Blood Legacy - YA Query REVISED x1

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SariBelle
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Blood Legacy - YA Query REVISED x1

Post by SariBelle » April 21st, 2011, 8:38 am

While trying to write my last query letter I realised my story needs to be revised in a whole new direction. I've rewritten the query from scratch with the new direction in mind. I'm still struggling with length.

Please don't be afraid to be brutal. I need it.


Update: After receiving some feedback, I've updated the query. If previous commenters' advice doesn't make sense this is why.


Dear [Agent],

I am a regular reader of your blog and I believe my 84,000 word YA fantasy, BLOOD LEGACY, would be a good fit for your agency [because of reasons inserted here].

Dani Strider is the only one who knows her mother’s death wasn’t natural. Murdered by a shadow, but nobody would believe that. For seventeen years Dani has dreamed of revenge, but even her strange talents, her wild magic and ability to hear people’s thoughts, aren’t enough to find a creature that shouldn’t exist.

When strangers appear in Dani’s house, claiming to be family from her home world, Dani knows where to find the wraithlike killer. They came from Dereshan, a hidden realm on the brink of war between the rebels and a ruthless tyrant, and they believe Dani can help. But before she can find out how or why, the strangers vanish, the only evidence of their visit a cryptic message: if he comes, you must follow.

After searching for a path into Dereshan without success, Dani unleashes her magic in fury and despair. She wakes in the aftermath, a gray dog at her side, and an expression all too human in his eyes. Dani follows the dog to Dereshan and discovers he has a voice, an attitude, and too many secrets. He’ll help Dani get revenge - for a price. He wants to be healed and what he means by that he won’t say.

Dani must decide if revenge is more important than helping stop a war, but the deeper she gets into Dereshan, the more she realises that both paths are inextricably linked, and she may not be strong enough for either.

I am an Editing and Publishing student at REDACTED in REDACTED, Australia.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Last edited by SariBelle on April 22nd, 2011, 11:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

dms0525
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Re: Blood Legacy - YA Query

Post by dms0525 » April 21st, 2011, 11:51 am

.
Dear [Agent],

I am a regular reader of your blog and I believe my YA fantasy, BLOOD LEGACY, would be a good fit for your agency. It is a complete at 84,000 words.

Dani Strider knows her mother’s death wasn’t natural. A shadow stole her life hours after Dani was born. But no one would believe that. Even Dani’s grandparents, the last of her family, would raise their eyebrows at that. You end three sentences in this first paragraph with THAT. I would delete AT THAT here. For seventeen years Dani has dreamed of revenge, but even her strange abilities, the wild magic and hearing people’s thoughts, aren’t enough to find a murderous shadow. People like her shouldn’t exist on Earth, let alone creatures like that. I think I would delete this entire last sentence. I know you're setting up the next paragraph, but you mentioned you were worried about length. OR keep "People like her shouldn't exist on Earth" and leave off the end.
By the way, I'm intrigued. :)
When strangers appear in Dani’s house, claiming to be family from her home world, Dani knows it’s true. They came from Dereshan, a hidden realm on the brink of war between the rebels and a ruthless tyrant, and they believe Dani can help. Before she can find out how or why, or if Dereshan is home to wraithlike killers I would leave this part out. , the strangers vanish, the only evidence of their visit a cryptic message: if he comes, you must follow.

In fury, Dani unleashes her magic and wakes in the aftermath, a gray dog at her side, and withan expression all too human in his eyes. Dani follows the dog to Dereshan and discovers he has a voice, an attitude, and too many secrets. He’ll help Dani get revenge - for a price. He wants to be healed and what he means by that he won’t say.

Dani must decide where her priorities lie: getting revenge or helping stop a war, and the deeper she gets into Dereshan, the more she realises that both paths are inextricably linked, and she may not be strong enough for either.LOVE

I am an Editing and Publishing student at REDACTED in REDACTED, Australia.

Thank you for your time and consideration.[/quote]

JessePrice
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Re: Blood Legacy - YA Query

Post by JessePrice » April 21st, 2011, 1:22 pm

SariBelle wrote:While trying to write my last query letter I realised my story needs to be revised in a whole new direction. I've rewritten the query from scratch with the new direction in mind. I'm still struggling with length.

Please don't be afraid to be brutal. I need it.



Dear [Agent],
I am a regular reader of your blog and I believe my YA fantasy, BLOOD LEGACY, would be a good fit for your agency.Why is it a good fit? Because you say so? Or because it is like some [name them] of their other productions. It is a complete at 84,000 words.
Typo: eliminate the "a" before "complete"

Dani Strider knows her mother’s death wasn’t natural.
Because she saw....?
A shadow stole her life hours after Dani was born
use a comma and continue
. But no one would believe her?that.

Even Dani’s grandparents, the last of her family, would
Did they raise their eyebrows? Or would they if she told them. Did she not tell them? Did she tell them and they refused to believe her (stronger)?
raise their eyebrows at that.

For seventeen years Dani has dreamed of revenge, but even her strange abilities, the wild magic and hearing people’s thoughts, aren’t enough to find a murderous shadow. People like her shouldn’t exist on Earth, let alone creatures like that.
Here you tell us she has strange "abilities," but then you only list one. Does she have others? Who does she dream of having revenge against? Also, that she shouldn't exist on earth (omit the capital) is a strong statement, but you've given no basis for us to believe it. Why shouldn't she exist on earth? Because of her abilities? Why so negative?
Sentences ended with the word "that" could be stronger.


When strangers appear in Dani’s house, claiming to be family from her home world, Dani knows it’s true. They came from Dereshan, a hidden realm on the brink of war between the rebels and a ruthless tyrant, and they believe Dani can help. Before she can find out how or why, or if Dereshan is home to wraithlike killers, the strangers vanish, the only evidence of their visit a cryptic message: if he comes, you must follow.

In fury Dani unleashes her magic and wakes in the aftermath, a gray dog at her side, and an expression all too human in his eyes. Dani follows the dog to Dereshan and discovers he has a voice, an attitude, and too many secrets. He’ll help Dani get revenge - for a price. He wants to be healed and what he means by that he won’t say.
This is a confusing sentence. Why is she in a fury? Is she always mad or did something happen? Why is there a gray dog. Also, you've mixed subjects in the first sentence, switching from Dani to her dog's interpretation of her expression (??). When you say she "wakes in the aftermath" do you mean "awakens" or that her magic causes wakes (like from a boat) into the aftermath?
Dani must decide where her priorities lie: getting revenge or helping stop a war, and the deeper she gets into Dereshan, the more she realises that both paths are inextricably linked, and she may not be strong enough for either.
Incorrect usage of a colon(:). Sentence should read "...Dani must decide if her priorities lie in getting revenge...."
I am an Editing and Publishing student at REDACTED in REDACTED, Australia.
Neither Editing nor Publishing is a proper noun and should not be capitalized.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Nicole R
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Re: Blood Legacy - YA Query

Post by Nicole R » April 21st, 2011, 1:44 pm

SariBelle,

This sounds like it could be a great story! Overall, I think you can make the query more compelling by clearing up a few questions before you worry too much about length. Once you've nailed the flow, you can focus on tightening it. My comments are below. Good luck!
SariBelle wrote:Dear [Agent],

I am a regular reader of your blog and I believe my YA fantasy, BLOOD LEGACY, would be a good fit for your agency. It is a complete at 84,000 words.

Dani Strider knows her mother’s death wasn’t natural. A shadow stole her life hours after Dani was born. But no one would believe that. Even Dani’s grandparents, the last of her family, would raise their eyebrows at that. If this happens only hours after Dani is born, how does she know about it and why would she believe this if the rest of her family doesn't? For seventeen years Dani has dreamed of revenge, but even her strange abilities, the wild magic and hearing people’s thoughts, aren’t enough to find a murderous shadow. "Wild Magic" sounds neat and I wanted a more specific description, especially since it factors in below when she “unleashes” her magic. What type of magic does she have? What does it do? I think that later line will be more powerful if we know the consequences of her magic. People like her shouldn’t exist on Earth, let alone creatures like that. I like the intrigue of this line, but it doesn’t really relate to the rest of the paragraph. It seems a little out of place. Maybe you could play with the order and use this line more as a hook to introduce Dani??

When strangers appear in Dani’s house, claiming to be family from her home world, Dani knows it’s true. How? They came from Dereshan, a hidden realm on the brink of war between the rebels and a ruthless tyrant, and they believe Dani can help. Before she can find out how or why, or if Dereshan is home to wraithlike killers, the strangers vanish, the only evidence of their visit a cryptic message: if he comes, you must follow.

In fury Dani unleashes her magic and wakes in the aftermath, a gray dog at her side, and an expression all too human in his eyes. Dani follows the dog to Dereshan and discovers he has a voice, an attitude, and too many secrets. He’ll help Dani get revenge - for a price. He wants to be healed and what he means by that he won’t say. This was a fun paragraph! I have a feeling I’d like this dog as a character.

Dani must decide where her priorities lie: getting revenge or helping stop a war, and the deeper she gets into Dereshan, the more she realises that both paths are inextricably linked, and she may not be strong enough for either.

Also a nice ending! I like the linked paths and the idea of her not being strong enough. However, it doesn’t necessarily follow from the previous paragraph – we jump from healing the dog to deciding her priorities on war and revenge. I feel like I missed some action or transition somewhere. Maybe another sentence in the previous paragraph about the state of the war in Dereshan, to remind us that more is going on than just this awesome dog!

One question: Why does Dani think getting revenge and stopping the war at odds with each other? Usually, the bad guy is pushing for war and if your character stops him, she’d get her revenge too. It's a win-win. If that’s not the case, (like maybe the shadow that Dani wants revenge on is actually pursuing peace) I think you should hint at it here because that would give your story a unique twist.


I am an Editing and Publishing student at REDACTED in REDACTED, Australia.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

AllieS
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Re: Blood Legacy - YA Query

Post by AllieS » April 21st, 2011, 4:54 pm

Dani Strider knows her mother’s death wasn’t natural. A shadow stole her life hours after Dani was born. I feel as though you could crunch these two sentences together, and find a way to phrase them to really jump out at me. But no one would believe that. Even Dani’s grandparents, the last of her family, would raise their eyebrows at that. For seventeen years Dani has dreamed of revenge, but even her strange abilities, the wild magic and hearing people’s thoughts, aren’t enough to find a murderous shadow. People like her shouldn’t exist on Earth, let alone creatures like that.I agree with dms0525 about ending so many sentences in that. From what I can remember of your earlier drafts, the pacing of this first paragraph was faster, and grabbed my attention more. I think "raise their eyebrows" isn't strong enough to get your point across.

When strangers appear in Dani’s house, claiming to be family from her home world, Dani knows it’s true. How? They came from Dereshan, a hidden realm on the brink of war between the rebels and a ruthless tyrant, and they believe If we're in Dani's head, it might make more sense to replace this with "say." Dani can help. Before she can find out how or why, or if Dereshan is home to wraithlike killers, the strangers vanish, the only evidence of their visit a cryptic message: if he comes, you must follow.

In fury Dani unleashes her magic and wakes in the aftermath, a gray dog at her side, and an expression all too human in his eyes. I don't really understand what happens in this part. What is her magic like? Why on Earth does a dog show up as a result of it? Dani follows the dog to Dereshan and discovers he has a voice, an attitude, and too many secret I like this parts. He’ll help Dani get revenge - for a price Revenge for what? Taking her family? Sounds to me that they left on their own.. He wants to be healed and what he means by that he won’t say. Vague

Dani must decide where her priorities lie: getting revenge or helping stop a war, and the deeper she gets into Dereshan, the more she realizes that both paths are inextricably linked, and she may not be strong enough for either.

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SariBelle
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Re: Blood Legacy - YA Query

Post by SariBelle » April 22nd, 2011, 11:24 pm

Thanks everyone for your comments. You're all very helpful!

@dms: Ugh.. I noticed the 'that' thing too after posting here and forgot to change it! Thanks for pointing it out. And I'm glad you like the last line :)

@Jesse: Thanks for your in-depth comments, Jesse. You've given me a lot to think about. Hopefully I've addressed some of the issues in the revised version.

@Nicole: I realised when writing it that the line about it being just after she was born being confusing in the context of the query. I left it in anyway, but I shouldn't have because it's not really necessary. Thanks for pointing it out. Hopefully the new first para makes a little more sense!

@Allie: Thanks for you comments. It seems that the same areas are getting picked up on, which is good. At least I know what to work on!

Meredith
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Re: Blood Legacy - YA Query REVISED x1

Post by Meredith » April 25th, 2011, 3:53 pm

SariBelle wrote:
Dear [Agent],

I am a regular reader of your blog and I believe my 84,000 word YA fantasy, BLOOD LEGACY, would be a good fit for your agency [because of reasons inserted here].

Dani Strider is the only one who knows her mother’s death wasn’t natural. Murdered by a shadow, but nobody would believe that. For seventeen years How old was Dani when her mother was killed? Just a baby? If so, can Dani even be sure of what she thinks she remembers? If older, then isn't Dani getting a little too old to be the protagonist of a YA novel? Dani has dreamed of revenge, but even her strange talents, her wild magic and ability to hear people’s thoughts, aren’t enough to find a creature that shouldn’t exist.

When strangers appear in Dani’s house, claiming to be family from her home world, Dani knows where to find the wraithlike killer. How? What does her long-lost family have to do with the killer? They came from Dereshan, a hidden realm on the brink of war between the rebels and a ruthless tyrant, and they believe Dani can help. Ah, now I see. Her family come from Dereshan, so she thinks the killer does, too. This is getting a little muddled, though. At first it was all about finding the killer, but now there's this rebellion added to the mix. I don't even know which side her family is on (although I can guess from the description of the ruthless tyrant). But before she can find out how or why, the strangers vanish, the only evidence of their visit a cryptic message: if he comes, you must follow. They came to get her and then just disappeared?

After searching for a path into Dereshan without success, Dani unleashes her magic in fury and despair. She wakes in the aftermath, a gray dog at her side, and an expression all too human in his eyes. Dani follows the dog to Dereshan and discovers he has a voice, an attitude, and too many secrets. He’ll help Dani get revenge - for a price. He wants to be healed and what he means by that he won’t say.

Dani must decide if revenge is more important than helping stop a war, but the deeper she gets into Dereshan, the more she realises that both paths are inextricably linked, and she may not be strong enough for either.

I am an Editing and Publishing student at REDACTED in REDACTED, Australia.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
I like the idea of this story.

I have the feeling you're trying to cram a little too much into the query, though. We've got revenge, stopping a war, finding her homeland, and this mysterious guide. The result feels like there isn't a single strong conflict driving the story forward. I think partly this may be because you've taken the query too far. (I know the temptation to share all the neat stuff you've invented, trust me.) You really only need to go as far as the inciting incident. What that is depends on what the real central conflict of this story is. Is the inciting incident her mother's murder? Is it finding out about her home and the rebellion? Is it the dog that guides her home? I don't know from this query.

But I really want to, because it sounds like the kind of story I'd enjoy.
MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com

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