Query: OF ICE AND ASHES, YA light sci-fi

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AllieS
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Query: OF ICE AND ASHES, YA light sci-fi

Post by AllieS » July 26th, 2012, 3:31 pm

Hey all! Here's the query for my new manuscript. Not gonna lie, I haven't been able to pin what subgenre of YA it is, so if you have an opinion please let me know. Thanks for all your help!


Sixteen-year-old Wren is Tainted.

Spider-web black scars mar the other Tainted banished from Cloven, but Wren is different. Her skin is pale and perfect—but dangerous. Her touch causes excruciating pain for anyone she contacts. It’s the reason her father shoved her into the hands of a Tainted caretaker, the only person who can touch her without writhing on the ground. Wren would give anything to walk through her home without provoking the usual cringes and gasps of fear.

When Evangeline, the supervisor of the elemental caves, calls a public meeting, Wren hopes it’s to announce a cure for the her condition. Instead, she calls for the purging of all Tainted blood in Cloven. To start off the purging, Evangeline murders Wren’s caretaker in front of the entire town. Wren barely escapes and flees in search of the other outcasts hiding at the fringe of Cloven.

They might hate her for not originally being expelled with them. They might fear her as much as everyone else fears her. Wren’s spent her entire life trying to convince people not to be terrified her, but with the fires of Tainted bodies burning at night, she’ll have to decide if she’s willing to wield her frightening ability to save the only people like her.

If she hesitates too long, Evangeline will find her first.

Of Ice and Ashes is a stand-alone 78,000 word YA light sci-fi.

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LurkingVirologist
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Re: Query: OF ICE AND ASHES, YA light sci-fi

Post by LurkingVirologist » July 28th, 2012, 9:33 pm

Interesting stuff. Blue highlights are linked to [comments] and red indicates parts to consider dropping.

"Sixteen-year-old Wren is Tainted.

Spider-web black scars [Black spider-web scars - as currently written, it sounds like spider-web is a shade of black]mar the other Tainted banished from [of] Cloven, but Wren is different. Her skin is pale and perfect—but [just as] dangerous. Her touch causes excruciating pain for anyone she contacts. It’s the reason her father shoved [put] her into the hands of a Tainted caretaker, the only person who can touch her without writhing on the ground [good descriptive phrase, but maybe use something simpler and more direct in the query]. Wren would give anything to walk through her home without provoking [awkward word choice here] the usual cringes and gasps of fear.

When Evangeline, the supervisor of the elemental caves, calls a public meeting, Wren hopes it’s to announce a cure for the her condition. Instead, she calls for the purging of all Tainted blood in Cloven. To start off the purging, Evangeline murders Wren’s caretaker in front of the entire town. Wren barely escapes and flees [redundant wording, rework the start of the sentence] in search of the other outcasts hiding at the fringe of Cloven [unless 'the fringes' is an important geographic locale, which I can't tell from the sentence, I think it's safe to assume the reader understands the surviving Tainted have gone into hiding].

They might hate her for not originally being expelled with them. They might fear her as much as everyone else fears her. [not sure if this needs to be here, it breaks up a nice series of action sentences - purging, murder, flight, searching] Wren’s spent her entire life trying to convince people not to be terrified her, but with the fires of Tainted bodies burning at night [nice imagery, but it made me wonder why they don't burn them during the day too], she’ll have to decide if she’s willing to wield her frightening ability to save the only people like her [awkward phrasing].

If she hesitates too long, Evangeline will find her first. [this is implied by what you've already written] "

I think you're almost there. This sounds like a cool story, and you've kept the query focused nicely on the important characters and the dramatic set-up. This is something that, as a fantasy aficionado, I'd definitely open up and read some pages out of if I saw it at a bookstore. With a little bit of wordsmithing, I think you'll be in great shape. The main thing that I found myself highlighting was redundant words or instances where you explicitly state something you just strongly implied. I struggle with this too. It becomes a bit of a 'stutter-step' for the reader, interrupting the flow of your sentences. For example "her touch causes ...for anyone she contacts." Since you've said "her touch," you don't need to say "she contacts" because contact is part of touching. The same with "escapes ... flees," they mean basically the same thing in the given context. I think you've got all the essential bits there, just streamline and tighten things up a smidgen. I like to ask myself if every sentence fragment adds necessary information, if not, I get rid of it and restructure the sentence.

I really like the image of people covered in black spider-web scarring, by the way. Great visual, and a nice example of using a visual descriptor that associates with fear in the minds of many readers!
"Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic." -Carl Sagan

suef
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Re: Query: OF ICE AND ASHES, YA light sci-fi

Post by suef » August 3rd, 2012, 10:00 pm

Hi! Let's take a look:
Sixteen-year-old Wren is Tainted.Nice beginning! Short and sweet and intriguing.

Spider-web black scars mar the other Tainted banished from Cloven, but Wren is different. Her skin is pale and perfect—but dangerous.Love these two sentences. The writing is crisp and clear. I'm a believer in making each word count, and you have here. Her touch causes excruciating pain for anyone she contacts. It’s the reason her father shoved her into the hands of a Tainted caretaker, the only person who can touch her without writhing on the ground. Wren would give anything to walk through her home without provoking the usual cringes and gasps of fear.My only thought would maybe be some explanation about Tainteds...

When Evangeline, the supervisor of the elemental caves, calls a public meeting, Wren hopes it’s to announce a cure for the her condition. Instead, she calls for the purging of all Tainted blood in Cloven. To start off the purging, Evangeline murders Wren’s caretaker in front of the entire town.Ooh! Wren barely escapes and flees in search of the other outcasts hiding at the fringe of Cloven.escapes and flees-maybe choose one of these words instead of using both. It diminishes their strength.

They might hate her for not originally being expelled with them. Who is they?They might fear her as much as everyone else fears her. Wren’s spent her entire life trying to convince people not to be terrified herWatch sentence structure-a real deal breaker, especially with otherwise strong writing. ie. " people not to be terrified her" , but with the fires of Tainted bodies burning at night, she’ll have to decide if she’s willing to wield her frightening ability to save the only people like her.

If she hesitates too long, Evangeline will find her first. Hmm...maybe make this stronger?

Of Ice and Ashes is a stand-alone 78,000 word YA light sci-fi.I loved the writing voice here and your word choices. You could picture things right from the start. Good luck with this! :)

AllieS
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Re: Query: OF ICE AND ASHES, YA light sci-fi

Post by AllieS » August 4th, 2012, 6:13 pm

Thanks LurkingVirologist and suef! Here's a slightly tweaked version that is hopefully good enough to send out. Let me know what you think!


Sixteen-year-old Wren is Tainted.

The other survivors of the elemental explosion bear hideous black spider-web scars, but Wren is different. Her skin is pale and perfect—and dangerous. Her icy touch causes excruciating pain for everyone except the Tainted caretaker her father ditched her with. Wren would give anything to walk through her home without inciting the usual cringes and gasps of fear.

When Evangeline, the supervisor of the elemental caves, calls a public meeting, Wren hopes it’s to announce a cure for her condition. Instead, she declares that all the Tainted are diseased, demands that their blood be purged . . . and executes Wren’s caretaker in front of the entire town. Wren barely escapes in search of the other outcasts hiding at the fringe of the land—the deformed ones Evangeline banished after the explosion.

They might hate her for not being exiled with them. They might fear her as much as everyone else fears her. But with the fires of Tainted bodies burning at night, she’ll have to decide: wield her frightening ability to save the only people like her—even if it means taking a life—or wait for Evangeline to find her.

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klbritt
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Re: Query: OF ICE AND ASHES, YA light sci-fi

Post by klbritt » August 4th, 2012, 6:51 pm

I really enjoyed the story you created, in both queries. I do have a few suggestions that I hope may help :) My suggestions are in BLUE and things I feel should be removed are in RED.

Sixteen-year-old Wren is Tainted.

Hideous black, spider-web scars mark the The other survivors of an the elemental explosion, bear hideous black spider-web scars, but Wren is different. Her skin is pale and perfect—and dangerous. Her icy touch causes excruciating pain for everyone except the Tainted caretaker her father ditched her with. Did Wren's dad take off? Or perhaps he placed Wren with the caretaker to protect her? Try something like: In a moment of panic, Wren's father left her with the only person that was immune to the searing pain her touch invokes. Wren would give anything to walk through her home without inciting the usual cringes and gasps of fear.

When Evangeline, the supervisor of the elemental caves, calls a public meeting, Wren hopes it’s to announce a cure for her condition. Instead, she declares that all the Tainted are diseased, and demands that their blood be purged. To prove her point, Evangeline . . . and executes Wren’s caretaker in front of the entire town. With only minutes to spare, Wren barely escapes in a search to find the deformed ones, a colony of the other banished outcasts hiding at the fringe of the land.—the deformed ones Evangeline banished after the explosion.

They might hate her for not being exiled with them. They might fear her as much as everyone else fears her. But with the fires of Tainted bodies burning at night, she’ll have to decide: wield her frightening ability to save the only people like her—even if it means taking a life—or wait for Evangeline to find her. Try: Wren must choose to live in fear of not being accepted among the deformed ones and being caught by Evangeline, or risk it all and learn to wield her unnatural powers to save others like herself.

This kind of story is right up my alley - good job!

~Kristie
~Kristie

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