Query: Gilded Wings

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CoachMT
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Re: QUERY: FEATHERS (YA -Fantasy-Romance)

Post by CoachMT » April 3rd, 2010, 12:32 pm

hanna2494 wrote:For seventeen-year-old Nicola Summers, finding her boyfriend Tristan chained to her driveway was not part of the plan. I've read this thread a few times and haven't commented, but since no one else has mentioned this, I thought I would: How in the world does someone get "chained to a driveway"? Secondarily is: Why a driveway? Were there no train tracks around? -- Sorry for that last, just strikes me as funny :) Struggling to break free from his restraints, he rejects Nicola’s help, knowing the rain is underway. With a hammer, a determine Nicola tries to liberate him, but when a curtain of rain arrives and hits his kin, huh? she witnesses the impossible: out of thin air, Tristan sprouts wings. Consumed by an animalistic instinct to protect his identity, Tristan attacks the person he holds most dear, and nearly ends her life.

After the encounter with her winged-boyfriend-of-a-monster, Nicola’s not sure who to trust with the information—who would ever believe her? She can’t decide whether to pack her bags and move with her mother (is her mother moving because of what happened?) or to take a leap of faith and find him. When she tries to seek some answers with the help of her best friend, Tara, Nicola finds herself near a truth that is way more terrifying and heartbreaking that anything she had imagined. First, her friend Tarareveals to her that she is Tristan’s sister. Second, Nicola uncovers that she is only alive because Tristan, involuntarily,(he didn't want her as his soulmate?) had chosen her as his soul mate. And third, he’s dying. Tristan elected staying in his human form to prevent his kin from seeing his memories, and killing Nicola for what she knows. But how is Nicola supposed to save him, when he is dying to save her?
You've got a lot of stuff here and it's packed together in a way that doesn't make sense. I would suggest making a simple outline of your story, then using that to make short declarative sentences. Once that's done, you can put them together and add in some descriptive and stylistic elements to flesh it out. Hopefully that helps some.

hanna2494
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Re: QUERY: FEATHERS (YA -Fantasy-Romance)

Post by hanna2494 » April 4th, 2010, 4:43 pm

Query
____________

For seventeen-year-old Nicola Summers, finding her boyfriend Tristan chained to her driveway was not part of the plan. Struggling to break free from the restraints he was left in after being assaulted by a street gang, he rejects Nicola’s help, knowing the rain is underway. With a hammer, a determine Nicola tries to liberate him, but when a curtain of rain arrives and hits his skin, she witnesses the impossible: out of thin air, Tristan sprouts wings. Consumed by an animalistic instinct to protect his identity, Tristan attacks the person he holds most dear, and nearly ends her life.

But after the encounter with her winged-boyfriend-of-a-monster, Nicola’s not sure who to trust with the information—who would ever believe her? She can’t decide whether to pack her bags and move with her mother or to take a leap of faith and find him. When she tries to seek some answers with the help of her best friend, Tara, Nicola finds herself near a truth that is way more terrifying and heartbreaking that anything she ever imagined. First, her friend Tara reveals to her that she is Tristan’s sister. Second, Nicola uncovers that she is only alive because Tristan, involuntarily, had chosen her as his soul mate. And third, he’s dying. Tristan elected staying in his human form to prevent his kin from seeing his memories, and killing Nicola for what she knows. But how is Nicola supposed to save him, when he is dying to save her?
Last edited by hanna2494 on April 5th, 2010, 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lachrymal
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Re: Query: Feathers

Post by lachrymal » April 4th, 2010, 6:32 pm

For seventeen-year-old Nicola Summers, finding her boyfriend Tristan chained to her driveway [is he chained in the driveway or actually chained to the driveway?] was not part of the plan. Struggling to break free from the restraints he was left in after being assaulted by a street gang [this is very long and awkward. If you want to work in the street gang, I think you need to rewrite these few sentences and make it a lot smoother. Or, you could delete this part altogether. "...was not part of the plan. She tries to liberate him, but he rejects her help. When a thunderstorm arrives and the rain hits his skin, she finds out why: out of thin air, Tristan sprouts wings."], he rejects Nicola’s help, knowing the rain is underway. With a hammer, a determine Nicola tries to liberate him, but when a curtain of rain arrives and hits his skin, she witnesses the impossible: out of thin air, Tristan sprouts wings. Consumed by an animalistic instinct to protect his identity, Tristan attacks the person he holds most dear,[you don't need this comma. Delete.] and nearly ends her life.

But after the encounter with her winged-boyfriend-of-a-monster , Nicola’s not sure who to trust with the information—who would ever believe her? She can’t decide whether to pack her bags and move with her mother or to [delete "to"...and why is finding him a leap of faith?] take a leap of faith and find him. When she tries to seek some answers [you could just say "when she seeks answers"] with the help of her best friend, Tara, Nicola finds herself near a truth that is way [delete "way"] more terrifying and heartbreaking that [than?] anything she ever [delete "ever"] imagined. First, [delete: her friend] Tara reveals [delete: to her that] she is Tristan’s sister. Second, Nicola uncovers [how about "discovers"] [delete: that] she is only alive because Tristan, involuntarily, had chosen her as his soul mate [ok, here's what I don't get: by definition, a choice is a conscious thing. Otherwise, it's not a choice. You can't really choose involuntarily, if you're using involuntary like you did before, which was as a synonym for "unconscious" or "automatic" In fact, if you look up the definition, one of them is "without choice". I think you might want to say this in a different way]. And third, he’s dying. Tristan elected staying in his human form to prevent his kin from seeing his memories [delete this comma: ,] and killing Nicola for what she knows [I think you really need to break up this sentence. Also, since you give no indication of what he actually is, we don't know the meaning/significance/threat of his kin]. But how is Nicola supposed to save him [delete this comma: ,] when he is dying to save her?

You have some awkward phrases in this query. You also have many extra words that could be deleted. I suggest you check out a reference on when commas are necessary and when they aren't. There's a great, easy one at this site: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/
And if you haven't already, you should go through that ms. of yours with a fine-tooth comb and apply the same rules--or find a critique circle or partner to do it for you. It really is invaluable to any writer.

hanna2494
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Re: Query: Gilded Wings

Post by hanna2494 » April 6th, 2010, 12:02 pm

QUERY

For seventeen-year-old Nicola Summers, finding her boyfriend Tristan chained to the driveway after being mugged by a street gang was not part of the plan. Beaten and knowing the rain is underway, he rejects Nicola’s help. Determined, Nicola tries to liberate him, but when the rain arrives and hits his kin, she witnesses the impossible: out of thin air, Tristan sprouts wings. Consumed by an animalistic instinct to protect his identity, Tristan attacks the person he holds most dear and nearly ends her life.

But after the encounter with her winged-monster-of-a-boyfriend, Nicola’s not sure who to trust with the information—who would ever believe her? She can’t decide whether to pack her bags and move with her mother or finding him. When she seeks answers with the help of her best friend, Tara, Nicola finds herself near a truth that is more terrifying and heartbreaking than anything she imagined. First, Tara reveals she is Tristan’s sister. Second, Nicola discovers she is only alive because Tristan unconsciously chose her as his soul mate. And third, he’s dying. Tristan elected staying in his human form to prevent his kin of angels from seeing his memories and killing Nicola for what she knows. But how is Nicola supposed to save him when he is dying to save her?
______________

Thank you,
Hanna.
Last edited by hanna2494 on April 6th, 2010, 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Emily J
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Re: Query: Gilded Wings

Post by Emily J » April 6th, 2010, 12:42 pm

hanna2494 wrote:NEWEST QUERY:

For seventeen-year-old Nicola Summers, finding her boyfriend Tristan chained to the driveway after being mugged by a street gang was not part of the plan. Of course it wasn't! Not sure I dig this opener. Also, what kind of kinky street gang was this?? Beaten and knowing the rain is underway, the reader doesn't see the importance of this yet so it comes across as strange he rejects Nicola’s help. Determined, Nicola tries to liberate him, but when the rain arrives and hits his kin, i'm assuming you meant "skin," be sure to proof read diligently! she witnesses the impossible: out of thin air, Tristan sprouts wings. Consumed by an animalistic instinct to protect his identity, i don't know that animals HAVE that instinct, do animals have secret identities? i am now imagining a puppy in a Zorro mask... still, doesn't make sense to me Tristan attacks the person he holds most dear and nearly ends her life.

But after the encounter with her winged-monster-of-a-boyfriend, Nicola’s not sure who to trust with the information—who would ever believe her? She can’t decide whether to pack her bags and move with her mother or finding him. i think you mean "or find him" When she seeks answers with the help of her best friend, Tara, Nicola finds herself near a truth that is more terrifying and heartbreaking than anything she imagined. First, Tara reveals she is Tristan’s sister. for a minute I thought "she" meant Nicola, ewww maybe "Tara is revealed to be..." Second, Nicola discovers she is only alive because Tristan unconsciously chose agree with others, you can't "unconsciously" choose her as his soul mate. And third, he’s dying. don't like the numbering of sentences you have here Tristan elected staying in his human form to prevent his kin of angels from seeing his memories so the angels can see his memories? the mechanics of angel-ness are a bit vague and killing Nicola for what she knows. But how is Nicola supposed to save him when he is dying to save her? I would suggest not ending with a question
______________

Thank you,
Hanna.

brandi_fey
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Re: Query: Gilded Wings

Post by brandi_fey » April 6th, 2010, 2:55 pm

hanna2494 wrote:NEWEST QUERY:

For seventeen-year-old Nicola Summers, finding her boyfriend Tristan chained to the driveway after being mugged (just mugged? why don't you have him be beaten by here?)by a street gang was not part of the plan. (What plan? I imagine it would have to be a quirky plan to involve her boyfriend being chained to the driveway. This doesn't tell us anything.) Beaten and knowing the rain is underway, he rejects Nicola’s help. (I was very confused when reading this for the first time because I did not understand what rain had to do with anything. Suggestion: She doesn't understand his desperation for her to abandon him, especially when a storm is rolling in, and does her best to liberate him.) Determined, Nicola tries to liberate him, but when the rain arrives and hits his kin, she witnesses the impossible: out of thin air, Tristan sprouts wings. But then the rain comes, and Tristan sprouts wings. Consumed by an animalistic instinct to protect his identity, Tristan attacks the person he holds most dear Nicola and nearly ends her life.

But after Recovering from (I'm assuming she's recovering if he nearly killed her) the encounter with her winged-monster-of-a-boyfriend, Nicola’s not sure if she should confide in someone, who to trust with the information—who would ever believe her? She can’t decide whether to pack her bags and move across the country with her mother, or search for Tristan finding him. When she seeks answers with the help of her best friend, Tara, Nicola finds herself near discovers a truth that is more terrifying and heartbreaking than anything she imagined. First, Tara reveals she is Tristan’s sister. (I don't think we need this in the query.) Second, Nicola discovers she is only alive because Tristan unconsciously chose her as his soul mate. And third, he’s Tristan, to prevent his kin of angels from finding out how much of their secret existence Nicola knows, is dying. Tristan elected staying in his human form to prevent his kin of angels from seeing his memories and killing Nicola for what she knows. But how is Nicola supposed to save him when he is dying to save her? (Rephrase this to a statement. Avoid rhetorical questions if you can.
______________

Thank you,
Hanna.
Much better. The plot is clearer this time around, but I think it could use some smoothing over. Good effort! You're almost there!

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Re: Query: Gilded Wings

Post by rainbowsheeps » April 6th, 2010, 2:59 pm

hanna2494 wrote:NEWEST QUERY:

For seventeen-year-old Nicola Summers, finding her boyfriend Tristan chained to the driveway after being mugged by a street gang was not part of the plan. Beaten and knowing the rain is underway, he rejects Nicola’s help. Determined, Nicola tries to liberate him, but when the rain arrives and hits his kin, she witnesses the impossible: out of thin air, Tristan sprouts wings. Consumed by an animalistic instinct to protect his identity, Tristan attacks the person he holds most dear and nearly ends her life.

But after the encounter with her winged-monster-of-a-boyfriend, Nicola’s not sure who to trust with the information—who would ever believe her? She can’t decide whether to pack her bags and move with her mother or finding him. When she seeks answers with the help of her best friend, Tara, Nicola finds herself near a truth that is more terrifying and heartbreaking than anything she imagined. First, Tara reveals she is Tristan’s sister. Second, Nicola discovers she is only alive because Tristan unconsciously chose her as his soul mate. And third, he’s dying. Tristan elected staying in his human form to prevent his kin of angels from seeing his memories and killing Nicola for what she knows. But how is Nicola supposed to save him when he is dying to save her?
______________

Thank you,
Hanna.
Firstly, I read through your versions of the query that are in the thread. I'll say that the query has improved, and you're definitely progressing in the right direction.

Two quick comments:
1. It sounds like the rain is making Tristan sprout wings and try to kill his girlfriend. I think this needs to be explained. Is he that protective of his hair that he "flies" (ohhh pun!) into a rage whenever it gets wet? I think the reader needs more context to turn this from "confusing" to "intriguing."
2. The idea of him going crazy to protect his identity is incredibly awkward. I mean, he is her boyfriend, right? I'm thinking you might be trying to say that he's trying to protect his secret (that he's an angel or whatever).

The basics of your story seem to be this:
Nicola comes home to find her boyfriend chained to her driveway. She tries to free him, but he sprouts wings. She discovers his secret that he's an angel, which is bad, and he almost kills her. But he stops himself because he loves her. He chooses to remain human, which is killing him (why is it killing him?), in order to save her because if the other angels discovered what Nicola knows, they would come after her.

^ There's good conflict here: altruistic boyfriend is sacrificing himself to protect her, and she somehow has to save him and not die herself.

But I think you need to address 1) why are the angels so bent on hiding their existence that they're willing to kill for it? Aren't they angels?; but 2) more importantly, what do the angels want? do they have some sort of plan, or are they just on Earth in hiding and really don't want to talk about it?; and 3) why is being human killing Tristan?

You're definitely making progress, though. I think this is much, much better than your original.

hanna2494
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Re: Query: Gilded Wings

Post by hanna2494 » April 6th, 2010, 3:55 pm

LATEST QUERY:

For seventeen-year-old Nicola Summers, finding her boyfriend Tristan chained to the driveway after being beaten by a street gang was not what she expected to find when taking out the trash. She doesn’t understand his desperation for her to abandon him, especially when a storm is rolling in, and does her best to liberate him. But when the rain comes in contact with his skin, Tristan sprouts wings. Consumed by an animalistic instinct to protect his identity, Tristan attacks Nicola and nearly ends her life.

Recovering from the encounter with her winged-monster-of-a-boyfriend, Nicola’s not sure if she should confide in someone, pack her bags and move to her mother’s, or search for Tristan. When she seeks the help of her best friend, Tara, Nicola discovers a truth that is more terrifying and heartbreaking that anything she imagined. Tristan, to prevent his kin of angels from finding out how much of their secret existence Nicola knows, is dying. Trying to save him, Nicola comes to the realization that one will have to die for the other to survive.
_________________

Thank you,
Hanna
Last edited by hanna2494 on April 6th, 2010, 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JTB
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Re: Query: Gilded Wings

Post by JTB » April 6th, 2010, 4:08 pm

H2494

huge improvements you've made - the story stands on it's own now, the action is clear as is where the story is going - good job

one gripe i have is the last line: 'While Nicola struggles to save him, she realizes that in the end one will have to die in order for the other to survive.' in fact the end sounds terribly sad ... but any way, 'one will have to die for the other to survive' ... shorter maybe? something like that - not sure. make it more punchy?

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Re: Query: Gilded Wings

Post by hanna2494 » April 7th, 2010, 11:16 pm

:]

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HillaryJ
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Re: Query: Gilded Wings

Post by HillaryJ » April 8th, 2010, 3:04 am

hanna2494 wrote:LATEST QUERY:

Seventeen-year old Nicola Summers is surprised to find her boyfriend Tristan chained in the driveway after being beaten by a street gang. He is adamant that she leave him, even though he is hurt and a storm is rolling in. When the first drops of rain touch his skin, Tristan sprouts wings. Consumed by an overwhelming instinct to preserve his secret, Tristan attacks Nicola, nearly ending her life before he disappears.

Recovering from the encounter with her winged-monster-of-a-boyfriend, Nicola’s not sure if she should confide in someone, pack her bags and move to her mother’s, or search for Tristan. When she seeks the help of her best friend, Tara, Nicola discovers a truth that is more terrifying and heartbreaking that anything she imagined. Tristan, to prevent his kin of angels from finding out how much of their secret existence Nicola knows, is dying. Trying to save him, Nicola comes to the realization that one will have to die for the other to survive.
She's seventeen, but this makes it sound like she lives alone or with her boyfriend, which would be unusual for that age.

The first paragraph is interesting (I made some adjustments, which are just suggestions). The second paragraph should tell us our protagonist's journey and how it changes/potentially changes her. Instead, I envision a kid laying in bed, daydreaming about options, followed by her best friend (who somehow wasn't around until sought out - not very BFF-y) somehow having fantastical knowledge, followed by...not sure. I don't get a sense of any action or development after the driveway incident, and the last line seems tacked on.

If there is an ultimate choice to be made, please take us there. Why should we care whether she or her angelic boyfriend dies?
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