The Stalked - Query take 1

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shadow
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The Stalked - Query take 1

Post by shadow » June 11th, 2010, 3:52 pm

I have been working on several novels at once, thus unable to update my blog much, lol. But either way this is the most recent book I am finished and I am very excited about querying it. The one problem I am seeing myself is that its a tad long, but hopefully you guys can help me out with that. Mainly tell me if you like the idea and if you would read it....

Dear Awesome Agent,

Alex Deriver never thought he would like his new home in Moscow. But when he meets a girl named Anya in his overgrown backyard everything changes. She comes to see him often; her large blue eyes glittery and her frail body dressed in a white summer dress.

Nobody sees Anya but Alex. When his life starts to topple over and his friends start calling him a psycho, Alex decides to say goodbye to Anya forever. But the bonds of love between a mortal and an immortal are stronger than any, and that’s when the stalking begins. Anya wants Alex back and she will do anything for him, even if it means killing him. As Alex’s life turns into a waking nightmare, he discovers Anya's past. The daughter of a big time Mafiosi, she ended her life in a game of Russian roulette below the backyard well. The only way Alex can free her hold on him is to play the game that could end his life in the very same way.

MY RUSSIAN ROULETTE is a 65,000 word YA paranormal novel that includes a little bit of romance, and a whole lot of blood curdling suspense. (personalized info)
Last edited by shadow on June 11th, 2010, 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Meredith
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Re: The Stalked - Query take 1

Post by Meredith » June 11th, 2010, 8:00 pm

shadow wrote:I have been working on several novels at once, thus unable to update my blog much, lol. But either way this is the most recent book I am finished and I am very excited about querying it. The one problem I am seeing myself is that its a tad long, but hopefully you guys can help me out with that. Mainly tell me if you like the idea and if you would read it....
Well, it's not the kind of story I would normally pick up. However, it does sound interesting.

Alex Deriver never thought he would like his new home in Moscow. But when he meets a girl named Anya in his overgrown backyard everything changes.

In my opinion, join these two sentences up. I wouldn't start a sentence with a conjunction in the query. If this is YA, I think you also need to give some hint of Alex's age, here. Has he moved here with his parents? Is he an exchange student?
She comes to see him often; her large blue eyes glittery and her frail body dressed in a white summer dress.
Nobody sees Anya but Alex. When his life starts to topple over, Alex decides to say goodbye to Anya.
I think you need to be a little more specific, here. In what way does his life topple over? Is it because of Anya?
But bonds of love between a mortal and an immortal are stronger than any, and that’s when the stalking begins. Anya wants Alex back and she will do anything for him, even if it means killing him. As Alex’s life turns into a waking nightmare, he discovers Anya's past. The daughter of a big time Mafiosi, she ended her life in a game of Russian roulette below the backyard well. The only way Alex can free her hold on him is to play the game that could end his life in the very same way.

This paragraph is a little long. Could you break it up to create more white space?
THE STALKED is a 65,000 word YA paranormal novel that includes a little bit of romance, and a whole lot of blood curdling suspense. (personalized info)

Shadow

P.S. I also thought of titling it RUSSIAN ROULETTE. Tell me what you would like better.[/quote]
Personal preference, but I would probably go with RUSSIAN ROULETTE.
MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com

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Re: The Stalked - Query take 1

Post by zakariyamsherman » June 11th, 2010, 10:38 pm

Shadow wrote: When his life starts to topple over and his friends start calling him a psycho, Alex decides to say goodbye to Anya forever. But the bonds of love between a mortal and an immortal are stronger than any, and that’s when the stalking begins. Anya wants Alex back and she will do anything for him, even if it means killing him.
My suggestion: When his life starts to topple over and his friends start calling him a psycho, Alex decides to say goodbye to Anya forever. Only Anya doesn't want to say goodbye and she will do anything to keep him, even if it means killing him.
Zakariya Mikal Sherman
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Emily J
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Re: The Stalked - Query take 1

Post by Emily J » June 12th, 2010, 11:06 pm

shadow wrote:I have been working on several novels at once, thus unable to update my blog much, lol. But either way this is the most recent book I am finished and I am very excited about querying it. The one problem I am seeing myself is that its a tad long, but hopefully you guys can help me out with that. Mainly tell me if you like the idea and if you would read it....

Dear Awesome Agent,

Alex Deriver never thought he would like his new home in Moscow. But when he meets a girl named Anya in his overgrown backyard you need a comma here everything changes. She comes to see him often; her large blue eyes glittery and her frail body dressed in a white summer dress. this isn't correct usage of the semi-colon it should be a comma

Nobody sees Anya but Alex. When his life starts to topple over topple over is a little odd for imagery, collapse? disintegrate? maybe something that doesn't evoke a game of jenga and his friends start calling him a psycho, Alex decides to say goodbye to Anya forever. But the bonds of love between a mortal and an immortal are stronger than any, and that’s when the stalking begins. Anya wants Alex back and she will do anything for him, even if it means killing him. As Alex’s life turns into a waking nightmare, a bit cliched and could use more concrete details, her face appears in mirrors, her voice plagues him in his dreams... etc etc he discovers Anya's past. The daughter of a big time Mafiosi, she ended her life in a game of Russian roulette below the backyard well. The only way Alex can free her hold on him is to play the game that could end his life in the very same way. hmm, intersting twist but I feel like I need a bit more explanation, how does playing Russian roulette help him?

MY RUSSIAN ROULETTE is a 65,000 word YA paranormal novel that includes a little bit of romance, and a whole lot of blood curdling suspense. eh "whole lot" feels weak (personalized info)

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wilderness
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Re: The Stalked - Query take 1

Post by wilderness » June 15th, 2010, 5:08 pm

I like it! CREEPY! Especially the bit about the Russian roulette. I agree with Emily J's suggestions for improvement.

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Re: The Stalked - Query take 1

Post by JustineDell » June 16th, 2010, 11:50 am

First, congrats to you for working on several things at once!! Progress! ;-)
shadow wrote:
Dear Awesome Agent,

Alex Deriver never thought he would like his new home in Moscow. But when he meets a girl named Anya in his overgrown backyard everything changes. <--This is too generalized. She comes to see him often; her large blue eyes glittery and her frail body dressed in a white summer dress.

Here is my suggestion for the first paragaph. I like what you've got, but I think you can punch it up and loose some of the extra stuff you've got:

Alex Deriver never thought he would like his new home in Moscow. A strange girl cruising around his backyard at all hours of day/night (pick one), with her glittery eyes, frail body, and beautitul face, changes his mind. Anya visits Alex often--too bad no one else can see her.


<del>Nobody sees Anya but Alex.</del>

Then start here: When his life starts to topple over <--this is too generalized. and his friends start calling him a psycho, Alex decides to say goodbye to Anya forever. <del>But</del> The bonds of love between a mortal and an immortal are stronger than any, and that’s when the stalking begins. <--I like this sentence, A LOT, but I think the stalker part should be it's own sentence. I think it would add punch. That's just me though, I like short sentences. Anya wants Alex back and she will do anything for him, even if it means killing him. Yikes! You've upped the stakes nicely here.As Alex’s life turns into a waking nightmare <--this is too generalized You could leave it and I wouldn't miss it. You could start a new paragraph with the end of the sentence. Like this:

When Alex discovers Anya's past, the weirdness factor goes way up (or something like that, that would bring more voice to query.)
, he discovers Anya's past. The daughter of a big time Mafiosi, she ended her life in a game of Russian roulette below the backyard well. The only way Alex can free her hold on him is to play the game that could end his life in the very same way. <--This is a long sentence with 2 important parts, Alex getting free from stalker Anya, and the game he has to play to go it. I think you should break it up (or make it shorter). Maybe like this:

Alex can stop Anya's antics and stalking, but he must risk his own life in a game of Russian Roulette. (Okay, bad example...my brain is fried. Something like that. Tighten up your original sentence a little and you should be fine.) Like this:
Alex can free Anya's hold on him, but he must play the game that could end his life in the very same way.


Okay, as I wrote that last sentence a thought came to mind. What is the "hold" Anya has on Alex? Besides the uber stalking and willingness to kill him so they can be "together"? If there is some special "hold", I think you should mention it. Also, is there any romance aspect to his story? I ask because I'm wondering what the stakes are for Anya. When Alex plays Russian Roulette, does it somehow free Anya from the ghost-type form she has turned into? If so, wouldn't you want to hint at that in the query? Not give away the ending or anything, but hint at what the game would do for her? Just curious.
MY RUSSIAN ROULETTE is a 65,000 word YA paranormal novel. <del>that includes a little bit of romance, and a whole lot of blood curdling suspense</del> IMO. (personalized info)
All and all I would say nice job, Shadow! The premise of this is really interesting. I would read it! ;-)

~JD

PS...I have no idea whats wrong with my strikethrough code. It works everywhere else! Sorry!

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shadow
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Re: The Stalked - Query take 1

Post by shadow » July 12th, 2010, 8:46 am

Justine, Thanks you so much to all of you and all of your great advice. Here is what I've got.


Thanks Mike for pointing that out. I must have missed it. Here is the updated version with the adjectives ripped and burned.

Dear Awesome Agent,

Sixteen-year-old Alex Deriver expects to hate everything about his new home in Moscow. But that's before he meets a girl named Anya singing in his backyard. She's beautiful and her innocence is completely irresistible. Even better, she seems to like him, too, because every day he rushes home from school, she's waiting for him.

But Alex's friends and family think he's losing it. No one's ever heard of this Anya girl, and no one else can see her. Alex doesn't have much of a choice: risk getting tossed into the Looney-bin, or cut Anya out of his life.

Saying goodbye isn't so simple. He hears her voice and sees her everywhere he goes. When he starts having visions of her blood on his hands, Alex delves into the history of the house to find answers. Turns out, Anya is real, and she was on the losing end of a game of Russian Roulette... right in Alex's backyard.

The only way Alex can free her hold on him and be with the Anya he fell so madly in love with is to play the game that could end his life in a blink of an eye. But what is Russian roulette when you pray to get the bullet?

THE STALKED is a 65,000 word YA paranormal novel.
All things writing, visit my blog http://arielemerald.blogspot.com/

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Re: The Stalked - Query take 1

Post by sarramaria » July 12th, 2010, 7:33 pm

I think this sounds like a unique premise. It's definitely more clear for me the second time around. The first query didn't sound like a YA to me, but that changed completely with the second try.
Even better, she seems to like him, too, because every day he rushes home from school, she's waiting for him.
Something about the wording of this sentence makes me stumble a bit. Maybe try splitting it into two sentences or cutting out the second part entirely.
But Alex's friends and family think he's losing it. No one's ever heard of this Anya girl, and no one else can see her. Alex doesn't have much of a choice: risk getting tossed into the Looney-bin, or cut Anya out of his life.
For me, I'm not sure this is a strong enough reason to get rid of her. I want a better idea of how he's feeling about her. Later, when you say he's praying for the bullet, it makes me think he's falling in love with the ghost. On the other hand, if he's so quick to cut her out of his life, it doesn't seem like he's in love. Maybe add a small part where you let the reader know what Alex's feelings are at this point instead of later in the query.
Turns out, Anya is real, and she was on the losing end of a game of Russian Roulette... right in Alex's backyard.
This is a cool, surprising aspect of your story. It's intriguing.

Thanks for sharing your query. It's definitely on the right track. Good luck with your submissions!

Sarra

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Re: The Stalked - Query take 1

Post by katbrauer » July 12th, 2010, 8:11 pm

shadow wrote: Sixteen-year-old Alex Deriver expects to hate everything about his new home in Moscow. But that's before he meets a beautiful girl named Anya singing in his backyard. She's beautiful and h Her innocence is completely irresistible. (I find the phrasing in this a little... creepy. Is Alex supposed to be creepy? It's the combination of innocence and the sexuality implied in irresistible. Freaks me out.) Even better, she seems to like him, too, because every day he rushes home from school, she's waiting for him.

But Alex's friends and family think he's losing it. No one's ever heard of this Anya girl, and no one else can see her. Alex doesn't have much of a choice: risk getting tossed into the Looney-bin, or cut Anya out of his life.

Saying goodbye isn't so simple. He hears her voice and sees her everywhere he goes. When he starts having visions of her blood on his hands (I find this a little cliche. See if you can rework it.), Alex delves into the history of the house to find answers. Turns out, Anya is real, and she was on the losing end of a game of Russian Roulette... right in Alex's backyard. (That's pretty cool.)

The only way Alex can free her hold on him and be with the Anya he fell so madly in love with is to play the game that could end his life in a blink of an eye. (Woah, this sentence is a little overwhelming. See if you can either break it into two, or cut down the descriptors, or something, because right now my eyes just blurred through it. And I feel like this sentence is pretty dang important, cause it's kinda your stakes.) But what is it really Russian roulette when you pray to get the bullet? (Hmmm... not sure I'm feeling this. I think you would need to explain, or at least hint, more at why he wants to die. Is it to be with Anya? However, I do like the reference back to the setting.)

THE STALKED is a 65,000 word YA paranormal novel.
Overall I think this is... okay, but it doesn't stand out enough for me to feel hooked. I'm more invested in the relationship which, courtesy of the somewhat cliche way you explain it, seems a little superficial and, as stated above, creepy. I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to be liking Alex, so if you could expand on his character, and then his attraction to Anya, that'd be cool.

Additionally, and this is maybe the most important part, I also think you might want to hint more at what caused Anya's death--unless she was really stupid enough to play an actual game of Russian roulette. I'm not getting a strong enough sense of the plot, perhaps because I was so confused by the last paragraph.

That being said, I love the setting--there aren't enough YA novels set in Russia!--and if he is actually playing Russian roulette, that could be really interesting. And finally: ghosts are cool.
:) Kat
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