Tidal Wave - YA Fantasy

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macaronimagpie
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Tidal Wave - YA Fantasy

Post by macaronimagpie » July 6th, 2012, 12:34 pm

Venice met the boy who killed her on the fourteenth of June. 

On the fifteenth she kissed him.

On the twenty-fourth she found out he was cursed.

On the twenty-ninth she tried to break it with some salt and a bit of paper.

On the thirtieth he drowned her.

On the twenty-ninth he felt bad about it.

Now he has to find a way to save her, but it's hard to find time when none of the clocks line up.

TIDAL WAVE is a 40,000 word work of YA fantasy.

---
I know I'm not following the traditional format, but it wasn't working for the weirdness that is my novel. SO. Help? Please? Also, is the first sentence grammatically correct? I feel like it might not be because it sounds like 'on the fourteenth of June' is describing 'killed' instead of 'met' but I can't decide. I think I'm starting to babble so I'm just going to stop typing now.

elbowpatch
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Re: Tidal Wave - YA Fantasy

Post by elbowpatch » July 6th, 2012, 4:52 pm

I like your format, but I don't know what agents would think. I also used an untraditional format. Sent out 8 queries, got one partial, but I had a connection, so that may tell you something.

Why not start with: On the fourteenth of June, Venice met the boy who would kill her. (Assuming that the killing happened after the meeting.)

I'm a bit unsure about the twenty-ninth since "it" doesn't really have a clear antecedent. I assume you mean she tried to break the curse. Perhaps something like: On the twenty ninth she dipped paper in salt (or whatever action occurred) to break the curse.

You may want to explain why time is so screwy in your last sentence i.e TIDAL WAVE is a YA novel where time works....

Good luck with it. The premise is interesting and I think even if this format may not be ideal for a query, it would be great for a jacket cover.

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wilderness
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Re: Tidal Wave - YA Fantasy

Post by wilderness » July 9th, 2012, 12:43 am

macaronimagpie wrote:Venice met the boy who killed her on the fourteenth of June. 
I think you could fix the ambiguity by saying:
On the fourteenth of June, Venice met the boy who killed her.


On the fifteenth she kissed him.

On the twenty-fourth she found out he was cursed.

On the twenty-ninth she tried to break it with some salt and a bit of paper.

On the thirtieth he drowned her.

On the twenty-ninth he felt bad about it.
I don't like how this rolls over to a new month (at least that's what I think it's doing). You wouldn't refer to the next month as just the 29th. Or is it because of time travel? Confusing.

Now he has to find a way to save her, but it's hard to find time when none of the clocks line up.

Overall, I think the format is cute (though I have seen something similar on Query Shark). However, I think you need to find away to clue us into how this boy can save her. The last line is too enigmatic and not really giving me enough of a glimpse of what this is about (is it a paranormal about a boy with time travel capability?). I'm also not sure if the boy or the girl is the main character since it starts with Venice but the conflict at the end seems to be the boy's. I would use one POV.


TIDAL WAVE is a 40,000 word work of YA fantasy.

LizV
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Re: Tidal Wave - YA Fantasy

Post by LizV » July 9th, 2012, 2:08 pm

I really like this. The format is non-standard, but I recall seeing something similar on Query Shark, and IIRC the Shark liked it. If it works for your story, I say run with it.

To me, it was clear that "On the twenty-ninth he felt bad about it" was refering to his having drowned the girl. Which immediately made me suspect that this guy perceives time in some non-linear fashion, and the next sentence confirmed that. I'm intrigued.

The first sentence is grammatically correct, and I read it as they met on the 14th. Although it could be interpreted the other way, I think keeping "met the boy who killed her" in the past tense is worth it, because it fits with the time-weirdness of the rest of the query.

One problem I did have is figuring out who's the main character. At the start is sounds like Venice is, but by the end it sounds like the boy. That threw me, and I suspect it's going to throw potential agents, too. The way you've structured it does lead smoothly from one to the other, but it left me not knowing who I'm supposed to sympathize with. Also, if the boy is the MC, not having a name for him is going to be a stumbling block for a lot of people.

I love "it's hard to find time when none of the clocks line up." Whether you want to include more explanation is a gamble; I'm intrigued enough to want to know more (which is the point of a query), but others might need more to draw them in. Do you have a feel for what the top agents on your list are likely to prefer?

macaronimagpie
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Re: Tidal Wave - YA Fantasy

Post by macaronimagpie » July 10th, 2012, 10:56 am

Thank you all for the feedback!

The main character thing is an issue because they're both the main characters. I opened with Venice because she has the initial POV in the book. I didn't want the query to feel like the whole thing was about Venice though, because I was worried it would be too confusing when it switched. And yes, the boy's time stream is non-linear. I guess I didn't get it across well enough if you thought the twenty ninth was a different month. I'll have to think of a way to make this more clear.

I wrote this new version that's more traditional, but it only tells half the story, so, I don't know. Is it okay to pretend an entire POV doesn't exist in the query? (I know the sentences are clunky, I'm working on it.)

Venice is having a bad summer. Her parents are around the world making travel DVDs, her best friend is mad at her (again), and the boy she tried to rescue from drowning is stalking her. The worst part is, she's fallen in love with him. It almost gets better when he tells her he's cursed, until it turns out this isn't an adventure to be broken with a magic kiss. The only way to save him is to give up her own life. The price if she doesn't is death to her sad-eyed stalker boy.

She can't ditch her planned out life for a boy she's know two weeks, but she also can't stand back and let him die. Why can't she just spend her summer studying AP Calculus like a normal teenager?

TIDAL WAVE is a 40,000 word work of YA fantasy.

LizV
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Re: Tidal Wave - YA Fantasy

Post by LizV » July 10th, 2012, 11:30 am

macaronimagpie wrote:Is it okay to pretend an entire POV doesn't exist in the query?
Yes; in fact, I've seen it recommended. By QS/Janet Reid, IIRC.

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Brian_H
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Re: Tidal Wave - YA Fantasy

Post by Brian_H » July 10th, 2012, 5:34 pm

Hi magpie,
For what it's worth, I think if you're going to break from traditional formatting, your query has to be perfectly written and absolutely captivating. It has to grab the agent by the throat. I think you have a little ways to go, but I have a suggestion or two.

Regarding the original effort:
1. If you're going to condense your query into what are essentially six short sentences, they better ALL be "holy crap" good. In my opinion you only achieve that with every other line. Lines 1, 3, and 5 are grabbers, but even those could be tightened up some. The lines where she kisses him, he feels bad about killing her, and her breaking the curse just do nothing to grab my interest. Yes they tell me more about the story, but that's not enough. You have to make me want to read it (and with just a few sentences). I would reshape, reword, retool, or remove those lines until all of them jump out at you.

Regarding the longer version further down:
2. I proposed to my wife after only knowing her for two weeks. We've been happily married now for 18 years. So I know all about "love at first sight," "falling head over heels," insert whatever cliché you want here. Still, 18 years ago, if I had proposed to my wife (who initially said no way) and she said "the only way I can live is if you die," I would have run for the hills. No matter how much I thought I loved her, I would NOT have died for her. Today I would for sure, but after two weeks, not a chance. I suspect it would be hard for a lot of YA readers too. So you need to help us understand what makes their relationship SOOO special. What makes her willing to DIE for some guy she just met? I don't get a sense for their relationship at all. What does he give her that her friends, family, other boys, chocolate, can't? I mean, if this were the only person that ever showed kindness to her in an otherwise horrible life, maybe. But it sounds like she's living a perfectly normal life. Okay, I ramble, you get the point.

Regarding some of your insights:
3. Yes it is okay to leave out important parts of your novel in the query. Some of my books are +90K words, how the heck could I hope to include every plot twist or important character in one page? It's hard to be comfortable doing it though. Fight through it. The only thing that matters is that the person you're sending this too wants to see more of it. If by trying to include too much, it becomes confusing or clunky, you're doomed. Find the one or two parts of your book that are the most compelling, and focus there.

Good luck!
It always seems impossible until it's done.

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