The Whip-Slip query - REVISED

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thewhipslip
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The Whip-Slip query - REVISED

Post by thewhipslip » July 17th, 2010, 12:57 pm

Okay, here's an edited version. Let me know what you think!


17-year-old Thea Vans would do anything for her best friend, Tully. That’s why she’s never going to speak to him again.

There’s a voice in her head named Left-Hander. Left-Hander controls the powers. With a single touch, Thea can heal or she can hurt. Anger toward another leads to nosebleeds, hives, and the occasional episode of projectile vomiting. Sympathy cures colds, broken legs, or offers a blissful state of sleep.

Unfortunately for Thea, Left-Hander prefers the hurt part. There’s little Thea can do to stop her once she decides to punish someone she doesn’t like. That’s why Thea can’t be around Tully. He says the wrong thing, touches her in the wrong way, and Left-Hander will bite.

When a group of teenagers with the power to animate the dead turn the local high school hangout into a scene from George Romero’s latest zombie flick, Thea realizes she can fight them. Doing so throws her into a world that she’s been hidden from her whole life. A world where she’s a weapon of mass destruction in a secret war between the soldiers of Life, and the soldiers of Death. Now Thea will have to choose between the purpose she was created for – or the normal life she’s always wanted.

If Left-Hander agrees to it, that is.

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.

Sincerely,
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 - REVISED

Post by thewhipslip » July 17th, 2010, 3:51 pm

Below is a revised version. Which one is better? I think the second gives a better idea of the conflict...

17-year-old Thea Vans would do anything for her best friend, Tully. That’s why she’s never going to speak to him again.

There’s a voice named Left-Hander in her head. Left-Hander controls the powers. With a single touch, Thea can heal or she can hurt. Anger toward another leads to nosebleeds, hives, and the occasional episode of projectile vomiting. Sympathy cures colds, broken legs, or offers a blissful state of sleep.

Unfortunately for Thea, Left-Hander prefers the hurt part. There’s little Thea can do to stop her once she decides to punish someone she doesn’t like. That’s why Thea can’t be around Tully. He says the wrong thing, touches her in the wrong way, and Left-Hander will bite.

Thea finds out she’s not the only one with powers when a group of teenagers turn the local high school hangout into a scene from George Romero’s latest zombie flick. Thea realizes she can fight them. Doing so throws her into a world that she’s been hidden from her whole life. A world where she’s a weapon of mass destruction in a secret war between the soldiers of Life, and the soldiers of Death. If either side finds out what she is, she’s sure to die.

The problem: Tully’s hurt in the attack, and the soldiers of Life are the only people who can heal him. Now Thea will put her existence on the line to save her friend. If she can hide what she really is, maybe they can make it out 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.

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

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sarahdee
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Re: The Whip-Slip query - REVISED

Post by sarahdee » July 17th, 2010, 10:17 pm

I like both, the second mentions that Tully is at risk though which I think is an important feature so offer some suggestions on that. Sounds interesting....

17-year-old Aged Seventeen, Thea Vans would do anything for her best friend, Tully. That’s why she’s never going to speak to him again. (Good start to pique interest. Better to write numbers out, esp when at start of sentence)

There’s a voice named Left-Hander in her head. Left-Hander controls the powers. With a single touch, Thea can heal or she can hurt. Anger toward another leads to nosebleeds, hives, and the occasional episode of projectile vomiting. Sympathy cures colds, broken legs, or offers a blissful state of sleep. You mention LH controlling the powers then what the powers are - might work better switched around to extra clear. I.e Thea has a special power, with a single touch she can hurt a person or heal them, depending on her emotions. Anger toward another leads to nosebleeds, hives, and the occasional episode of projectile vomiting. Sympathy cures colds, broken legs, or offers a blissful state of sleep. These powers are controlled not by Thea but the voice in her head, Left Hander.

Unfortunately for Thea, Left-Hander prefers the hurt part. There’s little Thea can do to stop her once she decides to punish someone she doesn’t like. That’s why Thea can’t be around Tully. If Hhe says the wrong thing, touches her in the wrong way, and Left-Hander will bite.

Thea finds out she’s not the only one with special powers when a group of teenagers turn the local high school hangout into a scene from George Romero’s latest zombie flick. Thea realizes she can fight them. D but by doing so throws herself into a world that she’s been hidden from her whole life.; A world where she’s a weapon of mass destruction in a secret war between the soldiers of Life, and the soldiers of Death. If either side finds out whatwho she is or what she is capable of, she’s sure to die. I love the reference to GR!!!

The problem: Tully’s is hurt in the attack, and the soldiers of Life are the only people who can heal him. Now Thea will put her existence on the line to save her friend. If she can hide what she really is, maybe they can make it out alive. I know this will be fully explained in the synopsis but perhaps a quick sentence on who the Soldiers of Life are?

If Left-Hander cooperates. I like what you had in version 1 here better "If Left-Hander agrees to it, that is"

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.

Sincerely,

thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query - REVISED

Post by thewhipslip » July 18th, 2010, 1:46 am

This version may better-clarify the powers. Thoughts?


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

There’s a voice named Left-Hander in her head – and Left-Hander controls the powers. With a single touch, Thea can heal or she can hurt. Anger toward another leads to nosebleeds, hives, and the occasional episode of projectile vomiting. Sympathy cures colds, broken legs, or offers a blissful state of sleep.

Unfortunately for Thea, Left-Hander prefers the hurt part. There’s little Thea can do to stop her once she decides to punish someone she doesn’t like. That’s why Thea can’t be around Tully. He says the wrong thing, touches her in the wrong way, and Left-Hander will bite.

Thea finds out she’s not the only one with special powers when a group of teenagers turn the local high school hangout into a scene from George Romero’s latest zombie flick. It doesn’t take her long to realize that they’re the hurt side of her – except they’ve got no heal.

Thea can fight them, but doing so throws her into a world that her guardian, Trenton, has hidden from her. A world where she’s a weapon of mass destruction in a secret war between the soldiers of Life – the heal, and the soldiers of Death – the hurt. If either side finds out what she is, she’s sure to die.

The problem: Tully’s injured in the attack, and the soldiers of Life are the only ones who can cure him. Now Thea will put her existence on the line to save her friend. If she can hide what she really is, maybe they can make it out 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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wilderness
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Re: The Whip-Slip query - REVISED

Post by wilderness » July 18th, 2010, 4:16 pm

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

There’s a voice named Left-Hander in her head – and Left-Hander controls Thea's powers. With a single touch, Thea can heal or she can hurt. Anger toward another leads to nosebleeds, hives, and the occasional episode of projectile vomiting. Sympathy cures colds, heals broken legs, or offers a blissful state of sleep.

Unfortunately for Thea, Left-Hander prefers the hurt part. There’s little Thea can do to stop her once she decides to punish someone she doesn’t like. That’s why Thea can’t be around Tully. He says the wrong thing, touches her in the wrong way, and Left-Hander will bite.

I like these paragraphs better than your latest version:

Thea finds out she’s not the only one with powers when a group of teenagers turn the local high school hangout into a scene from George Romero’s latest zombie flick. Thea realizes she can fight them. Doing so throws her into a world that she’s been hidden from her whole life. A world where she’s a weapon of mass destruction in a secret war between the soldiers of Life, and the soldiers of Death. If either side finds out what she is, she’s sure to die.

The problem: Tully’s hurt in the attack, and the soldiers of Life are the only people who can heal him. Now Thea will put her existence on the line to save her friend. I'm not sure what you mean by putting her existence on the line. If she can hide what she really is, maybe they can make it out 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.
This is good. I thought there was too much info dropped in at the end of Version 3 in this thread. Version 2 kept what was necessary to tell the story.

thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query - REVISED

Post by thewhipslip » July 18th, 2010, 4:23 pm

Thanks, wilderness. Yeah, I felt like there was too much info too, but I was worried people wouldn't understand how the soldiers of Life and Death fit in relation to Thea. What do you think?
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wilderness
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Re: The Whip-Slip query - REVISED

Post by wilderness » July 18th, 2010, 5:13 pm

You've explained her powers pretty well in the first few paragraphs, so I think people will easily make the leap that Life == healing and Death == hurting. This sentence makes it pretty clear: "the soldiers of Life are the only people who can heal him."

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Re: The Whip-Slip query - REVISED

Post by thewhipslip » July 18th, 2010, 5:32 pm

Okay. That's what I was thinking too, but I had other people ask about it. I'm assuming an agent's well-read eyes will put the two together as well. Thanks so much!
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Quill
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Re: The Whip-Slip query - REVISED

Post by Quill » July 18th, 2010, 5:43 pm

thewhipslip wrote:This version may better-clarify the powers. Thoughts?
I'm liking this new version a lot.
Seventeen-year-old Thea Vans would do anything for her best friend, Tully. That’s why she’s never going to speak to him again.

There’s a voice named Left-Hander in her head – and Left-Hander controls the powers. With a single touch, Thea can heal or she can hurt. Anger toward another leads to nosebleeds, hives, and the occasional episode of projectile vomiting. Sympathy cures colds, broken legs, or offers a blissful state of sleep.

Unfortunately for Thea, Left-Hander prefers the hurt part. There’s little Thea can do to stop her once she decides to punish someone she doesn’t like. That’s why Thea can’t be around Tully. He says the wrong thing, touches her in the wrong way, and Left-Hander will bite.
Good stuff. A few things:

1. Instead of "offers a blissful state of sleep" how about compressing to "induces blissful sleep".

2. Omit "she doesn't like". It's plenty strong to simply say "...once she decides to punish someone."

3. The end of that section could be tightened/clarified. "That's why Thea can't be around Tully" is good. Maybe then say "He says the wrong thing, touches her the wrong way too often, for Left Hander." As long as it's clear that if he says or does the wrong thing according to Left Hander's standards, there are consequences.
Thea finds out she’s not the only one with special powers when a group of teenagers turn the local high school hangout into a scene from George Romero’s latest zombie flick. It doesn’t take her long to realize that they’re the hurt side of her – except they’ve got no heal.
I'm liking the flow of the story, but could use some clarification here.

1. I'm not picturing the hangout, maybe because I'm not familiar with Romero's work. Is it a malt shoppe, a field on the edge of town, a make out spot overlooking the town? Maybe this isn't a big deal.

2. Intriguing "they're the hurt side of her". They're part of her? Or are they like the hurt side?

3. "Except they've got no heal" doesn't grammatically follow. If they are the hurt side, they cannot be/have the heal side. Either say they have the hurt side without the heal side, or say they "are the hurt side (and have no heal side).
Thea can fight them, but doing so throws her into a world that her guardian, Trenton, has hidden from her. A world where she’s a weapon of mass destruction in a secret war between the soldiers of Life – the heal, and the soldiers of Death – the hurt. If either side finds out what she is, she’s sure to die.
Very intriguing, she's a WMD and doesn't know it? Fabulous. How is being used or how will she be used? Simply on her classmates? Or secretly being groomed for actual combat? Perhaps say more about this. It seems a very original idea.
The problem: Tully’s injured in the attack,
What attack? The George Romero scene with her classmates? You might need to clarify, to tie this together as the plot heightens here. I'm not sure you've made a strong enough transition between the early scenes of your query and this buildup to the climax.
and the soldiers of Life are the only ones who can cure him. Now Thea will put her existence on the line to save her friend. If she can hide what she really is, maybe they can make it out alive.

If Left-Hander cooperates.
All very good but not quite clear enough for this reader. I want to get this. Why are the soldiers the only ones; why can't she cure him? Why would Thea be risking her life (maybe a better wording than "put her existence on the line") to save him? Why exactly does she have to hide who she is and from whom, and how will that help them make it out (of what exactly) alive? Specifics are really important. Every time you can replace a generality, especially in this last paragraph, I think you are upping your chances of getting requests for pages. Sounds like a really interesting story.

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Re: The Whip-Slip query - REVISED

Post by thewhipslip » July 18th, 2010, 6:17 pm

Hey Quill - Thanks for your comments.

This is my dilemma: the queries that answer all of your questions are too long. From my understanding, queries are not supposed to answer plot points, but intrigue the agent enough to ask for pages. All of your questions are answered in the novel, but answering them in the query become confusing because there are a lot of different aspects going on at once in this war. What I tried to do was simplify and merely point out the dilemmas Thea faces in the novel, and not the why of it.

Does anyone else have thoughts on this?
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 - REVISED

Post by Quill » July 18th, 2010, 7:22 pm

Please forgive my rewrite. I did this purely for illustration purposes, since you asked how you might answer more questions without lengthening your query. I didn't think I could effectively answer without attempting to show.

This version does not pretend to replace yours, I haven't read your ms., but you'll see kinda what I mean by giving more info in certain places. And comes in shorter than yours (288 vs. 324 wds), so there's wiggle room for embellishment.

___________________________________


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

There’s a voice in her head named Left-Hander –- and Left-Hander controls the powers. With a touch, Thea can heal or she can hurt. Anger toward another brings nosebleeds, hives, projectile vomiting. Sympathy cures colds, mends broken bones, induces blissful sleep.

Unfortunately for Thea, Left-Hander prefers the hurt part. There’s little Thea can do to stop her once she decides to punish someone. That’s why Thea can’t be around Tully. He might say the wrong thing or touch her, and then Left-Hander will bite.

Thea finds out she’s not the only one with special powers when a group of teenagers turn the hangout spot on the edge of town into a scene from a George Romero zombie flick. It doesn’t take her long to realize that they’re hurters -- and they’ve got no heal.

Thea can fight them, but it would pull her into a world her guardian, Trenton, has kept from her. Until now. She finds out she was designed to be used as a weapon of mass destruction in the secret war between the soldiers of Life –- the heal, and the soldiers of Death -– the hurt.

But Tully was injured in the fight, beyond her powers to heal him. Only Soldiers of Life can help. If she can keep her identity hidden, maybe they can both make it out alive.

If she can manage to control Left-Hander.

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.

thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query - REVISED

Post by thewhipslip » July 18th, 2010, 7:29 pm

Hey Quill -

Thanks so much! I see what you're talking about. I appreciate the demonstration.
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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Re: The Whip-Slip query - REVISED

Post by lexcade » July 26th, 2010, 4:00 pm

i think the most important part of a query (aside from that all-important "grabby" aspect) is that it's cohesive and makes sense. i've seen queries that are 400 words and queries that are 200, and the important thing is that they were long enough to give the reader an idea of what was going on. don't worry so much about the length (like i did, obsessively), and concentrate on what gets your point across.
"Art imitates nature as well as it can, as a pupil follows his master; thus it is sort of a grandchild of God." ~~Dante

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