Untitled Query - YA Fantasy (REWRITTEN 9/8/12)

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Amanda Elizabeth
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Untitled Query - YA Fantasy (REWRITTEN 9/8/12)

Post by Amanda Elizabeth » May 24th, 2012, 12:41 pm

My book doesn't have a name yet, but here's my first shot at a query letter.

Dear:______

[Opening hello sentence to personalize letter]

On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Jessalyn Caradine is called upon by the Council to take on a mission. To protect an innocent. To honor her birth right as a Member of the Sancti.

Only, Jessa wants nothing to do with the Order of the Sancti. She doesn’t really care about her purpose. Playing peacekeeper between angels and demons, and protecting humans from their antics, seems to only bring loss and pain to her and those she loves. She was one day away from resigning, but they sucked her in again. Still bitter with the Sancti and guilt-ridden over her twin brother’s death, Jessa finds that her Charge, Theo, comes not only with a demon on his tail, but his own personal saint and a shocking revelation: Theo is the Earthly vessel of God. This is all news to Theo of course, whose concerns were his next soccer game and how to break up with his overly possessive girlfriend. If you ask him to draw you an angel, you will get a chubby baby in diapers with wings and a bow and arrow.

With help from Jessa’s headstrong best friend, Jade, and Ben, the saint she is falling in love with, Jessa must protect Theo not only from the demon Leviathan, but from angels as well. Through their journey Jessa begins to realize her mission wasn’t one of chance, but that of a fate woven deeper than she could imagine. A fate that no longer included only herself and Theo, but the free will of mankind.

My 82,000 word young adult fantasy novel, UNTITLED, throws out the halos and white wings and revisits one of the oldest stories of angels and demons. Only this time, when the demons rise and the angels fall from grace, the only one left to lead the side of Good, is the girl who had all but abandoned it.

I have attached [insert # of pages] upon your question. Thank you for your consideration.
Last edited by Amanda Elizabeth on September 8th, 2012, 4:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

Animad345
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Re: Untitled Query - YA Fantasy

Post by Animad345 » May 25th, 2012, 9:59 am

Amanda Elizabeth wrote:My book doesn't have a name yet, but here's my first shot at a query letter.

Dear:______

[Opening hello sentence to personalize letter]

On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Jessalyn Caradine is called upon by the Council to take on a mission. To protect an innocent. To honor her birth right as a Member of the Sancti. This part confused me until I read the next paragraph. It should be fine, as you have explained what you mean afterwards but perhaps the wording could be improved.

Only, Jessa wants nothing to do with the Order of the Sancti. She doesn’t really care about her purpose. Playing peacekeeper between angels and demons, and protecting humans from their antics, seems to only bring loss and pain to her and those she loves. She was one day away from resigning, but they sucked her in again. Still bitter with the Sancti and guilt-ridden over her twin brother’s death, Jessa finds that her Charge, Theo, comes not only with a demon on his tail, but his own personal saint and a shocking revelation: Theo is the Earthly vessel of God. This sentence is too long and confusing. Break it down. This is all news to Theo of course, whose concerns were his next soccer game and how to break up with his overly possessive girlfriend. If you ask him to draw you an angel, you will get a chubby baby in diapers with wings and a bow and arrow. I like this last sentence but it's unnecessary. We know enough about Theo from the previous sentence- save the bit about drawing an angel for the novel. It's funny.

With help from her headstrong best friend, Jade, and Ben, the saint she is falling in love with, Jessa must protect Theo not only from the demon Leviathan, but from angels as well. Through their journey Jessa begins to realize her mission wasn’t one of chance, but that of a fate woven deeper than she could imagine. A fate that no longer included only herself and Theo, but the free will of mankind. Very intriguing. Something about 'a fate woven deeper than she could imagine' doesn't make sense in my mind, but the gist of it is very good. Consider revising this paragraph to make it even better.

My 82,000 word young adult fantasy novel, UNTITLED, throws out the halos and white wings and revisits one of the oldest stories of angels and demons. Very nice. Only this time, when the demons rise and the angels fall from grace, the only one left to lead the side of Good, is the girl who had all but abandoned it.Once again, great, but the wording can be improved.

I have attached [insert # of pages] upon your question. Thank you for your consideration.
Revise and re-post. I really like this story idea. Additionally, make sure you come up with a title before sending off the query letter, as agents get so many letters where the novel is 'untitled'. You want yours to stand out. Also, watch the tense in your letter- keep it all in the present tense as if it is happening right now. There are parts where it seems to slip to past tense. Hope this helped.
Last edited by Animad345 on June 4th, 2012, 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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wilderness
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Re: Untitled Query - YA Fantasy

Post by wilderness » June 4th, 2012, 2:11 pm

Amanda Elizabeth wrote:
Dear:______

[Opening hello sentence to personalize letter]

On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Jessalyn Caradine is called upon by the Council to take on a mission. To protect an innocent. To honor her birth right as a Member of the Sancti.

Only, Jessa wants nothing to do with the Order of the Sancti. She doesn’t really care about her purpose. Playing peacekeeper between angels and demons, and protecting humans from their antics, seems to only bring loss and pain to her and those she loves. So many clauses make this sentence a bit clunky. Also, instead of telling us it brings loss and pain, you should show us. Give an example. She was one day away from resigning, but they sucked her in again. Still bitter with the Sancti and guilt-ridden over her twin brother’s death, Jessa finds that her Charge, Theo, comes not only with a demon on his tail, but his own personal saint and a shocking revelation: Theo is the Earthly vessel of God. Another sentence that should be broken up.

Just think about how many concepts you threw at us in one sentence there:

What does her brother's death have to do with the Sancti? Why is there a demon on Theo's tail? Who is his personal saint and what makes that a problem? What does it mean that he is the Earthly vessel of God?

Slow down. Tell us the rules of your world. You're trying to imply too much and not making enough explicit.


This is all news to Theo of course, whose concerns were his next soccer game and how to break up with his overly possessive girlfriend. If you ask him to draw you an angel, you will get a chubby baby in diapers with wings and a bow and arrow. This is meant to be funny, but at this point I'm not sure why I should care about Theo. Also, I would skip this bit because of the switch in POV here- you've jumped from Jessa's head to his.

With help from Jessa’s headstrong best friend, Jade, and Ben, the saint she is falling in love with, Jessa must protect Theo not only from the demon Leviathan, but from angels as well. Through their journey Jessa begins to realize her mission wasn’t one of chance, but that of a fate woven deeper than she could imagine. A fate that no longer included only herself and Theo, but the free will of mankind. Again, not enough of specifics. Just a lot of implications. Don't include her best friends in the query if you're not going to mention them again. We know nothing about the saint she's falling in love with so it feels kind of thrown in there. What is Leviathan's purpose? Tell us more about the conflict.

My 82,000 word young adult fantasy novel, UNTITLED, throws out the halos and white wings and revisits one of the oldest stories of angels and demons. Only this time, when the demons rise and the angels fall from grace, the only one left to lead the side of Good, is the girl who had all but abandoned it. I wouldn't include any of that as it is vague and the part about throwing out halos and white wings implies that your book is doing something revolutionary but honestly there are a lot of takes on angels and demons.

I have attached [insert # of pages] upon your question. Thank you for your consideration.
Good start, but needs more specifics! Check out Nathan's post on the subject here: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/03 ... eries.html

Amanda Elizabeth
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Re: Untitled Query - YA Fantasy

Post by Amanda Elizabeth » June 21st, 2012, 2:41 am

Thank you guys! Finally get around to this--I've been busy editing and then letting it all cool off for a while.

wilderness, about asking for more specifics: If you wanted me to answer all of the questions you have listed, the query would be extremely long. Does it not come across that Leviathan (and the angels) want Theo because he's the Earthly vessel of God? I thought it was obvious.

I'm definitely taking out the chubby angel line (it'll be in the book), and I agree, Jade doesn't need to be mentioned. The saint though, is Jessa's love interest and Theo's best friend(though he doesn't know he's a saint until the book). Should Ben just be nixed in the query? Romance isn't a huge part of the story, but Ben is their guide in many ways and also affects Theo and Jessa's relationship later on. He's just not really a neat and pretty packaged character to say much about in the length of a query.

As for the last paragraph, I am testing out different ways to reword it but I have no intention on removing it unless someone established in the industry tells me to :lol: This is my stubborn moment.

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wilderness
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Re: Untitled Query - YA Fantasy

Post by wilderness » June 21st, 2012, 2:17 pm

Hi Amanda,
I think you misunderstood what I was getting at. I don't think you should answer all of those questions. I was trying to illustrate how many hints you dropped in a single sentence. The gist of my advice is: don't drop hints about a dozen different threads from your novel. Instead, pick one of two main areas of conflict and explain those fully. Good luck.

dorothyinman
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Re: Untitled Query - YA Fantasy

Post by dorothyinman » June 21st, 2012, 4:06 pm

I would agree with the comments made. I would suggest if the book is not about romance, do not mention anything about "falling in love" because it will lead the agent to assume the book is going to expound on that.

Amanda Elizabeth
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Re: Untitled Query - YA Fantasy

Post by Amanda Elizabeth » June 22nd, 2012, 12:05 am

Ohhhh I got you now! Thanks!

Amanda Elizabeth
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Re: Untitled Query - YA Fantasy

Post by Amanda Elizabeth » September 8th, 2012, 4:35 am

All right, I've done a lot of reworking. I'm not happy with the 2nd paragraph, but I figured I'd post on here and see what you guys thoughts.


Dear:______

[Opening hello sentence to personalize letter]

All Jessalyn Caradine wanted was to be an ordinary. No angels. No demons. No death. She was even okay with the whole “mind erasing” part. And she was close. About twelve hours to be precise.

Born a Member of the Sancti, Jessa is a part of a divinely sanctioned class of humans whose lives are dedicated to policing Earthbound angels and demons. Jessa despises all of it. Left with an unbearable guilty after the death of her twin brother years before, Jessa was desperate to leave the Order once she turned of age, even if it meant forgetting everyone she’s ever known. But on the eve of her eighteen birthday, she was handed a mission: To protect an ordinary boy. Still a Member, she was bound by her birthright to accept it.

Only, Jessa learns Theo isn’t ordinary after all. Not only does he come with the demon Leviathan on his tail, but a shocking revelation: he is the Earthly vessel of God and the key to the Garden of Eden. This is all news to Theo of course, whose concerns are his next soccer game and how to break up with his overly possessive girlfriend.

The next thing Jessa knows the angels have rebelled against Heaven and have started a war with the demons.The prize is a big one: Theo, the Tree of Knowledge, and the ability to control all of mankind.

The prize is a big one: Theo, the Tree of Knowledge, and the ability to control all of mankind.

My 85,000 word young adult fantasy novel, UNTITLED, throws out the halos and white wings and revisits one of the oldest rivalries in existence. Only this time, when the demons rise and the angels fall from grace, the only one left to lead the side of Good, is the girl who had all but abandoned it.

I have attached [insert # of pages] upon your request. Thank you for your consideration.

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Re: Untitled Query - YA Fantasy (REWRITTEN 9/8/12)

Post by kelseyebeach » September 8th, 2012, 9:51 am

[I like the rewrite a lot. It cuts out some detail and becomes sharper and more compelling. Please see my comments in blue, deletions in red, additions in green.]

Dear:______

[Opening hello sentence to personalize letter]

All Jessalyn Caradine wanted was to be an ordinary. Jessa wants to be ordinary. No angels. No demons. No death. [I like this opening.] She was even okay with the whole “mind erasing” part. And she was close. About twelve hours to be precise. one day away from the life she wanted.

Born a Member of the Sancti, Jessa is a part of a divinely sanctioned class of humans whose lives are dedicated to policing Earthbound angels and demons. Jessa despises all of it. Left with an unbearable guilty after the death of her twin brother years before, Jessa was desperate to leave the Order once she turned of age, even if it meant forgetting everyone she’s ever known. But on the eve of her eighteen birthday, she was handed a mission: To protect an ordinary boy. Still a Member, she was bound by her birthright to accept it. [See my rewrite below]

Jessa was born a Member of the Sancti, a divinely sanctioned class of humans who dedicate their lives to policing Earthbound angels and demons (or just "who police Earthbound angels and demons"). Jessa despises the life for the pain it brings the ones she loves and the death it brought her twin brother. She is desperate to leave the Order once she turns of age, even if it means forgetting everything she's ever known. But on the eve of her eighteen birthday, she was handed a mission: to protect an ordinary boy named Theo. Still a Member, she was bound by birthright to accept it.

Only, Jessa learns Theo isn’t ordinaryafter all. Not only does he come with the demon Leviathan on his tail, but a shocking revelation: A demon is trying to kill him, a saint mothers him, and his birthright is more shocking than her own: he is the Earthly vessel of God and the key to the Garden of Eden. This is all news to Theo of course, whose concerns are his next soccer game and how to break up with his overly possessive girlfriend. [This is good.]

The next thing Jessa knows the angels have rebelled against Heaven and have started a war with the demons.The prize is a big one: Theo, the Tree of Knowledge, and the ability to control all of mankind. [I would take out the Tree, since it doesn't seem to add to the query. A couple of questions: How does the war interfere with Jessa and her mission? Are the rebelling angels the ones on earth that Jessa is supposed to police or angels in heaven that haven't fallen? (Are there still angels in heaven?)]

The prize is a big one: Theo, the Tree of Knowledge, and the ability to control all of mankind.

My 85,000 word young adult fantasy novel, UNTITLED, throws out the halos and white wings and revisits one of the oldest rivalries in existence. Only this time, when the demons rise and the angels fall from grace, the only one left to lead the side of Good, is the girl who had all but abandoned it. [Excellent finish.]

I have attached [insert # of pages] upon your request. Thank you for your consideration.

[This is a great query and an exciting concept. Looking at the previous version, you could consider putting Ben back into the story, particularly if there's a love triangle between Jessa, Ben, and Theo. Also, this seems more like a paranormal YA than a fantasy, since it takes place in our world with some otherworldly beings, as opposed to taking place in a completely fantastical world.]

[Again, great job and good luck!]

Amanda Elizabeth
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Re: Untitled Query - YA Fantasy (REWRITTEN 9/8/12)

Post by Amanda Elizabeth » September 8th, 2012, 10:30 am

OMG thank you, this is great feedback. The tree is in the Garden of Eden -- which is what will allow them to control everything -- and its why they're fighting over Theo. Should I change it to "Theo, access to the Garden of Eden, and the ability to control all of mankind" since I've already mentioned the garden?

A quick lesson in this world if it'll help with the descriptions: All angels and demons live on the spiritual plan but have a vessel -- a counterpart -- on the Earthly plan they can possess...and they are the ones under the Sancti's law. But due to the free will given to humans at the beginning of creation, "The Creators"(God included...I created the "bigger than just one guy" name to make it less Judeo-Christian focused) can't do anything to them.

Again thank you so much! Very helpful!

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