QUERY THE WOODLANDS YA Science Fiction

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LaurenNTaylor
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QUERY THE WOODLANDS YA Science Fiction

Post by LaurenNTaylor » June 13th, 2013, 5:18 am

Dear….

For sixteen-year-old Rosa, escape is just the beginning.

When Rosa regains consciousness, her first memory is standing in Construction Class, her mates slapping her back too hard and congratulating her on her work. She smiles recalling how funny she’d looked standing next to those burly boys, how much she’d loved them, and how it was the first time she’d been happy since she’d been forced to leave home.

She touches her face and it all comes back. She’s watching them shatter her work. She screams “NO!” The blow of a hammer sends her flying across the room. She looks up at the smug Guardian’s face from a pool of blood and she knows it’s over. She was a troublemaker. She couldn’t keep her mouth shut. The Superiors punished her.

Now, Rosa runs her hand across her stomach and freaks out! She’s pregnant and she can’t remember how. She’s trapped below ground under constant surveillance. She watches the others, girls like her that haven’t worked out how to fight the sedation. They shuffle aimlessly down the halls, bellies bulging. Until one day they disappear from the lines and they don’t come back.

She won’t be one of those girls. And even though Rosa knows nothing of how to survive in the world beyond the Woodlands, who might be out there or how to care for a baby on her own. She must escape.

I am pleased to submit for your consideration, my young adult science fiction novel, THE WOODLANDS. A 92,000-word tale of amazing escapes, complicated love, trekking across the Siberian landscape following a disintegrating railway line and kissing in pine trees while hungry wolves circle below.

I am a young mother of three with a Bachelors degree in Health Sciences and Honours in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. I majored in Psychology and minored in Contemporary Australian Writing. I live in a tiny town on the other side of the world.
Last edited by LaurenNTaylor on June 14th, 2013, 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jdanielbatt
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Re: QUERY Escape is just the beginning YA Science Fiction

Post by jdanielbatt » June 13th, 2013, 5:58 pm

A few thoughts:

The title should use proper capitalization:
"Escape is Just the Beginning"

The first sentence feels a bit weak. I realize it's your title but it doesn't tell me what she's escaping from. Your second sentence is too long. If you can't say it in one breath, then you should try to shorten it.

The remainder of the query feels like an actual scene rather than a book pitch. Look at the back of books in your genre. You should try to sell on the over-arching conflict in the book.

The third paragraph is where it gets interesting. This looks like something I'd read!

Skyless16
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Re: QUERY Escape is just the beginning YA Science Fiction

Post by Skyless16 » June 14th, 2013, 7:26 pm

This isn't a query letter. Most agents are against the idea of making the query letter from the character's POV. It's seen as a gimmick. While this is third person, it seems more like a scene from the book. In fact, it seems like a few scenes from the book thrown onto a page and called a query letter.

To be honest, I could barely read it. It's very confusing. What does the protagonist want? What's stopping her from getting it? What is the dramatic question that will keep us reading? Be clear. Agents want to know what your book is about. What you have here doesn't make any sense. It needs to be rewritten, completely.

I don't mean to sound harsh, I'm just trying to help because I know how much time you put into writing your novel. I've got my fingers crossed for you!

LaurenNTaylor
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Re: QUERY THE WOODLANDS YA Science Fiction

Post by LaurenNTaylor » June 14th, 2013, 7:45 pm

It's alright. I read a few advice sites on queries which said, more showing less telling but I may have gone overboard. Is this what a more traditional query 'should' look like.

When the hand of the Superiors’ paused over sixteen-year-old Rosa’s head – It should have kept moving.

Rosa has always been out of place. Her concrete world keeps the dangers of the wild out but also keeps the people contained and controlled. Most of the time she feels like she should be on the other side of the wall. She’s a lot like her missing father, mischievous, impulsive and dangerous. Now she’s stuck with her stepfather Paulo, a cruel twist of a man and her mother who just lets it all happen.

When warm, clumsy Joseph stomps into her life, Rosa is at a crossroads. Her mother is pregnant and the law states only one child per household. She must go to the Classes now or when the baby is born. Moved by her feelings for Joseph, who is leaving for the Classes soon and the chance to get away from Paulo, she decides to leave. Even though it means she’ll never see her mother again.

At the Classes, you do the Test, you are allocated your Class and you become a doctor, a waste management banned word or whatever you're told to be. But something’s wrong. The halls are almost empty. The Guardians are on edge. The kids who step out of line disappear don't just get punished, they disappear.

When Rosa does what she always does and says no when she should just shut up, she is sucked into a disturbing plan that will change families forever. She needs to escape. She needs Joseph. But he’s involved, which brings distrust and fear into an already unsteady relationship.

If she can get out she will land amongst the trees, in an alien landscape she’s not prepared for. She will have to run and she will have to fight: For her life, for Joseph’s and the life of an innocent child.

Skyless16
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Re: QUERY THE WOODLANDS YA Science Fiction

Post by Skyless16 » June 16th, 2013, 7:40 pm

This is a good improvement and I can work with this.
LaurenNTaylor wrote:It's alright. I read a few advice sites on queries which said, more showing less telling but I may have gone overboard. Is this what a more traditional query 'should' look like.

You're right, it's better to show than to tell. You just went about it the wrong way.

When the hand of the Superiors’ paused over sixteen-year-old Rosa’s head – It should have kept moving.

Rosa has always been out of place. Her concrete world keeps the dangers of the wild out but also keeps the people contained and controlled. Most of the time she feels like she should be on the other side of the wall. She’s a lot like her missing father, mischievous, impulsive and dangerous. Now she’s stuck with her stepfather Paulo, a cruel twist of a man and her mother who just lets it all happen.

That's all just exposition. It's not gripping. This is where you should start:

When warm, clumsy Joseph stomps into her life, Rosa is at a crossroads. Her mother is pregnant and the law states only one child per household. She must go to the Classes now or when the baby is born. Moved by her feelings for Joseph, who is leaving for the Classes soon and the chance to get away from her cruel stepfather, Paulo, she decides to leave. Even though it means she’ll never see her mother again.

Since I crossed out the first paragraph, you need to start this one with the main character and what she wants.

At the Classes, you do are required to take the Test. yYou are allocated your Class and you become a doctor, a waste management banned word or whatever you're told to be. But something’s wrong. The halls are almost empty. The Guardians are on edge. The kids who step out of line disappear don't just get punished, they disappear.

And this is where you've lost me. Clarity is very important when writing a query letter. You want agents to know exactly what your story is about. What halls are you talking about? We have an okay sense of what the Classes are, but who are the Guardians?

When Rosa does what she always does and says no when she should just shut up, she is sucked into a disturbing plan that will change families forever. She needs to escape. She needs Joseph. But he’s involved, which brings distrust and fear into an already unsteady relationship.

Says no to what? Be specific. Escape from what? What is Joseph involved in?


If she can get out she will land amongst the trees, in an alien landscape she’s not prepared for. She will have to run and she will have to fight: For her life, for Joseph’s and the life of an innocent child.

I had to read this last paragraph a few times and I still don't understand it. What is she trying to get out of and who is she fighting? And who's the kid? I know that she's pregnant, but if I hadn't read your last query, I wouldn't have understood it.
This isn't working. You have some rewriting to do. The information you need is this: The character, what she wants, what's stopping her. Here's something that might help:

http://edittorrent.blogspot.com/2009/04 ... -neat.html

Also, in a query letter, be sure to include the book's genre, word count, and title. Also put any writing credentials you may have (ex. published books). You'll also need to put your contact info at the bottom.

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