Query: Isabella Vampirella Revision

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kenpochick
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Query: Isabella Vampirella Revision

Post by kenpochick » April 5th, 2010, 6:53 pm

Ok. I'm leaving the name as is and if miracles of miracles happen and I get an agent I will let them worry about it. :-)

I added a little more of the plot to the query and I'm not sure if it's better or worse. Any feedback would be great!

Dear Agent,

Eight year old Isabella just knows her life will be perfect once she finally gets her fangs!

Isabella is thrilled to be starting the third grade with her friends Betha; a witch, and Jack; a werewolf. After all, she’ll officially be one of the big kids taking classes in the towers of the Midnight Cooperative School #13. When her parents don’t let her walk to school by herself and the teacher assigns seats putting Isabella right next to her obnoxious classmate, Talia de la Nuit, the thrill is gone. Isabella is shocked to see that Talia has her fangs and Talia takes every opportunity to make sure Isabella doesn't forget it.

Soon Betha discovers her magic and Jack finds his howl and Isabella is left behind as everyone seems to be growing up without her. As Isabella finally gets her fangs she discovers they come with a terrible price: a lisp!

With the help of her big sister Annabella she works hard to get her lisp under control before school on Monday. But when Isabella’s cousin Samuel has a seizure while they’re playing, Isabella races to his rescue and realizes there are more important things then mastering her lisp and growing up is about more than just getting your fangs.

ISABELLA VAMPIRELLA GETS HER FANGS is a 10,000 word chapter book aimed at readers of “Junie B. Jones” and “The Magic Tree House” series of books who may want something a bit offbeat. This is the first in a planned series of books.

Thank you for your consideration.

JTB
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Re: Query: Isabella Vampirella Revision

Post by JTB » April 5th, 2010, 7:35 pm

i don't think the additional stuff helps, it feels bolted on. and less is more here i think - let the idea sing out.
---------------------
Dear Agent,

Eight year old Isabella just knows her life will be perfect once she finally gets her fangs!

Thrilled to be starting the third grade with her friends Betha - a witch, and Jack - a werewolf, Isabella will officially be one of the big kids at the Midnight Cooperative School #13.

But, when her parents don’t let her walk to school by herself and the teacher assigns seats putting Isabella next to the obnoxious Talia de la Nuit, the thrill is gone. Isabella is shocked to see that Talia has already got her fangs and that she takes every opportunity to make sure Isabella doesn't forget it.

Soon Betha discovers her magic and Jack finds his howl and Isabella is left behind as everyone grows up without her. When Isabella finally gets her fangs she discovers they come with a terrible price: a lisp!

Tagline here: think of a line e.g. When growing up is more than just getting fangs!

then .... ISABELLA VAMPIRELLA GETS HER FANGS is a 10,000 word ............

------------------------

Leaving the last para as ...: a lisp. I think implies what you then go on to explain - like your worried we won;t get it. We do get it, it's a great little story about a kid vampire with a lisp and what she does to overcome it

hope this helps

jtb

kenpochick
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Re: Query: Isabella Vampirella Revision

Post by kenpochick » April 5th, 2010, 7:54 pm

JTB,

Ok good. I thought it sounded stilted too.

That's exactly why I added it, from the comments I got after the post on Evil Editor, they clearly didn't get the character. Maybe they're not used to kids books.

JTB
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Re: Query: Isabella Vampirella Revision

Post by JTB » April 5th, 2010, 7:55 pm

my advice, now?

you can have too much advice

otherside89girl
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Re: Query: Isabella Vampirella Revision

Post by otherside89girl » April 5th, 2010, 8:00 pm

I think it's really good. The way the query reads feels like the way the book will read, both in the tone and how it plays out - Isabella excited for school, then feeling left out, then growing up, etc... It was fun to read.

The one part that didn't seem to flow was this:

But when Isabella’s cousin Samuel has a seizure while they’re playing, Isabella races to his rescue and realizes there are more important things then mastering her lisp and growing up is about more than just getting your fangs.

I'm not sure, but maybe even just taking out the "while they're playing" might make that sentence easier. Otherwise, I like that you hint at the message of the book.
Good job!

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rainbowsheeps
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Re: Query: Isabella Vampirella Revision

Post by rainbowsheeps » April 6th, 2010, 2:11 pm

kenpochick wrote:Ok. I'm leaving the name as is and if miracles of miracles happen and I get an agent I will let them worry about it. :-)

I added a little more of the plot to the query and I'm not sure if it's better or worse. Any feedback would be great!

Dear Agent,

Eight year old Isabella just knows her life will be perfect once she finally gets her fangs!

Isabella is thrilled to be starting the third grade with her friends Betha; a witch, and Jack; a werewolf. (I think you had it right when you used commas here. Why the change?) After all, she’ll officially be one of the big kids taking classes in the towers of the Midnight Cooperative School #13 ((See comments below). When her parents don’t let her walk to school by herself, (Missing comma here) and the teacher assigns seats putting Isabella right next to her obnoxious classmate, Talia de la Nuit, the thrill is gone. (This sentence is bordering on the edge of being a run-on I think. It might work alright, but I'd see what others have to say. It would be difficult to break it up in two and keep the flow to give the reader the sense of disappointment you're describing, though.) Isabella is shocked to see that Talia has her fangs and Talia (don't need to use her name twice here) takes every opportunity to make sure Isabella doesn't forget it.

Soon, (missing comma) Betha discovers her magic and Jack finds his howl, (missing comma) and Isabella is left behind as everyone seems to be growing up without her. As (Use: "When") Isabella finally gets her fangs, (missing comma) she discovers they come with (Use: "at") a terrible price: a lisp!

With the help of her big sister, (missing comma) Annabella, she works hard to get her lisp under control before school on Monday. But when Isabella’s cousin Samuel has a seizure while they’re playing, Isabella races to his rescue and realizes there are more important things then mastering her lisp, (missing comma) and growing up is about more than just getting your fangs.

ISABELLA VAMPIRELLA GETS HER FANGS is a 10,000 word chapter book aimed at readers of “Junie B. Jones” and “The Magic Tree House” series of books who may want something a bit offbeat. This is the first in a planned series of books.

Thank you for your consideration.
* Name of the school
This sounds like a riff of sorts on the public school numbering system of cities. It doesn't seem like the sort of name that little kids reading the book will understand or remember though. HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY is clearly memorable and rolls off the tongue of kids because it catches their imagination, I think. I know I was the one advocating putting the name of the school in the query, but I suppose I'm going to meekly suggest you might want to consider changing the name of the school in the book (but remember I don't know how well it works in the context of the story, I'm just here to offer you what suggestions I can to improve your query) orrrr if you're too attached to the name, leave it out of the query completely.

At this point, I think the biggest downfall of this query is the incorrect or missing punctuation. Since the letter isn't only about describing your book in an enticing way, it's about describing it so that the agent can see your writing skills, if you make numerous punctuation errors in the few paragraphs they're reading, it doesn't leave a bad impression. Those little things become a big deal, unfortunately. To increase your chances, I'd say remember to go over the letter specifically for punctuation and look up the rules if you need just to be sure. When taking math exams even in college and had simple addition, like 5 and 5, I would still type the numbers into the calculator just just to make absolutely sure they were right and not risk losing points while I'm nervous. I think the same rule applies to things like this. There's no shame in it, either.

Lastly, I'm not up to speed on children's books at all, but the plot of Samuel at the end does seem, as someone else said before, kind of tacked on. I think that has a lot to do with the fact an emergency of a previously unnamed character teaches her a life lesson at the very end and basically forfeits the importance of everything before it. I really do understand the importance of the message you're trying to describe here, but I think usually kids stories have someone telling the child in the story about something more important, like the go-to example being a mother or father telling the kid "we would have been proud of you with lisp or not, or with fangs or not," or the parents sharing a story of their own embarrassing story, or something that relates directly to the trials the child has gone through. In this case, you're talking about a kid learning to overcome adversity followed by a traumatic event that suggests she learns her own problems were not important at all. I think it probably can work in the story, and be different than what you usually see if executed well enough, but I think... it feels "off" somehow here. To me, at least. I would really like to see what other people have to say about it.

So I'm not poking holes without at least offering a little bit of tape: I would suggest connecting Isabella's learned life lesson of helping Samuel with a serious injury with her previous doubts about her own maturity. Address, in some way, that she learns to save her cousin's life and feels proud of herself for being responsible, etc, and that even though she developed slowly or was the subject of adversity by her peers and had doubts, she overcame it all to be a hero. Basically, tie it all together.

I've said way too much. But still: cutest premise ever!

Emily J
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Re: Query: Isabella Vampirella Revision

Post by Emily J » April 6th, 2010, 3:50 pm

kenpochick wrote:Ok. I'm leaving the name as is and if miracles of miracles happen and I get an agent I will let them worry about it. :-)

I added a little more of the plot to the query and I'm not sure if it's better or worse. Any feedback would be great!

Dear Agent,

Eight year old Isabella Eight-year-old Isabella (hyphenate attributive compound adjectives) just knows her life will be perfect once she finally gets her fangs! great opening sentence, i like the exclamation point

Isabella is thrilled to be starting the third grade with her friends Betha; a witch, and Jack; a werewolf. not sure is a semi-colon should be used here After all, she’ll officially be one of the big kids taking classes in the towers of the Midnight Cooperative School #13. eh, the name of the school doesn't add anything here When her parents don’t let her walk to school by herself and the teacher assigns seats putting Isabella right next to her obnoxious classmate, Talia de la Nuit, the thrill is gone. Isabella is shocked to see that Talia has her fangs and Talia takes every opportunity to make sure Isabella doesn't forget it.

Soon Betha discovers her magic and Jack finds his howl nicely written and Isabella is left behind as everyone seems to be growing up without her. As Isabella finally gets her fangs comma here she discovers they come with a terrible price: a lisp! eeee! soo cute!

With the help of her big sister Annabella comma here she works hard to get her lisp under control before school on Monday. But when Isabella’s cousin Samuel has a seizure while they’re playing, Isabella races to his rescue and realizes there are more important things then mastering her lisp and growing up is about more than just getting your fangs. With the seizure there seems to be a shift in tone here, not sure if it fits with the rest of the query

ISABELLA VAMPIRELLA GETS HER FANGS is a 10,000 word chapter book not very familiar with this age category but 10,000 seems awfully short aimed at readers of “Junie B. Jones” and “The Magic Tree House” series of books who may want something a bit offbeat. This is the first in a planned series of books.

Thank you for your consideration.
I think this is an absolutely adorable idea. Your query is nearly there, but the seizure threw me off as the rest of the book certainly reads like a light comedy.

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Regan Leigh
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Re: Query: Isabella Vampirella Revision

Post by Regan Leigh » April 27th, 2010, 10:27 pm

I'm new to queries, so keep that in mind. Not a pro here. ;)

kenpochick wrote:Ok. I'm leaving the name as is and if miracles of miracles happen and I get an agent I will let them worry about it. :-) (Didn't see previous convo about this title, but I have to say I immediately groaned. ;) But you're right, it would probably be changed later...

I added a little more of the plot to the query and I'm not sure if it's better or worse. Any feedback would be great!

Dear Agent,

Eight year old Isabella just knows her life will be perfect once she finally gets her fangs!

Isabella is thrilled to be starting the third grade with her friends Betha; a witch, and Jack; a werewolf. Okay, I'm sure you've gotten this and it may be totally tongue and cheek on your part, but the whole ISabella wants to be a vamp and werewolf friend named Jack made me groan again. After all, she’ll officially be one of the big kids taking classes in the towers of the Midnight Cooperative School #13. When her parents don’t let her walk to school by herself and the teacher assigns seats putting Isabella right next to her obnoxious classmate, Talia de la Nuit, the thrill is gone. Isabella is shocked to see that Talia has her fangs and Talia takes every opportunity to make sure Isabella doesn't forget it.

Soon Betha discovers her magic and Jack finds his howl and Isabella is left behind as everyone seems to be growing up without her. As Isabella finally gets her fangs she discovers they come with a terrible price: a lisp! See, I think your idea and story sound cute as anything. I just wish the names didn't make me cringe initially! :D

With the help of her big sister Annabella she works hard to get her lisp under control before school on Monday. But when Isabella’s cousin Samuel has a seizure while they’re playing, Isabella races to his rescue and realizes there are more important things then mastering her lisp and growing up is about more than just getting your fangs. Good points in this paragraph, but it feels choppy and disjointed...

ISABELLA VAMPIRELLA GETS HER FANGS is a 10,000 word chapter book aimed at readers of “Junie B. Jones” and “The Magic Tree House” series of books who may want something a bit offbeat. This is the first in a planned series of books.

Thank you for your consideration.
I really do like the concept and think it's probably very cute. :)
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ceiser
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Re: Query: Isabella Vampirella Revision

Post by ceiser » April 28th, 2010, 10:28 am

New at this and not an expert (at anything!), but I think you're better off with commas here instead of semicolons.
kenpochick wrote:Isabella is thrilled to be starting the third grade with her friends Betha; a witch, and Jack; a werewolf.
Love the idea, though, even if I'm not into kids books.

Poisonguy
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Re: Query: Isabella Vampirella Revision

Post by Poisonguy » April 29th, 2010, 3:18 am

Kenpochick, leave it as it is. It's just fine. The aim of querying is to get the agent to request pages. You've more than accomplish that. Don't overdo it by changing it. Right now, it's yours. If you take on too much advice (and rewriting suggestions), it loses some of the "you" from the query. If anything, change the semicolons to commas but keep the rest as is.

Good luck with it. It's a really good query.

kenpochick
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Re: Query: Isabella Vampirella Revision

Post by kenpochick » April 29th, 2010, 4:37 pm

Thanks. It's out on a request right now (so I guess the query worked, I did go more back to my original BTW) and I am freaking out! I really hope she says yes. *fingers crossed*

Mel
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Re: Query: Isabella Vampirella Revision

Post by Mel » April 30th, 2010, 11:42 am

Congrats on the request. For what's its worth, it sounds like a great story.

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rainbowsheeps
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Re: Query: Isabella Vampirella Revision

Post by rainbowsheeps » April 30th, 2010, 11:57 am

kenpochick wrote:Thanks. It's out on a request right now (so I guess the query worked, I did go more back to my original BTW) and I am freaking out! I really hope she says yes. *fingers crossed*
Congratulations! I'm glad you reverted back to the original a little bit more, too. Even if she doesn't say yes, keep trying. It's a really cute story. I think it has a good chance. :)

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