1. megansophie

    megansophie New Member

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    I'd love some feedback on my fantasy query!

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by megansophie, Nov 23, 2022.

    In a time of legends, Nimue has been destined to become the most powerful sorceress in a thousand years. Her home, Avalon, is the last of Albion’s magical places, the rest having been wiped out in a great slaughter by humans centuries previously. Avalon exists in a tenuous alliance with the human world, until Nimue is offered a chance to preserve magic forever: protect Prince Arthur of Camelot, and help him to unite their island.

    Nimue travels to the mortal world, where she finds love with the sorcerer Merlin and does her best to bring Albion’s fractured, warring kingdoms under Arthur’s banner. But there is danger for a magical woman in the human world, and Nimue draws the wrath of jealous kings, angry ghosts, and hostile human magicians. Even within Camelot, Nimue must navigate a tangled web of politics and manipulation to learn just how much of herself she is expected to lose to achieve her desires. As conspiracies unveil themselves, Nimue must reach into the darkest parts of herself and decide how far she is willing to go for Avalon.

    Perfect for fans of The Lost Queen and Circe, The Lady of the Lake is a coming-of-age story that details one woman’s journey to save her home and find the purpose of her power. The Lady of the Lake is a fantasy complete at 112,000 words that will appeal to fans of new takes on mythology and feminist story retellings.

    If you guys could let me know what might need fixing (or if you'd want to read this!) I'd love to hear!
     
  2. w. bogart

    w. bogart Member

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    Working in the framework of Arthurian legend, is going to have a number of expectations from the readers. Your summary didn't mention Mordred or Morgana LA Fey, both of whom readers in this genre will expect to see, in a cameo if nothing else.
     
  3. Idiosyncratic

    Idiosyncratic Active Member

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    Hi there! General caveat: not an agent, just someone who likes studying query letters.

    I think your overall backbone is fairly strong, I understand your protagonist and what she wants and the stakes. And, the language is clear and easy to follow. I had two big picture notes though:

    The second half gets very vague and back-cover blurby. Query letters are meant to excite/entice like back cover blurbs, but they get into more specific detail. What *specifically* is she doing to achieve her goal? How are the stakes escalating? What one character is most directly standing in her way? This link: https://thinkingthroughourfingers.com/2018/02/22/back-cover-blurbs-vs-query-letter-blurbs/ gives a great overview of the difference between query letter and a back-cover blurb. I didn’t do a word count, but the book description portion of the query can go up to 250 words, and this looks shorter, so you have room to flesh things out.

    More specifics would also help with my second big picture note. There have been many, many, Arthurian retellings, and while that definitely means people are interested in the mythos, it also means you need to work hard at showcasing what unique elements you’re bringing to the table. I’m seeing little glimpses of it, particularly in that it’s from Nimue’s POV, but I’m still not getting enough a sense of it to really help it stand out.

    Best of luck!
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2022
  4. megansophie

    megansophie New Member

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    That's true! There's so much attached to the idea of Arthurian legend. Thank you so much for your feedback!
     
  5. megansophie

    megansophie New Member

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    Thanks so much, this was incredibly helpful feedback! I really appreciate the link, as well - I've found it so hard to condense a complicated plot into something understandable. Thanks again!
     
  6. w. bogart

    w. bogart Member

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    I am guessing this is your project. It is good that you have a clear idea of your target market. The one thing that concerns me here, is the feminist retelling angle. If you go to heavy on that angle, you may turn off parts of the mythology market. To lite and you turn off the feminist market segment. This needs to be a delicate balancing act.
    Just points to consider with your story, and it's market. I like the idea your developing.
     
  7. Idiosyncratic

    Idiosyncratic Active Member

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    One thing I’ve found helpful in this regard is that you only need to give the agent a bite— one through line, one character arc, one main conflict. You don’t have to condense everything. You may have lots of subplots and multiple sources of conflict, but you really only need to show you have one really strong one (the agent knows there will be more to your book).

    As a general aside, I would argue that you don’t need to include any more characters than you already have (except maybe a main antagonist). In fact, you could even cut Merlin, as heisn't doing anything currently( or hint at what his role as in the plot).An agent is going to know that there are characters who appear in the book and not in the query, there simply isn’t room for all of them.
     
  8. w. bogart

    w. bogart Member

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    I disagree, with a genre like Athurian Legend, people expect to see the characters. They don't need to be a major character but they need to appear, or be referenced at some point.
     
  9. megansophie

    megansophie New Member

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    Thank you so much, that means a lot! It's true that it's difficult to appeal exactly to a market. I appreciate everyone's feedback so much!
     
  10. megansophie

    megansophie New Member

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    These are all fantastic points and I really appreciate the time you've taken to read it! I've actually rewritten the query with everything that people have said in mind - if you'd like to read it, I'll put it below!

    In a time of legends, Nimue has been destined to become the most powerful sorceress in a thousand years. Her home, Avalon, is the last of Albion’s magical places, the rest having been wiped out in a great slaughter by humans centuries previously. Avalon exists in a tenuous alliance with the human world, until Nimue is offered a chance to preserve magic forever: protect Prince Arthur of Camelot, and help him unite their island.


    Nimue travels to the mortal world, where she does her best to bring Albion’s fractured kingdoms under Arthur’s banner. But there is danger for a magical woman in the human world, and Nimue soon encounters a shadowy conspiracy, working to undermine Arthur’s rule and destroy the sisterhood of Avalon. As these rival lords and princes evade her at every turn, Nimue must use all her wits and magical ability to keep Camelot, and her family, safe.


    But while Nimue battles Camelot’s many enemies, she begins to suspect that Prince Arthur is not what he seems. Faced with danger and betrayal at every turn, Nimue must reach into the darkest parts of herself and decide how far she is willing to go for Avalon.

    Thank you so much again - this is my very first long work and it's been lovely finding so many people willing to give helpful criticism. Hope your day's going great!
     
  11. w. bogart

    w. bogart Member

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    That's what this community is about. We are all helping each other improve.
     

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