Query: Defender of the Crown

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gilesth
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Re: Query: Defender of the Crown

Post by gilesth » May 12th, 2010, 6:27 pm

theWallflower wrote: -A parliament won't eliminate the need for a monarch. England still has a queen.

-His moral quandary is not very exciting. Heroes kill every day. Indiana Jones viciously murdered any number of middle easterners or Germans. He shot a guy in the streets at point blank range in cold blood, while onlookers watched. No one seemed to care.
The Queen of England lost all of her authority in 1999 when Tony Blaire pushed through a bill that transferred all governing responsibility to Parliament. Even before that, the last vetoed law in England happened in 1701...

Thirteen year old kids don't kill people in very many books, and (as stated in the first paragraph) Nicholas doesn't want to hurt anyone...

Thanks for the feedback, it helps :) I'll look this over more closely in a little bit. :D

gilesth
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Re: Query: Defender of the Crown

Post by gilesth » May 13th, 2010, 8:33 am

Alright, I made a few more changes. They're small, but what do you think? Should I send it out?

Dear [agent],

Nicholas Benson never meant to kill anyone. At the age of thirteen, he creates a lightning storm to defend himself from a schoolyard bully. Unable to control his power, and terrified of hurting anyone else, he agrees to let his parents send him to the Magi Academy. On his first day, Nicholas is surprised to learn that the Queen’s daughter, Joselyn, is also enrolled at the Academy. She and Nicholas work together so closely that they become fast friends.

Because his skin is the color of fresh snow, Nicholas learns that his bully troubles are far from over. Still barely able to control his powers, he tries to avoid a trio of older students who torment him at every turn. But every time they corner him, he cowers from their blows and fights against his powers so that he won’t kill them.

His problems don’t end there. Since Joselyn’s magic makes her ineligible for the throne, the Queen is putting together a parliament that will replace the monarchy. However, Nicholas learns of two separate plots to kill the Queen before the first national election can take place. One of the assassins is Joselyn’s uncle. He and the Queen’s bodyguard, a powerful mage, plan to kill Joselyn and the Queen, pin the murders on a group of anti-royalist rebels, and then stop the election from happening.

With the nation’s future at stake, Nicholas must rely on wild magic to save his best friend. Even that means risking another man’s life.

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Re: Query: Defender of the Crown

Post by Ghost in the Machine » May 13th, 2010, 12:44 pm

Hi Gilesth,

I’m thinking of changing my name to NeverStopsTweaking. Or maybe that can be my Indian name ala Dances With Wolves.

Nicholas Benson never meant to kill anyone. At (the age of-omit) thirteen, he (creates-unleashes) a lightning storm to (defend himself from-ward off) a schoolyard bully. (Unable to control his power, and-omit) t(T)errified of hurting anyone else, he agrees to (let his parents send him-transfer) to the Magi Academy. On his first day, Nicholas is surprised to (learn that-find) the Queen’s daughter(,-omit)Joselyn(, is-omit) also enrolled at the Academy. She and Nicholas (work together so closely that they-omit, too general) become fast friends (over an in-class potion gone wrong-okay you insert what really happened).

(Because his-With) skin (is-omit) the color of fresh snow, Nicholas(‘s) (learns that his-omit) bully troubles are far from over. Still barely able to control his powers, he tries to avoid a trio of older students who torment him at every turn. But every time they corner him, he cowers from their blows and fights against his powers so that he won’t kill them.

Comment: The above is too general. Give us the real deal. Something like, “When Danny Dorkman and his two goon pals corner Nicholas in the boy’s bathroom, Nicholas accepts the broken nose and cracked elbow. The pain is better, he decides, than letting his powers get away from him. He can not kill again.”

His problems don’t end there. Since Joselyn’s magic makes her ineligible for the throne, the Queen is putting together a parliament that will replace the monarchy. However, Nicholas learns of two separate plots to kill the Queen before the first national election can take place. One of the assassins is Joselyn’s uncle. He and the Queen’s bodyguard, a powerful mage, plan to kill Joselyn and the Queen, pin the murders on a group of anti-royalist rebels, and then stop the election from happening.

Comment: This is competent. It explains the plot clearly, but it lacks life. Start with a transition such as, “Corraling his powers against bullies is tough, but holding back when Jocelyn’s life hangs in the balance is much worse. Since Joselyn’s magic . . .

Try to juice up the tone, i.e. replace “Queen is putting together” to Queen brings together”, eliminate “can take place”. The singular ‘mage’ for the Queen’s bodyguard looks like a typo. Would magician be better? How about “He and the Queen’s bodyguard, a powerful magician, will do anything to stop the election. Now say something about murder and framing the anti-royalists.


With the nation’s future at stake, Nicholas must (rely on his wild magic-release his wild magic) to save his best friend.

Lose the last sentence or make it stronger.

Good luck!

Ghost in the Machine

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wilderness
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Re: Query: Defender of the Crown

Post by wilderness » May 13th, 2010, 6:45 pm

I liked the previous version better, so I'll comment on that. Much improved from the first round!
gilesth wrote:Totally reworked the last paragraphs. Here's what I have now. And it focuses more on the overall plot! It really does. :)

Dear [agent],

Nicholas Benson never meant to kill anyone. At the age of thirteen, he sparks a lightning storm to defend himself from a schoolyard bully. Unable to control his power, and terrified of hurting anyone else, he agrees to let his parents send him to the city of Lottown to train at the Magi Academy. On his first day, Nicholas is surprised to learn that the Queen’s daughter, Joselyn, is also enrolled at the Academy. No longer the princess because of her magical talent, she befriends Nicholas. I like the explanation about how she's no longer a princess, but it doesn't quite fit in the same sentence as her befriending Nicholas. Does she befriend him because he is a fellow outcast or what? Link the clauses a bit more.

Because his skin is the color of fresh snow, Nicholas learns that his bully troubles are far from over. Still barely able to control his powers, he tries to avoid a trio of older students who torment him at every turn. But every time they corner him, he cowers from their blows and fights against his powers so that he won’t kill them. Go with the new paragraph here, but maybe shorten it a bit.

Bullies aren’t the worst of his problems, either. Without an heir, the Queen is putting together a parliament so that she can step down from the throne. However, Nicholas soon learns of a plot to kill the Queen before the first national election can take place. One of the assassins isJoselyn’s uncle. He and the Queen’s new bodyguard, a powerful mage, plans to kill Joselyn and the Queen, pin the murders on a group of anti-royalist rebels, and then stop the election from ever happening. Just simplifying the plot here -- one versus two conspiracies and conspirators doesn't really matter.

Nicholas won’t let his friend die. When she refuses to believe that her uncle could commit treason, he’s left with few options. His only advantage is his deadly magic. With the future of the nation at stake, Nicholas must decide whether or not he’ll kill again to save his best friend. I think this is a quite powerful conflict!

Oh and I agree with you about the parliament. England's queen is merely a figurehead. Also, I *do* like your conflict. Sure, in some action movies they don't think twice about killing baddies but it's more realistic for a thirteen-year-old kid to find it difficult. And you've set it up with your first paragraph.

gilesth
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Re: Query: Defender of the Crown

Post by gilesth » May 14th, 2010, 12:07 pm

I'm changing this a LOT :) Any more thoughts?

Nicholas Benson never meant to kill anyone. At thirteen, he unleashes a lightning storm to defend himself from a schoolyard bully. Unable to control his power, and terrified of hurting anyone else, he agrees to let his parents send him to the Magi Academy. On his first day, Nicholas is surprised to learn that the Queen’s daughter, Joselyn, is also enrolled at the Academy. Paired up for their first year of training, Nicholas and Joselyn quickly forge a close friendship.

With skin the color of fresh snow, Nicholas’s bully troubles are far from over. Still barely able to control his powers, he tries to avoid a trio of older students who torment him at every turn. But when they attack him in the park, he curls into a ball and reigns in the powers that want to crush the life from the boys who kick him until they’re bored.

His problems don’t end there. Since Joselyn’s magic makes her ineligible for the throne, the Queen is brings together a parliament that will replace the monarchy. However, Nicholas learns of a plot to kill the Queen before the first national election. Joselyn’s uncle plans to kill Joselyn and her mother, pin the murders on a group of anti-royalist rebels, and then stop the election altogether.

Though allowing his wild magic to take another man’s life makes him nervous, Nicholas grows ill when he realizes he could lose his best friend. With the future of the nation at stake, Nicholas is left to decide whether he’ll corral his powers and let Joselyn die or kill a man in order to save the Queen.

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wilderness
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Re: Query: Defender of the Crown

Post by wilderness » May 14th, 2010, 1:22 pm

gilesth wrote:
Nicholas Benson never meant to kill anyone. At thirteen, he unleashes a lightning storm to defend himself from a schoolyard bully. Unable to control his power, and terrified of hurting anyone else, he agrees to let his parents send him to the Magi Academy. On his first day, Nicholas is surprised to learn that the Queen’s daughter, Joselyn, is also enrolled at the Academy. Paired up for their first year of training, Nicholas and Joselyn quickly forge a close friendship.

With skin the color of fresh snow, Nicholas’s bully troubles are far from over. Still barely able to control his powers, he tries to avoid a trio of older students who torment him at every turn. But when they attack him in the park, he curls into a ball and reigns in the powers that want to crush the life from the boys who kick him until they’re bored.

His problems don’t end there. Since Joselyn’s magic makes her ineligible for the throne, the Queen is bringing together a parliament that will replace the monarchy. However, Nicholas learns of a plot to kill the Queen before the first national election. Joselyn’s uncle plans to kill Joselyn and her mother, pin the murders on a group of anti-royalist rebels, and then stop the election altogether.

Though allowing his wild magic to take another man’s life makes him nervous, Nicholas grows ill when he realizes he could lose his best friend. With the future of the nation at stake, Nicholas is left to decide whether he’ll corral his powers and let Joselyn die or kill a man in order to save the Queen. I personally think "to save his best friend" packs more emotional punch. But it's good either way.
I think this is really good. Just one typo above. You've made the story much more clear. Sounds like some great moral quandary there! Good luck.

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Re: Query: Defender of the Crown

Post by ceiser » May 15th, 2010, 4:16 am

Hi, gilesth. Looks like you're making good progress. Here are just a couple of things that came to mind.
gilesth wrote:I'm changing this a LOT :) Any more thoughts?

Nicholas Benson never meant to kill anyone. At thirteen, he unleashes a lightning storm to defend himself from a schoolyard bully. Unable to control his power, and terrified of hurting anyone else, he agrees to let his parents send him to the Magi Academy where he can learn to control his power (or something like that? the order flows a little more logically for me. On his first day, Nicholas is surprised to learn that the Queen’s daughter, Joselyn, is also enrolled at the Academy. Paired up for their first year of training, Nicholas and Joselyn quickly forge a close friendship.

With skin the color of fresh snow, Nicholas’s bully troubles are far from over. Still barely able to control his powers, he tries to avoid a trio of older students who torment him at every turn. But when they attack him in the park, he curls into a ball and reigns in the powers that want to crush the life from the boys who kick him until they’re bored. The detail is nice, but it reads a bit awkwardly, I thought.

His problems don’t end there. Since Joselyn’s magic makes her ineligible for the throne, the Queen is brings together a parliament that will replace the monarchy. However, Nicholas learns of a plot to kill the Queen before the first national election. Joselyn’s uncle plans to kill Joselyn and her mother, pin the murders on a group of anti-royalist rebels, and then stop the election altogether. I'm sure there is good and right reason--to the bad guys--for wanting to kill the queen and stop the formation of the parliament, which is their goal, right? I'm still a little confused about why, but do you really need the subplot about parliament and the Jocelyn's inability to take the throne in the query? Seems like you could have all the dramatic tension while leaving those details out: someone wants to kill the queen, Nicholas is torn between two unsavory choices. I think you can really tighten this paragraph up and simplify the conflict for the sake of the query, certainly not in the novel itself.

Though allowing his wild magic to take another man’s life makes him nervous, Nicholas grows ill when he realizes he could lose his best friend. With the future of the nation at stake, Nicholas is left to decide whether he’ll corral his powers and let Joselyn die or kill a man in order to save the Queen. I think this could be a lot smoother. I personally liked this final paragraph you had before: With the nation’s future at stake, Nicholas must rely on wild magic to save his best friend. Even if that means risking another man's life.

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Quill
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Re: Query: Defender of the Crown

Post by Quill » May 15th, 2010, 10:32 am

gilesth wrote:I'm changing this a LOT :) Any more thoughts?

Nicholas Benson never meant to kill anyone.
How about omit "Benson"?
At thirteen, he unleashes a lightning storm to defend himself from a schoolyard bully. Unable to control his power, and terrified of hurting anyone else, he agrees to let his parents send him to the Magi Academy. On his first day, Nicholas is surprised to learn that the Queen’s daughter, Joselyn, is also enrolled at the Academy. Paired up for their first year of training, Nicholas and Joselyn quickly forge a close friendship.
Good. Omit "of training" and "quickly".
With skin the color of fresh snow,
Omit "fresh".
Nicholas’s bully troubles are far from over.
Omit. Omit. Omit.
Still barely able to control his powers, he tries to avoid a trio of older students who torment him at every turn. But when they attack him in the park, he curls into a ball and reigns in the powers that want to crush the life from the boys who kick him until they’re bored.
Good. Reins in, not reigns in.
His problems don’t end there.
Omit. Omit. Omit.
Since Joselyn’s magic makes her ineligible for the throne, the Queen is brings together a parliament that will replace the monarchy. However, Nicholas learns of a plot to kill the Queen before the first national election. Joselyn’s uncle plans to kill Joselyn and her mother, pin the murders on a group of anti-royalist rebels, and then stop the election altogether.
Good.
Though allowing his wild magic to take another man’s life makes him nervous,
C'mon. Nervous?? After all this it has got to make him more than jittery.
Nicholas grows ill when he realizes he could lose his best friend.
Omit. Omit. Omit.
With the future of the nation at stake, Nicholas is left to decide whether he’ll corral his powers and let Joselyn die or kill a man in order to save the Queen.
Good, but don't go all Western on us now. Substitute "corral". Also, don't leave him to decide whether to let. Sounds too passive. He must do something or something else will happen, no?

Good stuff. Good luck with it.

gilesth
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Re: Query: Defender of the Crown

Post by gilesth » May 17th, 2010, 8:03 am

Quill wrote:
gilesth wrote:I'm changing this a LOT :) Any more thoughts?
Nicholas’s bully troubles are far from over.
Omit. Omit. Omit.
Quill, this is the only recommendation that I don't understand...is it your opinion that I should omit the idea altogether, or simply re-word it? And why? Just trying to understand :)

gilesth
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Re: Query: Defender of the Crown

Post by gilesth » May 17th, 2010, 8:20 am

Update!


Nicholas Benson never meant to kill anyone. At thirteen, he unleashes a lightning storm to defend himself from a schoolyard bully. Unable to control his power, and terrified of hurting anyone else, he agrees to let his parents send him to the Magi Academy. On his first day, Nicholas is surprised to learn that the Queen’s daughter, Joselyn, is also enrolled at the Academy. Paired up for their first year, Nicholas and Joselyn forge a close friendship.

With skin like snow, Nicholas’s bully troubles are far from over. But when a trio of older students attacks him in the park, he curls into a ball and reins in his powers instead of fighting back and endangering the kids’ lives.

His problems don’t end there. Since Joselyn’s magic makes her ineligible for the throne, the Queen is bringing together a parliament that will replace the monarchy. However, Nicholas learns of a plot to kill the Queen before the first national election. Joselyn’s uncle plans to kill Joselyn and her mother, pin the murders on a group of anti-royalist rebels, and then stop the election altogether.

With the future of the nation at stake, Nicholas is must decide whether he’ll hold in his powers and let Joselyn die or use his abilities to kill a man in order to save the Queen.

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Re: Query: Defender of the Crown

Post by Quill » May 17th, 2010, 10:20 am

gilesth: Nicholas’s bully troubles are far from over.

Quill: Omit. Omit. Omit.

gilesth: Quill, this is the only recommendation that I don't understand...is it your opinion that I should omit the idea altogether, or simply re-word it? And why? Just trying to understand :)
I say "omit" because the statement is something you need to show us, not tell us. Which you then go on to do, hence the sentence is unnecessary and can be removed.

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Re: Query: Defender of the Crown

Post by gilesth » May 18th, 2010, 8:21 am

Quill wrote:
gilesth: Nicholas’s bully troubles are far from over.

Quill: Omit. Omit. Omit.

gilesth: Quill, this is the only recommendation that I don't understand...is it your opinion that I should omit the idea altogether, or simply re-word it? And why? Just trying to understand :)
I say "omit" because the statement is something you need to show us, not tell us. Which you then go on to do, hence the sentence is unnecessary and can be removed.
Aha! Now I understand. This is why I ask questions :)

gilesth
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Re: Query: Defender of the Crown

Post by gilesth » May 18th, 2010, 8:31 am

Small changes with big effects...I think.

Nicholas Benson never meant to kill anyone. At thirteen, he unleashes a lightning storm to defend himself from a schoolyard bully. Unable to control his power, and terrified of hurting anyone else, he agrees to let his parents send him to the Magi Academy. On his first day, Nicholas is surprised to learn that the Queen’s daughter, Joselyn, is also enrolled at the Academy. Paired up for their first year, Nicholas and Joselyn forge a close friendship.

With skin like snow, Nicholas attracts the attention of three older boys who take pleasure in using their magic to torment the Academy’s weaker students. Even though he knows he’s stronger than them, when the trio attacks Nicholas in the park, he curls into a ball and reins in his powers instead of fighting back and endangering their lives.

Since Joselyn’s magic makes her ineligible for the throne, the Queen is bringing together a parliament that will replace the monarchy. However, Nicholas learns of a plot to kill the Queen before the first national election. Joselyn’s uncle plans to kill Joselyn and her mother, pin the murders on a group of anti-royalist rebels, and then stop the election altogether.

With the future of the nation at stake, Nicholas is must decide whether he’ll hold in his powers and let Joselyn die or use his abilities to kill a man in order to save the Queen.

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