(A)symmetrical Query

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Severus Lawliet
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(A)symmetrical Query

Post by Severus Lawliet » April 24th, 2011, 6:40 pm

I know I haven't posted in a while, but thanks to some critique I've gotten on this forum in the past I realized a lot of things about query writing. Thank you all, and after smartly dumping some moronic ideas that never really had that much of a plot to begin with. Here I come with something that should be better than anything I've written previously,

Dear Agent,

Dade couldn't fix Summer.

Ever since his best friend committed suicide, Dade's spent his life in an anti-social, self-destructive bubble. He's moved through life in an apathetic haze, using stolen cigarettes and a gameboy as his only means of consolance.

But when Duran Tanakamura moves in next door, Dade realizes that all hope might not be lost. He sees in Duran what he saw in Summer -- an angry, condescending, fragile smile that could melt even the coldest ice.

Dade couldn't fix Summer, but maybe he can fix Duran.

(A)SYMMETRICAL is a 40,000 word YA novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

G.K. Kennedy

Is it too short? Too long? Would you read it? Does it sound like a book? Any response would be helpful. Thank you.
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JMB
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Re: (A)symmetrical Query

Post by JMB » April 24th, 2011, 8:27 pm

A couple of quick comments. I like the setup but there needs to be some kind of conflict. Does Duran not want to be fixed? What is the plot? Are all the characters boys? Summer sounds like it might be a girl. How old are these kids? The two "D" names are confusing. And 40,00 words is too short. YA should shoot for 65,000. Is consolance a word? Maybe, consolation? This will be much more interesting with a few more specifics and some idea of the consequences if Dade fails. Give it another shot!

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Severus Lawliet
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Re: (A)symmetrical Query

Post by Severus Lawliet » April 24th, 2011, 10:01 pm

(-_-)' Yeah the word actually is consolation. I could have sworn consolance was a word. Thanks so much for pointing that out.

I think I will give it another shot. Thank you so much for the suggestions!
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Severus Lawliet
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Re: (A)symmetrical Query

Post by Severus Lawliet » April 24th, 2011, 10:19 pm

Version 1.2

Dear Agent,

Dade couldn't fix Summer.

Ever since his best friend committed suicide, Dade's spent his life in an anti-social, self-destructive bubble. He's moved through life in an apathetic haze, using stolen cigarettes and a gameboy as his only means of consolation.

But when Duran Tanakamura moves in next door, Dade realizes that all hope might not be lost. He sees in Duran what he saw in Summer -- an angry, condescending, fragile smile that could melt even the coldest ice.

Dade couldn't fix Summer, but maybe he can fix Duran.

Only, maybe Duran doesn't want to be fixed. Maybe even though Dade is convinced that he can cure Duran's insecurities and second guessing, Duran isn't quite ready to put all of his hopes into one basket. Maybe Duran isn't some china doll that needs some tape and a decent glue to hold him together.

But Dade isn't thinking about maybe's. Dade is only focused on saving Duran before he destroys himself -- which would probably destroy Dade, too.

(A)SYMMETRICAL is a 40,000 word YA novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

G.K. Kennedy
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AllieS
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Re: (A)symmetrical Query

Post by AllieS » April 26th, 2011, 4:15 am

Dade couldn't fix Summer. I like the next line as a beginning better. I don't think you need this.

Ever since his best friend committed suicide, Dade's spent his life in an anti-social, self-destructive bubble. He's moved through life in an apathetic haze, using stolen cigarettes and a gameboy as his only means of consolation.

But when Duran Tanakamura moves in next door, Dade realizes that all hope might not be lost. He sees in Duran what he saw in Summer -- an angry, condescending, fragile smile that could melt even the coldest ice.

Dade couldn't fix Summer, but maybe he can fix Duran.
I really like these lines.

Only, maybe Duran doesn't want to be fixed. This would grab me more if you said something like, "Only, it seems as though Duran doesn't want to be fixed." I'd rather get Dade's opinion than a vague comment. Maybe even though These words together are too much. I'd stick with "Even though" or just "Maybe." Dade is convinced that he can cure Duran's insecurities and second guessing, Duran isn't quite ready to put all of his hopes into one basket. Maybe Duran isn't some china doll that needs some tape and a decent glue to hold him together.

But Dade isn't thinking about maybe's. Dade is only focused on saving Duran before he destroys himself -- which would probably destroy Dade, too. Don't you mean Duran? I'm not sure I get this bit completely.

Apart from the things I've mentioned, I love the query. Good voice, right to the point. I can't help but reiterate what JMB said about the overload of "D" names, and the length of the novel. But those are things you can work on.

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Severus Lawliet
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Re: (A)symmetrical Query

Post by Severus Lawliet » April 26th, 2011, 12:23 pm

Thank you so much for the feedback! Although I really really don't want to change the names, you do have a very good point about it being kinda confusing. And I've decided to lengthen the book some. What's another 20,000 or so words, anyway? (-_-)'
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JMB
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Re: (A)symmetrical Query

Post by JMB » April 26th, 2011, 2:36 pm

You need to be careful in these forums. Take the advice to clear up confusion but don't lose your voice. With that caveat, there are still things I don't understand about your story.

What is wrong with Duran that he/she needs fixing? Insecurities and second guessing don't sound like much compared to a best friend who killed herself and a main character who is self-destructive.

The middle paragraph is inconsistent. 1. Dade doesn't want to be saved. 2. Dade doesn't want to put all his hopes in one basket (kill the cliche), which suggests that Dade does want to change. 3. Then you shift again to say he's not a china doll (odd reference if Dade is male), which suggests there's nothing seriously wrong with him. 4. You close with Dade is focused on saving Duran before he destroys himself. If the 'he' is Duran, then Duran must have bigger problems than a lack of self-confidence.

How is the self-destructive and anti-social Dade going to be able to help someone else when all he does is smoke and play gameboy (which according to my 16 yr old now a Ninetendo DS, and generally played by younger kids). And why, if Dade can't fix Duran will it destroy Dade as opposed to Duran.

How old are these kids?

Don't make the reader work so hard!

And I know you don't want to change the names but it sure would help.

Stay at it ... There's definitely a good story here.

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Re: (A)symmetrical Query

Post by priya g. » June 14th, 2011, 7:45 am

Severus Lawliet wrote:Version 1.2

Dear Agent,

Dade couldn't fix Summer.
Ever since his best friend committed suicide, Dade's spent his life in an anti-social, self-destructive bubble. wonderful way to begin: now I know what emotions the character is going through and a part of me is sympathetic. He's moved through life in an apathetic haze, using stolen cigarettes and a gameboy as his only means of consolation. this seems dramatized, no offense. stolen cigarettes but his own gameboy? doesnt seem to go hand in hand. does he steal cigarettes because he is underage?

But when Duran Tanakamura moves in next door, Dade realizes that all hope might not be lost. He sees in Duran what he saw in Summer a good idea would be to introduce Summer in the first paragrah and in this one simply statethat Duran is like him/her [-- an angry, condescending, fragile smile that could melt even the coldest ice.

Dade couldn't fix Summer, but maybe he can fix Duran.

Only, maybe Duran doesn't want to be fixed. Maybe even though Dade is convinced that he can cure Duran's insecurities and second guessing, Duran isn't quite ready to put all of his hopes into one basket. Maybe Duran isn't some china doll that needs some tape and a decent glue to hold him together.

But Dade isn't thinking about maybe's. Dade is only focused on saving Duran before he destroys himself -- which would probably destroy Dade, too. why is he so concerned? and how can Duran destory himself or Dade? what are the stakes? what is going to happen if Duran isnt told to stop?

(A)SYMMETRICAL is a 40,000 word YA novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

G.K. Kennedy
i like the story- but there isnt much that i could figure out here. I think a good idea would be to revist your manuscript to see what the stakes are and incorporate it in the query, to bring out that sense of urgency that Dade is feeling.
Hope i wasnt too harsh

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