A Lullaby- YA paranormal romance query

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priya g.
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Re: A Lullaby- YA paranormal romance query

Post by priya g. » October 7th, 2010, 3:35 pm

hmmm, now where should i add those rules? same problem- wherever i fit it in, the flow gets disrupted. how much detail should i go in?
as for the untimely end part- well its worse than death because as i mentioned, Agora reincarnates. to expand on what the end actually is, i need well... a page? yes, that isn't good.

thanks!

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wilderness
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Re: A Lullaby- YA paranormal romance query

Post by wilderness » October 7th, 2010, 4:09 pm

You can simply imply this by calling it "the true death". Try to think concisely -- it's the key to a good query!

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Re: A Lullaby- YA paranormal romance query

Post by priya g. » October 8th, 2010, 11:18 am

version 4

Agora Beckwith can't congratulate herself for being a superhuman- there are just too many out there like her. She can only hide in the shadows and hope that her destiny will lead her to save lives and serve the ultimate purpose of her creation. Being a fire protector doesn't come with many perks: fingertips that give off fire sparks are hardly worth showing off; an inexplicable hunger for flames that can never be satiated is labelled freaky, reincarnation is overrated and an obsession with making checklists doesn't always come handy in this world.
She follows the checklist titled ‘Life’ to the dot, but crumples the same when Dave Douglas enters her life. Falling in love with a water protector was never an option, for has a flame ever lasted on a layer of ice? Every rational thought is clunked into the dustbin- from the knowledge of who she is to how dangerous this relationship can be, if the rulers of their kinds find out.
Protectors are supposed to be selfless; each moment of their human lives are devoted to saving creatures of Earth from the fatal effects of water and fire- from drowning episodes at sea to evacuating residents of a burning home. To fulfil their purpose, they work in harmony, the Water and Fire Protectors, but never cross boundaries that nature has erected between them. Never will a day come that water and fire will stand on the same ground without destroying each other.
When Dave and Agora face the punishment of an untimely end, they have to make a choice. Will it be separation and forgiveness or an impending road to doom?

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Re: A Lullaby- YA paranormal romance query

Post by Natasha » October 8th, 2010, 12:59 pm

I'm not the greatest at query critique but I can say about your recent version 4 that it made me want to read the manuscript. I think that's the main goal of the query letter right? A lot of times when I read queries, I get bored by the fifth sentence. With yours, however, I did not. I thought it was very interesting. I personally would send it as you have now. From what I have seen other agents say...A query doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to catch the agents eye and I think you accomplished that. So even if you feel like there are some nitty gritty little things that you still might need to fix - format is just the skeleton of it all...

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Re: A Lullaby- YA paranormal romance query

Post by androidblues » October 8th, 2010, 3:57 pm

Just put a space in between the paragraphs. I wouldn't end with a rhetorical question either. I'd give it a read, provided that it didn't bore me on the first page like Blood and Chocolate. What you've written here is what I expected that to be - good.
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Re: A Lullaby- YA paranormal romance query

Post by priya g. » October 8th, 2010, 4:56 pm

Natasha and android, thank you!

There is a smile on my face for the first time- and its getting wider.

android:
how about I end it like:

When Dave and Agora face the punishment of an untimely end, they have to make a choice- separation and forgiveness or an impending road to doom.

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Re: A Lullaby- YA paranormal romance query

Post by Thermocline » October 14th, 2010, 4:31 pm

You've got an interesting set-up here but I think it's getting lost in some of your verbiage. I get that you're giving us a sense of your voice but the core of your story is buried a little. A little trimming might help clarify the important elements.
priya g. wrote:version 4

Agora Beckwith can't congratulate herself for being a superhuman- there are just too many out there like her. She can only hide in the shadows and hope that her destiny will lead her to save lives and serve the ultimate purpose of her creation. This sentence is very general. The next one shows us some concrete details about what Agora is like. Move right into it. Being a fire protector doesn't come with many perks: fingertips that give off fire sparks are hardly worth showing off; an inexplicable hunger for flames that can never be satiated is labelled By who? Maybe consider replacing labelled with just freaky, reincarnation is overrated and an obsession with making checklists doesn't always come handy in this world.I really like the checklists line. It's amusing. "In this world" distracts me, though. I started wondering, "which world" instead of lingering on your joke a little longer.

She follows the checklist titled ‘Life’ to the dot, but crumples the same "The same" sounds like a British idiom. It took me a second to realize what you meant. when Dave Douglas enters her life. Falling in love with a water protector was never an option, Can you shift this to present tense? for has a flame ever lasted on a layer of ice? Every rational thought is clunked into the dustbin Another British idiom. Which, for the record, aren't problematic, but you may have agents wondering if the writing will be of interest to American teens. Maybe you're planning on submitting outside the U.S. I don't know.- from the knowledge of who she is to how dangerous this relationship can be, if the rulers of their kinds Simplify - their rulers/their leaders find out.

Protectors are supposed to be selfless; each moment of their human lives are devoted to saving creatures of Earth from the fatal effects of water and fire- from drowning episodes at sea to evacuating residents of a burning home. To fulfil their purpose, they work in harmony, the Water and Fire Protectors, but never cross boundaries that nature has erected between them. Never will a day come that water and fire will stand on the same ground without destroying each other. These three sentences are all backstory. They stop the flow of your query to give us information about the characters. Can you find a way to incorporate that into what Agora is feeling/experiencing/doing?
When Dave Who is Dave? and Agora face the punishment of an untimely end What does untimely end mean? They die in an accident? They're killed in a war? They commit suicide? , they have to make a choice. Will it be separation and forgiveness Forgiveness for what? You haven't told us that anything happened between the two. You hinted at falling in love, but you said that "was never an option." We haven't seen any actual interactions between Agora and anyone else. or an impending road to doom? Show us what outcome could happen. "Impending road to doom" doesn't tell me anything.
I am sure there are a lot of key events that happen in your book. Show us a few of those. Be specific. We need to see the choices Agora is faced with to care what she does about them. It's all there in your story. Share them with us.

Don't forget to include the title, genre, and word count.

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Re: A Lullaby- YA paranormal romance query

Post by priya g. » October 15th, 2010, 5:41 am

Thanks Thermocline!

i just dont understand the British idiom idea- do you mean someone who isnt British wont understand Harry Potter?

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Re: A Lullaby- YA paranormal romance query

Post by katbrauer » October 15th, 2010, 5:53 am

I agree with a lot of Thermocline's suggestions, but at the risk of being repetitive, I'm just going to edit this as I see it :)
priya g. wrote: Agora Beckwith can't congratulate herself for being a superhuman- there are just too many out there like her. She can only hide in the shadows and hope that her destiny will lead her to save lives and serve the ultimate purpose of her creation. Being a fire protector doesn't come with many perks: fingertips that give off fire sparks are hardly worth showing off;, an inexplicable her hunger for flames that can never be satiated is labelled freaky (does she actually eat them?), reincarnation is overrated, and an obsession with making checklists doesn't always come handy in this world.
I'm having a problem with the sentence structure in this "perks" paragraph. Maybe if you changed that first clause from "Being a fire protector.." to "Even the perks of being a fire protector suck:" that would keep the focus on why these powers aren't all that they're cracked up to be. Because they're still perks, even if they're not good ones.

She follows the checklist titled ‘Life’ to the dot, but crumples the same when Until Dave Douglas enters her life, however, she'd followed the checklist titled 'Life' to the dot. Falling in love with a water protector was never an option. You can make this stronger. "The idea of fire protectors and water protectors in love is just plain stupid" for instance.for has a flame ever lasted on a layer of ice? But he makes every rational thought is clunked into the head for the dustbin- from the knowledge of who she is to how dangerous this relationship can be, if the rulers of their kinds find out.

Protectors are supposed to be selfless; each moment of their human lives are devoted to saving creatures of Earth from the fatal effects of water and fire- from drowning episodes at sea to evacuating residents of a burning home. To fulfil their purpose, they work in harmony, the Water and Fire Protectors, but never cross boundaries that nature has erected between them. Never will a day come that water and fire will stand on the same ground without destroying each other.

When Dave and Agora face the punishment of an untimely end, they have to make a choice. Will it be separation and forgiveness or an impending road to doom? Hm...this isn't ending with the "uumph" I think you want. Part of it is that I don't understand who's making the choice, and what exactly that choice is. Are you saying they have to choose between "love" and "duty"? Because that's unclear. Don't flesh it out, exactly, but make the choice more obvious, even if you're not going to tell me what they choose.
This sounds like a cool idea! I like the world-building of the protectors, but if you're going to include it, then you need to find a way to weave it into the fabric of the query without it being a WHAM! INFORMATION! paragraph.

:) Keep going!
:) Kat
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priya g.
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Re: A Lullaby- YA paranormal romance query

Post by priya g. » October 15th, 2010, 4:38 pm

Thanks to all of you for your comments!

Next version:

Dear Agent,
Love can be poison; for her it was: the venom that cut down eternity day by day, weakening her senses but strengthening her will to fight back.

Agora Beckwith falls in love with Dave- the calm, artistic football player. It doesn't help that she, on the other hand, fires up on any cue and hates every kind of sport. So? Opposites attract.

But should they?

Agora is a fire protector, an eternal being, but she congratulate herself for being a superhuman; there are too many like her out there- which is precisely why she should have been blind to Dave.
The fact that he has a girlfriend is nothing compared to who he is- a water protector. Agora fights off one rational thought after the other; from the humiliation his girlfriend put her through to breaking the heart of a guy that would have been perfect for her. When the fairytale does begin to step into reality, she can't fight her identity any longer.

The rulers of the Water and Fire Protectors aren't kind and forgiveness to them falls in deaf ears. Defiance faces punishment at every step, so when Dave’s disgraced ex-girlfriend goes to them for help, their judgement leave Dave and Agora with a choice: death in unity or a chance to start again.

For Agora, forgetting Dave isn't an option. And then again, neither is the end.

A LULLABY is a YA paranormal romance, complete at 150,000 words. This is my debut novel.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Re: A Lullaby- YA paranormal romance query

Post by pollymilton » October 16th, 2010, 7:56 pm

Hi Priya,
I've looked at this query several times and I'm not sure what to say. I think it's evident you've been working very hard and that this story is very important to you and deeply felt. This query seems unfocused and it's very hard to keep track of what is going on. I guess i'd start with the central part of the story - what is this book about? What happens? and work until you feel like it's answered very clearly (easier said than done, I know.)

I like the idea of fire and water protector kids falling in love and I think selling the Romeo/Juliet angle is going to be good. It really does sound like an interesting story, and I'm an old lady and obvs. not the audience. Oh, and think about if you want the voice of the query to be disaffected or more straightforward.

Keep working and I know you can do it!
Polly

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Re: A Lullaby- YA paranormal romance query

Post by priya g. » October 17th, 2010, 4:53 am

pollymilton wrote:Hi Priya,
I've looked at this query several times and I'm not sure what to say. I think it's evident you've been working very hard and that this story is very important to you and deeply felt. This query seems unfocused and it's very hard to keep track of what is going on. I guess i'd start with the central part of the story - what is this book about? What happens? and work until you feel like it's answered very clearly (easier said than done, I know.)

I like the idea of fire and water protector kids falling in love and I think selling the Romeo/Juliet angle is going to be good. It really does sound like an interesting story, and I'm an old lady and obvs. not the audience. Oh, and think about if you want the voice of the query to be disaffected or more straightforward.

Keep working and I know you can do it!
Polly
Thanks Polly.

I have gotten a few of my friends to go over my previous versions, and they like the ones before the latest 'piece' i have come up with. i agree with them, because it seems like the newest version is a jumble up of info- too much running around to characters that leaves everyone out of breath, quite literally.
in light of that, i am working on trashing the version above and working on improving the fourth version.
I am grateful for the help on this forum but i think i cant take everything into consideration- specially if its clashing!
Last edited by priya g. on October 24th, 2010, 3:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

pollymilton
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Re: A Lullaby- YA paranormal romance query

Post by pollymilton » October 17th, 2010, 11:23 am

I think you should stick with your instincts. Your voice is key.
Polly.

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Re: A Lullaby- YA paranormal romance query

Post by oldhousejunkie » October 19th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Priya,

Well first off, stop trying to so hard. I sense that you might be working yourself into a frenzy trying to get this right. I do think that the query seems unfocused. It is a bit on the long side, and I think there is too much back story. You need to find a way to convey the plot line but not lose the reader, which is a chore, I know. I do want to echo the three paragraph rule. I also want to encourage you to consider editing your manuscript before doing your query. Since your word count needs to be chopped in half, it's going to make a big difference to your end product. As for editing your manuscript, just start with getting rid of the adverbs. You'd be surprised how much that can cut your word count. :-)

Secondly, I wanted to address your comment about labeling yourself a failure. Try to work yourself out of this mindset. Getting to publication is a long hard road, full of rejection. I started writing when I was twelve. I was told in school that I was a talented writer, but looking back at my original manuscript, I can't help but laugh. It's pretty dismal, but it didn't occur to me until recently that my writing might be good enough to be published. I wrote because I wanted to construct a world that couldn't exist in my own.

Your writing style will continue to change as you get older, so please, please don't put such tough expectations on yourself. Just think--how many people of your age are writing novels? Most of them can barely speak because they spend too much time LOLing and TTYLing. :-)

You're special just because you are able to write something that numbers 200,000 words! Hang in there and keep writing.

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