Query Bleamy's Corner YA historical fiction.

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itobias
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Query Bleamy's Corner YA historical fiction.

Post by itobias » February 19th, 2011, 1:17 pm

Please critique.


Dear Agent,

In the winter of 1802, Jeremy Bleamy watches his father die and two nights later he follows his mothers footprints in the snow – they end at the edge of London Bridge. Eleven-years-old with no family or friends, he is tempted to follow his mother, but something inside him awakens and he decides survival is the only reward life offers.

Jeremy is evicted, but fights to keep his families furniture and possessions, so he pushes away the vultures and drags everything from their flat and sets up home in the corner between two buildings to make his stand. He finds a job that places him on the dangerous night streets and makes a good wage, but keeping it is a physically bruising challenge.

This feisty and tough little boy has to use all his ingenuity, fearlessness, and resolve to pit them against his growing list of foes. He takes on street-enemies who prey on his vulnerability, his ex-landlord, who wants him gone from his corner, the Duke Street Boys, who are first insulted by this brash young boy then impressed by his courage, and the orphan hunters who try to enslave him. Jeremy cannot let his guard down for he knows hundreds of orphans die every week.

He comes home late one night to find his home burning and the hunters waiting. But – he has not perceived that his neighbors have been watching him and they have developed strong opinions of this orphan.

BLEAMY'S CORNER is a work of YA historical fiction, at 72,000-words.

Collectonian
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Re: Query Bleamy's Corner YA historical fiction.

Post by Collectonian » February 19th, 2011, 3:36 pm

You started out with one tense, then jumped to another, and back. Stick with one tense, usually past. So watched instead of watches, and followed instead follows, etc. Also several basic grammar errors that I noted below along with other remarks. I think it is a good start overall. :-)
itobias wrote:Please critique.

Dear Agent,

In the winter of 1802, Jeremy Bleamy watches his father die. How does his father die? It is relevant? andTwo nights later he followsed his mother's footprints in the snow – they ended at the edge of London Bridge. Eleven-years-old with no family or friends, he is tempted to follow his mother, but something inside him awakens and he decides survival is the only reward life offers.Not sure this sentence works very well. I'd probably move his age to the first sentence and reword this a bit - "Left alone with no family or friends, he is tempted to follow his mother to the other side, but..." You say he decides survival is the only reward life offers, but how is it a reward? Does his contemplation of suicide matter in the long term of the story? If not, might be better to just jump straight to his new struggle to survive alone.

Jeremy is evicted, but fights to keep his families furniture and possessions, so he pushes away the vultures and drags everything from their flat and sets up home in the corner between two buildings to make his stand. This sentence feels like a run on. Could tighten it up some to keep it a single sentence: "Evicted, Jeremy manages to salvage his family's possessions and set up his new home nestled in the corner between two buildings." I'm not familiar with London buildings, so not sure how two buildings have a corner between them? He finds a job that places him on the dangerous night streets and makes a good wage, but keeping it is a physically bruising challenge.What kind of job? How does an 11 year old find a physically challenging, but well paying job?

This feisty and tough little boydon't tell us he is feisty and tough, show it in the areas before and below; already get good hints from his keeping his stuff and surviving. has to use all his ingenuity, fearlessness, and resolve to pit them against his growing list of foes. Why does he have a growing list of foes? Show how he has ingenuity rather than tell; you've already shown he has courage and self-determination He takes on street-enemies who prey on his vulnerability,"street enemies" is vague, what is it referring to? his ex-landlord, who wants him gone from his corner,why? the Duke Street Boys,who are they? who are first insulted by this brash young boy then impressed by his courage, and the orphan hunters who try to enslave him.are orphans enslaved in this time in London? Jeremy cannot let his guard down for he knows hundreds of orphans die every week.how does he know this? I'd probably mention this before the list of the threats that might take him out?

He comes home late one night to find his home burning and the hunters waiting. But – he has not perceived that his neighbors have been watching him and they have developed strong opinions of this orphan. The phrasing is awkward here and doesn't seem to connect. Is it hinting that the neighborhood citizens have come to like Jeremy and are going to help him? Is this at the end of the novel? If so, cut all together as you don't want the query to give away the ending.

BLEAMY'S CORNER is a work of YA historical fiction, at 72,000-words.

Lil Tailor
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Re: Query Bleamy's Corner YA historical fiction.

Post by Lil Tailor » February 19th, 2011, 4:46 pm

itobias wrote: Dear Agent,

In the winter of 1802, Jeremy Bleamy watches his father die and two nights later he follows his mothers footprints in the snow – they end at the edge of London Bridge. Eleven-years-old with no family or friends, he is tempted to follow his mother, but something inside him awakens and he decides survival is the only reward life offers. I really dislike this sentence. It seems overly wordy as well.

Jeremy is evicted, but fights to keep his families shouldn't this be "family's" furniture and possessions, so he pushes away the vultures and drags everything from their flat and sets up home in the corner between two buildings to make his stand against what?. He finds a job that places him on the dangerous night streets and makes a good wage, but keeping it is a physically bruising challenge. why?

This feisty and tough little boy has to use all his ingenuity, fearlessness, and resolve to pit them against his growing list of foes. He takes on street-enemies who prey on his vulnerability, his ex-landlord, who wants him gone from his corner, the Duke Street Boys, who are first insulted by this brash young boy then impressed by his courage, and the orphan hunters who try to enslave him. Jeremy cannot let his guard down for he knows hundreds of orphans die every week. this is telling, not showing. Just show me one situation here

He comes home late one night to find his home burning and the hunters waiting. But – he has not perceived that his neighbors have been watching him and they have developed strong opinions of this orphan. um... okay? so what?

BLEAMY'S CORNER is a work of YA historical fiction, at 72,000-words.
Wow this is the one from query shark. Heh!

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wilderness
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Re: Query Bleamy's Corner YA historical fiction.

Post by wilderness » February 20th, 2011, 5:17 pm

Oh - Lil Tailor, I was wondering why the title sounded familiar. Query Shark, of course.

Itobias, glad you're keeping at it! Here are my thoughts.
itobias wrote:
Dear Agent,

In the winter of 1802, Jeremy Bleamy watches his father die and two nights later he follows his mothers footprints in the snow – they end at the edge of London Bridge. An eleven-year-old with no family or friends, he is tempted to follow his mother,but something inside him awakens and he decides survival is the only reward life offers.

Instead, Jeremy is evicted from his home, but fights to keep his family's furniture and possessions. He pushes away the vultures and drags everything from their flat and sets up home in the corner between two buildings to make his stand. Not sure what you mean by making his stand? He finds a job that places him on the dangerous night streets and makes a good wage, but keeping it is a physically bruising challenge. Unclear, what is the job he finds?

This feisty and tough little boy has to use all his ingenuity, fearlessness, and resolve to pit them against his growing list of foes. Have to agree with Query Shark that this is telling not showing. If you're not sure what that means, check out this post: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2009/09 ... lling.html He takes on street-enemies who prey on his vulnerability, his ex-landlord, who wants him gone from his corner, the Duke Street Boys, who are first insulted by this brash young boy then impressed by his courage, and the orphan hunters who try to enslave him. Jeremy cannot let his guard down for he knows hundreds of orphans die every week. You need to get specific here. What is his job? Why does it give him street enemies? Who are the Duke Street Boys and how does he meet them? Don't try to cram it into one pithy sentence. Here's an awesome post on specificity by Nathan: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/03 ... eries.html Also, if you find you don't have room to explain it all, focus in on one main conflict.

He comes home late one night to find his home burning and the hunters waiting. But – he has not perceived that his neighbors have been watching him and they have developed strong opinions of this orphan. Again, vague.Also, not sure this is the right place to end -- best to end with a conflict.

BLEAMY'S CORNER is a work of YA historical fiction, at 72,000-words.
Last edited by wilderness on February 25th, 2011, 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

littlebird
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Re: Query Bleamy's Corner YA historical fiction.

Post by littlebird » February 25th, 2011, 5:53 pm

Gotta go with wilderness with this one. I'd clarify what his job is...street runner?...and lose the last paragraph completely. The part about hundreds of orphans dying each week is more compelling.

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