Query: 'Playing Games' YA Contemporary Fiction

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piers
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Query: 'Playing Games' YA Contemporary Fiction

Post by piers » August 21st, 2011, 12:42 pm

I queried this around a bit a few months ago, but I've kind of lost faith in it. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance.


I'm currently seeking an agent to represent my 61k Young Adult Contemporary Novel Playing Games.



An internet search for Embry Blaine produces 32 million results. Taylor Chateris has a few favorites…

English Football Prodigy is Lord's Son

Embry Blaine is talented, blue-blooded and glows from within like an LED screen angel.

Chelsea Footballer Incites Class War

Embry’s descent from titled luxury to the screaming fields make him a tabloid target.

Taylor moves to London to live with her wealthy cousin in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where even the outsiders are fabulous. Taylor becomes so infatuated with Embry that she volunteers herself to write a story investigating his involvement in the most violent attack at an English youth match in sports history.

As Taylor gets closer to Embry she is torn between the fragile boy she is growing to love and the monster in the press. In an age where a celebrity's every move is documented on the internet, Taylor finds she can never know enough. Yet the more she learns, the less she understands. Why is Embry hated by the public, shunned by his father, and manipulated by his egomaniacal manager? And most important of all: for a boy who has everything, what's the point in playing the game? When Taylor uncovers the truth about Embry's career she has to decide whether she should step off the side lines, even if it means losing the boy of her dreams for good.

Playing Games is a 61,000 word young adult novel and is the first book in a trilogy.

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Collectonian
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Re: Query: 'Playing Games' YA Contemporary Fiction

Post by Collectonian » August 21st, 2011, 2:17 pm

Hmmm....I'm not sure what a lot of the first bit is supposed to tell me. I'd drop it and get straight to the story, which seems to start with Taylor.
piers wrote: You are probably including it, but its worth noting to have a personal greeting: "Dear [Agent Name]," even in email queries. :-)

I'm currently seeking an agent to represent my 61k Young Adult Contemporary Novel Playing Games. That you are seeking representation goes without saying. Generally, most agents seems to prefer this at the bottom in the closing, and since you already have it there, can just strike from here. :-) Lead straight off with the story.

An internet search for Embry Blaine produces 32 million results. Taylor Chateris has a few favorites…

English Football Prodigy is Lord's Son

Embry Blaine is talented, blue-blooded and glows from within like an LED screen angel.

Chelsea Footballer Incites Class War

Embry’s descent from titled luxury to the screaming fields make him a tabloid target.


Instead of the bit above, start here: "Taylor Chateris loves searching the internet for headlines on her crush, star English football player Embry Blaine. Taylor moves to London to live with her wealthy cousin in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea,This begs the question of why she has to move? Is it relevant to the story? where even the outsiders are fabulous.How so? Was she poor and unfabulous before? Taylor becomes so infatuated with Embry that she volunteers herself to write a story investigating his involvement in the most violent attack at an English youth match in sports history.Her infatuation is already established so no need to mention again. This seems to be the event that lets her meet him, but who is she writing the story for? School? A newspaper? How does she gain access to Embry? It would seem they'd want no interviews with what's going on, so I'm guessing her cousin is the key here?

As Taylor gets closer to Embry, she is torn between the fragile boy she is growing to love and the monster in the press.Here you dip into a little bit of telling. You could show some of this by showing things Embry says/does that conflicts with the public image. Is he kind to her? Cuddles cute kittens for hours? Help the elderly? How does she find out he is "fragile"? In an age where a celebrity's every move is documented on the internet, Taylor finds she can never know enough.I'd actually move this line to the first paragraph where her crush is established as it is a great line! :-) Yet the more she learns, the less she understands. Why is Embry hated by the public, shunned by his father, and manipulated by his egomaniacal manager?I'm guessing the hated by the public would relate to the attack mentioned in the opening, so not sure why she is confused on that point? And most important of all: for a boy who has everything,you just established, though, that he doesn't...his father shuns him, his manager controls him, etc... what's the point in playing the game?Which game? Football or being on the team? When Taylor uncovers the truth about Embry's careernormally a question like this could be good, but I'm not getting a feel for what sort of truth he could have? Unless he isn't the one playing or something? she has to decide whether she should step off the side lines, even if it means losing the boy of her dreams for good.

Playing Games is a 61,000 word young adult Romance? novel and is the first book in a trilogy.The first novel has to stand alone, and this implies it can't. The usual wording would be "Playing Games is a 61,000 word Young Adult romance with series potential." or something similar to indicate that it can stand on its own, but there is more story that could be told.

About Me If you have personal info to include that is relevant, or writing credits to list, add to the preceding paragraph.

Don't forget "Thank you for your time" :-)
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dios4vida
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Re: Query: 'Playing Games' YA Contemporary Fiction

Post by dios4vida » August 23rd, 2011, 1:06 pm

piers wrote:I'm currently seeking an agent to represent my 61k Young Adult Contemporary Novel Playing Games. I agree with Collectonian. You essentially have this at the bottom already, so you can just get rid of it altogether and be fine.


An internet search for Embry Blaine produces 32 million results. Taylor Chateris has a few favorites…

English Football Prodigy is Lord's Son

Embry Blaine is talented, blue-blooded and glows from within like an LED screen angel.

Chelsea Footballer Incites Class War

Embry’s descent from titled luxury to the screaming fields make him a tabloid target.

I was very confused by all of this. If you want to put a headline or two in the query, it'd be best to give us some context first. Without knowing anything about the characters or premise, this feels like getting shouted at by an old-school newsboy.

Taylor moves to London to live with her wealthy cousin in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, why? What's special about Taylor that we're following her through the story? where even the outsiders are fabulous. I like that. Taylor becomes so infatuated with Embry that she volunteers herself to write a story investigating his involvement in the most violent attack at an English youth match in sports history. Without the headlines above, you'll need a better introduction to Embry. Also, I really need to know why she becomes infatuated with him, does she actually know him, what is it about him that draws her, is this more than just a fangirl crush, etc. As it is, I see a fangirl who chases after a famous boy and little more. Some more characterization would really help this. Also, "volunteers herself" sounds a little too much like an innuendo to me.

As Taylor gets closer to Embry she is torn between the fragile boy is fragile really the right word? I'd assume it would be more along the sensitive/caring lines rather than breakable/weak connotation of the word 'fragile' she is growing to love and the monster in the press. Monster? So he was the cause of the violent attack? That needs to be set up a bit better. In an age where a celebrity's every move is documented on the internet, Taylor finds she can never know enough. Yet the more she learns, the less she understands. Why is Embry hated by the public, shunned by his father, and manipulated by his egomaniacal manager? And most important of all: for a boy who has everything, what's the point in playing the game? When Taylor uncovers the truth about Embry's career she has to decide whether she should step off the side lines, even if it means losing the boy of her dreams for good.

All we really have in this query is a premise - girl falls for famous boy with secrets. Agents want to see more plot in a query. They need to know that you can craft an interesting story with twists, tension, and endearing characters. Here are some things that I'd suggest to add/address:
-Make sure we see more character in Taylor and Embry. Let us know what's special about them and why we're gonna care about what happens to them and their relationship.
-Show us more of the actual plot. Once Taylor meets Embry, is there tension between them, attraction, or do they butt heads? What kind of things does she learn about Embry, both from him and from the media? (Since this seems to be the core of the plot it needs to have center stage. It's okay to give more details of the twists and surprises that happen in the middle of the book - actually, it's encouraged in a query. Get us right up to the major decisions that lead to the climax and then let us hang.)
-Don't be afraid to put more voice into this. It reads like a reciting of events right now. Agents will want to see that your craft is up to par with what readers want, and that means voice. Put in your own special flavor to the words, or Taylor's flavor is she's the narrator. Show us all of your writing skills in these paragraphs!
Post your revision!! :)
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

AllieS
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Re: Query: 'Playing Games' YA Contemporary Fiction

Post by AllieS » September 4th, 2011, 1:59 am

An internet search for Embry Blaine produces 32 million results. Taylor Chateris has a few favorites…

English Football Prodigy is Lord's Son

Embry Blaine is talented, blue-blooded and glows from within like an LED screen angel.

Chelsea Footballer Incites Class War

Embry’s descent from titled luxury to the screaming fields make him a tabloid target.



I agree with Collectonian and dios. I understand you wanting to start with something a little different, but this doesn't pull me in. Taylor is the protagonist of the story, but this doesn't tell me anything about her, not even her age.

Taylor moves to London to live with her wealthy cousin in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where even the outsiders are fabulous. Taylor becomes so infatuated with Embry that she volunteers herself to write a story investigating his involvement in the most violent attack at an English youth match in sports history. I want more of a link here. How does Taylor become infatuated with him? Has she even met him yet? Give me details that will help me connect to her.

As Taylor gets closer to Embry Again we have only vague ideas of what's going on. "Gets closer" leaves out all of the juicy relationship-building stuff. I still don't know anything at all about Taylor.she is torn between the fragile boy she is growing to love and the monster in the press. In an age where a celebrity's every move is documented on the internet, Taylor finds she can never know enough. Yet the more she learns, the less she understands. Omit. You show this below.Why is Embry hated by the public, shunned by his father, and manipulated by his egomaniacal manager? And most important of all: for a boy who has everything, what's the point in playing the game? When Taylor uncovers the truth about Embry's career she has to decide whether she should step off the side lines, even if it means losing the boy of her dreams for good.
By the end of this, all I know is that there's a girl (don't know her age) that falls for a celebrity. Not the most original concept, and since we don't have a sense of who Taylor is, it's hard to get pulled in. Focus on the best bits of the story, even if it's just at the beginning, and show us why we should root for Taylor to figure out Embry.

Playing Games is a 61,000 word young adult novel and is the first book in a trilogy. Just say it has strong series potential.

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