The Whip-Slip query

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thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by thewhipslip » August 13th, 2010, 10:06 am

Thanks, Rebecca! Much appreciated.
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EllieAnn
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by EllieAnn » September 16th, 2010, 2:35 pm

You have a fantastic query. You have such an awesome voice and a smart plot. If I was an agent, I'd definitely ask for a synopsis and partial MS right away! :-)

Good luck with getting published.

thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by thewhipslip » September 16th, 2010, 2:55 pm

Thanks, Ellie! Much appreciated.
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

sgf
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by sgf » September 16th, 2010, 3:05 pm

Hi,

Thanks for reviewing my query—I your comments were very helpful! Here to return the favor.

I think you have a very nice query and if I was an agent, I’d ask for some pages of the novel.

I do have some thoughts on how it could be improved. Of course, others might disagree completely, and like I said I think it’s pretty good as it is. In any case, I hope you find something useful below:

Seventeen-year-old Thea Vans will do anything to protect her best friend, Tully. That’s why she’ll never speak to him again. great opener!

Thea can hurt or heal with a single touch. Nosebleeds, hives, projectile vomiting. Another touch cures colds, mends broken legs, or induces blissful sleep.
the “another touch” threw me off a bit. I took it literally at first (one touch for bad things, two for good). This might just be me. I was thinking of way it could be reworded and came up with: “Thea can hurt or heal with a single touch-- nosebleeds, hives, projectile vomiting on one hand, and curing colds, mending broken legs, or inducing blissful sleep on the other.” My version is might be considered more cliché though.

She’s always hidden her abilities – but that was before Left-Hander, the new and inexplicable voice in her head. And Left-Hander controls the powers now. Good stuff!

Unfortunately for Thea, Left-Hander prefers hurting to healing. Thea can’t stop her when she decides to punish someone - and it doesn’t take much to annoy Left-Hander. No one’s safe, not even Tully. No suggestions here

Thea’s forced to give up the only refuge she’s ever had from an abusive uncle, taunting classmates, and a self-control that was never so great to begin with. I liked this line. I saw that you’re considering removing this on the suggestion of other reviewers. While I think it could be reworded (especially “forced to give up the only refuge”), I think the sentiment here does add something to the query—that she had little to lose to begin with and is about to lose it (or put another way, things are bad and are about to get worse). Also, the last line really shines the narrator’s voice so much I think it mightbe worth keeping this (but revising it to more clearly convey that between her abusive uncle, schoolmates and her self control, Tully was the only positive thing in her life).

Before she can figure out just who – or what – Left-Hander is, a group of teenagers with powers identical to Thea’s hurt side unleash a deadly epidemic on the local park. Thea and Left-Hander work together to fight them, but doing so hurls how about just: …fight them, hurling Thea…?

Thea into a world that her uncle hid from her. A world where she’s the last remaining weapon of mass destruction in the secret war between the soldiers of Life, and the soldiers of Death. This seemed a little too over the top to me. It might be because “weapons of mass destruction” and “secret war” seem so general, and the rest of the query was more specific. Could you replace these with maybe a specific event in your story that would convey the same thing?

If either side discovers what she is, thousands will die. Including her. liked this!

But Tully’s injured in the attack on the park. Only the soldiers of Life can heal him. Thea won’t let him enter their world alone. If she can hide her abilities, maybe she’ll make it out alive.

If Left-Hander cooperates, of course.

THE WHIP-SLIP is a young adult fantasy novel complete at 90,000 words. [Personalization here...]

thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by thewhipslip » September 16th, 2010, 4:00 pm

This is my draft as it stands now:

Seventeen-year-old Thea Vans will do anything to protect her best friend, Tully. That’s why she’ll never speak to him again.

Thea can hurt or heal with a single touch. One touch causes nosebleeds, hives, projectile vomiting. Another touch cures colds, mends broken legs, or induces blissful sleep. She’s always hidden her abilities – but that was before Left-Hander, the new and inexplicable voice in her head. And Left-Hander controls the powers now.

Unfortunately for Thea, Left-Hander prefers hurting to healing. Thea can’t stop her when she decides to punish someone - and it doesn’t take much to annoy Left-Hander. No one’s safe, not even Tully.

Before she can figure out just who – or what – Left-Hander is, a group of teenagers with powers identical to Thea’s hurt side unleash a deadly epidemic on the local park. Thea and Left-Hander work together to fight them, but doing so hurls Thea into a world that her guardian hid from her. A world where she’s the last remaining weapon of mass destruction in the secret war between the soldiers of Life, and the soldiers of Death. If either side discovers what she is, thousands will die. Including Thea.

But Tully’s injured in the attack on the park and only the soldiers of Life can heal him. Thea won’t let him enter their world alone. If she can hide her abilities, maybe they’ll both make it out alive.

If Left-Hander cooperates, of course.

THE WHIP-SLIP is a young adult fantasy novel complete at 90,000 words. This will fit well alongside the works of your clients xxx & xxxx.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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wilderness
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by wilderness » September 19th, 2010, 4:54 pm

Thumbs way up! Good luck with it!

clara_w
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by clara_w » September 23rd, 2010, 3:35 am

I really, really liked the latest version. One question though: Is her guardian Left-Hander? That wasnt very clear.

But on every other aspect: Congrats!!!

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Quill
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by Quill » September 23rd, 2010, 10:58 am

thewhipslip wrote:
Seventeen-year-old Thea Vans will do anything to protect her best friend, Tully. That’s why she’ll never speak to him again.

Thea can hurt or heal with a single touch. One touch causes nosebleeds, hives, projectile vomiting. Another touch cures colds, mends broken legs, or induces blissful sleep. She’s always hidden her abilities – but that was before Left-Hander, the new and inexplicable voice in her head. And Left-Hander controls the powers now.
Basically a great opening.

1. Not sure about three uses of "touch" in a row. At least you could omit the third so it reads, "Another cures colds..."

2. Suggest "brings blissful sleep" instead of "induces".

3. Wondering if you could omit "And" from "And Left-Hander controls the powers now."

4. Wonder if you should bring up the guardian here, so it doesn't seem out of the blue further down. "She's always hidden her abilities, like her guardian told her, but that was before Left-Hander..." or some such?
Unfortunately for Thea, Left-Hander prefers hurting to healing. Thea can’t stop her when she decides to punish someone - and it doesn’t take much to annoy Left-Hander. No one’s safe, not even Tully.
Great. But I'd strongly consider dropping "No one’s safe, not even Tully." It feels like an afterthought, it feels non-essential, it seems to lessen the drama, and without it there seems to be a better sentence flow (since you are not bringing Tully in, between two Thea thoughts.)
Before she can figure out just who – or what – Left-Hander is, a group of teenagers with powers identical to Thea’s hurt side unleash a deadly epidemic on the local park.
You might want to add a bit more explanation here because I can't picture an epidemic unleashed on a park. Is this a virus that only kills squirrels? How is it (seemingly) confined to the park? Why do teens inflict this upon the park?
Thea and Left-Hander work together to fight them, but doing so hurls Thea into a world that her guardian hid from her.
Do you see how without inserting an earlier reference to her guardian this could come off as abrupt? With it, though, it would flow nicely.

"Hurls" sticks out for me. How about "propels"? You like "hurls"?
A world where she’s the last remaining weapon of mass destruction in the secret war between the soldiers of Life, and the soldiers of Death.
Big escalation of plot here, and I don't mind it, as it's written well. I would definitely change it to "A world where she's a weapon of mass destruction." We don't need to know "last remaining" just now. The sentence has enough big concepts to grasp without that detail.
If either side discovers what she is, thousands will die. Including Thea.
I'm thinking you might not need this line. You might be able to just let the last line reverberate with its magnitude. Somehow the "discovers" and the "thousands" and the "including" seem to diminish your bombshell plot point previous. Try it.
But Tully’s injured in the attack on the park and only the soldiers of Life can heal him. Thea won’t let him enter their world alone. If she can hide her abilities, maybe they’ll both make it out alive.
Consider removing "Thea won't let him enter their world alone". It seems to cause too much thinking and doesn't seem essential.
If Left-Hander cooperates, of course.
I'd delete ", of course." You don't need it.
THE WHIP-SLIP is a young adult fantasy novel complete at 90,000 words. This will fit well alongside the works of your clients xxx & xxxx.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
You've got a lot of drama in this query. I'd explain the epidemic, add a reference to the guardian up front, tuck and trim a few words, and I think you're there. Nice work.

thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by thewhipslip » September 23rd, 2010, 3:00 pm

Great comments, Quill! As always. Thanks so much.
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by thewhipslip » September 23rd, 2010, 7:43 pm

What does everyone think of this? I've cut out some of the chaff, per Quill's suggestions. Is it a little too vague now or just right?

REVISION:


Seventeen-year-old Thea Vans will do anything to protect her best friend, Tully. That’s why she’ll never speak to him again.

Thea can hurt or heal with a single touch. One touch causes nosebleeds, hives, projectile vomiting. Another cures colds, mends broken legs, or brings blissful sleep. She’s always hidden her abilities from everyone except her guardian uncle – but that was before Left-Hander, the new and inexplicable voice in her head. And Left-Hander controls the powers now.

Unfortunately for Thea, Left-Hander prefers hurting to healing. Thea can’t stop her when she decides to punish someone - and it doesn’t take much to annoy Left-Hander.

Before she can figure out just who – or what – Left-Hander is, a group of teenagers with powers identical to Thea’s hurt side turn the high school hangout into their feeding ground. Thea and Left-Hander work together to fight them, but doing so hurls Thea into a world that her uncle hid from her. A world where she’s a weapon of mass destruction in the secret war between the soldiers of Life, and the soldiers of Death.

Tully’s injured in the attack and only the soldiers of Life can heal him. If Thea can hide her abilities, maybe they’ll both make it through alive.

If Left-Hander cooperates.

THE WHIP-SLIP is a young adult fantasy novel complete at 90,000 words. This will fit well alongside the works of your clients xxx & xxxx.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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Quill
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by Quill » September 23rd, 2010, 8:09 pm

I think it's really good. It's intriguing. It piques interest. It works for me.

The only odd bit is having Thea and Left-hander work together against the teens. You kinda gave the impression that Left-hander has a mind of its own, or at least is often at odds w/ Thea. How is it that they go right to work together, no explanation needed? Don't you think a few qualifying words might help?

thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by thewhipslip » September 23rd, 2010, 8:48 pm

Hmm, yeah, good point. How about this:

Thea coaxes Left-Hander to fight them, but doing so, etc. etc.
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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Quill
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by Quill » September 23rd, 2010, 9:48 pm

How about "Thea manages to get Left-hander to work with her against the teens" or "Thea convinces Left-hander to help her battle the teens".

"Coax" seems a little tame, like something one does to a child or a pet, but yeah, something like that.

thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by thewhipslip » September 23rd, 2010, 10:07 pm

I'm gonna go with: Thea convinces Left-Hander...

Think that's the simplest. Thanks, Quill!
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by thewhipslip » September 23rd, 2010, 10:22 pm

Okay, here's one more try. I realized that using "world" implies she enters a new world, but this is set in America still. I don't want agents to think it's high fantasy:


Seventeen-year-old Thea Vans will do anything to protect her best friend, Tully. That’s why she’ll never speak to him again.

Thea can hurt or heal with a single touch. One touch causes nosebleeds, hives, projectile vomiting. Another cures colds, mends broken legs, or brings blissful sleep. She’s always hidden her abilities from everyone except her guardian uncle – but that was before Left-Hander, the new and inexplicable voice in her head. And Left-Hander controls the powers now.

Unfortunately for Thea, Left-Hander prefers hurting to healing. Thea can’t stop her when she decides to punish someone - and it doesn’t take much to annoy Left-Hander.

Before she can figure out just who – or what – Left-Hander is, a group of teenagers with powers identical to Thea’s hurt side turn the high school hangout into their feeding ground. Thea convinces Left-Hander to fight them, but doing so lands her in the middle of a society that Americans know nothing about. A world that her uncle kept hidden from her, where she’s a weapon of mass destruction in the war between the soldiers of Life, and the soldiers of Death.

Tully’s injured in the attack and only the soldiers of Life can heal him. If Thea can hide her abilities, maybe they’ll both make it through alive.

If Left-Hander cooperates.

THE WHIP-SLIP is a young adult fantasy novel complete at 90,000 words. This will fit well alongside the works of your clients xxx & xxxx.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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