New Query for RONNIE FOR REAL

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J. T. SHEA
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Re: Query for RONNIE IN HIGH SCHOOL

Post by J. T. SHEA » July 3rd, 2010, 8:48 pm

Otherside89girl, 'Simultaneous submissions' normally refers only to partial or full manuscripts, not queries. All agents know simultaneous queries are the norm. I would not mention the matter unless an agent's guidelines specifically require notification of simultaneous queries.

Like Cheekychook, I very much like your first and last year structure, and I see no reason to defend it in your query.

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Re: Query for RONNIE IN HIGH SCHOOL

Post by otherside89girl » July 3rd, 2010, 10:22 pm

Thanks, Ellie and J.T.!

I've posted another new version. Now I know why everyone complains about this querying stuff all the time! It has to be perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Re: Query for RONNIE IN HIGH SCHOOL

Post by wildheart » July 5th, 2010, 9:22 am

otherside89girl wrote: Here is my 5th attempt at a query for my YA novel. Thanks for all the great feedback! <3

Dear Agent Name,

I have chosen to submit a query to you because [insert personalized stuff here]. RONNIE IN HIGH SCHOOL [fake temporary title] is a young adult novel told in two parts: Freshman Year and Senior Year.

Ronnie Gold thought high school would feel different. She expected to feel sophisticated, surrounded by friends and boys – not to be sitting on the couch every afternoon with her best friend Jem. As the two of them trudge through their less than glamorous freshman year, Ronnie obsesses over Marco, a skull-and-crossbones clad senior from her photography class.

When Marco finally notices her, Ronnie tastes the excitement she’s been waiting for. This thing with Marco is more powerful than any crush she’s ever had. But before their relationship has a chance, Ronnie is bombarded with immigration terms involving Marco’s illegal status, and Marco is gone. Ronnie is left guarding her heart closer than ever, certain she’ll never see him again.

Senior year arrives and Ronnie expects the same old routine. She just wants to focus on her AP classes, her bakery job, and her three best friends. Michael, a sought-after soccer player with a perpetual crush on Ronnie, makes that difficult. He seems perfect -– until he confides in Ronnie about his depression and suicidal thoughts. But Ronnie’s not sure if she believes in perfection anymore, and decides to give Michael a chance.

Just when Ronnie has gotten used to being Michael’s girlfriend-slash-therapist, Marco comes back to find her, his feelings unchanged after three years. Ronnie is certain Marco is the one, but a vengeful Michael and Marco’s unresolved immigration issues stand in the way of happily ever after.

The manuscript is complete at 90,000 words and is available upon your request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
My Name
Your novel sounds awesome. Just wanted to point that out first. If it was published I'd buy it on the spot. I do have a couple suggestions though.

If I were you I'd start with a hook. Agents receive so many queries every day...if you start out with your best stuff you have a better chance of them asking for pages.

I don't really think you need "Ronnie Gold thought high school would feel different" because later you show us it IS different. But this is just me being picky.

I love what you've set up with Marco. Really awesome conflict! And, the really cool thing is, you really make your character SOUND like a teenager. Which I love.

Again I see the conflict with Michael and I am impressed. Oh, and I too made the mistake of giving a guy a chance that was creepy, so I think you will really have readers understanding what your character is going through, and you want that.

Have I mentioned I LOVE your voice?

Although the ending is quite interesting in the back of my head I was left wondering how a guy could go three years without seeing a girl and have their feelings remain the same. I'm sure its possible...but I was left feeling kind of skeptical. I'm sure your story would completely change my mind though.

Pretty much there isn't much else for you to fix. After changing the little stuff I'm almost wanting to say you should send this out!

Congrats on the great letter!
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Re: Query for RONNIE IN HIGH SCHOOL

Post by otherside89girl » July 8th, 2010, 12:05 pm

Thanks, wildheart! Much needed boost of confidence :)

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Re: Query for RONNIE IN HIGH SCHOOL *new version*

Post by otherside89girl » August 2nd, 2010, 6:28 pm

This is a shameless bump... I have a new version up. :)

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Re: Query for RONNIE IN HIGH SCHOOL *new version*

Post by cheekychook » August 2nd, 2010, 8:10 pm

otherside89girl wrote:
Dear Agent Name,

I have chosen to submit to you because [insert personalized stuff]. [THINK OF A BETTER TITLE] is a young adult novel told in two parts: Freshman Year and Senior Year.

Ronnie Gold expects her life to change when she starts high school. So when she turns into a dithering mess over Marco, the biggest crush of her life, she’s flustered, yes, but not surprised. This is confusing---why is she a dithering mess? Did she just meet Marco? Or has he long been the biggest crush of her life and now she's a mess about it? She's flustered by his effect on her? Is she "not surprised" because she expected high school to change her life and this is the change? What she doesn’t expect is for that crush to disappear makes it sound like the crush disappears, when you mean Marco disappears, at the brink of a relationship neither of them could have dreamed up not clear what this means---I think you mean what they're feeling is beyond their wildest dreams, because of his immigration status.

After obsessing over Marco for her entire freshman year Is this obsessing BEFORE she enters a relationship with him or DURING the relationship? Are they together her entire freshman year or does she spend that year longing for him to notice her but not actually get together with him until the end?, Ronnie knows she’ll never feel the same way about anyone else.

Senior year, Ronnie just omit "just" wants to focus on her AP classes, her job, and her best friends. Good.Michael, a sought-after soccer player with a perpetual crush on Ronnie, makes that difficult. He seems perfect -– until he confides in Ronnie about his depression and suicidal thoughts. But Ronnie’s not sure if she believes in perfection anymore You just told us Michael is not perfect, so do you mean she doesn't know if she believes anyone can be as perfect as she remembers Marco being?, and decides to give Michael a chance. I am a little confused about Ronnie's feelings regarding Michael---she initially thinks he's perfect yet, in spite of the fact that he's had a perpetual crush on her, she hasn't dated him...then she finds out he's depressed/suicidal and decides she'll give him a shot because she no longer believes in perfection due to the fact the perfect Marco disappeared?

Just when Ronnie has gotten used to being Michael’s girlfriend-slash-therapist, Marco comes back to find her, his feelings unchanged after three years. Ronnie is certain Marco is the one, but a vengeful Michael and Marco’s unresolved immigration issues stand in the way of happily ever after. This is good---very clear, packs a lot of info into a few words. "gotten used to" doesn't sound at all romantic, but I get the impression Ronnie's feeling for Michael are never all that romantic

The manuscript is complete at 90,000 words and is available upon your request. I think available upon your request is implied by the fact that you're querying and stating that it's complete.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
My Name
I remember reading and commenting on your earlier query version--- not sure exactly which version you actually wound up sending out to agents. Some of the versions I read before seemed clearer, to me, than this one. Don't panic over three rejections (I know, easier said than done)---figure out what your favorite parts were from the previous queries and try to edit them into a new one.

I see you're looking for a new title---how about something that reflects the fact that the story is told in two parts and is about an old flame returning....something like Then, Again? or First Love, Take Two. I'll shut up now---I'm babbling and that's not helping anyone!

I still like your whole premise of a story told in Freshman then Senior year---good luck with your query!

Oh, and it's not a "shameless bump" when you've added a whole new version of the query!
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Re: Query for RONNIE IN HIGH SCHOOL *new version*

Post by otherside89girl » August 2nd, 2010, 10:18 pm

Thanks, cheekychook... You're absolutely right that I was panicking over three rejections and thus created a more confusing version than ever! I'll get to work on revising it again!

Oh and also thanks for noticing that I'm searching for a title... Somehow that has been the hardest part of this whole process! Agh!!!

AND I just updated it again based on your comments.

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Re: Query for RONNIE IN HIGH SCHOOL *new version*

Post by cheekychook » August 3rd, 2010, 1:39 am

I switched around some of your words just to give you some options on phrasing and to take some of the "When"s out of your first paragraph. I also still have a question about Michael (see below). Obviously just suggestions. This version is already much tighter than the one from earlier today. Hope the comments help!
otherside89girl wrote:
Dear Agent Name,

I have chosen to submit to you because [insert personalized stuff]. [THINK OF A BETTER TITLE, self] is a young adult novel told in two parts: Freshman Year and Senior Year.

Freshman Ronnie Gold expects high school to change her life. When (adjective)senior, Marco, the biggest crush of her life, shows interest in her, Ronnie feels like her dreams are coming true. On the brink of a relationship that seems too perfect to be real, Marco suddenly disappears because of his immigration status. Ronnie is left guarding her heart, knowing she’ll never feel the same way about anyone else.

Senior year, Ronnie wants to focus on her AP classes, her job, and her best friends. Michael, a sought-after soccer player with a perpetual crush on Ronnie, makes that difficult. While trying to persuade Ronnie to go out with him, Michael confides in her about his depression and suicidal thoughts. Ronnie, tired of being alone and barely able to remember what she was waiting for, finally decides to give Michael a chance.(Why? What makes her decide to give Michael a shot? Also, "barely able to remember what she's waiting for" makes it sound like she's all but forgotten Marco---doesn't match up with her suddenly knowing he's "the one" the second he returns.)

Just when Ronnie has adjusted to being Michael’s girlfriend-slash-therapist, Marco comes back (to find her), his feelings unchanged after three years. Ronnie is certain Marco is the one, but a vengeful Michael and Marco’s unresolved immigration issues stand in the way of happily ever after.

The manuscript is complete at 90,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
My Name
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Re: Query for RONNIE IN HIGH SCHOOL *new version*

Post by otherside89girl » August 3rd, 2010, 6:22 pm

Newest version is now up. Thanks again for all the feedback.

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Re: Query for RONNIE IN HIGH SCHOOL *new version*

Post by cheekychook » August 3rd, 2010, 9:06 pm

Very minor suggestions, overall it has a good tone and the storyline is much easier to understand. :)
otherside89girl wrote: Dear Agent Name,

I have chosen to submit to you because [insert personalized stuff]. [THINK OF A BETTER TITLE, self] is a young adult novel told in two parts: Freshman Year and Senior Year.

Freshman Ronnie Gold expects high school to change her life. When skull-and-crossbones clad senior Marco, the biggest crush of her life, is interested in her (I don't think "is" is the right verb here---"When" would match up better with something like "becomes interested in her" or "shows interest in her" or "expresses interest in her"---something forward moving and active rather than stationary), Ronnie feels like her dreams are coming true. But on the brink of a relationship too perfect to be real (I don't think you want to declare the relation "too perfect to be real"---it can SEEM too perfect to be real), Marco disappears because of his immigration status. Ronnie is left guarding her heart, knowing she’ll never feel the same way about anyone else. (Overall I think this has the perfect tone of angst and melodrama of a freshman girl.)

Senior year, Ronnie wants to focus on her AP classes, her job, and her best friends. Michael, a sought-after soccer player with a perpetual crush on Ronnie, makes that difficult. While persuading Ronnie to go out with him, Michael confides in her about his depression and suicidal thoughts. Ronnie, moved by pity and a weariness (Good--this gives a clearer sense of WHY she is dating him, but you might reconsider the word choice---"pity" as in "pity date" has a very negative connotation---not sure you want the impression of her reason for giving Michael a try to be quite so negative---maybe "moved by his honesty" or "moved by sympathy" ---and "weariness" struck me as not something a teenage girl would feel in this situations---maybe just "tired of being alone" or "fed up with being alone" or "sick of being alone"---just my opinion)of being alone, decides to give Michael a chance.

Just when Ronnie has adjusted to being Michael’s girlfriend-slash-therapist, Marco comes back to find her, his feelings unchanged after three years. Ronnie is certain Marco is the one, but a vengeful Michael and Marco’s unresolved immigration issues stand in the way of happily ever after.

The manuscript is complete at 90,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
My Name
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Re: Query for RONNIE IN HIGH SCHOOL *new version*

Post by otherside89girl » August 6th, 2010, 3:29 pm

Thank you, cheekychook!

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Re: Query for RONNIE FOR REAL *needs new eyes*

Post by otherside89girl » August 19th, 2010, 3:31 pm

I guess I need a fresh perspective (again). My query letter's not getting any bites. Suggestions? Help? Thank you. :/ (It's on the original post)

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Re: Query for RONNIE FOR REAL *needs new eyes*

Post by wilderness » August 19th, 2010, 9:31 pm

otherside89girl wrote:
Dear Agent Name,

I have chosen to submit to you because [insert personalized stuff]. RONNIE FOR REAL is a young adult novel told in two parts: Freshman Year and Senior Year.

Freshman Ronnie Gold expects high school to change her life. When skull-and-crossbones clad senior Marco, the biggest crush of her life, is interested in her, Ronnie feels like her dreams are coming true. But on the brink of a relationship too perfect to be real, Marco disappears because of his immigration status. Ronnie is left guarding her heart, knowing she’ll never feel the same way about anyone else. "dreams come true" is a cliche and "a relationship too perfect to be real" is a generality. Tell us more of the details. What are the important moments of their relationship? How did they meet? How did she know he was interested for her? What are some of the aspects of the relationship that made it seem so perfect? What did they do on their dates? I'm just throwing out ideas, but basically we need more details about what makes Marco so special to Ronnie.


Senior year, Ronnie wants to focus on her AP classes, her job, and her best friends. Michael, a sought-after soccer player with a perpetual crush on Ronnie, makes that difficult. While persuading Ronnie to go out with him, Michael confides in her about his depression and suicidal thoughts. Ronnie, moved by sympathy and tired of being alone, decides to give Michael a chance. Why is Michael depressed?

Just when Ronnie has adjusted to being Michael’s girlfriend-slash-therapist, Marco comes back to find her, his feelings unchanged after three years. Ronnie is certain Marco is the one, but a vengeful Michael and Marco’s unresolved immigration issues stand in the way of happily ever after. How does she know Michael is vengeful? Did he threaten her? How does she know Marco is still the one? Try to paint a picture.

The manuscript is complete at 90,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
My Name
The query is straight-forward and coherent, but it lacks flavor and voice. Try to give it some of the voice of your novel, and more unique details about her relationships. This seems very character driven, so you need to show us what makes Ronnie, Michael, and Marco such interesting characters.

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Re: Query for RONNIE FOR REAL *needs new eyes*

Post by RebeccaB » August 20th, 2010, 1:08 am

Hi, This is my first time reading your query, so i hope my 'new eyes' are what you are after.

I have chosen to submit to you because [insert personalized stuff]. RONNIE FOR REAL is a young adult novel told in two parts: Freshman Year and Senior Year.
Don't know if i would put this first, I like to see the hook right up front, posibly put this in the closing.
Possibly; It's freshman year and Ronnie Gold expects...... Freshman Ronnie Gold expects high school to change her life. When skull-and-crossbones clad senior Marco, the biggest crush of her life, Possibly; shows an interest..... is interested in her, Ronnie feels like her dreams are coming true. But on the brink of a relationship too perfect to be real, Marco disappears Do we need to know it is because of his immigration status? Does she know this at this point? It reads smoother to just end it with disappears. because of his immigration status. Ronnie is left guarding her heart, knowing she’ll never feel the same way about anyone else. Would she guard her heart because she won't feel the same about anyone else? it seems more likely she would guard her heart because the one she loved left. Just IMO.

Possibly; Now in senior year..... Senior year, Ronnie wants to focus on her AP classes, her job, and her best friends. Michael, a sought-after soccer player with a perpetual crush on Ronnie, makes that difficult. While persuading Ronnie to go out with him, Michael confides in her about his depression and suicidal thoughts. Ronnie, moved by sympathy and tired of being alone, decides to give Michael a chance. This paragraph reads odd to me. I understand that Micheal likes her, but i don't know if a sought after jock would confide in his crush those details so freely, possibly give us the cercumstances surrounding this confession.

Just when Ronnie has adjusted to being Michael’s girlfriend-slash-therapist, OK, So we jump from her agreeing to go out with him, to them being a couple. I need to feel the connection between the paragraphs. Marco comes back to find her, his feelings unchanged after three years. Ronnie is certain Marco is the one, but a vengeful Michael and Marco’s unresolved immigration issues stand in the way of happily ever after. Returns, would read better than comes back, and don't need three years. The last sentence does not finish strong, it is a little awkward, Possibly something like; Ronnie is certain Marco is the one, But with immigration on his tail and Micheals vengefull nature, will they ever get their happily ever after? Not the best example, but you see what i am getting at.
I really think this MS sounds interesting, It would be something I would pick up and read, I just think you need more of a grab for the agent to see that too.

Happy Inking
RebeccaB

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Re: Query for RONNIE FOR REAL *needs new eyes*

Post by otherside89girl » August 20th, 2010, 5:43 pm

Thanks, wilderness and Rebecca.

I just posted a new, pretty different version on the original post... I decided I needed to re-do it based on your comments and Nathan's recent query blog.

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