Query: Double Star

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masonblack
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Query: Double Star

Post by masonblack » November 13th, 2011, 9:15 am

Dear All:

Really need some feedback on my query and would appreciate anything you have to offer!

Dear Agent:

It’s about to be the best day of Ally Ashworth’s life—or the worst. If she doesn’t get a violin scholarship, she can kiss attending the University of Arizona goodbye but, on the way to the interview, her GPS develops PMS and leads her to an isolated overlook. Ally is forced over the edge. Incredibly, she lands unhurt: and not alone. She’s rescued by the cute but strange Liam Cheveyo and his equally peculiar friends. It’s more than just their clothes or the odd way they talk ... they survive without electricity, Internet or phones. They don’t even have a car! Seriously? But, after witnessing the group’s mysterious transformations, Ally realizes that simply buying a bus ticket won’t get her out of there.

Somehow, she’s landed in a world where the magic of ancient gods still exists—yet, so does human compassion. Sympathetic to her plight, Liam and his friends try to figure out a way to get her home, but a dark force, one who actually drew her into this world, is watching ... and waiting, because Ally unknowingly holds the key to his future, the key to unlock a prophecy of unimaginable evil.

Maybe, just maybe, there are a few… or possibly eight, who possess the power to save this world and another from the turmoil some dub as Fate.

Double Star is a YA fantasy and is complete at 86,000 words. Pasted below are the first two chapters for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration.

glj
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Re: Query: Double Star

Post by glj » November 13th, 2011, 4:21 pm

This could be much clearer and much more engaging. Not bad for a first effort, but it gives little detail of what conflict and danger the protagonist faces. Does what too many queries do, and gives vague details and tells the reader that there will be conflict in the story instead of showing the reader the conflict. But the conflict is what will hook the reader's interest, so don't hide it like it's a secret or a treasure.


It’s about to be the best day of Ally Ashworth’s life—or the worst. This says nothing and adds nothing to your query. Don't waste words. If she doesn’t get a violin scholarship, she can kiss attending the University of Arizona goodbye but, Break sentence here. on the way to the interview, her GPS develops PMS and leads her to an isolated overlook. Ally is forced over the edge. No. This doesn't make sense. Her GPS "forces" her over the edge of the overlook? Not possible, and not believable. Maybe it deceives her into driving over the edge, but "forces" doesn't work. Incredibly, she lands unhurt: and not alone. I don't like colons in fiction. Could be a period instead. The whole "lands unhurt" is unexplained. From your query, I can't tell if she goes off-road and ends up in an isolated canyon, or whether she is transported to some other world. She’s rescued by the cute but strange Liam Cheveyo and his equally peculiar friends. It’s more than just their clothes or the odd way they talk ... they survive without electricity, Internet or phones. Gasp! They don’t even have a car! Seriously? But, after witnessing the group’s mysterious transformations, You leave this hanging. What transformations? Do they turn into frogs? Put on business suits? This seems like a point where you could create more interest. Ally realizes that simply buying a bus ticket won’t get her out of there. Again, this seems like an opportunity to build interest by giving the reader a glimpse of why she can't leave (or why it will take an effort to leave/escape).

Somehow, The "somehow" isn't necessary. Use words sparingly, as you have to make a great impression with few of them. she’s landed in a world where the magic of ancient gods still exists—yet, so does human compassion. This tells us a little about where she is, but is too little information. Here is where you could expand, instead of breezing past the details.Sympathetic to her plight, Liam and his friends try to figure out a way to get her home, but a dark force, one who actually drew her into this world, is watching ... and waiting, because Ally unknowingly holds the key to his future, the key to unlock a prophecy of unimaginable evil. Detail, here is where you need detail to hook the reader's attention!

Maybe, just maybe, there are a few… or possibly eight, who possess the power to save this world and another from the turmoil some dub as Fate. This says nothing. Could replace with "then bad things happen" and would be just as unhelpful.

Double Star is a YA fantasy and is complete at 86,000 words. Pasted below are the first two chapters for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration.

The main conflict faced by the protagonist is what will hook the reader's attention. Better yet, the protagonist should face at least two impossible choices. The reader will understand that the protagonist will win out in some way, but the interest will be if the conflict or conflicts are great and the reader can't see how the protagonist will decide/succeed. It is like watching a magician. The audience knows the magician will get out of the handcuffs and magically escape being suspended upside down in a tank of water, but you have to watch to see if it really happens because it sure looks like he will drown.

masonblack
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Re: Query: Double Star

Post by masonblack » November 13th, 2011, 6:43 pm

Really great feeback! Thank you very,very much. I knew there was something wrong just couldn't figure out what is was. If I rework, would you consider providing your wonderful insight again? :)

glj
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Re: Query: Double Star

Post by glj » November 13th, 2011, 7:12 pm

Really great feeback! Thank you very,very much. I knew there was something wrong just couldn't figure out what is was. If I rework, would you consider providing your wonderful insight again?
Sure.

masonblack
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Re: Query: Double Star Revised!

Post by masonblack » November 16th, 2011, 11:05 am

Here's the revised query. I think (I hope) I'm getting closer!

Seventeen year old Ally Ashworth prefers combat boots to stilettos, Mozart over metal and would take David Garrett over The Situation, any day. She’s learned through the death of her father that stories don’t always have happy endings. And she didn’t believe in true love ... or in the existence of a world other than her own. She was wrong.
Fate delivered Ally to the isolated overlook, but an unseen hand forced her over the edge. Incredibly, she survives the fall and is rescued by the cute, but strange Liam Cheveyo and his equally peculiar friends. It’s more than just their clothes, or the odd way they talk. They survive without electricity, internet, or phones. They don’t even have a car! And if they don’t stop talking about the animal spirits that exist within, she’s gonna flip. But, after witnessing their transformations - into their animal counterparts! - she knows it’s gonna take more than a good set of directions to get her home. She’s landed in a world where the magic of ancient gods still exists and where she discovers, not the only magic within herself, but a love between her and Liam that cannot be denied.

As Ally and her new friends set out to find the one passageway that might lead her home, her choices are suddenly not so easy. Even if they find the right one, will she be able to walk through and turn her back on Destiny?

But a dark force, one who drew her into this world is watching. He’s waited for centuries to travel that particular passage, to wreak havoc upon the two worlds it connects and Ally, unknowingly holds the key to his future, the key to unlock a prophecy of unimaginable evil.

Double Star is a YA fantasy and is complete at 86,000 words. Pasted below are the first two chapters for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration.

thewhipslip
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Re: Query: Double Star Revised!

Post by thewhipslip » November 16th, 2011, 11:22 am

masonblack wrote:Here's the revised query. I think (I hope) I'm getting closer!

Seventeen year old Ally Ashworth prefers combat boots to stilettos, Mozart over metal and would take David Garrett over The Situation this might be me, but I'm not familiar with these bands - but I do love the opening, any day. She’s learned through the death of her father that stories don’t always have happy endings. And she didn’t tense switch here. should be "doesn't" believe in true love ... or in the existence of a world other than her own. She was wrong. Not as much of a hook here. I need something more specific. A lot of YA fantasies involve other worlds. Add specifics to really show your story is unique.
Fate delivered Ally to the isolated overlook this comes off as too random. Your previous version added a little specificity with the GPS. I think you still need that here., but an unseen hand forced her over the edge "unseen hand" is way too vague, in my opinion. what does that actually mean?. Incredibly, she survives the fall and is rescued by the cute, but strange Liam Cheveyo and his equally peculiar friends. It’s more than just their clothes, or the odd way they talk. They survive without electricity, internet, or phones. They don’t even have a car! this comes off as a bit insensitive, and not really that "peculiar". A lot of people live without those things. In fact, they live in poverty. Don't mean to get heavy here, but an agent may be turned off by it And if they don’t stop talking about the animal spirits that exist within, she’s gonna flip good mood here, but not specific enough. I don't really know what "animal spirits within" refers to. But, after witnessing their transformations - into their animal counterparts! this is a little too cutesy for my taste, and not all that unusual in the YA fantasy realm - she knows it’s gonna take more than a good set of directions to get her home I preferred the bus ticket reference from the other query. She’s landed in a world where the magic of ancient gods still exists and where she discovers, not the only should be "not only the"magic within herself, but a love between her and Liam that cannot be denied all of this comes off as generic. so does she have an animal spirit within herself too? what's the conflict? a girl falling in love with a paranormal creature isn't breaking any boundaries in the YA realm.

As Ally and her new friends set out to find the one passageway that might lead her home why is there one passageway? how is she trapped in their world? be as specific as you can to create interest, her choices are suddenly not so easy. Even if they find the right one, will she be able to walk through and turn her back on Destiny? not sure what's being referred to here, or why Destiny is capitalized. what's at stake here for Ally? be specific. what is she losing?

But a dark force, one who drew her into this world is watching "dark force" is way too generic. and why is it watching? why isn't it acting?. He’s waited for centuries to travel that particular passage, to wreak havoc upon the two worlds it connects and Ally, no commaunknowingly holds the key to his future, the key to unlock a prophecy of unimaginable evil.be specific. none of this is telling me a conflict. why is this dark force waiting for centuries? why is Ally the one with the "key"? and what is the key? her powers? tell me the conflict.

Double Star is a YA fantasy and is complete at 86,000 words. Pasted below are the first two chapters for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration.
work on adding specifics. Ally needs to be losing something or risking something, and the antagonists needs to have more of a face to make the conflict real.
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

glj
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Re: Query: Double Star

Post by glj » November 17th, 2011, 3:47 pm

This is better organized. But it still focuses on setup, and on Ally's life BEFORE the main conflict (or at least what seems to be the main conflict).
But a dark force, one who drew her into this world is watching. He’s waited for centuries to travel that particular passage, to wreak havoc upon the two worlds it connects and Ally, unknowingly holds the key to his future, the key to unlock a prophecy of unimaginable evil.
This sounds like the main conflict. Not how she gets into this alternative world. Not the strange people she befriends in the alternative world. But all your query tells us is that there is a dark force waiting, there's a prophecy (cliche!), it is unimaginable evil (if I can't imagine it, then it really has no impact on me).

So overall, I don't think it is any better than your first draft.

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