Author Topic: Query for YA sci-fi  (Read 3424 times)

Offline siouxshi

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Query for YA sci-fi
« on: September 15, 2013, 01:32:36 PM »
Hey all!  I'm new to the boards, but could really use some help ... I'd love some ideas on the query (and the title if you're good with that kinds of thing - I don't think it's my strong suit!)  Well, here goes...


Dear Ms. Agent,

   Rennie Winters is totally excited to spend her summer in California.  A chance to see her best friend Maia again (who had the audacity to move 2000 miles away in the middle of their junior year), maybe get a teensy bit of non-lobster color on her pasty Pennsylvania complexion, and most important of all, to forget the horrible accident that haunts her memories. 

   All is going according to plan until she meets swoon-worthy Alex.  Rennie falls instantly, but Maia insists that he’s trouble.  Seriously?  How can a boy with hair that good be trouble?  And to complicate matters further, Rennie’s dreams are becoming a serious problem.  It’s bad enough she has to deal with them at night, but now they’re becoming more persistent, butting into her day while she’s awake.  Not cool.  Surely a clever (if slightly geeky) girl like Rennie can figure out what’s going on.  At least she hopes so, because these dreams are getting creepier, and they seem to know her by name.

   PAPER DREAMS is a Young Adult novel with a sci-fi twist, complete at 75,400 words.  I would be happy to send you the full manuscript on request.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Me
DRAWN IN: BOOK ONE OF THE PAPER DREAMS CHRONICLES (2015)

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Offline Mark_Hughes

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Re: Query for YA sci-fi
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2013, 03:36:40 PM »
Hi Siouxshi (pronounced sushi, I gather) -
I'd say you're already doing better than a lot of first-timers at this. In fact, I suggest you go ahead and send out a few query letters with pretty much what you have here, as you might just get a strike. I will make a couple of suggestions though -

  • Keep everything in present tense. A couple of places you lapse into past.
  • Bring out more about her dreams and how they invade her daylight reality. As is, there isn't much to intrigue us.
  • Leave out the bit about being happy to send them the full version, as it's very well understood.

Lastly, I recommend Query University. It consists of the following semi-non-elective courses:
1. The query guidelines provided by this site and also Agent Query.
2. Nathan Bransford's wonderful archive of replies to would-be query writers.
3. Query Shark's (Janet Reid's) just as wonderful archive of the same.
4. Elana Johnson's concise guidelines on writing queries, found here -

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/123185124/From-the-Query-to-the-Call-by-Elana-Johnson

Does this seem like a lot of work, just to write 250-300 words? Absolutely. On the other hand, recall that agents offer representation to about 0.01% of the authors who write to them. Use every advantage you can to rise above the crowd. You've spent X hours writing 75,000 words - don't cut them short now. Oh, and good luck,

Mark
Stories are equipment for living - critic Kenneth Burke

Offline violet

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Re: Query for YA sci-fi
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2013, 04:43:18 PM »
Hey all!  I'm new to the boards, but could really use some help ... I'd love some ideas on the query (and the title if you're good with that kinds of thing - I don't think it's my strong suit!)  Well, here goes...


Dear Ms. Agent,

   Rennie Winters is totally excited to spend her summer in California.  A chance to see her best friend Maia again (who had the audacity to move 2000 miles away in the middle of their junior year), maybe get a teensy bit of non-lobster color on her pasty Pennsylvania complexion, and most important of all, to forget the horrible accident that haunts her memories.  Great opener and great voice!   :clap:

   All is going according to plan until she meets swoon-worthy Alex.  Rennie falls instantly, but Maia insists that he’s trouble.  Seriously?  How can a boy with hair that good be trouble?   :rof2: And to complicate matters further, Rennie’s dreams are becoming a serious problem.  It’s bad enough she has to deal with them at night, but now they’re becoming more persistent, butting into her day while she’s awake. ---> This needs more explanation, I think. Does she nap? Or how can dreams happen during the day? Not cool.  Surely a clever (if slightly geeky)--->telling--show us why she's geeky. ie-her Dr. Who tshirt is her fave etc.   girl like Rennie can figure out what’s going on.  At least she hopes so, because these dreams are getting creepier, and they seem to know her by name. Hmmm...okay, but I think you need to go back to the accident, because it all feels too vague right now, and not a great ending hook. As in, we need higher stakes. So the dreams are getting creepy...so what? What's at stake for the MC? She'll die? What?

   PAPER DREAMS is a Young Adult novel with a sci-fi twist, complete at (round up or down) 75,400 75,000 words.  I would be happy to send you the full manuscript on request.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Me

I think you're halfway home. But I think the 2nd graph needs work still. Also, you label this sci-fi, but I'm not really getting that from the query. Dreams during the day don't feel quite sci-fi. So you need to let us in a little more on why this is sci-fi.  :up:
« Last Edit: September 15, 2013, 04:47:00 PM by violet »

Silence18

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Re: Query for YA sci-fi
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2013, 04:44:47 PM »
Hullo! I feel Mark and Violet's suggestions were good. The only thing I would add is that you mention Alex but then there's nothing connecting him w/the dreams. Perhaps there isn't anything to connect him to the disturbing dreams(as either a cause, or the person who might know what's going on w/Rennie) and if that's the case, feel free to ignore me!  ;D

Best of luck to you!  

Offline cnk521

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Re: Query for YA sci-fi
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2013, 05:18:47 PM »
Hi

I agree with Violet. For me Sci-fi either includes a lot of technology/technology driven plot, aliens ( obvious one) , and out of this world aspects ( spaceships, colonies on different planets, etc..). Maybe your MS is more Fantasy? It'll probably be best to look up genre definitions since i could be wrong.

Also, after reading your other post for title help, I'm wondering why you left out the traveling through books and portals. To me those are much better attention grabbers than creepy dreams.

This is definitely a book i would read. Good job and Good luck.
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The line is originally from a much older poem by Arthur O'Shaugnhnessy which is really good. Here is the link if you're interested. http://www.bartleby.com/103/6.html

Offline siouxshi

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Re: Query for YA sci-fi
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2013, 11:34:13 AM »
These are some REALLY great suggestions!  I think maybe I was trying to keep it too simple and not reveal everything - but I do need to find a way to work in the books/portals.  Thanks so much for the ideas - keep 'em coming!   :yes:
DRAWN IN: BOOK ONE OF THE PAPER DREAMS CHRONICLES (2015)

http://siouxtrett.wordpress.com

“All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn't your pet -- it's your kid. It grows up and talks back to you.” - Joss Whedon

Offline gigilala

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Re: Query for YA sci-fi
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2013, 12:13:04 PM »
Hi Siouxshi-

I really don't have much to add but I felt the need to reply because my romantic interest is also named Alex (tee hee) and there's a lot of dream stuff in my MS as well.  :)

I love your voice, but I agree with Violet that the second paragraph needs to be fleshed out so that we understand why it's SF. When you talk about the dreams butting into her days, I thought you meant as day dreams or fantasies, so I think a bit more explanation is needed.

Okay, I just re-read your end, and I actually really like your description of "YA with a SF twist," so we know it's not full-on SF but just elements. You might consider referring to it as Magical Realism. Just a thought.  :)  Good luck!!

Offline Pandean

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Re: Query for YA sci-fi
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2013, 12:25:59 PM »
Hey all!  I'm new to the boards, but could really use some help ... I'd love some ideas on the query (and the title if you're good with that kinds of thing - I don't think it's my strong suit!)  Well, here goes...


Dear Ms. Agent,

   Rennie Winters is totally excited to spend her summer in California.  A chance to see her best friend Maia again (who had the audacity to move 2000 miles away in the middle of their junior year), maybe get a teensy bit of non-lobster color on her pasty Pennsylvania complexion, and most important of all, Not really a fan of this, it seems like a lot of info we don't need.to forget the horrible accident that haunts her memories.  THIS is what we need

   All is going according to plan until she meets swoon-worthy AlexWhy is he swoon worthy? Show me how this boy is different from all the other millions of swoon-worthy boys to inflitrate YA Literature. Rennie falls instantly, but Maia insists that he’s trouble.  Seriously?  How can a boy with hair that good be trouble?  And to complicate matters further, Rennie’s dreams are becoming a serious problem.  It’s bad enough she has to deal with them at night, but now they’re becoming more persistent, butting into her day while she’s awake.  Not cool.  Surely a clever (if slightly geeky) girl like Rennie can figure out what’s going on.  At least she hopes so, because these dreams are getting creepier, and they seem to know her by name. This is interesting! Give me more!

   PAPER DREAMS is a Young Adult novel with a sci-fi twist, complete at 75,400 words.  I would be happy to send you the full manuscript on request.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Me

Okay, so you have an excellent voice in this query, but at the moment I can't quite tell what the plot of your query is. What is the main point of your query? A query should have a couple things going on.

it should have:

1. Who your MC is.
2. What your MC's goal is.
3. Who or what is in your MC's way.
4. What will happen if your MC doesn't accomplish their goal.

I have your MC. But I don't know what your MC's goal is, who or what is in their way, and what will happen if they don't accomplish it. You're going to have to show us in the body of the query all of this stuff and use the same voice you used to tell us about your MC.

Good luck!
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