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Author Topic: Abeyance 77,000 YA urban fantasy  (Read 549 times)
lazyprotagonist
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« on: November 21, 2017, 12:27:54 PM »

Sixteen-year-old Charlie Adams believes in the medicinal power of Literary Escapism. And Young Adult Supernatural Romance Novels is her cure for boring and cliché.  All Charlie wanted was to be the main character in a Supernatural Romance novel. Then she saw her witch of an Algebra 2 teacher sewing her smelly Spanish teacher’s leg back on and found out her family’s been wiping her memories and lying to her for who knows how long.

She got her wish alright, but it isn’t at all what it’s supposed to be. The only possible love-interest is her age, not some immortal being, and more crabby than broody. Plus, he has a girlfriend and zero desire to be the love interest. Worse yet, she has no powers- unless you count an overactive imagination and doing the bare minimum to get by.

Powers or not, her Algebra teacher still wants her dead and Charlie will have to do more than her “lousy best” to get out of this mess.

ABEYANCE is a YA urban fantasy novel complete at 77,000 words. I have a BA in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Florida State University.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Query writing is not my strong suit and I'd be grateful for any feedback you have, I'm not planning to query anyone until December-January. Thank you all!
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billiek
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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2017, 01:57:28 PM »

The first three sentences are more telling than showing, so I would skip all them and go right to your most compelling line…

Charlie was heading to class when stumbled across her algebra teacher sewing the leg back onto her smelly Spanish teacher. (Hard to tell which you mean as smelly – leg or whole teacher.) She also discovered that her family's not only been lying to her, they've been wiping her memories clean for years.

She's always wanted to be like one of the protagonists in her favorite supernatural romances, but this seems too much…


And I don't understand why her algebra teacher wants her dead.

Abeyance is an interesting title for a book that sounds intriguing.

(Boy, I use interesting a lot. Sorry. Nothing implied.)

(Of course, now if you've joined us late, you may be asking yourself ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Thank goodness for the modify button.)
« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 02:19:43 PM by billiek » Logged
MKWrites_318
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« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2017, 04:32:30 PM »

First thought: I'm confused as to why you have literary escapism, young adult supernatural romance novels, and supernatural romance capitalized.

Sixteen-year-old Charlie Adams believes in the medicinal power of Literary Escapism. And Young Adult Supernatural Romance Novels is her cure for boring and cliché. I would cut out all this, and start with the next.  All sixteen-year-old Charlie Adams ever wanted was to be the main character in a Supernatural Romance novel. I don't know that you have to specify genre here, but that's just a matter of taste. Smiley Then she saw her witch of an Algebra 2 teacher sewing her smelly Spanish teacher’s leg back on and found out her family’s been wiping her memories and lying to her for who knows how long. Ok. You've got me intrigued, but then you give me nothing. A couple of details here would give us an idea of what the story is actually about. Are the teachers zombies? Are her family monster hunters? Is she too incompetent to be included in their adventures? Just one or two extra things to cement the interest and clarify the plot.

She got her wish alright, but it isn’t at all what it’s supposed to be. The only possible love-interest is her age, not some immortal being, and more crabby than broody. Plus, he has a girlfriend and zero desire to be the love interest. Feels repetitive to have "love interest" in two sentences in a row. Worse yet, she has no powers- unless you count an overactive imagination and doing the bare minimum to get by.

Powers or not, her Algebra teacher still wants her dead and Charlie will have to do more than her “lousy best” to get out of this mess. You didn't tell us until right here that her life is in danger. We need the stakes earlier on, and again, a little more detail.


I like that you've kept some voice in it. It makes it seem like a fun read.

Good luck! Smiley
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gckatz
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2017, 07:22:24 PM »

Intriguing! But I'm a little confused. There seem to be two A plots (the escape-into-a-book plot and the memory wiped/witch teacher plot) and they not only have no obvious connection, but they seem like they don't even belong in the same genre. The former I'm following just fine and it makes sense, but the latter could be explained a lot more. What was her family lying to her about? Why does the teacher want her dead? Are they zombies or Frankenstein monsters or what? What are the rules of this world, anyway? (I tacitly assume that, in an escape-into-a-book story, the "normal" world is mundane and doesn't have other magical elements. But yours apparently does.)

The other issue, and this is not a fault of yours, is that the timing may not be great for a story with aspects that parody paranormal romance. I think something like that would have met with a way better reception a couple of years ago.
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mgmystery
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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2017, 07:35:12 AM »

I like the voice in this query! I'm assuming "the medicinal power of literary escapism" just means she reads to escape her boredom. If so, I like MK's suggestion for the beginning to clear any confusion. Other than that, I only think you could use a few extra details. If the Algebra teacher wants her dead to keep her from telling what she saw, say so. Her family's role is very interesting, so elaborate a bit on who they are and why they erase her memory. If the teacher is willing to kill to keep her quiet, I guess the family must be involved with the zombies or against them? Give us a hint so we know who to root for.
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lazyprotagonist
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2017, 08:06:30 AM »

Thank you all so much. Sorry it took so long to respond. Your feedback was great and I think it might be best to start from scratch with this one, given how confusing it was. Still working on my NaNoWriMo project (not this book) so I'll come back here and re-read everyone's amazing input before I start the new query draft.

With this one I made the mistake of over emphasizing Charlie's hobbies. I read in one of the books about emphasizing things that make your MC stand out, I did to the point that it seemed like it's on plot point (reading supernatural romance novels).

I was hoping you all might be able to give me some advice as to how to go about explaining why the algebra teacher wants her dead since Charlie doesn't actually know why.

Basically she finds out she's a part of this ancient magical race of people, only she's a dud (no magical powers just the magical compound in her blood). Her dad took her out of their world and has been wiping her memories because people with no powers are discriminated against in their world, and her mother was imprisoned for leading a failed revolt against the government (this is hinted at but never discussed in depth). The algebra teacher works as a henchwoman for the Phantom Queen (who we see but there is no actual showdown against Charlie) who steals the magical compound out of non-actives to increase her own power. Charlie doesn't know this, she just knows the teacher is after someone that belongs to this race of people and guesses she must be the one they're after. She finds out the teacher was actually after her bully who she mistook for being a dud.

The idea was to do a sort of chosen one narrative with a character who isn't really the chosen one, it may have fallen flat there.
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MKWrites_318
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« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2017, 03:30:32 PM »

Ok, two things:

1. I love the concept of Chosen One mistaken identity. I want to read it.

2. I would just start from scratch and go at it from a different angle. And I think i'd keep the inciting incident in it, but add more of what you've just shared with us. I don't know that you have to explain why the teacher wants her dead explicitly, but definitely explain that her trying to not be killed by her is a major plot point.
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mgmystery
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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2017, 07:25:20 AM »

Lol, a dud is great  Grin I hope she refers to herself that way sometime in the book! Yes, I definitely think it's fine to say she has no clue what the teacher's problem is. And I agree that this query didn't do enough to describe your actual plot. I hope you manage to keep this voice with the the new version.
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lazyprotagonist
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« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2017, 07:46:45 AM »

Thank you both so much you're Awesome! I'm going to start from scratch and try and keep the voice.

Also sappy moment here but, I love this forum and how supportive everyone is of one another. It's really wonderful.
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MKWrites_318
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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2017, 04:51:50 PM »

Amen. It is wonderful! Smiley
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lazyprotagonist
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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2017, 01:41:40 PM »

What about this? Is it a little clearer. Still telling? Can you die from query writing? Grin

Charlie Adams is a sixteen-year-old, “lousy best” student who's obsessed with supernatural romance novels and whose only goal is to pass Algebra 2 and avoid Foley High’s Reigning Queen Bee, Jackie-J, and her pinheaded minions. After overhearing Mrs. Nielson, her Algebra 2 teacher, plotting with her Spanish teacher to find the “chosen one," Charlie begins to dig for answers, only to discover her family has been wiping her memories. Her family is actually a part of an ancient magical race, but Charlie soon discovers this new community is not all the sexy zombies and broody vampire-angel hybrids she hoped it would be. She doesn’t even get magical powers. She’s a dud, but Nielson still wants her dead, and her dad still thinks Charlie’s safer being kept in the dark. Charlie is forced to work with the world’s crankiest teenage soothsayer and crooked-jaw-extraordinaire, Daniel Alvarez, in order to take down the bad guys and save herself.
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lazyprotagonist
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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2017, 01:58:57 PM »

Should I include in the query that they're not after Charlie? You find it out in the climax of the book, but I'm not sure if that gives too much away. I know they're supposed to read like the back of a jacket.
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mgmystery
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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2017, 07:35:55 AM »

I wouldn't include a major plot twist in the query. If an agent requests pages, you want them to have some surprises waiting.  Smiley I really like this version!  Thumbs Up I only offered a few suggestions for flow and easier reading.

Charlie Adams is a sixteen-year-old, “lousy best” student who's obsessed with supernatural romance novels (It flows better if you separate these sentences.) and whose Her only real goals is are to pass Algebra 2 and avoid Foley High’s Reigning Queen Bee, Jackie-J (I'd skip this name since it's not mentioned again.), and her pinheaded minions. After overhearing Mrs. Nielson, her Algebra 2 teacher, plotting with her Spanish teacher to find the “chosen one," Charlie may finally have her chance to be a heroine.

Charlie Shebegins to dig for answers, only to discover her own family has been wiping her memories. Her family is actually a part of an ancient magical race, but Charlie soon discovers this new community is not all the sexy zombies and broody vampire-angel hybrids she hoped it would be. She doesn’t even get magical powers. She’s a dud, but Nielson still wants her dead, and her dad still thinks Charlie’s safer being kept in the dark. Charlie is forced to work with the world’s crankiest teenage soothsayer and crooked-jaw-extraordinaire, Daniel Alvarez, in order to take down the bad guys and save herself.
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lazyprotagonist
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2017, 07:46:39 AM »

ABEYANCE is a YA contemporary fantasy novel complete at 77,000 words with series potential. The book follows the “chosen one” story arc but with a case of mistaken identity.

Charlie Adams is a sixteen-year-old, “lousy best” student obsessed with supernatural romance novels and just wants to pass Algebra 2 and avoid Foley High’s Reigning Queen Bee, and her pinheaded minions. After overhearing Mrs. Nielson, her Algebra 2 teacher, plotting with her Spanish teacher to find the “chosen one," Charlie may finally have her chance to be a heroine.

She begins to dig for answers, only to discover her own family has been wiping her memories. Her family is actually part of an ancient magical race, but Charlie soon discovers this new community is not all the sexy zombies and broody vampire-angel hybrids she hoped it would be. She doesn’t even get magical powers.  She’s not the “chosen one”; she’s a dud. Nielson still wants her dead though, and her dad still thinks Charlie is safer being kept in the dark. Charlie is forced to work with the world’s crankiest teenage soothsayer, Daniel Alvarez, to take down the bad guys and save herself.


Thank you soooooo much! You're a life saver- or at least a query saver! wink2
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lazyprotagonist
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« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2018, 02:18:10 AM »

So the previous query got no response/rejections on the last batch, so I thought I'd experiment. I read a successful query that wrote the hook from the character's perspective so I thought I'd try it. This is a very rough draft (it's after 3 in the morning where I am), I know the word count needs to be cut down. I apologize for any grammar errors or other typos or if it's a lot of cliches I'm exhausted and can't sleep and thought it was safer to post this here to be critiqued rather than send it out impulsively to a bunch of agents. Thank you again for all of your help!

My name is Charlie Adams and I’d like to file a complaint to whoever’s in charge of writing life! I’ve read every supernatural romance novel out there (and at least 79% of the fanfiction) and not once does the main character find out she’s not special and the hot new guy has a girlfriend. I mean come on, at the very least if she is just a random side character, at least no one’s trying to kill her!

Up until a few weeks ago, everything was great… fine… eh, it was alright. Junior year was almost over. I had an entire pinhead free summer to look forward to and the new Evanna Everly book Bound by Blood. Then I saw my Algebra teacher Mrs. Nielson, sewing my Spanish teacher’s leg back on and talking about looking for “the chosen one”.  And if that wasn’t screwed up enough, the school nurse told me we belong to an ancient magical race called Rheumaens but I have no powers. That’s right, I’m basically a defective magical grenade.

Powers or not Nielson still wants me dead and my only chance at survival is working with the aforementioned hot new guy, Daniel Alvarez, a cranky, soothsayer and student intern. Can you be the chosen one if you don’t have powers? And if you can, aren’t you supposed to get some sort of consolation prize?
ABEYANCE is a YA Fantasy novel complete at 77,000 words.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
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