TENDER query - YA dystopian fantasy

Share your blood sweat tears query for feedback and lend your hard-won expertise to others
Post Reply
thewhipslip
Posts: 179
Joined: July 15th, 2010, 2:18 pm
Contact:

TENDER query - YA dystopian fantasy

Post by thewhipslip » November 16th, 2011, 11:03 am

Haven't been on here since my last query run. Excited to do this again. I appreciate any comments!

Don’t be careful what you wish for – let the Tenders do that.

In the year 2018, the world is ruled by wish-granting humans called Tenders. Seventeen-year-old Ibsen Goodman lives in a segregated South where faith is the only priority and Tenders are the enemy.

Ibsen struggles to care for his schizophrenic mother while his sister works to keep food on the table. She’s the only one to reassure him that their mother’s illness won’t affect him – until his sister suddenly abandons them.

Her trail leads North to the land of the Tenders. The South calls her a traitor, but Ibsen will lose his mother, home, and sanity if he doesn’t get her back. His only willing guide is a secretive girl who may be lying more than helping – doesn’t help she’s a Tender too. Ibsen must trust the demons he’s been raised to fear in order to survive, but finding his sister isn’t the reunion he hoped for.

The Tenders want to enslave his entire country, and they need Ibsen to do it. He must choose between family and country, or letting the madness consume him forever.

TENDER is a young adult dystopian fantasy complete at 68,000 words, etc., etc.
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

User avatar
wilderness
Posts: 541
Joined: February 21st, 2010, 6:25 pm
Contact:

Re: TENDER query - YA dystopian fantasy

Post by wilderness » November 17th, 2011, 4:53 pm

This sounds like a cool world! However, I'm still confused by the main conflict with the Tenders. Tell us more about why they are feared and what their goals/plans are.
thewhipslip wrote:
Don’t be careful what you wish for – let the Tenders do that.

In the year 2018, the world is ruled by wish-granting humans called Tenders. Seventeen-year-old Ibsen Goodman lives in a segregated South where faith is the only priority and Tenders are the enemy. Why are Tenders their enemy? Seems like anyone would want to be friends with people who grant wishes! Also, maybe be explicit about how they grant wishes -- are they magical?

Ibsen struggles to care for his schizophrenic mother while his sister works to keep food on the table. She’s the only one to reassure him that their mother’s illness won’t affect him – until his sister suddenly abandons them. I think you should name the sister. She seems to be an important part of the plot and the pronouns are getting a little muddled.

Her trail leads North to the land of the Tenders. The South calls her a traitor, but Ibsen will lose his mother, home, and sanity if he doesn’t get her back. He will lose those things or he may lose those things? His only willing guide is a secretive girl who may be lying more than helping – doesn’t help she’s a Tender too. More about this girl. What's her name? How did he meet her? Why does he need her? What did she say that might be a lie? Maybe just tell us the facts about her and let us pick out what seems suspicious rather than telling us she is suspicious.

Ibsen must trust the demons he’s been raised to fear in order to survive, but finding his sister isn’t the reunion he hoped for. The "but" clause doesn't seem related to the beginning of the sentence. Not sure this sentence is necessary at all.

The Tenders want to enslave his entire country, and they need Ibsen to do it. They do? Why? He must choose between family and country, or letting the madness consume him forever. This sentence doesn't make sense: he would obviously choose family over letting madness consume him. Not sure why or how this can be a choice.

TENDER is a young adult dystopian fantasy complete at 68,000 words, etc., etc.

Sleeping Beauty
Posts: 87
Joined: May 21st, 2010, 2:51 am
Contact:

Re: TENDER query - YA dystopian fantasy

Post by Sleeping Beauty » November 19th, 2011, 3:07 am

I'm echoing wilderness - this dystopian world does sound cool! The thing I find most unique about the concept is that the world, on first view, appears quite utopian. Obviously, there's more to it than that.

A few thoughts
thewhipslip wrote:
Don’t be careful what you wish for – let the Tenders do that.

In the year 2018, the world is ruled by wish-granting humans called Tenders. Seventeen-year-old Ibsen Goodman lives in a segregated South where faith is the only priority and Tenders are the enemy. I'm immediately drawn to the faith element of this - don't the southerners believe the Tenders are agents of their own god/s? It's interesting. Also, since you've stated that they 'rule the world', I'm already imaging that Ibsen lives South of the equator, in Africa or Australia. Later on, I'm not sure this is what you meant.

Ibsen struggles to care for his schizophrenic mother while his sister works to keep food on the table. A little confused as to how they can be poor if the rulers grand wishers.She’s the only one to reassure him that their mother’s illness won’t affect him It already has - Ibsen and his sister have to care for her. Or is Ibsen worried about inheriting her mental illness? – until his sister suddenly abandons them.

Her trail leads North to the land of the Tenders. This is where I get confused, locale wise - is he travelling the entire globe or just one country? The South calls her a traitor Does the south have its own mouthpiece/ruler?, but Ibsen will lose his mother, home, and sanity if he doesn’t get her backHow?. His only willing guide is a secretive girl who may be lying more than helping – doesn’t help she’s a Tender too. Ibsen must trust the demons he’s been raised to fear This implies that the Tenders are good guys after all, and that Ibsen knows this - he's only been 'raised to fear them' when they're only humans, not demonsin order to survive, but finding his sister isn’t the reunion he hoped for. IMHO, you're giving too much away in this last line.

The Tenders want to enslave his entire country, and they need Ibsen to do it. He must choose between family and country, or letting the madness consume him forever. Vague and confusing. I'd drop this entirely and work on setting the Tenders up as sinister throughout the query - show, don't tell.

TENDER is a young adult dystopian fantasy complete at 68,000 words, etc., etc.
I like the name Ibsen. Is he named for the playwright?

thewhipslip
Posts: 179
Joined: July 15th, 2010, 2:18 pm
Contact:

Re: TENDER query - YA dystopian fantasy

Post by thewhipslip » November 28th, 2011, 11:02 am

Here is a revised version. Thanks for your comments!

**
Don’t be careful what you wish for--let the Tenders do that!

In the year 2018, the North is ruled by wish-granting people called Tenders. Seventeen-year-old Ibsen Goodman lives in the South, a
segregated country where faith is the priority and Tenders are abominations before God.

Ibsen struggles to care for his schizophrenic mother while his sister--Abigail--works to keep food on the table. She reassures him
that their mother’s illness won’t infect him, until she disappears and leaves Ibsen to tend to his mother alone.

Abigail's trail leads to the land of the Tenders, which makes her a traitor in the eyes of the South. No one ventures across the border
and returns, but Ibsen will lose his mother, home, and sanity if he doesn’t get his sister back. His only guide is a girl who might be lying to him more than helping. She knows her way around the North, and she knows even more about the Tenders--because she is one.

To find Abigail and survive the North, Ibsen must deal with the demons he's been raised to fear. In their world, he gets more than his sister – far more than he wished for.

TENDER is a young adult dystopian fantasy complete at 68,000 words, etc. etc.
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

stephanieheart
Posts: 9
Joined: April 26th, 2011, 6:51 pm
Contact:

Re: TENDER query - YA dystopian fantasy

Post by stephanieheart » December 8th, 2011, 1:29 am

A couple thoughts:
thewhipslip wrote:Here is a revised version. Thanks for your comments!

**
Don’t be careful what you wish for--let the Tenders do that! (I'd use a period rather than an exclamation point. Other than that, intriguing hook.)

In the year 2018, the North is ruled by wish-granting people called Tenders. Seventeen-year-old Ibsen Goodman lives in the South, a
segregated country where faith is the priority and Tenders are abominations before God.

Ibsen struggles to care for his schizophrenic mother while his sister--Abigail--works to keep food on the table. She reassures him
that their mother’s illness won’t infect him, until she disappears and leaves Ibsen to tend to his mother alone.

Abigail's trail leads to the land of the Tenders, which makes her a traitor in the eyes of the South. No one ventures across the border
and returns, but Ibsen will lose his mother, home, and sanity if he doesn’t get his sister back. If he leaves his mom to search for his sister, wouldn't that also harm her? I think you need to show more what Ibsen's relationship with his sis is, how strong it must be for him to want to find her so badly)His only guide is a girl who might be lying to him more than helping. She knows her way around the North, and she knows even more about the Tenders-- (You use a lot of hyphens. I'd use commas in the paragraph above around "Abigail.")because she is one.

To find Abigail and survive the North, Ibsen must deal with the demons he's been raised to fear. In their world, he gets more than his sister – far more than he wished for. (Nice ending.)

TENDER is a young adult dystopian fantasy complete at 68,000 words, etc. etc.

User avatar
theWallflower
Posts: 81
Joined: February 12th, 2010, 10:29 am
Location: Minnesota
Contact:

Re: TENDER query - YA dystopian fantasy

Post by theWallflower » December 15th, 2011, 3:51 pm

Don’t be careful what you wish for--let the Tenders do that!
Intriguing... I might say start with the main character, but I'm interested in what follows.
In the year 2018, the North is ruled by wish-granting people called Tenders. Seventeen-year-old Ibsen Goodman lives in the South, a segregated country where faith is the priority and Tenders are abominations before God.
-Faith in what? Christianity? A subsect of it?
Ibsen struggles to care for his schizophrenic mother while his sister--Abigail--works to keep food on the table. She reassures him that their mother’s illness won’t infect him, until she disappears and leaves Ibsen to tend to his mother alone.
-Why would he be worried schizophrenia is contagious? You've mentioned they're religious but are they backwards religious? That's not indicated.
Abigail's trail leads to the land of the Tenders, which makes her a traitor in the eyes of the South. No one ventures across the border and returns, but Ibsen will lose his mother, home, and sanity if he doesn’t get his sister back. His only guide is a girl who might be lying to him more than helping. She knows her way around the North, and she knows even more about the Tenders--because she is one.
-This makes it sound like Abigail's the main character. I'm confused about which one is. Your query letter should always focus on the main character, unless this is a split POV story, in which case, I can't help you. I wrote one myself and I was never able to write a successful query letter for it.
-I can't tell if the schizophrenic mother is back story or the story. Is the story about what happens after Abigail leaves? It seems to be. And although you mention the Tenders, their presence doesn't seem to make much difference. If they can grant wishes, why can't they grant Ibsen's wish to get his sister back? Or cure his mom's schizophrenia?
To find Abigail and survive the North, Ibsen must deal with the demons he's been raised to fear. In their world, he gets more than his sister – far more than he wished for.
-"Deal with the demons" is too vague. I'd like to know how he deals with them, because that is the story. In fact, this whole paragraph seems like vague log-lining meant to convey dread. I'd rather see the tangible choice that Ibsen is forced to make.
TENDER is a young adult dystopian fantasy complete at 68,000 words, etc. etc.
Waterworld meets The Little Mermaid
Image
MERM-8: Now available from Musa Publishing

Kate_WritesYA
Posts: 4
Joined: December 16th, 2011, 3:01 pm
Contact:

Re: TENDER query - YA dystopian fantasy

Post by Kate_WritesYA » December 16th, 2011, 3:29 pm

First off, I absolutely want to read this, so the query did its job. I love the elements of faith, and I think this is a credible near-future, which is something I look for in my dystopians.

I included some comments below.
thewhipslip wrote:Here is a revised version. Thanks for your comments!

**
Don’t be careful what you wish for--let the Tenders do that! I'd use a period instead. Also, I think this hook is fantastic.

In the year 2018 (IMO, this is too close in the future. If you're querying now, the book might not be published till 2013 or 2014. Do you really want your book to be set in the past once it's been out a few years?), the North is ruled by wish-granting people called Tenders. Seventeen-year-old Ibsen Goodman lives in the South, a segregated country (I liked what you said in the first query better--"a segregated South". To me this is clearly the North and South of the US, but with the South seceded from the union. Of course, if I'm wrong, then this isn't clear. :) ) where faith is the priority and Tenders are abominations before God. (I think this needs to be fleshed out more--are they abominations because they're supernatural, or because wish-fulfillment is immoral? I'm getting more of a sense that it is the later, and that there really isn't anything fantastical/supernatural going on in your book. Is that right?)

Ibsen struggles to care for his schizophrenic mother while his sister--Abigail-- (I'd switch this to , Abigail,) works to keep food on the table. She reassures him
that their mother’s illness won’t infect him, until she disappears and leaves Ibsen to tend to his mother alone. (This sentence is awkward, and "infect" is the wrong word. I think you're looking for something more like that he won't inherit her illness, which is a totally credible fear, but not related to Abigail staying or going. At least, the relation between his fears and his sister leaving isn't clear here.)

Abigail's trail leads North, to the land of the Tenders, which makes her a traitor in the eyes of the South. No one ventures across the border
and returns, but Ibsen will lose his mother, home, and sanity if he doesn’t get his sister back. (The second half of this sentence is weak, IMO) His only guide is a girl who might be lying to him more than helping. She knows her way around the North, and she knows even more about the Tenders--because she is one.

To find Abigail and survive the North, Ibsen must deal with the demons he's been raised to fear. In their world, he gets more than his sister – far more than he wished for. (I think you need a new closing.)

TENDER is a young adult dystopian fantasy complete at 68,000 words, etc. etc.

thewhipslip
Posts: 179
Joined: July 15th, 2010, 2:18 pm
Contact:

Re: TENDER query - YA fantasy

Post by thewhipslip » December 16th, 2011, 11:36 pm

Hi All, here's the new version of the query. Thanks for your comments!

***
In an alternate future, the North is ruled by the Tenders, human lookalikes with the power to grant wishes. Seventeen-year-old Ibsen Goodman lives in the South, a segregated country where faith is a priority and Tenders are abominations before God.

Ibsen’s a faithless social outcast, struggling to care for his schizophrenic mother while his sister Abigail works for the border patrol to keep food on the table. Abigail’s the only one to reassure him that their mother’s illness won’t infect him, until she inexplicably disappears. Her trail leads north, to the land of the Tenders.

Ibsen knows Abigail would never leave her family willingly, but the Southern theocracy labels her a traitor and refuses to investigate. Ibsen discovers someone who will: a girl named Valerie, who says Abigail’s in danger and offers to help Ibsen get her back. Valerie knows her way around the North, and knows even more about the Tenders –- because she is one.

Ibsen finds someone to care for his mother, but his sanity might be lost forever. To rescue Abigail and survive the North, he must trust the demon Tenders he's been raised to fear. Valerie might be lying to him more than helping, and in her world, Ibsen discovers more than his sister –- far more than he wished for. If the leaders of the Tenders have their way, Ibsen won’t have to worry about getting home. It won’t exist.

TENDER is a young adult fantasy complete at 68,000 words
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest