Entry 4 – THE SEER AND THE SORCERESS

Title: THE SEER AND THE SORCERESS
Genre: YA/Adult fantasy
Word Count: 80,000 approx.

Query:

Dear Agent:

Nine years ago, Sir Hadrian screwed up and was expelled from his order.  Stripped of his title, he now survives as a common mercenary, constantly striving to right the wrongs he caused, until his latest employer deigns to use his past against him, threatening to ruin the life of an innocent eight-year-old girl.

Pursued by ruthless power-hungry sorcerers, a murderous witch and greedy treasure-seekers who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the crystal, Hadrian must escort the obnoxious spoiled teen brat Ophelia hundreds of miles across rugged terrain, and bring her safely home again.  Ophelia is not a complete loss however; she has good reason to be angry at the world, and if Hadrian plays his cards right, maybe she can help him instead of languishing ever deeper into self-pity and her sense of entitlement.  Ophelia’s visions allow her to pinpoint the crystal, but they also leave her weak and dangerously dehydrated afterwards, and the closer they get, the more frequent and debilitating her visions.

With their goal in sight, and Hadrian and Ophelia caught in a trap with no way out, their adversaries each make their moves.  Even if our hero survives to tell the tale and returns with his charge intact, there’s no reason for his employer to honor the terms of the agreement.  Lord Bresham will already have what he wants out of the deal.  A few well-placed words about Hadrian’s history would certainly improve Bresham’s political standing, and the lives of one disgraced knight and his illegitimate daughter would be a very small price to pay.

“THE SEER AND THE SORCERESS” is an 85,000 word stand-alone novel with strong potential for a sequel.

First 250:

As Ophelia ran through the reeds, she could hear the heavy breathing behind her – each breath more of a snort – gaining on her with every stride.  What manner of inhuman creature was this?  Half man, half beast, it ran upright like a man, yet its horns and its thick black body hair were anything but human.

She could almost feel its breath on the back of her neck as she ran – almost – but thankfully not quite yet.  She splashed through a patch of sticky mud.  Slimy gray goop splattered the hem of her dress as the mud sucked at her feet, slowing her down.  But the creature was slowed more and was no longer gaining on her; its undersized hooves sinking deep into the mud.  She heard a plop and mud-clods hit her in the back.  Daring to glance behind her, she saw that the creature had fallen – but it would not stay down for long.

The mud sucked ever harder at her feet, slowing her pace.  She stumbled, tripping over her dragging hem and dropping a knee into the mud.  Thrusting her hands out in front of her, she managed to arrest her fall somewhat.  But her sandal was stuck.  She pulled her leg up hard, and the strap broke.  She took another step and her other sandal met the same fate in the foot-deep mud.  Half walking, half crawling, she groped her way through the mire towards firmer ground.  The beast was back on its feet once more, growling excitedly as though it sensed the end of the chase drawing near.

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8 thoughts on “Entry 4 – THE SEER AND THE SORCERESS

  1. Query:
    words 10/10
    hook 7/10
    plot 9/10
    amount of characters 10/10
    show/tell 8/10
    stakes 9/10
    overall 7/10 The reason that the overall score is lower than the average across the graded sections is the word choices and the grammar mistakes. There are some run-on sentences that can be reworded, such as sentence 2 on paragraph 1. There are also misplaced commas like the comma after “rugged terrain.” I like the book idea and concept. Maybe have someone look over the wording and grammar.

    First page:
    first line: 7/10
    voice 5/10 The voice sounds passive.
    originality 8/10
    character development 7/10
    setting 7/10
    overall 7/10

  2. Feedback From Entry #9
    Query
    words 10/10
    hook 8/10
    plot 8/10
    amount character 8/10
    show/tell 7/10
    stakes 8/10
    overall 8/10 – This looks like THE DRESDEN FILES. If you haven’t read it, you should because it may help show agents that your book is marketable. (As long as it’s different enough.)

    First page
    first line 8/10
    voice 5/10 I prefer first person in this type of read. You also use too many “qualifiers” which take away from the strength of your writing.
    originality 6/10
    character development 5/10 – This really didn’t tell me anything about her. It’s exciting but I don’t know who she is.
    setting 8/10
    overall 7/10

  3. Query: 7/10 It could definitely be tighter. Shorten the sentences – I had to re-read some to get their meaning.

    Hook: 8/10 A rogue knight? I can get behind that.

    Plot: 6/10 There’s too much going on in this. It feels like there are subplots, at the expense of the main plot. What did Hadrian do to get expelled? Why is Ophelia angry at the world? Why does Hadrian have to escort Olivia? Why does she need to get home? Are any of these relevant to the main plot?

    Characters: 6/10 You were doing well until you threw in Lord Bresham in the final paragraph. I’d cut him.

    Showing vs. Telling: 7/10 Focus on the main idea and then be sure to show and not tell.

    Stakes: 2/10 Not clear at all.

    Overall: 6/10 This sounds like it would be an interesting story, but see my issues with the query above.

    First Line: 5/10 Too much, too soon. There are three things happening in this one line – Ophelia’s running, she’s hearing snorting and her pursuer was gaining on her. I’d break it up.

    Voice: 7/10

    Originality: 5/10 Knight, special girl, quest. I’m not getting anything unique from this snippet.

    Character Development: 7/10

    Setting/World Building: 7/10

    Overall: 6/10

  4. from Entry #10
    Query: 4 Seer Sorceress

    Query is 250-300 Words: 9/10
    Hook: 6 /10
    Plot: 6 /10
    Amount of Characters Listed: 7/10
    Showing vs. Telling : 4/10 Maybe a few too many details. Go right to the heart of the story.
    Stakes Clearly Listed: 5 /10 I was confused of what was the goal other than survival.
    Overall: 6/10

    First 250:

    First Line: 9/10
    Voice: 8/10
    Originality: 9/10
    Character Development: 8/10
    Setting/World Building: 8/10
    Overall: 8 /10 This is an exciting scene. Great description.

  5. Query:
    Query is 250-300 Words: 10/10
    
Hook: 7/10 It’s a little vague. Why was Sir Hadrian kicked out of his order? Also, order of…what? Is he a knight? I don’t read a whole lot of high fantasy, so your readers might understand that a little better than I do.
    
Plot is Easily Understandable (MC, Goal, Conflict): 8/10 

    Amount of Characters Listed: 8/10 Is Ophelia the 8-year-old mentioned at the end of the first paragraph? Is she also the illegitimate daughter mentioned at the end? That confused me a little.

    Showing vs. Telling (Doesn’t Read like a Synopsis): 7/10

    Stakes Clearly Listed: 6/10

    Overall: 7/10 

    First 250:
    First Line: 9/10

    Voice: 6/10

    Originality: 6/10

    Character Development: 6/10 It’s hard to tell so early, but I am still a little confused as to exactly who Ophelia is.
Setting/World Building: 8/10
    
Overall: 7/10

    from entry number 8

  6. Query
    words 10/10
    hook 6/10 Felt that it could be much stronger like a quick pitch line
    plot 8/10
    amount of characters 10/10
    show/tell 8/10
    stakes 8/10
    overall 7/10

    First page
    first line: 7/10
    voice 6/10 It could be tightened a bit. It was a bit too passive.
    originality 7/10
    character development 5/10 I knew nothing much about her besides what was happening TO her
    setting 8/10
    overall 7/10
    from entry 3

  7. Query:
    Words: 10/10
    Hook: 8/10. Reading about a knight “screwing up” made me giggle, but I think you need to state what he did, exactly.
    Plot: 5/10. Why must Hadrian escort Ophelia? Is she nobility? Is she the eight-year-old girl, now a teen? Why is she angry at the world, and from where do her visions come? Why do they want this crystal? Sorry, but I’m very confused.
    Characters: 6/10. There isn’t much explanation who Ophelia and Lord Bresham are.
    Showing vs Telling: 7/10
    Stakes: 6/10. I see what they are, but I don’t know “why” they are.
    Overall: 6.5/10

    First 250:
    First Line: 9/10 Action right away. Good.
    Voice: 6/10
    Originality: 7/10
    Character development: 5/10
    Setting: 7/10
    Overall: 7/10

  8. Query
    Words: 10/10
    Hook: 7/10–What do you mean by “screwed up”? Your 2nd sentence is way too long and needs to be tightened considerably and made clear.
    Plot: 6/10–It is not clear. See below.
    Characters: 6/10–I have no clear understanding of any of the characters, especially Lord Bresham introduced in the last paragraph. You included a lot of words about Ophelia, but the info was choppy and very telling. And who is this illegitimate daughter? That may sound like a hook, but when it’s thrown in at the end and the query contains enough characters as it is, it does nothing but add confusion.
    Showing vs. Telling: 5/10–All telling
    Stakes: 6/10–Not very clear. I see mentioning of a “crystal” but I have no idea as to what the “..ruthless power-hungry sorcerers, a murderous witch and greedy treasure-seekers…” want w/ it.
    Overall: 6/10–Don’t put the title in quotes; it’s already capitalized to emphasize. Also, ALWAYS include the genre in the query.

    First 250
    First Line: 8/10
    Voice: 9/10–Great voice
    Originality: 8/10
    Character Development: 7/10
    Setting/World Building: 8/10–Great descriptors and vivid writing
    Overall: 8/10–It’s good, but I’m a bit iffy on the first page opening with a chase. It doesn’t give readers the chance to care about Ophelia.

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