Query for Upper Middle Grade

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cassiemcook
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Query for Upper Middle Grade

Post by cassiemcook » December 5th, 2011, 4:35 pm

I've had a little trouble getting some bites for this book. Any advice would be awesome!!

There’s no way fourteen year old Jonathan Stevens is going to his first day of public school in May. So cutting class to wander around a park seemed like a better idea... until a storm forces him into a bathroom stall, and he falls face-first into a giant hole caused by an earthquake.

Waking in the underbelly of the earth, Jonathan discovers he’s been kidnapped by a pain-in-the-butt sorceress named Tamara, who insists he is an immortal and he's on the top of a very long hit list. Jonathan was given a unique power that would save the immortal realm from the Master, an overlord with the power to locate immortals strong enough to challenge him before they are old enough to know how.

Jonathan learns from Tamara’s allies that the Master has discovered the means to control mortals--and he intends to test that power on Jonathan's parents. To destroy the most dangerous man in two realms, Jonathan will have to risk his life by triggering an unknown power too early. And if he fails, his family--as well as every other mortal and immortal in existence--will suffer for it.

The Privileged is an upper middle grade fantasy complete at 83,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Me :)

thewhipslip
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Re: Query for Upper Middle Grade

Post by thewhipslip » December 6th, 2011, 11:32 am

Did you have another version of this query floating around a year ago? Seems familiar, but I might be thinking of something else.

There’s no way fourteen year old Jonathan Stevens is going to his first day of public school in May. So cutting class to wander around a park seemed like a better idea... until a storm forces him into a bathroom stall, and he falls face-first into a giant hole caused by an earthquake. I think you can cut all this down to one hook sentence, something like: When fourteen-year-old Jonathan Stevens cut school, he expected to wander the mall for a day - not find himself in the underbelly of the earth. That's not perfect, but should give you an idea. You don't need all the details in a query, just get to the vital points, otherwise it's too confusing.

Waking in the underbelly of the earth, Jonathan discovers Jonathan's been kidnapped by a pain-in-the-butt sorceress named Tamara, who insists he is he's an immortal and he's on the top of a very long hit list. Jonathan was given a unique power probably need to be more specific here - what's the power? that would save the immortal realm from the Master there was a Master vampire in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so you might want to change this name..., an overlord with the power to locate immortals strong enough to challenge him before they are old enough to know how interesting Greek angle on this.

Jonathan learns from Tamara’s allies that the Master has discovered the means to control mortals I'm not sure how this ties in. Seems like a random segue to me--and he intends to test that power on Jonathan's parents Need more specifics here. Control mortals how? And why would he be testing it on Jon's parents? Seems the antagonist has shifted focus from killing Jon to just manipulating his parents. To destroy the most dangerous man in two realms, Jonathan will have to risk his life by triggering an unknown power too early. And if he fails, his family--as well as every other mortal and immortal in existence--will suffer for it. Sounds like an interesting plot, just narrow down the antagonist's goal for clarity purposes.

The Privileged is an upper middle grade fantasy complete at 83,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Me :)[/quote]
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wilderness
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Re: Query for Upper Middle Grade

Post by wilderness » December 6th, 2011, 4:02 pm

cassiemcook wrote: There’s no way fourteen year old Jonathan Stevens is going to his first day of public school in May. I like the voice here, but it us not immediately obvious to me why starting in May is so bad. Socutting class to wander around a park seemed like a better idea... until a storm forces him into a bathroom stall, and he falls face-first into a giant hole caused by an earthquake. There's a storm and an earthquake?

Waking in the underbelly of the earth, Jonathan discovers he’s been kidnapped by a pain-in-the-butt sorceress named Tamara, who insists he is an immortal and he's on the top of a very long hit list. This sentence is pretty long. How about breaking it up? Jonathan was given a unique power that would save the immortal realm from the Master, an overlord with the power to locate immortals strong enough to challenge him before they are old enough to know how. Another long sentence, and you're really throwing a lot of info at us at once. What do we really need to know?

Jonathan learns from Tamara’s allies that the Master has discovered the means to control mortals--and he intends to test that power on Jonathan's parents. So now Jonathan is friends with Tamora and the Master is the enemy? When did that happen? To destroy the most dangerous man in two realms, Jonathan will have to risk his life by triggering an unknown power too early. And if he fails, his family--as well as every other mortal and immortal in existence--will suffer for it.

The Privileged is an upper middle grade fantasy complete at 83,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Me :)
Hmm, although this could be an interesting book (reminds me of Rick Riordon's Lost Heroes), I think you should focus more on character development and scale back on how much of the plot you reveal. Remember, this only has to be a teaser, intriguing us to read more! We don't need to know everything, and when you throw too much at us we get lost. I'd like to know more about the friendship that forms between Tamora and Jonathan (and how/why is she annoying?). Seems like there could be some good humor there. Finally, although I liked the idea of the first sentence, unless you're going to bring us back to why Jonathan wanted to skip school or tie it in with the rest of the plot, it doesn't need to be there. Hope that helps!

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theWallflower
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Re: Query for Upper Middle Grade

Post by theWallflower » December 15th, 2011, 4:55 pm

There’s no way fourteen year old Jonathan Stevens is going to his first day of public school in May. So cutting class to wander around a park seemed like a better idea... until a storm forces him into a bathroom stall, and he falls face-first into a giant hole caused by an earthquake.
-Maybe it's just me, but is there a trend that you're supposed to indicate the protagonist's age in each query? 4/5 queries I've reviewed have named the protagonist's age in this way.
-Why did he cut class? And why May? Most students going to a new school are eager to see a new environment. And where did he go before? Private school? That could add a lot of characterization.
-And how does a storm force him into the bathroom stall? Is it a port-a-potty? Did it blow him in? And then there's an earthquake? It seems like too much to be plausible.
-Insert falling in hole/toilet joke here.
-Seems like a lot's happening here, and non of it has an impact on the central problem.
Waking in the underbelly of the earth, Jonathan discovers he’s been kidnapped by a pain-in-the-butt sorceress named Tamara, who insists he is an immortal and he's on the top of a very long hit list. Jonathan was given a unique power that would save the immortal realm from the Master, an overlord with the power to locate immortals strong enough to challenge him before they are old enough to know how.
-You know, I don't see the first paragraph being that necessary. The story starts when he falls down the rabbit hole.
-If he's immortal, how exactly is he going to be "hit"?
-Except for the first sentence (which is too long), the rest of it is backstory. You can just say the Master is trying to kill him because Jonathan may or may not be an immortal with the power to kill him.
-What is that power? That's the thing I'd be most intrigued to hear about.
Jonathan learns from Tamara’s allies that the Master has discovered the means to control mortals--and he intends to test that power on Jonathan's parents. To destroy the most dangerous man in two realms, Jonathan will have to risk his life by triggering an unknown power too early. And if he fails, his family--as well as every other mortal and immortal in existence--will suffer for it.
-Okay, so I know what the protagonist wants, but I don't have a good sense of who he is. And most of all, I don't know what he's going to do to get what he wants. I just know he'll have to "risk his life" by "triggering an unknown power". I can't force myself to care, because I don't know what the unknown power is, nor how triggering it risks his life. So I can't engage.
The Privileged is an upper middle grade fantasy complete at 83,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.
-What is "upper middle grade"? There is only middle grade and YA. Middle Grade is for an audience too young for YA.
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