Revised: ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

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KyleS
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Revised: ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

Post by KyleS » March 26th, 2012, 2:04 pm

****Please see my most recent revision in the below thread. Thanks!****


Any better? Don't be too harsh ...

Dear (Agent),

When twelve-year-old Acea Bishop wakes up inside of an ancient brick throne room containing five mysterious doors, he must travel through each room to find his way home by ending a spell cast over the kingdom. I am pleased to submit for your consideration ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM, a 65,000 word adventurous middle-grade fantasy dusted in mystery. (Insert personalized sentence about why I’ve submitted to that specific agent.)

Acea grew up listening to his mom tell bedtime stories about the adventures his dad went on before he disappeared. Now, after waking up inside of a magical kingdom resembling a zoo, Acea learns that perhaps his mom’s stories have more truth to them than he ever imagined.

Surrounding Acea inside of the throne room are five doors labeled: Safari, Jungle, Aquarium, Terrarium, and Aviary. After finding his name next on a list of crossed out names inside of an ancient book, he knows his path home to his mom on San Juan Island is inside one of those rooms.

Behind each door lies a different world filled with wild animals and magical treasure boxes mysteriously left for Acea to open and to help him along his journey. As Acea travels through each room, he learns that all of the animals used to be servants in the kingdom that were transformed into animals by a curse cast over the kingdom thousands of years ago. Acea is shocked to learn that the father whom he’d given up hope of ever meeting is alive and trapped inside of the kingdom. To end the spell, Acea must race against the clock to solve puzzles, complete mazes, fulfill prophesies, and reunite an ancient order of wizards, otherwise he too will be transformed into an animal. But before Acea can open the final door to confront Vesuvius, the evil sorcerer whose spell holds the kingdom captive, he must overcome his greatest childhood fear.

By day I’m a practicing attorney with an undergraduate degree in philosophy, who likes to think that my lawerly briefs are more inspiring than dry. A full or partial manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time.

Best Wishes,

KyleS
Last edited by KyleS on May 31st, 2012, 10:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Falls Apart
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Re: Revised - Query: ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

Post by Falls Apart » March 27th, 2012, 4:26 pm

This is really good; it could just use a bit of tightening up :) My suggestions:
Acea Bishop loved listening to stories of his disappeared father's adventures, but he never thought they were true. Then, at twelve, he wakes up in a throne room of crumbling bricks and mysterious doors and realizes that there may be some truth to the tales. In hopes of finding the way back to San Juan Island and his mother, he begins a journey through several magic worlds populated by strange animals and impossible magic.

Things get more complicated when he realizes that the animals are all humans under an enchantment, and that the father he'd given up hope of ever meeting is alive and trapped in a fantasy world that's quickly growing less fun. To break the curse and free his father, Acea must fulfill prophesies, reunite an ancient order of wizards, and face his greatest fear before he, too, is transformed into a beast.

ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM is a 65,000 word middle-grade fantasy. A full or partial manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time.
Just some thoughts. Oh, and I wasn't sure where I'd put the personalized detail; I think that depends on what it is. Quick explanation--the reason I recommend you take out the part about being an attorney who likes reading lawyerly briefs--this would be great if you were writing a novel that pertained to the court system or some such, but with the impression I get of your book, it doesn't seem as if it adds much, and runs the risk of a prospective agent thinking that your writing will be dry. Of course, just suggestions, and on the whole, sounds like a great book! :)

KyleS
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Re: Revised - Query: ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

Post by KyleS » March 27th, 2012, 6:51 pm

Thanks so much! It's great to see how you were able to condense the story down to its main plot. To me, that's the hardest part of writing the query letter - making a plot I spent so much time on be boiled down to two paragraphs. Thanks again, thought my final draft may include some more detail - as recommended by other commentators in my original query's thread.

Any other thoughts by anyone? I'd love to hear them.

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wilderness
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Re: Revised - Query: ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

Post by wilderness » March 27th, 2012, 7:39 pm

I like FallsApart's version, though I think it would be best if you phrased everything in your own words. FallsApart was able to pick out the details that we need to know and leave out the ones that we don't-- to focus solely on the goal/motivation/conflict. For example, you don't need to include the subplots in this sentence: "To end the spell, Acea must race against the clock to solve puzzles, complete mazes, fulfill prophesies, and reunite an ancient order of wizards." It is both vague (we don't know what prophesies or what ancient order of wizards) and unnecessary.

I think the three details that are necessary and really move the plot are:

1) the animals used to be human (important plot detail to set up the upcoming conflict)
2) father is trapped there (goal -- to save the father)
3) the MC may become an animal himself (conflict)

By the way, is the father trapped there because he too has become an animal? Be explicit. Also, to fill in the "motivation" part of goal/motivation/conflict, maybe instead of telling us about bedtime stories in the intro, you should mention how Acea has missed having a father or why in particular he needs one at this point in his life.

Hope that helps!

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wilderness
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Re: Revised - Query: ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

Post by wilderness » March 28th, 2012, 2:24 pm

One more note: it's best if you keep your revisions all in one thread instead of making separate threads. That way people won't accidentally respond to an old version and we can view your progression.

KyleS
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Revised (Again) ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

Post by KyleS » May 30th, 2012, 11:09 pm

After getting rejections with my prior query for my MG Fantasy novel ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM, I have totally re-worked it. Please feel free to provide inout - it's very much appreciated! Thanks, Kyle

Dear ________,

A boy with a hidden power must race against the clock to end a spell cast over his dad’s kingdom by Vesuvius, an evil sorcerer with a vendetta. Otherwise, he will be transformed into an animal and trapped inside of the kingdom forever.

Twelve-year-old Acea Bishop was always more of the nerdy kid who would rather go to the library during recess to read about animals than play basketball with the other boys. Now, after waking up inside of an ancient magical kingdom strangely resembling a zoo, Acea is running from those same animals he used to love reading about.

As Acea travels through the exotic zoo habitats, he learns that the animals were all once his dad’s servants who were transformed into animals by his uncle, Vesuvius, when his dad couldn’t repay a long over-due debt. Worst yet? Acea learns he’s not just on a quest to get home – he’s also on a journey to free his mom and the dad he never knew, who are both trapped somewhere inside of the kingdom.

To free his parents and end the spell, Acea must raise an army of animals in an uprising against Vesuvius and his loyal followers. But to do so, Acea will have to enlist the help of an ancient Order of wizards hiding somewhere deep inside of the jungle. What Acea doesn’t know, though, is that those wizards hold secrets about his past which tie his fate directly to the fate of his father’s mysterious kingdom.

My middle grade novel, ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM, is complete at 65,000 words. A full or partial manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,

Kyle
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Amanda Elizabeth
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Re: Revised: ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

Post by Amanda Elizabeth » June 1st, 2012, 2:21 pm

I can't help but get the image of a zoo out of my head once you mention it. Is it really a zoo with cages and all? Because that for me takes the danger out. I would change dad to father since you're going for fantasy. If it's supposed to be dark and mysterious, the sentences should be spun that way and right now they sound very to the point.

KyleS
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Re: Revised: ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

Post by KyleS » June 5th, 2012, 1:22 pm

My prior queries gave more detail, specifically that he wakes up in a room with 5 doors labeled: safari, jungle, terrarium, aviary, and aquarium. After getting a handful of rejections, I decided to remove that much information to go with the imagery of it simply resembling a zoo instead.

Any other thoughts on my above, revised query is very much appreciated!

Thanks,
Kyle

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wilderness
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Re: Revised: ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

Post by wilderness » June 5th, 2012, 3:46 pm

Hi Kyle,

I think your latest version is pretty good and contains the necessary plot points. However, you might work on getting some spark and voice in there. Usually middle grade fantasy novels have an element of whimsy in them, and I'd like to see the playful side of your story.

Hope that helps!

KyleS
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Re: Revised: ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

Post by KyleS » June 8th, 2012, 12:05 pm

Thanks for your input - glad to hear this as I've started sending this draft out to some agents. Any other thoughts from anyone else, though, and I'm all ears.

bananas
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Re: Revised: ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

Post by bananas » June 24th, 2012, 12:29 pm

A boy with a hidden power must race against the clock to end a spell cast over his dad’s kingdom by Vesuvius, an evil sorcerer with a vendetta. Otherwise, he will be transformed into an animal and trapped inside of the kingdom forever.
I think I would lose "Vesuvius" and just say "evil sorcerer with a vendetta". You didn't name the hero, after all, so why name the villain? and the addition of the name somehow loses a bit of the sentence's punch. Minor detail: I think you can just say "trapped inside the kingdom" (lose the of).

Twelve-year-old Acea Bishop was always more of the nerdy kid who would rather go to the library during recess to read about animals than play basketball with the other boys. Now, after waking up inside of an ancient magical kingdom strangely resembling a zoo, Acea is running from those same animals he used to love reading about.
Clean up the first sentence by losing some of the unnecessary words. Something like" ...Acea Bishop was the nerdy kid who would read about animals in the library during recess instead of playing basketball with the other boys."

As Acea travels through the exotic zoo habitats, he learns that the animals were all once his dad’s servants who were transformed into animals by his uncle, Vesuvius, when his dad couldn’t repay a long over-due debt. Worst yet? Acea learns he’s not just on a quest to get home – he’s also on a journey to free his mom and the dad he never knew, who are both trapped somewhere inside of the kingdom.
First sentence really garbled. Needs rework. Last sentence could be tightened up as well. Something like: "Acea isn't just on a quest to get home. His mom and the dad he never knew are trapped somewhere inside the kingdom, and it's up to him to free them."

To free his parents and end the spell, Acea must raise an army of animals in an uprising against Vesuvius and his loyal followers. But to do so, Acea will have to enlist the help of an ancient Order of wizards hiding somewhere deep inside of the jungle. What Acea doesn’t know, though, is that those wizards hold secrets about his past which tie his fate directly to the fate of his father’s mysterious kingdom.
My first thought was, What spell? Ending the spell isn't as much the stakes as freeing the people who've been turned into animals. Lose the "But" that starts the second sentence and the "though" in the third one.

My middle grade novel, ACEA AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM, is complete at 65,000 words. A full or partial manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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