Revised query HARP-BROKEN, take 2 (at end)

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chris13
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Revised query HARP-BROKEN, take 2 (at end)

Post by chris13 » November 22nd, 2010, 8:43 pm

Hi generous, wonderful, brilliant editor-people,

I've been re-working my query and here's the latest version. Thanks SO MUCH for all your prior useful comments, and I would love to hear your thoughts on this iteration.

C.
-----------
Agent comments...

In YA fantasy HARP-BROKEN, a girl finds her destiny linked with young Irish gods and goddesses who abandoned mythical Tir Na Nog to live as regular kids. Saving them and her missing dad will put her on a collision course with the supernatural world they left--and her own desire to be a normal teen.

When sixteen-year-old Philadelphia teen ROISEEN O'REILLY'S father disappears in Ireland, she and her mom move there to track him down. Now Roiseen figures she knows her eccentric schoolmates' secret: they're faeries. She confronts supernatural dangers and wins their respect--and a different truth. They're legendary gods and goddesses, and they need her help. AILLEN, a young god who venerates the old ways, considers them heretics for deserting Tir Na Nog. He damaged an enchanted harp they took with them, knowing they need it to survive. Then he captured Roiseen's dad, a world-class restorer of musical instruments, to prevent him from repairing Harp. Without Harp's magic, Roiseen's crush--the sun god LUGH--is dying.

Roiseen finds the courage to enter the mythical land, where she confronts Aillen and rescues her father, who mends Harp. But Aillen brings his warriors to her world to wreak vengeance. And Roiseen's desire to be a normal teen is thwarted when she coaxes enchanted music from the harp and learns she is the link to restoring equilibrium between the two worlds. She then must choose to make a sacrifice that can save Lugh and her new friends, and protect her world from the vengeance of the harp's owner--the most ancient and deadly of the Tir Na Nog gods.

my bio, thanks, etc.
Last edited by chris13 on November 27th, 2010, 9:54 am, edited 2 times in total.

fishfood
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Re: Revised query HARP-BROKEN

Post by fishfood » November 22nd, 2010, 9:53 pm

chris13 wrote:Hi generous, wonderful, brilliant editor-people,

I've been re-working my query and here's the latest version. Thanks SO MUCH for all your prior useful comments, and I would love to hear your thoughts on this iteration.

C.
-----------
Agent comments...

In YA fantasy HARP-BROKEN, a girl finds her destiny linked with young Irish gods and goddesses who abandoned mythical Tir Na Nog to live as regular kids. Saving them and her missing dad will put her on a collision course with the supernatural world they left--and her own desire to be a normal teen.

This is where your query should start-->When sixteen-year-old Philadelphia teen ROISEEN O'REILLY'S [Don't capitalize names, that's for screen plays] father disappears in Ireland, she and her mom move there to track him down. Now Roiseen figures she knows her eccentric schoolmates' secret: they're faeries.This sentence has nothing to do with the previous. I was totally confused. What do her classmates have to do with her dad being missing? She confronts supernatural dangers (what supernatural dangers?) and wins their respect--and a different truth (huh? how does she win their respect, why does she need to win their respect? What truth? I still don't understand what this has to do with her father being missing.) They're legendary gods and goddesses, and they need her help. You say they need her help, but then jump to introducing a new character. A smoother transition maybe, like: They're dying. The only thing that can save them is a magical harp that has been stolen and broken by AILLEN, a young god who venerates the old ways, considers them heretics for deserting Tir Na Nog (what's Tir Na Nog? A brief explanation might help. But I'm also not a huge high-fantasy reader so maybe that's why). He damaged an enchanted harp they took with them, knowing they need it to survive. Then he captured Roiseen's dad, a world-class restorer of musical instruments, to prevent him from repairing Harp. Without Harp's magic, Roiseen's crush--the sun god LUGH--is dying. Roiseen has a crush? Doesn't she care that all the gods and goddesses are dying?

Roiseen finds the courage to enter the mythical land, where she confronts Aillen and rescues her father, who mends Harp. But Aillen brings his warriors to her world to wreak vengeance. And Roiseen's desire to be a normal teen is thwarted when she coaxes enchanted music from the harp and learns she is the link to restoring equilibrium between the two worlds. She then must choose to make a sacrifice that can save Lugh and her new friends, and protect her world from the vengeance of the harp's owner--the most ancient and deadly of the Tir Na Nog gods.

my bio, thanks, etc.
My rule when reading queries: I shouldn't have to read it twice to understand what's happening...BUT like I mentioned I'm not a huge reader of fantasy so take my comments with a big chunk of salt! There's a lot of vague-ness happening, but you've followed a good script. Ordinary girl realizes she's extraordinary, goes on a journey, and must make a sacrifice to save the world and ones she loves. It has all the makings of a really great story. Which I gather this is! I think what's difficult is somehow dumbing it down for idiots like me!! Maybe you can use what I understood to rework some things to make it more clear.

1. Roiseen and her mother receive word that her father, a gifted restorer of musical instruments, has gone missing during his business trip to Ireland.
2. Roiseen and her mother move there to find him (wouldn't it be easier to just involve some sort of international police or something?), but this means she must start a new school.
3. Her classmates are weird. Turns out they're weird because they're faeries and gods and goddesses (they're both?). And one of them is really hot.
4. They're dying and a magical harp is the only thing keeping them alive.
5. But an evil god steals the harp and breaks it (why can't he destroy it?) and kidnaps the only person who can restore the harp.
6. Roiseen's dad is the only one who can restore the magical harp.
7. So they need her help to rescue her dad (why didn't the god just kill her dad?)
8. She saves the day by confronting (confronting seems kind of weak, how does she confront a god AND manage to rescue her dad? Isn't he powerful?) this evil god and rescuing her dad. Then he mends the harp.
9. Now the evil god is pissed off and puts together an army to come into the real world and start a battle against Roiseen and her faery-god friends.
10. Roiseen then does something magical with the harp and realizes she can restore some sort of equilibrium. What sort of equilibrium?
11. And then she has to make a sacrfice. What sacrifice?? To save both worlds from an evil one who created the harp. (Sounds sort of Lord of the Rings-ish to me--which I like!)

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Re: Revised query HARP-BROKEN

Post by wordranger » November 22nd, 2010, 10:36 pm

Chris13:

I am struggling with my own query, and I am BY FAR NOT an expert, but one thing that did strike me that you may want to reconsider...

As I was reading, I had to stop a few times to sound out the words "Tir Na Nog". For the sake of the query, rather than risk annoying an agent that might not want to work that hard, I might skip the detail of what they are called.

Maybe they "abandoned their mythical race" and just the "Most dangerous of the gods" I think it is a little easier to digest, and helps to "not" break the flow.

Good luck!
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HillaryJ
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Re: Revised query HARP-BROKEN

Post by HillaryJ » November 22nd, 2010, 11:44 pm

chris13 wrote: -----------
Agent comments...

In YA fantasy HARP-BROKEN, a girl finds her destiny linked with young Irish gods and goddesses who abandoned mythical Tir Na Nog to live as regular kids. Saving them and her missing dad will put her on a collision course with the supernatural world they left--and her own desire to be a normal teen. *Cut all preceding this. It summarizes without showing or being exciting and has no "voice", so it's just taking up precious word count.*

When sixteen-year-old Philadelphia teen ROISEEN O'REILLY'S *CAPITALIZE names in synopsis, not in query* father disappears in Ireland, she and her mom move there to track him down. Now Roiseen figures she knows her eccentric schoolmates' secret: they're faeries. She confronts supernatural dangers and wins their respect--and a different truth. *The preceding is vague summarizing, also known as "not necessary"* They're legendary gods and goddesses, and they need her help. AILLEN, a young god who venerates the old ways, considers them heretics for deserting Tir Na Nog. He damaged an enchanted harp they took with them, knowing they need it to survive. Then he captured Roiseen's dad, a world-class restorer of musical instruments, to prevent him from repairing Harp. Without Harp's magic, Roiseen's crush--the sun god LUGH--is dying.

Roiseen finds the courage to enter the mythical land, where she confronts Aillen and rescues her father, who mends Harp. But Aillen brings his warriors to her world to wreak vengeance. And Roiseen's desire to be a normal teen is thwarted when she coaxes enchanted music from the harp and learns she is the link to restoring equilibrium between the two worlds. She then must choose to make a sacrifice that can save Lugh and her new friends, and protect her world from the vengeance of the harp's owner--the most ancient and deadly of the Tir Na Nog gods.

my bio, thanks, etc.
Fantasy queries are difficult to write because you want to present the backstory, the richness of the world, and show your original take on it, which revealing enough of the plot and showing the characters. Unfortunately, that isn't terribly exiting. Focus on the things that make a story great, the vibrant characters and the original plot.

I see a couple of problems here, other than you trying to stuff the entire world and story into these few words. Stick to the exciting points of the story (in Ireland to find her missing father, discovers classmates are gods, crushes on one of them, confronts Aillen and rescues father, makes enchanted music, has a choice), show how the main character develops and/or is challenged (you've got a lot of challenges already, but I don't get a good feel for her), and add some voice. I do not at all get a convincing YA voice from this query.

Good luck!

P.S. I'd leave Tir Na Nog in because it's both concise and a known thing.
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chris13
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Re: Revised query HARP-BROKEN

Post by chris13 » November 23rd, 2010, 4:57 pm

Thanks for the great comments. Great catch on the lack of connection between these 2 sentences...

......father disappears in Ireland, she and her mom move there to track him down. Now Roiseen figures she knows her eccentric schoolmates' secret: they're faeries.

And I've been doing too much work on the synopsis....starting to CAP everyone's name.

I'll work on this and post another revision. Thanks again....
Chris

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Re: Revised query HARP-BROKEN

Post by priya g. » November 27th, 2010, 3:35 am

chris13 wrote: Agent comments...

In YA fantasy HARP-BROKEN, a girl finds her destiny linked with young Irish gods and goddesses who abandoned mythical Tir Na Nog to live as regular kids. Saving them and her missing dad will put her on a collision course with the supernatural world they left--and her own desire to be a normal teen. THIS IS A VAGUE BEGINNING. HOW ABOUT YOU PRESENT IT IN THIS ORDER: THE FATHER LEFT HER, SHE MISSES HIM AND WANTS TO FIND HIM, WHEN SHE DOES SO, SHE REALIZES SHE IS LINKED WITH IRISH GODS AND GODDESSES.

When sixteen-year-old Philadelphia teen ROISEEN O'REILLY'S DONT PUT IN CAPITAL LETTERS father disappears in Ireland, she and her mom move there to track him down. Now Roiseen figures she knows her eccentric schoolmates' secret: they're faeries. She confronts supernatural dangers and wins their respect--and a different truth. They're legendary gods and goddesses, and they need her help THE LAST TWO SENTENCES ARE RUNNING TOO HAYWIRE. CONDENSE THEM. BE TO THE POINT. AILLEN, a young god who venerates the old ways, considers them heretics for deserting Tir Na Nog. He damaged an enchanted harp they took with them, knowing they need it to survive. Then he captured Roiseen's dad, a world-class restorer of musical instruments, to prevent him from repairing Harp. Without Harp's magic, Roiseen's crush--the sun god LUGH--is dying. TOO MUCH HISTORY, CRAMPED TOO MUCH TOGETHER. SPREAD IT OUT.

Roiseen finds the courage to enter the mythical land, where she confronts Aillen and rescues her father, who mends Harp. But Aillen brings his warriors to her world to wreak vengeance. And Roiseen's desire to be a normal teen is thwarted when she coaxes enchanted music from the harp and learns she is the link to restoring equilibrium between the two worlds CHUNKY SENTENCE. She then must choose to make a sacrifice that can save Lugh and her new friends, and protect her world from the vengeance of the harp's owner--the most ancient and deadly of the Tir Na Nog gods.

my bio, thanks, etc.
overall, this needs a bit of work on conciseness. i like the names, i like the characters, i like the plot!

chris13
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Re: Revised query HARP-BROKEN, take 2

Post by chris13 » November 27th, 2010, 9:53 am

Again, super thanks. Is this any clearer? BTW, MC's mistakenly thinking she knows the gods are faeries is a main plot twist so I need to keep this in.

-------------------

When sixteen-year-old Philadelphian Roiseen O'Reilly's father disappears in Ireland, searching for him puts her on a collision course with the mythical world of the ancient Celts--and her own desire to be a normal teen.

Dad, a world-class musical instrument restorer, has been gone for weeks when Roiseen and her mom go to Ireland to search for him. Mom will manage a rundown family pub and Roiseen will finish the school year there. Roiseen's eccentric new classmates' love for boots, bling and booze eventually leads her to use the "f" word: they're faeries. She's unwillingly sucked into their world when she fights supernatural monsters trying to scare her home to Philly and worse--destroy her favorite pair of cowboy boots. The kids reveal they're not faeries but legendary gods and goddesses who abandoned mythical Tir Na Nog to live as regular kids. And they need her help. Led by Roiseen's crush, the "hot" sun god Lugh, they're endangered by another young god who considers them heretics for deserting their ancient land. To punish them, Aillen-the-Burner damaged an enchanted harp they need to survive in their new world. Only Roiseen's Dad can repair it, but Aillen holds him prisoner in Tir Na Nog--where only Roiseen can enter.

Roiseen finds the courage to help Dad escape. But after he mends Harp, Aillen brings his warriors to wreak vengeance. Roiseen defeats Aillen when she coaxes enchanted song from Harp, but still must make a choice. She can save her friends and a dying Lugh if she confronts Harp's vengeful owner--the most ancient and deadly of the Tir Na Nog gods, who may be her own great-grandfather.

I am a writer and ASJA member, whose work appears in national ETC
HARP-BROKEN, complete at 69,000 words, should appeal to readers who ETC

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Re: Revised query HARP-BROKEN, take 2 (at end)

Post by Jessi Heinrich » December 3rd, 2010, 8:15 pm

When sixteen-year-old Philadelphian Roiseen O'Reilly's father disappears in Ireland, searching for him puts her on a collision course with the mythical world of the ancient Celts--and her own desire to be a normal teen. This last bit of information 'her own desire to be a normal teen' doesn't capture me because I assume that almost every teen wants to be a 'normal teen.' Is there something SPECIAL she wants out of her adolesence that makes us connect to her? What's wrong with her teenage years, exactly? Why should we, the reader, care if she wants to be a normal teen? I'm assuming that you'll go more into it below, but perhaps bringing a smidge more detail about Roiseen's teenage wishes up here might be good?

Dad, a world-class musical instrument restorer, has been gone for weekswhen Roiseen and her mom go to Ireland to search for him. I assumed that Roiseen had been gone to Ireland to search for her father because it's in the opening paragraph. I'd consider taking out this bit and replacing it another sentence, something along the lines of "In an effort to find him, Roiseen and her mom relocate from Philadelphia to Ireland." Just a suggestion and by far not the best one.Mom will manage a rundown family pub and Roiseen will finish the school year there. Roiseen's eccentric new classmates' love for boots, bling and booze eventually leads her to use the "f" word: they're faeries. She's unwillingly sucked into their world when she fights supernatural monsters trying to scare her home to Philly and worse--destroy her favorite pair of cowboy boots.This gives us a sense of Roiseen, but why are the supernatural monsters trying to scare her home? Do they have her father? Is this something you're trying not to reveal to the agent? I don't know if I find it enticing or lacking information... The kids reveal they're not faeries but legendary gods and goddesses who abandoned mythical Tir Na Nog to live as regular kids. And they need her help. Led by Roiseen's crush, the "hot" sun god Lugh, they're endangered by another young god who considers them heretics for deserting their ancient land. To punish them, Aillen-the-Burner damaged an enchanted harp they need to survive in their new world. Only Roiseen's Dad can repair it, but Aillen holds him prisoner in Tir Na Nog--where only Roiseen can enter. I LOVE the rest of this paragraph. Very telling, engaging and really gives a sense of the mystery of the story.

Roiseen finds the courage to help Dad escape.How? Do her new god friends help at all? "finds the courage" is rather vague here; I'd reconsider this sentence. But after he mends Harp,Nitpicky question: should harp be capitalized? It is here, but not in the paragraph above. Aillen brings his warriors to wreak vengeance. Roiseen defeats Aillen when she coaxes enchanted song from Harp, but still must make a choice. She can save her friends and a dying Lugh if she confronts Harp'sIs harp a character? I'm a little confused here. vengeful owner--the most ancient and deadly of the Tir Na Nog gods, who may be her own great-grandfather. Is he her great-grandfather? If so, I'd take out the 'may be.'

Overall, I loved this query. It's interesting and the plot seems like wicked fun. My criticism is that it feels like it's caught somewhere between a synopsis and a query, where you give too much information in some places and too little in others. Think about the very interesting plot points of the book and integrate them into the query letter without bogging it down with information. Roiseen's voice comes through in spurts - I think I could really connect with her from the little bit I got to know her in the query letter. Try to make her voice really come through. It seems like you have developed her very well - let us hear her.

Hope this helps!

chris13
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Re: Revised query HARP-BROKEN, take 2 (at end)

Post by chris13 » December 4th, 2010, 12:24 am

Thanks again, everyone, for the excellent comments. Really. I'm serious. Made excellent sense.

And Jessie -- your avatar is wicked fun, too.

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