Saturday, September 03, 2016

Feedback Request

Here's the latest version of the Zuhair/Zorab query:

While Zuhair is away on a hunting trip, a seer sees that his father, King Zorab is trapped in his castle by a cult. [The seer needs to do more than see it. Change "sees" to "tells him" or "reports."] Since all the commanders and council members, except Zuhair, are besieged [I assume they're not still under siege. You can just delete "besieged" or replace it with "imprisoned" or "confined."] in the castle with Zorab, help from outside cannot arrive. [Commanders and council members being in the castle doesn't prevent outside help from arriving. A moat across the only road in might. Outside help does arrive, in the next sentence.] Zuhair takes [rounds up? recruits? enlists?] soldiers from a distant city, fights intense battles with the cult, and shatters it. He is known [hailed or celebrated.] as a hero.

But Zuhair is the youngest of three brothers, and each of his elder brothers have [has] a longing for kingship. [No need to refer to them as "elder" brothers when you just told us Zuhair is the youngest.] Frajor, second son of Zorab is plotting [to murder Zorab and Ghoril], so he can rule himself. Meanwhile Ghoril struggles with feelings of jealousy against Zuhair. Ghoril longs to be a hero, something his revulsion for the common people, and [his] extravagance, doesn't allow him to become, [Neither revulsion for common people nor extravagance is unknown among military heroes. Cowardice and ignorance of strategy and tactics are more likely to stand in the way.] and he blames [resents] Zuhair for winning battles he could not win. 

Returning victorious to the castle, Zuhair plans to make the princes talk more to end their rivalry, and Zorab plans a hunting trip for the three princes together. But their rivalry increases as both ["Both" refers to two people. There are three princes.] observe the others [other's or others', depending on how many others you're talking about.] ambitions before the trip can be planned, [The trip was already "planned" in the previous sentence.] and the two princes still hate Zuhair as equally [much] as they hate each other. 

Tiring of the bickering and acting on the wishes of the council and the Azarian people, Zorab decides to proclaim Zuhair heir for his altruism and victories against the cult.

But before Zorab can declare his intention, Frajor poisons him and tries to do the same with his brothers. The brothers survive, however, though Frajor escapes suspicion. [The entire ruling family except Frajor get poisoned, and no one suspects Frajor even though he hates them all and benefits the most?] As Ghoril looks ready [prepares] to take the throne, Zuhair must decide whether a profligate, commoner-hating, king-to-be will be fit to rule a poverty stricken kingdom like Azaria, or should he be replaced? [Why does this decision fall to Zuhair? There must be a system in place to determine who becomes king.]

Kingdom of fire [Kingdom of Fire] is epic fantasy, complete at 102,000 words. It comes with a map and list of characters.


It probably appears I'm nitpicking, but as Mark Twain once said (approximately), "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." We have no reason to believe the book won't need as much work as the query, and that's more work than a publisher will want to invest.


Anonymous said...

As you have been told before, the writing abilities you've demonstrated aren't at a professional level. Work on improving.

For this rendition of the query:
The query is too long. You need to fit as much as you can into approximately ten sentences. The entire query, with heading and footer information, should fit on one piece of paper with regular margins. ~3 sentences of setup, ~3 sentences of obstacles/conflict, ~3-4 sentences of plot progression with a point of crisis at the end.

Review the advice you've received on your other versions of your query. It still applies here.

Maybe include a word or two explaining who Zuhair is when he's introduced, something like Prince Zuhair, third in line to the throne, or son of King Zorab, or of Azaria.

Good luck

Havi Sultan said...

Thank you EE, I will try to put off writing for a while until I gain skills in the field though it does not feel right. I have made your changes to the query. I will search for online critique groups. As you have pointed out there must be problems in the book if there are constant problems with the query. Forgive me for taking so much of your time.

Tk said...

Hey Havi Sultan, please do not put off writing, but keep writing. The more we write the better we do it.

And keep reading too, that's immensely helpful. You've shown you think about plot and think about character. So when you read you can see how other writers handle these elements and figure out how to make them sing in your own work.

Most important, you've shown willingness to make an effort. Please don't be discouraged but keep going. Loads of writers say they didn't get published until their fourth or fifth or sixth novel. It's far too soon to give up.

Anonymous said...

I hope what you mean is that you're going to put off trying to get published until your writing improves. The best way to improve writing is to practice. So, please, keep writing.

Good luck finding a good critique group. Keep in mind that different groups work differently. Try to find one where you understand whats works and doesn't work in your critique partners' stories and hopefully that will mean they can do the same for you. Ideally you will all improve.