YA fantasy query - CHANNELING TROUBLE

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jessicatudor
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YA fantasy query - CHANNELING TROUBLE

Post by jessicatudor » April 23rd, 2010, 3:46 pm

I had a prior version of this critiqued by an agent, and this is the revision based on her notes. (The first draft was all plot, no character.) Does this seem teen-friendly and give a decent idea of Ronnie as a character? (The first draft used a spin on the word 'job' which made it seem less teen-appropriate than the story itself is. So.)

Dear Agent:

Ronnie Casate can control other people’s minds by accessing the channels between everything and everyone. So far, that’s meant little things: a spot on student council, passing chemistry. Her family has always stressed channeling is no big deal, but it’s about to become one: the Agency keeping tabs on channelers needs her help. Someone is selling out channelers around the city to PUAC (People United Against Channelers, or Pukers), and the Agency wants her to find out who. Ronnie could care less, but they threaten her mom. Seems channeling was a big deal in her family, and no one told Ronnie. She’ll help the Agency if it means learning her family’s secrets and securing their safety.

But her family isn’t the only one with secrets. Someone at the Agency doesn’t want Ronnie pursuing the truth. When Ronnie acts on conflicting orders, the Agency wants her fired (code for disappearance). Now the little things she can do with her power might be the only ones saving her life - and her power is growing the more she uses it. Can she find the traitor before the Pukers, the Agency, or family history catch up to her? Suddenly staying home for Spring Break is the least of Ronnie’s problems.

CHANNELING TROUBLE, my young adult fantasy, is complete at 65,000 words. [I queried you because.] [My measly credentials are.]

Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
Me

(Sorry I haven't been around - I was doing this thing called writing.... :D)
Last edited by jessicatudor on April 23rd, 2010, 5:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.
'The world is but canvas to our imaginations.' - Thoreau

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Quill
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Re: YA fantasy query - CHANNELING TROUBLE

Post by Quill » April 23rd, 2010, 4:08 pm

I like the story.

I'm a little confused by your use of the term "channeling." I am familiar with the common new age use of the word, which means tapping into another consciousness and reporting -- channeling -- that entity's thoughts or words. Not sure how you relate it to controlling others. You may wish to say, in order to avoid confusion. I was, for instance, thrown by the term "channeling into (others') subconscious." Again, usually it mean channeling out of another's mind.
Seems channeling was a big deal in her family,
I think I know why you used "was" but I still think it might read better with is.
But her family isn’t the only one with secrets.
You could probably omit this. At least omit the "but".
CHANNELING TROUBLE
I like the title. It does, however, allude to the new age (for lack of a better term) meaning of the word, which, again, contributes to my confusion. That type of channeling never has to do with the channeler controlling the one being channeled. If anything the other way round could happen, the channeler is the one controlled.

Am I confusing you? :)

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Re: YA fantasy query - CHANNELING TROUBLE

Post by jessicatudor » April 23rd, 2010, 4:25 pm

I'm a Christian; I have NO IDEA what you're talking about!! It's just the name for the system of magic I've developed in my world. The first version explained it better but it was too clunky. I didn't realize it would create that kind of confusion.
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Re: YA fantasy query - CHANNELING TROUBLE

Post by Quill » April 23rd, 2010, 4:53 pm

Interesting. I guess just be aware that there's a whole system of divination existing based on the term "channeling."

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Re: YA fantasy query - CHANNELING TROUBLE

Post by jessicatudor » April 23rd, 2010, 4:59 pm

I just reworded the first sentence, does that help? :)
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Re: YA fantasy query - CHANNELING TROUBLE

Post by Quill » April 23rd, 2010, 6:13 pm

Yes, it does. However, the following sentence still states that "Her family has always stressed channeling is no big deal", which implies the seance-type activity many people will think of when channeling is mentioned. And when you go on to mention channelers, just be aware that some people will associate them with those who channel Ashtar Command, Seth, Ramtha, Kryon, Bashar, The Pleiadians, The Cassiopians, and other well-known "entities" within the new age/ spiritual community. Unless you clearly make distinctions, I would think.

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Re: YA fantasy query - CHANNELING TROUBLE

Post by jessicatudor » April 23rd, 2010, 6:58 pm

I'm going to take the chance most teens will have no idea what you're talking about either, based on the fact a lot of people use 'channels' in relation to magic (ie, Robert Jordan). I think it's obvious from the context I'm not getting New Age on anybody, and readers aren't stupid.
'The world is but canvas to our imaginations.' - Thoreau

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Re: YA fantasy query - CHANNELING TROUBLE

Post by Quill » April 23rd, 2010, 8:13 pm

I was thinking of being clear with agents, in your query. Most of them will be familiar with the usage to which I'm referring.

I'm sure you've got a better feel for it than I, though. I'm just pointing out how I saw it myself.

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rainbowsheeps
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Re: YA fantasy query - CHANNELING TROUBLE

Post by rainbowsheeps » April 24th, 2010, 5:16 pm

jessicatudor wrote:I had a prior version of this critiqued by an agent, and this is the revision based on her notes. (The first draft was all plot, no character.) Does this seem teen-friendly and give a decent idea of Ronnie as a character? (The first draft used a spin on the word 'job' which made it seem less teen-appropriate than the story itself is. So.)

Dear Agent:

Ronnie Casate can control other people’s minds by accessing the channels between everything and everyone. So far, that’s meant little things: a spot on student council, passing chemistry. Her family has always stressed channeling is no big deal, but it’s about to become one: the Agency keeping tabs on channelers needs her help. Someone is selling out channelers around the city to PUAC (People United Against Channelers, or Pukers), and the Agency wants her to find out who. Ronnie could care less, but they threaten her mom. Seems channeling was a big deal in her family, and no one told Ronnie. She’ll help the Agency if it means learning her family’s secrets and securing their safety. (Good.)

But her family isn’t the only one with secrets. Someone at the Agency doesn’t want Ronnie pursuing the truth. When Ronnie acts on conflicting orders, the Agency wants her fired (code for disappearance)(Should you maybe use "disappeared?" If you're saying "fired" is code for "disappeared" anyway.). Now the little things she can do with her power might be the only ones saving her life (awkward) - and her power is growing the more she uses it. Can she find the traitor before the Pukers, the Agency, or family history catch up to her (I'm not a big fan of rhetorical questions, but I also think this should be more specific. The people against Channelers, are they going to imprison the channelers (and her), or kill her? What is the Agency going to do to "disappear" her? And the big issue with family history should probably be alluded to more specifically. You might not need to give the entire secret away, but probably something that at least piques someone's curiosity more than this does) Suddenly, staying home for Spring Break is the least of Ronnie’s problems.

CHANNELING TROUBLE, my young adult fantasy, is complete at 65,000 words. [I queried you because.] [My measly credentials are.]

Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
Me

(Sorry I haven't been around - I was doing this thing called writing.... :D)
Quill has a good point. Channeling is definitely a word that will mean seance-type activities to a lot of people. I'm familiar with it as well. The first sentence explains that what you're referring to is mind control, which clarifies it a bit, though.

The idea of channels interconnecting all people and things is interesting if you're referring to literal channels that these people can navigate through. I'm not sure that's what you're suggesting, though?

I'm not a reader of young adult or fantasy, so you'll be getting far more helpful advice than mine. The query is short and isn't bogged down with unnecessary details, but I don't feel like it's specific enough or has enough to give it a "must read" quality. A slight adjustment to the voice of the query, or something to make me sympathize more with the character, Ronnie, might really help with that. Paired with some more specific details - like what exactly might happen to her, and a hint at the family secret - might make it a lot better.

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Re: YA fantasy query - CHANNELING TROUBLE

Post by ceiser » April 29th, 2010, 3:46 am

Hi. New here so don't take me too seriously.

You are most likely right about a YA audience not understanding the established meaning of channeling, but I have to agree with everyone else - you can't ignore that there's this thing that's been around and called channeling since long before any of us were born. You do go on to explain more about your system, but maybe clarifying a bit at the beginning by saying something like... (in blue)
jessicatudor wrote: Dear Agent:

Ronnie Casate can control other people’s minds by accessing the connections, or channels, between everything and everyone. So far, that’s meant little things: a spot on student council, passing chemistry. Her family has always stressed channeling is no big deal, but it’s about to become one: the Agency keeping tabs on channelers needs her help. Someone is selling out channelers around the city to PUAC (People United Against Channelers, or Pukers), and the Agency wants her to find out who. Ronnie could care less, but they threaten her mom. Seems channeling was a big deal in her family, and no one told Ronnie. She’ll help the Agency if it means learning her family’s secrets and securing their safety.

But her family isn’t the only one with secrets. Someone at the Agency doesn’t want Ronnie pursuing the truth. When Ronnie acts on conflicting orders, the Agency wants her fired (code for disappearance how about "out of the picture" instead? disappearance sounds awkward). Now the little things she can do with her power might be the only ones saving her life - and her power is growing the more she uses it. Can she find the traitor before the Pukers, the Agency, or family history catch up to her? Suddenly staying home for Spring Break is the least of Ronnie’s problems.

CHANNELING TROUBLE, my young adult fantasy, is complete at 65,000 words. [I queried you because.] [My measly credentials are.]

Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
Me

(Sorry I haven't been around - I was doing this thing called writing.... :D)
Just my impressions :-)

Mel
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Re: YA fantasy query - CHANNELING TROUBLE

Post by Mel » April 29th, 2010, 10:20 am

jessicatudor wrote:I had a prior version of this critiqued by an agent, and this is the revision based on her notes. (The first draft was all plot, no character.) Does this seem teen-friendly and give a decent idea of Ronnie as a character? (The first draft used a spin on the word 'job' which made it seem less teen-appropriate than the story itself is. So.)

Dear Agent:

Ronnie Casate can control other people’s minds by accessing the (I like the idea of using connections here) channels between everything and everyone. So far, that’s meant little things: a spot on student council, passing chemistry. Her family has always stressed channeling is no big deal, but it’s about to become one: the Agency keeping tabs on channelers needs her help. Someone is selling out channelers I think this needs to be more specific than selling out--Murdering? Imprisoning?, etc. around the city I would cut "around the city" it seems unecessary to PUAC (People United Against Channelers, or Pukers) I like PUKERS, BTW, and the Agency wants her to find out who. Ronnie could care less, but they threaten her momI would try to be more specific here. How did the agency threaten her mom? What's at stake? Her mom's life?. Seems channeling was a big deal in her family, and no one told Ronnie. She’ll help the Agency if it means learning her family’s secrets and securing their safety.

But her family isn’t the only one with secrets. Someone at the Agency doesn’t want Ronnie pursuing the truth. When Ronnie acts on conflicting orders, the Agency wants her fired (code for disappearance)I agree that this is confusing. Do they want to make her disappear or is she AWOL?. Now the little things she can do with her power might be the only ones saving her life - and her power is growing the more she uses it. Can she find the traitor before the Pukers, the Agency, or family history catch up to her? Suddenly staying home for Spring Break is the least of Ronnie’s problems.

CHANNELING TROUBLE, my young adult fantasy, is complete at 65,000 words. [I queried you because.] [My measly credentials are.]

Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
Me

(Sorry I haven't been around - I was doing this thing called writing.... :D)
First off, I want to say that I really like the story premise. But I don't think the query paints a clear picture of what is going on and what's at stake.

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