Query - Possessed

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saraflower
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Query - Possessed

Post by saraflower » October 28th, 2010, 11:00 am

Dear Agent,

Nineteen year-old Gabriel is a murderer. He should not remember who is or what he has done, but the psychological experiment he volunteers for fails.

Locked in a debriefing room, Gabriel and two other patients learn that the doctors have made a decision to terminate the illegal project by killing them. One of the other participants - Gabriel's cousin - is driven mad by the experiments and escapes in a violent rage. They find a way out of the facility with plans to start over. Then Gabriel`s cousin comes after them.

It doesn’t help when the angry voices of the high school jocks Gabriel murdered five years ago return. They want revenge. He hates himself for what he did.

Gabriel will have to find a way to keep himself - and his new friends - alive. But nothing will save him from his inevitable everlasting punishment.

Possessed is a young adult supernatural thriller with a word count of 56,000 words.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration of my work.

Sincerely,

Sara Kjeldsen

Ermo
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Re: Query - Possessed

Post by Ermo » October 28th, 2010, 11:51 am

Nineteen year-old Gabriel is a murderer. He should not remember who is or what he has done, but the psychological experiment he volunteers for fails. Take his age out. Reads crisper that way. But it's a really good first sentence. The second sentence loses me. I re-read it and figured I think a rewrite is in order. Something like: Garbriel is a murderer. To rid himself of the terrible memories of his crime, he volunteers for a psychological experiment designed to delete them. But the experiment fails.

Locked in a debriefing room, Gabriel and two other patients learn that the doctors have made a decision to terminate the illegal project by killing them. Whoa - so the failing of the test isn't his biggest problem. I'd move this up.One of the other participants - Gabriel's cousin - is driven mad by the experiments and escapes in a violent rage. They find a way out of the facility with plans to start over. Then Gabriel`s cousin comes after them. It's not clear they all escape when Gabriel's cousin does so I'd rewrite to show that. Also, why would he come after Gabriel?

It doesn’t help when the angry voices of the high school jocks Gabriel murdered five years ago return. They want revenge. He hates himself for what he did.

Gabriel will have to find a way to keep himself - and his new friends - alive. But nothing will save him from his inevitable everlasting punishment. The last line makes me feel like there's no chance for redemption for your protag and who wants to read that? By saving his new friends, does he somewhat redeem himself for his old sins? If so, maybe include that.

Possessed is a young adult supernatural thriller with a word count of 56,000 words.

I love myself a good thriller and this is promising. I think you just need to define what the villian's motives are (other than being crazy) and weave in a bit more of the self-redemption that Gabriel is seeking. Good luck!

glj
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Re: Query - Possessed

Post by glj » October 28th, 2010, 12:03 pm

My overall impression is confusion. You don't reveal enough of the plot for me to really make sense of it. Yeah, bad scientists and illegal experiments on young men (mental patients? prisoners?), but I do not get any sense of WHY these things are happening and what MAY happen. The query should optimally present a protagonist and present a looming danger that the protagonist must overcome. I am really not clear what is happening, and what may happen.


Nineteen year-old Gabriel is a murderer. He should not remember who is or what he has done, but the psychological experiment he volunteers for fails. Bad time confusion here. This says "fails", then below you describe them failing, leaving me wondering whether you need to say this. This paragraph seems to be a 2 sentence summary of your whole plot? Not necessary. And the "he should not remember" part is not clear to me, even after re-reading your query.

Locked in a debriefing room, Gabriel and two other patients learn that the doctors have made a decision to terminate the illegal project But what is the project? Why is it illegal? You leave me wondering by killing them. One of the other participants - Gabriel's cousin - is driven mad by the experiments and escapes in a violent rage. Is there any other type of rage when illegal medical experiments are involved? They find a way out of the facility with plans to start over. Then Gabriel`s cousin comes after them. The driven mad cousin?

It doesn’t help when the angry voices of the high school jocks Gabriel murdered five years ago return. This sentence is rather long and awkward. I had to re-read it. My confusion was due to "murdered five years ago" Seems like too much info in one sentence. Plus, the usage of "return", which implies they talked to Gabriel after he murdered them, then went silent for a time? Suggestion: Then Gabriel begins hearing angry voices of the dead--the voices of the high school jocks Gabriel murdered five years ago." They want revenge. He hates himself for what he did.

Gabriel will have to find a way to keep himself - and his new friends - alive. But nothing will save him from his inevitable everlasting punishment. Everlasting punishment? This could be intriguing, but you don't go into it?

Possessed Show that this is the title, such as by all capital letters is a young adult supernatural thriller with a word count of 56,000 words.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration of my work.

saraflower
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Re: Query - Possessed

Post by saraflower » October 28th, 2010, 12:57 pm

Thank you so much for the feedback. Revise time!! :)

SuCue
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Re: Query - Possessed

Post by SuCue » October 28th, 2010, 1:50 pm

Sounds interesting! PS -- There is already a book of that title by a fairly well-known author, true crime queen Ann Rule, although it is adult fiction and not young adult fiction. Maybe that doesn't matter, though.

priya g.
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Re: Query - Possessed

Post by priya g. » October 28th, 2010, 2:57 pm

saraflower wrote:Dear Agent,

Nineteen year-old Gabriel is a murderer. He should not remember who is or what he has done, but the psychological experiment he volunteers for fails. WONDERFUL HOOK.

Locked in a debriefing room, Gabriel and two other patients learn that the doctors have made a decision to terminate the illegal project by killing them OF KILLING THEM OR OF THEM KILLING OTHERS?. One of the other participants - Gabriel's cousin - is driven mad by the experiments and escapes in a violent rage THIS DOESNT COME OUT TOO CLEAR; BY NOW, I WANT TO KNOW THE PROCEDURE OF THE EXPERIMENT- SHED LIGHT ON THAT IN AROUND 2 SENTENCES AND WHY GABRIEL DOESNT GO MAD(THAT IS IF HE DOESNT OR WHY HE DOES). They find a way out of the facility with plans to start over START OVER THE EXPERIMENT?. Then Gabriel`s cousin comes after them.

It doesn’t help when the angry voices of the high school jocks Gabriel murdered five years ago return. NOW THERE ARE HINTS OF SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS YET THE IDEA OF ANGRY VOICES CAN EASILY BE CONFUSED AS THAT OF THE EXPERIMENT'S EFFECT.They want revenge. He hates himself for what he did.

Gabriel will have to find a way to keep himself - and his new friends - alive. But nothing will save him from his inevitable everlasting punishment. PUNISHMENT IS TOO VAGUE (I FACED THE SAME PROBLEM, EXPLAINING THIS IN MY YA PARANORMAL ROMANCE- IF THATS ANLY COMFORT)

Possessed is a young adult supernatural thriller with a word count of 56,000 words.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration of my work.

Sincerely,

Sara Kjeldsen
Overall, this works as a good query- it is precise and the conflict comes out strong.
Hope I helped!

saraflower
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Re: Query - Possessed

Post by saraflower » October 28th, 2010, 4:35 pm

SuCue wrote:Sounds interesting! PS -- There is already a book of that title by a fairly well-known author, true crime queen Ann Rule, although it is adult fiction and not young adult fiction. Maybe that doesn't matter, though.
Thanks - that is always good to know! I had googled the title a while back and for some reason that didn't come up.
priya g. wrote: Overall, this works as a good query- it is precise and the conflict comes out strong.
Hope I helped!
Thank you :)

saraflower
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Re: Query - Possessed

Post by saraflower » October 28th, 2010, 4:39 pm

Dear Agent,

Gabriel is a murderer. Tormented by the memory, he volunteers for a psychological experiment designed to erase them. But the experiement fails. Then one of the participants - Adeline - escapes. Gabriel and two other patients learn that the doctors have made a decision to terminate the illegal project by killing the remaining volunteers.

Gabriel and the others find a way out of the facility with plans to start over. Then Adeline - driven mad by the experiments - comes after them.

Then there are the voices of the highscool jocks that Gabriel killed five years ago. They want revenge. He hates himself for what he did.

Gabriel will have to find a way to keep himself - and his new friends - alive. But Gabriel is certain that nothing will save him from his punishment in the afterlife. The voices tell them they are waiting for him.

POSSESSED is a young adult supernatural thriller with a word count of 56,000 words.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration of my work.

Sincerely,

Sara Kjeldsen

glj
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Re: Query - Possessed

Post by glj » October 28th, 2010, 5:15 pm

Sarah, this is much better. Paragraph 1 makes much more sense now.

In light of a previous comment, you might consider how you could differentiate your title more. If the crux of the problem is scientific experiments on peoples' memories, I don't see where possession comes in?


Gabriel is a murderer. Tormented by the memory, he volunteers for a psychological experiment designed to erase them. Is this based on real life? I have heard of memory-deleting experiments (physically deleting traumatic memories) that were designed to help former soldiers with combat stress. But the experiement spelling error fails. Then one of the participants - Adeline - escapes. This sentence seems unlinked to the previous. You need a transition that explains that instead of being released, they were kept locked up. How much time passes between the experiments failing and them attempting to escape? Gabriel and two other patients learn that the doctors have made a decision to terminate the illegal project by killing the remaining volunteers. Aww, too bad they couldn't just make them forget!

Gabriel and the others find a way out of the facility Find their way out? This kinda makes it sound like they wandered in and got lost, like in a cave. I would suggest more of an action phrase, such as escaped/broke out/overpowered the guards/dug a tunnel with bedpans or something that provides danger and suspense with plans to start over. Here, I really wanted higher stakes for Gabriel than just saving their own lives. What other horrible things will the scientists do if they successfully kill the test subjects? Maybe there is nothing more, but this could add urgency. Then Adeline - driven mad by the experiments - comes after them. If you show how she was driven mad, and/or how she now acts, this could really add punch. As is, it is rather bland. SHOW us some crazy!

Then there are the voices This doesn't seem to fit in with the above paragraph. Is there any relationship between the tests and Gabriel hearing voices? Do the scientists accidentally tune Gabriel's brain into the Hannibal Lecter channel of the afterlife? of the highscool jocks that Gabriel killed five years ago. They want revenge. He hates himself for what he did.

Gabriel will have to find a way to keep himself - and his new friends - alive. But Gabriel is certain that nothing will save him from his punishment in the afterlife. The voices tell them they are waiting for him. Hmm, okay, up to this point the story sounds realistic, like it could happen here and now. But this changes the story into more of a supernatural bent. I don't know if you should put more "supernatural" in the query earlier, though, as I don't know your story

saraflower
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Re: Query - Possessed

Post by saraflower » October 28th, 2010, 7:09 pm

glj wrote:Sarah, this is much better. Paragraph 1 makes much more sense now.

In light of a previous comment, you might consider how you could differentiate your title more. If the crux of the problem is scientific experiments on peoples' memories, I don't see where possession comes in?


Gabriel is a murderer. Tormented by the memory, he volunteers for a psychological experiment designed to erase them. Is this based on real life? I have heard of memory-deleting experiments (physically deleting traumatic memories) that were designed to help former soldiers with combat stress. But the experiement spelling error fails. Then one of the participants - Adeline - escapes. This sentence seems unlinked to the previous. You need a transition that explains that instead of being released, they were kept locked up. How much time passes between the experiments failing and them attempting to escape? Gabriel and two other patients learn that the doctors have made a decision to terminate the illegal project by killing the remaining volunteers. Aww, too bad they couldn't just make them forget!

Gabriel and the others find a way out of the facility Find their way out? This kinda makes it sound like they wandered in and got lost, like in a cave. I would suggest more of an action phrase, such as escaped/broke out/overpowered the guards/dug a tunnel with bedpans or something that provides danger and suspense with plans to start over. Here, I really wanted higher stakes for Gabriel than just saving their own lives. What other horrible things will the scientists do if they successfully kill the test subjects? Maybe there is nothing more, but this could add urgency. Then Adeline - driven mad by the experiments - comes after them. If you show how she was driven mad, and/or how she now acts, this could really add punch. As is, it is rather bland. SHOW us some crazy!

Then there are the voices This doesn't seem to fit in with the above paragraph. Is there any relationship between the tests and Gabriel hearing voices? Do the scientists accidentally tune Gabriel's brain into the Hannibal Lecter channel of the afterlife? of the highscool jocks that Gabriel killed five years ago. They want revenge. He hates himself for what he did.

Gabriel will have to find a way to keep himself - and his new friends - alive. But Gabriel is certain that nothing will save him from his punishment in the afterlife. The voices tell them they are waiting for him. Hmm, okay, up to this point the story sounds realistic, like it could happen here and now. But this changes the story into more of a supernatural bent. I don't know if you should put more "supernatural" in the query earlier, though, as I don't know your story
Hi thanks for the feedback. The story is centered around the supernatural and Adeline becomes possessed, but Gabriel doesn`t figure that out until much later. So I was not sure how to put that in the query. But maybe I should try putting that paranormal spin earlier on as you said. I can see how the voices paragraph just comes out of nowhere. Thanks again!

priya g.
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Re: Query - Possessed

Post by priya g. » October 29th, 2010, 2:48 pm

saraflower wrote: Dear Agent,

Gabriel SURNAME? is a murderer. Tormented by the memory, he volunteers for a psychological experiment designed to erase them SO HE IS THE ONE THAT IS CONDUCTING THE EXPERIMENT OR HE IS BEING EXPERIMENTED ON?. But the experiement SPELLING! fails. Then one of the participants - Adeline - escapes. Gabriel and two other patients learn that the doctors have made a decision to terminate the illegal project by killing the remaining volunteers.

Gabriel and the others find a way out of the facility with plans to start over. Then Adeline - driven mad by the experiments - comes after them.

Then there are the voices of the highscool SPELLING! jocks that Gabriel killed five years ago. They want revenge. He hates himself for what he did.

Gabriel will have to find a way to keep himself - and his new friends - alive. But Gabriel is certain that nothing will save him from his punishment in the afterlife. The voices tell them they are waiting for him.THIS LAST SENTENCE THREW ME OFF- THE SUPERNATURAL ELEMENT HAS COME OUT TOO LATE. INCORPORATE IT EARLIER

POSSESSED is a young adult supernatural thriller with a word count of 56,000 words.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration of my work.

Sincerely,

Sara Kjeldsen
There is a drastic improvement- your story is coming out stronger. however, the supernatural element is yet to come out strong.
Hope I helped!

saraflower
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Re: Query - Possessed

Post by saraflower » October 29th, 2010, 2:57 pm

POSSESSED - Third Revision

Dear Agent,

Gabriel's life is a lie. Everything he thought was real turns out to be a product of radiation, electrodes, and drugs – including his identity. But he knows one thing. If he does not get out of the White Horizon Research Facility soon, he will be a corpse.

Locked in a debriefing room, Gabriel and two other patients learn that the experiment failed because of a mysterious hacker. The doctors have made a decision to terminate the illegal project by killing the remaining participants. They escape through an air vent and flee to New York with plans to start over.

Until someone stalks them. Her intention to kill is clear. Wherever they go, she finds them. But there are others after them - the spirits of four boys that Gabriel used to know.

Gabriel will have to find a way to keep himself - and his new friends - alive. But there is nothing that can save him from the afterlife. Everyone knows that there is no way out of eternal damnation for a cold blooded killer.

POSSESSED is a young adult supernatural thriller with a word count of 56,000 words.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration of my work.

Sincerely,

Sara Flower Kjeldsen

sgf
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Re: Query - Possessed

Post by sgf » October 29th, 2010, 3:41 pm


Hi Sara,

I thought this was a good query letter, overall. There were a couple of places I felt needed elaborations, where you provide a detail that left me a bit confused.


Gabriel's life is a lie. Everything he thought was real turns out to be a product of radiation, electrodes, and drugs – including his identity. But he knows one thing. If he does not get out of the White Horizon Research Facility soon, he will be a corpse. I thought this was a pretty strong opening-- nice job!

Locked in a debriefing room, Gabriel and two other patients learn that the experiment failed because of a mysterious hackerHere's one moment I thought could be clarified. After reading this sentence, I wondered, "what experiment?" I think the first paragraph should somehow more clearly described that his entire life has been a part of an experiment. . The doctors have made a decision to terminate the illegal project by killing the remaining participants. I thought this could be tightened a bit. Example: He overhears that all evidence of the illegal project will be terminated-- including him.They escape through an air vent and flee to New York with plans to start over. Here, conisider being more specific that just "starting over". Since their lives have been a lie up to this point, should it really be considered starting over?

Until someone stalks them. Her intention to kill is clear. Wherever they go, she finds them. I like this added bit of tension, but I felt you should mention how theuy evade her. Otherwise, from the two sentences: "Her intention to kill is clear. Wherever they go, she finds them." it reads as if she kills them. But there are others after them - the spirits of four boys that Gabriel used to know.

Gabriel will have to find a way to keep himself - and his new friends - alive Maybe hint at what he does to keep them alive?. But there is nothing that can save him from the afterlife. Everyone knows that there is no way out of eternal damnation for a cold blooded killer.Here it reads as if Gabriel is a cold blooded killer. But there's nothing else in the query that suggests that he kills anybody.

POSSESSED is a young adult supernatural thriller with a word count of 56,000 words.

Sounds like a great story. Hope some of this helps!

saraflower
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Re: Query - Possessed

Post by saraflower » October 30th, 2010, 9:51 am

POSSESSED - Fourth Revision

Dear Agent,

Gabriel's life is a lie. He is not fourteen. He is not an ex midshipman in the British fleet. But he knows one thing. If he does not get out of the White Horizon Research Facility soon, he will be a corpse.

Gabriel learns that the experiment he volunteered for failed and all evidence of the illegal project will be terminated - including him. He and two other patients escape through an air vent and flee to New York with plans to change their identity and start over.

Until someone stalks them. Her intention to kill is clear. Wherever they go, she finds them. They barely manage to get away from her. And there are others after them - the angry spirits of four boys that Gabriel used to know. He knows what they want. Vengeance. He murdered them five years ago. He wishes he could go back and erase what he did to them.

Gabriel will have to find a way to keep himself - and his new friends - alive. But he knows nothing will save him from his punishment in the afterlife. That is what a cold blooded killer deserves.

POSSESSED is a young adult supernatural thriller with a word count of 56,000 words.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration of my work.

Sincerely,

Sara Flower Kjeldsen

fishfood
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Re: Query - Possessed

Post by fishfood » October 30th, 2010, 2:16 pm

saraflower wrote:POSSESSED - Fourth Revision

Dear Agent,

Gabriel's life is a lie. He is not fourteen. He is not an ex midshipman in the British fleet. But he knows one thing. If he does not get out of the White Horizon Research Facility soon, he will be a corpse.

Gabriel learns that the experiment he volunteered for Why did he volunteer for it? How does he know he volunteered if he has always believed he was fourteen and an exmidshipman? I actually liked the opening line in your third draft better. You could maybe say in addition in the above opening: Gabriel's life is a lie. He wanted it to be. The experiment he volunteered for was supposed to erase the memories. Now all he knows are two things: One, he's a murderer and Two, if he does not get out of the White Horizon Research Facility soon, he will be a corpse. failed and all evidence of the illegal project will be terminated - including him. He and two other patients escape through an air vent and flee to New York with plans to change their identity and start over.

Until someone stalks them. Her intention to kill is clear. Wherever they go, she finds them. They barely manage to get away from her. And there are others after them - the angry spirits of four boys that Gabriel used to know used to know is kind of passive. I'd try somthing stronger like, angry spirtis of four boys Gabriel knows all to well. He knows what they want. Vengeance. He murdered them five years ago. He wishes he could go back and erase what he did to them.

Gabriel will have to find a way to keep himself - and his new friends - alive. But he knows nothing will save him from his punishment in the afterlife. That is what a cold blooded killer deserves.

POSSESSED is a young adult supernatural thriller with a word count of 56,000 words.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration of my work.

Sincerely,

Sara Flower Kjeldsen
I think it's almost there! Sounds like an awesome story!

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