The Light of Epertase

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Dakota388
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The Light of Epertase

Post by Dakota388 » December 9th, 2009, 11:28 pm

Fantasy seems to be almost impossible to query, if you ask me. Some of the most unique concepts are too elaborate to fit into a short query. Everyone knows what a lion is but how many people know what a ferocious ochrid is? So if some elaborate concept is central to your story, how do you tell about it without making it sound vague or cliche? I have no idea but here is my attempt. Any advice is greatly appreciated.


Dear:

Rasi, Epertase’s most revered soldier, has everything a man could want. But when he defies corrupt King Elijah, his family is killed, his tongue removed, and he is left for slaughter by a tentacled beast. Instead he kills the beast, unknowingly cursing himself to a life of exile with the dead creature’s uncontrollable, self-aware tentacles permanently melded to his back. Years of loneliness in his mountain solitude drive him near the feral edge of madness.

When an unstoppable army threatens the kingdom of Epertase, a magical force sets into motion the violent end of King Elijah’s rule with hopes of a fresh direction under his daughter’s reign. But the power-hungry king learns of ancient whispers foretelling of her sacrifice saving his throne. When she disappears, Rasi sees his chance for redemption. To find her he must control his savage tentacles and return to his former home. But if he fails, he will hang, she will die, and Epertase will surely fall.

I am seeking representation for my finished 95,000-word fantasy novel filled with vivid battle scenes, fantastical creatures, treachery and love. Designed as the first of a trilogy, THE LIGHT OF EPERTASE can stand on its own and is available upon your request.
"The Light of Epertase"-A fantasy novel coming August 1st from Rhemalda Publishing

taymalin
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Re: The Light of Epertase

Post by taymalin » December 10th, 2009, 12:20 am

I like it! As far as worrying about explaining concepts goes, you seem to have it nailed down. The only problem I had was with part of the second paragraph:
When an unstoppable army threatens the kingdom of Epertase, a magical force sets into motion the violent end of King Elijah’s rule with hopes of a fresh direction under his daughter’s reign. But the power-hungry king learns of ancient whispers foretelling of her sacrifice saving his throne. When she disappears, Rasi sees his chance for redemption.
And the problem with it was more word choices and confusing sentence structure than unique concepts. I'd like to see something less vague, with shorter, clearer sentences. When I finished reading the query I had very little sense of the main conflict and what Rasi faces to achieve his redemption. But the first paragraph, that one hooked me.

Good luck!

Tay

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Hillsy
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Re: The Light of Epertase

Post by Hillsy » December 10th, 2009, 4:44 am

I think there was a piece on Kirstin Nelsons blog about inciting incidents (or was it bookends?). Anyways, Correct me if I'm wrong but it sounds like the entire 1st paragraph happens 'before' the event that tips the story from its stable station into the downhill ruckus of the plot. Hell, it may even happen before the start of the book itself.

Start with the inciting incident, which sounds like either the Army appearance or the mad king's discovery of the prophesy about sacrificing his daughter (whatever it is that knocks the status quo about and sets everything in motion). WHile a disgraced superwarrior with tentacle on his back might be cool, don't lead off with it.

Some thing like:

Elijah, Epertase's long standing tyrant, fears his addiction to power may cost him both his kingdom, and his daughter. With an mighty, magical army poised to pluck the ripe fruit of Epertase his long rule has weakened, Elijah finds anchient prophesy that his own daughter's sacrifice may save his throne. And power is always thicker than blood.

Rasi was once Epertase's most revered warrior and Elijah's champion. Now he is exiled, tongueless and twisted into a cursed monster wandering feral on the hostile mountain slopes, but once again Epertase's only hope. Hearing of Elijah's prophesy, and the disappearance of his daughter, Rasi sees a chance for redemption and relief from his curse: the half alive, tentacled body of The {insert beasts name here} merged into his back.

If he fails, he will hang, she will die, and Epertase will surely fall.


Ok that's far from perfect but you see what I mean?? You can put the info you need after you've got the plot in motion. Also think of all the questions you might ask if you read it (that arn't intrinsic to the mystery of the outcome) and clarify. Why are the army unstoppable? If the army is Unstoppable, what chance does Rasi have? How does Elijah find out about the prophesy? Why might he lose his rule anyway? Why will Rasi be hung (presuming he's going to fight to the death like any good hero)? Stuff like that is quite easy to correct with jsut a couple of words here and there,

Hope this helps

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Josin
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Re: The Light of Epertase

Post by Josin » December 10th, 2009, 6:26 am

You might want to reword your description of Rasi. Right now, he sounds like Doctor Octopus from the Spider-Man comics.

Tzalaran
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Re: The Light of Epertase

Post by Tzalaran » December 10th, 2009, 8:17 am

Dakota388 wrote:Fantasy seems to be almost impossible to query, if you ask me. Some of the most unique concepts are too elaborate to fit into a short query. Everyone knows what a lion is but how many people know what a ferocious ochrid is? So if some elaborate concept is central to your story, how do you tell about it without making it sound vague or cliche? I have no idea but here is my attempt. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
The suggestion i would have is to ignore any worldbuilding aspects and focus on the story. People read books for the story, what will keep them coming back to the book is a rich and vibrant world showing through the tale. I've struggled with this myself, but as i'm still in the revising phase i've not sent queries of my own. Take all my comments with a grain of salt for that reason...

Dear:

Rasi, Epertase’s most revered soldier, has everything a man could want. But when he defies corrupt King Elijah, his family is killed, his tongue removed, and he is left for slaughter by a tentacled beast. Instead he kills the beast, unknowingly cursing himself to a life of exile with the dead creature’s uncontrollable, self-aware tentacles permanently melded to his back. Years of loneliness in his mountain solitude drive him near the feral edge of madness. This paragraph just doesn't hook me. The first two sentences are choppy, and i think would be better served in a condensed form later.

When an unstoppable army threatens the kingdom of Epertase, a magical force sets into motion the violent end of King Elijah’s rule with hopes of a fresh direction under his daughter’s reign. IMO, this is your hook, and you should lead your query with this sentence. But the power-hungry king learns of ancient whispers foretelling of her sacrifice saving his throne. Beware using 'But' to start sentences often. 2 times in 2 paragraphs turns me off... general grammar (from what i've read) is that 'but' should follow a comma, and only be used to start a sentence for specific things and areas you want to punch home. overuse borders on the overdramatic. it's also a pet peeve of mine though... When she disappears, Rasi sees his chance for redemption. This is the logical spot to tell more about Rasi's background to me. Start a new paragraph condensing your original into one or two complete sentences and let the next sentence finish off the story summary of the query. To find her he must control his savage tentacles and return to his former home. But if he fails, he will hang, she will die, and Epertase will surely fall.

I am seeking representation for my finished 95,000-word fantasy novel filled with vivid battle scenes, fantastical creatures, treachery and love. Designed as the first of a trilogy, THE LIGHT OF EPERTASE can stand on its own and is available upon your request. I've been told not to speak about series in this way. Perhaps something along the lines of, "THE LIGHT OF EPERTASE" is a stand alone novel with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Overall, it sounds like an interesting story, but it is clouded by how it is currently presented. focus on the main plotline for your query, and gloss over character backgrounds to show what they are attempting to achieve during the novel. Good luck!
I'd rather hate myself for failing, than hate my life for never having tried.
"Success leads to stagnation. Stagnation leads to failure." - Vlad Taltos

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SmurfHead
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Re: The Light of Epertase

Post by SmurfHead » December 10th, 2009, 10:05 am

I remember you from Evil Editor! I liked your concept then and I like it even more now with the info about the evil tentacles. Who doesn't love evil tentacles?

I see you've already had some really useful feedback on this version of the letter. I agree that the first paragraph feels more like back-story, but the info within could be well-integrated into the rest of the query. I feel like the romantic angle needs a little more emphasis. At the moment, it seems to just be thrown in there as an afterthought, but (for me, at least) making the love story between Rasi and Ripley (I believe that was her name) clearer might make the stakes a little higher. It's hard to wrap one's brain around fighting for a kingdom, but much easier to have a visceral reaction to fighting for another person, you know?

As I recall, I saw The Light of Epertase on EE way back in October, so props to you for perseverance! I know it'll all be worth it!
"Mind-bottling, isn't it? ...You know, when things are so crazy it gets your thoughts all trapped, like in a bottle?"

Dakota388
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Re: The Light of Epertase

Post by Dakota388 » December 10th, 2009, 11:00 am

Everyone here is great and I appreciate all of your advice. I agree with the general consensus that the first paragraph comes across as back story though I like the information and am trying to incorporate it into the rest of the query.

Taymalin, Thanks for the comments. I've tried to keep some of that first paragraph in my attempted revision that follows. What do you think?

Hillsy, I've tried to take your suggestions and come from that frame of mind while keeping the query Rasi-centric. The army is relatively unimportant to the plot other than being the catalyst for the magical event.

Josin, Doc Ock wasn't an influence in my character but I see the unfortunate similarities. Since the tentacles are my favorite aspect and crucial to the story, I have to hope that my take is enough different not to give everyone images of Doc Ock. I think it is. Maybe not.

Tzalaran, I've cut out the buts, but it was hard for me to do.

Smurfhead, good memory. I've recently changed her name to Princess Alina (Greek for "light"). My original query focused on the romance and his drive to do anything for her but I received several rejections and advice from another forum that all fantasies have some type of love story and that it is a subplot that is too hard to set up in a query. (Questions of why she would love a freak, how he could get close enough to a princess to fall in love, ect.) That's why I removed that aspect. You are correct, I've been struggling with this since Oct.

So here is a second attempt. What do you all think? I'm sure it still needs work.

Dear:

An unstoppable army prepares to attack the kingdom of Epertase and Rasi, the kingdom’s greatest warrior, has long since been banished to a mountain exile. His years of loneliness and anger have driven him near the feral edge of madness with little hope of return.

Then the kingdom’s inevitable fall under corrupt King Elijah triggers a magical event which, once completed, will end his rule, making his just daughter queen. In her coming reign, Rasi sees a chance at returning to a time before Elijah ripped out his tongue, killed his family, and left him for slaughter at the teeth of a tentacled beast. With the dead creature’s violent, self-aware tentacles permanently melded to his back, Rasi vows to control the savage appendages and defend her kingdom, thereby proving his honor and securing his return.

Rasi’s hopes of a new beginning quickly fade when Elijah learns of secret whispers prophesying his daughter’s timely sacrifice saving his throne. The king has her kidnapped. Now Rasi must save the princess to have any chance at redemption. If he fails, he will hang, she will die, and Epertase will surely fall.

I am seeking representation for my finished 95,000-word fantasy novel filled with vivid battle scenes, fantastical creatures, treachery and love. THE LIGHT OF EPERTASE is a stand-alone novel with series potential and is available upon your request.
"The Light of Epertase"-A fantasy novel coming August 1st from Rhemalda Publishing

Tzalaran
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Re: The Light of Epertase

Post by Tzalaran » December 10th, 2009, 11:48 am

Dakota388 wrote: Tzalaran, I've cut out the buts, but it was hard for me to do.
used as it is above, but is not an issue. But if i were to start all my sentences like this, it would get old quickly. (and like i said earlier, it is a pet peeve of mine so it may not have been overly important in the grand scheme of things).

That out of the way, This query strikes much more interest for me.
Dakota388 wrote: An unstoppable army prepares to attack the kingdom of Epertase and Rasi, the kingdom’s greatest warrior, has long since been banished to a mountain exile. His years of loneliness and anger have driven him near the feral edge of madness with little hope of return. i F*&^!#$ love this sentence! well done.

Then the kingdom’s inevitable fall under corrupt King Elijah triggers a magical event which, once completed, will end his rule, making his just daughter queen. This sentence is a bit long and fragmented to me. Perhaps a slight rework with more focus on the magical event would be in order... hard for me to say without knowing the full story, but this is the only sentence in the new query that i stumble on a bit. In her coming reign, Rasi sees a chance at returning to a time before Elijah ripped out his tongue, killed his family, and left him for slaughter at the teeth of a tentacled beast. With the dead creature’s violent, self-aware tentacles permanently melded to his back, Rasi vows to control the savage appendages and defend her kingdom, thereby proving his honor and securing his return. This gives the context of the story well, and draws more interest to the MC. good job!

Rasi’s hopes of a new beginning quickly fade when Elijah learns of secret whispers prophesying his daughter’s timely sacrifice saving his throne. The king has her kidnapped. Now Rasi must save the princess to have any chance at redemption. If he fails, he will hang, she will die, and Epertase will surely fall. You put the stakes of the story into the query well, but i'm unsure as to how Elijah could kidnap his own daughter... i understand the concept, but why that would be necessary if he needs her to die isn't clicking with me.

I am seeking representation for my finished 95,000-word fantasy novel filled with vivid battle scenes, fantastical creatures, treachery and love. THE LIGHT OF EPERTASE is a stand-alone novel with series potential and is available upon your request.
Overall, i love the query and would want to read more. You might want to look at the two areas that gave me issues, but you are certainly on the right track to a great query.

Good luck!
I'd rather hate myself for failing, than hate my life for never having tried.
"Success leads to stagnation. Stagnation leads to failure." - Vlad Taltos

Wandaduplooy
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Re: The Light of Epertase

Post by Wandaduplooy » December 10th, 2009, 12:59 pm

You are right, Fantacy is difficult to discribe. I am not going to help with the query—my own still needs a lot of work and I don't consider myself expert enouth to comment but I can wish you good luck. Sending your pride and joy out in the world is terrifying; like wathching your child go to school the first day. Hang in there!

Dakota388
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Re: The Light of Epertase

Post by Dakota388 » December 10th, 2009, 1:07 pm

Thank you Tzaralan. I'll work on the run-on sentence(one of my many flaws). My wife is always screaming, "Break up that sentence!" The reason the king has her kidnapped is because he needs to mask his own involvement. Though he is the tyrannical king, he doesn't want to stoke flames of a potential rebellion and murdering his own daughter wouldn't go over well with his flock. So maybe I should add a couple words to show that. Something like, "Masking his own involvement, Elijah has his daughter kidnapped," or something along those lines. I'll work with it.

Thank you for the kind words Wandadoplooy and Tzaralan. The reason I don't comment a lot on others' queries isn't that I don't read them but feel my advice could do more harm than good. If I tell someone to change something, I could be ruining their query as I have no clue what an agent wants. I do try to compliment occasionally but even that can support someone's query and cause more harm if they become reluctant to change it due to my encouragement.
"The Light of Epertase"-A fantasy novel coming August 1st from Rhemalda Publishing

KappaP
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Re: The Light of Epertase

Post by KappaP » December 10th, 2009, 1:20 pm

Hey! Honestly, when I read your intro describing how hard fantasy was to write I was totally gearing up to read a loooooooongg, annoyingly over complicated query filled with unnecessary details. I was pleasantly surprised-- you definitely picked out the important pieces and are working well with them. I'm very impressed with how far your second query is from the first and have a couple suggestions.

An unstoppable army prepares to attack the kingdom of Epertase. Full stop (otherwise it reads as if there is one kingdom named Epertase and Rasi Rasi, oncethe kingdom’s greatest warrior, has long since been banished to a mountain exile. His years of loneliness and anger have driven him near the feral edge of madness with little hope of return. Bam. This does SO much in such a short sentence-- explains his past and, more importantly, allows the reader to perceive the depth of his conflict. GREAT revision.

Then the kingdom’s inevitable fall under corrupt King Elijah triggers a magical event which, once completed, will end his rule, making his just daughter queen. This sentence reads a little awkward to me-- I'm not 100% clear on what's going on. Has the kingdom fallen? Or is it prophesized? I would cut out "inevitable" and maybe just say "The kingdom's fall under corrupt King Elijah triggers a magical event. Once completed, Elijah's rule will end and his just daughter's will begin" b/c otherwise there's too much for me going on there. In her see note about name at the bottomcoming reign, Rasi sees hope of returning to a time before Elijah ripped out his tongue, killed his family, and left him for slaughter at the teeth of a tentacled beast. With the dead creature’s violent, self-aware tentacles permanently melded to his back, Rasi vows to control the savage appendages and defend her kingdom, thereby proving his honor and securing his return to where? society or an honored place in society? the stakes there seem different enough that I care.

Rasi’s hopes of a new beginning quickly fade when Elijah hears secret whispers prophesying his daughter’s timely sacrifice and has her kidnapped to save his throne. Now Rasi must save the princess to have any chance at redemption. If he fails, he will hang, she will die, and Epertase will surely fall.

Again-- I'm very impressed with this query b/c I know how complex and multilayered fantasy novels are and GENUINELY don't envy your task of querying with them. I'm not even a fantasy person, but I'm totally into this. Okay, so my main critique is here-- to me, it's more important to know the daughter's name than the king's. I think you can replace Elijah's name with "the king," but at the end of the second paragraph I found myself wanting to be able to have a name to go with the daughter-- I sense (and you allude in an earlier post) that she's a pretty big character in the story and it would help me feel connected to her if she was named. I know three names in one query can be a little name soupy, so try it without Elijah's and with hers and see how it goes.

But yeah-- I'm impressed. You do a great job of giving us an idea of the protagonist, his conflicts, stakes and the plot. Fantastic!


I am seeking representation for my finished 95,000-word fantasy novel filled with vivid battle scenes, fantastical creatures, treachery and love. THE LIGHT OF EPERTASE is a stand-alone novel with series potential and is available upon your request.
www.patchesandsara.blogspot.com

Not a writing blog... at all.

Dakota388
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Re: The Light of Epertase

Post by Dakota388 » December 10th, 2009, 3:05 pm

KappaP, I am thrilled that you liked my query. I appreciate yours and everyone's advice. I tried to use that advice to put it into my own words (OK, some of them were yours). I changed inevitable to almost certain as Epertase hasn't yet fallen but without Alina's rise to power and Rasi's return, it surely will. I changed "hopes of returning to a time..." as I became nervous someone might think time-travel. I'm struggling with the first sentence's segway into the second. While a hard stop is better than "and", I don't think it quite works. What about "while" or "yet"?

A couple of other changes, but I'll let you all judge if they are worthy or not.

P.S. To everyone who has helped and helps in the future, you have brought me in from the ledge (just kidding... kinda). Thank you.

Dear:

An unstoppable army prepares to attack the kingdom of Epertase, while Rasi, once the kingdom’s greatest warrior, remains long since banished to a mountain exile. His years of loneliness and anger have driven him near the feral edge of madness with little hope of return.

Then the kingdom’s almost certain fall triggers the start of a magical event. Once completed, the corrupt king’s rule will violently end and his daughter, Princess Alina’s, will begin. In the coming change, Rasi sees hope for the life he had before the king ripped out his tongue, killed his family, and left him for slaughter at the teeth of a tentacled beast. With the dead creature’s violent, self-aware tentacles permanently melded to his own back, Rasi vows to control the savage appendages and defend Alina’s kingdom, thereby proving his honor and securing his triumphant return to the land he loves. His hopes of a new beginning quickly fade with revelations of a secret legend. From those legends, the power-hungry king learns that Alina’s timely sacrifice will save his throne and he has her kidnapped. Now Rasi must save Alina to have any chance at redeeming himself. If he fails, he will hang, Alina will die, and Epertase will surely fall.

I am seeking representation for my finished 95,000-word fantasy novel filled with vivid battle scenes, fantastical creatures, treachery and love. THE LIGHT OF EPERTASE is a stand-alone novel with series potential and is available upon your request.
"The Light of Epertase"-A fantasy novel coming August 1st from Rhemalda Publishing

KappaP
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Re: The Light of Epertase

Post by KappaP » December 10th, 2009, 3:43 pm

Nice! I think those revisions really help it a lot-- makes things clearer and streamlines them. Fantastic revisions. And seeing the two queries, I definitely like having the princesses name rather than the king's. I also like what you did with the first sentence-- to show the trouble with an army invading a kingdom without it's greatest warrior. Nice. I would suggest leaving out "long since" in that sentence. Makes it a smidge too long and in the next sentence you reference the years (you could always say "many years" or "long years") so it would tighten it up even more.

Great job, and best of luck! Post any updates or any further revisions, I'd love to see them.
www.patchesandsara.blogspot.com

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Dakota388
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Re: The Light of Epertase

Post by Dakota388 » December 10th, 2009, 7:05 pm

Well, if no one else has any additional criticism of my query from a few posts back, I may send it out to a couple agents tomorrow. Feel free to tear it apart. I hope it's ready. Fingers crossed. Thanks for everyone's help.
"The Light of Epertase"-A fantasy novel coming August 1st from Rhemalda Publishing

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Re: The Light of Epertase

Post by ElisabethMoore » December 10th, 2009, 7:41 pm

Below are my thoughts. Please keep in mind that I am a rank amateur and take with a grain of salt.
Dakota388 wrote: Dear:

An unstoppable army prepares to attack the kingdom of Epertase, while Rasi, once the kingdom’s greatest warrior, remains long since Leave out these two words. banished to a mountain exile. If the army is really unstoppable, then they will certainly win. If they are going to be stopped in the story, then they aren't unstoppable. This brings to mind the old question of what happens when an unstoppable force hits an unmovable object. His years of loneliness and anger have driven him near the feral edge of madness with little hope of return. I love this last sentence.

Then the kingdom’s almost certain fall triggers the start of a magical event. This sentence implies that the invading army above will take over, but in the next sentence... Once completed, the corrupt king’s rule will violently end and his daughter, Princess Alina’s, will begin. Has the kingdom really fallen if power passes from father to daughter? The father may have fallen from power, but the kingdom remains. On the other hand, if the army in the first paragraph is from another country, their victory could cause the fall of the kingdom. In the coming change, What change? Transfer of power from father to daughter? Rasi sees hope for the life he had before the king ripped out his tongue, killed his family, and left him for slaughter at the teeth of a tentacled beast. This sentence feels awkward. With the dead creature’s violent, self-aware tentacles permanently melded to his own back, Rasi vows to control the savage appendages and defend Alina’s kingdom, thereby proving his honor and securing his triumphant return to the land he loves. I'd break this into two sentences. This one feels awkward. His hopes of a new beginning quickly I'd leave out this adverb. fade with revelations of a secret legend. From those legends, the power-hungry king learns that Alina’s timely sacrifice sacrifice to what? I had to read this twice to understand that she was being sacrificed, not sacrificing something. will save his throne and As mentioned earlier in the thread, I think you need to explain why he has her kidnapped as opposed to just holding her in his dungeon or killing her straight out. he has her kidnapped. Now Rasi must save Alina to have any chance at redeeming himself. If he fails, he will hang, Alina will die, and Epertase will surely fall. I like this sentence, but I am not clear on what Epertase will fall to. You mentioned an army in the first paragraph but never told me whose army they are.

I am seeking representation for my finished 95,000-word fantasy novel filled with vivid battle scenes, fantastical creatures, treachery and love. THE LIGHT OF EPERTASE is a stand-alone novel with series potential and is available upon your request. I think it goes without saying that you are seeking representation and that the novel is finished and available on request. Therefore, favor a simpler and more direct ending: THE LIGHT OF EPERTASE is a 95,000 word fantasy novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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