Query-Akasha one more time...I think

Share your blood sweat tears query for feedback and lend your hard-won expertise to others
mrpluckey
Posts: 11
Joined: March 29th, 2010, 12:24 pm
Contact:

Query-Akasha one more time...I think

Post by mrpluckey » March 31st, 2010, 1:05 pm

All right, I finally revised my letter. Let me know what you think of the changes.

Dear Agent,

In 1879, sixteen-year-old Nichole leads the life most of her peers desire. A big house, a mother who spoils her, and she’s betrothed to the wealthiest man in town. The only thing hindering her happiness is the year she must be apart from him while he learns his father’s business.

Until the note appears. ‘I found you,’ is all it says, but those three words will change her life. Her mother becomes frantic and tries to make Nichole leave behind their home, all her possessions and the love of her life.

If only she had listened. Her mother dies in a fire, leaving her in the hands of a superstitious town who believes she’s been cursed by the band of gypsies living nearby. With no other family, Nichole is forced to live with them.

Although she’s unhappy with her new life she feels drawn to the man who’s been put in charge of taking care of her, Bryshen.  Her trust in him turns to love and she begins to find contentment.

Then she discovers their secret. They are witches, possessing the powers of the elements, and Nichole is destined to be their leader; the only one who can access all five elements.  They found her just in time.

A powerful witch is trying to take the place as leader of their world and they need Nichole to stop her. To make matters worse, her betrothed has come to “rescue” her from the gypsies. Now she’s torn between the easy life she’s always known, and her duty to fulfill her destiny as the Akasha.

AKASHA is a YA fantasy complete at 90,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Heather Tregaskes


This is the original.

Dear specific agent,

It started with a note. I found you. Less than forty-eight hours later sixteen-year-old Nichole loses her mother in a fire, leaving her an orphan.

In 1870 the town of Singer, PA is as superstitious as they get. They believe the fire is a result of a curse placed on Nichole, and therefore demand her removal.

She is taken in by the very gypsies claimed to have cursed her, but soon discovers they are not who they appear to be. They are witches possessing the powers of the elements and she is not only one of them, she is the Akasha; the only one who can access all five elements. As her love grows for the man fated to be her protector she tries to accept her new role in this life as leader of the mystical world.

Until her ex-fiancée shows up.

His attempt to rescue her from the gypsies awakens her desire for a normal life. After all, that's why her mother bound Nichole's powers and kept this world a secret from her. It's not that simple, though. A deadly witch is threatening to overthrow the council by stealing other witch's powers and they need Nichole in order to stop her. But first they have to convince her to stay.

AKASHA is a YA urban fantasy complete at 90,000 words and ready for your review.
Thank you for your consideration.
Last edited by mrpluckey on April 6th, 2010, 9:37 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Emily J
Posts: 250
Joined: March 31st, 2010, 2:20 pm
Contact:

Re: Query-Akasha

Post by Emily J » March 31st, 2010, 2:29 pm

I think this query could use a bit of clarification.

First of, I think you need a colon after the first sentence, and apostrophes. Is the second sentence what is written on the note? I couldn't tell. Also, the second paragraph doesn't flow naturally. I would start with the date and the town, since I am assuming that's where the fire happened. But again, it's unclear.

"man fated to be her protector" is kind of vague. Plus you don't have a lot of characters in this query so I think we could stand a name here and some more description if this is in fact the love interest. I suppose it depends on how pivotal the love angle is to your story. Your call.

What mystical world? <- Found that confusing.

Also I think you need to spell fiancee with one e for a man. French words have 1 e for masculine and 2 e's for feminine forms. At first I thought she was engaged to a woman. Which would certainly be interesting given the time period.

The phrase "awakens her desire for a normal life" is not my favorite construction.

And you throw the word "council" in the mix without explanation.

So, basically I like the idea, but you have to remember that the person reading your query is not familiar with the world of your story. Make sure you explain things clearly, and introduce things in a logical manner.

Good luck-

BlancheKing
Posts: 157
Joined: December 12th, 2009, 7:38 am
Contact:

Re: Query-Akasha

Post by BlancheKing » March 31st, 2010, 3:36 pm

"It started with a note. I found you <-- not necessary. That is exciting enough to be a grabber--->. Less than forty-eight hours later sixteen-year-old Nichole loses her mother in a fire, leaving her an orphan."

Try not to make it sound like a summary, or generic. Also, most sixteen-years olds don't have fiances, as they're still legally under mom and dad's care. You could either explain why Nicole's different or up her age to 18.

best of luck =)
One manuscript, One dream, One stack of stamps that needs to be bought...
Writing Process: http://blancheking.blogspot.com/

User avatar
bookwatcher
Posts: 24
Joined: March 31st, 2010, 4:19 pm
Contact:

Re: Query-Akasha

Post by bookwatcher » March 31st, 2010, 4:50 pm

Okay, I'm new at this too, but I'm going to try. For me it's about the flow and understanding what's happening.

I think you should put what the note said in quotes so that it's clearer "I found you".

Less than forty-eight hours later, while it's not confusing, it seems a little off. (and again with my being new I can't put my finger on why)

Someone before mentioned putting the year at the beginning, which I think would make it clearer so when we read that she's engaged at 16 we don't freak out.

Demand her removal sounds a little too worked up, like you were searching for the perfect phrase. It falls a little short.

I agree that we should know the love interest's name. You only mention Nichole, so I think you are safe when it comes to confusing the agent with names.

Awakens implies she doesn't like being with the gypsies, but she's in love with one of them? Is she having an internal conflict as to which life she wants?

What council. Where are they, who are they? Why do they need Nichole?

I hope my feedback helps.

brandi_fey
Posts: 26
Joined: March 30th, 2010, 4:04 pm
Contact:

Re: Query-Akasha

Post by brandi_fey » March 31st, 2010, 5:42 pm

mrpluckey wrote:
Dear specific agent,

It started with a note.I found you. Less than forty-eight hours Two days later sixteen-year-old Nichole's loses her mother dies in a fire, leaving her an orphan.

In 1870 the town of Singer, PA is as superstitious as they get. They superstitious residents of Singer, PA believe the fire is a result of a curse placed on Nichole is cursed because...(e.g. calamitous events keep happening around her (also this would be a good place to mention WHO they think cursed her and WHY)), and therefore demand her removalexile her/run her out of town.

She is taken in by the very gypsies claimed to have cursed her, but soon discovers they are not who they appear to be. They are witches possessing the powers of the elements and she is not only one of them, she is the Akasha: the only one who can access all five (isn't there only four?) elements. As her love grows for the man fated to be her protector she tries to accept her new role in this life as leader of the mystical world, she grows to love her fated protector, (name).

UntilBut then her ex-fiancée shows up.

His attempt to rescue her from the gypsies reawakens her desire for a normal life. After all, that's why her mother bound Nichole's powers and kept this world a secret from her.(This seems ill-placed.) It's not that simple, though.(This is telling, you should show it instead.) But a deadly(I'm not fond of this adjective. It's too generic. Can you find something more specific to your villain?) witch is threatening to overthrow the council by stealing other witch's powers and they need Nichole in order to only the Akasha can stop her...if they canBut first they have to convince her to stay.

AKASHA is a YA urban fantasy complete at 90,000 words and ready for your review.
Thank you for your consideration.
This story is definitely intriguing, but the query has a lot of loose ends. I love your hook "It started with a note" but I think you might want to tie that into the circumstances better. Does it have to do with her mother binding Nichole's powers? (Just a guess.) Bring it into the query at least one more time to see how all these circumstances could have started from a note. Hopefully I helped (at least a little). I wish you the best of luck with this and hope to see your story on a shelf some day.

User avatar
dahosek
Posts: 31
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 2:25 pm
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Contact:

Re: Query-Akasha

Post by dahosek » March 31st, 2010, 6:31 pm

mrpluckey wrote: It started with a note. I found you. Less than forty-eight hours later sixteen-year-old Nichole loses her mother in a fire, leaving her an orphan.
Who's "I" and "you"? I would have assumed that the "I" was the author of the book and the "you" was the agent, gotten really confused and given up on the letter right there.
mrpluckey wrote: In 1870 the town of Singer, PA is as superstitious as they get. They believe the fire is a result of a curse placed on Nichole, and therefore demand her removal.
"as superstitious as they get" is a cliché. And it doesn't really tell us much that we don't learn from the fact that they believe the fire was the result of a curse (why they believe in the curse is a whole other issue). I'd look at combining the first two paragraphs and tightening things, perhaps along the lines of, "When sixteen-year old Nichole loses her mother in a fire just two days after receiving a mysterious note, the residents of her Pennsylvania town believe that she is cursed and demand that she leave their town."
mrpluckey wrote: She is taken in by the very gypsies claimed to have cursed her, but soon discovers they are not who they appear to be. They are witches possessing the powers of the elements and she is not only one of them, she is the Akasha; the only one who can access all five elements. As her love grows for the man fated to be her protector she tries to accept her new role in this life as leader of the mystical world.
This is a bit rambling and unclear. And there's an awful lot of passive language which doesn't help.
mrpluckey wrote: Until her ex-fiancée shows up.
Sixteen is awfully young to have an ex-fiancé (only one e, the two-e version is a woman.
mrpluckey wrote: His attempt to rescue her from the gypsies awakens her desire for a normal life. After all, that's why her mother bound Nichole's powers and kept this world a secret from her. It's not that simple, though. A deadly witch is threatening to overthrow the council by stealing other witch's powers and they need Nichole in order to stop her. But first they have to convince her to stay.
OK, we finally have the conflict: Nichole has a choice, she can go back to a normal life with her ex-fiancé or she can remain in the magical world with the guy she's been falling in love with and save the world from an evil witch. See the problem? Ordinary life with the guy who she either left or who left her (and live in a town where the people demanded she leave), or stay with her new love, be all magicky and get to save the world. Not much of a choice.
mrpluckey wrote: AKASHA is a YA urban fantasy complete at 90,000 words and ready for your review.
Thank you for your consideration.
Everyone tends to whip out their copy of the Harry Potter books to defend their word counts, but it's worth noting that HP and the Philosopher's Stone was all of 77,000 words. 90K is on the long side for any first novel, and way oversized for a YA debut.

kenpochick
Posts: 84
Joined: March 12th, 2010, 4:41 pm
Contact:

Re: Query-Akasha

Post by kenpochick » April 1st, 2010, 9:50 am

I'm assuming this takes place in 1870 correct? So you'll need to leave that in if that's the case. I would change fiance to betrothed to fit the time period. A 16 year old girl in that time would definitely be engaged or married.

Overall it's not bad but it feels like it's jumping a bit. Why does the fiance show up? What is the curse? Was her mom a witch? Who is looking for her?

mrpluckey
Posts: 11
Joined: March 29th, 2010, 12:24 pm
Contact:

Re: Query-Akasha

Post by mrpluckey » April 1st, 2010, 10:59 am

Wow! Thank guys. This is what I needed to know.

User avatar
dahosek
Posts: 31
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 2:25 pm
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Contact:

Re: Query-Akasha

Post by dahosek » April 1st, 2010, 4:05 pm

kenpochick wrote:I'm assuming this takes place in 1870 correct? So you'll need to leave that in if that's the case. I would change fiance to betrothed to fit the time period. A 16 year old girl in that time would definitely be engaged or married.
It's one thing to be engaged or married, but to have an ex-fiancé at 16 seems unlikely in that era. It actually was a bit unlikely to have an ex-fiance period since breaking off an engagement was considered a serious breach of social etiquette (and sometimes was legally actionable). Heck, breaking off something that might have seemed like it could have been an indication of becoming engaged could fall into that category.

kenpochick
Posts: 84
Joined: March 12th, 2010, 4:41 pm
Contact:

Re: Query-Akasha

Post by kenpochick » April 1st, 2010, 4:34 pm

I'm assuming that the only reason the engagement was broken off was because she was banished from town and took up with the gypsy's. Social etiquette doesn't apply too well there. :-)

User avatar
dahosek
Posts: 31
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 2:25 pm
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Contact:

Re: Query-Akasha

Post by dahosek » April 1st, 2010, 4:36 pm

Fair enough, although then ex-fiancé is perhaps not the right way to describe him... my interpretation was that the engagement had ended before she left town.

User avatar
Mary-Catharine
Posts: 60
Joined: April 1st, 2010, 9:56 pm
Contact:

Re: Query-Akasha

Post by Mary-Catharine » April 1st, 2010, 11:12 pm

It started with a note. I found you. (I'm guessing the note that was found said, "found you") Less than forty-eight hours later sixteen-year-old Nichole loses her mother in a fire, leaving her an orphan.

In 1870 the town of Singer, PA is as superstitious as they get. ( I don't know about this sentence. It's really not making me want to read forward. It sounds like the beginning of every story summary). They believe the fire is a result of a curse placed on Nichole, and therefore demand her removal.

She is taken in by the very gypsies claimed to have cursed her, but soon discovers they are not who they appear to be. They are witches possessing the powers of the elements and she is not only one of them, she is the Akasha; the only one who can access all five elements. As her love grows for the man fated to be her protector she tries to accept her new role in this life as leader of the mystical world.

Until her ex-fiancée shows up.(This is a sentence fragment)

His attempt to rescue her from the gypsies awakens her desire for a normal life. After all, that's why her mother bound Nichole's powers and kept this world a secret from her. It's not that simple, though. A deadly witch is threatening to overthrow the council by stealing other witch's powers and they need Nichole in order to stop her. But first they have to convince her to stay.


This story could rock some worlds, but this summary doesn't do it justice. I think you need to combine a few sentences and work on giving your writing a little more flow and spark. This is supposed to be a glimpse of not only what your book is going to be about but your writing style. Have a little fun and don't be afraid to be a little more innovative.

mrpluckey
Posts: 11
Joined: March 29th, 2010, 12:24 pm
Contact:

Re: Query-Akasha

Post by mrpluckey » April 5th, 2010, 11:59 pm

Oh, I did want to ask if changing fiance to betrothed works here? Also the date right up front. There seemed to be a lot of worry about Nichole's age and her being engaged. Does this clear it up?

User avatar
gonzo2802
Posts: 105
Joined: March 8th, 2010, 5:33 pm
Contact:

Re: Query-Akasha REVISED

Post by gonzo2802 » April 6th, 2010, 11:57 am

Just some of my thoughts and suggestions.
mrpluckey wrote:All right, I finally revised my letter. Let me know what you think of the changes.

Dear Agent,

In 1879, sixteen-year-old Nichole leads the a life most of her peers desire. A big house, a mother who spoils her, and she’s betrothed to the wealthiest man in town. The only thing hindering her happiness is the year she must be apart from him while he learns his father’s business. Personally, I would think about switching up this last sentence to read, "The year she must spend apart from him, while he learns his father's business, is the only thing hindering her happiness." That's just my preference.

Until the note appears. ‘I found you,’ is all it says, but those three words will change her life. Her mother becomes frantic and tries to make Nichole leave behind their home, all her possessions and the love of her life. I like this paragraph, but the only thing I don't really get is why her mother becomes frantic. Does her mother suspect it's the witches and that's why she wants Nichole to leave? I'm assuming at this point Nichole doesn't know any of this? Maybe say something real quick to the effect of "Knowing more than she'll say, her mother becomes frantic..." Obviously, you know your story line better than I do. I'd just put a small mention of something in there that connects the note to her mother becoming frantic to the mother's death in the following paragraph.

If only she had listened. Her mother dies in a fire, leaving her in the hands of a superstitious town who believes she’s been cursed by the band of gypsies living nearby. With no other family, Nichole is forced to live with them. You don't have to, but you might consider rearranging the last two sentences to make them a little less clunky. Something along the lines of "Her mother dies in a fire. With no other family and believed to be cursed, Nichole's superstitious town forces her to reside with the band of gypsies living nearby."

Although she’s unhappy with her new life, she feels drawn to the man who’s been put in charge of taking care of her, Bryshen.  Her trust in him turns to love and she begins to find contentment.

Then she discovers their secret. They are witches, possessing the powers of the elements, and Nichole is destined to be their leader; the only one who can access all five elements Personally, I don't think you need to expand in your query on WHY she is to be their leader. As long as we're told that she is..  They found her just in time.

A powerful witch is trying to take the place as leader of their world and they need Nichole to stop her.Is there a quick way to explain WHY they are set against this other witch being their leader? Is she evil, does she want to start a war? Since they're all witches, it might help up the conflict level if we understand what's at stake if this other powerful witch succeeds in becoming their leader. To make matters worse, her betrothed has come to “rescue” her from the gypsies. Now she’s torn between the easy life she’s always known, and her duty to fulfill her destiny as the Akasha.

AKASHA is a YA fantasy complete at 90,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Heather Tregaskes

Most of the stuff I suggested was more just style type things and totally up to your discretion, obviously. I think you only have a couple minor things to flesh out just a tiny bit more in order to really make it sing.

I do like the way you managed to fit in the year and the betrothed. It makes a HUGE difference. If you don't add in the timeframe it would seem to be a bizarre idea for a sixteen year old to be engaged, but in the late 1800's it would have been quite common.

Overall, I think it sounds like a really good story line and I think you're almost there with your query! Good luck!

brandi_fey
Posts: 26
Joined: March 30th, 2010, 4:04 pm
Contact:

Re: Query-Akasha REVISED

Post by brandi_fey » April 6th, 2010, 12:24 pm

mrpluckey wrote:All right, I finally revised my letter. Let me know what you think of the changes.

First off, this is much better. The plot line comes out much clearer, but there are still a few spots that could use some clarification.

Dear Agent,

In 1879, sixteen-year-old Nichole leads the life most of her peers desire. A big house, a mother who spoils (this comes off as a bit juvenile, if she's old enough to have a fiance, I think she's too old to be "spoiled", maybe "indulges"?) her, and she’s betrothed to the wealthiest man in town. The only thing hindering her happiness is the year she must be apart from him while he learns his father’s business.

Until the note appears. ‘I found you,’ is all it says, but those three words will change her life. (Don't tell us this, show us... Cut this and start with "her mother becomes") Her mother becomes frantic and tries to make Nichole leave behind their home, all her possessions and the love of her life.

Above paragraph rewritten: Until the note appears. 'I found you,' is all it says, but those three words send her mother into a frenzy and she tries to wrest Nichole from her home, her possessions and the love of her life.

If only she had listened. (You give no indication that she didn't listen in the above paragraph. You just said that she "tries". This needs more clarification.) Her mother dies in a fire, leaving her in the hands of a superstitious town who believes she’s been cursed by the band of gypsies living nearby. With no other family, Nichole is forced to live with them. (This statement doesn't make sense to me. In your original query, you said that the townies drove her out, I think you need to keep that here. Unless there is someone among the gypsies she's related to. If so, then you need to mention that. E.g. With no other family, Nichole is forced to live with her gypsy grandmother/aunt/uncle/cousin/etc.)

Although she’s unhappy with her new life she feels drawn to the man who’s been put in charge of taking care of her, (that makes her sound like an infant. Maybe: who's been put in charge of looking after her) Bryshen.  Her trust in him turns to love and she begins to find contentment.

Then she discovers their secret. They are witches, possessing the powers of the elements, and Nichole is destined to be their leader: the only one who can access all five elements.  They found her just in time.

A powerful witch is trying to take the place as leader of their world and they need Nichole to stop her. To make matters worse, her betrothed has come to “rescue” her from the gypsies. Now she’s torn between the easy life she’s always known, and her duty to fulfill her destiny as the Akasha.

AKASHA is a YA fantasy complete at 90,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Heather Tregaskes
Much better. You're almost there!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 4 guests