Query Status: Under Construction

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OneChoice1
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Query Status: Under Construction

Post by OneChoice1 » January 5th, 2010, 12:30 pm

*See third page for revised version*


I've sat down and created my manuscript. I've revised it more than once. I got all excited, sent out the query, and got rejected. Now that that's out of my system (not entirely, but good enough), I'm ready to get back to it. It's all about perseverance, right?


I may not be asking this correctly, but here goes... If you sent out a query, but then after changed the genre of your novel, what do you do? I don't think you should send a "heads up, i changed my genre" message to the agent. Any comments on this?


I would really appreciate any feedback or comment. Thank you.


Dear [Agent's name]:

It is a fact that no one is too virtuous for the Lord, and no one is too malfunctioned for the Lord to give up on. No matter how murky the sin, the Lord can deliver forgiveness even if the world can’t. It all has to do with faith. What the world doesn’t give you, the world can’t take away. The novel is titled Use Somebody for the gravity of reaching out for someone. The genre is inspirational romance, for an audience of 16 and up. It is approximately 156,000 words.

Seventeen year old Drakel \dra-kel\ Davis is the mastermind of the biggest mafia in Britain. Her success, if you will, is highly respectable considering her gender and age; however, it is not quite a comfortable position, because of her gender and age. Ashes are blown away, complications arise, and Drakel Davis finds herself on trial to be executed. How can such a mastermind end up in the hands of the law? Tables are turned when justice postpones her execution. How will a former mastermind react to being sent to America and plunged into the eyes of Christians - the real Christians who are living for Christ and the ones who just like the nametag? Will she be able to open up her heart and mind enough to find and love God, or will her attitude and dark past, and I’m not just talking about the mafia, be too much for her to overcome?

My life has consisted of enthralling characters who nourished my creativity. A poem of mine was entered and published in the Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans, 2003 Edition. My personal experiences with the transitions of becoming a Christian brings realism into Use Somebody. May I send you a partial or the completed manuscript? Thank you for your time and patience. I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,



The genre i had before was young adult, but i changed it to inspirational romance. I'm still kind of questioning the genre...

In addition, should i include a personalized sentence or whatnot?
Last edited by OneChoice1 on January 22nd, 2010, 3:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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ebradmon
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Re: Query Status: Under Construction

Post by ebradmon » January 5th, 2010, 1:01 pm

WOW a child mafia boss? Cool!

Dear [Agent's name]:

It is a fact that no one is too virtuous for the Lord, and no one is too malfunctioned for the Lord to give up on. No matter how murky the sin, the Lord can deliver forgiveness even if the world can’t. It all has to do with faith. What the world doesn’t give you, the world can’t take away.(Start here – the rest is too preachy and is a given within the genera I’m guessing? Get to the story!) Use Somebody - for the gravity of reaching out for someone(loose this unless it’s the story name). Is an inspirational romance, for 16 and up. It is approximately 156,000 words.

Seventeen year old Drakel \dra-kel\ (ah at this point do we care how to say her name?) Davis is the mastermind of the biggest mafia in Britain. Her success, if you will, (If I will what?) is highly respectable considering her gender and age; however, it is not quite a comfortable position, because of her gender and age (second use of gender and age – reword for originality). Ashes are blown away, (what ashes?) complications arise (What complications?), and Drakel Davis finds herself on trial to be executed. How can such a mastermind end up in the hands of the law (Don’t know, you tell me – oh and personally I’m not crazy on the rhetorical questions) Tables are turned when justice (Who is justice) postpones her execution. How will a former mastermind react to being sent to America and plunged into the eyes of Christians (again another rhetorical question – give the answers don’t just ask them.) - the real Christians who are living for Christ and the ones who just like the nametag (Funny!) Will she be able to open up her heart and mind enough to find and love God, (Another rhetorical question that does not speak to the story) or will her attitude and dark past, and I’m (who are you? The narrator? A character? If not – be gone with YOU) not just talking about the mafia, be too much for her to overcome?

My life has consisted of enthralling characters who nourished my creativity (that’s great and all… but not sure how its different from the rest of us saps?). A poem of mine was entered and published in the Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans, 2003 Edition. (Cool! But uh – is this poetry? If not why should the agent care?) My personal experiences with the transitions of becoming a Christian brings realism into Use Somebody. May I send you a partial or the completed manuscript? (This sounds like begging, don’t beg) Thank you for your time and patience. (try consideration – its their job they don’t need to be patient with you) I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Yup I’m thinking inspirational romance – as it reads right now this is screaming heavy use of religion which means its got to go into one of the inspirational buckets. Hope this helps you!

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Re: Query Status: Under Construction

Post by OneChoice1 » January 5th, 2010, 1:53 pm

You hit dead on with a concern of mine: rhetorical questions. This is exactly what i needed. Thank you
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Re: Query Status: Under Construction

Post by ebradmon » January 5th, 2010, 2:10 pm

OneChoice1 wrote:You hit dead on with a concern of mine: rhetorical questions. This is exactly what i needed. Thank you
Great! Gald I could help. Good luck - and I hope this finds a good home out there!

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Re: Query Status: Under Construction

Post by OneChoice1 » January 5th, 2010, 2:11 pm

Any comments about personalized sentences? Can i do without them?
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Re: Query Status: Under Construction

Post by OneChoice1 » January 5th, 2010, 2:48 pm

Take two: here is a revised version.


Dear [Agent's name]:

What the world doesn’t give you, the world can’t take away. It all has to do with faith. Use Somebody is an inspirational romance for 16 and up. It is approximately 156,000 words.

Seventeen year old Drakel Davis is the mastermind of the biggest mafia in Britain. Her success is highly respectable considering her gender and age; however, it is not quite a comfortable position. Complications arise when Drakel finds herself on trial to be executed. Tables are turned when her execution is postponed. Even after all she's done, Drakel still thinks everyone is overreacting when she's sent to America and plunged into the eyes of Christians - the real Christians who are living for Christ and the ones who just like the nametag. Opening up her heart and mind enough to find and love God is like growing a finger. Impossible.

My personal experiences with the transitions of becoming a Christian brings realism into Use Somebody. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,
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Re: Query Status: Under Construction

Post by c.ska » January 5th, 2010, 5:38 pm

OneChoice, my first impression reading through your query was that for a manuscript of that size, the query is well, very short! Now of course size doesn't matter and all the rest of it, but I think I'd like some more details in this...but let's start with some specific feedback.
OneChoice1 wrote:Take two: here is a revised version.


Dear [Agent's name]:

What the world doesn’t give you, the world can’t take away. It all has to do with faith. Use Somebody (CAPITAL LETTERS) is an inspirational romance for 16 and up. (inspirational romance, cool!) It is approximately 156,000 words. (the last sentence could be rephrased in my opinion)

Seventeen year old Drakel Davis is the mastermind of the biggest mafia in Britain. (ok, this needs further explanation. how? why? what sort of mafia are we talking about - crime family etc etc?) Her success is highly respectable considering her gender and age; however, it is not quite a comfortable position. (complicated start of sentence, and again, i need to know MORE)

(i would start a new paragraph here...considering i wanted the previous one to stretch out a bit) Complications arise when Drakel finds herself on trial to be executed. (WHEN does it all take place? and what sort of trial are we talking about?)Tables are turned when her execution is postponed. (huh? why? how?) Even after all she's done, ('all' as in what exactly?) Drakel still thinks everyone is overreacting when she's sent to America (why America?) and plunged into the eyes of Christians - the real Christians who are living for Christ and the ones who just like the nametag. Opening up her heart and mind enough to find and love God is like growing a finger. Impossible. (i like the ending here, it shows some of D's conflict)

My personal experiences with the transitions of becoming a Christian (great) brings realism into Use Somebody. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,
I found this query too vague. I like the premise and the genre, but I do feel you need to elaborate. a lot! plot, romance, setting... I know how hard that is, trust me, but I feel you need to do your story justice! good luck and thanks for sharing! c.ska

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Re: Query Status: Under Construction

Post by shadow » January 5th, 2010, 6:34 pm

Dear [Agent's name]:

What the world doesn’t give you, the world can’t take away. Very true. It all has to do with faith. What about the way we can alter our faith? Use Somebody is an inspirational romance for 16 and up. You mean 16 year olds and up? Might as well say that it is an adult novel or upper YA It is approximately 156,000 words.

Seventeen year old Drakel Davis is the mastermind of the biggest mafia in Britain. Her success is highly respectable considering her gender and age; however, it is not quite a comfortable position. Complications arise when Drakel finds herself on trial to be executed. What did she do? Why?Tables are turned when her execution is postponed. Why is it prosponed? Even after all she's done, Drakel still thinks everyone is overreacting when she's sent to America and plunged into the eyes of Christians - the real Christians who are living for Christ and the ones who just like the nametag. Why do they send her there? and who are they? The government?Opening up her heart and mind enough to find and love God is like growing a finger. Impossible.

My personal experiences with the transitions of becoming a Christian brings realism into Use Somebody. Thank you for your time and consideration. Where does the romance come in? I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Best of Luck! Shadow.
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Re: Query Status: Under Construction

Post by OneChoice1 » January 5th, 2010, 9:34 pm

Okay, more details on the way.


Dear [Agent's name]:

What the world doesn’t give you, the world can’t take away. It all has to do with faith. Use Somebody is an inspirational romance and is approximately 156,000 words.

Seven year olds are typically found playing with their friends, swimming, riding bikes, playing video games, sneaking junk food, and asking for pets. This is not the case for Drakel Davis, who is forced to face a new kind of reality when her mother leaves her behind to be raised by her mafia-affiliated father. With much to prove to a man who always wished for a son, Drakel steps up to the plate and joins the British Mafia at the age of ten. Seven years later, Drakel has it all together as the mastermind of the organization.

Complications arise when Drakel lands herself on trail and is sentenced to be executed. Tables are turned when her execution is postponed in the agreement of her being a guinea pig for the government's latest experiment. For the last months she has left to live, Drakel is sent to America where she is plunged into the eyes of Christians - the real Christians who are living for Christ and the ones who just like the nametag. Opening up her heart and mind enough to find and love God is like growing a finger. Impossible.

My personal experiences with the transitions of becoming a Christian brings realism into Use Somebody. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,[/quote]
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Re: Query Status: Under Construction

Post by ebradmon » January 5th, 2010, 10:27 pm

Wow – great improvement over the first draft! Keep up the great work!Dear [Agent's name]:


What the world doesn’t give you, the world can’t take away. It all has to do with faith. Use Somebody is an inspirational romance and is approximately 156,000 words.

Seven year olds are typically found playing with their friends, swimming, riding bikes, playing video games, sneaking junk food, and asking for pets. (Just being picky but this list would be just as effective with 4 things vs 6 – just my opinion that it is a tad lengthy) This is not the case for Drakel Davis, who is forced to face a new kind of reality when her mother leaves her behind to be raised by her mafia-affiliated father.(Like that you explained this now!) With much to prove to a man who always wished for a son, Drakel steps up to the plate and joins the British Mafia at the age of ten. Seven years later, Drakel has it all together as the mastermind of the organization.

Complications arise (Kind of cliché-ish) when Drakel lands herself on trail and is sentenced to be executed. Tables are turned (very cliché-ish) when her execution is postponed in the agreement of her being a guinea pig for the government's latest experiment. For the last months she has left to live, Drakel is sent to America where she is plunged into the eyes of Christians (Why do I see something really painful here? Into their eyes – Ouchy!) - the real Christians who are living for Christ and the ones who just like the nametag. Opening up her heart and mind enough to find and love God is like growing a finger. Impossible.(like the end!)

My personal experiences with the transitions of becoming a Christian brings realism into Use Somebody. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,[/quote]

Hope this helps again!

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Re: Query Status: Under Construction

Post by OneChoice1 » January 6th, 2010, 1:10 am

For c.ska: Thank you very much. Though this is not the last revise, I feel like I am on the road of "doing my story justice."


For shadow: Thank you. Would it really hurt to not add where the romance comes in, in the query? Can't it just be a hint that there will be romance? A "read and find out" sort of thing.


For ebradmon: You know, i should really stick to my gut. I had a feeling about that sentence being lengthy.
(Why do I see something really painful here? Into their eyes – Ouchy!)
Well, I was aiming for that sentence to hint at the irritation Drakel feels for her situation. So ouchy good.

A little cliché never hurts. Oh, who am i kidding. Thanks for the heads up
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Re: Query Status: Under Construction

Post by KappaP » January 6th, 2010, 6:05 am

Okay, take this with whatever grains of salt you will but, when I read this, it was content concerns that jumped out at me. I know those are a pain to deal with but I figure it might be worth bringing up.

My first reaction was ".....there is no way anyone is ever going to convince me that a 17 year old is the head of a crime syndicate. Ever." Why did you make your MC this young? Especially as you specifically address the realism you bring to the Christian aspect, I am immediately worried about the level of realism in the crime syndicate aspect. And if I can't believe the character as a realistic criminal of this level, I'll have a hard time buying the impact of her transition. I'm interested to hear your reasons for designing your MC this way, I'm not trying to knock you down, but I wanted to let you know that stood out to me- as a reader- immediately.

Who is your audience? Are you writing specifically to a Christian audience or are you trying to garner wider appeal?

And thirdly, it wasn't clear to me why the MC turns to God. All the explanation we get in your query is that she is suddenly surrounded by "real Christians" (and that term also rubbed me seriously the wrong way-- very vague and very preachy). Why does a person who has lived their entire life entrenched in crime and learning that way as the only way suddenly want to turn to God? I'm asking this as a critical reader-- obviously that answer is clear to a Christian or someone who already agrees with the religious tenets of the book. But what about those who don't? What motivation does the MC have?

I don't know what suggestions I have, I just thought I'd mention that-- if I were an agent-- I would have been jammed up far more by these content issues than any grammatical or structure issues of the query itself. I'd enjoy hearing any response you have, it may help me give better suggestions for how to work it into your query.
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Re: Query Status: Under Construction

Post by OneChoice1 » January 6th, 2010, 9:42 pm

I've read articles and true stories and met people who had to grow up fast at a really young age, including my own mother. My family used to foster care, and these little kids, no older than eight, knew how to cook, clean, and take care of their baby brother and two year old sister all by themselves. It took them awhile to adjust to not having to do everything, to be a little kid. I look around and I see kids taking care of themselves and others. I'm seeing little Matildas every where and it breaks my heart. I'm hearing about third graders plotting to really attack their teacher. I'm seeing young people do horrible things. What I've witnessed and heard has led me to never underestimate what the youth are capable of. It all has to do with how you grew up, your environment, your reality. This was my motivation to make my MC young and worldly.

Drakel, my MC, doesn't want to be a Christian. I point this out with the last line in the second paragraph of my query. In a new environment, where the superior religion is Christianity, Drakel becomes a witness to the authentic relationship one can have with Christ. The more she questions, the more she becomes intrigued. As the time she has left to live narrows down, she begins to think about how it would be nice to believe in something. She just wants to live a better life.

I know a lot of people who do not believe in God, but I know one of the best ways to help them understand my faith is to live by example. This is how I, myself, became a Christian. I used Drakel to show how it's a day-by-day process and how anyone who's really seeking redemption, no matter their past, can be forgiven by Christ. So the audience that I'm aiming at is not just Christians, but for a wider range. For anyone 16 years and up.
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Re: Query Status: Under Construction

Post by Yoshima » January 6th, 2010, 10:37 pm

I understand what KappaP is saying about the age thing, but honestly I didn't think much of it. So she's young. Young people can be just as gruesome as adults. I guess what I'm saying is I politely disagree with KappaP that the age of your MC is a problem--so long as in your book you explain why the adults are open to a child leader. Better yet, explain it in the query. What does she do to earn the gold star of approval? Other than that, I liked your latest draft of the query, especially the detail about her father always wishing for a son. I am confused, though, about what you mean by "plunged into the eyes of Christians." How is that a government experiment? What are they trying to find out?
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Re: Query Status: Under Construction

Post by lexcade » January 7th, 2010, 6:44 am

OneChoice1 wrote:
For shadow: Thank you. Would it really hurt to not add where the romance comes in, in the query? Can't it just be a hint that there will be romance? A "read and find out" sort of thing.
i'll admit it, i'm intrigued. but as for the above, yeah. it would hurt not to add the romance part simply because you are sending this out as an inspirational romance. an agent will read through the letter wondering where the romance comes from.

as you write and rewrite, just keep in mind that you don't have to spill the whole bushel of apples on your plot in the query. all you want to do at this point is get the agent interested in your manuscript. also, keep in mind that the agent is going to find out one way or the other (by synopsis, probably), so dropping a name or situation in the query isn't going to ruin anything for said agent.

keep up the good work :-)
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