QUERY - A Scorpion's Nature

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Thermocline
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QUERY - A Scorpion's Nature

Post by Thermocline » October 13th, 2010, 4:16 pm

I’ve been revising my manuscript and this query over the past two months and am ready to get some feedback on it again. Everyone provided some great advice last time. Thanks, in advance, for your comments!

Dear Agent,

It sucks to lose every fight, but Ryan Laraway refuses to run from them like his dad, the coward who deserted his fellow soldiers.

Ryan lands in youth court after his arrest and suspension from seventh grade. The judge will dismiss Ryan’s charges if he attends a summer sleepaway camp and learns some restraint. Ryan agrees to try, even though the whole Kumbaya lovefest sounds lame.

Turns out, the goofy songs and oddball games are kinda fun. Field Sports becomes his favorite class when he meets Eleanor, a beautiful girl whose long lashes and short fuse make Ryan sweat.

A tyrant camper ambushes Ryan on the first night for mouthing off to him. Rather than risk the judge’s wrath, Ryan takes the beating and doesn’t retaliate against Carlton. This spurs Carlton to keep harassing him when the counselors aren’t looking.

Ryan’s restraint frays as Carlton torments him for being such a wuss. Shame over his father’s spinelessness pushes Ryan to prove he’s no coward, but getting booted from camp means juvie, a criminal record, and losing his shot with Eleanor.

A SCORPION’S NATURE is an upper middle grade novel complete at 39,000 words. I am querying you because [personal detail here.] Thank you for considering my work.

JMB
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Re: QUERY - A Scorpion's Nature

Post by JMB » October 13th, 2010, 4:41 pm

I think this query is excellent, and I rarely say that. I stumbled a little on the first sentence. Maybe break it into two. Also, consider combining a few of the short paragraphs.

Perfect, age appropriate theme and a good length for MG. Good luck!

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androidblues
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Re: QUERY - A Scorpion's Nature

Post by androidblues » October 13th, 2010, 5:11 pm

very nice, but maybe break up the first sentence like JMB suggested
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Re: QUERY - A Scorpion's Nature

Post by robyn » October 13th, 2010, 6:09 pm

Hey! Great sounding story. Middle graders SO love these types of stories. You should have NO trouble placing it. I am wondering about your hook. I wonder if it's just the way the sentence is arranged.

Dear Agent,

It sucks to lose every fight, but Ryan Laraway refuses to run from them like his dad, the coward who deserted his fellow soldiersLeave off these last seven words. The sentence is stronger without them..

Ryan lands in youth We know it would be youth court, don't we?court after his arrest and suspension from seventh gradeWhat happened? Could you tell a bit about that?. The judge will dismiss Ryan’s charges if he attends a summer sleepaway camp and learns some restraint. Ryan agrees to try, even though the whole Kumbaya lovefest sounds lame.

Turns out, the goofy songs and oddball games are kinda fun. Field Sports becomes his favorite class when he meets Eleanor, a beautiful girl whose long lashes and short fuse make Ryan sweat.Love this.

A tyrant camper ambushes Ryan on the first night for mouthing off to him. Rather than risk the judge’s wrath, Ryan takes the beating and doesn’t retaliate against Carlton. This spurs Carlton to keep harassing him when the counselors aren’t looking.Why does Ryan mouth off? I mean he wants to keep the judge off his back, right?

Ryan’s restraint frays as Carlton torments him for being such a wuss. Shame over his father’s spinelessness This makes me want to know more.pushes Ryan to prove he’s no coward, but getting booted from camp means juvie, a criminal record, and losing his shot with Eleanor.

A SCORPION’S NATURE is an upper middle grade novel complete at 39,000 words. I am querying you because [personal detail here.] Matter of taste, I guess, but I always put the personal detail at the beginning.Thank you for considering my work. Always thank them for their time too. Time and consideration. I'd request a partial, anyway. Just some tweaking and you'll have it. Nice job. Actually, that's all I have to say, because you have done an awesome job. Good luck!

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Quill
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Re: QUERY - A Scorpion's Nature

Post by Quill » October 13th, 2010, 8:59 pm

Thermocline wrote:
It sucks to lose every fight, but Ryan Laraway refuses to run from them like his dad, the coward who deserted his fellow soldiers.

Ryan lands in youth court after his arrest and suspension from seventh grade. The judge will dismiss Ryan’s charges if he attends a summer sleepaway camp and learns some restraint. Ryan agrees to try, even though the whole Kumbaya lovefest sounds lame.

Turns out, the goofy songs and oddball games are kinda fun. Field Sports becomes his favorite class when he meets Eleanor, a beautiful girl whose long lashes and short fuse make Ryan sweat.
Excellent to this point. Consider combining your second and third paragraphs here; not sure the break is necessary.
A tyrant camper ambushes Ryan on the first night for mouthing off to him. Rather than risk the judge’s wrath, Ryan takes the beating and doesn’t retaliate against Carlton. This spurs Carlton to keep harassing him when the counselors aren’t looking.
Good, but I'd move Carlton's name up: "A tyrant camper named Carlton..." (it's a little odd introducing him as a camper and then throwing his name in after, without even a direct reference. Also, it breaks up the two "Carltons" by more than the two words you currently have between them).
Ryan’s restraint frays as Carlton torments him for being such a wuss. Shame over his father’s spinelessness pushes Ryan to prove he’s no coward, but getting booted from camp means juvie, a criminal record, and losing his shot with Eleanor.
Good ideas, and I think it is improved over your previous version, but somewhat awkward:

1. "restraint frays" is awkward enough to require thinking, when you want flow-through reading. Frays can sound like fights, as in "he got into several frays". Not sure of what word(s) would be better.

2. "restraint frays as Carlton torments" is awkward sounding, and also feels like it has time issues. Is the fraying occurring during the tormenting? I would think it is also occurring in between torments, maybe moreso.

3. "For being such a wuss" feels like old info at this point. Maybe omit.

4. "Pushes Ryan to prove he's no coward" is awkward because it sounds like he proves it, but then you say words to the effect that he better not. But it sounds like he already did.

5. Repeating "coward" (from the first line) doesn't feel effective. How about "...he's no wuss" (if you omit it where I suggested.

In short:

How about: "Ryan's self-control wears down under Carlton's repeated torments. He chafes under the shame of his father's spinelessness, dying to prove he's not the wuss Carlton calls him. But getting booted from camp means juvie, a criminal record, and losing his shot with Eleanor." Or some such.
A SCORPION’S NATURE is an upper middle grade novel complete at 39,000 words. I am querying you because [personal detail here.] Thank you for considering my work.
All in all a nice effort here, and what sounds like a great story. Good luck!

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Thermocline
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Re: QUERY - A Scorpion's Nature

Post by Thermocline » October 14th, 2010, 4:53 pm

I appreciate the feedback from everyone. I've incorporated your thoughts into the next draft. Let me know what you think.

Dear Agent,

It sucks to lose every fight, but Ryan Laraway refuses to run from them like his dad, the coward who deserted his fellow soldiers.

Ryan lands in youth court after his arrest and suspension from seventh grade. The judge will dismiss Ryan’s charges if he attends a summer sleepaway camp and learns some restraint. Ryan agrees to try, even though the whole Kumbaya lovefest sounds lame.

Turns out, the goofy songs and oddball games are kinda fun. Field Sports becomes his favorite class when he meets Eleanor, a beautiful girl whose long lashes and short fuse make Ryan sweat.

Carlton, a tyrant camper, ambushes Ryan on the first night for mouthing off to him. Rather than risk the judge’s wrath, Ryan takes the beating and doesn’t retaliate. This spurs Carlton to keep tormenting him when the counselors aren’t looking.

Ryan’s restraint crumbles. Shame over his father’s spinelessness pushes Ryan to prove he’s no wuss, but getting booted from camp for doing so means juvie, a criminal record, and losing his shot with Eleanor.

A SCORPION’S NATURE is an upper middle grade novel complete at 39,000 words. I am querying you because [personal detail here.] Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Natasha
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Re: QUERY - A Scorpion's Nature

Post by Natasha » October 14th, 2010, 7:37 pm

IMHO, I think the query is perfect as is.

And even if it's not perfect, it was good enough to make me want to read it. I think that's the goal right?

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Quill
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Re: QUERY - A Scorpion's Nature

Post by Quill » October 14th, 2010, 11:54 pm

Frickin' excellent. Go knock 'em dead.

Wondering if "show" some restraint might work better than "learn". Just a thought.

katbrauer
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Re: QUERY - A Scorpion's Nature

Post by katbrauer » October 15th, 2010, 5:37 am

This is great. I don't think it needs any big changes, just some cleaning up to make it flow better. My suggestions below. Er, obviously.
Thermocline wrote: It sucks to lose every fight, but Ryan Laraway refuses to run from them like his dad, the coward who deserted his fellow soldiers.

Ryan lands in youth court after his arrest and suspension from seventh grade. The judge will dismiss Ryan’s charges if he attends a summer sleepaway camp and learns some restraint. Ryan agrees to try, even though the whole Kumbaya lovefest sounds lame.

Turns out, the goofy songs and oddball games are kinda fun. Field Sports becomes his favorite class when he meets Eleanor, a beautiful girl whose long lashes and short fuse make Ryan sweat.

Until Carlton, a tyrant camper, ambushes Ryan on the first night for mouthing off to him. Rather than risk the judge’s wrath, Ryan takes the beating and doesn’t retaliate. This spurs Carlton to keep tormenting him when the counselors aren’t looking.

It doesn't take long for Ryan’s restraint to crumbles. Shame over his father’s spinelessness pushes Ryan to prove he’s no wuss, but getting booted from camp for doing so means juvie, a criminal record, and losing his shot with Eleanor. I know he's a teenage boy and thus girls mean TEH EVERYTHANG, but it seems a little...juvenile...that the girl is the last part of this series and therefore the most important. Make that criminal record hit us harder. Maybe even how his parents--his father--will react?

A SCORPION’S NATURE is an upper middle grade novel complete at 39,000 words. I am querying you because [personal detail here.] Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
:) Kat
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