Day 2 of The Haunted Writing Clinic and Contest.
Version 4. (For the previous version, scroll down)
All in all. Same stuff. Different take.
Goodness, after fifteen years of living with this story, you’d think I’d have a better time of cobbling together a query. Doesn’t help to have this the same week as the school holidays. One whine from her and that carefully thought sentence is just gone!
At least this query is shorter. Seriously. It jumped from two hundred in the original to nearly three hundred and now we’re at just under two hundred and fifty. I think that deserves some chocolate and a good night’s sleep.
Love. Family. Being a Rogue, Veng has little chance at either. He is subject to possession by Lorric, the God of Lust, and hunted by normal folk. That does not stop him from harbouring the idealistic wish for both. But it is clear to him and those around him that he is not normal. He knows the blame for that rests on the alien humans and their genetic manipulations of native DNA. Whereas others have believed him to be from a species long thought to be extinct.
Both are right. And he’s not the only one the humans have brought into being.
Veng’s steady, if not very peaceful, existence explodes when Lasil, the young woman he once saved as a little girl, comes into his life. In protecting her, he falls in love and, in turn, faces a plot from the powerful All Mother. A son is demanded of him. To keep Veng hidden from Lorric’s sight, his soul is stolen and gifted to a goddess slightly less dark than the devil who already has his shadow.
Lorric is not content to allow this piecemeal ownership of what should be his. The god retaliates to the loss and, staging a willing departure, Lasil is kidnapped. Years pass before Veng learns the reality of her disappearance. Lorric plans to make her his priestess unless Veng risks the last portion of his life to free Lasil from the god’s clutches before Lorric can bend her to his will.
THE ROGUE KING is a science fantasy told through the point of view of Veng, Lasil and their son. At 199,000 words, and written to stand on its own, it is the first in a proposed duo.
Thank you for your time.
16 thoughts on “Haunted Writing Clinic and Contest – Day 2”
First, let me say thanks for the follow. I'm on;y a minion but I wanted to share my thoughts on your query. I like the premise of the story, but I'm a little confused as to whho your MC is. Is it Veng or Koral?
Keeping in mind that I know next to nothing about crafting a query but… Did I miss the part were you mention who Kael is? And is it very important to mention that the story shifts between three POVs?
I think the opening lines are very good and I like that you mention that while it's the first of two, it's written to stand on its own.
Veng is Koral. His name is Koral, but when he becomes a Rogue, he's called Veng and is known as such for much of the story.
Okay. I'm sick, so my brain is only functioning on half-speed, but I did the best I could.
Veng has no chance of a normal life. He is subject to possession by Lorric, the God of Lust. He’s hunted by humans. His DNA has been manipulated by aliens into something that shouldn’t exist. None of it stops him from harboring a secret wish for love and family.
I changed the part about exactly what he is to the alien DNA thing. I'm not sure if I got that right. The explanation felt really confusing. at any rate, if I got that wrong, i still feel that would be a good place to interject, in a simple sentence, what–exactly–Veng is.
After that I’d go with:
Veng’s unhappy life explodes when Lasil comes into his life. Forced to protect the young woman from blank, he ends up falling in love.
After, that I was lost in the rest of the query. It just felt like there was too much going on. You need to figure out a way to simplify—because the All mother, the son, the devil, his soul…it’s too many phrases and it becomes very confusing. I’d keep it at he has to protect Lasil from blank. He falls in love. This leads to blank. Now he has to blank.
I might skip the whole part about the son and the shared piecemeal possession and just go with he falls in love, pisses off the wrong gods or whatever, and his girl gets kidnapped. Now he has to save her by blank.
And, I know this was not the best query critique ever. Sorry!! It sounds like an interesting story, but right now you have a little too much going on to successfully get it across. Also 192,000 words is so high that 99% of agents won't look past the wordcount to even read the query. Is there anyway you can cut this into three books? That alone would immensely up your chances of getting it published.
Anyway, hope this helped at least a little. Good luck with it!! How are you doing in the small press thing?
No, you didn't miss it. Crunching down this far leaves out their son and his name.
It's a good critique, even if your brain's only functioning on half-speed. ^_~
There IS so much going on. And I missed much more. The story runs over 34 years, so yeah … long time.
Let me see what I can do with what you've given:
Veng has no chance of a normal life. He is subject to possession by Lorric, the God of Lust. If he leaves the desert, he’ll be hunted. His DNA has been manipulated by aliens into something that shouldn’t exist. None of it stops him from harbouring a secret wish for love and family.
His unhappy life explodes when Lasil comes into his life. Forced to protect the young woman from the claws of men who would abuse her, he ends up falling in love. This leads to the stealing of his soul and the kidnapping of his beloved.
Lorric, in retaliation for losing Veng, plans to torture Lasil into being his priestess. To save her, Veng will need to cross a kingdom that'll kill him. But if he's to get to her in time, he must accept a royal heritage he doesn't want and find a way into Hell or his chance at happiness will die before Lorric's will.
I whipped this up in ten minutes while getting ready to go out. Less confusing? More?
I know 192k is too big. Cutting it into two might be manageable on one end, but it LOOKs like a bigger novel cut into two and I like that even less than the 1% chance.
How am I doing in the small press? It's all quiet on the western front. But I didn't get votes for the second round until the last few days, so I'm just waiting to see.
I agree with other commenters– this is a very interesting story idea, but the query covers a bit too much. Try to figure out the one main conflict that runs throughout the entirety of the novel and zero in on that one. Hmmm. What about:
“Nothing in life comes easy for Veng. He is unnatural, a product of genetic manipulation, possession by an evil god named Lorric, and a lifetime on the run from those who would kill him. But none of that can stop him from wishing for a normal life. So when Veng winds up protecting Lasil, it isn't long before he falls in love with the young woman from his past.
But a happy ending, of course, would be too easy.
Lorric isn't satisfied with part-time ownership of Veng's soul, and exacts his vengeance by kidnapping and enslaving Lasil. Unless Veng can accept his true nature, cross an entire country of people who want nothing more than to kill him, and face down a god hell-bent on destroying him, Veng will lose everything he ever loved.”
How does that sound?
I think this sounds like a deep, well thought out story! Fantasy is right up my alley!
However, my critique is repetitive of everyone else: wordiness. I want you to write five lines (1 for where your mc is at the beginning of the book, 1 for where your mc is at the end of the book, then go back and insert 3 sentences about the major plot points throughout the book) Once you have those five lines, write transition sentences to get from each point.
Queries are supposed to pack punch. Yours is long and describes too much. As a former acquisitions editor, I wouldn't have read it purely because time is not something we have a lot of. I know this isn't as detailed as the other comments, but I think you need to trim before you submit this anywhere.
Hi and thanks for sharing! I agree with Krystal about the length, and I think her exercise is a great one to help shape your query. Because this is your blog, I did take the time to read the whole thing, and I must say that it sounds like you have a compelling plot. Good luck!
It sounds … interesting. I little off in places, but I do like a few pieces, especially the end sentence.
You've seen the original right? Or perhaps the previous, 300 word, version? I'm slowly crunching it down. That's why I've joined this little clinic thingy. This story is so ingrained in my mind that I desperately need other eyes to see what doesn't make sense. ^_^
I have to agree with Krystal. Your story sounds very interesting, something I would actually read.
I feel like there are too many names listed in your query. I tried to keep up with who was who but found myself getting lost.
I liked the first paragraph but found myself tripping over this sentence:
“he knows the blames for that rests”
You've got a strong foundation and am looking forward to reading your revisions over the next few weeks.
Thank you for reading. ^_^
I'm about to try Krystal's excercise. Don't yet know how that's going to turn out.
Four names too much?
Okay, I can get rid of one, but Veng, Lasil and Lorric have gotta stay, they are the main ones. MC, Catalyst and main Agonist.
No comments from me, I think you have a lot to work with, and if you've seen my page you know I know not what I do. 🙂
Just want to say I'm here as support! You have a lovely story, and following what the super villains say, you'll get there.
Thank you, but do not go selling yourself short. If you don't understand something in my queries, you let me know.
After all, making it clear is one of the points, isn't it?