The Horror of Hayesfield- YA HORROR

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Chazemataz
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The Horror of Hayesfield- YA HORROR

Post by Chazemataz » March 23rd, 2011, 8:38 pm

I would greatly appreciate any time taken to critique my query thus far. I will gladly return the favor, as well.

When Adam travels to Hayesfield to live with his grandparents, he feels as if his luck couldn't get much worse. Now, in addition to struggling with the suicide of his best (and only) friend, he has been exiled to the drafty Harlow Manor in the middle of Nowhere, Ohio, where the kids are mean to the shy new boy from Cleveland and there are no shopping malls for miles. All he has left to soothe his wounds are his increasingly depressing journal entries, rock music, Grandma's cookies, and his two new friends, Holly and Jack- and even they are not who that they claim to be.

Adam finds that his luck can- and does- get worse. Much worse. Without warning, the town’s population begins to take a dip as its citizens start to drop like flies. Noticing a connection to a string of murders that plagued the town fifty-seven years ago, and armed with his trusty journal, Adam launches an investigation into the secrets his grandmother has been hiding. Who was Raven Harlow, the last one to have died in the previous Hayesfield murders, and why was her very existence covered up? Did Ezekiel Harow really sell his own granddaughter's soul to the devil for cold hard cash?

When a desperate Adam finds himself face-to-face with a horde of demons intent on claiming the fragments of his great aunt Raven's long-overdue soul, he must exorcize all of his demons, inside and out, and rebel against his streak of misfortune before the demons collect a serious late fee...

The Horror Of Hayesfield: 98,000-word YA Urban Fantasy/Horror.

Netti
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Re: The Horror of Hayesfield- YA HORROR

Post by Netti » March 23rd, 2011, 10:10 pm

Chazemataz wrote:I would greatly appreciate any time taken to critique my query thus far. I will gladly return the favor, as well.

When Adam Harlow (I really think you need to specify his last name right away just because when I got to the next paragraph I was really confused because I had thought "Harlow" was just the name of the house [people do that] and didn't realize right away that it was the name of the family) travels to Hayesfield to live with his grandparents, he feels as if his luck couldn't get much worse. Now, in addition to struggling with the suicide of his best (and only) friend, he has been exiled to the drafty Harlow Manor in the middle of Nowhere, Ohio, where the kids are mean to the shy new boy from Cleveland and there are no shopping malls for miles. All he has left to soothe his wounds are his increasingly depressing journal entries, rock music, Grandma's cookies, and his two new friends, Holly and Jack- and even they are not who that they claim to be.

Adam finds that his luck can- and does- get worse. Much worse. Without warning, the town’s population begins to take a dip as its citizens start to drop like flies. Noticing a connection to a string of murders that plagued the town fifty-seven years ago, and armed with his trusty journal, Adam launches an investigation into the secrets his grandmother has been hiding. Who was Raven Harlow, the last one to have died in the previous Hayesfield murders, and why was her very existence covered up? Did Ezekiel Harow really sell his own granddaughter's soul to the devil for cold hard cash?

When a desperate Adam finds himself face-to-face with a horde of demons intent on claiming the fragments of his great aunt Raven's long-overdue soul, he must exorcize all of his demons, inside and out, and rebel against his streak of misfortune before the demons collect a serious late fee...

The Horror Of Hayesfield: 98,000-word YA Urban Fantasy/Horror.
I don't really have anything else to say on this one; I actually think it's quite good. However, I'm imagining a twelve or thirteen year old kid. Maybe younger, so it was kind of jarring to read that he's conducting his own investigation. I think it'd help a lot to say how old he is some where in there.
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Falls Apart
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Re: The Horror of Hayesfield- YA HORROR

Post by Falls Apart » March 23rd, 2011, 10:12 pm

Wow. Really, really cool idea (and hi to another YA horror writer!) But why do you start off like that? You've got a great, exciting premise, but we don't figure that out until paragraph 2. Until then, I was thinking, "Okay, so this is probably an angsty Twilight ripoff about a teenager whose life sucks and--ooh, look, a plot!" If you want an agent to know what you're getting at, start off with it. Maybe something like:
"Adam thought his life was horrific when he was sent to live in a hicktown with his mother's parents, but a series of murders eerily reminiscent of something that took place fifty-seven years ago turn his life to true horror."
Or something like that. Maybe it's just me personally, but--especially with queries--I'm all for getting straight to the point, preferably with something that sets the mood for the book.
Best of luck! :)

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Quill
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Re: The Horror of Hayesfield- YA HORROR

Post by Quill » March 23rd, 2011, 11:25 pm

Chazemataz wrote: When Adam travels to Hayesfield to live with his grandparents, he feels as if his luck couldn't get much worse. Now, in addition to struggling with the suicide of his best (and only) friend, he has been exiled to the drafty Harlow Manor
Good opening.

I'd omit "the" from "the drafty..."
in the middle of Nowhere, Ohio,
Doesn't quite work for me since you've already named the place (Hayesfield).
where the kids are mean to the shy new boy from Cleveland and there are no shopping malls for miles.
To me this has a middle grade voice, not YA.

"No shopping malls for miles" seems awkward. Maybe "not a shopping mall for miles."
All he has left to soothe his wounds are his increasingly depressing journal entries, rock music, Grandma's cookies, and his two new friends, Holly and Jack
This seems awkward: all he has are these five things. And the things seem of differing values, from the painful (his journal) to the soothing (music, cookies) to the seemingly promising (new friends), thus not a cohesive group, seemingly too diverse and large to make the point that ALL little old Adam has is this.
- and even they are not who that they claim to be.
Awkward. Even they? Who else is not who he/she claims to be. And, what is it that they claim to be? Also, grammar ("who that they claim to be")
Adam finds that his luck can- and does- get worse. Much worse.
Repetition not effective: you already mentioned luck worsening in the first line, and now we get it twice more.

Also, the dashes after "can" and "does" seem awkward, maybe because they are not double dashes and are not spaced properly.
Without warning, the town’s population begins to take a dip as its citizens start to drop like flies.
Awkward, personifying "population" ("the population begins to take a dip"). And what do you mean by "take a dip"? Like, a skinny dip in the local pond? Maybe you mean "decrease in size". It is not clear.

Also, very awkward, "take a dip as its citizens start to drop".

Also, noun correspondence: as written it sounds like it's the population's citizens who start to drop, as though the population of citizens has citizens who drop; it's redundant.

Also, "drop like flies" is cliche.
Noticing a connection to a string of murders that plagued the town fifty-seven years ago, and armed with his trusty journal, Adam launches an investigation into the secrets his grandmother has been hiding.
Of what use is "his trusty journal"? How do his "increasingly depressing journal entries" help him in this investigation?
Who was Raven Harlow, the last one to have died in the previous Hayesfield murders, and why was her very existence covered up? Did Ezekiel Harow really sell his own granddaughter's soul to the devil for cold hard cash?
Typo, "Harow"?
When a desperate Adam finds himself face-to-face with a horde of demons intent on claiming the fragments of his great aunt Raven's long-overdue soul, he must exorcize all of his demons, inside and out, and rebel against his streak of misfortune before the demons collect a serious late fee...
Not sure what is going on here. A soul can have fragments? And a dead family member owes her soul to the devil, so Adam must stop...er, something from happening (not sure what)? Wait, Raven's soul is due the devil, but Adam wants to renege on his aunt's deal? Please help.
The Horror Of Hayesfield: 98,000-word YA Urban Fantasy/Horror.
Sounds like fantasy and horror but not urban. Urban is city-set, and this sounds more like rural or small town.

Overall this is intriguing, but I'd like to know more about the character (who is he, what drives him) (the journal and suicide details are good) and about the plot (clarify the connection between the two sets of murders a bit more, and what is actually happening about the devil/demons).

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Bohemienne
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Re: The Horror of Hayesfield- YA HORROR

Post by Bohemienne » March 24th, 2011, 12:46 pm

Chazemataz wrote:I would greatly appreciate any time taken to critique my query thus far. I will gladly return the favor, as well.

When Adam travels to Hayesfield to live with his grandparents, he feels as if his luck couldn't get much worse. Now, in addition to struggling with the suicide of his best (and only) friend, he has been exiled to the drafty Harlow Manor in the middle of Nowhere, Ohio, where the kids are mean to the shy new boy from Cleveland and there are no shopping malls for miles. this sentence feels way too long, I quickly forgot the subject All he has left to soothe his wounds are his increasingly depressing journal entries, rock music, Grandma's cookies, and his two new friends, Holly and Jack- and even they are not who that they claim to be. If this is the thrust of this paragraph, I would give it a bit more space. Its own sentence would be nice. In fact, you can probably leave out the bit about the depressing journal, rock music, and cookies entirely!

Adam finds that his luck can- and does- get worse. Much worse. Too many sentences spent to "tell" what you "show" in the rest of the paragraph Without warning, the town’s population begins to take a dip as its citizens start to drop like flies. Noticing a connection to a string of murders that plagued the town fifty-seven years ago, my immediate thought is, how does he know this? was there something that happened earlier that would clue him in to this? and if so, might it belong in the first paragraph? and armed with his trusty journal, Adam launches an investigation into the secrets his grandmother has been hiding. So Grandma has gone from kindly cookie-baker to secret-holder. That sort of intrigue may also belong in the first paragraph Who was Raven Harlow, the last one to have died maybe, "the last victim" in the previous Hayesfield murders, and why was her very existence covered up? Did Ezekiel Harow really sell his own granddaughter's soul to the devil for cold hard cash? This part really lost me. We've heard nothing about the devil or anything paranormal. Some hints may help ease this non sequitur

When a desperate Adam finds himself face-to-face with a horde of demons intent on claiming the fragments of his great aunt Raven's long-overdue soul, he must exorcize "exorcise" all of his demons, inside and out, and rebel against his streak of misfortune before the demons collect a serious late fee...

The Horror Of Hayesfield: 98,000-word YA Urban Fantasy/Horror.
My comments are in red, the sentences they comment on are in blue. Sounds like a fun story--I love bargains with demons! :D

glj
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Re: The Horror of Hayesfield- YA HORROR

Post by glj » March 25th, 2011, 4:23 pm

My comments are in red, the sentences they comment on are in blue. Sounds like a fun story--I love bargains with demons! :D
You should have no problem working with an agent, then.

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Re: The Horror of Hayesfield- YA HORROR

Post by clara_w » March 26th, 2011, 12:27 pm

Chazemataz wrote: When Adam travels to Hayesfield to live with his grandparents, he feels as if his luck couldn't get much worse. Now,in addition to struggling with the suicide of his best (and only)friend, he has been exiled to the drafty Harlow Manor in the middle of Nowhere, Ohio, where the kids are mean to the shy new boy from Cleveland and there are no shopping malls for miles. Fabulous start! All he has left to soothe his wounds are his increasingly depressing journal entries, rock music, Grandma's cookies, and his two new friends, Holly and Jack- and but even they are not who that they claim to be.

Adam finds that his luck can- and does- get worse. Much worse.Without warning, the town’s population begins to take a dip as its citizens start to drop like flies. Noticing a connection to a string of murders that plagued the town fifty-seven years ago, and armed with his trusty journal, Adam launches an investigation into the secrets his grandmother has been hiding. Who was Raven Harlow, the last one to have died in the previous Hayesfield murders, and why was her very existence covered up? Did Ezekiel Harow really sell his own granddaughter's soul to the devil for cold hard cash?

When a desperate Adam finds himself face-to-face with a horde of demons intent on claiming the fragments of his great aunt Raven's long-overdue soul, he must exorcize all of his demons, inside and out, and rebel against his streak of misfortune before the demons collect a serious late fee...

The Horror Of Hayesfield: 98,000-word YA Urban Fantasy/Horror.

First of all: Yaaay, YA horror!
You did quite good, a bit wordy, but good. I think you have a great story as it is and you dont need a longer query. I think keeping it short and precise would be in your favour. Great job with your query. :)

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Re: The Horror of Hayesfield- YA HORROR

Post by AllieS » March 28th, 2011, 9:50 pm

When Adam travels to Hayesfield to live with his grandparents, he feels as if his luck couldn't get much worse. There's nothing wrong with this line, per say . . . but the second paragraph is full of such good mystery. Starting right with the action would make the query jump out from the get-go. I like Falls Apart's idea for changing the first lines. Get right to the horror! Now, in addition to struggling with the suicide of his best (and only) friend, he has been exiled to the drafty Harlow Manor in the middle of Nowhere, Ohio, where the kids are mean to the shy new boy from Cleveland and there are no shopping malls for miles. All he has left to soothe his wounds are his increasingly depressing journal entries, rock music, Grandma's cookies, and his two new friends, Holly and Jack- and even they are not who that they claim to be. This is tell and no show. In fact, you could probably mention the suicide quickly at the beginning, and drop the rest of this. It seems as though the murders are the focus of your story, not Grandma's cookies--though they sound delicious.

Adam finds that his luck Repetition of the luck is too much. Drop this whole line, and start with "Without warning." can- and does- get worse. Much worse. Without warning, the town’s population begins to take a dip as its citizens start to drop like flies. Noticing a connection to a string of murders that plagued the town fifty-seven years ago, and armed with his trusty journal, Adam launches an investigation into the secrets his grandmother has been hiding. Who was Raven Harlow, the last one to have died in the previous Hayesfield murders, and why was her very existence covered up? Did Ezekiel Harow really sell his own granddaughter's soul to the devil for cold hard cash? This part is really good, as is the paragraph following this. If you can work on weeding out the irrelevant stuff in the first paragraph, and jump sooner to the murders, then you'll have a really cool query.

When a desperate Adam finds himself face-to-face with a horde of demons intent on claiming the fragments of his great aunt Raven's long-overdue soul, he must exorcize all of his demons, inside and out, and rebel against his streak of misfortune before the demons collect a serious late fee...

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