THE DIM- New Query

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Janet_T
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THE DIM- New Query

Post by Janet_T » February 23rd, 2011, 10:03 am

Hello,

I'm super new at this,and I'm really confused about something. I submitted my query to the queryshark--and got to a yes after 3 revisions. Yet.. out of 20-some odd queries, I've only gotten 1 partial request. I know it's SUPER early. But I want to nip the problem in the bud, if I can. What do you guys think? I have two versions. I will do my critique duty here, I know how important it is to share. You are all so awesome!

QUERY 1-
When HOPE WALTON lost her awesome mom in a stupid earthquake, even a buttload of pills couldn’t numb the pain. In rehab, when her aunt shows up with a museum flyer featuring a five-hundred year old painting…of Hope’s mom, Hope agrees to spend the summer at her tattered old Scottish Highland home. There, the truth she learns may be more than Hope’s fragile sobriety can take. Her family traditions are kinda complicated. No Saturday night Boggle tournaments or getting married in Mamaw’s wedding dress for this family. They are time travelers— Viators—and her mother isn’t dead. She’s trapped in the year 1543. To rescue her, Hope must step up and join the new generation of Viators as they take off on the longest road trip ever. While Hope struggles with her feelings for her surly trainer and a boy whose rival family—the Timeslippers—wants her dead, she discovers that nothing could prepare a twenty-first century girl for the sixteenth century Court of King Henry VIII.

QUERY 2-
I am seeking representation for my YA-Time Travel manuscript, THE DIM. -----
When HOPE WALTON lost her awesome mom in a stupid. freakin' earthquake, even a buttload of pills couldn’t numb the pain. In rehab, she accepts a surprise invitation to spend the summer with her aunt in the Scottish Highlands, where she will learn why her mom’s face appears in a five-hundred year old portrait. There, when Hope discovers a secret room full of elaborate costumes, she’s sure all the residents of the huge house are bat’s-ass crazy. The truth will test her new sobriety and give her a chance to redeem herself. Her mom isn’t dead. She’s trapped in the year 1543. Hope’s family are time travelers, called Viators. If she wants her mom back, she must join the new generation of Viators as they set out on the longest road trip ever.
Hope thinks she might be falling for ALEX CAMERON, until she learns he belongs to a rival family—the Timeslippers. Hope’s mom stopped them once from stealing a book so powerful its owner can reshape history. At the Court of King Henry VIII, Alex is back to finish the job, and to make sure Hope and her mom can never escape. On a rescue mission into another time, Hope will do whatever it takes to save her mother, even if it means getting left behind.

Thank you so much for any help you can give!

Netti
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Re: THE DIM- New Query

Post by Netti » February 23rd, 2011, 10:17 am

Yeah, I remember reading yours on the Shark's blog!

If I were you, I wouldn't worry. Out of over 60 queries I got one full request which ended up being rejected. That's it. All rejections. I reworked the letter a few times too and am still waiting to hear back from other agents and publishers.

The point is, don't stress about it. You can freak out about it after you have fifty rejections and no requests. Although I understand if you want to rework your letter for the next round of querying.

Good luck! I'll be back later when I have more time to look over your queries better.
"It's kind of shocking to hear Toby called a babe; sort of like calling God a studmuffin."
- Margaret Atwood, Year of the Flood

http://myscientificattempt.blogspot.com/

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Quill
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Re: THE DIM- New Query

Post by Quill » February 23rd, 2011, 11:05 am

Janet_T wrote:
QUERY 1-
When HOPE WALTON lost her awesome mom in a stupid earthquake, even a buttload of pills couldn’t numb the pain.
Consider changing the sentence to present tense, and substituting "after" for "when". She does this after she loses her mom, not when she loses her. This will also break up the consecutive sentences you have structured around "when".

I believe it is not necessary or advisable to capitalize your main characters' names. This is a screenwriting synopsis convention, not a novel query one.
In rehab, when her aunt shows up with a museum flyer featuring a five-hundred year old painting…of Hope’s mom, Hope agrees to spend the summer at her tattered old Scottish Highland home.
Hope agrees to this IN rehab? Her aunt walks in on her in rehab, to convince her to go to Scotland? Not sure the sentence tells us enough, or as much as it could. In any case it is awkward: In rehab, when her aunt shows up, Hope agrees. "Shows up" is a weak verb and presumably she does more than show up (with a flyer).

And, how about simplifying "museum flyer featuring" with "picture of"?

And "five-hundred year old" might be best fully hyphenated "500-year-old"

Also, can a home be "tattered"? I think of tattered flags, curtains, clothing. I don't think of wood and stone being tatter-able (shredded).
There, the truth she learns may be more than Hope’s fragile sobriety can take. Her family traditions are kinda complicated. No Saturday night Boggle tournaments or getting married in Mamaw’s wedding dress for this family. They are time travelers— Viators—and her mother isn’t dead. She’s trapped in the year 1543.
"No Saturday night Boggle tournaments or getting married in Mamaw’s wedding dress for this family." I'd omit this line as it slows the flow just when you are building tension and doesn't contain vital info or flavor. Try reading it aloud both ways.

Also, I'd replace the period after "dead" with a comma.
To rescue her, Hope must step up and join the new generation of Viators as they take off on the longest road trip ever.
"Step up" is vague (being cliche) and a weak verb.

"And join a new generation" is vague. What does it mean? Do you mean get together with a few people her age for this trip? Does it mean the entire generation of Viators her age are migrating away somewhere? Does it mean simply accept that she is a Viator (after all she already is part of the generation in question, by dint of her age and heritage; what is there to join, actually?).

I think your verbiage in general could use more specificity. Word choice is very important. The right words to convey your meaning.
While Hope struggles with her feelings for her surly trainer and a boy whose rival family—the Timeslippers—wants her dead,
Good.
she discovers that nothing could prepare a twenty-first century girl for the sixteenth century Court of King Henry VIII.
Fish out of water (and in a time-traveling context) is not a new concept/theme, so if it is your crux (the high point and end point of your query/story) I think it needs to be presented in a slightly more original way. I would look at exchanging "nothing could prepare" for something else. Also, maybe give us some context for the King Henry reference (this is the first we're hearing of royalty; didn't know she was headed for this).
QUERY 2-
I am seeking representation for my YA-Time Travel manuscript, THE DIM. -----
There is no category "YA Time Travel". Simply call it YA fantasy, and do give the word count (rounded to nearest thousand)
When HOPE WALTON lost her awesome mom in a stupid. freakin' earthquake, even a buttload of pills couldn’t numb the pain. In rehab, she accepts a surprise invitation to spend the summer with her aunt in the Scottish Highlands, where she will learn why her mom’s face appears in a five-hundred year old portrait. There, when Hope discovers a secret room full of elaborate costumes, she’s sure all the residents of the huge house are bat’s-ass crazy. The truth will test her new sobriety and give her a chance to redeem herself. Her mom isn’t dead. She’s trapped in the year 1543. Hope’s family are time travelers, called Viators. If she wants her mom back, she must join the new generation of Viators as they set out on the longest road trip ever.
Hope thinks she might be falling for ALEX CAMERON, until she learns he belongs to a rival family—the Timeslippers. Hope’s mom stopped them once from stealing a book so powerful its owner can reshape history. At the Court of King Henry VIII, Alex is back to finish the job, and to make sure Hope and her mom can never escape. On a rescue mission into another time, Hope will do whatever it takes to save her mother, even if it means getting left behind.
I like Query 1 better.
Thank you so much for any help you can give!
Good luck with the project. Sounds like a fun story.

Janet_T
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Re: THE DIM- New Query

Post by Janet_T » February 23rd, 2011, 11:24 am

Thanks, Netti- I look forward to your comments. :)

Wow..quill-- that is an AWESOME critique. I cannot thank you enough.
You rock!

I'll work on it, based on your advice.

Janet_T
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Re: THE DIM- New Query-REVISION

Post by Janet_T » February 23rd, 2011, 2:09 pm

What do you think?? *eek*

After Hope Walton loses her awesome mom in a stupid, freakin’ earthquake, not even a mountain of pills could numb her pain. While in rehab, she receives a visit from her reclusive aunt, who brings her a photo of a 500 year-old painting. Hope doesn’t give a rat’s ass about art, or this aunt who blew her off for sixteen years—until she recognizes that the woman in the portrait…is her mother. At her aunt’s Scottish Highland home, the truth Hope learns about her family may be more than her fragile sobriety can take. They are time travelers— Viators—and her mother isn’t dead, she’s trapped in the year 1543. If Hope wants her back, she must join the rescue team of Viators as they prepare to infiltrate the court of King Henry VIII. She learns to dress, speak, and act like Renaissance nobility, while struggling with her feelings for her surly trainer and a boy whose rival family— the Timeslippers—wants her dead. Hope is determined to save her mother at all costs, even when she learns what the harsh world of 16th century England can do to a tender 21st century girl.
THE DIM is my Young Adult-Time Travel novel, complete at 96,000 words. This novel will appeal to fans of REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly. I am a member of the Historical Novel Society, RWA and FWCA.

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Quill
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Re: THE DIM- New Query-REVISION

Post by Quill » February 23rd, 2011, 2:30 pm

Better. My suggestions below are intended to illustrate how this might be streamlined further.

Be sure to break this up into three or so paragraphs with spaces between.

Janet_T wrote:What do you think?? *eek*

After Hope Walton loses her awesome mom in a stupid, freakin’ earthquake, not even a mountain of pills could numb her pain.
After Hope Walton loses her awesome mom in a stupid earthquake, a mountain of pills can't numb her pain.
While in rehab, she receives a visit from her reclusive aunt, who brings her a photo of a 500 year-old painting.
While in rehab, she receives a visit from her reclusive aunt, who shows her a photo of a 500-year-old painting.
Hope doesn’t give a rat’s ass about art, or this aunt who blew her off for sixteen years—until she recognizes that the woman in the portrait…is her mother.
Hope doesn’t care about art, or this aunt who ignored her for sixteen years—until she recognizes that the woman in the portrait…is her mother.
At her aunt’s Scottish Highland home, the truth Hope learns about her family may be more than her fragile sobriety can take.
At her aunt’s Scottish Highland home, Hope learns more about her family than she thinks her fragile sobriety can take.
They are time travelers— Viators—and her mother isn’t dead, she’s trapped in the year 1543.
Okay
If Hope wants her back, she must join the rescue team of Viators as they prepare to infiltrate the court of King Henry VIII.
If Hope wants her back, she must join the rescue team of Viators preparing to infiltrate the court of King Henry VIII.

Question: Why? What does Henry have to do with this??
She learns to dress, speak, and act like Renaissance nobility, while struggling with her feelings for her surly trainer and a boy whose rival family— the Timeslippers—wants her dead.
How about feelings "about her surly trainer..."
Hope is determined to save her mother at all costs, even when she learns what the harsh world of 16th century England can do to a tender 21st century girl.
Hope remains determined to save her mother even when she learns what the harsh world of 16th century England can do to a girl.
THE DIM is my Young Adult-Time Travel novel, complete at 96,000 words.
THE DIM is a Young Adult Fantasy, complete at 96,000 words.
This novel will appeal to fans of REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly.
This novel will appeal to fans of "Revolution" by Jennifer Donnelly.
I am a member of the Historical Novel Society, RWA and FWCA.
Okay.

queryguppy
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Re: THE DIM- New Query

Post by queryguppy » February 24th, 2011, 12:02 pm

Wow, the latest draft included most of the suggestions I was going to make! Here's what I have left after Quill's great run-throughs...

The query makes it seem like most of this book takes place in the present day. Is that the case? What catches my interest about this query (besides the guy from the rival family, since I love romance...) is the idea of what the past can do to our girl! And yet does she spend any time in the past? Your query is very vague about that. If there is a good deal of the novel set during her time travels, I think you should switch the focus of your query. If there is comparatively little time travel, then I wonder... why? That sounds like the best part!

I was going to comment about how many times "butt" or "ass" is used, but I see that's been trimmed down and I think it sounds cleaner and with less forced voice that way.

I'm wondering about Hope's age - I was struck by her "fragile sobriety" - yes, I know teens drink, I'm not much older than a teen myself, but it's strange to hear about one who's a downright alcoholic.

EDITED because I misread the query at first, sorry!

Netti
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Re: THE DIM- New Query-REVISION

Post by Netti » February 24th, 2011, 12:48 pm

Janet_T wrote:What do you think?? *eek*

After Hope Walton loses her awesome mom in a stupid, freakin’ earthquake, not even a mountain of pills could numb her pain. While in rehab, she receives a visit from her reclusive aunt, who brings her a photo of a 500 year-old painting. Hope doesn’t give a rat’s ass about art, or this aunt who blew her off for sixteen years—until she recognizes that the woman in the portrait…is her mother. At her aunt’s Scottish Highland home, the truth Hope learns about her family may be more than her fragile sobriety can take. They are time travelers— Viators—and her mother isn’t dead, she’s trapped in the year 1543. If Hope wants her back, she must join the rescue team of Viators as they prepare to infiltrate the court of King Henry VIII. She learns to dress, speak, and act like Renaissance nobility, while struggling with her feelings for her surly trainer and a boy whose rival family— the Timeslippers—wants her dead. Hope is determined to save her mother at all costs, even when she learns what the harsh world of 16th century England can do to a tender 21st century girl.
THE DIM is my Young Adult-Time Travel novel, complete at 96,000 words. This novel will appeal to fans of REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly. I am a member of the Historical Novel Society, RWA and FWCA.
First, this is a really great query! However, despite the voice being really great and giving a good sense of your character, I at first thought she was younger than sixteen, and then of course I was further thrown off by the mention of rehab. I think that if you maybe just "mature" the voice a tiny little bit it'd be less confusing. Another thing that confused me was near the end when you talk about the boy from the rival family. The sentence confused me because it sort of sounded like the trainer and the rival were the same boy but at the same time I wasn't sure if that was the case.
"It's kind of shocking to hear Toby called a babe; sort of like calling God a studmuffin."
- Margaret Atwood, Year of the Flood

http://myscientificattempt.blogspot.com/

littlebird
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Re: THE DIM- New Query

Post by littlebird » February 25th, 2011, 2:34 pm

I remember you from shark too! Have you reposted to her yet or are you hanging out here until you feel like your have it right? Either way, good luck!

QUERY 1-
When HOPE WALTON lost her awesome mom in a stupid earthquake, even a buttload of pills couldn’t numb the pain. (I think you're a little heavy on adjectives here. Maybe cut it back to, "When Hope Walton lost her mom in an earthquake, she took a buttload of pills hoping to numb the pain. It didn't work.

In rehab, when her aunt shows up with a museum flyer featuring a five-hundred year old painting…of Hope’s mom, Hope agrees to spend the summer at her tattered old Scottish Highland home. There, the truth she learns may be more than Hope’s fragile sobriety can take. Her family traditions are kinda complicated. No Saturday night Boggle tournaments or getting married in Mamaw’s wedding dress for this family. They are time travelers— Viators—and her mother isn’t dead. She’s trapped in the year 1543. To rescue her, Hope must step up and join the new generation of Viators as they take off on the longest road trip ever. While Hope struggles with her feelings for her surly trainer and a boy whose rival family—the Timeslippers—wants her dead, she discovers that nothing could prepare a twenty-first century girl for the sixteenth century Court of King Henry VIII.

Other than that, I think it's pretty good. I love your voice and the bit about the Boggle tournaments, shows humor.

QUERY 2-
I am seeking representation for my YA-Time Travel manuscript, THE DIM. -----
When HOPE WALTON lost her awesome mom in a stupid. freakin' earthquake, even a buttload of pills couldn’t numb the pain. In rehab, she accepts a surprise invitation to spend the summer with her aunt in the Scottish Highlands, where she sees a five-hundred year old portrait of her mom. There, when Hope discovers a secret room full of elaborate costumes, she’s sure all the residents of the huge house are bat’s-ass crazy. The truth will test her new sobriety and give her a chance to redeem herself. Her mom isn’t dead. She’s trapped in the year 1543. Hope’s family are time travelers, called Viators. If she wants her mom back, she must join the new generation of Viators as they set out on the longest road trip ever.
Hope thinks she might be falling for ALEX CAMERON, until she learns he belongs to a rival family—the Timeslippers. Hope’s mom stopped them once from stealing a book so powerful its owner can reshape history. At the Court of King Henry VIII, Alex is back to finish the job, and to make sure Hope and her mom can never escape. On a rescue mission into another time, Hope will do whatever it takes to save her mother, even if it means getting left behind. (I like this part better than the first one)Thank you so much for any help you can give![/quote]


Overall, I think they are huge improvements! Good luck!

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