Author Topic: Query for YA Contemporary -- A Sky Full of Stars  (Read 112 times)

Offline ZaidaM

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Query for YA Contemporary -- A Sky Full of Stars
« on: September 11, 2019, 02:37:25 PM »
Hi everyone! Would love any feedback or suggestions moving forward with my query! <3


Dear [Agent Name],

In eighth grade Linnea wrote Gabe a love letter. In ninth grade he dated another girl. Now, on the night after their high school graduation, their friends―convinced they're in love with each other―have set them up.

Linnea is an astronomy nerd known as Space Case Linnea at school. Gabe is a baseball star, beloved by many. They've existed in completely different orbits for years, circling one another but never crossing paths. But knowing this is their last opportunity to say how they really feel, they confess their long-harbored feelings for each other. And, surprise: their feelings are mutual.

Gabe is all in but Linnea has her doubts. For starters, the timing's all wrong. He's leaving Hawai`i for UCLA in the fall, and starting off long-distance doesn't sound promising. Then there's her best friend who has a grudge against Gabe but won't say why. As for Gabe, he's not about to give up on Linnea, not when he believes so wholeheartedly in them. Even though he's keeping a secret that could ruin any chance of them being together. And he has to be careful―there are others around eager to expose him.

With only one night to sort through what they've wanted with each other and what possibly lies ahead, Linnea and Gabe must decide whether or not their orbits are truly meant to cross, or if they've missed their chance, like a shooting star too far out of reach.

A SKY FULL OF STARS is a 60,000-word contemporary young adult novel told through dual POVs, mixing the conversational voice of Terra Elan McVoy's THE SUMMER OF FIRSTS AND LASTS with the themes and urgency of first love of Rainbow Rowell's ELEANOR AND PARK. This story was inspired by my experience being born and raised in Hawai`i. The first chapter is in the body of the email, per your submission guidelines. Thank you for your time and consideration, I look forward to hearing from you.

Offline Pineapplejuice

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Re: Query for YA Contemporary -- A Sky Full of Stars
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2019, 03:03:21 PM »
There's a great YA tone but ... can't see the story.

Normally peoples stories are so complicated they stuggle to make things clear , but here it's simply

MC and Love Interest have feelings for each other. Will they be able to make it work?

It lacks a point of intrigue to me. No stakes :

What will happen if they don't end up together?

Why does it matter?

Those questions are where the stakes are

Offline ZaidaM

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Re: Query for YA Contemporary -- A Sky Full of Stars
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2019, 03:44:39 PM »
There's a great YA tone but ... can't see the story.

Normally peoples stories are so complicated they stuggle to make things clear , but here it's simply

MC and Love Interest have feelings for each other. Will they be able to make it work?

It lacks a point of intrigue to me. No stakes :

What will happen if they don't end up together?

Why does it matter?

Those questions are where the stakes are

Yikes, no point of intrigue! That's a pretty big red flag. :( But, okay! I'm going to have to re-evaluate a lot of things. Thank you for your critique!

Offline JEC112

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Re: Query for YA Contemporary -- A Sky Full of Stars
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2019, 03:58:31 PM »
Hi everyone! Would love any feedback or suggestions moving forward with my query! <3


Dear [Agent Name],

In eighth grade Linnea wrote Gabe a love letter. In ninth grade he dated another girl. Now, on the night after their high school graduation, their friends―convinced they're in love with each other―have set them up.

Linnea is an astronomy nerd known as Space Case Linnea at school. Gabe is a baseball star, beloved by many. They've existed in completely different orbits for years, circling one another but never crossing paths. But knowing this is their last opportunity to say how they really feel, they confess their long-harbored feelings for each other. And, surprise: their feelings are mutual.

Gabe is all in but
Linnea has her doubts about Gabe. For starters, the timing's all wrong. He's leaving Hawai`i for UCLA in the fall, and starting off a long-distance doesn't sound promising. Then there's her best friend who has a grudge against Gabe but won't say why. As for Gabe, he's not about to give up on Linnea, not when he believes so wholeheartedly in them. Even though he's keeping a secret that could ruin any chance of them being together. And he has to be careful―there are others around eager to expose him. So already we have two people with secrets. Keep the focus on Gabe and Linnea.

With only one night to sort through what they've wanted with each other and what possibly lies ahead their emotions and their future, Linnea and Gabe must decide whether or not their orbits are truly meant to cross, or if they've missed their chance, like a shooting star too far out of reach.

A SKY FULL OF STARS is a 60,000-word contemporary young adult novel told through dual POVs, mixing the conversational voice of Terra Elan McVoy's THE SUMMER OF FIRSTS AND LASTS with the themes and urgency of first love of Rainbow Rowell's ELEANOR AND PARK. This story was inspired by my experience being born and raised in Hawai`i. The first chapter is in the body of the email, per your submission guidelines. Thank you for your time and consideration, I look forward to hearing from you.

I agree with Pineapplejuice. I just don't see a full story here. Bring up his secret at the beginning and that could be your hook. Someone is threatening to expose him, which sounds cliche but if rewritten could serve as your plot. If you focus on that you can raise the stakes and what both of them stand to lose if they don't come together.

Offline ZaidaM

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Re: Query for YA Contemporary -- A Sky Full of Stars
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2019, 07:37:33 AM »
Quote
I agree with Pineapplejuice. I just don't see a full story here. Bring up his secret at the beginning and that could be your hook. Someone is threatening to expose him, which sounds cliche but if rewritten could serve as your plot. If you focus on that you can raise the stakes and what both of them stand to lose if they don't come together.

After I saw Pineapplejuice's comment I thought about working on the secret angle, so I'm glad you mentioned it in your feedback too. Thank you for your help and insight!

Offline Marysia

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Re: Query for YA Contemporary -- A Sky Full of Stars
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2019, 09:58:22 PM »
I'm an SFF reader and writer, but I love romantic stories, so I'll take a stab at this. :)

Dear [Agent Name],

In eighth grade Linnea wrote Gabe a love letter. In ninth grade he dated another girl. Now, on the night after their high school graduation, their friends―convinced they're in love with each other―have set them up.

Linnea is an astronomy nerd known as Space Case Linnea at school. Gabe is a baseball star, beloved by many. They've existed in completely different orbits for years, circling one another but never crossing paths. But knowing this is their last opportunity to say how they really feel, they confess their long-harbored feelings for each other. And, surprise: their feelings are mutual.

Gabe is all in but Linnea has her doubts.Linnea has her doubts about Gabe reads more smoothly. For starters, the timing's all wrong. He's leaving Hawai`i for UCLA in the fall, and starting off long-distance doesn't sound promising. Then there's herLinnea's best friend commawho has a grudge against Gabe but won't say why. As for Gabe, he's not about to give up on Linnea, not when he believes so wholeheartedly in them. Even though he's keeping a secret that could ruin any chance of them being together. And he has to be careful―there are others around eager to expose him.I see three things that could become the crux of a very interesting plot: 1) Linnea's BFF has a grudge against Gabe, and already my mind is going in all sorts of dark directions wondering why. :) 2) He's keep a secret from her. 3) Others besides him and BFF know what it is and want it to come to light. Makes me think it's serious since people want to expose him. But if so many people know, how come Linnea hasn't heart anything about it yet? Her BFF might be good at keeping a secret, but if others know, wouldn't there be rumors of whatever it is? Would it even be possible for Linnea, who goes to the same school, not to have heard of it?

With only one night to sort through what they've wanted with each other and what possibly lies ahead, Linnea and Gabe must decide whether or not their orbits are truly meant to cross, or if they've missed their chance, like a shooting star too far out of reach.

A SKY FULL OF STARS is a 60,000-word contemporary young adult novel told through dual POVs, mixing the conversational voice of Terra Elan McVoy's THE SUMMER OF FIRSTS AND LASTS with the themes and urgency of first love of Rainbow Rowell's ELEANOR AND PARK. This story was inspired by my experience being born and raised in Hawai`i. The first chapter is in the body of the email, per your submission guidelines. Thank you for your time and consideration, I look forward to hearing from you. I love the fact that Linnea's into astronomy and the love story has astronomy symbolism.  :yes: Good luck with your revision! I agree with others that we need some more careful rewriting of the stakes paragraph. I think you've got three points of interest that you can work with to show what the main problem is in the story--the thing that threatens to destroy Linnea and Gabe's relationships before it even launches off the ground.

Offline ZaidaM

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Re: Query for YA Contemporary -- A Sky Full of Stars
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2019, 07:58:32 PM »
I'm an SFF reader and writer, but I love romantic stories, so I'll take a stab at this. :)

Dear [Agent Name],

In eighth grade Linnea wrote Gabe a love letter. In ninth grade he dated another girl. Now, on the night after their high school graduation, their friends―convinced they're in love with each other―have set them up.

Linnea is an astronomy nerd known as Space Case Linnea at school. Gabe is a baseball star, beloved by many. They've existed in completely different orbits for years, circling one another but never crossing paths. But knowing this is their last opportunity to say how they really feel, they confess their long-harbored feelings for each other. And, surprise: their feelings are mutual.

Gabe is all in but Linnea has her doubts.Linnea has her doubts about Gabe reads more smoothly. For starters, the timing's all wrong. He's leaving Hawai`i for UCLA in the fall, and starting off long-distance doesn't sound promising. Then there's herLinnea's best friend commawho has a grudge against Gabe but won't say why. As for Gabe, he's not about to give up on Linnea, not when he believes so wholeheartedly in them. Even though he's keeping a secret that could ruin any chance of them being together. And he has to be careful―there are others around eager to expose him.I see three things that could become the crux of a very interesting plot: 1) Linnea's BFF has a grudge against Gabe, and already my mind is going in all sorts of dark directions wondering why. :) 2) He's keep a secret from her. 3) Others besides him and BFF know what it is and want it to come to light. Makes me think it's serious since people want to expose him. But if so many people know, how come Linnea hasn't heart anything about it yet? Her BFF might be good at keeping a secret, but if others know, wouldn't there be rumors of whatever it is? Would it even be possible for Linnea, who goes to the same school, not to have heard of it?

With only one night to sort through what they've wanted with each other and what possibly lies ahead, Linnea and Gabe must decide whether or not their orbits are truly meant to cross, or if they've missed their chance, like a shooting star too far out of reach.

A SKY FULL OF STARS is a 60,000-word contemporary young adult novel told through dual POVs, mixing the conversational voice of Terra Elan McVoy's THE SUMMER OF FIRSTS AND LASTS with the themes and urgency of first love of Rainbow Rowell's ELEANOR AND PARK. This story was inspired by my experience being born and raised in Hawai`i. The first chapter is in the body of the email, per your submission guidelines. Thank you for your time and consideration, I look forward to hearing from you. I love the fact that Linnea's into astronomy and the love story has astronomy symbolism.  :yes: Good luck with your revision! I agree with others that we need some more careful rewriting of the stakes paragraph. I think you've got three points of interest that you can work with to show what the main problem is in the story--the thing that threatens to destroy Linnea and Gabe's relationships before it even launches off the ground.

Thank you for taking a look at my romance story! :] I definitely agree, I need to bring forth the stakes and make that the focal point. And thanks for going a little more in depth with your three different points, I will be working those in for sure! <3

Offline tophersghost056

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Re: Query for YA Contemporary -- A Sky Full of Stars
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2019, 11:04:59 AM »
Aloha e Zaida,

I'm from Hawai'i too, and I'm delighted to see this query letter.

My initial thought is that I'm not sure what POV this story blurb is being told from. It seems to be primarily Linnea, but we get several bits of Gabe's POV. You might either pick Linnea and tell everything through her eyes. Or to a multi-POV blurb that goes:

Linnea is... (desire, conflict, stakes)

Gabe is... (desire, conflict, stakes)

And if they don't... (what do they stand to lose if they don't sort out their feelings for and conflict with one another?)

You seem to have all the info. You just need a bit or reorganization for the story to be evident.

Also, a minor suggestion, but you might toss out the obit and stars metaphor. This has been used quite a lot in YA recently. I think you can tell this straight on without the cliché and have a bigger impact. Also remember that Hawai'i makes your story unique. Give us some of the setting. What impact does Hawai'i, and all its cultural richness and complications, have on your story?

Maika'i pomaika'i. A hui hou!

Offline ZaidaM

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Re: Query for YA Contemporary -- A Sky Full of Stars
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 04:09:51 PM »
Aloha e Zaida,

I'm from Hawai'i too, and I'm delighted to see this query letter.

My initial thought is that I'm not sure what POV this story blurb is being told from. It seems to be primarily Linnea, but we get several bits of Gabe's POV. You might either pick Linnea and tell everything through her eyes. Or to a multi-POV blurb that goes:

Linnea is... (desire, conflict, stakes)

Gabe is... (desire, conflict, stakes)

And if they don't... (what do they stand to lose if they don't sort out their feelings for and conflict with one another?)

You seem to have all the info. You just need a bit or reorganization for the story to be evident.

Also, a minor suggestion, but you might toss out the obit and stars metaphor. This has been used quite a lot in YA recently. I think you can tell this straight on without the cliché and have a bigger impact. Also remember that Hawai'i makes your story unique. Give us some of the setting. What impact does Hawai'i, and all its cultural richness and complications, have on your story?

Maika'i pomaika'i. A hui hou!

I've seen other queries with multiple POVs doing the split paragraphs for each character, and I was trying to do something different. But since you mentioned you're not sure who is telling the story I might rework it so that it's clear with separate paragraphs. Thank you for bringing that up!

So nice to meet someone else from Hawai`i! :)