9.03.2006

3rd SR Crapometer #41

Dear Miss Snark,

I am looking for representation for my fantasy novel, and I would like to invite you to review my manuscript and consider representing me.

TITLE/GENRE/WORD COUNT:
THE GIRL IN THE GLOBE, a fantasy novel, complete at 110,000 words.

DESCRIPTION:
TRISTAN is a mage with almost no power, drifting through life. Traveling along back roads, he stumbles on clansmen attacking a girl, LISSA, who is trapped in a globe of water. He ambushes the clansmen, rescues the unconscious Lissa, and brings her to the local manor.

Lissa's mother, Lady KATERIN, is angered and terrified when she learns of the attack: Lissa is her last connection to her dead husband. Thinking Tristan responsible, she furiously confronts him, but they are both astonished to find they are old school friends. Before they can cautiously renew their acquaintance, someone poisons Lissa. Katerin gambles on Tristan, who barely succeeds in saving Lissa's life using his meager magical talent.

Someone wants Lissa dead, and there seems to be no reason behind the attacks and few clues to follow. Katerin vows to unravel the mystery and Tristan joins her, drawn by her personality, their earlier friendship, and his own sense of responsibility. The trail leads across the kingdom, and they give chase, desperate to stop their unknown adversary before he can strike again.

THEMES:
The Girl in the Globe is a story with accessible characters, mixing fantasy with romance, mystery, and adventure. The book explores how relationships change over time, how the past influences the present, and the corrupting influence of power and class. It would attract sophisticated readers who enjoy books by L. E. Modesitt, Charles Stross, and Martha Wells. This project is a stand-alone novel, but could be the first book in a series.

CREDITS:
My previous writing credits have been in academic non-fiction.

Per your Crapometer instructions, I have pasted the first page below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

I like the format you chose for sending this in an email. I like how you described your credits. It's succinct. I don't think you need to tell me the themes, but it's not going to stop me from reading. What will is that there's not much new here. I don't read much fantasy beyond what ya'll send to the crapometer and this looks pretty usual to even me. If there IS something new, you might want to tell me what it is in the cover letter.



Chapter 1

Tristan dropped into a crouch and pushed forward through the grass toward the top of the hill. No trees or rocks to use as cover; a pity. He'd have to be careful not to create a silhouette against the late afternoon sun.

He hadn't expected to meet anyone along the disused trail he'd been following. In fact, he'd chosen this route specifically because the trail promised to skirt the local manor house at some distance, as indeed it had. But an unexpected cry of terror had warned Tristan there was trouble ahead--trouble he couldn't afford. He needed to know what the cry signified before the trouble found him.

Tristan's bow caught in the grass as he inched forward. He gently pulled it loose, wary of any sudden motion, and continued onward.

At the crest of the rise, Tristan slowly lifted his head. In the meadow beyond, the trail he'd been following forked. The left branch marched through the meadow into the distance, presumably toward the manor. A dead horse lay in a heap by the side of the trail, saddle askew and legs splayed.

The other branch veered right to cross the stream, a full hundred paces from where Tristan crouched. In the center of the ford, five Kaelmen splashed in the shallow water, surrounding a girl in a shimmering globe.

Tristan's pulse quickened. Great Lord, a Fist of Kael raiders! And this far east of the Border. The Fists specialized in slash-and-burn raids, fading back across the Border quickly, not extended forays into the Kingdom. So what brought them here, and who was the girl?


This doesn't suck but it doesn't do anything to entice me either.
I'd pass with a form rejection letter and pray you don't ask me for suggestions cause "entice me" just isn't something you want to reply to anyone but Mr. Clooney.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Up to the end of paragraph two, I'm with you. By the end of the first sentence of paragraph three I'm thinking yadda yadda yadda. If you cut everything from the end of paragraph two to "Kael Raiders," you'd have kept my attention, maybe--if you'd also given a big, quick view of what the heck everything here is about.

Just grabbing at my shelf here for an example of doing it right: Look at the opening paragraph of Stephen King's Bag of Bones.

Why is your hero named Tristan? It's distracting unless you mean something big by it. Otherwise you should name him something more obscure such as Hamlet.

Anonymous said...

Good heavens! Comic book punctuation in narrative sentences!
To generate excitement!

Enough already!

If you can't inspire suspense with your words, then punctuation ain't gonna do it either. Tone that down, as I suspect you have more of those !!!!s throughout.

Waylander said...

I agree. Get us to the action as quick as possible, fill in the backstory later.

Bernita said...

It might be better for clarity if you started with the cry of terror and then have him crouch up the hill.

Bernita said...

Unfortunately, Tristan is a very over-worked name in fantasy.

Virginia Miss said...

I liked this better than most of what I've read so far in the crapometer, although I agree with anonymous #1 that you could cut some to improve the opening.

Start with the cry of terror, real time, instead of telling us it "had warned" him of danger.

The query is a bit long, too. Good luck, author.

The other Cathy said...

Wow, a fantasy novel with characters whose names have real vowels!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with Miss Snark on this one. I don't like the format, especially when your headers and character names are done in screaming capital letters. If you want to do this, I would suggest cutting down on caps at least.

Also, writing sentences instead of headers shows the agent you can string more than a basic sentence together in the query. They might find out in the first page, but showing it early can't hurt.

Author said...

If you cut everything from the end of paragraph two to "Kael Raiders," you'd have kept my attention, maybe--if you'd also given a big, quick view of what the heck everything here is about.

I hear you. Openings are a bitch for me. I know what I want, but I have a hard time differentiating between the necessary "what the heck everything here is about" and unnecessary backstory/description. It's not so difficult later (honest!) but here at the beginning, before the character is even introduced, it gives me a headache.

Why is your hero named Tristan? It's distracting unless you mean something big by it.

Is it? I just happened to like "Tristan;" it had an archaic-but-not-made-up feel to it. I suppose I could go with "John" instead. Or "Othello."

It might be better for clarity if you started with the cry of terror and then have him crouch up the hill.

Humph. I rewrote the opening pages at least a dozen times, trying to push the beginning farther forward in time and get to the action quicker. My seventh or eighth try opened with: "An unexpected shout broke Tristan out of the reverie he'd slipped into."

Catja (green_knight) said...

I just happened to like "Tristan;" it had an archaic-but-not-made-up feel to it.

'Archaic' is fine. Looking back through history, however, you'll find pretty few people called Tristan outside the one single myth and all its variations.
And James Herriot who plays with it, but that's the only other Tristan I can think of.

I'm with Miss Snark on this one - it reads generic to me, and the excerpt has done nothing to convince me otherwise.

JJ said...

Well, FWIW, I think that although this might not be dynamite, it's still in the Crapometer Top Ten Percent - if not better. There's some good advice here, though, so "dynamite" may be within reach. Hang in there, author.

Kathleen said...

FWIW, author, I read a lot of fantasy, and I mostly agreed with Miss Snark. Why is your story different?

also, while I also like the name Tristan, I have to agree that it seems really tired for a fantasy hero. (and, to be honest, so does Lissa and Katerin). I like that they are "real" names and not made up, but they are so predictable.

Good luck!