Query: SAW IT COMING (new ending paragraph)

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littlebird
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Query: SAW IT COMING (new ending paragraph)

Post by littlebird » February 25th, 2011, 3:13 pm

NEW VERSIONS BELOW!

Hey Ya'll!

I've been working on my queries for a while and have come up with two different ones. Maybe they both suck! Will you please look at them, tell me what you think as BRUTALLY as possible, and if I'm on the right path? I always, always return crits. (If you're interested!) I left off the opening and closing stuff. I'm more worried about the meat.

Thank you!

Query 1
Sam Oliveira can barely make it through a day without succumbing to gut-wrenching visions. Glimpsing natural disasters and terrorist attacks before they happen leaves him with a pounding migraine and his head in the toilet, but he accepts that no seventeen-year-old can prevent those things.

When his latest set of visions reveals the death of his crush, Gabby Wilkins, at the hands of a stalker, Sam knows he can’t watch it happen and do nothing. Problem is, Sam’s only getting flashes of the attack, wild images of her body beaten, broken, submerged in water. If he could learn to control his precognition, to guide his visions to reveal the time, place, even the face of Gabby’s attacker, he might be able to protect her.

Two people can help Sam harness his talent: a relative with a vendetta, or a ruthless drug lord who wants to use Sam’s gift to evade authorities. Neither are appealing options, but time is running out and Sam is getting desperate.

SAW IT COMING is a YA Paranormal Romance complete at 63,000 words.

Query 2 (Straight Version)
Everyone wants a piece of Sam Oliveira. Cheerleaders fawn over him, college baseball scouts covet him, and his mother is grooming him to take over the family business. All of which would be totally awesome, if his potential employer wasn't a ruthless drug lord.

Sam's inherited a preternatural talent that lets him glimpse the future. It's a skill the cartel intends to exploit, whether or not Sam chooses to work for them.

Unfortunately everything Sam sees is hazy and confusing--except when the subject is his calculus tutor, Gabby Wilkins. Instead of super hot fantasies, Sam witnesses her death at the hands of a faceless stalker. The harder he tries to identify the murderer, the worse his migraines and barfing episodes become. And he can't figure out how to protect Gabby without exposing his gift and scaring her away.

He's found two people who can train him to use the visions: a relative who’s unwilling to take Sam on as a student, or the cartel boss who will require a lifetime of servitude in return. Neither are appealing options, but Sam is desperate and running out of time.

SAW IT COMING is a YA paranormal romance complete at 63,000 words. It follows Sam's attempts to save Gabby without getting himself, or anyone else for that matter, killed.
Last edited by littlebird on February 26th, 2011, 3:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Quill
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Re: Query: SAW IT COMING

Post by Quill » February 25th, 2011, 3:40 pm

Suggestions for streamlining and clarifying are for illustration purposes only.
littlebird wrote: Query 1
Sam Oliveira can barely make it through a day without succumbing to gut-wrenching visions. Glimpsing natural disasters and terrorist attacks before they happen leaves him with a pounding migraine and his head in the toilet, but he accepts that no seventeen-year-old can prevent those things.
Sam Oliveira can barely make it through a day without gut-wrenching visions. But he accepts that no seventeen-year-old can stop the natural disasters and terrorist attacks he sees before they happen.
When his latest set of visions reveals the death of his crush, Gabby Wilkins, at the hands of a stalker, Sam knows he can’t watch it happen and do nothing. Problem is, Sam’s only getting flashes of the attack, wild images of her body beaten, broken, submerged in water. If he could learn to control his precognition, to guide his visions to reveal the time, place, even the face of Gabby’s attacker, he might be able to protect her.
When his latest visions reveal the death of his crush, Gabby Wilkins, at the hands of a stalker, Sam knows he can’t wait and do nothing. Problem is, Sam’s only getting flashes -- wild images of her being beaten, broken, submerged in water. If he could learn to control his precognition, he might be able to protect her.
Two people can help Sam harness his talent: a relative with a vendetta, or a ruthless drug lord who wants to use Sam’s gift to evade authorities. Neither are appealing options, but time is running out and Sam is getting desperate.

The two people who can help Sam -- an uncle with a murderous agenda of his own and a drug lord who wants Sam's gifts for his business, seem untenable options, but time is slipping away and Sam is desperate.
SAW IT COMING is a YA Paranormal Romance complete at 63,000 words.
I'm thinking SEE IT COMING might be more immediate.
Query 2 (Straight Version)
Everyone wants a piece of Sam Oliveira. Cheerleaders fawn over him, college baseball scouts covet him, and his mother is grooming him to take over the family business. All of which would be totally awesome, if his potential employer wasn't a ruthless drug lord.

Sam's inherited a preternatural talent that lets him glimpse the future. It's a skill the cartel intends to exploit, whether or not Sam chooses to work for them.

Unfortunately everything Sam sees is hazy and confusing--except when the subject is his calculus tutor, Gabby Wilkins. Instead of super hot fantasies, Sam witnesses her death at the hands of a faceless stalker. The harder he tries to identify the murderer, the worse his migraines and barfing episodes become. And he can't figure out how to protect Gabby without exposing his gift and scaring her away.

He's found two people who can train him to use the visions: a relative who’s unwilling to take Sam on as a student, or the cartel boss who will require a lifetime of servitude in return. Neither are appealing options, but Sam is desperate and running out of time.

SAW IT COMING is a YA paranormal romance complete at 63,000 words. It follows Sam's attempts to save Gabby without getting himself, or anyone else for that matter, killed.
I like version one better. It has a more cohesive and interesting voice, and seems to give more hook with less words.

Sounds like a cool story. Good luck!

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Falls Apart
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Re: Query: SAW IT COMING

Post by Falls Apart » February 25th, 2011, 4:11 pm

Cool concept! I'm going to go with version one, because starting off on the "everybody wants him" foot is a bit cliched. Good luck!
Sam Oliveira can't make it through a day without succumbing to gut-wrenching visions, but doesn't think that a seventeen-year-old can prevent natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

But when his latest set of visions reveals the death of his crush, Gabby Wilkins, at the hands of a stalker, Sam knows he can’t pretend not to know. Problem is, Sam only gets flashes of the attack, wild images of her body beaten, broken, submerged in water. If he could learn to control his precognition and guide his visions to reveal the information he needs, he might be able to save her.

Only two people can help Sam harness his talent: a dangerous, bloodthirsty, creepy, bunny-like, some kind of adjective here relative with a vendetta and a ruthless drug lord who wants to use Sam’s gift to evade authorities. Neither are appealing options, but time is running out and Sam is getting desperate.

SAW IT COMING is a YA Paranormal Romance complete at 63,000 words.
Such an interesting idea! Again, good luck with your agent search.

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Falls Apart
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Re: Query: SAW IT COMING

Post by Falls Apart » February 25th, 2011, 4:12 pm

Oh, yeah, and it should be reveal, not reveals. :)

littlebird
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Re: Query: SAW IT COMING

Post by littlebird » February 25th, 2011, 4:36 pm

Thank you Quill and Falls Apart! You guys are query rock stars!

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Re: Query: SAW IT COMING

Post by queryguppy » February 25th, 2011, 4:44 pm

I'd also go with version 1, it's fresher, tighter, and it intrigues me more!

To be honest, I think it's pretty great as-is. I like a lot of Quill's suggestions, primarily the paragraph about gabby. However, I like your original paragraph better as-is, I like the voice, he sounds like a teen, and I feel like the image of him puking his kind of memorable :P

My biggest suggestion would be cutting the last paragraph altogether. I think ending on his desire to help gabby is very strong. I read the drug lord part and I was like... wait, WHAT? I'm sure in your manuscript you weave it in so it works, but in the query it felt like a big thing to tack on at the end, so it might be better left out of the pitch?

Either way, it sounds like a really fun story. Best of luck to you!

littlebird
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Re: Query: SAW IT COMING

Post by littlebird » February 25th, 2011, 5:12 pm

Thanks guppy! I sort of like the barfing part too...not doing it myself, of course!

Question: Without the drug lord part, I worry that my story sounds like STANDARD YA paranormal. Should I add an additional paragraph about how Sam's spent his life running from this drug cartel and turning to them for help will result in a life of crime?

littlebird
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Re: Query: SAW IT COMING

Post by littlebird » February 25th, 2011, 6:24 pm

Sam Oliveira can barely make it through a day without gut-wrenching visions. Glimpsing natural disasters and terrorist attacks leaves him with a pounding migraine and his head in the toilet, but he accepts that no seventeen-year-old can prevent those things before they happen.

When his latest nightmare reveals the death of his crush, Gabby Wilkins, at the hands of a stalker, Sam knows he can’t wait and do nothing. Problem is, Sam’s only getting flashes—wild images of her being beaten, broken, submerged in water. If he could learn to control his precognition, he might be able to protect her.

The two people who can help Sam—an uncle with a murderous agenda of his own and a drug lord who wants Sam's gifts for his business—seem untenable options but time is slipping away and Sam is desperate.

SAW IT COMING is a YA Paranormal Romance complete at 63,000 words.

Okay folks, this is better....but does that second to last paragraph feel a little like a nuclear bomb? I mean, hello! The kid's spent his life running from a drug cartel. Do I need to add that in? Maybe something along the lines that, "Sam’s mother works for an international drug cartel, but Sam is not about to succumb to the life she has carved out for him. He intends to finish high school, go to college, and be something more than a drug lord's pawn."

But then it just gets to wordy. Does it work as is? Is it good to drop a bomb at the end?
Last edited by littlebird on February 26th, 2011, 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Quill
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Re: Query: SAW IT COMING

Post by Quill » February 25th, 2011, 7:37 pm

littlebird wrote:THIS IS THE NEW VERSION!!

Sam Oliveira can barely make it through a day without gut-wrenching visions. Glimpsing natural disasters and terrorist attacks leaves him with a pounding migraine and his head in the toilet, but he accepts that no seventeen-year-old can prevent those things before they happen.

When his latest nightmare reveals the death of his crush, Gabby Wilkins, at the hands of a stalker, Sam knows he can’t wait and do nothing. Problem is, Sam’s only getting flashes—wild images of her being beaten, broken, submerged in water. If he could learn to control his precognition, he might be able to protect her.

The two people who can help Sam—an uncle with a murderous agenda of his own and a drug lord who wants Sam's gifts for his business—seem untenable options but time is slipping away and Sam is desperate.

SAW IT COMING is a YA Paranormal Romance complete at 63,000 words.

Okay folks, this is better....but does that second to last paragraph feel a little like a nuclear bomb? I mean, hello! The kid's spent his life running from a drug cartel. Do I need to add that in? Maybe something along the lines that, "Sam’s mother works for an international drug cartel, but Sam is not about to succumb to the life she has carved out for him. He intends to finish high school, go to college, and be something more than a drug lord's pawn."

But then it just gets to wordy. Does it work as is? Is it good to drop a bomb at the end?
It works.

I'd pull out the migraine and just go with the gut-wrenching and the toilet. As it is that section is a little over the top, and the gut and toilet are separated by the headaches, which is a bit convoluted.

Short and sweet and to the point, and it's intriguing. You don't have to spell it all out. It's there between the lines, where you want it.

littlebird
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Re: Query: SAW IT COMING (revised)

Post by littlebird » February 25th, 2011, 8:14 pm

Seriously, Quill! You are my hero. Thank you, thank you for your positive input!

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wilderness
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Re: Query: SAW IT COMING

Post by wilderness » February 25th, 2011, 11:39 pm

littlebird wrote:
Sam Oliveira can barely make it through a day without gut-wrenching visions. Glimpsing natural disasters and terrorist attacks leaves him with a pounding migraine and his head in the toilet, but he accepts that no seventeen-year-old can prevent those things before they happen. Nice. This is a strong beginning, and I like how mature he already sounds, knowing he can't prevent certain disasters. It gives us a glimpse into his personality.

When his latest nightmare reveals the death of his crush, Gabby Wilkins, at the hands of a stalker, Sam knows he can’t wait and do nothing. Problem is, Sam’s only getting flashes—wild images of her being beaten, broken, submerged in water. If he could learn to control his precognition, he might be able to protect her. Here we have the conflict. Good.

The two people who can help Sam—an uncle with a murderous agenda of his own and a drug lord who wants Sam's gifts for his business—seem untenable options but time is slipping away and Sam is desperate. I think the idea that he has people who can help him, but they both have agendas of their own is very interesting. It adds a lot of depth to the story. Unfortunately, your lack of specificity makes this paragraph weak. I think you should name the other two characters and tell us their agendas. Then end with a decision Sam must make. A moral dilemma - one in which he must help someone disreputable in order to save Gabby - could be very powerful. Focus on that. To simplify, and depending on how much space you have, you may want to choose just one of the uncle or drug lord to speak about.

SAW IT COMING is a YA Paranormal Romance complete at 63,000 words.
I think you could have a killer query here, if only you can make the ending stronger. Good luck!

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Re: Query: SAW IT COMING (revised)

Post by queryguppy » February 26th, 2011, 9:14 am

I love the new version... maybe sleeping on it warmed me up to the drug lord :P

And I still like the barfing, so I guess it's just to each their own! I feel like without the barfing Sam sounds serious and boring... I know that vomit shouldn't make such difference in a character, but it does for me in a short query. However, you have to tailor to your prospective agent's case of course... maybe if you get the sense they like quirky stuff, you leave it in, and if not, you take it out? Decisions decisions...

Looking great! I'd definitely pick up the book and read a few pages to see if I liked the writing style if I saw this on the back, which I think is the idea with a query - get them to read your pages!

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Re: Query: SAW IT COMING (revised)

Post by Collectonian » February 26th, 2011, 12:27 pm

I agree, great query! I also like the migraine and barfing. It quickly conveys that his visions not only have a mental affect, but also a physical effect that could potentially cause problems for him later. I think wilderness has a point on the last paragraph, but at the same time, not sure how to expand it more except maybe to clarify why he needs their help. I suspect even QueryShark would give it high marks :-D

littlebird
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Re: Query: SAW IT COMING (new ending paragraph)

Post by littlebird » February 26th, 2011, 3:33 pm

THIS IS THE NEWEST VERSION!!

Sam Oliveira can barely make it through a day without gut-wrenching visions. Glimpsing natural disasters and terrorist attacks leaves him with a pounding migraine and his head in the toilet, but he accepts that no seventeen-year-old can stop those things before they happen.

When his latest nightmare reveals the murder of his crush, Gabby Wilkins, Sam knows he can’t wait and do nothing. Problem is, Sam’s only getting flashes—wild images of her being beaten, broken, submerged in water. If he could learn to control his precognition, he might be able to protect her.

The two people who can help Sam—an uncle with a murderous agenda of his own and a cartel boss who wants Sam's gifts for his business—are major players in the drug war Sam’s spent his life avoiding. Neither are appealing options, but time is slipping away and Sam is desperate.

SAW IT COMING is a YA Paranormal Romance complete at 63,000 words.

So ladies and gentleman, is that last paragraph any better. Should I make it 'Sam's spent his life running from'?

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Re: Query: SAW IT COMING (new ending paragraph)

Post by littlebird » February 26th, 2011, 3:36 pm

The two people who can help Sam—an uncle with a murderous agenda of his own and a cartel boss who wants Sam's gifts for his business—are major players in the drug war Sam’she's?spent his life avoiding. Neither are appealing options, but time is slipping away and Sam is desperate.

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