NEVER REMEMBER: YA Fantasy Revised

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Moni12
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NEVER REMEMBER: YA Fantasy Revised

Post by Moni12 » January 7th, 2011, 3:01 pm

Revision is on post 5.

The second revision is at the top of the second page.

2nd page 12th post is the latest revision.

Sometime in the not so near future I plan on sending this out again. It'll be my third or fourth round of queries. The second to last paragraph was included after the first round as a way of catching the attention of agents. Just let me know what you think works and what doesn't.


Devi Ashara did not intend to become a criminal, but when reward posters bearing her description began to show up she decided to give the bounty hunters a reason to pursue her. Unfortunately, she can only remember the last four years of her life, so when a witch tells her she’ll find all her answers in the city, Arkin, she goes with little hesitation only to be thrown into the castle dungeon for her crimes.

When she escapes with another prisoner, Hayden, he seems mysteriously determined to help her find her memories. However, not even the Dreamer of Revieré Mountain can help. Devi and Hayden have one last chance to find her memories at the House of Mirrors, but when this final attempt fails she is content to settle down with Hayden. Their happiness ends, though, when he offers her a gift and all her memories come back to her.

Determined to avenge the murders of herself and her family Devi collects her wergild, but quickly realizes the material gain is not enough and the murderers of her family must feel the same pain that she feels.

Devi Ashara is a character meant to be loved and hated. Her virtues help her triumph, but she isn’t immune to the intoxicating bloodlust that can drive human nature.

NEVER REMEMBER is a YA/Fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. The full manuscript is available upon request.
Last edited by Moni12 on January 14th, 2011, 2:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.

AContos
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Re: NEVER REMEMBER: YA Fantasy

Post by AContos » January 7th, 2011, 5:40 pm

Hi there! I'm no expert,so all the usual caveats apply. Take what works and toss the rest.
Moni12 wrote:Sometime in the not so near future I plan on sending this out again. It'll be my third or fourth round of queries. The second to last paragraph was included after the first round as a way of catching the attention of agents. Just let me know what you think works and what doesn't.


Devi Ashara did not intend to become a criminal, but when reward posters bearing her description began to show up she decided to give the bounty hunters a reason to pursue her. I like the idea of this, but it confused me. Why would she do this? Does she think she's guilty? Or does it mean she goes out an commits crimes because she's got nothing to lose?Unfortunately, she can only remember the last four years of her life,seems a little disconnected from the first sentence so when a witch tells her she’ll find all her answers in the city, Arkin, she goes with little hesitation only to be thrown into the castle dungeon for her crimes.There's a lot of info in this sentence, but I'm not sure I understand everything. Where does the witch come from? has Ashara been trying to find her memories?

When she escapes with another prisoner, Hayden, he seems mysteriously determined to help her find her memories. However, not even the Dreamer of Revieré Mountain who?can help. Devi and Hayden have one last chance to find her memories at the House of Mirrors, but when this final attempt fails she is content to settle down with Hayden. This seems....odd. She can't find her memories, so she just decides to get married instead? The cause and effect doesn't relate. And what about the fact that they broke out of prison? Is no one coming after them?Their happiness ends, though, when he offers her a gift and all her memories come back to her.He who? Hayden? If he could give her back her memories that easily why didn't he do it initially?

Determined to avenge the murders of herself and her family whoah!! she's dead? and where did her family's murders come from?Devi collects her wergild, but quickly realizes the material gain is not enough and the murderers of her family must feel the same pain that she feels.

Devi Ashara is a character meant to be loved and hated. Her virtues help her triumph, but she isn’t immune to the intoxicating bloodlust that can drive human nature. This should be shown through your query.
NEVER REMEMBER is a YA/Fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. The full manuscript is available upon request.
I really like the title!
I really like your premise, and I'm convinced that there's a really awesome story in there! But right now I'm just confused about exactly what's going on. Trust me, I know how hard it is to explain when you know your story inside and out! Good luck!

Moni12
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Re: NEVER REMEMBER: YA Fantasy

Post by Moni12 » January 7th, 2011, 5:42 pm

Thanks for the help! After reading your comments I realized it must be kinda confusing and I may have put in unnecessary information.

AContos
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Re: NEVER REMEMBER: YA Fantasy

Post by AContos » January 7th, 2011, 6:46 pm

Yeah....that pretty much describes my query too! Glad I could help. :)

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Re: NEVER REMEMBER: YA Fantasy

Post by Emily J » January 7th, 2011, 8:23 pm

Moni12 wrote:Sometime in the not so near future I plan on sending this out again. It'll be my third or fourth round of queries. The second to last paragraph was included after the first round as a way of catching the attention of agents. Just let me know what you think works and what doesn't.


Devi Ashara did not intend to become a criminal, but when reward posters bearing her description began to show up she decided to give the bounty hunters a reason to pursue her. i get the idea for the hook here, but this sentence is a bit long, can you condense it a bit? something like "Devi Ashara didn't know she was a criminal, until she saw the wanted posters. Stripped of her memories.. yada yada yada Unfortunately, <-- unfortunately feels unnecessary she can only remember the last four years of her life, so when a witch tells her she’ll find all her answers in the city, Arkin, she goes with little hesitation only to be thrown into the castle dungeon for her crimes.

When she escapes with another prisoner, Hayden, <-- i might suggest "When she escapes with another prisoner named Hayden..." just to avoid the similar sentence structure you had just before this he seems mysteriously <-- mysteriously? inexplicably? strangely? determined to help her find her memories. However, not even the Dreamer of Revieré Mountain maybe just brief explanation, like - a powerful see named the Dreamer of... can help. Devi and Hayden have one last chance to find her memories at the House of Mirrors, but when this final attempt fails she is content to settle down with Hayden. <-- repeating Hayden Their happiness ends, though, when he offers her a gift and all her memories come back to her. <-- i want to know more! what kind of gift??

Determined to avenge the murders of herself !!! this is really interesting but a bit confusing, can we work that in more? and her family comma Devi collects her wergild, <-- i had no idea what this was so I looked it up, I learned a word thanks! but quickly realizes the material gain is not enough she had to realize that? it seems instinctual and the murderers of her family must feel the same pain that she feels.

Devi Ashara is a character meant to be loved and hated. Her virtues help her triumph, but she isn’t immune to the intoxicating bloodlust that can drive human nature. <-- not sure if we need this paragraph, its very exposition-y and I think we get this information already

NEVER REMEMBER is a YA/Fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. The full manuscript is available upon request.
So the main character is dead? I definitely want to know how she is running around causing trouble and falling in love with escaped convicts.

Moni12
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Re: NEVER REMEMBER: YA Fantasy

Post by Moni12 » January 8th, 2011, 3:46 pm

Thanks everyone for the advice! Hopefully you see some improvement here. To me this one seems a little shaky, but since I have all the answers it's a little hard to tell.


Devi Ashara can only remember the last few years of her life. During her journey to find her memories she travels to Arkin where she’s put in the castle dungeon for being a thief and arsonist.

When she escapes with another prisoner named Hayden they travel to mountains, cross plains and come to the forests where they find the House of Mirrors, a place that not only exists, but is also alive. Everything they had tried so far hasn’t worked and this place is Devi’s last chance at ever finding her memories. When she encounters another fail she refuses to go after the House has ordered her to leave and is almost killed in a battle with it because of this.

Devi must now resign herself to giving up the search for her memories, but is happy to create new ones with Hayden, even when she begins to see violent images of blood and murder in her dreams. When she seems to have conquered her dreams they attend a market where he buys her a gift that contains her memories and changes their relationship forever.

Devi leaves Hayden to seek revenge by collecting her wergild, but the material gain is not enough and she becomes intoxicated with a bloodlust that drives her to extremes she never knew she was capable of.

NEVER REMEMBER is a YA/Fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. The full manuscript is available upon request.

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Re: NEVER REMEMBER: YA Fantasy

Post by Meredith » January 8th, 2011, 4:51 pm

Moni12 wrote:Thanks everyone for the advice! Hopefully you see some improvement here. To me this one seems a little shaky, but since I have all the answers it's a little hard to tell.


Devi Ashara can only remember the last few years of her life. During her journey to find her memories she travels to Arkin where she’s put in the castle dungeon for being a thief and arsonist. This opening may be a little too spare. Try for something in between the last one and this. You want the fact that she's lost her memories and how that gets her into trouble to have a bit more punch.

When she escapes with another prisoner named Hayden they travel to mountains, cross plains and come to the forests where they find You don't need the travelogue. I would give some indication that they are seeking her memories in their travels, though. the House of Mirrors, a place that not only exists, but is also alive. Cool detail! Everything they had have (present tense) tried so far hasn’t worked and this place is Devi’s last chance at ever finding her memories. When she encounters another fail fails again she refuses to go after the House has ordered her to leave and is almost killed in a battle with it because of this. Stringing all of this together into one sentence like this robs it of impact.

Without any hope, Devi must now resign resigns herself to giving up the search for her memories, but is happy finds happiness in creating to createnew ones with Hayden, even when until she begins to see violent images of blood and murder in her dreams. When she seems to have conquered her dreams they attend a market where he buys her a gift that contains her memories and changes their relationship forever.

Devi leaves Hayden to seek revenge by collecting her wergild, but the material gain is not enough and she becomes intoxicated with a bloodlust that drives her to extremes she never knew she was capable of. Another long, strung-together sentence that looses impact.

NEVER REMEMBER is a YA/Fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. The full manuscript is available upon request.
In my experience, writing a query is a little like spring cleaning. There's inevitably a point at which you've made a bigger mess before you can start to clean it up.
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maggie
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Re: NEVER REMEMBER: YA Fantasy Revised

Post by maggie » January 9th, 2011, 9:51 pm

Coolness! This story sounds really interesting.

I also like the spring cleaning analogy. :) SO true!

I am still a little confused here, and I feel like you lost some of the voice in this second draft. I also really liked the line about the wanted posters with her on them and her giving them a reason to find her...that line alone made me interested, and you took it out of this one. With that being said:
Moni12 wrote:
Devi Ashara can only remember the last few years of her life. During her journey to find her memories she travels to Arkin I feel like I want some explanation of what Arkin is here and why it's important where she’s put in the castle dungeon for being a thief and arsonist.

When she escapes with another prisoner named Hayden they travel to mountains, cross plains and come to the forests I agree that this is unnecessary where they find the House of Mirrors, a place that not only exists, but is also alive. nice Everything they had tried so far hasn’t worked and this place is Devi’s last chance at ever finding her memories. When she encounters another fail she refuses to go after the House has ordered her to leave and is almost killed in a battle with it because of this. This sentence sounds awkward to me.

Devi must now resign herself to giving up the search for her memories, but is happy to create new ones with Hayden, even when she begins to see violent images of blood and murder in her dreams. I would split this sentence into two for more impact When she seems to have conquered her dreams they attend a market where he buys her a gift that contains her memories and changes their relationship forever.

Devi leaves Hayden to seek revenge by collecting her wergild, I feel like this word needs some explanation but the material gain is not enough and she becomes intoxicated with a bloodlust that drives her to extremes she never knew she was capable of.

NEVER REMEMBER is a YA/Fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. The full manuscript is available upon request.
The story sounds super cool!

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Re: NEVER REMEMBER: YA Fantasy

Post by AContos » January 10th, 2011, 9:48 am

Hi!
I agree on the points of the PP's. Added a few of my own below too.
Moni12 wrote:Thanks everyone for the advice! Hopefully you see some improvement here. To me this one seems a little shaky, but since I have all the answers it's a little hard to tell.


Devi Ashara can only remember the last few years of her life. So when she notices reward posters bearing her description, Devi can't claim guilt or innocence, but she can give the bounty hunters a reason to pursue her.Then maybe give a little explanation of what that means. Then explain why she travels to arkin and searches for her memories. I'd also consider if it's even necessary to mention the city, unless it has some real significance.[/color]During her journey to find her memories she travels to Arkin where she’s put in the castle dungeon for being a thief and arsonist.

When she escapes with another prisoner named Hayden they travel to mountains, cross plains and come to the forests where they find the House of Mirrors, a place that not only exists, but is also alive. i like this too!Everything they had tried so far hasn’t worked and this place is Devi’s last chance at ever finding her memories. When she encounters another fail she refuses to go after the House has ordered her to leave and is almost killed in a battle with it because of this.

Devi must now resign herself to giving up the search for her memories, but is happy to create new ones with Hayden, even when she begins to see violent images of blood and murder in her dreams. When she seems to have conquered her dreams they attend a market where he buys her a gift that contains her memories and changes their relationship forever.I would explain this a bit. Right now it's a little cliche and vague.

Devi leaves Hayden to seek revenge by collecting her wergild, but the material gain is not enough and she becomes intoxicated with a bloodlust that drives her to extremes she never knew she was capable of.How does this happen? What makes her suddenly become intoxicated with bloodlust? I like the idea of a (violently) conflicted protagonist, you just need to explain what makes her that way.

NEVER REMEMBER is a YA/Fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. The full manuscript is available upon request.
I think one of the things you're missing are the stakes. Who is she seeking revenge for/from? What's at stake if she doesn't get her revenge? does the bloodlust increase if she doesn't? etc. Basically, what does Devi stand to gain or lose if she succeeds or fails?
Hope that helps!

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Re: NEVER REMEMBER: YA Fantasy

Post by Netti » January 11th, 2011, 5:39 pm

Moni12 wrote:Thanks everyone for the advice! Hopefully you see some improvement here. To me this one seems a little shaky, but since I have all the answers it's a little hard to tell.


Devi Ashara can only remember the last few years of her life. During her journey to find her memories she travels to Arkin where she’s put in the castle dungeon for being a thief and arsonist.

After being imprisoned for being a thief and arsonist, she meets Hayden; eventually the two manage to escape the dungeon. They begin a journey to find Devi's memories and are told to start at the House of Mirrors- a place that not only exists, but is also alive. Everything they have tried so far hasn’t worked and this place the house is Devi’s last chance to find her memories. When she encounters another failure she refuses to go after the House has ordered her to leave and is almost killed in a battle with it because of this. But it turns out to be just one more failed journey.

Devi mustnow resign herself to giving up the search for her memories, but is happy to create new ones with Hayden, even when she begins to see violent images of blood and murder in her dreams. When she seems to have conquered her dreams they attend amarket where he Hayden buys Devi a gift that contains her memories and changes their relationship foreverreveals the truth about her family's murder.

Devi leaves Hayden to seek revenge by collecting her wergild (There's been no mention of a family here, which is what wergild is for.), but the material gain is not enough and she becomes intoxicated with a bloodlust that drives her to extremes she never knew she was capable of.

NEVER REMEMBER is a YA/Fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. The full manuscript is available upon request.
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Moni12
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Re: NEVER REMEMBER: YA Fantasy Revised

Post by Moni12 » January 11th, 2011, 5:43 pm

Thanks again for all the feedback! Because I feel like saying who she gets revenge on will reveal too much I took that part out completely.

Devi Ashara can only remember the last few years of her life. During her journey to find her memories she travels to Arkin where she’s put in the castle dungeon for being a thief and arsonist.

When she escapes with another prisoner named Hayden they travel to mountains where they seek refuge from bounty hunters and receive help from the Dreamer, the wisest man in the world. They eventually come to the forests where they find the House of Mirrors, a place that not only exists, but is also alive. Everything they have tried so far hasn’t worked and the house is Devi’s last chance to find her memories. When she encounters another fail she refuses to go after the House has ordered her to leave and is almost killed in a battle begins between the two in which Devi is almost killed.

Devi must now resign herself to giving up the search for her memories, but is happy to create new ones with Hayden. Even though she has moved on she is haunted by violent images of blood and murder in her dreams. When she seems to have conquered her dreams they attend a market where he buys her a gift that contains her memories, but remembering isn’t everything she thought it’d be.

NEVER REMEMBER is a YA/Fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. The full manuscript is available upon request.

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Re: NEVER REMEMBER: YA Fantasy Revised

Post by AContos » January 11th, 2011, 9:36 pm

Don't hate me for saying it, but I think you took out all the fun stuff! The bounty hunters just get a passing mention, the fact that she (I think) is dead....that's the stuff that sets your story apart! Focus on the good stuff! And you have plenty of good stuff!.
Moni12 wrote:Thanks again for all the feedback! Because I feel like saying who she gets revenge on will reveal too much I took that part out completely.

Devi Ashara can only remember the last few years of her life. During her journey to find her memories she travels to Arkin where she’s put in the castle dungeon for being a thief and arsonist. These opening sentences don't grab me.

When she escapes with another prisoner named Hayden, they flee to The they travel to mountains where they seek refuge from bounty hunters and receive help from the Dreamer, the wisest man in the world. They eventually come to the forests where they find theall of this is just a recount of their travels, and it doesn't add anything to the queryHouse of Mirrors, a place that not only exists, but is also alive. Everything they have tried so far hasn’t worked and the house is Devi’s last chance to find her memories. When she encounters another fail she refuses to go after the House has ordered her to leave and is almost killed in a battle begins between the two in which Devi is almost killed.[I think this sentence is a typo, so I'm not sure I understand what happens. Regardless, it seems like a bit of a sub-plot, so I'd consider removing it completely and focusing on the core conflict. Just a suggestion on a way to re-write: The House is Devi's last chance to find her memories. When her efforts fail,Devi is forced to give up the search. Though she's happy to create new memories with Hayden, she's still haunted by her dreams

Devi must now resign herself to giving up the search for her memories, but is happy to create new ones with Hayden. Even though she has moved on she is haunted by violent images of blood and murder in her dreams. IMHO, I think this should be at the top. Haunting, violent images are much more excited than travels to Arkin. :)When she seems to have conquered her dreams they attend a market where he buys her a gift that contains her memories, but remembering isn’t everything she thought it’d be.

NEVER REMEMBER is a YA/Fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. The full manuscript is available upon request.
Ok, so if I pull out all the major plot-line parts....I get:
Devi Ashara can only remember the last few years of her life. Add in here something about being haunted by violent images of blood and murder in her dreams and/or the bounty hunters and the reward posters stuff.During her journey to find her memories she travels to Arkin where she’s put in the castle dungeon for being a thief and arsonist.I still think you need to explain why she's traveling to Arkin, and I'd consider whether the specific crimes are relevant. The main point is that she's imprisoned..and I'd guess, that she can't claim guilt or innocence, because she can't remember anything.

When she escapes with another prisoner named Hayden, they flee to The House of Mirrors, a place that not only exists, but is also alive. The House is Devi's last chance to find her memories, so when her efforts fail,Devi is forced to give up the search. Though she's happy to create new memories with Hayden, she's still haunted by her dreams. When she seems to have conquered her dreams how does this happen?they attend a market where he buys her a gift that contains her memories,how does this happen? does he know it will give her back her memories? if not, this strikes of deus ex machina. but remembering isn’t everything she thought it would be.[/color]

One last thing: you're right about not wanting to give away the whole story in the query, but being coy about the major plotline doesn't work either. If you're going to mention she has dreams filled with blood and murder, you probably want to explain why. Otherwise you risk aggravating the agent more than enticing them.
I'm really loving this premise....I can't wait to see a query that has all the fun stuff laid out! Of course, all of this is just my opinion...and it's completely possible I don't have a clue as to what I'm talking about. :)

Moni12
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Re: NEVER REMEMBER: YA Fantasy Revised

Post by Moni12 » January 14th, 2011, 2:42 pm

I've recently learned that due to technical difficulties I get to requery an agency. Yay! So, now I want to perfect this more than ever!


She was called Devi Ashara and accepted the name because she had no memories to recall another. As she looks for her memories she’s haunted by dreams of blood and murder.

When Devi meets Hayden he joins her in the search for her memories. Their journey brings them to the House of Mirrors, but even this house with its beating heart can’t give her what she needs. She resigns herself to the fact that she will never have her memories and tries to make new ones with Hayden. However, now that the search is over her dreams have become even more violent.

When Hayden stumbles upon a pendant in a nearby city he gives it to Devi, not knowing it contains her memories. Suddenly the dreams make sense and she leaves Hayden to find the men who killed her family and herself. She collects her wergild, but finds no satisfaction in money and land. In order to have any kind of closure she must have blood and she is more than willing to collect.

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Re: NEVER REMEMBER: YA Fantasy Revised

Post by ajcattapan » January 14th, 2011, 6:46 pm

You've got an interesting hook, so I'll just recommend a few ideas for polishing it up.
Moni12 wrote:I've recently learned that due to technical difficulties I get to requery an agency. Yay! So, now I want to perfect this more than ever!


She was called Devi Ashara and accepted the name because she had no memories to recall another. Don't start with a pronoun (She) because it has no one to refer back to. Try something like: Devi Ashara can't remember her real name--then again, she can't remember anything from her past. As she looks for her memories, she’s haunted by dreams of blood and murder.

When Devi meets Hayden, he joins her in the search for her memories. Who exactly is Hayden? Give a brief explanation when you introduce a new character.Their journey brings them to the House of Mirrors, but even this house with its beating heart can’t give her what she needs. A house with a beating heart is a cool idea! She resigns herself to the fact that she will never have her memories and tries to make new ones with Hayden. However, now that the search is over, her dreams have become even more violent.

When Hayden stumbles upon a pendant in a nearby city, he gives it to Devi, not knowing it contains her memories. Suddenly the dreams make sense, and she leaves Hayden to find the men who killed her family and herself. I think someone mentioned this in an earlier post, but when did Devi die? If she's a ghost, we should know that from the beginning. She collects her wergild, but finds no satisfaction in money and land. In order to have any kind of closure, she must have blood and she is more than willing to collect.
I've added a number of commas in your sentences; I hope you can see them. The English teacher in me wants to tell you that you need commas after introductory clauses and in compound sentences. Sorry, I will now step down from my grammarian soap box.

One more thing, this is a YA book, right? How old is your protagonist? Usually, the protagonist in a YA book is a teenager. I'd include her age in the query.

Best of luck to you!

Moni12
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Re: NEVER REMEMBER: YA Fantasy Revised

Post by Moni12 » January 19th, 2011, 9:36 am

Thank you all for your responses! With the help of your comments and my fabulous crit partner I managed to take the best parts from each query letter and create something that I think really works.

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