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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Query Workshop 25--The Eldritch Tales

Title: The Eldritch Tales
Genre: YA Fantasy 

Dear (Agent),

A thief longing for redemption, a girl with no memories, and an evil god stricken with mortality are all chaotically intertwined; one could save us, one holds a secret, and one seeks to destroy us.

After a case of mistaken identity Tristan Storey finds himself on the gallows for a murder he did not commit. Moments before his execution a stranger falls from the sky kidnapping Vespa, daughter of the man Tristan ‘murdered’. Wanting nothing more than to escape his grim fate Tristan pursues the two only to find himself trapped in an enslaved world known as The Black. This world is ruled by an evil god who seeks an eternal soul which now lives within Vespa. Upon Tristan’s arrival the god’s plans are thwarted by three angels, but not before the kidnapper makes off with one crucial item, Vespa’s memories.
Seeking redemption for his sins, Tristan becomes entwined in a frantic scheme to recover the stolen memories. The very memories holding the secret a god seeks so desperately to hide, his mortality.
Completed at 84,000 words, The Eldritch Tales, is the first segment in my YA fantasy Trilogy. The full manuscript is available for viewing upon request.
I have included a SASE for your convenience, and thank you for your generous time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.



David Jace said...

There are so many characters here, I got lost as to both the character AND the motivations. I think the first paragraph sets up the idea of three protagonists, which isn't what the rest of the query seems to offer. I think it might be better without the teasing first paragraph. And who exactly is the kidnapper? The father's " murder" seems very important, but I've no idea why. I think it muddles things.

It sounds like a very interesting concept, though.

Huntress said...

I like the rhythm of the first paragraph. It reads well and is a great hook. But I don’t see a lot of Voice in this query. Who is Tristan? I need a word or two that defines a character trait. Is he strong? Is he angry? Give me something.

IMO, the second paragraph needs a little tightening. Don’t call the kidnapper a ‘stranger’. Tell me what or who stole her away.
If Tristan wants ‘nothing more than to escape his grim fate’, why doesn’t he escape? Why follow them?

I like the concept and if I were an agent, I’d ask for more pages to see if the promise of the query would hold my attention.
But work on this a bit more.

Benjamin Cornwell said...

Thanks! Consider the first paragraph gone/rewritten and I will trim the characters, plus give the whole think more voice. Ill also work on tightening that 2nd paragraph.

mshatch said...

I think this first paragraph should be the last, right before "completed at 84,000 words" imho.

Charity Bradford said...

I think you need to focus on just one of the 3 characters even though all are important. I had the same problem with my query. It looks like Tristan is your main Main, if you know what I mean. focus on him.

What is his conflict? Seeking redemption by recovering the stolen memories.

What choice does he have to make? Is it running away or following Vespa to The Black?

What is the consequence if he chooses wrongly? (is that a word? LOL)

The story sounds like a great ride though!

Krystal Wade said...

I'd cut the first paragraph. Seems almost cliché (I hate using that word. Sorry!)

My next critique revolves around punctuation and editing. You're missing quite a few commas.

Great first line (I've corrected your punctuation): After a case of mistaken identity, Tristan Storey finds himself on the gallows for a murder he did not commit.

Second line (Corrected punctuation and smoothed the wording): Moments before his execution, a stranger falls from the sky and kidnaps the daughter of the man Tristan ‘murdered’.

Third line (Corrected punctuation. I think this should begin a new paragraph. If Tristan was on the chopping block, how did he follow? Also, how does he "find" himself? How about "only to wind up"? And what is the world enslaved by? How can a world be enslaved? I suggest removing that and combining the next sentence.): Wanting nothing more than to escape his grim fate, Tristan pursues the two, only to wind up trapped in a world known as The Black where an evil god seeks an eternal soul now living within Vespa.

Fourth (Corrected punctuation. Removed Tristan's arrival because he's already trapped there. The beginning is also passive, so I've fixed that.): Three angels thwart the god's plans, but not before the kidnapper makes off with one crucial item: Vespa’s memories.

Last para (What sins does Tristan need redemption for? I thought he was innocent of murder. I don't feel this ending leaves us with a big question, no big, "I must read this book".): Tristan becomes entwined in a frantic scheme to recover the stolen memories. The very memories holding the secret a god seeks so desperately to hide: his mortality.

It does sound like an interesting story, one CQ would be highly interested in, but the query is a bit confusing.

Benjamin Cornwell said...

Thanks Krystal, that was a wonderful critique. I will take into account everything you suggest and try to make it a simpler query...with better grammar.

Sam F. said...

Sounds like an interesting story, but I had to reread it several times (specifically the second paragraph) to understand what's going on. It's not so much the number of characters (only 3) that's confusing, but that they're introduced so quickly, one after another. That makes it really hard to get a sense of the protagonist. Maybe try devoting one paragraph to Tristan alone, and then introducing the other two later? You could make space for this by losing the first paragraph.

Mark Koopmans said...


Not reading the comments above, the main question I had is: How did Tristan escape the gallows if he was about to be hung?

Love Vespa as a character name :)

Good luck :)