SOUL SURVIVORS: PARANORMAL QUERY

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allegedauthor
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SOUL SURVIVORS: PARANORMAL QUERY

Post by allegedauthor » January 7th, 2011, 10:35 am

Hiya! I'm look for help with my query. Soul Survivors is a working title since there are other works by th same name. I need to know if it's clear enough and if I use the word soul too much! Any other crits would be greatly appreciated!

NEW QUERY IN POST #3!!



Twelve-year-old Heidi Meyers wants nothing more than to have fun fooling around in class after her reading teacher breaks both his legs skiing and ends up in the hospital. Did someone say substitute teacher equals no work? Heck, yeah!

However, Mrs. Podge has other plans for Heidi and her classmates. One by one she’s stealing the souls from unsuspecting seventh graders during her torturous detentions and turning them into hollow shells of what they once were. Each time she takes a soul she becomes younger and more powerful. With parental units laughing at the truth and the principal not taking her seriously, it’s up to Heidi and her friends to stop the sinister substitute before she turns the whole school into soulless robots who follow her every order. If they defeat her then they save the school. If they lose, it will cost them their lives.

Soul Survivors is a 40,000 word middle grade paranormal novel.
Last edited by allegedauthor on January 7th, 2011, 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AContos
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Re: SOUL SURVIVORS: PARANORMAL QUERY

Post by AContos » January 7th, 2011, 11:53 am

I'm still in the process of completing my own query, so all the usual caveats apply.
I think you've got a good query. Just a few suggestions below. Also, you might want to think about telling the 2nd paragraph from Heidi's viewpoint. Right now, you switch over to Mrs. Podge for the first half of it. Maybe give a little explanation for how Heidi finds out what's happening? That way we stay in her head for the duration of the query.

allegedauthor wrote:Hiya! I'm look for help with my query. Soul Survivors is a working title since there are other works by th same name. I need to know if it's clear enough and if I use the word soul too much! Any other crits would be greatly appreciated!


Twelve-year-old Heidi Meyers wants nothing more than to have fun fooling around in class whenafter her teacher ends up in the hospital after a skiing accident.reading teacher breaks both his legs skiing and ends up in the hospital. Not sure it's necessary to include the reason for the teacher being in the hospital at all, but that's just a suggested re-write that could shorten up the sentence a little.Did someone say substitute teacher equals no work? Heck, yeah! Like this.....ahh, the days with substitute teachers...... :)

However, Mrs. Podge has other plans for Heidi and her classmates. One by onecomma she’s stealing the souls from unsuspecting seventh graders during her torturous detentions and turning them into hollow shells of what they once were. Maybe explain exactly what happens to the kids when she takes their souls?Each time she takes a soul she becomes younger and more powerful. With parental units laughing at the truth and the principal not taking her seriously, it’s up to Heidi and her friends to stop the sinister substitute before she turns the whole school into soulless robots who follow her every order. If they defeat her then they save the school. If they lose, it will cost them their lives.

Soul Survivors is a 40,000 word middle grade paranormal novel.
This sounds really fun! You're almost there!

allegedauthor
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Re: SOUL SURVIVORS: PARANORMAL QUERY

Post by allegedauthor » January 7th, 2011, 12:12 pm

How is this?


Twelve-year-old Heidi Meyers wants nothing more than to have fun fooling around in class. Did someone say substitute teacher equals no work? Heck, yeah!

However, Mrs. Podge has other plans for Heidi and her classmates. One by one, she’s stealing the souls from unsuspecting seventh graders during her torturous detentions and turning them into soulless robots that follow her every order. With parental units laughing at the truth and the principal not taking her seriously, it’s up to Heidi and her friends to stop the sinister substitute before Mrs. Podge and her army of students controls everything. If they defeat her then they save the school. If they lose, it will cost them their lives.

Soul Survivors is a 40,000 word middle grade paranormal novel.

Thanks so much for the help, A.CONTOS! I would love to get some other opinions too, please!

Meredith
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Re: SOUL SURVIVORS: PARANORMAL QUERY

Post by Meredith » January 7th, 2011, 12:29 pm

allegedauthor wrote:How is this?


Twelve-year-old Heidi Meyers wants nothing more than to have fun fooling around in class. Did someone say substitute teacher equals no work? Heck, yeah! This tells me that Heidi is like pretty much any other twelve-year-old. It doesn't give me a reason to care specifically about Heidi. Now that you've removed the extra info about the teacher, can you put in some little detail about Heidi that will make her more special? Is she planning to use the extra time to work on her drawings? Write poetry? Pass notes about the cute boy three seats up? What makes her unique?

However, Mrs. Podge has other plans for Heidi and her classmates. You've got a nice short query. I think you could afford a sentence or two to show how Heidi finds this out. One by one, she’s stealing the souls from unsuspecting seventh graders during her torturous detentions and turning them into soulless redundant. If she's stealing their souls, they'd be soulless. robots that follow her every order. With parental units laughing at the truth Is this a little like The Stepford Wives? Are the parents glad to have good little kids who aren't any trouble? Aren't any of the parents worried about the change in little Johnny? and the principal not taking her seriously, it’s up to Heidi and her friends to stop the sinister substitute before Mrs. Podge and her army of students controls control everything. If they defeat her then they save the school And coincidentally return the souls to those poor kids? . If they lose, it will cost them their lives.

Soul Survivors is a 40,000 word middle grade paranormal novel. Not sure I wouldn't call this horror or at least dark fantasy, rather than paranormal. But then, I haven't read it.
Sounds like an interesting story. Good luck with this.
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Re: SOUL SURVIVORS: PARANORMAL QUERY

Post by Guardian » January 7th, 2011, 12:36 pm

Did someone say substitute teacher equals no work? Heck, yeah!
I would rephrase this line. Maybe someone is going to correct me, but as far as I know agents doesn't really like if you take up questions in queries, regardless you explain it with the next sentence.
If they defeat her then they save the school. If they lose, it will cost them their lives.
Hypothetical. IF... maybe you should rephrase this to straight facts (It's similar if you would take up questions in the query.). Try to tell the facts instead without IFs.
Soul Survivors is a 40,000 word middle grade paranormal novel.
You're right on the borderline with this wordcount. 40000 is the absolute minimum for novels. Maybe you should ask Nathan about this.

By the way, the story sounds interesting. Good luck!
Last edited by Guardian on January 7th, 2011, 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

allegedauthor
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Re: SOUL SURVIVORS: PARANORMAL QUERY

Post by allegedauthor » January 7th, 2011, 12:52 pm

Thanks for the help!

Meredith: I will try and put some personalization about Heidi. Good call! I researched this and it is paranormal. Anything having to do with sucking souls/demons/etc. and not on a different plane or world. If I put fantasy or horror that will have a WHOLE different meaning to agents. Thank you so much for your questions in my query and I will utilize them in reshaping it!

Guardian: Agents don't like hypothetical questions as a hook all by themselves. As is: Do you ever wonder what it would be like to have a substitute teacher? And I believe 40,000 pretty high for a paranormal middle grade novel (it would be low if it was meant for adults). I do like your response to the "ifs" though. I will look at changing them. Thank you so much!

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Re: SOUL SURVIVORS: PARANORMAL QUERY

Post by Nicole R » January 7th, 2011, 1:45 pm

Nice start! You have an interesting idea, and I think your voice is beginning to come through in the query. I agree with Meredith that you can afford the add a few more lines of explanation. My line-by-line is below.

Good luck!
allegedauthor wrote:Twelve-year-old Heidi Meyers wants nothing more than to have fun fooling around in class. Did someone say substitute teacher equals no work? Heck, yeah! This opening is almost too light-hearted - it's at odds with the "torturous detentions" you mention below. The connection between those two is a little jarring right now, so you might want to add a sentence or two of transition.

However, Mrs. Podge has other plans In context with Heidi's concerns above, "other plans" could mean anything from giving mountains of homework to being evil incarnate. I think adjusting your opening could set this up better to create more impact. for Heidi and her classmates. One by one, she’s stealing the souls from unsuspecting seventh graders during her torturous detentions and turning them into soulless robots that follow her every order. I'd love to see an example of one of Mrs. Podge's orders here - I think it'd really draw us into the story. You can also tighten this sentence to emphasize the action: She uses torturous detentions to steal souls and turn students into robots...With parental units laughing at the truth and the principal not taking her seriously, it’s up to Heidi and her friends Unless you're going to include other descriptions of the friends, I think you can delete them here and just stick with Heidi as the focus to stop the sinister substitute before Mrs. Podge and her army of students controls everything. I want to know more about Mrs. Podge's end game. Can you be more specific about "controls everything?" Is she your typical take-over-the-world bad guy or does she have a unique agenda? If they defeat her then they save the school. If they lose, it will cost them their lives. Or just their souls? This is the first time you mention death, so it leaves me wondering. Soul Survivors is a 40,000 word middle grade paranormal novel.

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Re: SOUL SURVIVORS: PARANORMAL QUERY

Post by Holly » January 7th, 2011, 2:14 pm

allegedauthor wrote:How is this?


Twelve-year-old Heidi Meyers wants nothing more than to have fun fooling around in class. Did someone say substitute teacher equals no work? Heck, yeah!

However, Mrs. Podge has other plans for Heidi and her classmates. One by one, she’s stealing the souls from unsuspecting seventh graders during her torturous detentions and turning them into soulless robots that follow her every order. With parental units laughing at the truth and the principal not taking her seriously, it’s up to Heidi and her friends to stop the sinister substitute before Mrs. Podge and her army of students controls everything. If they defeat her then they save the school. If they lose, it will cost them their lives.

Soul Survivors is a 40,000 word middle grade paranormal novel.

Thanks so much for the help, A.CONTOS! I would love to get some other opinions too, please!

This sounds really fun -- I read it and had to laugh. However, I liked the version in your first post better because it told why Mrs. Podge was doing her evil deeds. Good luck. It sounds great.

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Re: SOUL SURVIVORS: PARANORMAL QUERY

Post by Quill » January 8th, 2011, 10:42 am

I too like this first version best.
allegedauthor wrote:
Twelve-year-old Heidi Meyers wants nothing more than to have fun fooling around in class after her reading teacher breaks both his legs skiing and ends up in the hospital. Did someone say substitute teacher equals no work? Heck, yeah!
I think you could take another run at this whole opening.

"wants nothing more than to have fun fooling around" is convoluted and lacks punch, as the first action. How about "anticipates endless easy days in class" or some such.

"Did someone say substitute teacher equals no work? Heck, yeah!" is redundant (no work is the same as fooling around) and somewhat obscure: who are you asking? You're asking me? Heck yeah? Who is talking, you or the character. Yes I can make the mental jumps, but it doesn't read smoothly (i.e. scan quickly), so you may want to rethink the idea.
However, Mrs. Podge has other plans for Heidi and her classmates. One by one she’s stealing the souls from unsuspecting seventh graders during her torturous detentions and turning them into hollow shells of what they once were. Each time she takes a soul she becomes younger and more powerful. With parental units laughing at the truth and the principal not taking her seriously, it’s up to Heidi and her friends to stop the sinister substitute before she turns the whole school into soulless robots who follow her every order. If they defeat her then they save the school. If they lose, it will cost them their lives.
This whole paragraph is pretty good. I like it.

I wonder if you could get any additional mileage out of "save the school" like, "a mixed-blessing" (homework, tests) implying that it's a questionable victory, like, most kids would like to see the school burn down (we did, whenever there was a fire drill). Might be cute to dramatize the two choices more, since you have her in your opening so looking forward to fooling around.
Soul Survivors is a 40,000 word middle grade paranormal novel.
Cute story and a nice succinct query. Good luck!

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Re: SOUL SURVIVORS: PARANORMAL QUERY

Post by allegedauthor » January 8th, 2011, 12:06 pm

Thanks all for your help! I'm busy revamping the query. YOU ROCK!

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Re: SOUL SURVIVORS: PARANORMAL QUERY

Post by Holly » January 8th, 2011, 6:29 pm

Quill wrote:I too like this first version best.
allegedauthor wrote:
Twelve-year-old Heidi Meyers wants nothing more than to have fun fooling around in class after her reading teacher breaks both his legs skiing and ends up in the hospital. Did someone say substitute teacher equals no work? Heck, yeah!
I think you could take another run at this whole opening.

"wants nothing more than to have fun fooling around" is convoluted and lacks punch, as the first action. How about "anticipates endless easy days in class" or some such.

"Did someone say substitute teacher equals no work? Heck, yeah!" is redundant (no work is the same as fooling around) and somewhat obscure: who are you asking? You're asking me? Heck yeah? Who is talking, you or the character. Yes I can make the mental jumps, but it doesn't read smoothly (i.e. scan quickly), so you may want to rethink the idea.
However, Mrs. Podge has other plans for Heidi and her classmates. One by one she’s stealing the souls from unsuspecting seventh graders during her torturous detentions and turning them into hollow shells of what they once were. Each time she takes a soul she becomes younger and more powerful. With parental units laughing at the truth and the principal not taking her seriously, it’s up to Heidi and her friends to stop the sinister substitute before she turns the whole school into soulless robots who follow her every order. If they defeat her then they save the school. If they lose, it will cost them their lives.
This whole paragraph is pretty good. I like it.

I wonder if you could get any additional mileage out of "save the school" like, "a mixed-blessing" (homework, tests) implying that it's a questionable victory, like, most kids would like to see the school burn down (we did, whenever there was a fire drill). Might be cute to dramatize the two choices more, since you have her in your opening so looking forward to fooling around.
Soul Survivors is a 40,000 word middle grade paranormal novel.
Cute story and a nice succinct query. Good luck!
I have to respectfully disagree with my friend Quill... I like your phrasing. It's informal, energetic, and sounds genuine. I would go back to the first version where you gave Mrs. Podge's motive, though. Good luck.

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Re: SOUL SURVIVORS: PARANORMAL QUERY

Post by kevinott777 » January 27th, 2011, 12:55 pm

I like "parental units," haha! That made me smile/laugh. You have a good sense of humor in your voice, which is key (in my opinion) in the genre you are writing. So many good suggestions have been made about your query that I just wanted to add that last little comment about "parental units."

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Re: SOUL SURVIVORS: PARANORMAL QUERY

Post by AllieS » March 3rd, 2011, 4:34 am

Twelve-year-old Heidi Meyers wants nothing more than to have fun fooling around in class. Did someone say substitute teacher equals no work? Heck, yeah! I already like your character's spunk. She's twelve! She should want to have fun!

However, Mrs. Podge has other plans for Heidi and her classmates. One by one, she’s stealing the souls from unsuspecting seventh graders during her torturous Okay, are they actually torturous detentions? As in, is she doing something along the line of chopping off their fingers? Or is the soul-stealing the torture? How does she steal these souls? detentions and turning them into soulless robots that follow her every order. With parental units I can't decide whether I like this word choice or if I'd prefer parents... laughing at the truth and the principal not taking her seriously, it’s up to Heidi and her friends to stop the sinister substitute before Mrs. Podge and her army of students controls everything. If Heidi likes to fool around, how has she avoided detention? If they defeat her then they save the school. If they lose, it will cost them their lives.Not sure you need to say this. It's obvious that they're all in big trouble if they lose, and that they save the school if they win.

Soul Survivors is a 40,000 word middle grade paranormal novel.

It sounds like a fun story. Hope this helps!

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