoned mortal life.

Lucinda battles against an eternity as a predator of what she had once been. She must find solace within herself, and within her dark past, before she falls victim to her cursed life as a vampire.

THE VALLEY AND THE SHADOW, a fiction complete at [probably too many] words, is my first novel.


I don't like the sound of "dark past", but I can't for the life of me think of anything better. My brain is so fried.
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Re: Query: The Valley and the Shadow - new version page 3

Post by aspiring_x » February 11th, 2010, 4:26 pm

TheShadow wrote:Thanks, Serzen. Here is an updated version.


Lucinda is a vulnerable young woman in a France starved by famine and torn with revolution. When offered liberation from the this?oppressive world as a vampire, she turns her back on the light of the sun and God and embraces Dark Immortality. Can I reiterrate that I love this!

The dark you use dark alot. I was wondering if there was another adjective you could use here like insatiable or something that further illustrates the dichotomy of vampiric existence. The word gift makes it seem as though she was recieving something, but if you could find a word here that would indicate that truly this gift is going to steal away everything that she had held as beautiful and right. I don't know, just an idea. gift empowers her with freedom over the exploits of men, and with the addictive ability to live through memories of times long past,. but However, (split up the super long sentence, maybe?)it also curses her to hear the hidden voices of countless souls she has condemned to death or something?. The reality of what she has become tortures her, as do the distant memories of her abandoned mortal life. I can't remember if you had this before, but I like the way this is stated.

Lucinda battles against an eternity as a predator of what she had once been. Shecut maybe? You sort of already said this. must find solace within herself, and within her dark past,before she falls victim to her cursed life as a vampire.I'm not sure if what you're getting at is clear here. How will making peace with the monster she has become save her from a cursed vampire life?

THE VALLEY AND THE SHADOW, a fiction complete at [probably too many] words, is my first novel.
From my limited experience with vampire tales, there seems to be two main categories of vampire stories. The less interesting (to me) are the gory ones where vampires are souless killers. But then there are the ones that deal with the internal conflict of a vampire who can still tell right from wrong. These are the ones everyone can relate to because they are essentially temptation vs morality, and we all experience that. Twilight was an enormous success because it focused on the internal conflict within edward, love vs lust- one has the ability to heal all the other to destroy all. Your story seems like it explores this in a really gritty way, almost like it is a literary vampire tale. Is that right? If so, maybe include in your conclusion something from the action of the story that shows this.
I hope that helps... probably not though. I do tend to get these kind of things wrong.

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Re: Query: The Valley and the Shadow - new version page 3

Post by TheShadow » February 11th, 2010, 5:04 pm

aspiring_x,

Your comments do help, it's just trying to show all of this without being too wordy/long. I would say it's literary, it's told through her voice so you get her inner thoughts/turmoil, and there are some themes and statements, whatever I could leave in during the brutal editing process. I don't know that I want to lable it literary, though, and I am hesitant to compare it to anything. It's difficult (impossible) to fit in all of the elements, so I have to choose what I hope will be most interesting.
aspiring_x wrote:Lucinda battles against an eternity as a predator of what she had once been. She (cut maybe? You sort of already said this.) must find solace within herself, and within her dark past, before she falls victim to her cursed life as a vampire. (I'm not sure if what you're getting at is clear here. How will making peace with the monster she has become save her from a cursed vampire life?)
I could maybe expand this part, but I am right at the limit of how long I want it to be. In other versions I explored this more (she was taught not to kill, that vampires don't have to be monster, etc..) but, they are what they are, and this is her struggle - to not fall completely to it. I hoped the last paragraph would leave it open enough that the reader would want to find out more. Need to find a way to clarify it/make it better without adding too much. Back to work!
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Re: Query: The Valley and the Shadow - new version page 3

Post by Serzen » February 12th, 2010, 1:04 am

TheShadow wrote: Lucinda is a vulnerable young woman in a France starved by famine and torn with revolution. When offered liberation from the oppressive world as a vampire, she turns her back on the light of the sun and God and embraces Dark Immortality. I would put God first, particularly if this is in an historically "accurate" setting. God was VERY important in Revolutionary Era France.

The dark gift empowers her with freedom over the exploits of men, and with the addictive ability to live through memories of times long past, but it also curses her to hear the hidden voices of countless souls. The reality of what she has become tortures her, as do the distant memories of her abandoned mortal life.

Lucinda battles against an eternity as a predator of what she had once been. She must find solace with herself, and with her dark past, before she falls victim to her cursed life as a vampire. Sorry, I just can't bear 'within' here. I like 'with' so much better. It's your choice, but...it's my recommendation ;)

THE VALLEY AND THE SHADOW, a fiction complete at [probably too many] words, is my first novel.


I don't like the sound of "dark past", but I can't for the life of me think of anything better. My brain is so fried.
This is going to just be a quick editby tonight. Way too much shtuff went on today and tonight.

Okay, so, let me cogitate for a moment before running off to pester some other threads. If Lucinda embraces Dark Immortality it could be the result of a sinister gift, or if you really want to show off your word skillz it could be a tenebrous gift. Not only does 'tenebrous' mean "ominous, dark" but it also implies a certain duality. Very cool. And maybe she won't fall victim to her dark past, but perhaps her "bleak" or, if we're reaching for more $10 words, "stygian".

All for now. Holler if I'm not making sense.

~Serzen
Il en est des livres comme du feu de nos foyers; on va prendre ce feu chez son voisin, on l’allume chez soi, on le communique à d’autres, et il appartient à tous. --Voltaire

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