Young Adult Fantasy Query

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caseygriffin2
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Young Adult Fantasy Query

Post by caseygriffin2 » October 14th, 2010, 5:53 pm

Hi, this is my first time asking for feedback on my query letter. I haven't queried all that many agents, but I haven't had a bite yet, so I thought I would take another look at my letter before I continue. After checking out some of the other posts on this site, I don't know why I've never done this before. There are a lot of really helpful fellow queriers out there. Thanks so much for your replies in advance, everyone!


Dear Agent;

When a school field trip goes awry, feisty seventeen-year-old Kat and four of her classmates find themselves thrust into a world where the myths and legends of Earth are realized. Their only hope of surviving this strange new world is by enlisting the help of a desperate group of rebels. Unfortunately, their guide is the moody and unwilling--albeit unnervingly attractive--warrior, Logan. The unlikely group of teens soon find themselves caught in the middle of a dangerous political war between the rebels and the country's tyrant leader.

Kat isn’t the type of girl to back down, but between various magical encounters and the rebels' enemy who seeks only to stop them, she begins to doubt who they can trust. Her suspicions strengthen as she observes their mysterious guide’s actions more closely... not that she would ever be caught dead looking. Of course, Logan isn’t the only one with something to hide: Kat eventually learns she has her own skeleton hidden in the collective family closet. While the others can think of nothing but returning home, our gutsy heroine discovers she may already be home.

Personal tidbit. I hope you will enjoy BIRTHRIGHT, a young adult fantasy novel. It is the first installment in a possible series, and is completed at 133,700 words, while the second novel nears completion. Please find attached, the synopsis and the first (#) pages of BIRTHRIGHT below. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,
Me

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m.a.leslie
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Re: Young Adult Fantasy Query

Post by m.a.leslie » October 14th, 2010, 6:51 pm

When a school field trip goes awry, feisty seventeen-year-old Kat and four of her classmates find themselves thrust into a world where the myths and legends of Earth are realized. Somewhat confused with this sentence, how does the trip go awry? How do they get there? Their only hope of surviving this strange new world is by enlisting the help of a desperate group of rebels. Why won’t they survive, what are they facing? Unfortunately, their guide is the moody and unwilling--albeit unnervingly attractive--warrior, Logan. The unlikely group of teens soon find themselves caught in the middle of a dangerous political war between the rebels and the country's tyrant leader. Not sure how yet but maybe incorporate some of this information upfront in the first sentence.

Kat isn’t the type of girl to back down, but between various magical encounters and the rebels' enemy who seeks only to stop them, she begins to doubt who they can trust. Chunky sentence, something I have a problem with also. Her suspicions strengthen as she observes their mysterious guide’s actions more closely... not that she would ever be caught dead looking. Of course, Logan isn’t the only one with something to hide: Kat eventually learns she has her own skeleton hidden in the collective family closet. While the others can think of nothing but returning home, our gutsy heroine discovers she may already be home. I like the hook.

Personal tidbit. I hope you will enjoy BIRTHRIGHT, a young adult fantasy novel. It is the first instalment in a possible series, and is completed at 133,700 words, while the second novel nears completion. Please find attached, the synopsis and the first (#) pages of BIRTHRIGHT below. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time and consideration. You should take a look at the query sharks blog, there is some great information there too. I have read that it is frowned upon to mention the sequel on the original query.


I like the story line and I am very interested about the ideas that you are working with here. While I am no professional and seek help on the forums like you, i hope that I was able to help some. Best of luck.

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Re: Young Adult Fantasy Query

Post by Natasha » October 14th, 2010, 7:33 pm

caseygriffin2 wrote:Hi, this is my first time asking for feedback on my query letter. I haven't queried all that many agents, but I haven't had a bite yet, so I thought I would take another look at my letter before I continue. After checking out some of the other posts on this site, I don't know why I've never done this before. There are a lot of really helpful fellow queriers out there. Thanks so much for your replies in advance, everyone!


Dear Agent;

When a school field trip goes awry, feisty seventeen-year-old Kat and four of her classmates find themselves thrust into a world where the myths and legends of Earth are realized. Their only hope of surviving this strange new world is by enlisting the help of a desperate group of rebels. Unfortunately, their guide is the moody and unwilling--albeit unnervingly attractive--warrior, Logan. The unlikely group of teens soon find themselves caught in the middle of a dangerous political war between the rebels and the country's tyrant leader.

Kat isn’t the type of girl to back down, but between various magical encounters and the rebels' enemy who seeks only to stop them, she begins to doubt who they can trust. Her suspicions strengthen as she observes their mysterious guide’s actions more closely... not that she would ever be caught dead looking. Of course, Logan isn’t the only one with something to hide: Kat eventually learns she has her own skeleton hidden in the collective family closet. While the others can think of nothing but returning home, our gutsy heroine discovers she may already be home.

Personal tidbit. I hope you will enjoy BIRTHRIGHT, a young adult fantasy novel. It is the first installment in a possible series, and is completed at 133,700 words, while the second novel nears completion. Please find attached, the synopsis and the first (#) pages of BIRTHRIGHT below. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,
Me

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I think you should shorten some of the sentences as the above poster said. Some of them are a bit chunky. As a result, it made some parts a bit confusing.

I think you should:
Tell us how the trip with awry.
What you mean by where myths and legends are realized? Is Poseidon living in someone's pool?
Why doesn't Kat back down? Why does she want to fight? This is one of those times where I think like...Okay and she didn't mind her own business for what reason???

Perhaps you should go through (this helped me a lot) and list all of the main events. Because I'm kind of confused of how this all ties together?

I hope that helped! Cant wait for draft 2!

caseygriffin2
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Re: Young Adult Fantasy Query

Post by caseygriffin2 » October 15th, 2010, 1:42 am

Thanks to both of you for your great suggestions. I tried to address all of your comments. I hope I answered all your questions, though I still seem to want to put too much info into once sentence. I'm a little worried about the length of it now and I'm also wondering if the opening sentence is a little too weak. Hope this is better! Thanks!


Dear Agent;

During a school field trip, feisty seventeen-year-old Kat and four of her classmates discover a portal that connects Earth and a world called Creos. After a heated argument between Kat and her ex-friend ends in bloodshed, the teens are unwittingly transported. They find themselves thrust into a world where plants try to eat them as they bathe, dwarves aren’t the cute friendly kind, and werewolves run wild. If that’s not bad enough, they now must run from an enemy who would be interested to know how to use the portal, and they’re not about to ask kindly.

Their only hope of surviving this strange new world is by enlisting the help of a desperate group of rebels. Unfortunately, their guide is the moody and unwilling--albeit unnervingly attractive--warrior, Logan. The unlikely group of teens soon find themselves caught in the middle of a dangerous political war between the rebels and the country’s tyrant leader. Kat has dealt with her fair share of bullies, so she isn’t the type of girl to back down, but she might be in over her head this time.

Between frightening magical encounters and an enemy who seeks only to stop them, she begins to doubt who they can trust. Her suspicions strengthen as she observes their mysterious guide’s actions more closely... not that she would ever be caught dead looking. Of course, Logan isn’t the only one with something to hide: Kat eventually learns she has her own skeleton hidden in the collective family closet. While the others can think of nothing but returning home, our gutsy heroine discovers she may already be home.

Personal tidbit. I hope you will enjoy BIRTHRIGHT, a young adult fantasy novel that is completed at 133,700 words.

Please find attached, the synopsis and the first five pages of BIRTHRIGHT below. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,
Me

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katbrauer
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Re: Young Adult Fantasy Query

Post by katbrauer » October 15th, 2010, 5:20 am

This is eerily similar to my book! But in a good way, I think. Vampire Diaries meets True Blood sort of way. And also, my name is Kat. Iiiiinterestng.
caseygriffin2 wrote:During a school field trip, feisty seventeen-year-old Kat and four of her classmates discover a portal that connects Earth and a world called Creos. After a heated argument between Kat and her ex-friend ends in bloodshed!!! Wowza!, the teens are unwittingly transported. They find themselves thrust into a world where plants try to eat them as they bathe, dwarves aren’t the neither cute nor friendly kind, and werewolves run wild. If that’s not bad enough, they now must run from anenemies who would be interested to know howant to use the portal, and they’re not about to ask kindly.

Their only hope of surviving this strange new world is by enlisting the help of a desperate group of rebels. Unfortunately, their guide is the moody and unwilling--albeit unnervingly attractive--warrior, Logan. The unlikely group of teens soon find themselves caught in the middle of a dangerous political war between the rebels and the country’s tyrant leader. Kat has dealt with her fair share of bullies, so she isn’t the type of girl to back down, but she might be in over her head this time. Hm... this is good and it isn't. It seems to jump between two different ideas with each sentence, and that's a little jarring. See if you can make it flow better. Perhaps start with, "Kat has dealt with her fair share of bullies, so she's not afraid to stand up to the country's tyrant if it means getting home. Unfortunately, their guide is the moody and unwilling--albeit unnervingly attractive--rebel warrior, Logan. Maybe Kat is in over her head this time.

Between frightening magical encounters and an enemy who seeks only to stop them, she begins to doubt who they can trust. Her suspicions strengthen as she observes their mysterious guide’s actions more closely... not that she would ever be caught dead looking. As she examines Logan's actions more closely, however, her trust begins to unravel Of course, Logan isn’t the only one with something to hide: Kat eventually learns she has her own skeleton hidden in the collective family closet: while the others can think of nothing but returning home, our gutsy heroine discovers she may already be home. Nice ending.

Personal tidbit. I hope you will enjoy BIRTHRIGHT, a young adult fantasy novel that is completed at 133,700 words.
Hope I've helped. I think this is going in the right direction, but you need to rework sentence order to make it flow better. I tried to do so using as much of your own words as possible, but obviously you're allowed to do what you will. :)

PS! My book is already quite long for YA (at 85,000 words), so even though it's a fantasy, 135,000 is SUPER long. Is there any possible way that you could split it into two books? Or, yanno, trim 35,000 words? :D
:) Kat
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Jessa
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Re: Young Adult Fantasy Query

Post by Jessa » October 15th, 2010, 9:29 am

caseygriffin2 wrote:Thanks to both of you for your great suggestions. I tried to address all of your comments. I hope I answered all your questions, though I still seem to want to put too much info into once sentence. I'm a little worried about the length of it now and I'm also wondering if the opening sentence is a little too weak. Hope this is better! Thanks!


Dear Agent;

During a school field trip, feisty seventeen-year-old Kat and four of her classmates discover a portal that connects Earth and a world called Creos. After a heated argument between Kat and her ex-friend ends in bloodshed, the teens are unwittingly As opposed to wittingly transported? See if you can mash this sentence with the first, making it more like "After yadda argument ends in bloodshed, seventeen-year-old Kat yadda yadda transported to a world called Creos." It'll tighten this up.transported. They find themselves thrust into a world where plants try to eat themas they bathe Unnecessary., dwarves aren’t the cute friendly kind, and werewolves run wild. If that’s not bad enoughPersonal peeve: this is so cliche. Try to avoid it, they now must run from an enemy who would be interested to know how to use the portal, and they’re"[A]n enemy" is singular, this indicates a plural. not about to ask kindly.

Their only hope of surviving this strange new world is by enlisting the help of a desperate group of rebels. Unfortunately, theirThe rebels' guide or the kids' guide? guide is the moody and unwilling--albeit unnervingly attractive--warrior, Logan. The unlikely They're an unlikely group? They're friends on a school trip, that seems a fairly likely group to me... group of teens soon find themselves caught in the middle of a dangerous political war between the rebels and the country’s tyrant leader. Kat has dealt with her fair share of bullies, so she isn’t the type of girl to back down, but she might be in over her head this time.

Between frightening magical encounters and an enemy who seeks onlyThe enemy probably seeks other things, too. I'm sure he has day-to-day worries. And consider a stronger verb than "to stop" like "to destroy" or "to eradicate" instead. Unless he really does just want to stop them. to stop them, she begins to doubt who they can trust. Her suspicions strengthen as she observes their mysterious guide’s actions more closely... not that she would ever be caught dead looking. Of course, Logan isn’t the only one with something to hide: Kat eventually learns she has her own skeleton hidden in the collective family closet. While the others can think of nothing but returning home, our gutsy heroine discovers she may already be home.

Personal tidbit. I hope you will enjoy BIRTHRIGHT, a young adult fantasy novel that is completed at 133,700 words.

Please find attached, the synopsis and the first five pages of BIRTHRIGHT below. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,
Me

Contact Info
Ok, in general let me say I would totally read this and I don't read YA. If I were an agent, even with the things I've commented on, I'd absolutely request pages just to see if the writing lived up to the potential here. I'm a sucker for a good "transported from our world" story.

My initial concern is, as has been mentioned, the length. 133k words is HUGE for a debut novel in YA. Ginormous, even. Yes, there are YA novels out there longer than this but a) they're almost never by first-time authors and b) they're the exception to the rule. There's a saying: Never count on being the exception, always count on being the rule. More than one agent will see the length and form-reject you without giving the rest of it any consideration. Not all of them, but some of them will. See if you can break it in half. 70k would be much more in line with a first-time YA novel, plus you'd have two complete books out of it. If they find a publisher, your "third" novel can be much longer without anyone raising an eyebrow.

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Thermocline
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Re: Young Adult Fantasy Query

Post by Thermocline » October 15th, 2010, 11:18 am

You've got a nice setup here. There are a mixture of details - some are great because they give us information that we need to know, others raise questions that slow down the reading of your query.
caseygriffin2 wrote:During a school field trip, feisty seventeen-year-old Kat and four of her classmates discover a portal that connects Earth and a world called Creos. What unique element of your novel sets it apart from other kids-discover-a-portal stories? After a heated argument between Kat and her ex-friend ends in bloodshed, the teens are unwittingly transported. Here is a good example of what I mentioned above. An argument ending in bloodshed piques my interest, though I do wonder what the other three classmates were doing at the time to stop it, but "unwittingly transported" is too general to tell us anything. For example, are the bloodshed and the portal related? I wonder if your hook would be stronger if you started with the bloodshed, then went right into getting transported through the portal. This makes the fight your inciting action (and initial hook) rather than happening upon a portal, which is more passive. They find themselves thrust into a world where plants try to eat them as they bathe, They enter a new world and the first thing they do is take a bath? Consider starting with the dwarves and werewolves and maybe cut the bath. dwarves aren’t the cute friendly kind, and werewolves run wild. If that’s not bad enough, they now must run from an enemy who would be interested to know how to use the portal, and they’re not about to ask kindly. This sentence summaries an event(s) rather than showing us what happened. Describe this through Kat's perspective so we can see what happened and how she reacted to it.

Their only hope of surviving this strange new world is by enlisting the help of a desperate group of rebels. Unfortunately, their guide is the moody and unwilling--albeit unnervingly attractive--warrior, Logan. Like above, this makes it sound as if they met the rebels and now you're catching us up on the action. Show us what happened. Something along the lines of, "Kat survives the werewolf attack thanks to a pack of rebels and their unnervingly attractive leader, Logan." The unlikely group of teens soon find themselves Keep the focus on on your main character. Kat is caught in the middle of a dangerous political war between the rebels and the country’s tyrant leader. Kat has dealt with her fair share of bullies, so she isn’t the type of girl to back down, but she might be in over her head this time. This sentence doesn't advance your plot.

Between frightening magical encounters and an enemy who seeks only to stop them, she begins to doubt who they can trust. Her suspicions strengthen as she observes their mysterious guide’s actions more closely... not that she would ever be caught dead looking. Of course, This summaries what Kat is thinking, but doesn't tell us what she is doing. Show her making choices. Show her taking action. What events take place in your novel that you can describe here? Logan isn’t the only one with something to hide: Kat eventually learns she has her own skeleton hidden in the collective family closet. While the others can think of nothing but returning home, our gutsy heroine discovers she may already be home. Here is another place where you summarize her thoughts.

What is Kat's dilemma? Right now it sounds as if things will be fine if she stays or if she returns home. There doesn't seem to be any risk either way. Is the question whether she will survive in this world? Whether she finds out Logan's secret? Whether she finds her own? What is the central conflict? This is what an agent needs to know by the end of the query.


Personal tidbit. I hope you will enjoy BIRTHRIGHT is, a young adult fantasy novel that is completed at 133,700 words. Round to 134,000.

Please find attached, the synopsis and the first five pages of BIRTHRIGHT below. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Show us more of the actual events in your novel rather than summarizing them. This will strengthen your query. Also, as others have mentioned, your novel is too long for a debut novelist. 80.000 - 90,000 is a much more reasonable range for YA fantasy. I would caution against simply splitting it into two books. Be sure your novel can stand on its own and not rely on a sequel. Good luck!

caseygriffin2
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Re: Young Adult Fantasy Query

Post by caseygriffin2 » October 15th, 2010, 9:19 pm

Wow, you guys have been great! There were a lot of helpful suggestions to work through. I just hope I addressed them all. I think I'm still having some trouble with the passive voice rather than showing the story through the main characters actions, but hopefully the hook is better. I see now that I need to make some major cuts in my manuscript. Will an axe work? That might be easier. So I put # instead of the actual number, as I'm starting another edit on the book to try to fix my word count. Thanks for all the great suggestions!


Dear Agent;

A heated argument between ex-friends ends in bloodshed, which activates a magic portal, transporting feisty seventeen-year-old Kat and four of her classmates to another world. Kat, who has always wanted more excitement in her life, now fights plants that try to eat her friends, deals with dwarves that are neither cute nor friendly, and is on the lookout for werewolves that run wild. And if that isn’t exciting enough, she must run from enemies who want to use the portal, and they’re not about to ask kindly.

In order to survive this dangerous new world, Kat enlists the help of a desperate group of rebels. Unfortunately, her savior comes in the form of a moody and unwilling--albeit unnervingly attractive--warrior named Logan. Though Logan is the teens’ only hope of finding a way back to Earth, as Kat examines his actions more closely, her trust begins to unravel. Of course, Logan isn’t the only one with something to hide: Kat has her own skeleton hidden in the family closet, one that the enemy will kill her for. While the others can think of nothing but returning home, our gutsy heroine discovers she may already be home.

Personal tidbit. BIRTHRIGHT is a young adult fantasy novel that is completed at (#) words. Please find attached, the synopsis and the first five pages of BIRTHRIGHT below. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,
Me

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fishfood
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Re: Young Adult Fantasy Query

Post by fishfood » October 17th, 2010, 9:28 pm

You did a great job of using the awesome suggestions, but I noticed in the process you ended up cutting some vital information! I know it probably gets exhausting with everyone's suggestions, so bear with me.

If I were an agent, I might request pages based on this heated argument ending in bloodshed!! Yikes.
caseygriffin2 wrote:Wow, you guys have been great! There were a lot of helpful suggestions to work through. I just hope I addressed them all. I think I'm still having some trouble with the passive voice rather than showing the story through the main characters actions, but hopefully the hook is better. I see now that I need to make some major cuts in my manuscript. Will an axe work? That might be easier. So I put # instead of the actual number, as I'm starting another edit on the book to try to fix my word count. Thanks for all the great suggestions!


Dear Agent;

A heated argument between ex-friends ends in bloodshed, which activates a magic portal, transporting feisty seventeen-year-old Kat During a high school field trip, a heated argument between Kat and her ex-friend ends in bloodshed. This act of violence transports Katand four of her classmates to another world. Kat, who has always wanted more excitement in her life, now is forced to fight plants that try to eat her friends, dealsnegotiate? with dwarves that are neither cute nor friendly, and is on the lookout for dodge? werewolves that run wild. And if that isn’t exciting enough, You sort of exchanged one "cliche" for another, though I don't think it's so bad to say "if that isn't bad enough," How about instead try something spunky like,--not all that different from your average high school drama. Except now she must run from enemies who want to use the portal, (I'm confused about this sentence. They want to "use" the portal? This implies that Kat and her friends know how to get back and are just "guarding" it) and they’re not about to ask kindly.

In order to survive this dangerous new world, Kat enlists the help of a desperate group of rebels. Unfortunately, her savior comes in the form of atheir moody and unwilling--albeit unnervingly attractive--warrior leader? named Logan. Can you throw in a line about why he agrees to help when you say he's unwilling? ThoughLogan is the teens’ only hope of finding a way back to Earth, but as Kat examines his actions more closely, her trust begins to unravel. Of course, Logan isn’t the only one with something to hide: Kat hasdiscovers her own skeleton hidden in the family closet, one that the enemy will kill her for. While the others can think of nothing but returning home, our gutsy heroine ]Kat discovers she may already be home. Awesome line.
Personal tidbit. BIRTHRIGHT is a young adult fantasy novel that is completed at (#) words. Please find attached, the synopsis and the first five pages of BIRTHRIGHT below. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Is there any way you can be a tad more specific regarding the enemy? It won't require too much since I think we're allowed to be vague regarding enemies--but something like: Kat and her friends find themselves in the middle of a civil war?...This clearly implies two sides. One side wants the portal, the other side are the rebels who want to destroy them? Sincerely,
Me

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caseygriffin2
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Re: Young Adult Fantasy Query

Post by caseygriffin2 » October 18th, 2010, 12:26 am

Thanks fishfood!

I made all the changes you suggested. They were great and sounded perfect. I'm feeling pretty good about this version. Thanks to all of you who helped me.


Dear Agent;

During a high school field trip, a heated argument between Kat and her ex-friend ends in accidental bloodshed. This act of violence transports Kat and four of her classmates to another world. Kat is forced to fight plants that try to eat her friends, negotiates with dwarves that are neither cute nor friendly, and dodges bloodthirsty creatures that run wild. Not all that different from your average high school drama. Except now she must run from enemies who would be interested to know how the teens used a portal, and they’re not about to ask kindly.

In order to survive this dangerous new world, Kat enlists the help of a desperate group of rebels. The leader assigns a guide to take Kat and her friends to sorcerers who have the knowledge and power to send them back to Earth. Unfortunately, their guardian comes in the form of a moody and unwilling--albeit unnervingly attractive--warrior named Logan. The unlikely group of teens soon find themselves caught in the middle of a dangerous political war between the rebels and the country’s tyrant leader.

Logan is the teens’ only hope of finding a way back to Earth, but as Kat examines his actions more closely, her trust begins to unravel. Of course, Logan isn’t the only one with something to hide: Kat discovers her own skeleton hidden in the family closet, one that the enemy will kill her for. While the others can think of nothing but returning home, Kat discovers she may already be home.

I am impressed by the level of commitment and personal attention Ethan Ellenberg Agency offers its clients. Both your experience in the literary market and the coaching you offer your clients appeal to me, since I desire to work collaboratively with an agent. BIRTHRIGHT is a young adult fantasy novel that is completed at 134,000 words.

Please find attached, the synopsis and the first five pages of BIRTHRIGHT below. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,
Me

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katbrauer
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Re: Young Adult Fantasy Query

Post by katbrauer » October 19th, 2010, 1:27 am

caseygriffin2 wrote: During a high school field trip, a heated argument between Kat and her ex-friend ends in accidental bloodshed. This act of violence (I'm finding "act of violence" awkward, though I can't quite figure out why...) transports Kat and four of her classmates to another world. Now, instead of mean girls and crazy teachers, Kat is forced to must fight plants that try to eat her friends, negotiates with dwarves that are neither cute nor friendly, and dodges wild, bloodthirsty creatures that run wild. Not all that different from your average high school drama. Except now she must run from enemies who would be interestedwant to know how the teens used a portal, and they’re not about to ask kindly. ("would be interested" and "not ask kindly" are two contradictory ideas. "Want" says the same thing in less words.)

In order to survive this dangerous new world, Kat enlists the help of a desperate group of rebels. The leader assigns a guide to take Kat and her friends to sorcerers who have the knowledge and power to send them back to Earth. Unfortunately, their guardian comes in the form of a moody and unwilling--albeit unnervingly attractive--warrior named Logan. The unlikely group of teens soon find themselves caught in the middle of a dangerous political war between the rebels and the country’s tyrant leader. (Awesome. But what do the rebels get in return? perhaps just change the verb "enlist," which implies some sort of payment, to "convinces a group of rebles to help." I get if you don't want to explain what she gives in return.)

Logan is the teens’ only hope of finding a way back to Earth, but as Kat examines his actions more closely, her trust begins to unravel. Of course,Not that Logan isn’t the only one with something to hide: Kat discovers her own skeleton hidden in the family closet, one that the enemy will kill her for. While the others can think of nothing but returning home, Kat discovers she may already be home.

I am impressed by the level of commitment and personal attention Ethan Ellenberg Agency offers its clients. Both your experience in the literary market and the coaching you offer your clients appeal to me, since I desire to work collaboratively with an agent. BIRTHRIGHT is a young adult fantasy novel that is completed at 134,000 words. (How goes the chopping?)

Please find attached, the synopsis and the first five pages of BIRTHRIGHT below. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,
Me

Contact Info
Ugh, it's hard to see in the font, but be sure to take out the "s" on the verbs in the third sentence, first paragraph. (The strikethrough! It's hard to see!) They shouldn't be in third person form because they're modified by the helper verb "must."

I like this query now. I think it's good except for the stylistic issues I had above. Sometimes the sentences get a little stilted. Make sure its reads as smooth aloud, and you're probably golden.
:) Kat
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I'm hungry! Somebody make me a sammich!

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Re: Young Adult Fantasy Query

Post by caseygriffin2 » October 19th, 2010, 9:53 pm

Thanks katbrauer. I think I'm getting pretty close now. I liked your suggestion about the "mean girls". That sentence seemed like too much of a simple statement of fact and might flow better now. I think I changed everything you suggested except for the word "enlist". I feel like the sentence is more powerful the way it's worded, although I see your point about how it gives you the impression they get something in return. I'll keep looking for a better word. I'm re-editing the book and am cutting everything I can, especially the parts where I "tell" instead of "show" and a lot of unnecessary inner dialogue. I think my book will be better for it, though I have a tough job ahead of me. 4000 words down, and only about 40,000 more to go. I may not make it, but if I can make it close to 100,000 words, at least it's better than it was before. Thanks for your help!

Dear Agent;

During a high school field trip, a heated argument between Kat and her ex-friend ends in accidental bloodshed. This confrontation transports Kat and four of her classmates to another world. Faced with challenges greater than mean girls and exams, Kat must fight plants that try to eat her friends, negotiate with dwarves that are neither cute nor friendly, and dodge wild, bloodthirsty creatures. Not all that different from your average high school drama. Except now she must run from enemies who want to know how the teens used a portal, and they’re not about to ask kindly.

In order to survive this dangerous new world, Kat enlists the help of a desperate group of rebels. The leader assigns a guide to take Kat and her friends to sorcerers who have the knowledge and power to send them back to Earth. Unfortunately, their guardian comes in the form of a moody and unwilling--albeit unnervingly attractive--warrior named Logan. The unlikely group of teens soon find themselves caught in the middle of a dangerous political war between the rebels and the country’s tyrant leader.

Logan is the teens’ only hope of finding a way back to Earth, but as Kat examines his actions more closely, her trust begins to unravel. However, Logan isn’t the only one with something to hide: Kat discovers her own skeleton hidden in the family closet, one that the enemy will kill her for. While the others can think of nothing but returning home, Kat discovers she may already be home.

Personal tidbit. BIRTHRIGHT is a young adult fantasy novel that is completed at (#) words. Please find attached, the synopsis and the first five pages of BIRTHRIGHT below. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,
Me

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Auralius
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Re: Young Adult Fantasy Query

Post by Auralius » October 20th, 2010, 2:50 pm

Hey! I like the story, I think your query was good and has gotten better, and I'm just here to pick nits. Two things jumped out at me
caseygriffin2 wrote: Unfortunately, their guardian comes in the form of a moody and unwilling--albeit unnervingly attractive--warrior named Logan.
Because you're using a plurality as the main actor in this paragraph ("group," "their"), this sentence reads like Logan is "unnervingly attractive" to the group as a whole, but I'm pretty sure that this is a reference to how specifically Kat views him. Just a little bit jarring to me. Unless "Kat and her friends" ALL find him unnervingly attractive, which quite possibly may be true.
caseygriffin2 wrote: The unlikely group of teens soon find themselves caught in the middle of a dangerous political war between the rebels and the country’s tyrant leader.
An "unlikely group of heroes" might refer to a bunch of folks who are normally non-heroic going off on some epic adventure. I'm not sure what an "unlikely group of teens" is, unless it's just referring to the addition of the handsome-moody-guide-from-another-world Logan to the group.

Anyway, like I said, just nit-picking here. Lots of strong stuff. Nice job.

priya g.
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Re: Young Adult Fantasy Query

Post by priya g. » October 21st, 2010, 10:39 am

caseygriffin2 wrote: Dear Agent;

During a high school field trip, a heated argument between Kat and her ex-friend ends in accidental bloodshed. This confrontation transports Kat and four of her classmates to another world. Faced with challenges greater than mean girls and exams, Kat must fight plants that try to eat her friends, negotiate with dwarves that are neither cute nor friendly, and dodge wild, bloodthirsty creatures HOW ABOUT GIVING AN EXAMPLE, MAYBE 'AND DODGE CREATURES WORSE THAN VAMPIRES (I ADDED THIS BIT BECAUSE THATS THE ONLY BLOODTHIRSTY CREATURE THAT CAME TO MIND. IMPROVISE). Not all that different from your average high school drama. Except now she must run from enemies who want to know how the teens used a portal, and they’re not about to ask kindly. I AM A BIT LOST HERE- ARE THEY HERE ENEMIES BECAUSE SHE ENTERED THEIR WORLD OR BECAUSE SHE KNOWS ABOUT THE PORTAL?

In order to survive this dangerous new world, Kat enlists the help of a desperate group of rebels. The leader assigns a guide to take Kat and her friends to sorcerers who have the knowledge and power to send them back to Earth. Unfortunately, their guardian comes in the form of a moody and unwilling--albeit unnervingly attractive--warrior named Logan. The unlikely group of teens soon find themselves caught in the middle of a dangerous political war between the rebels and the country’s tyrant leader.

Logan is the teens’ only hope of finding a way back to Earth, but as Kat examines his actions more closely, her trust begins to unravel. HOW ABOUT COMPLETELY INTRODUCING LOGAN IN THIS PARAGRAPH RATHER THAN BEFORE? However, Logan isn’t the only one with something to hide: Kat discovers her own skeleton hidden in the family closet, one that the enemy will kill her for. While the others can think of nothing but returning home, Kat discovers she may already be home.

Personal tidbit. BIRTHRIGHT is a young adult fantasy novel that is completed at (#) words. Please find attached, the synopsis and the first five pages of BIRTHRIGHT below. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,
Me

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This is a good query- just suggested minor improvements.

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oldhousejunkie
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Re: Young Adult Fantasy Query

Post by oldhousejunkie » October 21st, 2010, 11:45 am

caseygriffin2 wrote:Thanks fishfood!

I made all the changes you suggested. They were great and sounded perfect. I'm feeling pretty good about this version. Thanks to all of you who helped me.


Dear Agent;

During a high school field trip, a heated argument between Kat and her ex-friend ends in accidental bloodshed. This act of violence transports Kat and four of her classmates to another world. Kat is forced to fight plants that try to eat her friends, negotiates with dwarves that are neither cute nor friendly, and dodges bloodthirsty creatures that run wild. Not all that different from your average high school drama. Except now she must run from enemies who would be interested to know how the teens used a portal, and they’re not about to ask kindly.

In order to survive this dangerous new world, Kat enlists the help of a desperate group of rebels. The leader assigns a guide to take Kat and her friends to sorcerers who have the knowledge and power to send them back to Earth. Unfortunately, their guardian comes in the form of a moody and unwilling--albeit unnervingly attractive--warrior named Logan. The unlikely group of teens soon find themselves caught in the middle of a dangerous political war between the rebels and the country’s tyrant leader.

Logan is the teens’ only hope of finding a way back to Earth, but as Kat examines his actions more closely, her trust begins to unravel. Of course, Logan isn’t the only one with something to hide: Kat discovers her own skeleton hidden in the family closet, one that the enemy will kill her for. While the others can think of nothing but returning home, Kat discovers she may already be home.

I am impressed by the level of commitment and personal attention Ethan Ellenberg Agency offers its clients. Both your experience in the literary market and the coaching you offer your clients appeal to me, since I desire to work collaboratively with an agent. BIRTHRIGHT is a young adult fantasy novel that is completed at 134,000 words.

Please find attached, the synopsis and the first five pages of BIRTHRIGHT below. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,
Me

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Out of curiosity--is this a plot driven or character driven story. It seems to me that it is a plot driven story but the query is turning it into a character driven story. I'm not even sure about the conflict--I think it's that Kat and her friends want to get home, and that there are obstacles in the way. I think the problem is that you are being too vague about the conflict. You don't have to show all of your cards but we need enough information to be drawn in.

And I want to reiterate the word count issue: you will most likely get form rejections because the word count is too high. Sad, but true. Start with searching for and deleting unnecessary adverbs.

Also the query length appears to be a little long. Query Shark says 250 should be your goal, but I have seem some people say that 350 is ok.

Best of luck to you! And look forward to seeing your progress.

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