Queries make this aussie girl feel stupid.

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LaurenNTaylor
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Queries make this aussie girl feel stupid.

Post by LaurenNTaylor » July 20th, 2012, 7:59 pm

How does this sound?


Rosa’s biggest problem is not that she lives in the cruel and punishing Woodlands. It’s not that the Superiors, the self-proclaimed protectors of the people, kidnapped her and impregnated her using synthesized genetic material.

It’s that Joseph and her are different.

Where Rosa is impulsive, prickly and suspicious Joseph is levelheaded, warm and open. They even look completely different: He’s tall, blonde and gorgeous. She’s small, dark and has weird eyes. They are so different that they make the ideal genetic pairing in the Superior’s minds.

So even though Rosa has escaped and Joseph is the one that rescued her, she is not relieved. She is doesn’t know how to feel. The baby that she has been referring to as a leech is Joseph’s baby. They have only kissed, once, and now they are expecting a baby. It’s laughable. It’s terrifying.

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Re: Queries make this aussie girl feel stupid.

Post by LurkingVirologist » July 21st, 2012, 6:49 pm

I think this is a big step in the right direction! If I might suggest giving yourself a few days off, then re-write the 'same' query from scratch without looking at the old one. Put the two version together, and see what you've got. Don't be discouraged, it sounds like you're getting the hang of this.
"Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic." -Carl Sagan

LaurenNTaylor
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Re: Queries make this aussie girl feel stupid.

Post by LaurenNTaylor » July 22nd, 2012, 4:40 am

Thanks :) Good advice. Will take a break and come back to it in a few days.

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Shipple
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Re: Queries make this aussie girl feel stupid.

Post by Shipple » July 22nd, 2012, 9:04 pm

You need to say what your book title, genre, and word count are. I think they'd help all of us out too (especially the genre).

Here are a few things that I wondered when reading this query:
-What makes her eyes "weird"? Is this something special about her and is it relevant to the plot or are they just plain old weird? If they're just plain old weird, I don't' know that I'd bother to mention it.
-Why is she referring to her baby as a "leech"? I mean, I'd think of it as a burden in her circumstances, but I'm not sure what would lead me to "leech", especially if, as you say, the fact she's been impregnated isn't her biggest problem.
-I personally would have a much bigger problem with the fact that I'd been forcibly impregnated than with the fact that I didn't get on with the father of the baby (who didn't rape me-good you included how she was impregnated or we might have wondered). Especially since the father was the person who rescued me.
-You maybe ought to tell more about why her and Joseph's lives must be intertwined from here on out. I'm guessing that's the implication, but I wouldn't have thought that would be true based on what I know of today's society (obviously this doesn't take place in today's society, but we always start from that basic background in the way we think).
"Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." - J.K. Rowling (an awesome opening line)
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Re: Queries make this aussie girl feel stupid.

Post by LaurenNTaylor » July 30th, 2012, 12:50 am

Another go.....

What do you do when you’ve been forced to skip all the important steps? It’s supposed to go love, marriage baby or something like that. Not: First kiss…fast forward…baby.

Rosa’s biggest problem is not that she lives in the cruel and punishing Woodlands, the cluster of concrete compounds built in the Russian wilderness by the chosen survivors of World War 5. It’s not that the Superiors, the self-proclaimed protectors of the people, kidnapped her and impregnated her using synthesized genetic material as part of a sinister plan to increase and control the genetic composition of the population. Although that’s certainly part of it.

It’s that Joseph and her are different.

Where Rosa is impulsive, prickly and suspicious Joseph is levelheaded, warm and open. They even look completely different: He’s from the Russian settlement of Birchton: Tall, blonde and gorgeous. She’s from Pau Brasil and is half Hispanic half Indian with one brown and one blue eye. They are so different that they make the ideal genetic pairing in the Superior’s minds.

So even though Rosa has escaped the underground facility where pregnant girls were drugged and pushed through roped off yards like chattel, and Joseph is the one that rescued her, she is not relieved. She doesn’t know how to feel. She finds out that the baby that she has been referring to as a leech, the baby she doesn’t want, is Joseph’s baby. They have only kissed, once, and now they are expecting a baby. Joseph thinks they can make it work. But after everything she has been through, Rosa’s not sure she could even tolerate it, let alone love it. Her situation is laughable. It’s also terrifying. How can she come to terms with loving Joseph whilst she’s struggling to love their baby?

THE WOODLANDS is my young adult, dystopian novel of 82,000 words. I am currently writing the second book of what I hope will be a trilogy. I am the author and artist of the Me and my Monster Studio collection. I have also had my research paper published in the scientific journal Birth for which I won the best article of the year in 2004. I live in the Adelaide Hills with my husband and 3 lively and individual children. I come from a truly multicultural background (Celtic, Malaysian, French, Indonesian, Chinese) and this is a strong theme in my writing, as are the experiences of being a young mother.

I would be over the moon if you would consider THE WOODLANDS. Thank you very much and hope to hear from you soon.

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Re: Queries make this aussie girl feel stupid.

Post by elbowpatch » July 30th, 2012, 12:36 pm

Lauren,

I'm definitely not your audience, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. In general I like your premise, but I think that trumpeting the relationship at the expense of the dystopian aspects of your novel doesn't serve you well.
LaurenNTaylor wrote:Another go.....

What do you do when you’ve been forced to skip all the important steps? It’s supposed to go love, marriage baby or something like that. Not: First kiss…fast forward…baby.

I'm not sure about this opening. I think a sentence which plays on Rosa's suprise when she is forcibly impregnated, or maybe better when she discovers that she has been forcibly impregnated with Joseph's genetic material might be more eye catching and truer to your story.

Rosa’s biggest problem is not that she lives in the cruel and punishing Woodlands, the cluster of concrete compounds built in the Russian wilderness by the chosen survivors of World War 5. It’s not that the Superiors, the self-proclaimed protectors of the people, kidnapped her and impregnated her using synthesized genetic material as part of a sinister plan to increase and control the genetic composition of the population. Although that’s certainly part of it. Don't downplay this. It is what makes your novel different. The relationship story is important, but if your really think about, would someone rather be involved with someone different or be in an oppressive society fleeing from Superiors etc. Fear of death, torture, etc seems a lot more troublesome then being involved with someone different who Roas actually seems to like.
It’s that Joseph and her are different.

Where Rosa is impulsive, prickly and suspicious Joseph is levelheaded, warm and open. They even look completely different: He’s from the Russian settlement of Birchton: Tall, blonde and gorgeous. She’s from Pau Brasil and is half Hispanic half Indian with one brown and one blue eye. They are so different that they make the ideal genetic pairing in the Superior’s minds.

So even though Rosa has escaped the underground facility where pregnant girls were drugged and pushed through roped off yards like chattel, and Joseph is the one that rescued her, she is not relieved. She doesn’t know how to feel. She finds out that the baby that she has been referring to as a leech, the baby she doesn’t want, is Joseph’s baby. They have only kissed, once, and now they are expecting a baby. Joseph thinks they can make it work. But after everything she has been through, Rosa’s not sure she could even tolerate it, let alone love it. Her situation is laughable. It’s also terrifying. How can she come to terms with loving Joseph whilst she’s struggling to love their baby?
ok once again it seems like they're living in suburbia and in a "knocked up" like situation not in some dystopian hell. I assume she has more pressing issues than trying to love Joseph, like escaping the Superiors, foiling their plans etc. Her inability to love her baby is interesting and perhaps the most intriguing part of your book, but I think you need to highlight the dystopia as the main theme and then throw in the inability to love as a complicating factor with real implications to the plot. Why is it so important that she loves her baby? I'm sure you tie it back to the Superiors etc. give the reader a hint as to how.


THE WOODLANDS is my young adult, dystopian novel of 82,000 words. I am currently writing the second book of what I hope will be a trilogy. (you need to say something about how this book stands alone) I am the author and artist of the Me and my Monster Studio collection (Explain what this is) . I have also had my research paper (is the title of your paper interesting?) published in the scientific journal Birth for which I won the best article of the year in 2004. I live in the Adelaide Hills with my husband and 3 lively and individual children. I come from a truly multicultural background (Celtic, Malaysian, French, Indonesian, Chinese) and this is a strong theme in my writing, as are the experiences of being a young mother.

I would be over the moon if you would consider THE WOODLANDS. Thank you very much and hope to hear from you soon.
NOt sure about the tone here, sounds a bit too chummy.

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Re: Queries make this aussie girl feel stupid.

Post by LaurenNTaylor » July 31st, 2012, 12:42 am

Short and sweet:

THE WOODLANDS is the story of Rosa, an impulsive 16-year-old with a smart mouth and a penchant for trouble. She is on the run from an extremely controlling dystopian regime: The Woodlands, the settlement built in Russia by the survivors of World War 5. The Superiors regulate the towns with cruelty and fear.

After doing the unthinkable and standing up to her teacher, Rosa is beaten unconscious. She wakes up 4 months later, pregnant; later discovering she is part of a sinister plan to eliminate the need for families and control the genetic composition of the population. Burdened by a baby, she flees; encountering other fugitives along the way, including a love she had long given up hope of ever seeing again. Together they face wolves, bears, starvation and the ever-present threat of the Superiors, as they battle their way across the Russian wilderness towards the Mongolian border.

.........

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Re: Queries make this aussie girl feel stupid.

Post by LaurenNTaylor » July 31st, 2012, 12:59 am

Dear

Rosa has to run, her life depends on it. Another life now depends on her too: The one growing inside her.

Resembling the concentric rings of a tree trunk the concrete rings of the Woodlands shoot up out of the ground, tall and menacing. But unlike a tree, the rings don’t mark growth or change; they are a symbol of fear and control. Each ring opens when you reach a certain age but once you’re 18 and old enough to make it to the last one, Ring 8, the great claw of the Superiors plucks you from your home and you’re forced to start all over again. You will never see your parents, your home ever again. You are always moving; you can never put down roots.

The contradiction is not lost on Rosa. Her town; Brasilwood is identical to the other 7 towns. All enclosed, all ruled by the harsh and punishing Superiors. No one gets in and no one gets out, unless taken out. No one has even tried. The people are disconnected, past caring. But not Rosa, an impulsive 16-year-old with a smart mouth. Her rebellious nature gets her in trouble but it could also be her greatest strength.

When the Superiors decide to increase their control by removing the need for families, they didn’t count on Rosa. They take girls from the Classes, the place all teenagers are sent after they leave their hometown for training and occupation allocation, drug them and impregnate them. They didn’t realise taking Rosa could be their undoing. She is different to the rest of these dopey pregnant girls. She is resistant to the drugs because of her extraordinary will. She is fearless and is likely to act first and think later.

She will escape. And when she does, they will chase her. Forcing her to flee into the wilderness where nature has overrun any remnant of a human presence. It is as foreign to Rosa as it is to the Superiors. But she has a strong will to survive and a strong love to protect.

THE WOODLANDS is my young adult, dystopian novel of 82,000 words. I am currently writing the second book of what I hope will be a trilogy. I am the author and artist of the Me and my Monster Studio collection. I have also had my research paper published in the scientific journal Birth for which I won the best article of the year in 2004. I live in the Adelaide Hills with my husband and 3 lively and individual children.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

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Re: Queries make this aussie girl feel stupid.

Post by LaurenNTaylor » August 2nd, 2012, 10:13 pm

Just got a full ms request from my original query from Writer's House

GULP!

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Re: Queries make this aussie girl feel stupid.

Post by Mark.W.Carson » August 3rd, 2012, 10:32 am

Which agent?

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Re: Queries make this aussie girl feel stupid.

Post by elbowpatch » August 3rd, 2012, 12:43 pm

Congrats and good luck.

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Re: Queries make this aussie girl feel stupid.

Post by suef » August 3rd, 2012, 9:16 pm

Hi!

Nothing brings out more fear than the old query letter (or worse, the synopsis) of your work, but let's take a look at yours and I'll tell you what I think.

Rosa’s biggest problem is not that she lives in the cruel and punishing Woodlands. It’s not that the Superiors, the self-proclaimed protectors of the people, kidnapped her and impregnated her using synthesized genetic material.

It’s that Joseph and her are different. This is intriguing but I don't know if this hook is strong enough. I'm a firm believer in less is more, and think maybe narrowing this down might start things off stronger. Think of it this way-you are setting a mood, and short, distinct sentences create more tension than longer sentences.

Where Rosa is impulsive, prickly and suspicious Joseph is levelheaded, warm and open. They even look completely different: He’s tall, blonde and gorgeous. She’s small, dark and has weird eyes. They are so different that they make the ideal genetic pairing in the Superior’s minds.I got a little confused here. So Rosa likes this Joe fella, but even though they are not together she is going to have his baby? Maybe you should say more of who the Superiors are and something about their plans instead of the descriptions of Rosa and Joe...

So even though Rosa has escaped and Joseph is the one that rescued her, she is not relieved. She is doesn’t know how to feel. The baby that she has been referring to as a leech is Joseph’s baby. They have only kissed, once, and now they are expecting a baby. It’s laughable. It’s terrifying.LaurenNTaylor
What has Jo escaped from? Why is Rosa still a prisoner, and where is this prison? How did she find out it was Joe's baby? Careful with mistakes: "She is doesn’t know how to feel"
Hmm...I think this ending needs to be stronger. I'm left pretty confused. Make me care about Rosa-who is she?
The unique idea is there-you just need to sell it more. What helps me is reading book jackets of the genre I'm writing. Also, think in terms of what happens in about the first 20 pages of your novel for your query. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed by it all. Good luck with this!
:)

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LaurenNTaylor
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Re: Queries make this aussie girl feel stupid.

Post by LaurenNTaylor » August 4th, 2012, 6:07 am

Agent is Susan Ginsburg. It's in her hands now!

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Re: Queries make this aussie girl feel stupid.

Post by jenad » August 6th, 2012, 1:32 am

That's great news! Hope all goes well.

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Re: Queries make this aussie girl feel stupid.

Post by LaurenNTaylor » August 6th, 2012, 3:47 am

Thanks to everyone who helped with the critiques. It was great to get different opinions. Now I just have to cross my fingers and pray :D

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