Query: Hunt, YA Urban Fantasy - 2nd Draft Is Up

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Jessica Peter
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Query: Hunt, YA Urban Fantasy - 2nd Draft Is Up

Post by Jessica Peter » May 21st, 2010, 2:21 am

SECOND DRAFT (plus a bit of grammar fixing):

In HUNT, sixteen-year-old Abby Connolly remembers something she shouldn’t be able to, bringing the focus of the Wild Hunt – and its leader Thomas Bowen – down on her.

Though half her grade goes to the ruins of the manor in the forest, Abby is the only one who remembers the hateful presence that chokes a boy into unconsciousness. Everyone else is busy gossiping about the hot new guy, Thomas, who can’t seem to get enough of Abby. He’s arrogant and intense, but begins to grow on her when she sees his kinder side. Still, Abby can’t shake the feeling that the timing of his arrival was no coincidence. She’s right. When she sees him leading a gruesome group of corpses across the sky on horseback, she’s horrified. She learns it was the Wild Hunt of folklore: not evil, but a sign of one’s imminent death.

Thomas leads Abby on to determine how much she knows and why she isn’t entirely susceptible to his charms. He doesn’t expect to fall for it himself, but he does. After Abby sees the Wild Hunt, he admits that his feelings for her are real, and he refuses to let her die. He makes a deal to appease fate: Thomas will give up his position as leader of the Hunt to become one of the mindless corpses while they ride. But when a group of Abby’s classmates sees a photograph of the Hunt, Abby won’t let them die because of it. She makes a deal to save their lives: she will take up the position left vacant, give up her normal life, and become the new leader of the Wild Hunt.

HUNT is young adult urban fantasy and is complete at 62,000 words. It stands alone though it could be extended into a series based on European folklore, featuring Abby and other interconnected protagonists. (WHY I’M SENDING TO THIS SPECIFIC AGENT) I would be glad to send you a complete manuscript for your review.

Thank you for your time and consideration,


FIRST DRAFT:
Dear Ms./Mr. AGENT:

In HUNT, the Wild Hunt storms into town along with its leader, Thomas Bowen. Sixteen-year-old Abby Connolly sees something she shouldn’t be able to, bringing the focus of Thomas – and the Hunt – down on her.

Abby just wants to be left alone, but she’s the only one in her grade that remembers what happened at the forest ruins that night. Everyone else is gossiping about the hot new guy, Thomas, who can’t seem to get enough of Abby. He’s arrogant, but he starts to grow on her – until she sees him leading a gruesome group of corpses across the sky on horseback. She’s horrified but learns it was the Wild Hunt. They aren’t evil; seeing them just predicts your imminent death.

Thomas admits to himself that his feelings for Abby are real, and he can’t let her die. He makes a deal to appease fate: Thomas will give up his position as leader of the Hunt to become one of the mindless corpses while the Hunt rides. But when a group of Abby’s classmates sees a photograph of the Hunt, she knows she’s the only one that can make the deal to save their lives. She agrees to take up the position left vacant, give up her normal life, and become the new leader of the Wild Hunt.

HUNT is young adult urban fantasy and is complete at 62,000 words. It stands alone though it could be extended into a series based on European folklore, featuring Abby and other interconnected protagonists.

INSERT AGENT-SPECIFICS. I would be glad to send you a complete manuscript for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration,
Last edited by Jessica Peter on June 24th, 2010, 4:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Sleeping Beauty
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Re: Query: Hunt, YA Urban Fantasy

Post by Sleeping Beauty » May 21st, 2010, 2:58 am

I'm brand new to this, Jessica, so I'll keep it brief.

I get the sense that this is more of a synopsis than a query - it feels like you are giving away the entire plot here. Is this the set-up of the plot, or the entire story? Doe it continue from here, with Abby as the leader of the Wild Hunt?

I'd like to be given a sense of how and why Thomas and Abby fall in love - he seems to be a little busy to be attending school and falling for girls! I apologise in advance, but he's giving me Edward Cullen-flashbacks - I want to see what makes him unique!

That said, you've got a great premise. :) Good luck with your query-writing, I know how monstrous it can be.

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Re: Query: Hunt, YA Urban Fantasy

Post by Quill » May 21st, 2010, 10:38 am

I think it's good. It hangs together. A few nitpicks:

1. You intro the Wild Hunt in the first sentence but it is not until the end of the second para that you explain anything at all about who or what it is. Is it a motorcycle gang? A band of mythical creatures? I don't know if Mr. Agent will like to keep a central question like that in mind for that long.

2. Forest ruins is also a little vague: is it a burned out forest? A fallen down house? Some spooky stone ruins? If you're teasing us (and not filling us in) on what happened there, at least maybe let us picture the place.

Combined, we are holding a question about what is the Wild Hunt and then given the vagueness about forest ruins before being told more about the WH, producing the wrong kind of tension (that we as readers aren't being well taken care of) at this stage of the query. Perhaps add a word or two of explanation for one or both terms up front?

3. "...the only one in her grade who remembers..."

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Re: Query: Hunt, YA Urban Fantasy

Post by Jessica Peter » May 21st, 2010, 11:22 am

Hm, thanks so far. I was told elsewhere it sounds a bit too synopsis-like, but the story doesn't end there, there is some time with Abby as leader. . . although it's getting close to the end.

And I didn't even realize forest ruins was so vague. I just didn't want to go into heaping loads of detail. But I suppose I could say it was a ruined manor in the forest.

Ugh, Edward Cullen. I should state that I had this book plotted long before I had ever heard of Twilight (yeah, I've been working on it for a while). If you said it sounded like someone from an LJ Smith book, I wouldn't mind ;) But I will make sure I'm differentiating! Especially since I would call this urban fantasy, not paranormal romance.
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Re: Query: Hunt, YA Urban Fantasy

Post by writermorris » May 21st, 2010, 11:46 am

One good turn deserves another. Hope my comments help.

Overall, the story sounds really cool and like something I would want to read. But I think you have the same problem as me -- you are trying to just give intriguing snippets of the story without a lot of flesh but it just leaves readers with a lot of questions. Give yourself the extra space to fill in the details.
Jessica Peter wrote:Dear Ms./Mr. AGENT:

In HUNT, t (The double use of the word hunt so close together is jarring. The Wild Hunt storms into town along with its leader, Thomas Bowen. I think there should be some kind of transition here. the jump from Thomas to Abby seems jarring. Maybe adding the context of what she sees will help. Sixteen-year-old Abby Connolly sees something she shouldn’t be able to what? meaning that she sees the hunt and will die? or is it something else? not clear. I want more information, bringing the focus of Thomas – and the Hunt – down on her.

Abby just wants to be left alone, but she’s the only one in her grade that remembers what happened at the forest ruins that night. what happened? Everyone else is gossiping about the hot new guy, Thomas, who can’t seem to get enough of Abby. He’s arrogant, but he starts to grow on her – until she sees him leading a gruesome group of corpses across the sky on horseback. She’s horrified but when she learns it was the Wild Hunt. They aren’t evil; and seeing them just predicts your imminent death. Did I misinterpret? Is she ok with seeing her imminent death? Did she at first think this was something scarier than the Wild Hunt?

Thomas admits to himself that his feelings for Abby are real, and he can’t let her die. He makes a deal to appease fate: Thomas will give up his position as leader of the Hunt to become one of the mindless corpses while the Hunt rides. like this. romance. sacrifice. feels epic. But when a group of Abby’s classmates sees a photograph of the Hunt, she knows she’s the only one that can make the deal to save their lives huh?. She agrees to take up the position left vacant, give up her normal life, and become the new leader of the Wild Hunt. and we're back to feeling epic and awesome

HUNT is young adult urban fantasy and is complete at 62,000 words. It stands alone though it could be extended into a series based on European folklore, featuring Abby and other interconnected protagonists.

INSERT AGENT-SPECIFICS. I would be glad to send you a complete manuscript for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration,
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Re: Query: Hunt, YA Urban Fantasy

Post by HillaryJ » May 23rd, 2010, 1:49 am

Jessica Peter wrote:
In HUNT, the Wild Hunt storms into town along with its leader, Thomas Bowen. Sixteen-year-old Abby Connolly sees something she shouldn’t be able to, bringing the focus of Thomas – and the Hunt – down on her. *This feels repetitive to me. I think you can take out the title and combine the two sentences into one hook: Sixteen year-old Abby Connolly has seen something she shouldn't, calling the focus of the recently-arrived Wild Hunt - and its leader Thomas Bowen - straight to her. Or something.*

Abby just wants to be left alone, *this feels kind of cliche in YA right now, and I don't know that it adds much to the query. I would just start with: "Abby is the only one..." or "Clinically-shy Abby finds herself the center of attention as she tries to piece together what she saw, a difficult task considering nobody else remembers it"* but she’s the only one in her grade that remembers what happened at the forest ruins that night. *Any reason not to specify what it is she saw?* Everyone else is gossiping about the hot new guy, Thomas, who can’t seem to get enough of Abby. He’s arrogant, but he starts to grow on her*Again, specifics - why would he grow on her if his predominant characteristic is arrogance?* – until she sees him leading a gruesome group of corpses across the sky on horseback. She’s horrified but learns it was the Wild Hunt. They aren’t evil; seeing them just predicts your imminent death.

Thomas admits to himself that his feelings for Abby are real, and he can’t let her die. He makes a deal to appease fate: Thomas will give up his position as leader of the Hunt to become one of the mindless corpses while the Hunt rides. But when a group of Abby’s classmates sees a photograph of the Hunt, she knows she’s the only one that can make the deal to save their lives. She agrees to take up the position left vacant, give up her normal life, and become the new leader of the Wild Hunt. *This paragraph feels fragmented. Thomas's feelings aren't clear and I have no idea why he can't let her die. Also, I have no sense of him other than his arrogance and his probable attractiveness. Maybe add something that reveals more about him: After leading the Wild Hunt for XX years, Thomas thought he could no longer be surprised. But the bookish girl with the big green eyes and improbable ability to see his kind for what they are has captivated him... Maybe not something that sweetly cheesy, but something that tells a bit of his background and why he would make such an unsavory deal. And, I think the lead-up to Abby taking the position needs to make more sense. I don't understand the importance of the photograph and how that could coerce her into such a drastic choice, yet.*

HUNT is young adult urban fantasy and is complete at 62,000 words. It stands alone though it could be extended into a series based on European folklore, featuring Abby and other interconnected protagonists. *This is an interesting premise. I think an explanation of your version of the Wild Hunt needs to be explained earlier, which would help put the events into context.*

INSERT AGENT-SPECIFICS. I would be glad to send you a complete manuscript for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration,
A good start, and I think you're close. I don't get much of a voice in this query, nor do I get a good feel for the two main characters. If you can breathe some life into them, smooth out the explanations of what's at stake and what happens, this will be good.

Good luck.
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Re: Query: Hunt, YA Urban Fantasy

Post by Jessica Peter » May 25th, 2010, 3:47 pm

Thanks everyone for all of your help! I have edited my query, and I'm starting the process to send it off.
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Re: Query: Hunt, YA Urban Fantasy

Post by Jessica Peter » June 22nd, 2010, 7:45 pm

Second draft of the query: now up in the first post!
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Re: Query: Hunt, YA Urban Fantasy - 2nd Draft Is Up

Post by lightelement94 » June 23rd, 2010, 10:40 am

S
ECOND DRAFT:

In HUNT, sixteen-year-old Abby Connolly remembers something she shouldn’t be able to, bringing the focus of the Wild Hunt – and its leader Thomas Bowen – down on her.

Though half her grade goes to the ruins of the manor in the forest, Abby is the only one who remembers the hateful presence that chokes a boy into unconsciousness. Everyone else is busy gossiping about the hot new guy, Thomas, who can’t seem to get enough of Abby. He’s arrogant and intense, but he grows on her when she starts to see his kinder side. The tail end of this sentence feels awkward. Maybe, "...but he begins to grow on her when his kinder side shows through." Still, Abby just can’t shake the feeling that the timing of his arrival was no coincidence. She’s right. When she sees him leading a gruesome group of corpses across the sky on horseback, she’s horrified. She learns it was the Wild Hunt of folklore: not evil, but seeing them predicts your imminent death. Again, a little wording issue. I'd suggest, "...not evil, but the sign of one's imminent death."

Thomas leads Abby on to determine how much she knows and why she isn’t susceptible to his charms. But isn't he growing on her? Maybe, "why isn't entirely susceptible"? He doesn’t expect to fall for it himself, but he does. After Abby sees the Wild Hunt, he admits that his feelings for her are real, and he refuses to let her die. He makes a deal to appease fate: Thomas will give up his position as leader of the Hunt to become one of the mindless corpses while they ride. But when a group of Abby’s classmates sees a photograph of the Hunt, and Abby won’t let them die because of it. She makes a deal to save their lives: she will take up the position left vacant, give up her normal life, and become the new leader of the Wild Hunt.

HUNT is young adult urban fantasy and is complete at 62,000 words. It stands alone though it could be extended into a series based on European folklore, featuring Abby and other interconnected protagonists. (WHY I’M SENDING TO THIS SPECIFIC AGENT). I would be glad to send you a complete manuscript for your review.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
I like it! I think you're well on your way to a really solid query, and your story sounds very interesting. But, like what Sleeping Beauty said, I was getting some Edward Cullen vibes. Not as much in this last version, but still, somewhere around the "hot new guy" sentence...don't let him just be that "hot new guy" in your query.
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Re: Query: Hunt, YA Urban Fantasy - 2nd Draft Is Up

Post by Jessica Peter » June 24th, 2010, 4:47 pm

lightelement94 wrote: I like it! I think you're well on your way to a really solid query, and your story sounds very interesting. But, like what Sleeping Beauty said, I was getting some Edward Cullen vibes. Not as much in this last version, but still, somewhere around the "hot new guy" sentence...don't let him just be that "hot new guy" in your query.
What a nightmare! Well I guess not totally, but that's a tough nut to crack. Thanks for the input on the sentence structure issues, I've fixed them all up. The "hot new guy"/Edward Cullen problem is trickier, since Thomas IS "the hot new guy", or at least that's basically his identity when he first comes onto the page. Hm. I'll have to think that one over.
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