Query Critique - Annevra Waiting - YA fiction

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pr3ttivacant
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Query Critique - Annevra Waiting - YA fiction

Post by pr3ttivacant » January 13th, 2010, 2:38 pm

Hey, hey, I'm new here. I need critiquing on my query letter, for a book I finished writing a couple months ago. Any and all advice is welcome :)

Dear (Agent):

Lucy Divine no longer expected to find out why she had visions. So what if she saw three minutes of the American Revolution, and five minutes of her friend Koda walking down the street a week before; and other than that, a bunch of other random depictions of the past? After seventeen years of wondering, Lucy was just about done.

Annevra, a universal myth, told of a lost civilization where spells and magic were the norm, and humans were much more in tune with the potential of nature and human DNA. Lucy was aware of the myth, but it never occurred to her that her vision-seeing ability and Annevra could be related.

Well, at least not until a strange, crystal-eyed woman from one of her visions shows up and tells her that they are. She informs Lucy that since birth she has been chosen to one day go live on the planet of the Annevran’s as a member of their royal elite—all because of her rare ability…that ironically…they gave to her through some swift DNA changes.

Faced with knowing she only has so much time left on earth, which in turn means she only has so much time left with Grant—her one and only soul mate—Lucy’s will to live gradually diminishes. And as if it lay in an hourglass, what happens when the last grain of sand falls through to the bottom?

ANNEVRA WAITING is my 70,000-word young adult novel. I greatly appreciate your consideration for representation of my novel. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
[my signature]

Dakota388
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Re: Query Critique - Annevra Waiting - YA fiction

Post by Dakota388 » January 13th, 2010, 3:18 pm

pr3ttivacant wrote:Hey, hey, I'm new here. I need critiquing on my query letter, for a book I finished writing a couple months ago. Any and all advice is welcome :)

I'll give it a shot but remember I am an amateur so take my advice at your own peril. Reading through your query, I was interested and could see your voice which is a good thing. I have some suggestions for tightening it up.

Dear (Agent):

Lucy Divine no longer expected to find out why she had visions. So what if she saw her friend, Koda, walking down Lincoln Ave.??? (I know, Lincoln wasn't a president yet but hey, I didn't have time to look up a real street name from back then) a week before the start of the Revolutionary War.- Just a suggestion but it tightens it up a little and makes it a little less confusing. (I would lose any vague comments like "a bunch of other stuff"). three minutes of the American Revolution, and five minutes of her friend Koda walking down the street a week before; and other than that, a bunch of other random depictions of the past?After seventeen years of wonderingwhy she witnessed random depictions of the past in her dreams, Lucy was ready to stop questioning her gift. , Lucy was just about done.
Annevra, a universal myth, told of a lost civilization where spells and magic were the norm, and humans were much more in tune with the potential of nature and human DNA. Lucy was aware of the myth, but it never occurred to her that her vision-seeing ability and Annevra could be related.You could maybe combine this paragraph with the next and tighten it up. Something like, "A strange, crystal-eyed woman from one of her visions appears and tells her of her connection to an ancient myth called Annevra. This woman teaches Lucy of a time when a lost civilization was populated with humans much more in tune with nature and their own DNA, a place where magic and mystical spells were the norm. Then the lady dropped the bombshell--Lucy has been chosen to live the rest of her life on the planet of the Annevrans.

Well, at least not until a strange, crystal-eyed woman from one of her visions shows up and tells her that they are. She informs Lucy that since birth she has been chosen to one day go live on the planet of the Annevran’s as a member of their royal elite—all because of her rare ability…that ironically…they gave to her through some swift DNA changes.

Faced with knowing she only has so much time left on earth, which in turn means she only has so much time left with Grant—her one and only soul mate—Lucy’s will to live gradually diminishes. And as if it lay in an hourglass, what happens when the last grain of sand falls through to the bottom? I think this paragraph becomes a tad confusing. Grant seems thrown in and as a reader, we don't have any reason to care about their love. It may be too much to set up in this query so you may want to leave it out. Or gloss over it without naming him. Something like... "Faced with very few days left on Earth, Lucy realizes she will soon lose everything and everyone that she loves."

Other than Lucy being sad about leaving Earth, I don't see much conflict. Is the story about her trying to fight her inevitable travel to the strange planet? Is her destiny to save the planet from something? All of my comments are just suggestions. I, in no way, mean to tear your query to shreds. I just believe it could be more concise, giving you a little more room to expand on the conflict. I hope this was somehow useful. Good luck.

ANNEVRA WAITING is my 70,000-word young adult novel. I greatly appreciate your consideration for representation of my novel. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
[my signature]
"The Light of Epertase"-A fantasy novel coming August 1st from Rhemalda Publishing

notw
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Re: Query Critique - Annevra Waiting - YA fiction

Post by notw » January 13th, 2010, 4:47 pm

I am still pretty new when it comes to critiquing. Hopefully some of my comments are helpful :)
pr3ttivacant wrote:Hey, hey, I'm new here. I need critiquing on my query letter, for a book I finished writing a couple months ago. Any and all advice is welcome :)

Dear (Agent):

Lucy Divine no longer expected to find out why she had visions. So what if she saw three minutes of the American Revolution, and five minutes of her friend Koda walking down the street a week before; and other than that, a bunch of other random depictions of the past?It might be helpful to shorten this a little and get rid of unnecessary words. After seventeen years of wondering, Lucy was just about done.

Annevra, a universal myth, told of a lost civilization where spells and magic were the norm, and humans were much more in tune with the potential of nature and human DNA. Lucy was aware of the myth, but it never occurred to her that her vision-seeing ability and Annevra could be related.

Well, at least not until a strange, crystal-eyed woman from one of her visions shows up and tells her that they are. She informs Lucy that since birth she has been chosen to one day go live on the planet of the Annevran’s as a member of their royal elite—all because of her rare ability…that ironically…they gave to her through some swift DNA changes.

Faced with knowing she only has so much time left on earth, which in turn means she only has so much time left with Grant her- one and only soul mate—What makes him her one and only soul mate? [color]Lucy’s will to live gradually diminishes. And as if it lay in an hourglass, what happens when the last grain of sand falls through to the bottom? I personally found this last sentence slightly confusing.

ANNEVRA WAITING is my 70,000-word young adult novel. I greatly appreciate your consideration for representation of my novel. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
[my signature]

pr3ttivacant
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Joined: January 13th, 2010, 2:33 pm
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Re: Query Critique - Annevra Waiting - YA fiction

Post by pr3ttivacant » January 13th, 2010, 4:56 pm

Wow, I realize now how much I need to take out my fancy way of saying she only saw visions of things that happened in the past xP It sounds like she saw Koda walking down the street a week before the Revolution--what I actually meant was those were two separate visions, both happening in the past, lol. I revised it a bit more, and this is now what I have.

Dear [agent]:

Lucy Divine no longer expected to find out why she saw visions of the past. After seventeen years of wondering, she was just about done.

The universal myth of Annevra told of a lost civilization where spells and magic were the norm, and humans were much more in tune with the potential of nature and human DNA. Lucy was aware of the myth, but it never occurred to her that her vision-seeing ability and Annevra could be related.

Well, at least not until a strange, crystal-eyed woman from one of her visions showed up and told her that they were. She informed Lucy that she has been chosen since birth to one day go live on the planet of the Annevran’s as a member of their royal elite.

Lucy doesn’t want to leave earth, but she knows that any attempt to escape Annevra will be in vain. She is well aware of the fact that the Annevran’s greatly overpower her. Though that may have been true, an escape route sat right under her nose the entire time. Too bad Lucy realized when it was already too late.

Faced with knowing she only has so much time left on earth, which in turn means she only has so much time left with Grant—her one and only soul mate—Lucy’s will to live gradually diminishes. And as if it lay in an hourglass, what happens when the last grain of sand falls through to the bottom?

ANNEVRA WAITING is my 70,000-word young adult novel. I greatly appreciate your consideration for representation of my novel. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
[my siggy]

Yoshima
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Re: Query Critique - Annevra Waiting - YA fiction

Post by Yoshima » January 14th, 2010, 5:57 pm

Hello, there. :) Here's my thoughts as I was reading:

pr3ttivacant wrote:Wow, I realize now how much I need to take out my fancy way of saying she only saw visions of things that happened in the past xP It sounds like she saw Koda walking down the street a week before the Revolution--what I actually meant was those were two separate visions, both happening in the past, lol. I revised it a bit more, and this is now what I have.

Dear [agent]:

Lucy Divine no longer expected to find out why she saw visions of the past. After seventeen years of wondering, she was just about done. (To me, these two sentences are too similar, with her no longer expecting and being just about done wondering. Maybe combine them?)

The universal myth of Annevra (personally I think "universal" is the wrong word. It can mean "applicable in all cases" or "pertaining to a whole" or "understood by all" or "pertaining to the universe" and the list goes on. Use a more specific word here or, really, you can just omit it and still get your point across.) told of a lost civilization where spells and magic were the norm, and humans were much more in tune with the potential of nature and human DNA. (You don't mention how them being in tune with the potential of nature is important later in the query. I read your previous version and saw that it was the DNA thing that was important, so I think maybe just run with that one.) Lucy was aware of the myth, but it never occurred to her that her vision-seeing ability and Annevra could be related.

Well, at least not until a strange, crystal-eyed woman from one of her visions showed up and told her that they were. She informed Lucy that she has been chosen since birth to one day go live on the planet of the Annevran’s as a member of their royal elite. (Now why on earth would Lucy believe this lady? She's from her visions, for one, and she sounds pretty weird. Give us a more solid reason than because the crazy-eyed lady told her so.)

Lucy doesn’t want to leave earth (why? maybe it would be better to tell us about her lover here instead of later), but she knows that any attempt to escape Annevra will be in vain (why?). She is well aware of the fact that the Annevran’s greatly overpower her (super galactic army? what do you want me to be picturing here?). Though that may have been true, an escape route sat right under her nose the entire time. Too bad Lucy realized when it was already too late. (So there's no hope that she'll beat them? Now I'm wondering what conflicts you have in the rest of the book, because this one seems to be the biggie.)

Faced with knowing she only has so much time left on earth, which in turn means she only has so much time left with Grant—her one and only soul mate—Lucy’s will to live gradually diminishes (clunky sentence. Breaking it up might help.). And as if it lay in an hourglass, what happens when the last grain of sand falls through to the bottom? (I think you should reconsider this last sentence. One, it's a rhetorical question. Two, it's a cliche image. And three, you seemed to make it pretty clear that there's no hope of her staying on earth and being with her soul mate. So...I feel like I already know what happens (even though I'm sure you've got more to the story). And though it's not necessarily a bad thing to give away the ending in a query, the way you did it here didn't make me want to read more. It just made me feel sad for the character.)

ANNEVRA WAITING is my 70,000-word young adult novel. I greatly appreciate your consideration for representation of my novel. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
[my siggy]
You've got a cool premise here, the query just felt a little flat to me (the no-hope thing, I think). Emphasizing and/or explaining more fully the main conflict of the book will help a lot in making the query more exciting. If it's her trying to find a way around the Annevrans, show me why they're so powerful and why her task is so difficult. If the main conflict is angst about leaving her lover, then play that up. Good luck with revisions; and remember that these are all just suggestions from another amateur. I hope they're helpful to you. :)

Joel Q
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Re: Query Critique - Annevra Waiting - YA fiction

Post by Joel Q » January 15th, 2010, 2:40 pm

I agree with the other about the conflict.

Tell us what her inner conflict is and why as well as her physical conflict and then what major decision she is going to have to make.

Also, is she happy/upset/indifferent now that she knows about her power?

JQ

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OneChoice1
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Re: Query Critique - Annevra Waiting - YA fiction

Post by OneChoice1 » January 23rd, 2010, 9:25 am

pr3ttivacant wrote:Wow, I realize now how much I need to take out my fancy way of saying she only saw visions of things that happened in the past xP It sounds like she saw Koda walking down the street a week before the Revolution--what I actually meant was those were two separate visions, both happening in the past, lol. I revised it a bit more, and this is now what I have.


..For the first version: In the first paragraph, I liked the use of examples. They brought me more into her reality. Maybe you can use more mind-blowing visions that would really draw the reader's attention. Maybe try comparing how simple and complex her visions can be.

Okay, now onto the second
...



Dear [agent]:

Lucy Divine no longer expected to find out why she saw visions of the past. After seventeen years of wondering, she was just about done. (I do believe these lines can be combined, and then add a little more into this paragraph, like the examples perhaps.)

The universal myth of Annevra told of a lost civilization where spells and magic were the norm, and humans were much more in tune with the potential of nature and human DNA (More details would be nice). Lucy was aware of the myth, but it never occurred to her that her vision-seeing ability and Annevra could be related.

(Is it just me or does it seem like you accidently made a gap between the second and third paragraph? It sounds like they should be connected.)

Well, at least not until a strange, crystal-eyed woman from one of her visions showed up and told her that they were. She informed Lucy that she has been chosen since birth to one day go live on the planet of the Annevran’s as a member of their royal elite. (Try adding more depth into this paragraph, more of Lucy's feelings and reactions. How does she feel about this woman? Maybe you can summarize the last sentence by "Lucy is blah blah blah when this adjective woman revealed that she has been chosen from birth to join the royal elite on planet Annerva when Barney comes into town." When you said "one day" it makes it sound almost like a minor issue for the moment. Like one day I'm going to be president, but for now I just have to focus on the homework that's due on monday. Am I making sense?)

Lucy doesn’t want to leave earth, but she knows that any attempt to escape Annevra will be in vain. (Attempt to escape Annerva will be in vain?????? But she's not in Annerva yet, right? So do you mean any attempts to escape going to Annerva? I'm just not getting the dramatic feel I believe I should be soaking in right now.) She is well aware of the fact that the Annevran’s greatly overpower her. (Overpower her. So why does Lucy matter so much? Is she the only one that can see visions? Does the elite need her to have the full power as a group so all members can be that much more powerful? I'm fishing here... I have to admit, I've never enjoyed the sport.) Though that may have been true, an escape route sat right under her nose the entire time. Too bad Lucy realized when it was already too late. (There's just something off-putting about these last two lines. Makes me go "Mmph.")

Faced with knowing she only has so much time left on earth, which in turn means she only has so much time left with Grant—her one and only soul mate— (Grant? Her soulmate? Kind of just jumps out at me like that "small person" did at Halloween Horror Nights at Univeral Studios. Oh, usually there is only one soul mate so that extra info can be cut off with ease. Question, if you cut out all the romance in your novel, would there still be a story there? If so, there's no need to mention or single out Grant. I had to go through something similar like this myself.) Lucy’s will to live gradually diminishes. (This line is disheartening.) And as if it (By it you mean her will to live? I just want to make sure.) lay in an hourglass, what happens when the last grain of sand falls through to the bottom?

ANNEVRA WAITING is my 70,000-word young adult novel. I greatly appreciate your consideration for representation of my novel. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
[my siggy]

So basically:
1. Show more conflict and details
2. Show me something new -- don't be predictable with Lucy, her conflicts, her decisions, her love life, her outcome, etc. I'm concerned that Lucy sounds a little typical. I want to know what separates Lucy from the norm? Same as your story, what makes it different?
3. Try out strong, active words
4. Watch the flow


Hope this helped!
Jesus loves.

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