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 1 
 on: Today at 12:12:17 AM 
Started by writersnook - Last post by Drachen
I guess I made the assumption everyone knows what a drone is. The drones mentioned here are like the drones used in the Middle East that are targeting people but many civilians are also dying. I can clarify that.

The drones of today don't self destruct if their owner dies!

IMO you shouldn't clarify what the drones are. Figure out what the story is. The drones are technology, and unless it's really central to the plot they should probably be left out entirely. If you find yourself explaining you're probably doing it wrong.

 2 
 on: Today at 12:08:28 AM 
Started by writersnook - Last post by gckatz
Quote
I used to have my query in four paragraphs, but after researching so many agents, I'm finding they want three paragraphs: hook with genre, word count, tite; book details; personal info. Perhaps I should go back to my original query even though it had four paragraphs.

I always want to preface this kind of conversation with "this is only how we do things around here, and other people have different opinions," but most of us don't recommend the "hook, the book, and the cook" method. We recommend putting the title/word count paragraph at the end and opening directly with a plot summary in two to three paragraphs. I, for one, do not recommend using a hook.

Quote
Dear [agent name],

Since ((insert some personal note)), I think you might enjoy BURNING SHADOWS. Complete at 90,000 words, BURNING SHADOWS is a YA dual POV science fiction story that takes the adventure of PRINCESS BRIDE to the harsh future of RED RISING. Yow, those are two VERY different comps! I wouldn't use either. Princess Bride is too old and not sci-fi; Red Rising isn't YA. How about Beyond the Red, Want, or The Abyss Surrounds Us? Two unlikely friends must choose which one gains freedom: Leo, who's been imprisoned since birth, or Ro, a Zulu shaman convicted of murder.

Having a personal killer drone is a nightmare. For seventeen years, Ro’s perfected the crook of submission, wondering every day is today the day myher drone will kill meher. What is the drone's purpose? Who controls it? As a synesthete, Ro escapes into colors to deal with her world where boys have ceased to be born and her parents left her for the Human Extinction Lab. What's that? She vows to never abandon the last generation of girls, Last generation? Have ALL babies ceased to be born? but after a drone kills many of the girls in her tribe, Ro risks her life to destroy her drone. Gifted with synesthesia and skilled as a shaman-apprentice, Ro attempts to fake her death so her drone will self-destruct. What does the first half of this sentence have to do with the second half? But when she fails to return from the dead, Ro unwittingly forces the youngest man on Earth, Leo, to choose between duty to what? and a chance to help her. How can he help her, and why would he? In their quest for freedom, Ro I thought she was dead. and Leo soon discover drones aren’t their only enemy. The forces of climate change and the powers of scientists What powers do scientists have? throw Ro and Leo into the darkness of selfishness I don't see what's selfish about this. as they question whether humans are meant to survive. Vague, since we don't know what information triggered this soul-searching.
 
I am the author of two award-winning short stories published online at WOW! Women on Writing and MWLM. I have no idea what that stands for. Google suggests Master of Wildlife Management, Magnetogram White Light Modulation, or Monticello Winfield Lignite Mine. I'm a member of AWP, SCBWI, and Story Talk. I have an M.S. in Biology and an M.A. in Secondary Education.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration!

 3 
 on: Yesterday at 11:17:09 PM 
Started by writersnook - Last post by TigerAsh
Dear [agent name],

Since ((insert some personal note)), I think you might enjoy BURNING SHADOWS. Complete at 90,000 words, BURNING SHADOWS is a 90,000-word YA Sci-Fi told from a dual POV. This story that takes the adventure of PRINCESS BRIDE to the harsh future of RED RISING. Two unlikely friends must choose which one gains freedom: Leo, who's been imprisoned since birth, or Ro, a Zulu shaman convicted of murder. [You can try to work this information into your query somewhere else, but it doesn't fit here.]

Having a personal killer drone is a nightmare. For seventeen years, Ro’s perfected the crook of submission [I don't know what that means], wondering every day is today the day my drone will kill me. As a synesthete, Ro escapes into colors [I don't know what that means either] to deal with her world where boys have ceased to be born and her parents left her for the Human Extinction Lab. [Why would her parents leave her at the Human Extinction Lab? What exactly is the Human Extinction Lab?] She vows to never abandon the last generation of girls, [Why is it the last generation of girls? I thought the boys are the ones who ceased to be born...] but after a drone kills many of the girls in her tribe, Ro risks her life to destroy her drone. [So ... I assume Ro has a drone but the other girls don't; why does Ro even have a drone?] Gifted with synesthesia and skilled as a shaman-apprentice, Ro attempts to fake her death so her drone will self-destruct. But when she fails to return from the dead, Ro unwittingly forces the youngest man on Earth, [If Ro failed to return from the dead, then how can she do anything?] Leo, to choose between duty and a chance to help her. [Why would Leo even consider helping her? Aren't they strangers? What's in it for him, or is it for the greater good of the world or what?] In their quest for freedom, [Freedom from what?] Ro and Leo soon discover drones aren’t their only enemy. The forces of climate change and the powers of scientists throw Ro and Leo into the darkness of selfishness as they question whether humans are meant to survive. [I'm sorry to say that after reading this, I'm still not completely sure what the story is about. I see the potential--the concept of your character having her own killer drone sounds cool--but I'm still confused at what exactly the overall conflict is. Also, I know you should try to only focus on one character in a query, even if you have a dual POV, but I don't understand Leo's role in the story at all. I think if you can better explain who Ro (or Leo) is, what she (or he) wants to achieve, what happens if she (or he) fails, and who is trying to stop her (or him) from achieving that goal, your query letter will be stronger.
 
I am the author of two award-winning short stories published online at WOW! Women on Writing and MWLM. I'm a member of AWP, SCBWI, and Story Talk. I have an M.S. in Biology and an M.A. in Secondary Education.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration!




Hope my comments help! Good luck! Smiley

 4 
 on: Yesterday at 10:22:29 PM 
Started by writersnook - Last post by writersnook
Thank you Drachen for your help. I used to have my query in four paragraphs, but after researching so many agents, I'm finding they want three paragraphs: hook with genre, word count, tite; book details; personal info. Perhaps I should go back to my original query even though it had four paragraphs.

I guess I made the assumption everyone knows what a drone is. The drones mentioned here are like the drones used in the Middle East that are targeting people but many civilians are also dying. I can clarify that.

Thank you again for your help Smiley

 5 
 on: Yesterday at 10:12:25 PM 
Started by writersnook - Last post by Drachen
Having a personal killer drone is a nightmare. This means nothing to me. For seventeen years, Ro’s perfected the crook of submission Huh? I know what those words mean, but I don't know what they mean in that order., wondering every day is today the day my drone will kill me They come out of books and kill the authors? "kill him" perhaps?. As a synesthete, Ro escapes into colors to deal with her world where boys have ceased to be born Very awkward wording and her parents left her for the Human Extinction Lab. Too much jargon, too many proper nouns make this confuisng. She vows to never abandon the last generation of girls, but after a drone kills many of the girls in her tribe, Ro risks her life to destroy her drone. I still don't know what a drone is. Gifted with synesthesia You already said she has synesthesia, don't repeat yourself. and skilled as a shaman-apprentice, Ro attempts to fake her death so her drone will self-destruct. But when she fails to return from the dead, Ro unwittingly forces the youngest man on Earth, Leo, to choose between duty and a chance to help her. In their quest for freedom, Ro and Leo soon discover drones aren’t their only enemy. The forces of climate change and the powers of scientists throw Ro and Leo into the darkness of selfishness as they question whether humans are meant to survive.


This query is highly problematic. You don't follow most of the traditional query rules, there's too much jargon so I'm lost as to what any of it really means. You try to do a ton of world building here and end up telling very little of the story. It's all in one paragraph, which makes it blocky and hard to read.

I really think you need to go back to basics and re-write the whole thing. I wouldn't be 100% sure that one agent really read any of it, unless they mention specifics about your story it's almost certainly a form rejection.

 6 
 on: Yesterday at 09:58:10 PM 
Started by writersnook - Last post by writersnook
Maybe it's my query or maybe it's my first chapter? I'm worried this doesn't ring as YA voice? Thank you in advance for your help Smiley


   This is the hour of long shadows.
   They extend beyond our grasp. Long stretches of darkness, more fiend than human. We don’t dare take our eyes from them. Not even as the golden pinwheel of sunset tips and folds its final rays of light. To look up is defiance, a deadly challenge.
This cemetery thrums of shadows that bleed into the ground. I slip past a windswept gravestone and follow my two shadows to the edge of mourners. Heads bent, backs breaking—sorrow binds to the crook of their surrender.
Marysia’s tiny hand tugs at mine. “Ro, let me see Papi.”
Papi. For ten years I’d wanted to call him that. My own left in a cloud of glass. Marysia’s father had picked up the pieces and put me back together. She forgets we are here to bury his body.
Little Marysia has his eyes, like waxing gibbous moons that promise the best has yet to come. Only for her father there is no tomorrow. She stomps on her two shadows and looks to me for approval.
“Careful now,” I tell her, but it’s a weak attempt. She knows I don’t cower to my shadows. Another mark against me in her mother’s mind.
A mourner with chiseled gray eyes lights upon Marysia. I bite my tongue before her name escapes. María. The mother of Marysia’s father, who rebelled against her shadows a year ago and brought the rains of Hellfire. Banished by her daughter-in-law, María has returned and shakes of disorienting grief.
Impatient fingers slip from mine as Marysia squeaks with surprise. “Abuela!” Her shirt unravels in my hand, stitch by stitch, teasing me but choosing the girl.
   She runs for her grandmother, ignoring her shadows.
I should call her back. Tell her, warn her. Don’t step too close, there are too many. But silence wraps around my throat. I shouldn’t be here. No one welcomes the one guilty of killing a man. This man. When I gave in to his begging, his eyes had flooded in relief, his hand trembled in mine as together we raised the vial of oily, yellow hemlock juice. By then, his aura of opal iridescence had already begun to fade. Death was coming for him. A leader among the miners of our rocky town, he will now rest forever under the ground.
The elders don’t permit the young girls to mourn the dead. They have a lifetime of grief ahead of them. But how could I not bring Marysia to her own father’s funeral? To never say good-bye is to sink in the quicksand of regret.
Her head of sheared hair is the last I see. It bobs like a thistle over her wavering shadows, as she pulls on María’s hand in search of her dead father.
   Be quick. Be safe. Let this funeral end.
   Then far away, a whistle hurtles toward us.

   A crescendo of vibrations falls upon our eardrums—a warning too late—as the deafening scream of wind locks our minds, cements our feet. The sun is not a sun, but explodes in the blast of inferno.
   We are blown, burned, and buried. Hellfire rains upon the mourners. Upon us all.
   Smoke is a sly thief that robs my lungs of air. I blink, but rocky dust scores my eyes. The stone under my head is cracked and wet with blood. I’m blasted more than twenty feet away from where I stood only seconds before. Where did the sun go? Where did she go?
   “Marysia!” I try to yell, my throat on fire, but no sound escapes my lips.
The ground is a blackened hole. Gravestones break into pieces and unearthed coffins crack in half. The dead pile on top of the living with the weight of Hell. Bodies are blanketed in metallic splinters. Fragments of metal flare copper-gold in the flames as smoke consumes the falling spray of dust and dirt. All of it perforates my heart.
   These are silent seconds, followed by screams of the lost. My eyes blur, then bind themselves against the chaos. Don’t look. Don’t listen. My lungs scorch themselves dry before I remember to breathe. Is it too late? Have my shadows swallowed me whole?
I inhale sharply, trying to clear my vision. Shadows of smoke move, clawing into empty space. Where Marysia once stood is now a gaping hole of nothing. No earth, no people. Only space that’s scorched black.
   I curse the killers. “You can’t have her!”
   Marysia’s the kid sister I never had. Always trailing after me, one question and then another. I need her more than she’s ever needed me.
   “Marysia, where are you?” I cry out.
   The sun burns with darkness. It disorients me. Day is night and gravity has flipped its channel. My arms spasm as I drag my legs through a sludge of shock and fear.
   Find her.
   I grab a jagged block of stone and throw it aside. Beneath that is a mass of more stone. My hands move in a frantic fury. Faster and faster I dig. Climbing mounds of coffins and cracked tree trunks to join others just as helpless as me. Our shouts ring hollow, for the ones buried beneath us don’t answer.
We dig and dig through concrete rubble, leaden tree roots, and past the bodies buried long ago. But the pulverized rubble is several feet high. I’m only inches deep. I pull out a severed bloody arm. I save a foot. For some, this is all we will have to bury.
   But where is she?
   This is the longest hour.
   
   Marysia is made of porcelain. Dusted eyelashes that roll down glassy eyes. I press her tender hand to my cheek. I find her enclosed in a tomb of heavy dirt. I wipe it from her lips. But there is still more. And more and more.
   I coax her to smile. To see her defiant stance upon her shadows. But her yellow aura is gone and her skin grows cold.
   I carry her—over the broken bodies—and place her in the arms of her mother, Joanne, whose aura of purple repels me. I steal away before I see my guilt reflected in her eyes.
   I can’t escape my shadows—one savagely torments me from my deadly mistakes. The other relishes its reign of loss. I can’t destroy one without losing the other. They pass over the broken flowerhead of a thistle. The crumpled and torn petals fall apart in my fingers. Ash and dust. Irreplaceable.
   Marysia, you are free of your shadows.

 7 
 on: Yesterday at 09:55:20 PM 
Started by writersnook - Last post by writersnook
Hi everyone! I was on here a year ago, but spent the past year making major changes to my manuscript after getting some helpful feedback from Entangled Teen. I've started to query my story again, but so far I have 10 form rejections and 1 helpful one (agent said the idea sounds great but the first chapter didn't 'fit' with her). So I'm wondering if it's my query or the first chapter. This YA Sci-Fi is going to be a hard sell I think (set in near future with climate change issues). I am grateful to anyone who might take a minute to read my query and let me know thumbs up or down. I'll go post my first chapter, too. Thank you so much!

Dear [agent name],

Since ((insert some personal note)), I think you might enjoy BURNING SHADOWS. Complete at 90,000 words, BURNING SHADOWS is a YA dual POV story that takes the adventure of PRINCESS BRIDE to the harsh future of RED RISING. Two unlikely friends must choose which one gains freedom: Leo, who's been imprisoned since birth, or Ro, a Zulu shaman convicted of murder.

Having a personal killer drone is a nightmare. For seventeen years, Ro’s perfected the crook of submission, wondering every day is today the day my drone will kill me. As a synesthete, Ro escapes into colors to deal with her world where boys have ceased to be born and her parents left her for the Human Extinction Lab. She vows to never abandon the last generation of girls, but after a drone kills many of the girls in her tribe, Ro risks her life to destroy her drone. Gifted with synesthesia and skilled as a shaman-apprentice, Ro attempts to fake her death so her drone will self-destruct. But when she fails to return from the dead, Ro unwittingly forces the youngest man on Earth, Leo, to choose between duty and a chance to help her. In their quest for freedom, Ro and Leo soon discover drones aren’t their only enemy. The forces of climate change and the powers of scientists throw Ro and Leo into the darkness of selfishness as they question whether humans are meant to survive.
 
I am the author of two award-winning short stories published online at WOW! Women on Writing and MWLM. I'm a member of AWP, SCBWI, and Story Talk. I have an M.S. in Biology and an M.A. in Secondary Education.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration!

 8 
 on: Yesterday at 05:37:16 PM 
Started by deutschlandchick - Last post by deutschlandchick
I hope this doesn't sound strange, but I want to say congratulations. You're doing a very good and necessary thing by contacting the tribe. I hope you will get good feedback and find that you can continue with your story. Best of luck to you.

Doesn't sounds strange at all!!! I love your comment! Thank you!!!! Thank you for your support!  Smiley Smiley

 9 
 on: Yesterday at 03:50:58 PM 
Started by Mimsy811 - Last post by Tabris
If you haven't called, then don't move on to the threat until after you've left a message and she hasn't called back in 48 hours.

 10 
 on: Yesterday at 02:01:48 PM 
Started by Mimsy811 - Last post by Mimsy811
Thanks Tabris and skribbler. Calling is next... Also LOVE Sloth Literary Agents LLC!  clap

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