Mouths - YA Fantasy: All rejections, no requests = new query

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katbrauer
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Mouths - YA Fantasy: All rejections, no requests = new query

Post by katbrauer » October 13th, 2010, 9:56 am

You guys were super helpful the last time! I'm hoping (really, seriously crossing my fingers) that the lack of requests is more a commentary on the query than the plot or the writing. In any case, another letter to set your teeth to! Go forth and conquer!

VERSION 5 BASED ON COMMENTS (As of October 19, and it's getting better? I hope? Help!)
  • PERSONALIZATION. MOUTHS is a young adult fantasy, complete at 85,000 words.

    When Derek proposes that he, Io, and Vidar ditch the field trip and explore America’s Stonehenge on their own, they encounter an apparition of a grisly monk who compels them into another world. Escaping him, however, pushes the three teens even more adrift, in a land where magic replaces electricity, the gods are both real and flawed, and everyone believes Io is some angel...thing.

    While Derek finds this world more fascinating than a Dungeons and Dragons game, Io and Vidar only want to get the hell home. To do this, they must start communicating in a new language, in a different culture, and with each other. Easier said than done, because Vidar hates everything about the stupid, racist place. He saves an entire village from a mysterious fire, yet they still think he’s worthless. He won’t accept being stuck here. Ever.

    And Io…Io needs to control the magic sizzling beneath her fingertips, the magic that started that fire, before it hurts someone. Otherwise, she’ll be abandoned just when she might have some actual, yanno, friends.

    And as they search, they must contend with the monk, the most powerful religious leader in this world. He’s determined to purify the land of sin Ten Plagues of Egypt style, and that requires Io, Vidar, and Derek. As corpses.

    MOUTHS is written as the first half of a two book series. I believe it will appeal to fans of Tamora Pierce's TRICKSTER'S CHOICE and TRICKSTER'S QUEEN, or Hilari Bell's FARSALA series.
VERSION TWO IN THE EIGHTH POST, below Just read version 5, above.
Last edited by katbrauer on October 19th, 2010, 2:04 am, edited 6 times in total.
:) Kat
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Re: Mouths - YA Fantasy: All rejections, no requests = new query

Post by robyn » October 13th, 2010, 11:23 am

Great query here. I like the way you have presented the crux of your story at the beginning of your query. (And might I interject that the no requests thing probably has EVERYTHING to do with the query. Not that the query is stinko or anything. I just feel like no requests at all is due to the query.) I wonder if your hook could be more hookish. By that I mean draw an agent in HARD. As it stands now, I like it, but I might not request your material or read more of your query. It has to GRAB me. The second paragraph seems more like your hook to me (minus the word damn). Of course, you'll want to see what everyone else says. :) I'm def NO expert. And I've ALWAYS read that you should not use words like damn in a query. Even though you want to keep your voice, I've just heard it is very unprofessional. Now that said, I'm sure others will disagree, but I just thought I would throw that out there. I want to feel for these kids and I do feel for Io, but I really don't know anything about Derek and Vidar except they are a geek and a jock. That gives me no reason to worry about them. I need a reason.

PERSONALIZATION. MOUTHS is a young adult fantasy, complete at 85,000 words.

In order to escape a dangerous parallel world, three disparate teenagers—a jock, a geek, and a chick who doesn't like labels, thank-you-very-much—must overcome their mutual distrust while eluding the monk who yanked them from Earth.

The field trip to America's Stonehenge in New Hampshire is already full of Fail. Not only does Iolanthe Smith have to endure primo-jock Vidar and uber-geek Derek, but it's cold, windy, and her sneakers are too damn tight. And, oh yeah, she's just learned her biological parents abandoned her near these stupid standing stones.This seems like your hook. It makes me want to read on.

Then a monk materializes in the middle of the stones and uses mind-voodoo to pull them into another world. Suddenly magic replaces electricity, God is most definitely real, and everyone and their mother believes Io is some kind of holy angel. How and why does the monk come into the picture?

In order to get home without dying, the three teens must learn how to communicate in a new language, in a different culture, and with each other. If only Derek weren't ignored by, well, everyone. If only Vidar weren't so distracted by bizarrely gorgeous Io. If only Io could control the magic sizzling beneath her fingertips—magic that can destroy whole towns, even cities. Or make everyone abandon her if they find out about it, like her parents did. I love this paragraph except for the first sentence. I don't know why so wait until you get other feedback. Could just be me.

But they need to find a way back, stat, because the monk is not only powerful, he’s determined to purify the world of sin á là the Ten Plagues of Egypt. And his first step is to expunge these clueless yet pivotal teens from existence. And we know they must find their way back. So I would delete that.

MOUTHS is written as the first part of a duet. I believe it will appeal to fans of Tamora Pierce's TRICKSTER'S CHOICE and TRICKSTER'S QUEEN, or Hilari Bell's FARSALA series. I currently live in Japan where, instead of battling evil with supernatural powers, I battle the forces of Engrish by teaching English to elementary- and middle school students.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I hope I helped you even a little. I'm NO expert. (I wish I was.) But your book sounds fantastic.

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Re: Mouths - YA Fantasy: All rejections, no requests = new query

Post by Netti » October 13th, 2010, 11:24 am

katbrauer wrote:PERSONALIZATION. MOUTHS is a young adult fantasy, complete at 85,000 words.(This should go at the end of the query)

In order to escape a dangerous parallel world, three disparate teenagers—a jock, a geek, and a chick who doesn't like labels, thank-you-very-much—must overcome their mutual distrust while eluding the monk who yanked them from Earth.

The field trip to America's Stonehenge in New Hampshire is already full of Fail. Not only does Iolanthe Smith have to endure primo-jock Vidar and uber-geek Derek, but it's cold, windy, and her sneakers are too damn tight. And, oh yeah, she's just learned her biological parents abandoned her near these stupid standing stones.(You say field trip but only mention three kids. Where's the rest of the class? Did they get yanked out of this world too?)

Then a monk materializes in the middle of the stones and uses mind-voodoo to pull them into another world. Suddenly magic replaces electricity, God is most definitely real, and everyone and their mother believes Io is some kind of holy angel.

In order to get home without dying, the three teens must learn how to communicate in a new language, in a different culture, and with each other. If only Derek weren't ignored by, well, everyone. If only Vidar weren't so distracted by bizarrely gorgeous Io. If only Io could control the magic sizzling beneath her fingertips—magic that can destroy whole towns, even cities. Or make everyone abandon her if they find out about it, like her parents did.

But they need to find a way back, stat, because the monk is not only powerful, he’s determined to purify the world of sin á là the Ten Plagues of Egypt. And his first step is to expunge these clueless yet pivotal teens from existence. (Why is he so bent on destroying these three specific kids?)

MOUTHS is written as the first part of a duet. I believe it will appeal to fans of Tamora Pierce's TRICKSTER'S CHOICE and TRICKSTER'S QUEEN, or Hilari Bell's FARSALA series. I currently live in Japan where, instead of battling evil with supernatural powers, I battle the forces of Engrish by teaching English to elementary- and middle school students.(If it's not relevant to what you're writing it's best not to put it in.)

Thank you for your time and consideration.
I like the voice in this! It definitely makes me want to read more. There were just a few things that bothered me. I don't think it'll take you much to reach perfection.
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Re: Mouths - YA Fantasy: All rejections, no requests = new query

Post by glj » October 13th, 2010, 12:22 pm

I like this, it is succinct and to the point and gives a good taste of the story. Small suggestions below.


PERSONALIZATION. MOUTHS is a young adult fantasy, complete at 85,000 words. Have you researched YA lengths? This seems a tad long

In order to escape a dangerous parallel world, three disparate teenagers—a jock, a geek, and a chick who doesn't like labels, thank-you-very-much—must overcome their mutual distrust while eluding the monk who yanked them from Earth. Pow! Great start

The field trip to America's Stonehenge in New Hampshire is already full of Fail. Not only does Iolanthe Smith have to endure primo-jock Vidar and uber-geek Derek, but it's cold, windy, and her sneakers are too damn tight. And, oh yeah, she's just learned her biological parents abandoned her near these stupid standing stones.

Then a monk materializes in the middle of the stones and uses mind-voodoo Can you come up with a better word than "mind-voodoo"? It just seems like too much mixing of words from disparate religious/spiritual/magical concepts. Maybe it's just me. to pull them into another world. Suddenly magic replaces electricity, God is most definitely real, and everyone and their mother believes Io is some kind of holy angel. Sounds kind of sweet for a teenager. Does Io indulge herself in this world? Could be added effort for Io if she has to give up some of this world in order to get back to the normal world?

In order to get home without dying, the three teens must learn how to communicate in a new language, in a different culture, and with each other. If only Derek weren't ignored by, well, everyone. If only Vidar weren't so distracted by bizarrely gorgeous Io. Is this different than before? If only Io could control the magic sizzling beneath her fingertips—magic that can destroy whole towns, even cities. Or make everyone abandon her if they find out about it, like her parents did. Oooh, nice, tying it back to a previous paragraph.

But they need to find a way back, stat, because the monk is not only powerful, he’s determined to purify the world of sin á là the Ten Plagues of Egypt. And his first step is to expunge these clueless yet pivotal teens from existence. Problem: why didn't he just zap them where they stood, instead of kidnapping them? Did they serve some purpose first? This could add to the query: "now that they have _, the monk will _ to them, as he's determined to purify the world . . ."

MOUTHS is written as the first part of a duet. Duet??? I wouldn't get cutesy here, this is a business letter, like a resume. I believe it will appeal to fans of Tamora Pierce's TRICKSTER'S CHOICE and TRICKSTER'S QUEEN, or Hilari Bell's FARSALA series. I currently live in Japan where, instead of battling evil with supernatural powers, I battle the forces of Engrish by teaching English to elementary- and middle school students.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Re: Mouths - YA Fantasy: All rejections, no requests = new query

Post by caseygriffin2 » October 13th, 2010, 1:52 pm

PERSONALIZATION. MOUTHS is a young adult fantasy, complete at 85,000 words.

In order to escape a dangerous parallel world, three disparate teenagers—a jock, a geek, and a chick who doesn't like labels, thank-you-very-much—must overcome their mutual distrust while eluding the monk who yanked them from Earth.

The field trip to America's Stonehenge in New Hampshire is already full of Fail. Not only does Iolanthe Smith have to endure primo-jock Vidar and uber-geek Derek, but it's cold, windy, and her sneakers are too damn tight. And, oh yeah, she's just learned her biological is the word "biological" important? Is there another set of parents involved in the story? parents abandoned her near these stupid standing stones.

Then a monk materializes in the middle of the stones and uses mind-voodoo I agree with one of the previous posts. Mind-voodoo makes it sound a little hokey, although I realize you might just be trying to put a bit of your own flavour or personality into the query to pull them into another world. Suddenly magic replaces electricity, God is most definitely real, and everyone and their mother believes Io is some kind of holy angel. Here's where you might want to introduce the shocking fact that she can do magic.

In order to get home without dying, the three teens must learn how to communicate in a new language, in a different culture, and with each other I really like that phrase and how you ended it with "and with each other" . If only Derek weren't ignored by, well, everyone. If only Vidar weren't so distracted by bizarrely gorgeous Io Is she bizarrely gorgeous because of her new powers or something that happened in this new place? . If only Io could control the magic sizzling beneath her fingertips This seems to come out of nowhere for me. It seems like it would be a big part of the story, but you mention it a bit later in your query. Is that why people think she's a holy angel? Maybe you should introduce her powers at that point. —magic that can destroy whole towns, even cities. Or make everyone abandon her if they find out about it, like her parents did.

But they need to find a way back, stat, because the monk is not only powerful, he’s determined to purify the world of sin á là the Ten Plagues of Egypt. And his first step is to expunge these clueless yet pivotal teens from existence Why is he after them? Why is it important he gets rid of them when he was the one who transported them? .

MOUTHS is written as the first part of a duet. I believe it will appeal to fans of Tamora Pierce's TRICKSTER'S CHOICE and TRICKSTER'S QUEEN, or Hilari Bell's FARSALA series. I currently live in Japan where, instead of battling evil with supernatural powers, I battle the forces of Engrish by teaching English to elementary- and middle school students maybe you should cut this because it doesn't add anything to your writing experience. Are there any writing groups in your area of Japan? If your city is big enough, there might be other expats such as yourself that might get together. If you joined one, it would be a good thing to mention here. .

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Good luck!

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Re: Mouths - YA Fantasy: All rejections, no requests = new query

Post by Thermocline » October 13th, 2010, 2:24 pm

You've used some interesting phrases to let your voice come through. Nice job with that. Your query gives me a sense of the style of your book, but some of the details you provide seem thrown in to showcase that style rather than give me the important items I need to know about the book. For example, "it's cold, windy, and her sneakers are too damn tight", "God is most definitely real", and "If only Derek weren't ignored by, well, everyone" are cute but they don't seem as relevant as other details.
katbrauer wrote:PERSONALIZATION. MOUTHS is a young adult fantasy, complete at 85,000 words.Move this to the end so you can jump right into the story.

In order to escape a dangerous parallel world, three disparate teenagers—a jock, a geek, and a chick who doesn't like labels, thank-you-very-much—must overcome their mutual distrust while eluding the monk who yanked them from Earth. This summary paragraph tells us everything in every general terms. You do a much better job showing us the story below.

The field trip to America's Stonehenge in New Hampshire is already full of Fail. Not sure what "full of Fail" (capital F) means.Not only does Iolanthe Smith have to endure primo-jock Vidar and uber-geek Derek, but it's cold, windy, and her sneakers are too damn tight. And, oh yeah, she's just learned her biological parents abandoned her near these stupid standing stones. This detail, while relevant, feels tacked on. Consider mentioning it at the end, or delete it since you mention the parents below. Another option is to combine it with how she is feeling/what she is doing at the start of your query. For example, your first line could be something like, "The last time Iolanthe Smith was at America's Stonehenge in New Hampshire her parents left her here." You could then roll right into the next line, below.

Then Keep in present tense. a monk materializes in the middle of the stones and uses mind-voodoo to pull them Io and two of her classmates into a another world. Suddenly magic replaces electricity, God is most definitely real, and where everyone and their mother believes Io is some kind of holy angel.

In order to get home without dying, the three teens must learn how to communicate in a new language, in a different culture, and with each other. If only Derek weren't ignored by, well, everyone. If only Vidar weren't so distracted by bizarrely gorgeous Io. If only Io could control the magic sizzling beneath her fingertips—magic that can destroy whole towns, even cities. Or make everyone abandon her if they find out about it, like her parents did. These "If only" statements don't show us what Io does. They summarize action that takes place that we will read about. Your query should show us what the main character does and what choices she has to make.

But they need to find a way back, stat, because the monk is not only powerful, he’s determined to purify the world of sin á là the Ten Plagues of Egypt. And his first step is to expunge these clueless yet pivotal teens from existence. I like the a la line but I'm a little confused. Which world is he trying to purfiy? If his first step is to expunge them, why not kill them right off rather than bring them into this world? Why are they pivotal? Other than Io being thought of as a holy angel, which we don't know why, nothing in your query describes them as being important. Again, show us what Io has to do in order to get back.

MOUTHS is written as the first part of a duet. I've never heard of "duet" in reference to a book." I believe it will appeal to fans of Tamora Pierce's TRICKSTER'S CHOICE and TRICKSTER'S QUEEN, or Hilari Bell's FARSALA series. The prior sentence is useful, but the following could be deleted. It doesn't contain a publishing credit. I currently live in Japan where, instead of battling evil with supernatural powers, I battle the forces of Englrish by teaching English to elementary- and middle school students.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
[/color]
How old is Io? We need to know more about what she has to do in order to care about the outcome. Make her actions and reactions the center of your query. Good luck!

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Re: Mouths - YA Fantasy: All rejections, no requests = new query

Post by Nicole R » October 13th, 2010, 4:16 pm

Nice work! I agree with most of the suggestions here, and I second Thermocline's question about Io's age. The fun tone of this query almost sounded more MG than YA to me. I like the concept though - sort of like a parallel world Breakfast Club.

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Re: Mouths - YA Fantasy: All rejections, no requests = new query

Post by katbrauer » October 14th, 2010, 4:19 am

VERSION TWOPLEASE SEE VERSION 3, FIRST POST

Did my best to incorporate all of your great suggestions and address all the comments. I'm still not satisfied! I think now it's too long? And I feel like I should cut the adjectives pell-mell, but they make it so shinies... If you see anything that looks too purple, cut at will :)

1. I'm going to keep the comment about my job in the query. Whether or not it applies, I like that it says something about *me,* and it's not so long to be distracting or pull the focus from the book.
2. Vidar, Derek, and Io are all MCs. If you've read the FARSALA series, it works like that one: three POVs, with the chapters alternating between them. This will be especially important in the second book. So... if you're not getting an idea of Derek & Vidar, try and find a place for me to fit it in? Because they need to be noticeable.
3. In my last batch of queries I put the personalization last. Now I'm gonna put it first. It's a conscious decision. I know the pros and cons, so don't worry about that. :)

In any case, have at Version 2! PLEASE SEE VERSION 3, FIRST POST

PERSONALIZATION. MOUTHS is a young adult fantasy, complete at 85,000 words.

The field trip to America's Stonehenge in New Hampshire is already crappy enough. After all, last time Iolanthe Smith was here, her parents abandoned her. Yet when super-geek Derek proposes that he, Io, and the captain of the soccer team, Vidar, ditch the maps and explore on their own, morbid curiosity gets the better of Io's good sense.

In a circle of standing stones, they encounter an apparition of a grisly monk. His thoughts slink into their minds, compelling the three teenagers forward to another world. One where magic replaces electricity, God is most definitely real, and everyone and their mother believes Io is some kind of holy angel.

They manage to flee crazy-creepy monk, but become more lost in the process. In order to find a way home, they must learn how to communicate in a new language, in a different culture, and with each other. If only Derek's enthusiasm weren't so socially awkward. If only Vidar weren't reviled for being brown while everyone fawns over bizarrely gorgeous Io. If only Io could control the newfound magic sizzling beneath her fingertips—magic that can destroy whole towns, even cities. Or get her abandoned again if anyone finds out about it.

But worst of all, the monk is the most powerful religious figure in this world, and he’s determined to purify the land of sin á là the Ten Plagues of Egypt. Step one? Kill Vidar, Io, and Derek. And do it before their true consequence is discovered.

MOUTHS is written as the first half of a two book series. I believe it will appeal to fans of Tamora Pierce's TRICKSTER'S CHOICE and TRICKSTER'S QUEEN, or Hilari Bell's FARSALA series. I currently live in Japan where, instead of battling evil with supernatural powers, I battle the forces of Engrish by teaching English to elementary- and middle school students
.


THANK YOU SO MUCH. Thermocline, I really appreciated your advice about streamlining paragraph one (which somehow ended up just as long.. bah). Casey and gij, I hope I got around the "mind-voodoo" issue to your satisfaction, and to everybody, hopefully the monk's motivation is a little clearer now. Can't be giving away all the book's secrets, though. :D

PS, Jess: =P
:) Kat
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Re: Mouths - YA Fantasy: All rejections, no requests = new query

Post by Jessa » October 15th, 2010, 9:57 am

katbrauer wrote: In order to escape a dangerous parallel world, three disparate teenagers—a jock, a geek, and a chick who doesn't like labels, thank-you-very-much—must overcome their mutual distrust while eluding the monk who yanked them out of New Hampshire. I know some people say they've liked it, but you don't need it.
When Derek Kent proposes that he, Iolanthe Smith, and Vidar Li ditch the field trip and explore America’s Stonehenge on their own, morbid curiosity gets the better of Io's good sense. While trekking through the forest,they encounter an apparition of a grisly monk whose thoughts compel Do they know it was his thoughts that did it? It wasn't his magic, or his power, or ... anything else? Also "compel" suggests that he mentally controls them and makes them want to go. Is there a stronger verb, or is that exactly what he does? them into another world. One where church leaders have powers over fire and stone, their god Rin is most definitely real, and everyone and their mother believes Io is some kind of awesome “dhaval” thing.

They manage to flee Uber-Creepster Monk, but in the process become even more lost. To find the way home, the teens must communicate in a new language, in a different culture, and with each other. Derek is determined to master the world’s tongue, but his enthusiasm is more awkward than anything. Vidar studies half-heartedly, mostly because he hates the stupid, racist place. Then he saves an entire village from a mysterious fire, and suddenly he’s a hero. Especially to Io. She needs to control the magic sizzling beneath her fingertips before anyone finds out about it. Otherwise, she’ll be abandoned when she might just have some actual, yanno, friends. Aside from Io's conflict, this makes it sound like their biggest problem is learning a language. Not compelling. It may be true that they have to learn a new language, but if you're going to give each character their own conflict, you have to find the big one and that's what you put here. Io's conflict is great; try and give Derek and Vidar something to match it.

And as they search, they must contend with the monk, the most powerful religious figure in this world. He’s determined to purify the land of sin á là the Ten Plagues of Egypt, and that requires Io, Vidar, and Derek. As corpses.He transported them to his world so he could kill them and purify the land of sin? That could be quite cool, but you need to elaborate a bit more, in as few words as possible, on why they, specifically, are needed. Also, the Ten Plagues weren't anyone's attempt to wipe out anything, they were coercive. The analogy falls flat.

MOUTHS is written as the first half of a two book series. I believe it will appeal to fans of Tamora Pierce's TRICKSTER'S CHOICE and TRICKSTER'S QUEEN, or Hilari Bell's FARSALA series. I currently live in Japan where, instead of battling evil with supernatural powers, I battle the forces of Engrish by teaching English to elementary- and middle school studentsAmusing, but unnecessary. Remember that a query letter should be from one professional to another. The only bio stuff you need is any publishing credits or special honors that might apply (contest you've won, recommendations from big-name authors, etc.)
I know it's tempting to throw some personal color in your query letter, but refrain. The agent at this point mostly cares about what your story is, how good your pitch is. The pitch itself comes off light-hearted and kinda goofy, which is fine! Assuming that same tone is present in the story, that's exactly what you should strive for. Any agent will figure out from the pitch that you've got a sense of humor and a quick wit. You'll still come across as likeable. At least, you do to me!

Try to keep down the names you use in a query. You want it simple and clean. That's why I struck out all the last names, and Io's full name. You only refer to her as Io in the rest of the query, so it doesn't matter yet what her full name is and it doesn't matter yet what the god's name is. It will in the synopsis; it doesn't in the query.

Normally I'd say don't mention that it's Book 1 of 2. I'm not sure how I feel about it since there's no long series planned, just one follow-up book. Also, you need to mention your wordcount, and I didn't see that. And absolutely make sure they know it's completed. If you don't say it is, they assume you're one of a million people querying a book that doesn't, technically, exist yet. And you need to mention the genre. "MOUTHS is a [genre] book complete at [wordcount] words."

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Re: Mouths - YA Fantasy: All rejections, no requests = new query

Post by katbrauer » October 15th, 2010, 7:21 pm

Jessa wrote: "compel" suggests that he mentally controls them and makes them want to go. Is there a stronger verb, or is that exactly what he does?
That's exactly what he does. And he does it in a really creepy manner. So huzzah! Got one thing right...ish. :)
Jessa wrote: Aside from Io's conflict, this makes it sound like their biggest problem is learning a language. Not compelling. It may be true that they have to learn a new language, but if you're going to give each character their own conflict, you have to find the big one and that's what you put here. Io's conflict is great; try and give Derek and Vidar something to match it.
Here I'm listing their internal conflicts, exempting Io's because her internal conflict is learning how to not be a bitch.

1. Derek is socially awkward and thus is never accepted by "the group," which he really wants to be.
2. Vidar hates the world because it hates him, but the only way to get home is to stop giving 'em an eye-for-an-eye (Wow, I'm using a lot of biblical allusions here, which is funny, because this book is not Christian. Anyway.)

So... that's not obvious. Do you have any ideas on rewording to make it more obvious?
Jessa wrote:He transported them to his world so he could kill them and purify the land of sin? That could be quite cool, but you need to elaborate a bit more, in as few words as possible, on why they, specifically, are needed. Also, the Ten Plagues weren't anyone's attempt to wipe out anything, they were coercive. The analogy falls flat.
That's...part of why he did it. But the other part is driving me batty, because we don't figure out the reason until the second book, so I have nooooo idea how to include it in this query. I'll keep working on it, I guess. I was using the Ten Plagues as more of a *how* than a *why*... as-in, he's going to purify the world in a super destructive and terrifying way. The only other idea I had was "Noahs Arc," and I couldn't figure out a way to make that snappy.
Jessa wrote: Also, you need to mention your wordcount, and I didn't see that. And absolutely make sure they know it's completed. If you don't say it is, they assume you're one of a million people querying a book that doesn't, technically, exist yet. And you need to mention the genre. "MOUTHS is a [genre] book complete at [wordcount] words."
Haha, sorry, I forgot to copy and paste that line. It IS included in the query.
:) Kat
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Re: Mouths - YA Fantasy: All rejections, no requests = new query

Post by D.S. Deshaw » October 15th, 2010, 8:18 pm

Jessa wrote:He transported them to his world so he could kill them and purify the land of sin? That could be quite cool, but you need to elaborate a bit more, in as few words as possible, on why they, specifically, are needed. Also, the Ten Plagues weren't anyone's attempt to wipe out anything, they were coercive. The analogy falls flat.
That's...part of why he did it. But the other part is driving me batty, because we don't figure out the reason until the second book, so I have nooooo idea how to include it in this query. I'll keep working on it, I guess. I was using the Ten Plagues as more of a *how* than a *why*... as-in, he's going to purify the world in a super destructive and terrifying way. The only other idea I had was "Noahs Arc," and I couldn't figure out a way to make that snappy.
Does the monk come out and tell them "I need to kill you"? Do they know he's out to kill them? Why not tie it up with "And as they search, they must contend with the monk, the most powerful religious leader in this world. He’s determined to purify the land of sin Ten Plagues of Egypt style, and if Io, Vidar, and Derek don't leave before he's finished, they may never be able to go home again." (But somehow better phrased ...)

Something to raise their stakes about getting home, hinting that maybe this monk is something more than just a monk, but keeping the why until later. If it's not ever introduced in Book 1 and you introduce the question of it so early, then we're going to read the entire book wondering...and not get to it. That's my fear :(

Really awesome job this time, Kat! I definitely have a better sense of Derek and Vidar and Io--what they struggle with and what their personal conflicts are, beside the main conflict. I still hear your voice in it and that's awesome! Yay query fun!
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priya g.
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Re: Mouths - YA Fantasy: All rejections, no requests = new query

Post by priya g. » October 16th, 2010, 10:51 am

katbrauer wrote: VERSION 4 BASED ON COMMENTS (As of October 16, and it's still not...good. Help!)
  • PERSONALIZATION. MOUTHS is a young adult fantasy, complete at 85,000 words MOVE THIS TO THE END.

    When Derek proposes that he, Io, and Vidar ditch the field trip and explore America’s Stonehenge on their own, they encounter an apparition of a grisly monk who compels FROM WHERE? DOES HE LEAD THEM TO A HOLE OR HYPNOTIZES THEM OR MAKES THEM GO THROUGH WALLS? them into another world. Escaping him, however, pushes the three teens even more adrift FROM EACH OTHER OR GETTING BACK?, in a land where magic replaces electricity, the gods are both real and flawed, and mountain-men beards are considered badass THE INCLUSION OF MOUNTAIN MEN SEEMS RANDOMLY THROWN IN.

    To find a way home, they must start communicating in a new language, in a different culture, and with each other. But, while Derek is determined to prove himself by mastering the world’s tongue, his enthusiasm is more awkward CONSIDER REPHRASING 'AWKWARD' than anything. Vidar studies only half-heartedly because he hates this stupid, racist place. He saves an entire village from a mysterious fire, yet they still think he’s worthless. He won’t accept being stuck here. Ever. THIS PARAGRAPH SEEMS TO GO OUT OF CONTEXT, KEEP IT TILL THEY HAVE TO LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE AND DEREK'S OVER ENTHUSIASM AT THE IDEA.

    And Io…Io needs to control the magic sizzling beneath her fingertips, the magic that started that fire, before it hurts someone. Otherwise, she’ll be abandoned just when she might have some actual, yanno, friends. I AM LOST- WHY WILL SHE BE ABANDONED?

    And as they search, they must contend with the monk, the most powerful religious leader in this world. He’s determined to purify the land of sin Ten Plagues of Egypt style, and [for some reason] that requires Io, Vidar, and Derek. As corpses.

    MOUTHS is written as the first half of a two book series. I believe it will appeal to fans of Tamora Pierce's TRICKSTER'S CHOICE and TRICKSTER'S QUEEN, or Hilari Bell's FARSALA series.
I think this query has scope, but you need to work a bit on the flow. it seems to be a bit fragmented.
cant wait to read the next version.

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Re: Mouths - YA Fantasy: All rejections, no requests = new query

Post by katbrauer » October 19th, 2010, 2:07 am

Hopefully I've addressed most of the issues in version six, still in the first post. I shall continue to revise and think and revise and think. DEFINITELY still open to further comments if anyone has more to offer. :)
:) Kat
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Re: Mouths - YA Fantasy: All rejections, no requests = new query

Post by fishfood » October 19th, 2010, 9:57 pm

I'm just going to critique this version. This is your latest, right? I skimmed through some other versions and I actually liked some of the elements from your earlier ones that you deleted here. But it's a matter of personal taste. I'm sure what I thought was cool, another poster put a big slash through it.
katbrauer wrote:You guys were super helpful the last time! I'm hoping (really, seriously crossing my fingers) that the lack of requests is more a commentary on the query than the plot or the writing. In any case, another letter to set your teeth to! Go forth and conquer!

VERSION 5 BASED ON COMMENTS (As of October 19, and it's getting better? I hope? Help!)
  • PERSONALIZATION. MOUTHS is a young adult fantasy, complete at 85,000 words.

    When Derek proposes that he, Io, and Vidar ditch the field trip and explore America’s Stonehenge on their own, they encounter an apparition of a grisly monk who compels I liked the mind voo-doo line, more spunky than the boring "compels." them into another world. Escaping him, why are they escaping him if he "compled" them? however, pushes the three teens even more adrift, in a land where magic replaces electricity, the gods are both real and flawed, and everyone believes Io is some angel...thing. Don't bother being totally truthful here. What's important is the three teens were mind voo-dooed into another world. 'Nuff said. I'm still debating if I like the last line about electricty, gods and lo...hmm, keep it for now. I think "angel...thing" is funny, but it might throw an agent off. I don't know.

    While Derek finds this world more fascinating than a Dungeons and Dragons game,(:D) Io and Vidar only want to get the hell home. To do this, they must start communicating in a new language, in a different culture, and with each other. This is so Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure to me right now, which I'm totally digging. Easier said than done, because Vidar hates everything about the stupid, racist place. He saves an entire village from a mysterious fire, yet they still think he’s worthless. He won’t accept being stuck here. Ever.(I like your voice, very funny)

    And Io…Io needs to control the magic sizzling beneath her fingertips, the magic that started that fire, before it hurts someone. Otherwise, she’ll be abandoned just when she might have some actual, yanno,(I apologize for revealing my un-coolness in the slang department here, but...yanno?) friends.

    And as they search, they must contend with the monk, the most powerful religious leader in this world. He’s determined to purify the land of sin Ten Plagues of Egypt style, and that requires Io, Vidar, and Derek. As corpses. Nice.
    MOUTHS is written as the first half of a two book series. I believe it will appeal to fans of Tamora Pierce's TRICKSTER'S CHOICE and TRICKSTER'S QUEEN, or Hilari Bell's FARSALA series.
VERSION TWO IN THE EIGHTH POST, below Just read version 5, above.
I think you did good. Your voice is witty, you make us care about the characters, and the crux of the story is getting home, but the monk wants them dead

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