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 1 
 on: Today at 05:32:26 PM 
Started by NextChapter - Last post by NextChapter
Don't you just hate it when you copy and paste from your last query, which was the most perfect query ever, and as you hit send, you realize you forgot to change the name of the agent, or the reference to books the last agent represented, or "the first chapter is attached as . . ." when you have actually included the first five pages in the email. And you just know the query is going nowhere. Ugh!

 2 
 on: Today at 02:28:01 PM 
Started by kristinb - Last post by kristinb
I don't have any constructive comments because both the original and revision have me like "whoa."

Then again, I'm either the perfect reader for suspense or an awful one because I tend to believe narrators at first...

You have made my day. :D :D :D Thanks for the compliment!

 3 
 on: Today at 02:14:50 PM 
Started by kristinb - Last post by slightlysmall
I don't have any constructive comments because both the original and revision have me like "whoa."

Then again, I'm either the perfect reader for suspense or an awful one because I tend to believe narrators at first...

 4 
 on: Today at 12:54:26 PM 
Started by kristinb - Last post by kristinb
Thank you for this!

 5 
 on: Today at 12:01:56 PM 
Started by kristinb - Last post by koji
The story sounds quite interesting. But, to me, the query is a bit dry and play-by-play.

I would maybe start with Grace moving back to town.

"Penn can't help but fall back in love with his former neighbor Grace when her family returns to town. The only problem is that he harbors a dark secret about Grace's missing sister: his mentally ill father killed her, and Penn was the one to bury her body.

Between (flirting at work? Or insert something about their interactions- are they awkward, hot, friendly?) Grace tries to find out what happened to her sister. What she discovers is that her sister wasn’t their town’s first “runaway” - children have been disappearing for decades, without any follow-up investigations. (Maybe say whether Penn helps or hinders Grace's investigation)

In the midst of their feverish search for answers, Penn starts having hallucinations that mirror his father’s. Penn's terrified that his father’s illness has overcome him, until he realizes that the voices in his head know which child will vanish next.

Penn realizes he never saw his father kill Grace's sister and thinks there may be more to the story than he knows. But... insert clear stakes here--- what will happen/what is he trying to do? Is he trying to clear his dad's name? Is there a risk that he will go insane? Is there a risk that Grace will find out and his dad will go to jail? etc. 

DEAD HORSE is a speculative YA mystery in the vein of BONE GAP and IMAGINARY GIRLS. It is complete at 85,000 words.


Obviously I don't know your story so these are just suggestions, but I think it would be good to concentrate more on what is happening when Penn and Grace are YA and not so much on the inciting incident, as I assume as a YA book, most of it takes place when Grace returns. Tell us about their relationship, make us want Penn to succeed (in getting the girl, in clearing his father's name, in solving the mystery etc)

 6 
 on: Today at 10:53:45 AM 
Started by katD - Last post by katD
Thank you so much for your thoughts and suggestions!

 7 
 on: Today at 09:40:00 AM 
Started by katD - Last post by kristinb
Love this, but I would just simplify a little?


There is only one way to shut down a bully. Okay, maybe there is more than one way, but for Gracie Donovan there was only one. That's how she wound up, held by the scruff of her scrawny neck, sporting her third black eye since October.

 8 
 on: Today at 09:34:15 AM 
Started by kristinb - Last post by kristinb
Hi all,

This book is NOT ready for querying yet, but queries / synopses are the bane of my existence, so I'm getting a jump on it. Smiley Please rip it to shreds. Thanks.





Dear Agent,

Penn has always been in love with Grace Gutierrez. He’s also pretty sure his dad killed Grace's sister. When he was eleven, Penn found his mentally ill father crouched beside Amy Gutierrez's body with a shotgun, muttering, “won't let you take her...”

So Penn did the only thing a good son could do: he buried the dead girl.

After the police ruled Amy a runaway, the grief-stricken Gutierrez family left town. But now, the day before Penn's high school graduation, Grace moves back - back into Penn's life, his neighborhood, and his summer job. It’s impossible not to fall for her all over again. 

The more time Penn spends with Grace, the harder it is to keep his dad’s secret. Grace is not satisfied with the police’s verdict; she’s determined to find out what really happened to her sister. But what she discovers is that Amy wasn’t their town’s first “runaway” - children have been disappearing for decades, without any follow-up investigations.

Suddenly, in the midst of their feverish search for answers, Penn starts having hallucinations - hallucinations that mirror his father’s. At first, Penn believes his father’s illness has overcome him, too - until he realizes that the voices in his head know which child will vanish next.

Penn's father might be sick, but he’s never been crazy.

DEAD HORSE is a speculative YA mystery in the vein of BONE GAP and IMAGINARY GIRLS. It is complete at 85,000 words.

 9 
 on: Today at 09:23:05 AM 
Started by Thanksgiving400 - Last post by kristinb


Arguments raged through the meeting house and Michael Tanner scolded himself for getting stuck in the middle of
 
the room. The debates around him blended into an indistinguishable uproar as the men of Swansea unleashed years

of pent up frustration and paranoia. At least someone had the good sense to open a window, but the spring air that

trickled in was no match for the angry crowd.


He glanced at the ceiling half a foot above his head, and sighed. Why did the Pokanoket do it? he asked himself.

Their raid on Swansea that morning was a gift to the villagers who insisted the neighboring tribe posed a threat.

Demands for retaliation and accusations of cowardice proved those who desired war would be taking full advantage of

the opportunity.


Arguments raged through the meeting house, and Michael Tanner scolded himself for getting stuck in the middle of
 
the room. The debates around him blended into an indistinguishable uproar as the men of Swansea unleashed years

of pent up frustration and paranoia. At least someone had the good sense to open a window, but the spring air that

trickled in was no match for the angry crowd
. [I would rephrase this last sentence? I know what you're saying, but it's still a little vague. Maybe something like, "The spring air could not dilute the ugly feelings that raged in the room."]


He glanced at the ceiling half a foot above his head, and sighed. Why did the Pokanoket do it? he asked himself. [I'm sure this is something you're aware of, but whoa - writing about the colonization of America and conflict with Native nations, that is going to require a LOT of research, and a lot of gentleness and sensitivity. I'm probably preaching to the choir, but I'd be remiss if I ignored this in my critique. Smiley ]

Their raid on Swansea that morning was a gift to the villagers who insisted the neighboring tribe posed a threat. [Great sentence.]

Demands for retaliation and accusations of cowardice proved those who desired war would be taking full advantage of

the opportunity.

*


I feel like this is a really nice opening! Great job. :D

 10 
 on: Today at 08:07:24 AM 
Started by scarlett25oh - Last post by mgmystery
Nice job! A couple of nitpicky things: 1. when you skip a line between paragraphs, you don't need to indent. 2. I think the "and" in this sentence would work better as "but" ...stay alive and he wonders if life is worth living...

I don't read fantasy, but I think this is a good clear query.  Thumbs Up Good luck!

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