Query: HARP-BROKEN--latest version at end..thanks for input!

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chris13
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Query: HARP-BROKEN--latest version at end..thanks for input!

Post by chris13 » August 29th, 2010, 6:03 pm

Here's my query, revised from YAChatLit forum, but my first here. Thanks for your input! This query writing is liking pulling teeth without anesthesia... my head hurts!
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I'm seeking representation for YA fantasy HARP-BROKEN, complete at 67,000 words. Based on Irish mythology, it should appeal to readers who enjoy Herbie Brennan or Charles de Lint.

When Philadelphia teen Roiseen O'Reilly's dad disappeared in Ireland, her life snapped like a broken harp string. As long as Dad--a world famous instrument restorer--kept the free concert tickets flowing, the "in" group in Philly tolerated Roiseen's freakish ways. Now she's stuck helping her mother run a dilapidated Irish pub while they hope for his return and she finishes the school year.

Roiseen discovers she isn't the only "outlier" in town. After mistaking her eccentric Irish classmates for faeries, Roiseen learns the truth. They are gods and goddesses who abandoned mythical Tir Na Nog to live as ordinary teens. And when a young god who chose to stay behind threatens Roiseen and vows to destroy the kids—heretics in his eyes—he brings ancient combat to their new world.

Led by Roiseen's crush, the sun god Lugh, the kids borrowed a magical harp when they left Tir Na Nog. But the harp was damaged, entwining their fate with that of Roiseen's dad. If it isn't returned by Tir Na Nog's Lughnasadh festival, Roiseen's world will suffer. Two complications: Her dad is imprisoned in Tir Na Nog to prevent him from repairing the harp. And the kids cannot return, under penalty of death.

Roiseen rescues her father and learns why she always felt like an outlier. The god of all Tir Na Nog, the Dagda, is her great-grandfather. She then must decide if she is willing to return the harp and sacrifice her tenuous grip on normalcy, even if it means restoring harmony to her world.

HARP-BROKEN is a stand alone book, but Roiseen's quest may continue in The Outliers series. I am a long-time nonfiction writer whose work appears in national magazines, newspapers and websites, and a member of ASJA.

Thanks so much for considering my query. May I send you my manuscript?
Last edited by chris13 on September 10th, 2010, 4:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Query: HARP-BROKEN

Post by a3writer » August 29th, 2010, 7:56 pm

I'm seeking representation for The whole point of a query is to seek representation. They know this. No need to waste words on it. YA fantasy HARP-BROKEN, complete at 67,000 words. Put this down at the bottom. Hook them first, then give the stats for the book.Based on Irish mythology, it should appeal to readers who enjoy Herbie Brennan or Charles de Lint. The Irish myth will come out in the query. No need to mention it here.

When Philadelphia teen You mention Philly later, and it doesn't seem like it's important enough to the story to go over twice, especially with the fantasy realm. Also, show us that she's a teen more than just tell us. Roiseen O'Reilly's dad disappeared in Ireland, her life snapped like a broken harp string. As long as Dad--a world famous instrument restorer--kept the free concert tickets flowing, the "in" group in Philly tolerated Roiseen's freakish What freakish ways? What does she do that's so different?ways. Now she's stuck helping her mother run a dilapidated Irish pub an underage girl working in a bar? In what capacity? This just sounds a little implausible. while they hope for his return and she finishes the school year. I'm not getting any emotional feel here. Her dad is missing! So it's no big deal they just have to keep the pub going and finish out school?

Roiseen discovers she isn't the only "outlier" What's an outlier? in town. After mistaking her eccentric Irish classmates for faeries, Why would she do that? Roiseen learns the truth. They are gods and goddesses who abandoned mythical Tir Na Nog to live as ordinary teens Why? For kicks? I can think of a lot better things to live as than teenagers. And when a young god who chose to stay behind I'm guessing you mean in Tir Na Nog, but you don't specify threatens Roiseen and vows to destroy the kids the ones who were gods, right? and they're teens, not kids, right?—heretics in his eyes—he brings ancient combat This really doesn't mean anything. What is ancient combat? Fighting with swords? magic? Two really old people? to their new world I don't know what this means. If you mean our world, you could say Earth, but it hasn't been "new" in over 500 years.

Led by Roiseen's crush, the sun god Lugh, Is this really relevant to the query? the kids borrowed a magical harp when they left Tir Na Nog. But the harp was damaged, entwining their fate with that of Roiseen's dad. If it isn't returned by Tir Na Nog's Lughnasadh festival, Roiseen's world will suffer How? What will happen? And why would returning the harp mean anything if there's one god who wants to destroy them?. Two complications: Her dad is imprisoned in Tir Na Nog to prevent him from repairing it. And the kids cannot return, under penalty of death.

Roiseen rescues her father Well, that was fast. You resolved a major plot point, what I thought the book was about, so what's left? and learns why she always felt like an outlier no quotes, but I still don't know what it is.. The god of all Tir Na Nog, the Dagda, is her great-grandfather I probably shouldn't say anything, but I can't help myself. This type of thing has become really cliched. Back when it was Luke and Darth Vader, sure, but now the revelation isn't a surprise. Why is it even in the query?. She then must decide if she is willing to return the harp and sacrifice her tenuous grip on normalcy, even if it means restoring harmony to her world. I don't understand this bit. I recognize all the words, but I don't have any meaning. It's too general. Be specific.

HARP-BROKEN is a stand alone book, but Roiseen's quest may continue in The Outliers series From the way you've said this, you've already written it out because you gave the series a title.. I am a long-time nonfiction writer whose work appears in national magazines, newspapers and websites, and a member of ASJA. I'm not entirely certain (those with more knowledge please chime in) but non-fiction writing credentials don't mean much when it comes to fiction.

Thanks so much for considering my query. May I send you my manuscript? No. Just no. And likely when you ask a question like that, you will elicit an answer you don't want. Like above, they know you want to send the manuscript. That's the point of the query.

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Re: Query: HARP-BROKEN

Post by Leonidas » August 29th, 2010, 9:34 pm

chris13 wrote:I'm seeking representation for YA fantasy HARP-BROKEN, complete at 67,000 words. Based on Irish mythology, it should appeal to readers who enjoy Herbie Brennan or Charles de Lint. Query Shark rants about this all the time. A query is about your story; not about who it should appeal to or why you're querying a certain agent. Start your query where your story starts instead of here.

When Philadelphia teen Roiseen O'Reilly's dad disappeared in Ireland, her life snapped like a broken harp string. As long as Dad--a world famous instrument restorer--kept the free concert tickets flowing, the "in" group in Philly tolerated Roiseen's freakish ways. This is awkwardly written and doesn't make me feel for Roiseen at all. It also doesn't seem realistic that they'd just accept that he's disappeared and move on to trying to run the pub. Now she's stuck helping her mother run a dilapidated Irish pub while they hope for his return and she finishes the school year.

Roiseen discovers she isn't the only "outlier" in town. Outlier? This term hasn't been introduced to us at all. We have no idea what it means. For all we know, it could be another name for teenage girls in Philadelphia After mistaking her eccentric Irish classmates for faeries Like...Tinkerbell fairies? Or like, derogatory gay term, fairies? Again, we don't know what you mean here., Roiseen learns the truth. They are gods and goddesses who abandoned mythical Tir Na Nog to live as ordinary teens. Though I don't know why gods would abandon their divinity to become teenagers, this is where your story starts. The rest is backstory and unneeded. This is where your query should start.And When a young god who choses to stay behind threatens Roiseen and vows to destroy the kids—heretics in his eyes—he brings ancient combat to their new world. I assume that he's the main antagonist? We need to know his name. Since every story is basically the battle between the protagonist and the antagonist, they're the two most important characters in your novel. They're also the two most important characters in your query.

Led by Roiseen's crush, the sun god Lugh, the kids borrowed You want to keep the present tense throughout your query because it gives it more immediacy when you read. a magical harp when they left Tir Na Nog. This sentence doesn't make sense to me. But the harp was is damaged, entwining their fate with that of Roiseen's dad First, a nitpicky thing: Dad should be capatalized, because that's his name to Roiseen. Second: How is this related at all to the disappearance of her father? I can suspend my disbelief until right about now, because this comes out of left-field. There's no connection (for the reader) between her father's disappearance and the harp.. If it isn't returned by Tir Na Nog's Lughnasadh festival, Roiseen's world will suffer. The way this is worded right now, it sounds like a bad pitch line for a movie. We don't know how it will suffer, so we don't care. There's no stakes in it for the reader, because we aren't emotionally invested in your characters yet. Two complications: Her dad is imprisoned in Tir Na Nog to prevent him from repairing the harp. And the kids cannot return, under penalty of death. So he's supposed to repair the harp? I missed that early on in the query. And why can the kids not return?

Roiseen rescues her father and learns why she always felt like an outlier. I still have no clue what an outlier is.The god of all Tir Na Nog, the Dagda, is her great-grandfather. She then must decide if she is willing to return the harp and sacrifice her tenuous grip on normalcy, even if it means restoring harmony to her world.

HARP-BROKEN is a stand alone book, but Roiseen's quest may continue in The Outliers series. HARP-BROKEN a work of (insert genre here) is complete at 67,000 words. A full manuscript is available at your request. I am a long-time nonfiction writer whose work appears in national magazines, newspapers and websites, and a member of ASJA.

Thanks so much for considering my query. May I send you my manuscript? Thank you for your time and consideration.
This query needs to be tightened. Right now, there's a muddled sense of plot. Start exactly where your story starts. Everything with the Dad disappearing and the pub in the beginning of this is backstory. You'll want to weave in the disappearance of her father with the appearance of the other kids/gods and the fact that she's an outlier. Then mention the harp and how her father must fix it to save humanity. Save every word you can.

Good luck!

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Re: Query: HARP-BROKEN

Post by amyashley » August 30th, 2010, 12:10 pm

cutI'm seeking representation forcut-Insert: My YA fantasy HARP-BROKEN, complete at 67,000 words. Based on Irish mythology, it should appeal to readers who enjoy Herbie Brennan or Charles de Lint.Place this paragraph at the end. It's not attention grabbing enough, but it needs to be included.

When Philadelphia teen Roiseen O'Reilly's dad disappeared in Ireland, her life snapped like a broken harp string. reviseAs long as Dad--a world famous instrument restorer--kept the free concert tickets flowing, the "in" group in Philly tolerated Roiseen's freakish ways. Now she's stuck helping her mother run a dilapidated Irish pub while they hope for his return and she finishes the school year. revise-condense this to say something like "Roiseen's popularity was based on the steady supply of concert tickets from her father's job. Since his disappearance, she's become an "outlier" and is stuck helping her mother run a dilapidated Irish pub while they hope for his return." Mostly YOUR words, but shorter.

cutRoiseen discovers she isn't the only "outlier" in town. After mistaking her eccentric Irish classmates for faeries, cut-this is too wordyRoiseen learns the truthInserted-about her eccentric Irish classmates she has mistaken for faeries. They are gods and goddesses who abandoned mythical Tir Na Nog to live as ordinary teens. And when a young god who chose to stay behind threatens Roiseen and vows to destroy themcut kids—heretics in his eyes—cuthe brings ancient combat to their new world.

Led by Roiseen's crush, the sun god Lugh, the kids borrowed a magical harp when they left Tir Na Nog. But the harp was damaged, entwining their fate with that of Roiseen's dad. If it isn't returned by Tir Na Nog's Lughnasadh festival, Roiseen's world will suffer. Two complications: Her dad is imprisoned in Tir Na Nog to prevent him from repairing the harp. And the kids cannot return, under penalty of death.

cutRoiseen rescues her father and learns why she always felt like an outlier. The god of all Tir Na Nog, the Dagda, is her great-grandfather. She then must decide if she is willing to return the harp and sacrifice her tenuous grip on normalcy, even if it means restoring harmony to her world. cut-leave this out. You have the main plot line here, and this is enough

Insert first paragraph here and add the sentence below.
cutHARP-BROKEN is a stand alone book, but Roiseen's quest may continue in The Outliers series.cut-I personally wouldn't talk about more books unless they are already written until AFTER you have the agent. I am a long-time nonfiction writer whose work appears in national magazines, newspapers and websites, and a member of ASJA.

Thanks so much for considering my query.cut May I send you my manuscript?cut
chris13

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Try that and see if it looks a little better. I think it is a good starting point, and you definitely have your plot laid out consecutively here. You just need to tighten the details down. It is going WELL.

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Re: Query: HARP-BROKEN

Post by chris13 » September 1st, 2010, 11:12 am

Thanks, everyone. Am working on a total rewrite and will post shortly. BTW, although I'm dropping it from the query, the term outliers refers to the statistical ends of a bell graph--in other words....the "outsiders." I was going to use it as my title but it was preempted by the NYT bestselling author of BLINK (both are nonfiction.)

Again, thanks for your input.

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Re: Query: HARP-BROKEN--new version at end...thanks for input!

Post by chris13 » September 2nd, 2010, 12:21 pm

Here's version 1,000 (or seems like it) Thanks for your comments....

[specific agent info, if appropriate]

In YA fantasy HARP-BROKEN, a teen tracking her missing dad to Ireland finds his fate entwined with that of her eccentric new schoolmates. Roiseen journeys to mythical Tir Na Nog to rescue her father, confronts a vengeful god and a mean girl, befriends a classmate who shares Roiseen's love of boots, crushes on a sun god and deals with an "emo" harp. It's no way to achieve her desire to be an average teen.

Roiseen O'Reilly always felt like an outsider in her suburban Philadelphia private school, especially after her beloved dad disappeared. A world-class restorer of musical instruments, he provided the free concert tickets that allowed her to suck up to the "in" crowd. When Roiseen and her mom agree to manage a dilapidated family pub in Ireland so they can search for Dad, Roiseen finds she isn't the only one fighting to fit in. Her classmates are gods and goddesses who abandoned boring Tir Na Nog to live as normal teens. But Aillen, a young god who reveres the old ways, wants to punish them for leaving. He captured Roiseen's dad to prevent him from repairing a magical harp the kids borrowed. The harp must be returned by the upcoming festival of Lughnasadh or the gods and goddesses will suffer. It's up to Roiseen to make a sacrifice that will protect her new friends and save Dad.

I am a long-time writer and ASJA member whose work appears in national magazines, newspapers and websites.

HARP-BROKEN, complete at 67,000 words should appeal to readers who enjoy Herbie Brennan or Charles de Lint. Thanks so much for your time and consideration.

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Re: Query: HARP-BROKEN--new version at end...thanks for input!

Post by Beethovenfan » September 2nd, 2010, 2:25 pm

Here's version 1,000 (or seems like it) Thanks for your comments....

[specific agent info, if appropriate]

In YA fantasy HARP-BROKEN, a teen tracking her missing dad to Ireland finds his fate entwined with that of her eccentric new schoolmates. Roiseen journeys to mythical Tir Na Nog to rescue her father, confronts a vengeful god and a mean girl, befriends a classmate who shares Roiseen's love of boots, crushes on a sun god and deals with an "emo" harp. It's no way to achieve her desire to be an average teen.

First of all, cool story idea. Kinda reminds me of Percy Jackson. :) The first thing I notice is that you have put the name and type of your novel first. You don't need to do this because you have it at the end. Save this prime real estate for your query only. Next, it seems to me that you are setting me up first in order to tell me the query. This first paragraph seems to just lay out a whole buncha information. The "real" writing begins in your second paragraph. I really like the first sentance of the second paragraph because it "shows" what Roiseen is like, rather than just tells.

Roiseen O'Reilly always felt like an outsider in her suburban Philadelphia private school, especially after her beloved dad disappeared. A world-class restorer of musical instruments, he provided the free concert tickets that allowed her to suck up to the "in" crowd. When Roiseen and her mom agree to manage a dilapidated family pub in Ireland so they can search for Dad, Roiseen finds she isn't the only one fighting to fit in. Her classmates are gods and goddesses who abandoned boring Tir Na Nog to live as normal teens. But Aillen, a young god who reveres the old ways, wants to punish them for leaving. He captured Roiseen's dad to prevent him from repairing a magical harp the kids borrowed. The harp must be returned by the upcoming festival of Lughnasadh or the gods and goddesses will suffer. It's up to Roiseen to make a sacrifice that will protect her new friends and save Dad.

"...Roiseen finds she isn't the only one fighting to fit in." This is a great place to "show" rather than "tell" what Roiseen is doing. How is she feeling? Has she made embarrassing blunders? Perhaps she's gotten into a few fights? You could really spice it up. "Her classmates are gods and goddesses who abandoned boring Tir Na Nog to live as normal teens." I bet it was a colorful scene in your novel when Roiseen learns her schoolmates are not "normal." We need to see some of that color here. I mean, they're gods for heck sake! That's exciting! It's a fine balancing act between adding the "show" without using too many words. Maybe it could say: "Roiseen wonders at the place where even gods don't want to live. But one young god, Aillen, is bent on forcing the old ways upon them." Sorry, best I could do. But hopefully you get what I mean.

I am a long-time writer and ASJA member whose work appears in national magazines, newspapers and websites.

HARP-BROKEN, complete at 67,000 words should appeal to readers who enjoy Herbie Brennan or Charles de Lint. Thanks so much for your time and consideration.chris13
You are on the right track. I can especially appreciate that you want to use very few words in your query, so you get everything out there before the agent stops reading. But remember, you have between 250 and 350 words at your disposal; if you need 'em, use' em. I think you have a good story here, but the query needs more color, more life. Less telling and more showing. Hope this was helpful. I'm really in the same place you are, so I'm pasing along a lot of advice I received! Best of luck to you!
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Re: Query: HARP-BROKEN--new version at end...thanks for input!

Post by chris13 » September 2nd, 2010, 2:32 pm

Thanks, good comments. Will continue to slog along..... ;-)

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Re: Query: HARP-BROKEN--new version at end...thanks for input!

Post by amyashley » September 2nd, 2010, 3:50 pm

I think this is a great improvement! I agree with the previous poster about removing novel info, since you have it at the end.

I am not sure if the first sentence you have could be tweaked a little to grab the attention, or if you should lose it and just stick with the (excellent) summary you now have in the middle paragraph. I would play with it and see if you can create a good opening line, but tack it onto that same paragraph. If it feels contrived, or doesn' give relevant plot detail, then drop it and leave what you have.

I think this is good!

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Re: Query: HARP-BROKEN--new version at end...thanks for input!

Post by wilderness » September 7th, 2010, 3:07 pm

Personally, I think the first version made more sense. The latest one is not chronological; the first paragraph summarizes the whole book and then second one does so again. Also, things come out of nowhere with no transition, like how her classmates are gods and goddesses. You built up to that better in the original version. Yes, I like the some of the cute details you've included in the latest, but those could still be elaborated on even more.

I think you've got some good ideas, but overall I think this version just doesn't flow. Sorry to be a downer on it, just trying to help!

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Re: Query: HARP-BROKEN--new version at end...thanks for input!

Post by chris13 » September 10th, 2010, 4:12 pm

Once more into the breach.....here's my latest version. Thanks for your invaluable input....you folks are so generous with your time..... ;-)

---------------------------------------
Latest version Sept. 10--HARP-BROKEN query

Agent info, as appropriate…

In YA fantasy HARP-BROKEN, Philadelphia teen Roiseen O'Reilly wants her life back. Her beloved Dad, a world-class restorer of musical instruments, is missing in Ireland. Dad provided the free concert tickets that allowed her to suck up to the "in" crowd at her suburban private school--and feel less like an outsider. But Roiseen finds she isn't the only one who struggles to fit in when she and her mom go to Ireland to search for Dad and manage a dilapidated family pub. Her eccentric Irish classmates have a secret. When an ancient Celtic board game comes alive--and Roiseen morphs into a warrior who captures a king—they reveal the truth. They are gods and goddesses who abandoned the unchanging, combative world of Tir Na Nog to experience life as normal teens.

Aillen, a young god who reveres the old ways, plans to punish his friends for leaving. He damages a magical harp they borrowed when they escaped, knowing it must be returned by Tir Na Nog's Lughnasadh festival. Next he imprisons Roiseen's dad to prevent him from repairing the harp--and attempts to drive Roiseen away.

Roiseen realizes her fate is entwined with that of her new friends, including her crush, the young sun god Lugh. It's up to her to rescue her father from Tir Na Nog; her friends can never return. Then she must choose to make a sacrifice that can save her world from the vengeance of the harp's owner--the most ancient and deadly of the Tir Na Nog gods.

I am a long-time writer and ASJA member whose work appears in national travel, healthcare and women's magazines, newspapers and websites.

HARP-BROKEN, complete at 67,000 words, should appeal to readers who enjoy Herbie Brennan or Libra Bray. Thanks so much for your time and consideration.

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Re: Query: HARP-BROKEN--latest version at end..thanks for input!

Post by lisa01 » September 10th, 2010, 7:10 pm

Hi, here are my suggestions. Take them with a grain of salt. I'm working on my own query and am not an expert.

Latest version Sept. 10--HARP-BROKEN query

Agent info, as appropriate…

In YA fantasy HARP-BROKEN, Philadelphia teen Roiseen O'Reilly wants her life back. Might want a stronger hook. I believe Nathan has some blogs on the hook or premise, as he also calls it. Maybe you could somehow incorporate your first two sentences into one to show how the story opens Her beloved Dad, a world-class restorer of musical instruments, is missing in Ireland Might want to reword this. Maybe use 'went missing'. Dad provided the free concert tickets that allowed her to suck up to the "in" crowd at her suburban private school--and feel less like an outsider I'm not sure if this sentence is really needed. Try taking it out to see if you need it. But Roiseen finds she isn't the only one who struggles to fit in when she and her mom go to Ireland to search for Dad and manage a dilapidated family pub. Her eccentric Irish classmatesAll or just some of them? have a secret. When an ancient Celtic board game comes alive--and Roiseen morphs into a warrior who captures a king—they reveal the truth She discovers the truth? This might sound a litter bit stronger, if the statement is true. They are gods and goddesses who abandoned the unchanging, combative world of Tir Na Nog to experience life as normal teens.

Aillen, a young god who reveres the old ways, plans to punish his friends for leaving. He damages a magical harp they borrowed Did they need it to escape? Borrowed doesn't sound right in this context, at least to me. when they escaped, knowing it must be returned by Tir Na Nog's Lughnasadh festival. Next he imprisons Roiseen's dad Gods and goddesses can't repair a harp from their homeland but a human can--if he's human,that is?to prevent him from repairing the harp--and attempts to drive Roiseen away.

Roiseen realizes her fate is entwined with that of her new friends, including her crush, the young sun god Lugh. It's up to her to rescue her father from Tir Na Nog; her friends can never return. Then she must choose to make a sacrifice that can save her world from the vengeance of the harp's owner--the most ancient and deadly of the Tir Na Nog gods.

I am a long-time writer and ASJA member whose work appears in national travel, healthcare and women's magazines, newspapers and websites.

HARP-BROKEN, complete at 67,000 words, should appeal to readers who enjoy Herbie Brennan or Libra Bray. Thanks so much for your time and consideration.

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Re: Query: HARP-BROKEN--new version at end...thanks for input!

Post by Jaligard » September 10th, 2010, 7:33 pm

chris13 wrote:In YA fantasy HARP-BROKEN, Philadelphia teen Roiseen O'Reilly wants her life back. Her beloved Dad, a world-class restorer of musical instruments, is missing in Ireland. Dad provided the free concert tickets that allowed her to suck up to the "in" crowd at her suburban private school--and feel less like an outsider. But Roiseen finds she isn't the only one who struggles to fit in when she and her mom go to Ireland to search for Dad and manage a dilapidated family pub. Her eccentric Irish classmates have a secret. When an ancient Celtic board game comes alive--and Roiseen morphs into a warrior who captures a king—they reveal the truth. They are gods and goddesses who abandoned the unchanging, combative world of Tir Na Nog to experience life as normal teens.
There's too much backstory here. Trim it way down. Establish her character as soon as you can and get to your hook. I like the part about the concert tickets, but it needs to be shorter.

This doesn't establish her character, but it gets to the point: When _____teen-year old Roiseen O'Reilly went to Ireland to search for her missing father, she never expected to find him trapped in an ancient Celtic board game.
Aillen, a young god who reveres the old ways, plans to punish his friends for leaving. He damages a magical harp they borrowed when they escaped, knowing it must be returned by Tir Na Nog's Lughnasadh festival. Next he imprisons Roiseen's dad to prevent him from repairing the harp--and attempts to drive Roiseen away.

Roiseen realizes her fate is entwined with that of her new friends, including her crush, the young sun god Lugh. It's up to her to rescue her father from Tir Na Nog; her friends can never return. Then she must choose to make a sacrifice that can save her world from the vengeance of the harp's owner--the most ancient and deadly of the Tir Na Nog gods.

I am a long-time writer and ASJA member whose work appears in national travel, healthcare and women's magazines, newspapers and websites.

HARP-BROKEN, complete at 67,000 words, should appeal to readers who enjoy Herbie Brennan or Libra Bray. Thanks so much for your time and consideration.
I get a little lost in the names. I think you've got a good idea, but it's not getting the right focus. Less backstory, more of the novel. Good luck!

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Re: Query: HARP-BROKEN--latest version at end..thanks for input!

Post by amyashley » September 11th, 2010, 10:18 am

I think it's improved. I liked the premise originally, but you've added some points in this query that actually make me want to READ it, and I don't read YA, so that's a good thing! I think it needs some trimming when it comes to details, and the essential information that seems very crammed together can then be laid out better.

Agent info, as appropriate…

In YA fantasy HARP-BROKEN, Philadelphia teen Roiseen O'Reilly wants her life back. Her beloved Dad, a world-class restorer of musical instruments, is missing in Ireland. I don't think you need all the adjectives here. He doesn't need to be "beloved" or world class". It doesn't really add a lot of impact, and it's taking up room. His reputation and how Roiseen feels gets shown in the rest of the query by the fact that they want him to repair the harp and that she searches for him when he's gone. Leave out the adjectives and leave room for other words since you are already SHOWING those things.Dad provided the free concert tickets that allowed her to suck up to the "in" crowd at her suburban private school--and feel less like an outsider.Don't cut this, it is good.It provides personality. The reast of this paragraph is WAY too wordy. First cut out "Her eccentric...secret." the line doesn't move things along. The first sentence needs to be tightened down, I would break it in two, making it into consecutive events. Mom and Roiseen move, then Roiseen begans to play the board game. Leave out the part about the warrior morphing because it isn't relevant. remember this isn't a synopsis! THEN Say that her eccentric classmates (don't say they are Irish, because they SHOULD be since we are in Ireland-it's redundant) reveal that they are..."But Roiseen finds she isn't the only one who struggles to fit in when she and her mom go to Ireland to search for Dad and manage a dilapidated family pub. Her eccentric Irish classmates have a secret. When an ancient Celtic board game comes alive--and Roiseen morphs into a warrior who captures a king—they reveal the truth. They are gods and goddesses who abandoned the unchanging, combative world of Tir Na Nog to experience life as normal teens.

Aillen, a young god cutwho reveres the old ways,cut plans to punish his friends for leaving. He damages a magical harp they borrowed when they escaped, knowing it must be returned by Tir Na Nog's Lughnasadh festival. this makes no sense here. If Roiseen's father is already missing, you cannot have him imprisoned AFTER she has gone to look for him You need to make it clear that this is in the past tense. Also this needs to be condensed.Next he imprisons Roiseen's dad to prevent him from repairing the harp--cut-this is a given, and we should know this.and attempts to drive Roiseen away.

Roiseen realizes her fate is entwined with that of her new friends,cut out the crush. It's great she has one, but you already have enough characters in this query. It isn't essential to the plot, and it's just this loose end kind of dangling in the wind including her crush, the young sun god Lugh. It's up to her to rescue her father from Tir Na Nog; her friends can never return. Then she must choose to make a sacrifice that can save her world from the vengeance of the harp's owner--the most ancient and deadly of the Tir Na Nog gods.

I am a long-time writer and ASJA member whose work appears in national travel, healthcare and women's magazines, newspapers and websites.

HARP-BROKEN, complete at 67,000 words, should appeal to readers who enjoy Herbie Brennan or Libra Bray. Thanks so much for your time and consideration.


I think you are getting very close!

chris13
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Re: Query: HARP-BROKEN--latest version at end..thanks for input!

Post by chris13 » September 20th, 2010, 4:58 pm

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed helpful comments. I just got my beta reader's comments, and will be changing a few things that will be reflected in a revised query.

Best wishes to everyone--see ya on the shelves!

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