Author Topic: YA Sci-Fi Query- Elsewhere- REVISED  (Read 208 times)

Offline zcarver

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YA Sci-Fi Query- Elsewhere- REVISED
« on: July 13, 2019, 02:37:54 PM »
Any feedback is so greatly appreciated. I really need all the help I can get. Thanks :)

Dear Agent,

Linden Yla is a devout if not over dramatic teenager in a post climate destruction world where state religion reigns supreme over the rebuilt humanity. But when she is suddenly accused of committing traitorous crimes against the government she loves so dear she is thrown from her quaint world of school and worship. Instead, she must learn the truth about her world- that her religion is a falsehood made to keep her and her people at bay.

   Knowing she can never sit on such knowledge, not while her people suffer, Linden teams up with four diverse truth seekers in an attempt to reveal the truth to her people. To do this she must travel to the capital of her world where danger lurks behind every corner. If she succeeds, the government will fall and the world becomes unstable once again. But if she fails she will be executed- or as the religion puts it, Entered into the next life known as Else- and her society will be forced into hundreds more years of silence. At 100,000 words, this young adult dystopia explores everything from the existentialism behind religion to budding romance to teenage rebellion.

   I have studied writing at Harvard University and Interlochen Arts Center and have a short piece published in the Interlochen Anthology.
   Thank you for your time and consideration,

Offline Pineapplejuice

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Re: YA Sci-Fi Query- Elsewhere- REVISED
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2019, 03:14:30 PM »
Any feedback is so greatly appreciated. I really need all the help I can get. Thanks :)

Dear Agent,

Linden Yla is a devout if not over dramatic teenager ( keep it in POV of MC. This is reading like you're narrating at a distance as the author. Your MC wouldn't refer to herself as 'devout if not over dramatic' so it doesn't feel authentic to put it like that - even though it needs to be in third person ) in a post climate destruction world ( this sounds oddly worded ) where state religion reigns supreme over the rebuilt humanity. But when she is suddenly accused of committing traitorous crimes ( Too vague and vague is uninteresting. What crimes? Does she go to prison? How does she feel about this accusation? How does she learn about the truth...and what IS the truth. What is this world like and what shocks her? What is it she learns that opens her eyes? How did she end up in trouble? ) against the government she loves so dear she is thrown from her quaint world of school and worship. Instead, she must learn the truth about her world- that her religion is a falsehood made to keep her and her people at bay.

   Knowing she can never sit on such knowledge, not while her people suffer, Linden teams up with four diverse truth seekers in an attempt to reveal the truth to her people. To do this she must ) She travels travel to the capital of her world where danger lurks behind every corner. ( Vague cliche wording . What is the exact danger? ) If she succeeds, the government will fall and the world becomes unstable once again._( I don't know what exactly she has to do. But putting the result of her not succeeding like this , wording wise, is very vague and obvious ) But if she fails she will be executed- or as the religion puts it, Entered into the next life known as Else- and her society will be forced into hundreds more years of silence. ( You didn't say they were silent before. You haven't explained the dystopia well enough for me to care or feel that change is needed.  I still don't have a sense of who your character is in all this or what her life is like )At 100,000 words, this young adult dystopia explores everything from the existentialism behind religion to budding romance to teenage rebellion.

   I have studied writing at Harvard University and Interlochen Arts Center and have a short piece published in the Interlochen Anthology.
   Thank you for your time and consideration,


It's in better shape than before but it's still too vague and the stakes are vague and I don't care about your MC because her situation is too unclear.

What makes your book different to other dystopian books? Try to mention interesting and unique things so that it stands out.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 03:24:05 PM by Pineapplejuice »

Offline zcarver

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Re: YA Sci-Fi Query- Elsewhere- REVISED
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2019, 03:51:44 PM »
Dear Agent,

Linden Yla is a devout teenager in a post climate destruction world where state religion reigns supreme over the rebuilt humanity. But when she is suddenly accused of committing anti-government crimes she is taken from her Bubble, the glass encased world where the remnants of humanity live with fear of the toxic air. The accusations against her are false and Linden knows this, yet she can’t figure out why her religion, which stands on the basis of truth, could commit such lies and throw her in prison for it.

She is sentenced to execution, but not longer after rescued by a member of the resistance who tells her the truth; her religion is a falsehood made to keep her and her people at bay.

   Knowing she can never sit on such knowledge, not while her people suffer at the brutal hand of the government, Linden teams up with four diverse and charming rebels in an attempt to liberate her people by broadcasting a message that reveals her truth. She travels to the capital of her world where her team must navigate the intricate mainframe and traitors in her midst. If she succeeds, the government which has been systematically executing people will fall. But if she fails she will be executed- or as the religion puts it, Entered into the next life known as Else- and her society will continue to be treated like cattle waiting for slaughter.

   And still, the question remains; is the resistance right in believing there is no Else? Or are they just working back against a utopia that needed millennia to create?

At 100,000 words, this young adult dystopia explores everything from the existentialism behind religion to budding romance to teenage rebellion.

   I have studied writing at Harvard University and Interlochen Arts Center and have a short piece published in the Interlochen Anthology.

   Thank you for your time and consideration,

here's another update. in the end of the novel the MC is killed and goes to 'else' where it is revealed that she was wrong about you know everything. I tried to hint to that in the new part of the query; do you think I should be more specific, keep it as it is or take that part out? All feedback is so appreciated! thanks for all the help so far!

Offline Pineapplejuice

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Re: YA Sci-Fi Query- Elsewhere- REVISED
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2019, 04:34:08 PM »
Dear Agent,

( Age for YA ie 'seventeen year old Linden' etc ) Linden Yla is a devout (warrants explanation - if you're going to say she's devout then say about what, in a way that will give us a sense of character. Conversely, leave out that she's devout since everyone in this book is devout, pretty much , so it's  a given.  ) teenager in a post climate destruction ( this wording is wrong It's bad grammar. Climate is something that exists. You can't have 'post-climate' anything....Either explain what it means or reword it in a way that won't make reader stumble about what  you mean ) world where state religion reigns supreme ( What does it do? 'Reigning supreme' is vague ) over the rebuilt humanity. But when she is suddenly accused of committing anti-government crimes she is taken from her Bubble, the glass encased world where the remnants of humanity live with fear of the toxic air. The accusations against her are false and Linden knows this, yet she can’t figure out why her religion, which stands on the basis of truth, could commit such lies and throw her in prison for it.

I think you need to mention the bubble earlier as it is both unique and helps us picture where she lives

Ie; 'Seventeen year old Linden lives in The Bubble. ' then explain it.

She is sentenced to execution, but not longer after rescued by a member of the resistance who tells her the truth; her religion is a falsehood made to keep her and her people at bay.

        What knowledge she learns is still vague and I have no sense of feeling the 'Wow' it was all a lie. Because the status quo needs to be clear before you explain the reveal about the lie.

   Knowing she can never sit on such knowledge, not while her people suffer at the brutal hand of the government, Linden teams up with four diverse and charming rebels in an attempt to liberate her people by broadcasting a message that reveals her truth. She travels to the capital of her world where her team must navigate the intricate mainframe and traitors in her midst. If she succeeds, the government which has been systematically executing people will fall. But if she fails she will be executed-  ( You already told us above she'll be executed so you need to raise the stakes, not reiterate them ) or as the religion puts it, Entered into the next life known as Else- and her society will continue to be treated like cattle waiting for slaughter.

   And still, the question remains; is the resistance right in believing there is no Else? Or are they just working back against a utopia that needed millennia to create? ( Don't use questions in queries )

At 100,000 words, this young adult dystopia explores everything from the existentialism behind religion to budding romance to teenage rebellion.

   I have studied writing at Harvard University and Interlochen Arts Center and have a short piece published in the Interlochen Anthology.

   Thank you for your time and consideration,

here's another update. in the end of the novel the MC is killed and goes to 'else' where it is revealed that she was wrong about you know everything. I tried to hint to that in the new part of the query; do you think I should be more specific, keep it as it is or take that part out? All feedback is so appreciated! thanks for all the help so far!

It doesn't matter what happens at the end because the query is only to get the agent to read your book


it's better again.  ;D

Still needs lots more clarifying about the situation.

Offline zcarver

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Re: YA Sci-Fi Query- Elsewhere- REVISED
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2019, 05:02:36 PM »
Dear Agent,

Seventeen year old Linden Yla is a teenager in the world that remains after the destruction of climate change, where what’s left of humanity live in Bubbles, glass encased cities safe from the toxic air. Within the Bubbles, state religion is enforced over the remaining inhabitants, worshipping the mysterious Lady in White. Life as the ambassador’s daughter is tedious but when Linden is suddenly accused of committing anti-government crimes she is taken from her Bubble and thrown into prison. The accusation against her is false and Linden knows this, yet she can’t figure out why her religion, which stands on the basis of truth, could commit such lies.

She is sentenced to execution- or, as her religion puts it, Entered into the next life known as Else. But before the Entry can take place she is rescued by a member of the resistance who tells her the truth that is considered treason to even think about; the Lady is propaganda made to keep her and her people at bay.

   Everything Linden knew, believed in, worshipped, is false. The Entries are not for her people’s sake, they are systemic executions. Linden cannot keep still with this knowledge so she teams up with four diverse and charming rebels in an attempt to liberate her people by broadcasting a message that reveals her truth. She travels to the Capital of her world where her team must navigate the intricate mainframe and traitors in her midst. If she succeeds her people will be free. But if she fails she will be executed and her society will continue to be treated like cattle waiting for slaughter.

At 100,000 words, this young adult dystopia explores everything from the existentialism behind religion to budding romance to teenage rebellion.

   I have studied writing at Harvard University and Interlochen Arts Center and have a short piece published in the Interlochen Anthology.
   Thank you for your time and consideration,


here's the next draft! I really cannot thank you enough for the amazing help so far

Offline Pineapplejuice

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Re: YA Sci-Fi Query- Elsewhere- REVISED
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2019, 05:45:10 PM »
Dear Agent,

Seventeen year old Linden Yla is a teenager in the ( we know her age now, it's unnecessary to say 'teenager' when it doesn't add anything )  world that remains after the destruction of climate change, where what’s left of humanity live in Bubbles, glass encased cities safe from the toxic air. Within the Bubbles, state religion is enforced over the remaining inhabitants, worshipping the mysterious Lady in White. Life as the ambassador’s daughter is tedious ( this just makes her sound uninteresting and feels wordy ) but when Linden is suddenly accused of committing anti-government crimes ( Be specific ) she is taken from her ( redundant and seemingly irrelevant and wordy ) Bubble and thrown into prison. The accusation against her is false and Linden knows this, yet she can’t figure out why her religion, which stands on the basis of truth, could commit such lies.




Seventeen year old Linden Yla's lives in a glass encased city safe from the toxic air that poisoned humanity. Climate change destroyed Earth and The Bubbles are all that remains of civilization. Within the glass cities, state religion is enforced and the inhabitants worship the mysterious Lady in White. Linden's privileged life as the ambassador’s daughter ends when she's accused of Treason. Enprisoned under false accusation, Linden questions how people of her religion, which holds truth as paramount, could frame her for no reason.

She is sentenced to execution- or, as her religion puts it, Entered into the next life known as Else. But before the Entry can take place ( I think this is over complicating it. For the stakes - Linden's life - the Entry etc doesn't matter for a query ) she is rescued by a member of the resistance who tells her the truth that is considered treason to even think about; the Lady is propaganda made to keep her and her people at bay. ( I think this is a good reveal )

   Everything Linden knew, believed in, worshipped, is false. ( Too vague ) The Entries are not for her people’s sake, they are systemic executions. Linden cannot keep still ( more weird wording ) with this knowledge so she teams up ( just say 'Linden teams up' . No need to be wordy with 'Linden cannot keep still with this knowledge' as by her doing something about it, proves and shows she's proactive . No need to tell us and pre-empt it ) with four diverse and charming rebels in an attempt to liberate her people by broadcasting a message that reveals her truth. She travels to the Capital of her world where her team must navigate the intricate mainframe and traitors in her midst. If she succeeds her people will be free. But if she fails she will be executed and her society will continue to be treated like cattle waiting for slaughter.

This is tough because the first goal is to get out of prison. The second is to broadcast the truth.

I think  try to make stakes clear regarding the first part of the book, as it feels like you're giving too much away and we don't need to read it.







At 100,000 words, this young adult dystopia explores everything from the existentialism behind religion to budding romance to teenage rebellion.

   I have studied writing at Harvard University and Interlochen Arts Center and have a short piece published in the Interlochen Anthology.
   Thank you for your time and consideration,


here's the next draft! I really cannot thank you enough for the amazing help so far

Offline zcarver

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Re: YA Sci-Fi Query- Elsewhere- REVISED
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2019, 06:10:45 PM »
Dear agent,

Seventeen year old Linden Yla's lives in a glass encased city safe from the toxic air that poisoned humanity. Climate change destroyed Earth and The Bubbles are all that remains of civilization. Within the glass cities, state religion is enforced and the inhabitants worship the mysterious Lady in White. Linden's privileged life as the ambassador’s daughter ends when she's accused of Treason. Imprisoned under false accusation, Linden questions how people of her religion, which holds truth as paramount, could frame her for no reason.

   She is sentenced to execution but before it can take place she is rescued by a member of the resistance who tells her the truth that is considered treason to even think about; the Lady is propaganda made to keep her and her people at bay.

   Linden decides she cannot keep the truth to herself so she teams up with four diverse and charming rebels in an attempt to liberate her people by broadcasting a message that reveals her truth. She travels to the Capital of her world where her team must navigate the intricate mainframe and traitors in her midst. If she succeeds her people will be free. But if she fails she will be executed and her society will continue to be treated like cattle waiting for slaughter.

At 100,000 words, this young adult dystopia explores everything from the existentialism behind religion to budding romance to teenage rebellion.

   I have studied writing at Harvard University and Interlochen Arts Center and have a short piece published in the Interlochen Anthology.
   Thank you for your time and consideration,

any better? I really like the first paragraph you gave!

Offline Pineapplejuice

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Re: YA Sci-Fi Query- Elsewhere- REVISED
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2019, 07:11:48 PM »
Dear agent,

Seventeen year old Linden Yla's ( My typo ) lives in a glass encased city, safe from the toxic air that poisoned humanity. Climate change destroyed Earth and The Bubbles are all that remains of civilization. Within the glass cities, state religion is enforced and the inhabitants worship the mysterious Lady in White. Linden's privileged lifestyle as the ambassador’s daughter ends when she's accused of Treason. Imprisoned under false accusation, Linden questions how people of her religion, which holds truth as paramount, could frame her for no reason.

   She is sentenced to execution but before it can take place she is rescued by a member of the resistance who tells her the truth that is considered treason to even think about; the Lady is propaganda made to keep her and her people at bay.

        ( Maybe say something about people being slaughtered and why it's happening )   

        ( This is just an example of wrapping things up . It needs more as I don't know the details and needs to be stakier but I'm thinking you want to keep it simple and try to amplify the stakes up until this point )           

        Linden knows she can't live with herself without fighting to reveal the lie everyone she knows believes. That the white lady can save them all.  Her goal now isn't to argue her innocence but escape and fight with the rebels to broadcast the truth to everyone.

   Linden decides she cannot keep the truth to herself so she teams up with four diverse and charming rebels in an attempt to liberate her people by broadcasting a message that reveals her truth. She travels to the Capital of her world where her team must navigate the intricate mainframe and traitors in her midst. If she succeeds her people will be free. But if she fails she will be executed and her society will continue to be treated like cattle waiting for slaughter.

( The last paragraph gives too many plot sounding details away, as if we're reading about the ending, even though you're saying 'she will have to do this and this' etc, in my mind I know that that's exactly what will happen, so I'm not left curious. )

At 100,000 words, this young adult dystopia explores everything from the existentialism behind religion to budding romance to teenage rebellion.

   I have studied writing at Harvard University and Interlochen Arts Center and have a short piece published in the Interlochen Anthology.
   Thank you for your time and consideration,

any better? I really like the first paragraph you gave!


Still needs to feel stakier. I feel you should try doing it without giving so much away. Or it feels like we've read the whole book. I'm not feeling worried enough. Maybe try to tell us  a little about MC in first paragraph so that we connect with MC a bit more.

For example, she must feel devastated that she's been accused of doing something she'd never do, as a faithful person , so try to tweak it to get that characteristic across

Offline zcarver

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Re: YA Sci-Fi Query- Elsewhere- REVISED
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2019, 11:24:00 AM »
Dear Agent,

Seventeen year old Linden Yla lives in a glass encased city safe from the toxic air that poisoned humanity. Climate change destroyed Earth and The Bubbles are all that remains of civilization. Within the glass cities, state religion is enforced and the inhabitants worship the mysterious Lady in White. Linden's privileged lifestyle as the ambassador’s daughter ends when she's accused of Treason. Imprisoned under false accusation, Linden is devastated, ready to give up, but questions how people of her religion, which holds truth as paramount, could frame her for seemingly no reason.

   She is sentenced to execution but a member of the resistance tells her the truth that is considered treason to even think; there is no Lady in White. Her government has been using the Lady as an excuse to systematically execute any who might oppose them to insure that they can stay in power.

   Linden knows she cannot live with herself without fighting to reveal the lie everyone she knows believes, not while her people are being treated like cattle waiting for slaughter. Her goal now isn’t to argue her innocence but escape and fight with the rebels in order to broadcast the truth. At 100,000 words, this young adult sci-fi dystopia explores everything from the existentialism behind religion to budding romance to teenage rebellion.

   I have studied writing at Harvard University and Interlochen Arts Center and have a short piece published in the Interlochen Anthology.
   Thank you for your time and consideration,

next draft right here. thank you so much for your help so far. it feels a million times better than when i started

Offline TigerAsh

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Re: YA Sci-Fi Query- Elsewhere- REVISED
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2019, 03:58:10 PM »
Dear Agent,

Seventeen-year-old Linden Yla lives in a glass-encased city safe from the toxic air that poisoned humanity. Climate change destroyed Earth and The Bubbles are all that remains of civilization. Within the glass cities, state religion is enforced and the inhabitants worship the mysterious Lady in White. Linden's privileged lifestyle as the ambassador’s daughter ends when she's accused of Treason. [I like that the first few sentences reveal the settling; however, I think the transition into the sentence I highlighted in red could be better, to make the paragraph flow better.] Imprisoned under false accusation, Linden is devastated, ready to give up,; but she questions how people of her religion, which holds truth as paramount, could frame her for seemingly no reason.

   She is sentenced to execution but a member of the resistance [Who's in jail with her? Who's working as a police officer in disguise? (I.e., How/where does she talk to this person?)] tells her the truth that is considered treason to even think; there is no Lady in White. Her government has been using the Lady as an excuse to systematically execute any who might oppose them to insure that they can stay in power.

   Linden knows she cannot live with herself [This phrase sounds weird to me since you already said she's going to be executed.] without fighting to reveal the lie everyone she knows believes, not while her people are being treated like cattle waiting for slaughter. [I don't think this is the right phrase to use. You said the only people who are in danger are those who oppose the government, and as the ambassador's daughter, why would "her people" be like cattle waiting for the slaughter?] Her goal now isn’t to argue her innocence but escape and fight with the rebels in order to broadcast the truth. [I think you need to have a stronger ending here, that will entice the agent to want to read more. For example, we know that Linden wants to escape and fight with the rebels, but you should allude to the fact that it will happen (and the risk that comes with failure at either goal).] At 100,000 words, this young adult sci-fi dystopia explores everything from the existentialism behind religion to budding romance to teenage rebellion.

You should set up your housekeeping paragraph in a more traditional way. For example:

[TITLE OF BOOK] is a 100,000-word YA sci-fi novel. It will appeal to fans of [COMP TITLE #1] by [AUTHOR#1] and [COMP TITLE #2] by [AUTHOR #2]. I have studied writing at Harvard University and Interlochen Arts Center and have a short piece published in the Interlochen Anthology.

Thank you for your time and consideration,.

Sincerely,
[Your name]


[I would call the book either sci-fi or dystopia, but not both. I think you have a better shot with the sci-fi label, although dystopia is supposedly making a comeback.]

next draft right here. thank you so much for your help so far. it feels a million times better than when i started


Sounds like an interesting story!

Hope my comments help! Good luck! :)