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Author Topic: Query: "Immunity" YA Fantasy  (Read 2885 times)
horrorchix89
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« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2017, 04:46:00 PM »

Hello! I'm back. I sent out my query for a few agents and didn't get any positive responses so I rewrote it. Hopefully this one is better:

Seventeen-year-old Sasame Kai’s city is at war. The enemy is horrific; zombie-like mutants with leathery skin and violent impulses threaten everyone’s safety. But unlike “everyone,” Sasame can actually make a difference. As an Immunity Hunter, she does the dirty work for her agency, kidnapping those immune to the mutation virus so they can create a stronger vaccine…or maybe a cure.

Though she doesn’t love the work, Sasame trusts her boss, Omi, and his vision for the future of their city. But that was before she meets Konan, a persistent teen desperately trying to figure out why people are vanishing. She shouldn’t be attracted to him, and yet his passion reels her. As the missions leave her with horrible nightmares, she uses Konan as a distraction from the madness. That distraction turns into wanting more than a quick fix. She begins to regret the kidnappings.

But Omi isn’t pleased with this turn of events. His Immunity Hunters are well-oiled machines, and petty romance is just gunk in the gears. And after forcing Sasame to watch the deaths of a coworker and his secret girlfriend, she’s presented with a choice: kill Konan to prove her loyalty to the cause, or face the same fate.
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horrorchix89
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« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2017, 03:47:02 AM »

Thanks, Gobbo. I'll work on it some more
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mgmystery
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« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2017, 08:28:42 AM »

Horrorchix, I hope a few agents means at least 10. i know several authors who are querying right now, and responses are slower than ever.

I'm wondering ... is the romance a big part of this story? Romance is fairly important (or at least expected) in YA. So if it's important in the novel, it should play a part in the query. (I'm only saying this because the early query only mentioned friends.) One thing I missed from the early query was the motivation about her parents (It really strengthens her conflict.) Maybe you could combine the best of both versions?
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horrorchix89
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« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2017, 02:50:05 PM »

I queried 20, 14 said no thanks, one retired without notice. The other 5 are MIA at 66 days.

I did a lot of revising over the last few weeks thanks to a very helpful editor. I dug deeper into Sasame's character traits and personal battles (and the other 5 characters' personal struggles as well).

The romance is a big deal with Sasame. She lost her parents and doesn't want to open herself up to be hurt again. It's another reason she's not all that upset about the agency's no romance rule. But then she meets Konan and she's drawn to him. He shows her that he cares even when she leads him on to distract herself then pushes him away like he's useless. She doesn't want to leave the agency because of the possible romance, she wants to leave because her boss kills two people in front of her. She doesn't believe in pointless killing. She justified the kidnappings as helping the city with a potential cure. So just to kill two innocent people to teach her a lesson made her decide it's time to quit

I'm not sure how to add her parents back in without making it too long but I'll try to trim things down and see where I can fit her parents
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horrorchix89
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« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2017, 04:20:17 PM »

You know what's funny?


Romance is a big deal to Sasame. She lost her parents and doesn't want to open herself up to be hurt again. It's another reason she's not all that upset about the agency's no romance rule. But then she meets Konan and she's drawn to him. He shows her that he cares even when she leads him on to distract herself then pushes him away like he's useless. She doesn't want to leave the agency because of the possible romance, she wants to leave because her boss kills two people in front of her. She doesn't believe in pointless killing. She justified the kidnappings as helping the city with a potential cure. So just to kill two innocent people to teach her a lesson made her decide it's time to quit


This explanation alone makes a more interesting query letter. Sometimes, you have to remind writers to quit writing and just show us the story. You did that above. And it's very intriguing. Now I'm hook and want to read pages.
Wow thank you Smiley
Now I just need to flush that out a bit more (the agency & kidnappings) and I should be good, I think
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horrorchix89
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« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2017, 05:33:33 PM »

I tried to work it into a somewhat standard query. Hopefully, I didn't muck it up too bad. (does this sound too much like a romance novel?)

For seventeen-year-old Sasame, romance is a big deal. She lost her parents when she was thirteen and refuses to open herself up to be hurt again. After spending two years at the fight academy, she was recruited by an agency claiming to find a vaccine for the virus plaguing the city. They have a strict “no romance” rule. That’s fine with Sasame. Her job: kidnap those immune to the virus and return them to the agency for experiments.

But then she meets Konan and she's drawn to him. He shows her that he cares even when she leads him on to distract herself from her nightmares. Then she pushes him away like he's useless.

Sasame’s boss soon finds out about her little romance and kills two innocent people in front of her to teach get her back in line. She doesn't believe in pointless killing. She justified the kidnappings as helping the city with a potential cure. Now her mind’s made up. She has to find a way out of the agency without becoming the next target.

IMMUNITY HUNTER, a YA Dark Fantasy novel of 90,000 words, shows the struggle of teens surviving in a post-apocalyptic city told from six points of view. It is the first in a three-book series.
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mgmystery
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« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2017, 07:46:44 AM »

For me, this does sound much more like romance. I understand if it's a big part of the plot, but without reading your previous queries, I would have thought this was a much different story than the one you have. This query reads like Sasame lost her parents in an accident, and the virus is a regular illness.

Since I haven't read your story, I'm not sure, but I originally thought Sasame was content with her job killing mutants because of her parents' deaths. Then meeting the guy with different views forced her to look at things differently. If that's true, the stakes would be the importance of this guy (love, a happier life, or whatever) versus the vendetta for her parents and keeping anyone else from the same fate.

Oh--instead of saying the first in a series, it's best to say something more like "makes a great stand alone novel, but has series potential."
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horrorchix89
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« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2017, 02:50:06 PM »

That's what I was afraid of [it sounding like a romance novel]. It's not romance but it does play a part in it. She fears abandonment and opening herself to care for someone only to lose them (like her parents). So when the boy comes along she puts up a wall, but he's a useful distraction from the nightmares she has of her victims. Soon, those walls start to break down and she freaks out pushing him further away. But the damage is done and her boss knows about him and her (which is why he kills that couple in front of her).

So now, I need to figure out how to tie all of this in and keep it from sounding too romantic.

Also, she's 1/5 of the POVs (Konan having one as well). Konan is in a different agency (she doesn't know that), on POV is the daughter of the guy that hired Sasame's boss and the other POVs actually deal with the zombies/mutants.

I hope this doesn't come off as defensive. These comments are helping me shape up my query. Thank you Smiley
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mgmystery
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« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2017, 07:53:25 AM »

It's so hard to decide what a query needs. I'd suggest using whatever is the main plot. The romance sounds like it might work into the stakes, so maybe you could mention it, but keep it brief.
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horrorchix89
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« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2017, 01:42:56 PM »

The main plot is based around the agency and what Sasame does for them, how it breaks her down, and how she uses Konan to distract herself. She starts easing into actually liking him back but by that time, her boss is already threatening her.
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mgmystery
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« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2017, 07:34:54 AM »

Those two sentences make a clear plot! If you just fill in the details, and finish with the stakes, I think you'll have the query you need  Smiley
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horrorchix89
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« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2017, 01:26:57 PM »

Let's see if this is any better

Seventeen-year-old Sasame, caring for someone other than herself is a big deal. Her parents were killed while fighting the flesh-eating mutants that threaten her city. That was four years ago, yet she still refuses to open herself up to be hurt again. She was recruited by an agency claiming to find a vaccine for the mutation virus. They have a strict “no romance” rule. That’s fine with Sasame. Her job is more important: kidnap those immune to the virus and return them to the agency for experiments.

Even though the job is causing Sasame to have nightmares that keep her up at night, she refuses to quit until the vaccine is ready. But then she meets Konan, a teen determined to figure out why people are disappearing. She's drawn to him. He sticks around and proves that he cares about her even when she leads him. To her, he’s nothing but a distraction from her internal battles. Yet that distraction turns into wanting more than a quick fix.

Sasame’s boss soon finds out about her little romance. He kills two people in front of her line then threatens her life. She doesn't believe in pointless killing. She justified the kidnappings as helping the city with a potential vaccine. Leaving the agency isn't as easy as putting in a two-week notice. She'll become a target if she continues to disobey orders. Or she can kill her biggest distraction to prove her loyalty.
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mgmystery
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« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2017, 08:27:08 AM »

I really like this one! I've added some suggestions for clarity.

Seventeen-year-old Sasame, caring for someone other than herself is a big deal. Her parents were killed while fighting the flesh-eating mutants that threaten her city. That was four years ago, yet she still refuses to open herself up to be hurt again. She was recruited by an agency claiming to find a vaccine for the mutation virus. They have a strict “no romance” rule. That’s fine with Sasame. Her job is more important: kidnap those immune to the virus and return them to the agency for experiments. (Nice opening!)

Even though the job is causing Sasame to have nightmares that keep her up at night (This sounds a bit weak. Could you maybe put it more like ...though working the job means she gets more nightmares than sleep... and maybe a tiny tie-in with her parents' death or what the nightmares are about?, she refuses to quit until the vaccine is ready. But then she meets Konan, a teen determined to figure out why people are disappearing. She's drawn to him. He's kinda trouble for her too, though, right? He sticks around and proves that he cares about her even when she leads misleads? him. To her, he’s nothing but a distraction from her internal battles. Yet that distraction turns into wanting more than a quick fix. (this could be more personal--Is she fighting against falling for him? Is there a specific moment or action that flips the switch?)

Sasame’s boss soon finds out about her little(since she seems to be falling in love, "little" lowers your stakes) romance. He kills two people in front of her line? then threatens her life. The kidnappings were always about helping the city create a vaccine.She Sasame doesn't believe in pointless killing. She justified the kidnappings as helping the city with a potential vaccine. Leaving the agency isn't as easy as putting in a two-week notice. She'll become a target if she continues to disobey orders. Or she can kill her biggest distraction to prove her loyalty.
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horrorchix89
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« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2017, 10:31:45 AM »

Thank you! I edited it again using your suggestions.

Seventeen-year-old Sasame, caring for someone other than herself is a big deal. Her parents were killed while fighting the flesh-eating mutants that threaten her city. That was four years ago, yet she still refuses to open herself up to be hurt again. She was recruited by an agency claiming to find a vaccine for the mutation virus. They have a strict “no romance” rule. That’s fine with Sasame. Her job is more important: kidnap those immune to the virus and return them to the agency for experiments.

Though working the job means she stays awake at night hearing the screams of her victims, she refuses to quit until the vaccine is ready. But then she meets Konan, a teen determined to figure out why people are disappearing. He’s trouble for her, but she's drawn to him. He sticks around and proves that he cares about her even when she leads him on. To her, he’s nothing but a distraction from her internal battles. Yet each time they meet, she finds herself fighting the urge to want more.

Sasame’s boss soon finds out about her romance. He kills two people in front of her then threatens her life. The kidnappings were always about helping the city create a vaccine. Sasame doesn't believe in pointless killing. Leaving the agency isn't as easy as putting in a two-week notice. She'll become a target if she continues to disobey orders. Or she can kill her biggest distraction to prove her loyalty.
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horrorchix89
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« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2017, 02:57:18 AM »

I sent out my latest edit and got a full request within 2 hours! My first request ever :D
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