Query - Mad As A Hatter

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Thalia
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Query - Mad As A Hatter

Post by Thalia » October 11th, 2011, 6:07 pm

Hi everyone! This is the query for my YA thriller, Mad As A Hatter. Some of you may remember this from about a year ago. I queried it a bit, but some personal stuff got in the way for a while, as well as a problem I spotted in the books I had to fix. Also, I turned fifteen, which means you start looking down on all you did at age fourteen XD. So, here's my newest query attempt.
Dear Beautiful Agent Person,

London, 1882.

Seven years ago, Emil Aleric and his sister were kidnapped by a man who called himself the Hatter. Emil survived. His sister didn't. So when he hears news of a serial killer ravaging London and leaving a note quoting Alice in Wonderland at each murder scene, Emil is convinced that his former abductor is on the prowl again. And when his young guardian, Officer Corwin James, is put in charge of the case, he thinks it must be fate.

Corwin's not too keen on Emil having anything to do with the case, but Emil's extensive knowledge of the murderer's methods is too invaluable to waste. Yet as they piece their way closer to tracking down the serial killer, seven years of buried feelings threaten to consume him. Emil must fight for his life once again- but this time, his life isn't the only thing that's at stake. If he fails, he risks his family, his world, and maybe time itself* falling into hell.

If he succeeds in finding Hatter, well... he'll be in hell already.

Complete at 51,000 words, MAD AS A HATTER is a YA thriller. I am a student living in the Cayman Islands. I have never been kidnapped by a serial killer and intend to keep things that way. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
My Awesome Authorly Self
*This is my main concern. I've heard before that when the paranormal/supernatural/timey-wimey twist comes in, it's very unexpected and sounds rather trippy. I need a way to introduce it in the query, but I don't know if this works. Ideas would be fabulous.

(also, I wrote this before I started watching Doctor Who, so no, I didn't rip it off XD )

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wilderness
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Re: Query - Mad As A Hatter

Post by wilderness » October 11th, 2011, 9:30 pm

Wow. You just made me feel really old. :P

I do remember your previous query vaguely and I thought it was pretty good. This one is good too -- until it throws you for a loop with the last sentence. Here's the thing: if your story has a paranormal element, it needs to be introduced straightaway in both the novel and the query. There's that rule in story telling that you can't introduce aliens halfway through the book, and same here. Also you should be far more explicit about what is the supernatural element. I have no idea why this kidnapping means the world and time are at stake.

Hope that helps!

Thalia
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Re: Query - Mad As A Hatter

Post by Thalia » October 11th, 2011, 11:00 pm

Thanks! Just to clear things up-- I've taken this out, because way too many people didn't notice, but the wording says 'his' world. As in, Emil's world. Hatter is targeting the people Emil cares about.

The supernatural twist-- which is the time thing, by the way-- is something kind of underlying for most of the book. It's stated outright at about 30k, and I'm working on setting it up more in the first half, but I want it to be clear that it's not a paranormal or fantasy novel. There's just some timey-wimey stuff XD but your advice is very helpful. any more suggestions would be so, so welcome.

So, I tweaked a few things:
London, 1882.

Seven years ago, Emil Aleric and his sister were kidnapped and taken to Wonderland by a man claiming to come from the future. He called himself the Hatter. Emil survived the torture. His sister didn't.

So when he hears news of a serial killer ravaging London and leaving notes quoting Alice in Wonderland at the murder scenes, Emil knows his former abductor is on the prowl again. And when his guardian, Officer Corwin James, is put in charge of the case, he thinks it must be fate.

At first, Corwin's adamant that Emil should have nothing to do with the case—after all, he’s only fourteen—but Emil's extensive knowledge of the murderer's methods proves too critical to waste. Yet as the two come closer to learning the truth of the murders, they find the most pivotal clues lie in Emil’s memories—memories he’s suppressed for seven years, memories now threatening to consume him. Emil must fight for his life once again- but this time, his life isn't the only thing that's at stake. If Emil fails, and what the Hatter says is true, time itself will end, and the world will become a living hell.

If he succeeds in finding Hatter and Wonderland, well... he'll be in hell anyway.

Complete at 50,000 words, MAD AS A HATTER is a YA thriller with a supernatural twist. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.


yasminy
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Re: Query - Mad As A Hatter

Post by yasminy » October 13th, 2011, 8:11 am

London, 1882.

Seven years ago, Emil Aleric and his sister were kidnapped and taken to Wonderland by a man claiming to come from the future. He called himself the Hatter. Emil survived the torture. His sister didn't. GREAT OPENING!!!!!

So when he hears news of a serial killer ravaging London and leaving notes quoting Alice in Wonderland at the murder scenes, Emil knows his former abductor is on the prowl again. And when his guardian, Officer Corwin James, is put in charge of the case, he thinks it must be fate. I'd personally start the sentences a little bit more active: A serial killer ravages London... and I'd drop the And on the next.

At first, Corwin's adamant that Emil should have nothing to do with the case—after all, he’s only fourteen—but Emil's extensive knowledge of the murderer's methods proves too critical to waste. Yet as the two come closer to learning the truth of the murders, they find the most pivotal clues lie in Emil’s memories—memories he’s suppressed for seven years, memories now threatening to consume him. Emil must fight for his life once again- but this time, his life isn't the only thing that's at stake. If Emil fails, and what the Hatter says is true, time itself will end, and the world will become a living hell. At first, Yet,.. I'd drop both.

If he succeeds in finding Hatter and Wonderland, well... he'll be in hell anyway.

Complete at 50,000 words, MAD AS A HATTER is a YA thriller with a supernatural twist. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.


Except for those small things, I like it! You're story sounds very interesting and you did a good job presenting the basic plot.
I think, I'd still add a little bit about yourself ... doesn't have to be much. Don't forget to mention to the agent why you're writing them.
Good luck!!!!!

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oldhousejunkie
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Re: Query - Mad As A Hatter

Post by oldhousejunkie » October 25th, 2011, 11:46 am

I remember this from year ago--I was very impressed!
Thalia wrote:Thanks! Just to clear things up-- I've taken this out, because way too many people didn't notice, but the wording says 'his' world. As in, Emil's world. Hatter is targeting the people Emil cares about.

The supernatural twist-- which is the time thing, by the way-- is something kind of underlying for most of the book. It's stated outright at about 30k, and I'm working on setting it up more in the first half, but I want it to be clear that it's not a paranormal or fantasy novel. There's just some timey-wimey stuff XD but your advice is very helpful. any more suggestions would be so, so welcome.

So, I tweaked a few things:
London, 1882.

Seven years ago, Emil Aleric and his sister were kidnapped and taken to Wonderland by a man claiming to come from the future. He called himself the Hatter. Emil survived the torture. His sister didn't.

So when he hears news of aWhen a serial killer ravaging ravages London, and leaving the only clues left behind are notes quoting Alice in Wonderland at the murder scenes,. Emil knows is certain his former abductor is on the prowl again. And whenHis guardian, Officer Corwin James, is put in charge of the case, he thinks it must be fate.

At first, Corwin's [join with previous sentence] and is adamant that Emil should have nothing to do with the caseit—after all, he’s only fourteen. But Emil's extensive knowledge of the murderer's methods proves too critical to waste. Yet as the two come closer to learning the truth of the murders, they find the most pivotal clues lie in Emil’s memories—memories he’s suppressed for seven years, memories now threatening to consume him. Emil must fight for his life once again- but this time, his life isn't the only thing that's at stake. If Emil fails, and what the Hatter says is true, time itself will end, and the world will become a living hell.

If he succeeds in finding Hatter and Wonderland, well... he'll be in hell anyway. I didn't really like this. I thought the ending line of the previous paragraph was enough of a cliffhanger.

Complete at 50,000 words, MAD AS A HATTER is a YA thriller with a supernatural twist. [I liked your previous sign off about being a student in the Cayman Islands and never being kidnapped by a serial killer. Very clever!] Thank you very much for your time and consideration.


thewhipslip
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Re: Query - Mad As A Hatter

Post by thewhipslip » November 16th, 2011, 12:32 pm

I remember your query from before and really liked it. Here goes...
London, 1882.

Seven years ago, Emil Aleric and his sister were kidnapped and taken to Wonderland by a man claiming to come from the future. He called himself the Hatter. Emil survived the torture. His sister didn't. I love the opening and clipped tone.

So when he hears news of a serial killer ravaging London and leaving notes quoting Alice in Wonderland at the murder scenes, Emil knows his former abductor is on the prowl again. And when Add something like: Good thing his guardian, Officer Corwin James, is put in charge of the case, he thinks it must be fate.

At first,Corwin's adamant that fourteen-year-old Emil should have nothing to do with the case—after all, he’s only fourteen—but Emil's extensive knowledge of the murderer's methods proves too critical to waste. Yet as the two come closer to learning the truth of the murders, they find the most pivotal clues lie in Emil’s memories—memories he’s suppressed for seven years, memories now threatening to consume him. Emil must fight for his life once again comma instead of a dash - you're using a lot of dashes- but this time, his life isn't the only thing that's at stake. If Emil fails, and what the Hatter says is true, time itself will end, and the world will become a living hell. don't like the sentence structure here, and all of this seems to random. when did the Hatter say this, seven years ago? I think you need a reference to this in the opening paragraph, such as: He called himself the Hatter, and even worse, he said he could end time itself.

If he succeeds in finding Hatter and Wonderland, so now Emil is looking for Wonderland too? well... he'll be in hell anyway so the question coming to my mind is...why find him then? what does Emil specifically have to do to stop the Hatter? what is HIS conflict? Yes, there are murders going on, but that's kind of removed emotionally. what is Emil losing? and make sure to bring his sister back into it, his need to avenge her. This is a solid start, just be more specific about the conflict. hope that helps!.

Complete at 50,000 words, MAD AS A HATTER is a YA thriller with a supernatural twist. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

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