Query Timesurfers Take two posted 30 Aug

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TessB
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Query Timesurfers Take two posted 30 Aug

Post by TessB » August 28th, 2010, 3:52 am

Take two of this query is posted at post 6 on this thread - all comments very much appreciated.
Last edited by TessB on July 13th, 2015, 3:19 am, edited 3 times in total.

amyashley
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Re: Query Timesurfers

Post by amyashley » August 28th, 2010, 10:00 am

I have been working on my first drafts of my query as well, so I will try to help if I can! This site was VERY helpful.
http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx
I also found it useful to make a two column form with events of my novel on one side (including emotional events) and level of pace on the other. This helped me to lay out the basic plot line of my query when I saw it in front of me. It was more visual I guess. It took about five minutes.

I would begin by saying in the first paragraph that Cate's life has been riddled with a series of events lately that have left time gaps and confusion. It began with_____________, the was followed by__________and___________. She doesn't know what is going on, and none of the timing seems quite right.

I would really focus on condensing each event into very short sentences or parts of a sentence.

The next paragrapgh should be about discovering the timesurfers. I think you have much better stuff on them in this, but it still need to be made a little briefer and put in ONE paragraph. I like to move all the sentences together on a doc. by cutting and pasting and then just playing around with it some. You might try that!

I hope that helps. It sounds like a VERY interesting premise, and I bet the MS is good. You are off to a good start.

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oldhousejunkie
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Re: Query Timesurfers

Post by oldhousejunkie » August 28th, 2010, 11:11 am

TessB wrote:Cate receives her boyfriend's text - ' We R Ova’ - five minutes after her only friend arrives to comfort her. She’s the last person to know about her own break up. Her life sucks. Cut this. It's cute but doesn't seem to match up to anything else in the query.

At that moment everyone and everything around her comes to an abrupt halt. Time stands still. Cate witnesses a group of teens materialise, disarm a bomb from the bus she was about to board, and demonstrate some freaky supernatural powers before they disappear. Time resumes with those around her oblivious to what has transpired. I think I would start with this...Maybe: "When Cate witnesses a group of teenagers materialise... I would mention her age by the way.

The teens converge on Cate's school and interact with the students like old friends. Only Cate sees them for the complete strangers they are. When she wakes to an unrecognisable life, Cate confronts the teenager and demands to know why only she sees the changes. She is catapulted into the secret world of the Timesurfers, ancient warriors charged with protecting history from magical manipulation.

Cate is horrified to discover the Timesurfers aren’t the only people from the future embedded in her life. In the centuries old war between the Timesurfers and the mutant wizards, Cate has a fateful role to play. I would combine these sentences with the paragraph above. Something like this: "Cate is horrified when these 'Timesurfers' converge on her school and interact with the students like old friends. She is catapulted into the secret world of the Timesurfers, ancient warriors charged with protecting history from magical manipulation. A centuries old war is raging between....and she has a fateful role to play.

The Timesurfers are incapable of revealing Cate’s future. This time, when the loss of her loved ones ignites a fierce passion for vengeance, she must choose between revenge and her intense, addictive emotions for a charismatic and seductive Timesurfer.

If she uncovers the treachery that triggered her transformation from schoolgirl to the ultimate evil weapon, will she alter her choice this second time round? You lose me in these last two paragraphs. They need to be combined for one, and the other I think I would focus on what her fateful role is in all of this and not introduce the idea of death and vengeance.

Laced with sexy and sprinkled with humour, Timesurfers is a sizzling 68,000 word, YA urban fantasy. I don't know if I would say these things...I think Query Shark would say 'don't tell me it's sexy...show me it's sexy."

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Good start! The premise is very interesting and unusual (I think...I don't read YA Urban Fantasy.) Good luck to you!

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a3writer
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Re: Query Timesurfers

Post by a3writer » August 28th, 2010, 6:01 pm

Cate receives her boyfriend's text - ' We R Ova’ - five minutes after her only friend arrives to comfort her. She’s the last person to know about her own break up. Her life sucks.

At that moment everyone and everything around her comes to an abrupt halt. Time stands still.
You don't need any of that. It's backstory and irrelevant. Cate witnesses a group of teens materialise, disarm a bomb from the bus she was about to board, and demonstrate some freaky supernatural powers before they disappear. Time resumes with those around her oblivious to what has transpired.

The teens converge on Cate's school and interact with the students like old friends. Only Cate sees them for the complete strangers they are. When she wakes to an unrecognisable life You lost me, here. I'm not sure where I'm at. , Cate confronts the teenager and demands to know why only she sees the changes. She is catapulted into the secret world of the Timesurfers, ancient warriors charged with protecting history from magical manipulation.

Cate is horrified to discover the Timesurfers aren’t the only people from the future One paragraph up, they are ancient warriors, as in from the past. Now they're from the future?embedded in her life. In the centuries old war between the Timesurfers and the mutant Do I need to know they're mutants right now?wizards, Cate has a fateful role to play What? What's her role? This is what the book is about, and I need to know..

The Timesurfers are incapable of revealing Cate’s future They may not be able to, but you need to do it. An agent needs to know what the story is in order to rep you.. This time, when the loss of her loved ones ignites a fierce passion for vengeance, she must choose between revenge and her intense, addictive emotions for a charismatic and seductive Timesurfer. This came out of nowhere. She has a crush on a Timesurfer?

If she uncovers the treachery that triggered her transformation from schoolgirl to the ultimate evil weapon, will she alter her choice this second time round? Whoa! Again, this comes out of nowhere. Tell me up front ahead of time. Telling me like this makes me feel like I skipped over things in the query, and I'm lost. This treachery should be up by the fateful role. And the whole thing about an ultimate evil weapon? I don't know what that is. Is it putting fluoride in the drinking water? A Dr. Evil "Laser Beam"? Be specific.

Laced with sexy and sprinkled with humour, Timesurfers is a sizzling 68,000 word, YA urban fantasy. I don't see that it's sexy and sprinkled with humour in the query. Nor do I see that it is sizzling. Show me that it's in there, don't tell me.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I really like the concept, but think you need to tighten things down, and then you'll have it.

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Beethovenfan
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Re: Query Timesurfers

Post by Beethovenfan » August 28th, 2010, 10:49 pm

First, I want to say that this sounds like a great story, one that I would pick up and read. I am a total geek for timetravel stories (in fact my own MS uses it!).

Cate receives her boyfriend's text - ' We R Ova’ - five minutes after her only friend arrives to comfort her. She’s the last person to know about her own break up. Her life sucks. I love the tone of this first prargraph! But it really isn't all that important at this point to the agent reading it. Instead, take this first paragraph off and begin with the second paragraph below. However, try to infuse the same fun tone in it that I feel in this first one.

At that moment everyone and everything around her comes to an abrupt halt. Time stands still. Cate witnesses a group of teens materialise, disarm a bomb from the bus she was about to board, and demonstrate some freaky supernatural powers before they disappear. Time resumes with those around her oblivious to what has transpired.

The teens converge on Cate's school and interact with the students like old friends. Only Cate sees them for the complete strangers they are. When she wakes I didn't realize she was asleep?? - Oh wait, she "wakes to the new world of timesurfers, right? OK, but it really wasn't clear. I had to read the query through a few times to put it together.to an unrecognisable life, Cate confronts the teenager and demands to know why only she sees the changes. She is catapulted into the secret world of the Timesurfers, ancient warriors charged with protecting history from magical manipulation.

Cate is horrified to discover the Timesurfers aren’t the only people from the future embedded in her life. In the centuries old war between the Timesurfers and the mutant wizards, Cate has a fateful role to play.

The Timesurfers are incapable of revealing Cate’s future. This time, when the loss of her loved ones ignites a fierce passion for vengeance, she must choose between revenge and her intense, addictive emotions for a charismatic and seductive Timesurfer.

If she uncovers the treachery that triggered her transformation from schoolgirl to the ultimate evil weapon, Does this mean she is a weapon for or against evil? will she alter her choice this second time round?

Laced with sexy and sprinkled with humour, Timesurfers is a sizzling 68,000 word, YA urban fantasy.
Your query seems to follow the same timeline as that of your novel but, because this is a query and space is limited, you might consider just coming out with the big stuff first. For example:
Cate, a lively, quick-witted, (insert any adjective you want) high school girl, is suddenly plunged into a fantastical world of fantasy and time travel when she witnesses a group of teens materialise and disarm a bomb from the bus she was about to board. She confronts them and demands to know why she alone can see them and is catapulted into the secret world of Timesurfers where she learns of a centuries old war between the Timesurfers and a group of mutant wizards bent on changing history (I'm guessing about this part as I have not read your book - but the agent needs to know why they are bad). Cate's fateful role is to... (you fill in the rest of the sentance and let the agent know what the fateful role is).
These are just suggestions, feel free to keep what fits your style and throw out all the rest! I only hope I was helpful. I am truly intrigued by your story and wish you the best of luck!
"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

TessB
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Re: Query Timesurfers

Post by TessB » August 28th, 2010, 11:39 pm

Wow! A big high five to everyone who has taken the time to comment and dissect my lame query. Fresh insight is invaluable. I will digest everyone's comments and take another shot. Again - Thanks - Really appreciated. Tessxx

TessB
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Re: Query Timesurfers

Post by TessB » August 29th, 2010, 9:40 am

TAKE TWO

Thanks to the very generous people who provided feedback . Here is a second draft of this query. I am still worried about Cate's love interest being tacked on and that I maybe rambling. - Any and all comments will be very much appreciated. Tess

***
Last edited by TessB on July 13th, 2015, 3:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

amyashley
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Re: Query Timesurfers

Post by amyashley » August 29th, 2010, 10:39 am

MUCH BETTER! This is more condensed and it shows off your story far better. It pulls me in and makes me ask positive questions about instead of confusing me. Edits are suggested to make it more polished only, not because your effort is lacking in ANY way. You are definitely on the right track here.


When fifteen-year-old Cate witnesses a group of teens materialise, disarm a bomb, commit a gruesome murder and demonstrate some freaky supernatural powers before they disappear, everyone else is frozen, oblivious to the crime. This is an excellent first sentence, and I would not change it. It grabs the attention IMMEDIATELY.The charismatic and seductive teens converge on her school and heads turn, girls sigh cutand jaws drop, cut- too wordyand everyone knows them. Only Cate sees them for the strangers they are. She confronts them and is catapulted into the secret world of the Timesurfers, warriors charged with protecting history, good and bad, from magical manipulation.

In the centuries old war between the Timesurfers the mutant wizards intent on dictating history, Cate has a fateful role to play. She will create and command an army of zombies and become the ultimate weapon for the mutant wizards.

The Timesurfers aren’t the only people aware of Cate’s futurecut embeddedcut-redundant in her life. Mortez, the leader of mutant wizards, has been watching Cate cutfrom closer than she could ever imaginecut-unneccessary. She must decidecut for the second time cut-you never talked about the first time, so this just presents questions. To keep it simple I would eliminate this, but some people will suggest you EXPLAIN EVERYTHING. Most AGENCY sites will not advise this, they want you to keep you plot summary very brief, and I don't think you have to have this to get them interested and asking to read more.between the timesurfers and the mutant wizards. Does she want to control history or protect it? cutAnd how will the charismatic and seductive Timesurfer she needs more than oxygen impact her decision?cut-you are right, this is just hanging on the end. Same as above, I don't think you have to have it.

Timesurfers is a 68,000 word YA urban fantasy. This is my first novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I have been looking at a ton of query writing advice info in the past few days on both agent sites and elsewhere. You can answer every single question about your book in your query, but you really do NOT have to do that. The point is to get the general idea of the basic plot across, which you have done, and to peak interest. Many agents will talk about book jackets when they talk about queries, and these certainly do not answer every single question we have about a book. You don't need to tell everything, and in fact they probably SHOULD have a few questions when they read it. It needs to be very brief, and it needs to demonstrate the same tone of voice, pacing,and attitude that your novel has. Obviously it needs to be professional, but it shouldn't read like a form letter.
I get a good feel of your book from this, and I think you are well on your way. Before you edit the bejesus out of it, make sure and read the suggestions on the sites of at least a few of the agents YOU are going to send your query to. Although Query Shark has good information, and the feedback here can be helpful, knowing what they look for might help you make a few choices. Stick to your guns too, and follow your own instincts.

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