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  1. #196
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Forbes View Post
    I'm going to offer some different advice.

    Agents do not read for "pleasure" the way you and I would. They want to know what will sell. You need to spell out why your book is different from others in the genre in which you're writing. Do not write a synopsis that reads like a jacket blurb! You should describe your book from beginning to end, including any surprises or twists that occur along the way.

    I know what everyone is thinking: But I'll be giving away the best parts! I want the agent to discover that for him or herself! I will repeat, that is not why agents read manuscripts. If you don't give them enough information to make a decision, they will pass. They won't waste the time asking you for several hundred pages they will have to read on the hope that you nailed the ending. They want to know that going in.

    That's how I structured my queries when I still had to write them. I also tried variations, including the book-jacket synopsis, to see which was more effective. The complete story one worked better.
    That's basically what I've been trying to get across in the one sentence thread. But I will temper your advice, David, if I may, on the phrase "what will sell." Nobody knows what will sell. Agents and editors may have very definite opinions about what they think will sell, but these are subjective and usually disagree with one another. So it's less "what will sell" than "what interests me and therefore, I think might sell." Also, authors attempting to submit are not competing with one another directly. You're not trying to beat the other submissions because if an agent or editor finds two different query letters interesting, they'll look at both manuscripts. Instead, you're trying to interest them in your particular stuff, to not dismiss you, to indicate that you have a property that is not only salable (lots of manuscripts are salable -- that doesn't mean they want to be the ones to rep or buy them -- but a story that is going to connect, strike a chord, get large groups of readers excited in the pub pro's subjective assessment -- something interesting.

    So back cover copy, ad copy, movie pitch copy -- you can include those types of phrases as part of your query or description, but if they're the whole thing, than they can't understand what story you've got, and if they don't know what story you've got, they're much less likely to be interested. Clear, central information about main characters, plot and central focus/theme is what they want, not marketing hype, because they know how to do marketing hype way better than the authors. The conflict comes because authors don't have a clear concept of what information about their stories is most important and and really tells about their story and characters.

    Malik -- If you're doing mail queries, definitely go ahead and attach the synopsis, though if you could make it one or two pages, that would be better. For online queries, you might be able to get away with a somewhat longer query letter that has some of the synopsis information in it. Your query letter now is pretty clear, so again, I'm wildly guessing that it's lack of detail that may be the hurdle.

    Colleen Lindsay who has become an agent interested in SFF I think sometimes tackles query letters in her blog: http://theswivet.blogspot.com/
    Last edited by KatG; May 29th, 2008 at 12:43 PM.

  2. #197
    Registered User David Forbes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malik View Post
    David, are you suggesting a full synopsis in my query letter? I have a separate 3-page synopsis that details the story completely, which I send when requested. My main glitch right now is that my query alone -- and it seems that more and more agents request a query only, particularly those who accept online queries -- hasn't even generated a request for a synopsis.
    Hi Malik,

    No, not a three page synopsis. Just a couple of paragraphs, maybe half to three-quarters of a page. Keep it short, concise, but try to reveal the major points of interest. If one of them is a surprise twist, or the means by which the protagonist wins (or loses) in the end, then you're better off revealing that in the query rather than hoping the agent will be hooked by the mystery of what happens and want to read it to find out.

    Quote Originally Posted by KatG
    But I will temper your advice, David, if I may, on the phrase "what will sell." Nobody knows what will sell. Agents and editors may have very definite opinions about what they think will sell, but these are subjective and usually disagree with one another. So it's less "what will sell" than "what interests me and therefore, I think might sell."
    Kat, I guess I see what you mean, but I think you might be parsing my words a little too finely. I think we're saying the same thing (although maybe your phrasing is a little more clear). I agree that it's not an either/or thing, that it's not your book against someone else's. You're right, if an agent likes two completely separate book queries that (a) speak to his or her "taste" and (b) has some kind of market or potential market, both will get in.

    And that leads to the unknowable variable here, an agent's likes or dislikes. They can provide their client list or the kinds of books they'll represent, and even if you think you've nailed what they're looking for, there may be some reason it just doesn't strike a chord with them. It's not right or wrong, and there's nothing to be done about it. It's a wildcard, and the most frustrating thing about this business.

    And make no mistake, book publishing is a business. My own experience in this area really opened my eyes. My second book's first draft needed to be shortened because the cost of paper would cause the price of the book to be too high (over $7.99), and for a first time author they weren't willing to increase the cover price.

    Quote Originally Posted by KatG
    Clear, central information about main characters, plot and central focus/theme is what they want, not marketing hype, because they know how to do marketing hype way better than the authors. The conflict comes because authors don't have a clear concept of what information about their stories is most important and and really tells about their story and characters.
    Absolutely agree with this 100%.

    Dave

  3. #198
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    I was parsing your words very finely, and the only reason I did so, not disagreeing with the sense of what you were saying at all, is because a lot of authors trying to market their work have a view that they are competing directly with other submitters, that what will sell is a specific thing, a particular formula that agents and editors all agree about and insist they have or the pub folk won't look at it. So it was less me trying to correct what you were saying than adding to it, so that its meaning would not be misunderstood.

    And that leads to the unknowable variable here, an agent's likes or dislikes. They can provide their client list or the kinds of books they'll represent, and even if you think you've nailed what they're looking for, there may be some reason it just doesn't strike a chord with them. It's not right or wrong, and there's nothing to be done about it. It's a wildcard, and the most frustrating thing about this business.
    Yes, thank you. This is an incredibly frustrating thing, and very difficult for authors to accept and deal with. But it is how the business works and to a larger extent, how fiction is read by audiences.

  4. #199
    Registered User David Forbes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KatG View Post
    But it is how the business works and to a larger extent, how fiction is read by audiences.
    That is another excellent point, and one that is equally frustrating.

  5. #200
    Adding more plot elements and a brief About the Author. Wondering if it helps or hurts.....

    -----------------


    Dear ------,

    Please find enclosed the (manuscript / synopsis / partial) for my epic fantasy novel, Dragonís Trail, complete at 114,000 words. Dragonís Trail is the first of a planned series concerning contemporary Earth dwellers recruited to serve as advisors for warring nations in the world of Sirrea, which is inhabited by magic-wielding humans and creatures from Earthís mythical past. A sequel, The New Magic, is nearing completion.

    The main character is Jarrod Torrealday, a former champion fencer with a tortured past that manifests itself in a vigilante complex and a streak of suicidal abandon. When a Sirrean wizard offers him a shot at knighthood, Jarrod accepts the challenge as an opportunity for personal redemption. Accompanied by his friend and fellow medieval enthusiast Carter Sorenson, Jarrod employs his sword and knowledge against the invading forces of the country of Gavria, only to discover that the mastermind of the Gavrian invasion is also from Earth.

    Dragonís Trail delves into the mechanics of warfare and combat in the Late Dark Ages, and in a larger scope, deals with both the increasing obsolescence of the warrior caste in modern society on Earth, and the sociological implications of war upon a fantasy world.

    I have a degree in English from the University of Washington with a minor in Linguistics. I began fencing foil and sabre in high school and have been a student of swordplay and martial arts for over twenty years. I currently compete in the USA Boxing Master Division.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Very truly yours,

  6. #201
    Registered User David Forbes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malik View Post
    Adding more plot elements and a brief About the Author. Wondering if it helps or hurts.....

    -----------------


    Dear ------,

    Please find enclosed the (manuscript / synopsis / partial) for my epic fantasy novel, Dragonís Trail, complete at 114,000 words. Dragonís Trail is the first of a planned series concerning contemporary Earth dwellers recruited to serve as advisors for warring nations in the world of Sirrea, which is inhabited by magic-wielding humans and creatures from Earthís mythical past. A sequel, The New Magic, is nearing completion.

    The main character is Jarrod Torrealday, a former champion fencer with a tortured past that manifests itself in a vigilante complex and a streak of suicidal abandon. When a Sirrean wizard offers him a shot at knighthood, Jarrod accepts the challenge as an opportunity for personal redemption. Accompanied by his friend and fellow medieval enthusiast Carter Sorenson, Jarrod employs his sword and knowledge against the invading forces of the country of Gavria, only to discover that the mastermind of the Gavrian invasion is also from Earth.

    Dragonís Trail delves into the mechanics of warfare and combat in the Late Dark Ages, and in a larger scope, deals with both the increasing obsolescence of the warrior caste in modern society on Earth, and the sociological implications of war upon a fantasy world.

    I have a degree in English from the University of Washington with a minor in Linguistics. I began fencing foil and sabre in high school and have been a student of swordplay and martial arts for over twenty years. I currently compete in the USA Boxing Master Division.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Very truly yours,
    Not bad. It makes me curious why a medieval society would recruit modern people as advisors rather than acquire modern weapons, but I'm guessing that's one of the intrigues of the story.

    My only suggestion at the moment is to lose the third paragraph completely. It has no bearing whatsoever on what an agent is interested in. I would stay away from themes or what motivates you to write unless there is a marketing angle to it, and I don't see it in what you have there.

    I would try variations of the letter as well. A little more story, a little less, some comparisons to other writers whose work is similar to yours. Just a thought.

    Good luck!

    David

  7. #202
    Quote Originally Posted by David Forbes View Post
    Not bad. It makes me curious why a medieval society would recruit modern people as advisors rather than acquire modern weapons, but I'm guessing that's one of the intrigues of the story.
    Very much so. There are very strict laws on what sorcerers can and cannot do, particularly that sorcerers cannot inflict harm directly. Further, the people are technophobic; technology or magic past the point where an item can be looked at and its use immediately discerned is taboo. A magic torch that burns five times as long or ten times as bright? Fine. A flashlight, however, would have you pulled before an inquiry from the Lord High Sorcerer and probably the Lord High Inquisitor, as well. Machine guns are therefore out of the question; a "magic" device designed to kill people would get you lynched.

    In Dragon's Trail, the main concern of the Gateskeep forces ("good guys") is what the Gavrians may do now that they have someone from Earth sitting on their war council. They have no analogues to his patterns and processes, so they hire Jarrod and Carter and put them through their paces -- Jarrod, as a prospective knight; Carter, at court -- to figure out what makes us tick. How the villian ended up on a Gavrian war council is another subplot entirely, and fodder for a prequel.

    The book I'm working on now, The New Magic, deals in part with an Earthan swordsmith who is outfitting the villain's army with weapons made from far-superior metals. Magic swords, so to speak.

  8. #203
    Registered User David Forbes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malik View Post
    Very much so. There are very strict laws on what sorcerers can and cannot do, particularly that sorcerers cannot inflict harm directly. Further, the people are technophobic; technology or magic past the point where an item can be looked at and its use immediately discerned is taboo. A magic torch that burns five times as long or ten times as bright? Fine. A flashlight, however, would have you pulled before an inquiry from the Lord High Sorcerer and probably the Lord High Inquisitor, as well. Machine guns are therefore out of the question; a "magic" device designed to kill people would get you lynched.

    In Dragon's Trail, the main concern of the Gateskeep forces ("good guys") is what the Gavrians may do now that they have someone from Earth sitting on their war council. They have no analogues to his patterns and processes, so they hire Jarrod and Carter and put them through their paces -- Jarrod, as a prospective knight; Carter, at court -- to figure out what makes us tick. How the villian ended up on a Gavrian war council is another subplot entirely, and fodder for a prequel.

    The book I'm working on now, The New Magic, deals in part with an Earthan swordsmith who is outfitting the villain's army with weapons made from far-superior metals. Magic swords, so to speak.
    Those restrictions are interesting and I'd work a brief account of them into the query in place of the "thematic" passage I mentioned.

    Dave

  9. #204
    Hi, there, been working on a query letter (for a grand total of 2 days) and have been browsing this thread, looking at the various examples. I thought id put my own, feeble attempt up for you guys to bash and flame

    Any advice or feedback would be greatly appreciated, this is the first outline, i really am pretty lost and wouldnt mind starting from scratch, seems impossible to write the damn thing

    I have just posted the main body in here, havent yet added the greeting/introduction/bio etc.... so... fire away.


    Change is at hand. A prophecy has been revealed, one that augurs the sundering of the ancient oaths that have maintained a frail peace between East and West for a thousand years. It warns of the
    destruction of a race and the triumph of another, stoking the fires of old hatreds that wane in dormancy within the hearts of those who still remember. To each faction it is the harbginer of opportunity; vengeance for one, redemption for the other. War looms upon the horizon and armies are mobilised. However, the outcome will not depend upon the number of shields and swords that are musttered, it will not rely upon the scores of dead and dying that litter the battlefield nor the euqally vast amounts of gold that will fuel the juggernaughts, no. It will instead rest upon the shoulders of two very ordinary brothers, for the prophecy weaves around them; it revolves around their very lives. But Varrin and Arrain Ebonlocke are unaware of the perils and the potential for greatness that lines the path of their destiny, and in the mundane town of Boughshire, tales of heroes and villains live in the minds of people only as fables and children's bed time stories. Moreover, the two twins have a far greater tribulation to shoulder; the estranged relationship with their father, one that has pushed Varrin to the brink of misanthropy.

    Nevertheless, when a band of orcs ravage through the borderlands town, the two brothers are forced to face a harsh reality; finding themselves in the epicenter of a complex, fantastical and frighteningly consequential power struggle. Snatched away from their humble beginnings, the twins embark on an ardous journey in an effort to further understand the impending cataclysm that was foretold. During this journey, Varrin and Arrain will cross paths with a multitude of different creatures and people that include a malevolent, roguish youth, a satirical werewolf and a tribe of mysterious half elves who ritually blind themselves in order to avoid 'witnessing the atrocities of the world'. The siblings will learn of the haplessnes which plagues the elves, a disease that saps all notions of aggresivness from the very souls of the ancient race; rendering them defenselesss in the approaching carnage. Betrayal, hatred, love and acceptance; from each of these encounters the brothers will learn and be influenced. Finally, when the lines have been drawn, when the mysterious enemy in the West has been given a face and a heart, when the prophecy has been fully deciphered and when Varrin learns of the truth behind the strife - an atrocity committed by the very faction he has claimed allegiance to, in the process securing the very salvation for the elven curse, he must decide, the brothers, must take their own paths. For their choices will decide the fates of the two warring sides.

  10. #205
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Malik -- So your secondary world engages in ritualistic warfare with an international central governing committee which has a law enforcement arm or authority over law enforcement of all the countries -- they regulate the wars. See, this is the problem -- authors leave out the good stuff. That's way more interesting. Remember, why is always as important as and sometimes more important than how.

    I would suggest that you start with description of Jarrod, his situation on Earth, then that he is recruited to go to this world, a world that he finds fights wars according to a rigid code, enforced by wizards -- no arms escalation, no technological or magical advancement beyond what any person could figure out how to use, no guns. Even so, Jarrod expects to lead those who brought him here to victory against the invading army with his knowledge of Earth history and warfare, until he learns on the battlefield that the opposition also has an Earthling, that humans such as he and his friend Carter are the nuclear bombs of the place, destabilizing the rituals under which these people have fought.

    I agree with David that the paragraph about the obsolescence of the warrior caste is probably too academic in approach, but that phrase is what caught my eye on the first pass. If you can work those ideas somehow into describing and explaining the plot, it might work better.

    As for your bio paragraph, at least 50% of writers who submit manuscripts have English degrees and numerous other people in the world do too. Unless you are an English professor or a linguistics professor, this information is of little interest. That you know martial arts, fencing and boxing is fine to mention. If you have any military background, since you're writing about war, that should possibly be mentioned. What you do for a living could be mentioned, even if it is unrelated to writing or the subjects of the novel. Any writing or editing credits should of course be mentioned.

    December -- You also are suffering from the too general information problem. Your letter treats the recipients as if they are players in a D&D game and you're going to be dungeon master. That you have prophecy, twins, orcs, etc., is of less interest to them than what you personally do with them, and you are taking too long to explain stuff with which as fantasy publishing people, they are very familiar.

    What you have for the story is this stuff: "the estranged relationship with their father, one that has pushed Varrin to the brink of misanthropy." -- Now that's interesting. I wouldn't mind knowing more about that. Who are these two guys -- Varrin and Arrain? Since the whole plot seems to hinge on them working together on one path and then possibly splitting into different paths, this would be nice information to know.

    Also -- "a satirical werewolf and a tribe of mysterious half elves who ritually blind themselves in order to avoid 'witnessing the atrocities of the world'." -- Interesting, wouldn't mind knowing more about these things, especially if it's relevant to the plot.

    "The siblings will learn of the haplessness which plagues the elves, a disease that saps all notions of aggresiveness from the very souls of the ancient race; rendering them defenseless in the approaching carnage." -- Very interesting, and seems to be a central part of the plot.

    The enemy in the West is mysterious -- how so?

    "when Varrin learns of the truth behind the strife - an atrocity committed by the very faction he has claimed allegiance to, in the process securing the very salvation for the elven curse, he must decide, the brothers, must take their own paths. For their choices will decide the fates of the two warring sides." -- This sounded interesting but unclear and there seems to be some text missing. How does finding the truth secure a cure for the curse? What does "he must decide, the brothers" mean? There's too much rambling in the query description and not enough plot information about who these people are and what's important, it seems.

    It all comes down to what the story is about. On one level, it's basic plot -- a guy climbs a hill looking for a magic stone. On the next it's who the guy is and why he's doing it, what is the importance of the stone. On the third level is what are the repercussions of what happens in the story -- the costs, the gains, the changes, particularly in regard to the main characters. You came up with characters, a setting, a plot. You had reasons for doing all of this in the way that you did it, things that are important to you, things that you are exploring through having elves suffer from a plague, or a world that can't use high-tech weapons or magic, or in which music is banned. You came up with these things -- why did you do so? Be specific.

    Most authors bog down on plot -- the first level. They don't give a lot of the plot, they don't know how to boil it down and are scared it will lose its "essence" if they do. But if a story has something interesting to offer, then the essence can't be lost. And if you start with the other two levels -- character, effect -- and keep it centralized, you might be able to hone in on plot a bit better.

  11. #206
    Thanks for the response. Will definitely get to work on that and hopefully will be able to post the re-worked version soon.

    Um, i was wondering if i should keep the first part at all, the part that pertains to the prophecy

    "Change is at hand. A prophecy has been revealed, one that augurs the sundering of the ancient oaths that have maintained a frail peace between East and West for a thousand years. It warns of the destruction of a race and the triumph of another, stoking the fires of old hatreds that wane in dormancy within the hearts of those who still remember. To each faction it is the harbginer of opportunity; vengeance for one, redemption for the other. War looms upon the horizon and armies are mobilised. However, the outcome will not depend upon the number of shields and swords that are musttered, it will not rely upon the scores of dead and dying that litter the battlefield nor the euqally vast amounts of gold that will fuel the juggernaughts, no. It will instead rest upon the shoulders of two very ordinary brothers, for the prophecy weaves around them; it revolves around their very lives"

    The phrophecy is part of the central plot so i pretty much have to describe it in the letter. However, i was wondering if i should water it down? maybe lost the descriptions and write down exactly what its message is?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by December88; June 10th, 2008 at 02:14 PM.

  12. #207
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Well you don't really describe the prophecy in the letter. We don't know what the prophecy is. You don't explain what East and West are or anything about your secondary world, what the races are, what the old hatreds are, or how the prophecy involves the two brothers, etc. So it's largely gibberish to them. That paragraph makes great cover copy -- it's nicely written, but it doesn't tell anything except that there's a war, there's a prophecy and there are two brothers. Which you could possibly say in fewer sentences or more specific sentences.

    Remember, there are a lot of prophecies in fantasy fiction. Quite a few twin brothers, and in almost every fantasy story of any sub-category, there's usually a war of some sort. At least a decent sized conflict. They are familiar with elves. Those aren't your story -- they're your choices for source material. The real story are your characters, their relationships and their dilemmas, the issues or themes of the story you are exploring, and how the setting and events of the plot are tied into these things. It's what you did with the story, not to make it all shiny and new, but to make it interesting, to yourself and to potential readers.

    You took a tribe of elves and have them blind themselves. Cool, talk about that. You have other elves subject to a cursed plague that renders them scaredy-cats. Cool, talk about that. The twins have a nasty father that turns one of them into a curmudgeon. Cool, talk about that.

    A prophecy that leads two brothers to seek to protect their world from the destruction of war is a type of story. If I wrote a story with those elements, I would do it differently from you. My characters would be different from yours. So tell me how you wrote the story. Because I'm not going to know if you don't tell me, right?

  13. #208
    Well i scrambled my brain for a few hours and came up with this... i feel it is simply too long but there is no way i can reduce it without not explaining alot of the plot points.... anyhow
    Also is it not advisable to send in a letter if i still have not decided upon a final name for the novel? it has been over two months since my last draft and iam still at a loss when it comes down to a title.

    /flame suit on.

    Varrin and Arrain Ebonlocke are two twins with a great tribulation to shoulder; the estranged relationship with their father, a man who has abandoned his paternal responsibilites in order to pursue a fanatically devoted military career. Plagued by the harrowing memories of his almost obnoxious upbringing, Varrin hangs precariously upon the brink of misanthropy, supported only by his loving and concerned elder brother. However, just as the thinks that things couldn't get any worse, a band of quasi-human savages ravage through his mundane, borderlands town, triggering a maelstrom of events that force another, far greater and vital burden upon the brothers, for in the elven lands to the north a prophecy has been revealed, a fortelling that threatens the world with death and destruction; weaving its web around the very lives of the two brothers.

    Venerable and peaceful in nature, the elves are fully cognizant of the drums of war that echo in the West, drums beaten by the hands of a long forgotten race, a race that has thus far been kept at bay soley by the ancient oaths sworn over a thousand years ago. But the divination augurs the sundering of these very oaths that have thus far managed to maintain a fragile peace, it warns of the ending of one race and the triumph of another, stoking the fires of old hatreds that wane in dormancy within the hearts of those who still remeber. And the elves remember, for they cannot forget, forget that it was their very own prejudice against the westerners that resulted in the old wars, their own heinous actions that caused the guardians of the world to call forth an anathema upon their whole race, a curse that sapped all notions of agresiveness and hate from their very souls; rendering them defenseless in the approaching carnage.

    Snatched away from their humble beginnings and finding themselves in the epicenter of a fantastical and frighteningly consequential power struggle, the brothers embark on an ardous journey in an effort to further understand the impending cataclysm that was foretold. With a king and warrior-heroes for companions, the twins make their way northward, on the way learning of the twisted enemy and the elven affliction. Midway through their journey, the brothers are seperated and Arrain is forced to abandon his lost brother continuing onward; journeying to the elven capital where he is confronted by an ethereal being that reveals the full prophecy, telling him that it is in his and Varrin's destiny to recover the remedy to the elven curse. He is also shown a disturbing glimpse into the possible future where he sees his own brother, corrupted and tainted, commanding the dark armies of the West. Worried for his brother and apprehensive of his task, Arrain begins to spiral into a self imposed seclusion.

    Meanwhile, Varrin is swept downriver and over a cliff into a wild land where he finds himself crossing paths with a knowledgeable yet eccentric tribe of exiled half elves who ritually blind themselves at birth in order to not 'witness the cruel happenings of the world.' From these elves he learns of the justified hatreds that brew in the heart of the Westerners, the atrocities they had to face in a long lost age, abominable acts that were commited by the very faction he had pledged allegaince to. And when Varrin encounters a satirical werewolf, in the process, unknowingly discovering the very object that can lift the elven curse; a moral dilema has already erupted in his already emotionally stricken mind, the fine lines between good and evil begin to cloud and he finds himself having to decide for himself as to who the real enemy is.

    To each faction, the prophecy is a habringer of opportunity; vengeance for the Westerners, redemption for the elves. However, the outcome will not depend upon the number of shields and swords that are mustered, it will not rely upon the scores of dead and dying that will litter the battlefield nor the equally vast amounts of gold that will fuel the juggernaughts, no. It will instead rest upon the shoulders of the two brothers, for it is their choices alone that will decide the fates of the two warring sides.
    Last edited by December88; June 11th, 2008 at 02:54 PM.

  14. #209
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Yes, you can reduce it and you can give more plot points. You're still playing Dungeon Master and writing pretty prose, but refusing to give much info about your characters. So let's play 20 questions:

    Was the guys' father abusive or simply absent? What sort of military career? Who is the father? What did he suffer that causes Varrin to be misanthropic? Varin and Arrain live in a bordertown -- are they rich, poor, work for a living?

    The Westerners are twisted because of the atrocities of the elves? Are they human or something else? (You keep saying "race.") Who are the guardians of the world who did the curse? What are these oaths and where did they come from and how did they work and how are they sundered by the prophecy?

    Why do the brothers go north -- because they hear part of the prophecy? What part do they hear? Are they just trying to find out about the prophecy or something else? From whom? Who's the King? Is he King of the east or the west? Who are the warriors with them? How do they hook up with these people? How does Varrin end up pledging himself to the elves? You aren't telling us who the players/armies/countries/races are.

    What is a satirical werewolf? I love the phrase, but I'd be lying if I said I fully understood it. The use of the word satirical without context may confuse them into thinking this is a humorous/satirical fantasy, which it otherwise doesn't sound like.

    Is your ending open -- i.e. does the potential division between the brothers remain potential, happens, or is resolved in some way? Does Varrin chose the West? (If you don't want to tell us the ending, you don't have to; it just might be good to know to determine whether to flesh it out in the query or not. If it's a really dramatic ending, open or close, mention should probably be made.)

  15. #210
    Thanks for the response.

    I understand where you are comming from. I know that the agent is going to want to know exactly what the story is about and doesnt want any obsucre plot points. However if i were to attempt to answer everything and it make it completely clear, i fear that it may stretch on and become even longer.

    The problem, for me is the fact that the whole curse and the oaths are sort of complex and i really cant seem to find away of simplifying them down without making stuff seem very vague. Should i go ahead and write up the details of the whole plot, explaining everything including the diplomacy etc and then try and shrink it down?

    Also, regarding the ending.

    In truth the book itself is left open ended, its the first book in a planned series.

    ty again for the advice, will try and work on it.

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