QUERY: Serendipity - New version on post 09

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QueenViv
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QUERY: Serendipity - New version on post 09

Post by QueenViv » June 20th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Hey, guys
I've worked on this query for weeks now and I feel like I totally lost my objectivity. I'd appreciate any constructive feedback. This is just a basic template made of personalized blurb about the agent + query + polite goodbye.

Dear Mr./ Ms. Agent

I have been reading your blog for xxx years/ I’ve read your interview on blog BLABLABLABLA.COM/ I noticed you represent XYZ by AUTHOR WRITERSON. I like your straightforward style/Your list of genres and sub-genres that you represent matches nicely with what I write, and your philosophy on the role of an agent (as described on your web site) matches what I'm looking for in an agent. (or something like it), and I hope you will be interested in my novel.

Maya of Veranneah is a princess who plans to use her witchcraft to kick bad guys’ butts and live adventures in faraway lands. But this is in the distant future – at the end of the year, when High School ends.

What Maya doesn’t know is that the bad guys she hopes to fight someday are close by. A pack of war criminal werewolves is lurking around the golden walls of her hometown, which is disguised from human eyes as a quiet neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. She also doesn’t know that the leader of the pack has a death sentence hanging over his head or that he is desperate to find a bargaining chip and negotiate an asylum.

When Maya sneaks out with her boyfriend Paris to go to a nightclub, she has no idea she is the target of a kidnap plot. Maya manages to fight her way out of the dance floor. Paris, on the other hand, isn’t so lucky.

Maya knows that Paris will be as good as dead the moment her mother denies the pack leader his dreamed – and impossible – asylum. She abandons the security of the capital once again to save the only boy she ever loved. She won’t let little things – like sun-aficionado vampires, renegade Dark magic wizards and even the guard of a long-forgotten portal – stand in her way.

After all, if Maya fails, the only way she’ll see Paris again is in bloody pieces.

SERENDIPITY is a 94,000-word Young Adult/ Urban Fantasy novel. I’ve enclosed ### pages, as requested.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
My Name
Last edited by QueenViv on July 12th, 2012, 7:15 pm, edited 3 times in total.

dorothyinman
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Re: QUERY: Serendipity

Post by dorothyinman » June 21st, 2012, 4:35 pm

This story looks exactly like something I would pick at my local library to read. I love reading YA fantasy novels that have a bit of romance in them. Your plot is well thought out and seems very energetic and engaging. I have placed my comments in blue.

"Dear Mr./ Ms. Agent

I have been reading your blog for xxx years/ I’ve read your interview on blog BLABLABLABLA.COM/ I noticed you represent XYZ by AUTHOR WRITERSON. I like your straightforward style/Your list of genres and sub-genres that you represent matches nicely with what I write, and your philosophy on the role of an agent (as described on your web site) matches what I'm looking for in an agent. (or something like it), and I hope you will be interested in my novel. This is really good. You are specific about why you are interested in having the agent represent your work. You have done your homework. I would take out the part about "I hope you will be interested in my novel". You want to exude confidence when writing to an agent, much like you would in an interview. Perhaps say, "I look forward to discussing my novel further with you".

Maya of Veranneah is a princess who plans to use her witchcraft to kick bad guys’ butts and live adventures in faraway lands. But this is in the distant future – at the end of the year, when High School ends. This sentence needs work. In my opinion, saying "kick bad guys' butts, doesn't fit. I would find a better way to say this. Perhaps, "Beat up bad guys" or "Rid the world of bad guys".

What Maya doesn’t know is that the bad guys she hopes to fight someday are close by. A pack of war criminal werewolves is are lurking around the golden walls of her hometown, which is disguised from human eyes as a quiet neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. She also doesn’t know that the leader of the pack has a death sentence hanging over his head or that he is desperate to find a bargaining chip and negotiate an asylum.I would add, "With her mother, the queen". You pick up on this later, but at this point in query it is kind of confusing as to why this is important to Maya.

When Maya sneaks out with her boyfriend, Paris, to go to a nightclub, she has no idea she is the target of a kidnapping plot. Maya manages to fight her way out of the dance floor. Paris, on the other hand, isn’t so lucky.

Maya knows that Paris will be as good as dead the moment her mother denies the pack leader his dreamed – and impossible – asylum. She abandons the security of the capital once again to save the only boy she ever loved. She won’t let little things – like sun-aficionado vampires, renegade Dark magic wizards and even the guard of a long-forgotten portal – stand in her way. I would use commas instead of dashes in this paragraph. You may also want to add why the pack leader's asylum is impossible..

After all, if Maya fails, the only way she’ll see Paris again is in bloody pieces. Perhaps change this to "Because if Maya fails"

SERENDIPITY is a 94,000-word Young Adult/ Urban Fantasy novel. I’ve enclosed ### pages, as requested.

Thank you for your time and consideration."

Good luck in your pursuit of publishing bliss :D

SMB
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Re: QUERY: Serendipity

Post by SMB » June 22nd, 2012, 12:35 pm

It’s just my opinion and I struggle with these as well, but I would start out with the story. Immediately start with the action to hook them then go into how you read their blog. It’s like when I flip over a book to read the backcover and if it doesn’t grab me right away or goes into stuff about the author I will probably put the book down and move on. However, if a book’s description has a great opening hook, I will probably continue to read to see if I’m interested in the story.
A pack of war criminal werewolves are lurking around the golden walls of Maya's hometown
This is something I would start out with. It makes it intriguing and makes me want to read more of the story.

Hope this helps.

QueenViv
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Re: QUERY: Serendipity

Post by QueenViv » June 22nd, 2012, 6:59 pm

SMB wrote:It’s just my opinion and I struggle with these as well, but I would start out with the story. Immediately start with the action to hook them then go into how you read their blog. It’s like when I flip over a book to read the backcover and if it doesn’t grab me right away or goes into stuff about the author I will probably put the book down and move on. However, if a book’s description has a great opening hook, I will probably continue to read to see if I’m interested in the story.
A pack of war criminal werewolves are lurking around the golden walls of Maya's hometown
This is something I would start out with. It makes it intriguing and makes me want to read more of the story.

Hope this helps.
Thanks for your help, SMB. I agree with you about the first paragraph. Maybe I should put the personalized blurb at the end of the query - right after the name of the book and the word-count?

I kinda feel reluctant to chance the way the query is right now because I honestly couldn't find a way to put the basic conflict on the page. I ended up using a basic template that Nathan presented in his blog and it was the first time I didn't hate what was on the page the next day. I think it worked for me for a couple of reasons: it presents the leading character right away and answers the three questions the query sharks says a query should answer: 1. who's your MC? 2. What does s/he want? 3. What's at stake? But I'll see what I can cook up keeping in mind what you said.

Oh, and a big "thank you" to dorothyinman for the help, too! Your suggestions made the query look cleaner, better.

QueenViv
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Re: QUERY: Serendipity - New version on post 04

Post by QueenViv » June 26th, 2012, 11:03 pm

Dear Mr./Ms. Agent:

Maya of Veranneah is a princess who plans to use her witchcraft to rid the world of bad guys and live adventures in faraway lands. But this is in the distant future – at the end of the year, when High School ends.

What Maya doesn’t know is that the bad guys she hopes to fight someday are close by. A pack of war criminal werewolves are lurking around the golden walls of her hometown, which is disguised from human eyes as a quiet neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. She also doesn’t know that the leader of the pack has a death sentence hanging over his head or that he is desperate to find a bargaining chip and negotiate an asylum with her mother.

When Maya sneaks out with her boyfriend Paris to go to a nightclub, she has no idea she is the target of a kidnapping plot. Maya manages to fight her way out of the dance floor. Paris, on the other hand, isn’t so lucky.

Maya knows that Paris will be as good as dead the moment her mother denies the pack leader his dreamed – and impossible – asylum. She abandons the security of the capital once again to save the only boy she ever loved. She won’t let little things, like sun-aficionado vampires, renegade Dark magic wizards, and a slightly malfunctioning but totally deadly, long-forgotten portal, stand in her way.

Because if Maya fails, the only way she’ll see Paris again is in bloody pieces.

SERENDIPITY is a 94,000-word Young Adult/ Contemporary Fantasy novel. I’ve enclosed XXXXX XXXXX XXXX XXXXX, as requested. I have been reading your blog for xxx years/ I’ve read your interview on blog BLABLABLABLA.COM/ I noticed you represent XYZ by AUTHOR WRITERSON. I like your straightforward style/Your list of genres and sub-genres that you represent matches nicely with what I write, and your philosophy on the role of an agent (as described on your web site) matches what I'm looking for in an agent.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
My Name

Elsinora
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Re: QUERY: Serendipity - New version on post 04

Post by Elsinora » June 27th, 2012, 12:56 am

I agree with the suggestions of previous posters, but I think this can be tightened up even more:

Dear Mr./Ms. Agent:

Princess Maya of Veranneah wants to use her witchcraft to fight bad guys and explore faraway lands--but only after high school ends. Until then, she's more than happy to play normal, study for exams, and spend time with her boyfriend, Paris. But when a pack of werewolf war criminals attack her and Paris at a nightclub, Maya is forced to fight the bad guys a little early. She escapes, but Paris is captured. Now, unless the queen grants the werewolves asylum, the only boy Maya ever loved will be as good as dead.

Distraught, Maya abandons the security of the capital to rescue Paris herself. To succeed, she'll have to survive sun-aficionado vampires, renegade Dark magic wizards, and a malfunctioning but deadly portal. But if she fails, she’ll never see Paris again.

At least, not in one piece.

SERENDIPITY is a 94,000-word Young Adult/ Contemporary Fantasy novel. I’ve enclosed XXXXX XXXXX XXXX XXXXX, as requested. I have been reading your blog for xxx years/ I’ve read your interview on blog BLABLABLABLA.COM/ I noticed you represent XYZ by AUTHOR WRITERSON. I like your straightforward style/Your list of genres and sub-genres that you represent matches nicely with what I write, and your philosophy on the role of an agent (as described on your web site) matches what I'm looking for in an agent.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
My Name


Looking good! ;)

QueenViv
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Re: QUERY: Serendipity - New version on post 04

Post by QueenViv » July 11th, 2012, 12:28 am

Thanks, Elsinora!!! I think I'll keep most of the tiding up you suggested (for which I'm truly grateful.). i think I'll keep most of them. I just made two basic changes. The changes were made to adapt the query to the story itself. Here it is (changes are in red):


Dear Mr./Ms. Agent:

Princess Maya of Veranneah wants to use her witchcraft to fight bad guys and explore faraway lands--but only after high school ends. Until then, she's more than happy to play war games with her pet dragon, study for exams, and spend time with her boyfriend, Paris. But when a pack of werewolf war criminals attack her and Paris at a nightclub, Maya is forced to fight the bad guys a little early. She escapes, but Paris is captured. Now, unless Maya’s mom grants the werewolves asylum, the only boy Maya ever loved will be as good as dead.

Distraught, Maya abandons the security of the capital to rescue Paris herself. To succeed, she'll have to survive sun-aficionado vampires, renegade Dark magic wizards, and a malfunctioning but deadly portal. But if she fails, she’ll never see Paris again.

At least, not in one piece.

SERENDIPITY is a 94,000-word Young Adult/ Contemporary Fantasy novel. I’ve enclosed XXXXX XXXXX XXXX XXXXX, as requested. I have been reading your blog for xxx years/ I’ve read your interview on blog BLABLABLABLA.COM/ I noticed you represent XYZ by AUTHOR WRITERSON. I like your straightforward style/Your list of genres and sub-genres that you represent matches nicely with what I write, and your philosophy on the role of an agent (as described on your web site) matches what I'm looking for in an agent.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
My Name

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Brian_H
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Re: QUERY: Serendipity - New version on post 06

Post by Brian_H » July 11th, 2012, 2:26 pm

Dear Mr./Ms. Agent:

Viv, looking good. A few minor suggestions. I read some advice from an agent once that said "evaluate every word. If the sentence works without it, take it out." Sometimes, I think it's okay to break that rule, but generally it's good advice. Also, there are a few word choice that I think could be less clunky. My comments in red.

Princess Maya of Veranneah wants to use her witchcraft to fight bad guys and explore faraway lands--but only after high school ends. Until then, she's more than happy to play war games with her pet dragon, study for exams, and spend time with her boyfriend, Paris. But when a pack of werewolf war criminals attack I'm no grammar expert, but I think attacks is the word here, as it is referring to the pack (singular), not the criminals (plural). Can someone help us out with that? her and Paris at a nightclub, Maya is forced to fight the bad guys a little early. She escapes, but Paris is captured. Now, u Unless Maya’s mom grants the werewolves asylum, the only boy Maya ever loved will be as good as dead.

Distraught, Maya abandons the security of the capital to rescue Paris herself. To succeed, she'll have to survive sun-aficionadodaylight / daytime? I'm not sure aficionado is the word you're looking for vampires, renegade Dark magic I think you can get away with just "wizards", but you might consider changing the whole phrase "dark magic wizards" to something like necromancers or sorcerers instead? , wizards and a deadly, malfunctioning but deadly portal.

But i If she fails, she’ll never see Paris again. At least, not in one piece.
It always seems impossible until it's done.

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LurkingVirologist
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Re: QUERY: Serendipity - New version on post 06

Post by LurkingVirologist » July 12th, 2012, 5:21 pm

Highlighted text in blue and put my comments in [].

"Dear Mr./Ms. Agent:

Princess Maya of Veranneah wants [plans?] to use her witchcraft to fight bad guys and explore faraway lands--but only after high school ends [I get the sense that Maya is desperate for high school to be over, is there a way to reword this to emphasize that?]. Until then, she's more than happy [tone question - is she happy to still be in HS or really wanting to get out? seems to clash with previous sentence. is she just making the best of it until she can get out in the 'real world?'] to play war games with her pet dragon, study for exams, and spend time with her boyfriend, Paris. But when a pack of werewolf war criminals[interesting idea, makes me curious about them] attack her and Paris at a nightclub, Maya is forced to fight the bad guys a little early. She escapes, but Paris is captured. Now, unless Maya’s mom grants the werewolves asylum, the only boy Maya ever loved will be as good as dead[won't he be actually for real dead? or are you implying they'll make him into one of them? it's a little unclear].

Distraught, Maya abandons the security of the capital to rescue Paris herself. To succeed, she'll have to survive sun-aficionado vampires[entertaining concept but aficionado feels like a little bit of thesaurus overkill], renegade Dark magic wizards [why is Dark capitalized but magic not? is it a specific 'class' of magic? Wizards, by definition, use magic, so do you need both labels?], and a malfunctioning but deadly[usually 'X but Y' takes the form of 'good but bad', a mixed blessing - maybe just say a deadly, malfunctioning] portal. But if she fails, she’ll never see Paris again.

At least, not in one piece." [Zing! Great finish!]
"Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic." -Carl Sagan

QueenViv
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Re: QUERY: Serendipity - New version on post 09

Post by QueenViv » July 12th, 2012, 7:14 pm

Hey, guys! Thanks for the great input!

I worked out some of the problems you guys mentioned. I think I'm getting to a point where I can consider this query finished!
Oh, thanks to Brian_H for mentioning the grammatical mistake. It really is "attacks". And another thanks to LurkingVirologist (btw, your screen name is awesome). I think I'll keep the sun-aficionado because that's what they really are in the book. But your remark about the conflict in the first paragraph was spot on! Also changed the "wants" to "plans". Funny thing is that I had originally written "plans". I don't remember how or why I changed the verbs in the first place, but I'm glad you caught that. Thanks!


Dear Agent:

Princess Maya of Veranneah plans to use her witchcraft to fight bad guys and explore faraway lands – but only after High School ends. Until then, she stays busy by playing war games with her pet dragon, studying for exams, and spending time with her boyfriend, Paris. But when a pack of werewolf war criminals attacks her and Paris at a nightclub, Maya is forced to fight the bad guys a little early. She escapes, but Paris is captured. Now, unless Maya’s mom grants the werewolves asylum, the only boy Maya ever loved will be killed.

Distraught, Maya abandons the security of the capital to rescue Paris. To succeed, she’ll have to survive sun-aficionado vampires, renegade wizards, and even a deadly, malfunctioning portal.

If she fails, she’ll never see Paris again. At least, not in one piece.

SERENDIPITY is a 94,000-word Young Adult/ Contemporary Fantasy novel. I’ve enclosed XXXXX XXXXX XXXX XXXXX, as requested. I have been reading your blog for xxx years/ I’ve read your interview on blog BLABLABLABLA.COM/ I noticed you represent XYZ by AUTHOR WRITERSON. I like your straightforward style/Your list of genres and sub-genres that you represent matches nicely with what I write, and your philosophy on the role of an agent (as described on your web site) matches what I'm looking for in an agent.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
My name

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