Adult Contemporary Re-tell – “Artie & the Dodecagon” – Michelle4Laughs QL Blog Hop

Hi all,as many of you will have read, Michelle Hauck (Michelle4laughs – http://michelle4laughs.blogspot.com.au/ ) is currently running a query letter critique blog-hop. Even though I posted my first page on my personal blog, I thought, given I posted about the blog-hop here & given I’ve tormented many of you with critiquing your QL’s, I’d return the favour.

A few notes. This is WIP and although I know the main twist plots and the ending, it’s not quite 1/2 through finished so the below is a QL on a WIP for which I have guestimated the final word-count. As Michelle is accepting QLs for WIPS and given the content, I thought I’d brave the QL critique waters. Also, while the QL is careful not to use offensive words – especially out of context, this is a violent & sexually charged story & not for the faint-hearted. If you want to read my draft 1-st page, its on my Nikola Vukoja blog – http://nikvukoja.wordpress.com/ – even the first few lines will make it clear. Just thought I’d mention that 😉

For those 5 above and below me on Michelle’s list, I promise to get to you ASAP – it’s my birthday tomorrow & mum’s on the 6th so the next few days could be a bit hit-and-miss 🙂

QUERY:

Dear Awesome Agent,

When sorceress and Australian crime-boss Morgause’ hit-men fail to take out Artie before he discovers he’s the new ‘once & future king,’ Morgause implements plan-B, kill Artie’s spirit.

She tasks her son to seduce Artie’s best mate and then uses the witless love-struck human to spy on Artie. Then, discovering Artie’s Catholic Priest is struggling with his vows and the woman of his sexual fantasies is Artie’s girlfriend Gwen, Morgause ply’s Gwen and the Priest with a powerful tonic. The potion fevers lust while diluting a mortal’s reason and moral compass. Gwen and the Priest spend a wild night together, but with the clarity of morning, both regret their actions. Ashamed, they agree to tell no one; however, a secret video of their night together quickly goes viral on Youtube.

Feeling betrayed and struggling with the world either vilifying Gwen or laughing at him, Artie is broken. Morgause can finally destroy the man and the legend and also have her revenge on the first King Arthur, and her nemesis, Merlin.

But Artie isn’t alone. With the help of an invisible dragon and the mythical Rainbow Serpent of Koori legend, Merlin casts magic bullets which should vanquish Morgause. But in order for the magic to bond, a final ingredient is needed… forgiveness. If Artie has truly forgiven his best mate, priest, girlfriend, and even his parents for their lies, then the magic will work. The final body-count will determine the power of Artie’s forgiveness by who survives.

Told for dual POV (Morguase’ & Artie’s), ARTIE AND THE DODECAGON is an (estimated) 80,000-word contemporary adult, sexually explicit (straight and gay), dark, Arthurian re-tell set in Scotland and Australia.

I was born in Croatia, raised in Australia and have lived in France. In 2013 I placed in a worldwide short story competition. In 2015 I’ll have a short story published in an anthology with a US publisher. I’m also a painter, a slave to my Feline Overlords and active on social media.

Per submission guidelines …..

Regards,

 

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17 thoughts on “Adult Contemporary Re-tell – “Artie & the Dodecagon” – Michelle4Laughs QL Blog Hop

  1. Contemporary isn’t my genre, so please take this with a grain of salt!

    ===================

    When sorceress and Australian crime-boss Morgause’ hit-men fail to take out Artie before he discovers he’s the new ‘once & future king,’ Morgause implements plan-B, kill Artie’s spirit. —{I’m not sure what ‘spitit’ is supposed to represent here – his life/soul/motivation?}—

    She tasks her son to seduce Artie’s best mate and then uses the witless love-struck human to spy on Artie. —{I’m not sure what’s going on here – it feels like there’s too much of the “friend of a friend of a friend of mine so it’s hard to put it all together in my opinion}—

    Then, discovering Artie’s Catholic Priest is struggling with his vows and the woman of his sexual fantasies is Artie’s girlfriend Gwen, Morgause ply’s Gwen and the Priest with a powerful tonic. The potion fevers lust while diluting a mortal’s reason and moral compass. Gwen and the Priest spend a wild night together, but with the clarity of morning, both regret their actions. Ashamed, they agree to tell no one; however, a secret video of their night together quickly goes viral on Youtube. —{I like the development, but at this point, I’m not sure who your main character is anymore – I thought it was Morgause, but after all the information and detail about the other characters, I’m not sure – is this a multiple point of view story?}—

    Feeling betrayed and struggling with the world either vilifying Gwen or laughing at him, Artie is broken. Morgause can finally destroy the man and the legend and also have her revenge on the first King Arthur, and her nemesis, Merlin.

    But Artie isn’t alone. With the help of an invisible dragon and the mythical Rainbow Serpent of Koori legend, Merlin casts magic bullets which should vanquish Morgause. But in order for the magic to bond, a final ingredient is needed… forgiveness. If Artie has truly forgiven his best mate, priest, girlfriend, and even his parents for their lies, then the magic will work. The final body-count will determine the power of Artie’s forgiveness by who survives.

    I like how the Arthur legend is taken to the modern world – it’s a fun idea! The only thing is, I’m unsure who’s the main character – unless there’s more than one? And I feel like parts, here and there, read more like synopsis than a query, in my opinion.

    Hope this helps!
    Good luck! 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks so much for your feedback. I did mean spirit but more like motivation, will to live, but I see how this could come out at “soul” or similar, especially given the genre, so that’s a really good point.
      I can also see that there is already a pattern, re: the POV. I need to add that this is a multi POV so I need to work on that. At this stage it’s a 3 POV, Morgause, Artie & Merlin, however, as it’s still a WIP, this may change to just Artie & Morgause. Thank you again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE the premise here. The contemporary setting really drew me in and it sounds like you have an original enough spin for your retelling. The blend between familiar and unfamiliar is extremely well balanced. Most of my suggestions are mechanical in nature, so I tried to work them into the text. Unfortunately it looks a little confusing in blog form. I apologize for the blocks of text.

    When sorceress and Australian crime-boss Morgause’ <> hit-men fail to take out Artie before he discovers he’s the new <> ‘once & future king,’ Morgause implements plan-B, kill Artie’s spirit. <>

    She tasks her son to seduce Artie’s best mate and then <> uses the witless love-struck human to spy on Artie. Then, discovering Artie’s Catholic Priest <> is struggling with his vows and the woman of his sexual fantasies is Artie’s girlfriend Gwen, Morgause ply’s Gwen and the Priest with a powerful tonic. <> The potion fevers lust while diluting a mortal’s reason and moral compass. Gwen and the Priest spend a wild night together, but with the clarity of morning, both regret their actions. Ashamed, they agree to tell no one; however, a secret video of their night together quickly goes viral on Youtube.<>

    Feeling betrayed and struggling with the world either vilifying Gwen or laughing at him, Artie is broken. <> <> Morgause can finally destroy the man<> the legend<> and also have her revenge on the first King Arthur, and her nemesis, Merlin. <>

    But Artie isn’t alone. With the help of an invisible dragon and the mythical Rainbow Serpent of Koori legend, Merlin casts magic bullets which should vanquish Morgause. But in order for the magic to bond, a final ingredient is needed… forgiveness. If Artie has truly forgiven his best mate, priest, girlfriend, and even his parents for their lies, then the magic will work. The final body-count will determine the power of Artie’s forgiveness by who survives. <>

    ARTIE AND THE DODECAGON, an 80,000-word contemporary adult, sexually explicit (straight and gay), dark, Arthurian re-tell set in Scotland and Australia. (Sounds wicked cool! And you have the best bio ever.)

    I love how clear the premise and stakes are. You also managed to give us an overview of the story without it sounding like a synopsis. I do think we lose a sense of Morgause at the end, unless this is a dual POV story? It sounds up front like Morgause is the MC, but by the end we know more about Arthur’s goals. If Morgause is the only POV character, I’d throw in one more line at the end to tie it back to her. If it is dual POVs, I’d mention that in the ARTIE AND THE DODECAGON paragraph.

    Hope this helps. My QL is for a WIP too 🙂 Best of luck finishing and Happy Holidays!

    @AshleyHearn

    Like

  3. I LOVE the premise here. The contemporary setting really drew me in and it sounds like you have an original enough spin for your retelling. The blend between familiar and unfamiliar is extremely well balanced. Most of my suggestions are mechanical in nature, so I tried to work them into the text. Unfortunately it looks a little confusing in blog form. I apologize for the blocks of text.

    When sorceress and Australian crime-boss Morgause’ (are you missing the possessive s?) hit-men fail to take out Artie before he discovers he’s the new (this is a pretty wordy sentence, I think new is one you can cut) ‘once & future king,’ Morgause implements plan-B, kill Artie’s spirit. (COOL! Sets up the premise really well.)

    She tasks her son to seduce Artie’s best mate and then (I want to delete and. Makes the connection between the best mate and love-struck human sound stronger) uses the witless love-struck human to spy on Artie. Then, discovering Artie’s Catholic Priest (unless Priest is his name, it’s usually lowercase) is struggling with his vows and the woman of his sexual fantasies is Artie’s girlfriend Gwen, Morgause ply’s Gwen and the Priest with a powerful tonic. (This sentence is pretty winding. I think it would help to move the subject, Morgause, up and try to take some of the meat out of the dependent clause. Either that or break it down. By the time I figure out where the sentence is heading, I’m bogged down in the number of characters being introduced.) The potion fevers lust while diluting a mortal’s reason and moral compass. Gwen and the Priest spend a wild night together, but with the clarity of morning, both regret their actions. Ashamed, they agree to tell no one; however, a secret video of their night together quickly goes viral on Youtube.(OH! This hooked me with setting. Really grounds the story in a contemporary setting. Awesome!)

    Feeling betrayed and struggling with the world either vilifying Gwen or laughing at him, Artie is broken. (This is another sentence I want to simplify. Mostly by making the subject more clear. “Betrayed and broken, Artie struggles with the world either vilifying Gwen or laughing at him.”) (Now) Morgause can finally destroy the man (comma) the legend(comma) and also have her revenge on the first King Arthur, and her nemesis, Merlin. (the back end of this sentence is wordy. It almost sounds like Merlin is the first King Arthur?)

    But Artie isn’t alone. With the help of an invisible dragon and the mythical Rainbow Serpent of Koori legend, Merlin casts magic bullets which should vanquish Morgause. But in order for the magic to bond, a final ingredient is needed… forgiveness. If Artie has truly forgiven his best mate, priest, girlfriend, and even his parents for their lies, then the magic will work. The final body-count will determine the power of Artie’s forgiveness by who survives. (Love the end. Very clear stakes!)

    ARTIE AND THE DODECAGON, an 80,000-word contemporary adult, sexually explicit (straight and gay), dark, Arthurian re-tell set in Scotland and Australia. (Sounds wicked cool! And you have the best bio ever.)

    I love how clear the premise and stakes are. You also managed to give us an overview of the story without it sounding like a synopsis. I do think we lose a sense of Morgause at the end, unless this is a dual POV story? It sounds up front like Morgause is the MC, but by the end we know more about Arthur’s goals. If Morgause is the only POV character, I’d throw in one more line at the end to tie it back to her. If it is dual POVs, I’d mention that in the ARTIE AND THE DODECAGON paragraph.

    Hope this helps. My QL is for a WIP too 🙂 Best of luck finishing and Happy Holidays!

    @AshleyHearn

    Like

    • Thanks for your comments & you’re spot on, it is multi POV. It’s told from the viewpoint of Artie, Morgause & Merlin, I was trying to decide if I should mention the multi POV & if so, should I mention the characters for each multi POV.
      you’re helped me a lot – thank you 🙂

      Like

  4. Sounds like a fun story! I agree that you should point out that it is a multi POV story. Who are they? What are their goals? What is standing in the way of getting what they want?
    The second paragraph was a little confusing. Maybe when you sort out the POV issue, that part will read clearer.
    I would like to know what is driving Morgause in her quest to kill Artie. And what is her connection to King Arthur. (if that’s relevant to the story)
    I really like your last paragraph, where you set up the stakes for Artie. It’s a strong hook.
    Good luck and happy writing!

    Like

    • Thanks Laurie,

      well that settles it (lol) three comments on Dual POV – I should have gone with my instinct.
      Given it’s a WIP (and uncompleted) I’m over the proverbial moon that people are connecting with the story & premise. I’m off to edit & add Dual POV! lol

      Like

  5. Aloha! Please forgive me if I may sound ignorant. This story sounds like it has a lot of drama and conflict and I get the feeling that it will be a page turner, which I like:) But I was a bit confused with some parts of the query, and that may also be because don’t know much about the genre. I’d like to know more about Morgause right off the bat. Also, I feel that it could be streamlined and perhaps you are trying to pack too much in the query? I see you got some good feedback on details in the previous comment and I wish you luck!

    Like

    • Hi Sara,
      You don’t sound ignorant at all 🙂
      The issue I have with going into too much detail with Morgause is then the QL could sound way too much like a synopsis, and it could get too long. It’s already over 330 words. However, one of the comments mentioned they’d like to know why Morgause wants revenge on the 1st King Arthur. I’m working on one sentence at the moment that, if I can get right, will (hopefully) answer that & then it’ll also give a little more on Morgause.
      As the WIP isn’t finished yet, I’m super happy people are reading this early draft and liking the premise, as well as seeing the drama and the stakes. It great to get fresh-eyes feedback 🙂

      Thanks for reading and commenting, it’s really appreciated & has helped 🙂

      Like

  6. To be honest, the language in this query confused me a heck of a lot… Even just your first sentence is structurally… confusing:

    When sorceress and Australian crime-boss Morgause’ hit-men fail to take out Artie before he discovers he’s the new ‘once & future king,’ Morgause implements plan-B, kill Artie’s spirit.

    Okay, ‘sorceress and Australian crime-boss’ – is this a single person, or two? ‘Morgause’, I have no idea why there’s an apostrophe at the end, but because it’s followed by ‘hit-men’, this sounds like a syndicate name rather than a person’s name. Then, when I’m thinking that Morgause might be a person’s name, and since you always start a query with the main character, I’m assuming M is the main character, suddenly we have another character, Artie, and I have no idea who he is or what a ‘once & future king’ is… so I’m already confused about who the main character is… because then you swap back to M ‘implementing plan-B’, whatever that is…

    I am so totally confused at what’s going on, I don’t think any further comments are going to be useful. What I need first is clarity. Who is the main character? What do they want? What/who is standing in their way?

    Like

    • Thanks for your feedback. I’m sorry this confused you & I knew the storyline (and therefore the QL) would be divisional, so I’m fine with your comments. Re: the (‘) after Morgause(‘) it’s a style of grammar, whereby if you have an ‘S’ at the end of a word before the apostrophe, or ( as in this case) you have the sound of too many ‘S’ -es, rather than write Morgause’s, you leave off the ‘s’ but keep the apostrophe.
      I do appreciate your comment and your time,
      Nik.

      Like

  7. I felt a little confused at the start with a lot of things going on at once. After a couple reads, I was able to get an idea of the story and like the premise. I think you can streamline the basics of the multi-POVs storylines and highlight the key points more effectively. Focus on who the main character is, or are, what they want, and what they do to get it.
    Good luck!

    Like

  8. So the first thing I noticed about this is the dual POV. It is my humble opinion that it’s enough to mention at the end that this is in two POVs. This way, you can stick to one character’s story in the query, and really focus on making their voice strong. Otherwise, you get 150 words for one, and 150 words for the other, and that’s just not enough.

    Second, this read much more like a list of events than a query, which makes sense as it’s still a WIP. I find it much easier to write my query after I’ve at least finished my first draft; I have a better idea for what to focus on after I’ve hit “The End.”

    All that being said, I really like Morgause’s voice and character, and was very excited to see this story told from her point of view. Artie’s been overdone, so starting with Morgause is A+ idea, and you should definitely stick with that as you hook, then just mention Artie’s POV after the title/genre/word count etc. In this vein, I’d love to know more about Morgause’s motivations, what she stands to gain and lose (more than just revenge).

    Best of luck finishing your novel! I hope to see it around in the near future!

    Like

    • Hi Bryanne,
      thanks so much for your feedback & you’re 100% right, it’s so hard to write a QL before the final draft is finished. Morgause is an interesting character (you are spot on), the way I’m writing her is she seems utterly ruthless – and she is – but that is measured from another’s prospect, not her’s. And I also agree, writing a Arthurian re-tell from Arthur’s viewpoint is done and done and done. In the end, this WIP will change a dozen times & I was considering NOT posting my QL draft for the very reasons you mentioned, however, my re-tell is so off-beat and violent/graphic that I thought it would be a great insight into how people perceive it. I’m so happy to see that the majority of readers (thus far) are getting it, as have you and your suggestions are going to be super useful for me after the 2nd or 3rd draft stage – thank you 🙂

      Like

  9. Ooh, I really like the idea of retelling Arthur’s legend in a cool modern-day setting. I think you’ve done a good job handling the dual POV in the query. You have a lot of great suggestions already, and I think if you do add that one sentence to show Morgause’s motivation for destroying Artie, you’ll pretty much be set!

    Like

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