YA QUERY

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LaurenNTaylor
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YA QUERY

Post by LaurenNTaylor » January 23rd, 2013, 7:17 pm

All Kind is the way of the Woodlands, the colony built in Russia after a monstrous race war destroyed most of the planet. All Kind states that every citizen should be mixed race. Characteristics should blur and everyone will look the same. Rosa is Own Kind. She looks Indian, too much like her borderline catatonic mother.

All Kind is inefficient and slow, so the Woodland Superiors begin the Project, culling trouble-making teenagers and pulling them underground, impregnating them with artificially developed embryos they hope will represent All Kind.

The superiors never anticipated Rosa, a sixteen year old, lash-lipped, fire-in-her-gut girl who’s resistant to their drugs. When she wakes up pregnant, the first thing she thinks is, she’s glad she vomited on the creepy doctor’s pants. The second thing she thinks is, escape.

The Woodlands is a completed young adult novel of 90, 000 words that follows Rosa’s journey as she flees across the Russian wilderness aided by a band of rebelling scientists. Chased by Woodland soldiers, wolves and starvation, Rosa’s biggest problems lies inside her, a baby she never wanted.

LaurenNTaylor
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Re: YA QUERY

Post by LaurenNTaylor » January 23rd, 2013, 8:09 pm

OR.....

Dear….

Rosa never thought she’d make it to sixteen. She’s a red spark in a concrete grey world. Her kind of lash-lipped attitude isn’t tolerated in the Woodlands. And she was ok with that. No one would miss her; her father disappeared a long time ago, the replacement, a dark smile and hovering hand, not a father.

But then she meets Joseph. Looking like someone sculptors would want as a model, if that kind of thing were allowed. Rosa is wary, but his booming voice and clumsy nervousness endear him to her.

They are ripped apart and she finds herself grappling with consciousness four months later, pregnant and bunked with Clara a tiny, swollen, whimsical girl who is Rosa’s opposite in every way. Clara has hope Rosa can’t fathom. But they come to love each other like sisters and together they escape.

Clara is pure white light, wrapping around Rosa in a tight embrace that makes her think maybe, just maybe, she can survive carrying a baby she doesn’t want. And that Joseph and her can find a way to be together.

clareapparent
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Re: YA QUERY

Post by clareapparent » January 24th, 2013, 4:09 pm

Each of your query options has some of what it needs, but is missing an essential piece. I would recommend combining the sentiments of both -- a glimpse into the world build and the romance/characters -- while cutting down on superfluous language/bogged down sentences.

Rosa never thought she’d make it to sixteen.

This is a good opening line. Keep it. Cut the second line.

Her kind of lash-lipped attitude isn’t tolerated in the Woodlands.

What on earth is a lash-lipped attitude? This phrase is meaningless to me. Use a different word -- defiant? Now you need to tell me what the Woodlands is:

The Woodlands, the colony built in Russia after a monstrous race war destroyed most of the planet, orders a new citizenry, composed entirely of mixed raced individuals. [you should probably clarify WHY] They call it the All Kind.

Tweak as needed, but I think this is the best way to describe what I think you were getting at. Next, bring it back to your protagonist and how she fits in:

Sixteen-year-old Rosa is what is known as Own Kind, too close to her Indian mother's heritage to fit in. Her mother is practically catatonic [from what? you need to clarify this!] and with a father who disappeared long ago, Rosa figures no one will miss her. [here is a good place to insert some stakes. Does she think she would be dead by 16 b/c The Woodlands routinely kills teenagers/rebels? Is Rosa against the All Kind? If so, why?]

Rosa is wary when she meets Joseph, [insert why she is wary, but not because he is gorgeous. Your description made me think of Edward Cullen from Twilight, and that's not a good thing]. But his booming voice and clumsy nervousness endear him to her. [this said, I might remove Joseph from the query entirely, depending on the stakes]

Racial assimilation by decree is a slow, inefficient process, and Rosa discovers The Woodland's ugly secret when she is kidnapped and forcibly impregnated.


I have no idea how her being immune to their drugs is significant. If it is, you need to explain it better.

Together with a new friend, Rosa hatches a plan to escape and find a way back to Joseph. Chased by Woodland soldiers, wolves and starvation, Rosa’s biggest problems lies inside her: a baby she never wanted.

THE WOODLANDS is a YA dystopian novel, complete at 90,000 words.


I would add comp titles to the last paragraph -- probably a dystopia title or two. If this is the first in a series and/or a stand alone, you need to say so.

You still need to properly lay out the stakes. What will happen if/when she is caught? Will they kill her?

These are just some starting thoughts. You have some strong concepts, you just need to illustrate them in one query, with a better idea of the conflict and stakes. Good luck!

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SariBelle
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Re: YA QUERY

Post by SariBelle » February 1st, 2013, 12:14 am

I think Clareapparent has covered this off pretty well, but I'll give it a go! I think you have an interesting premise here, but it gets bogged down in detail (in one version) and lost in vague language in the other.

A good basis for query structure is: hook sentence, scene setting sentence, choice/conlict, what's at stake

I've put my thoughts in red:


Rosa never thought she’d make it to sixteen. <Hook. And it's a good one. Makes the reader ask, 'Why?'> She’s a red spark in a concrete grey world. <I'd cut this, it doesn't add anything concrete.> Her kind of defiant lash-lipped <I agree with Clareapparent here. This is odd word choice and if readers are struggling to figure out what you mean then you've already lost them. Defiant would be a better word> attitude isn’t tolerated in the Woodlands. <What is the real reason Rosa didn't think she'd live? Is it because of her attitude of because she's 'Own Kind'? I'm assuming it's the latter here.> But worse, Rosa is Own Kind. She looks Indian, too much like her borderline catatonic mother. And she was ok with that. No one would miss her; her father disappeared a long time ago, the replacement, a dark smile and hovering hand, not a father. <This is irrelavent to the query, as far as I can tell. If it has relevance to the core of the story it needs to be made more clear.>

<Setting>All Kind is the way of the Woodlands, the colony built in Russia after a monstrous race war destroyed most of the planet. All Kind states that every citizen should be mixed race. Characteristics should blur and everyone will look the same. All Kind is inefficient and slow, so the Woodland Superiors begin the Project, culling trouble-making teenagers and pulling them underground, impregnating them with artificially developed embryos they hope will represent All Kind <,This is implied so I'd leave it off.>.

<Here we have choice/conflict. She chooses to escape.>The sSuperiors never anticipated Rosa's resistant to their drugs. , a sixteen year old, lash-lipped, fire-in-her-gut girl who’s When she wakes up pregnant, the first thing she thinks is, she’s glad she vomited on the creepy doctor’s pants. The second thing she thinks is, escape.

But then she meets Joseph. Looking like someone sculptors would want as a model, if that kind of thing were allowed. Rosa is wary, but his booming voice and clumsy nervousness endear him to her. <These details aren't strong enough to warrent inclusion in the query. If Joseph helps her escape, or his a bigger part to play in the plot, include that. Try to avoid do much description and not enough action in the query.>

They are ripped apart and she finds herself grappling with consciousness four months later, pregnant and bunked with Clara a tiny, swollen, whimsical girl who is Rosa’s opposite in every way. Clara has hope Rosa can’t fathom. But they come to love each other like sisters and together they escape.

Clara is pure white light, wrapping around Rosa in a tight embrace that makes her think maybe, just maybe, she can survive carrying a baby she doesn’t want. And that Joseph and her can find a way to be together. <As with comments above regarding Josheph, we need more concrete details in the query. This vagueness doesn't generate the urgency to read as concrete details of conflict/plot would.>

<We're missing the final para - what's at stake? What happens if Clara doesn't escape? What happens if she does?>

The Woodlands is a completed young adult novel of 90, 000 words that follows Rosa’s journey as she flees across the Russian wilderness aided by a band of rebelling scientists. Chased by Woodland soldiers, wolves and starvation, Rosa’s biggest problems lies inside her, a baby she never wanted.

LaurenNTaylor
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Re: YA QUERY

Post by LaurenNTaylor » February 8th, 2013, 6:27 pm

Thanks. Guys I appreciate the critiques. I think I do get bogged down in the language and find it hard to simplify.

Good news though, just had a full MS request from an Aussie agency. So yay!!

http://thewoodlandsseries.blogspot.com.au/

LaurenNTaylor
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Re: YA QUERY

Post by LaurenNTaylor » February 8th, 2013, 6:57 pm

How about this??

Rosa never thought she’d make it to sixteen.

In a world where everyone follows the rules or is punished harshly, Rosa is a beacon of mischief and individuality.

In preserved Russia, the Woodlands rose from the ashes of a bitter race war that decimated the rest of the planet. Two hundred years later, the self-proclaimed Superiors who control the concrete compounds where Rosa lives are obsessed with creating a ‘raceless’ race, convinced this is the only way to avoid another war. Culling troublemakers and using them in a breeding program, they should have lifted the scythe when it passed over Rosa’s head.

Lying in a bed, pregnant with no idea how she got that way, Rosa’s only comfort is the fact that she vomited on the creepy doctor’s pants. Her situation seems hopeless, miles underground and guarded closely she plots for an escape that won’t happen. But she doesn’t know Joseph’s out there, searching for her. And his love combined with her stubbornness will get her out.

The reasons behind her escape are not simple but her swollen belly holds some of the answers. A baby she despises, is a baby Joseph wants her to keep.

But questions are beaten into the ground with every desperate footstep. They have to run and they have to rely on each other. The Superiors want their property back and Rosa’s only hope is to make it to the Mongolian border before the jagged ice teeth of a Russian winter devours them.

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