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THE FAMILY GRIM (YA FANTASY)


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#1 R Jensen

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 01:54 PM

Revised Query Post #52



Glad I found this site. Thought I'd throw my query out there and let those with more experience take me through a few rounds.

Dear Agent:

When Death’s most feared servant, the Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, his eternal duty suddenly became a family business.

Four generations later, seventeen year-old Jude Grim, a direct descendant of you-know-who, faces a similarly difficult situation. His twin brother Drew, the most popular kid at their Wisconsin high school, is abusing the family power over death to end the lives of any classmates who piss him off. When his girlfriend Skylar catches him in the act, Drew tries to kill her in an attempt to cover up his transgressions. Jude, secretly in love with Skylar since their first day of preschool together, saves her life. But when Skylar goes home later that night, Drew is there waiting and heartlessly takes her life.

Torn with grief and guilt, Jude is left on the verge of despair. A glimmer of hope arrives by way of his brainiac sister when she informs him of an ancient myth that a life taken by a reaper can be restored. There’s only one problem, the one who may know the truth to the rumor is an eccentric man who has spent the last five decades avoiding death by hiding from the reapers.

After a desperate search Jude finds this man and learns the truth behind the legend: victims of reapers can be saved with seeds from the ancient Tree of Tenere, also known as the Tree of Life. Of course, the seeds only work during the first three days following the victim’s death.

With Drew hot on his trail and Death watching their every move, Jude now has twenty-four hours to find the tree, get a hold of a seed, and save Skylar’s life. Only this time, Jude vows to never lose her again.

THE FAMILY GRIM, a young adult fantasy novel, is complete at 75,000 words. The completed manuscript is available upon request.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Sincerely,

#2 RileyRedgate

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 03:19 PM

Ooh, I'd read this in a heartbeat.

Just a couple things, really:

Dear Agent:

When Death’s most feared servant, the Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, his eternal duty suddenly became a family business.
Unfortunately, after reading the rest of this query, it seems that the focus isn't on what this hook suggests it is. After reading this hook, I'm expecting a story about the Grim Reaper, not about Jude.

Four generations later, seventeen year-old Jude Grim, a direct descendant of you-know-who sadly, post-Potter, this phrasing won't be easy to let slide, especially if it's also YA fantasy. I'd advise another choice of words., faces a similarly difficult situation. His twin brother Drew, the most popular kid at their Wisconsin high school, is abusing the family power over death to end the lives of any classmates who piss him off. Oh snap! This seems really over-the-top for any high schooler. Is he a sociopath? Or a psychopath? Mentioning some sort of disorder might help justify the inherent WAIT WHAT nature of this sentence. When his girlfriend Skylar catches him in the act, Drew tries to kill her in an attempt to cover up his transgressions. Jude, secretly in love with Skylar since their first day of preschool together, saves her life. But when Skylar goes home later that night, Drew is there waiting and heartlessly takes her life.

Torn with grief and guilt, Jude is left on the verge of despair. A glimmer of hope arrives by way of his brainiac sister when she informs him of an ancient myth that a life taken by a reaper can be restored.

There’s only one problem, the one who may know the truth to the rumor is an eccentric man who has spent the last five decades avoiding death by hiding from the reapers.

After a desperate search Jude finds this man

What you've done here is raised a seeming problem, and then squashed it, thereby downgrading its importance. If it's a conflict that's small enough to resolve during a query letter, you may want to cut the conflict-y nature of it altogether and replace it with something like, "Jude finds the only man who knows the truth to the rumor, an eccentric recluse who has spent the last five decades avoiding death."

and learns the truth behind the legend: victims of reapers can be saved with seeds from the ancient Tree of Tenere, also known as the Tree of Life. Of course, ooh, no no no. THIS is the time to use that phrase - "There's only one problem". It's not an "of course!" moment for the reader - it's an "oh crap!" moment. the seeds only work during the first three days following the victim’s death.

With Drew hot on his trail and Death watching their every move Hmm? Sounds cool, but I've got no idea what you're talking about., Jude now has twenty-four hours to find the tree, get a hold of a seed, and save Skylar’s life. Only this time, Jude vows to never lose her again.

THE FAMILY GRIM, a young adult fantasy novel, is complete at 75,000 words. The completed manuscript is available upon request.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Sincerely,


There's something in here I'm not understanding about the nature of death and reapers in your story. I can't really place it, given that I haven't read your story - but this query definitely gets me interested, which, arguably, means it gets the job done. :) Take my advice or leave it; it's just my opinion, obvs. Nice work.

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#3 Pete Morin

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 03:48 PM

I like the story - and Anticipa's comments too.Posted Image

If I read the hook correctly, Jude is the great-great grandson of Father Death, which is the reference to the "family business." I agree, it's a neat line, but it's a tad obscure to discern in a hook, and it's not tied directly to the protag of your story. You might have to dump it!Posted Image Problem is, it so nicely sets the table for who Jude and Drew are.
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#4 R Jensen

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 07:59 PM

Thanks for the comments. I can see your point about the hook. Give me a day or two to come up with something new (I'm bummed because I really liked it :sad: ). The "Of Course" was meant to be sarcastic, but obviously failed in this attempt. Let me make a few revisions and give it another try.

#5 RileyRedgate

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 10:20 PM

Ahh, gotcha. That makes more sense than what I'd envisioned, and now that you point it out the sarcasm is evident. I wish sarcasm was easier to detect in writing.

And as for the hook... maybe you could write a prequel, and use the hook for that book's query! :) I love the concept of the grim reaper falling in love with someone.

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#6 R Jensen

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 04:27 AM

Okay - Turns out I needed less time than I thought (nothing like a day off and a few comments from others to get the creative juices flowing).
Tell me what you think of the new hook - I've tried to include what I liked about the old one (setting the stage for the story, hopefully sounding interesting :wink: while now shifting the focus to the protag).
Also, as a point of clarification. In my story Death and the grim reaper are not the same person. Death is the grim reaper's boss. I tried to clarify this by capitalizing the name Death when compared to the act of death throughout the query, but maybe it's not clear enough. Perhaps I should use Pete's idea and call him Father Death? Anyway, thanks for the earlier comments and keep them coming. Round 2! I feel like the 2nd paragraph is a little hard on the reading eyes, but not sure how to make is smoother.

Dear Agent:

Two hundred years ago Death’s most feared servant, the Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, turning his eternal duty into a family business. Three generations later, his seventeen year-old great grandson Jude Grim faces an eerily similar situation.

Drew, Jude’s twin brother, is a psychopath disguised as the most popular kid at their Wyoming high school. One night he finally snaps, misusing the family power to take the soul of a classmate who embarrassed him at school. When his girlfriend Skylar discovers the truth, Drew panics and tries to kill her to keep his secret hidden. Jude, secretly in love with Skylar since their first day of preschool together, helps her escape. But when Skylar goes home later that night, Drew is there waiting and heartlessly ends her life.

Torn with grief and guilt, Jude is left on the verge of despair. A glimmer of hope arrives by way of his brainiac sister when she informs him of an ancient myth that a life taken by a reaper can be restored. Jude finds the one man who knows the truth to the rumor, an eccentric recluse who has spent the past five decades avoiding death by hiding from the reapers.

Turns out the legend’s true: victims of reapers can be saved with seeds from the ancient Tree of Tenere, also known as the Tree of Life. There’s only one problem, the seeds only work during the first three days following the victim’s death.

With Drew hot on his trail and Death watching their every move, Jude has twenty-four hours to find the tree and save Skylar’s life. Only this time, Jude vows to never lose her again.

THE FAMILY GRIM, a young adult fantasy novel, is complete at 75,000 words. The completed manuscript is available upon request.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

#7 KateB

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 04:27 PM

I really like your premise. I used to sort through the slush pile as an intern and I would have requested pages on that. You're query could use some tweaking, I'd be happy to make some suggestions after the holidays.

#8 arbraun

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 12:24 PM

Hey, R. Jensen, thought I'd pay you back for the critique.

Two hundred years ago Father Death’s most feared servant, Yes, without the "Father," it seems like you don't know what to capitalize and what not to the Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, turning his eternal duty into a family business. Three generations later, his seventeen year-old forgot the hyphen after "seventeen" -- all the words get a hyphen because it's a compound adjective great grandson Jude Grim faces an eerily similar situation.

Drew, Jude’s twin brother, is a psychopath disguised as the most popular kid at their Wyoming high school. One night he finally snaps, misusing the family power to take the soul of a classmate who embarrassed him at school. Taking a soul is not what the reaper does, it's what the devil does. I'd say "murder." When his girlfriend Skylar discovers the truth, Drew panics and tries to kill her to keep his secret hidden. Jude, secretly in love with Skylar since their first day of preschool together, helps her escape. But when Skylar goes home later that night, Drew is there waiting and heartlessly ends her life.

Torn with grief and guilt, Jude is left on the verge of despair. A glimmer of hope arrives by way of his brainiac sister when she informs him of an ancient myth that a life taken by a reaper can be restored. Jude finds the one man who knows the truth to the rumor, an eccentric recluse who has spent the past five decades avoiding death by hiding from the reapers. How does one hide from the reaper? Doesn't he find you when your number's up?

Turns out the legend’s true: victims of reapers can be saved with seeds from the ancient Tree of Tenere, also known as the Tree of Life. There’s only one problem, the seeds only work during the first three days following the victim’s death.

With Drew hot on his trail and Death watching their every move, Jude has twenty-four hours to find the tree and save Skylar’s life. Only this time, Jude vows to never lose her again.

THE FAMILY GRIM, a young adult fantasy novel, is complete at 75,000 words. The completed manuscript is available upon request. More information about the author please? Publications? Professional organizations? Something quirky and not author-related?

You've got a good idea here, the query just needs some more tweaking. I'd stick with the three-paragraph format Agent Query suggests.

#9 R Jensen

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 07:42 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. Due to my compulsive tinkering, I've added a few wrinkles to the query. I know it's a tad long, and am hoping for some good advice on what fat to trim. Thanks again.

Dear Agent:

Two hundred years ago Death’s most feared servant, the Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, turning his eternal duty into a family business. Three generations later, Grim’s seventeen year-old great grandson Jude desperately searches for a way to reverse the family power and save the girl he loves from her recent grave.

Drew Grim, Jude’s twin brother, is the most popular kid at their Wyoming high school. He’s dating the beautiful and talented Skylar Petersen, who just so happens to be Jude’s lifelong crush. He’s also a hidden psychopath who enjoys torturing his assignments before using his power to remove their souls.

As time moves forward, Skylar begins to see this evil side of Drew and finds herself drawn closer and closer to Jude. One night Drew snaps, misusing his powers to end the life of a classmate who embarrassed him as school and then hiding the body in a nearby river. When Skylar discovers Drew’s secret, he panics and adds her to his body count.

Torn with grief and guilt, Jude brings Skylar’s lifeless body to his parents, begging for help. They tell him of a whispered rumor that a soul removed by a reaper can be returned. With the help of his brainiac sister, Jude finds the one man who knows the truth to the myth, an eccentric recluse who has spent the past three decades avoiding death by hiding from the reapers.

The legend’s true: victims of reapers can be saved with seeds from the ancient Tree of Tenere, also known as the Tree of Life. There’s only one problem, the seeds only work during the first three days following the victim’s death.

With Drew hot on his trail and Father Death watching their every move, Jude has twenty four hours to find the tree and save Skylar’s life. Only this time, Jude vows to never lose her again.

THE FAMILY GRIM, a young adult fantasy novel, is complete at 72,000 words. The completed manuscript is available upon request.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

#10 RileyRedgate

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 08:20 PM

oh ho. You have indeed lengthened! Let's take a looksee.

Dear Agent:

Two hundred years ago Death’s most feared servant, the Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, turning his eternal duty into a family business. Three generations later, Grim’s seventeen-year-old great-grandson Jude desperately searches for a way to use the family power and save the girl he loves from her two day-old grave.

Drew Grim, Jude’s twin brother, is the most popular kid at their Wyoming high school. He’s dating the beautiful and talented Skylar Petersen, who just so happens to be Jude’s lifelong crush. He’s Drew's also secretly a hidden psychopath who enjoys torturing his assignments before using his power to remove their souls. (Hmm. Remove their souls from what, exactly? Also, the word 'assignment' makes me wonder about its definition, and it's never resolved.)

As time moves forward, Skylar begins to see this evil side of Drew and finds herself drawn closer and draws closer to Jude. One night Drew snaps, misusing his powers to end the life of I'm thinking something stronger - murder? Kill? a classmate who embarrassed him as at school and then hiding the body in a nearby river. When Skylar discovers Drew’s secret, he Drew panics and adds her to his body count.

Torn with grief and guilt, Jude brings Skylar’s lifeless body to his parents, begging for help. They tell him of a whispered rumor that a soul removed by a reaper can be returned. With the help of his brainiac sister, Jude manages to find the one man who knows the truth to the myth, an eccentric recluse who has spent the past three decades avoiding death by hiding from the reapers.

The legend’s true: victims of reapers reapers' victims can be saved with seeds from the ancient Tree of Tenere, also known as the Tree of Life. There’s only one problem: the seeds only work during the first three days following the victim’s death.

With Drew hot on his trail and Father Death watching their every move, Jude has twenty four hours to find the tree and save Skylar’s life. Only This time, Jude vows to never lose her again.

THE FAMILY GRIM, a young adult fantasy novel, is complete at 72,000 words. The completed manuscript is available upon request.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,


I'm pretty sure you may be able to trim fat by snipping things that don't recur. Jude's sister only shows once. The Tree of Life's real name only shows once. I'm thinking that the eccentric recluse bit, though interesting, may also be able to be cut, since his sole function is to show up and provide verification for a point you've already raised, and then he vanishes. Since he's not part of the direct conflict, I don't know if I'd keep him - but at the same time, only you know the major parts of your ms and I don't know if the letter would flow as well without 'im.

Check back on arbraun's comments - he also corrected the hyphenated seventeen-year-old thing; I think you might've missed it. There are also a couple other minor grammatical things that should probably be combed out once the format is decided on.

You can probably remove some of the line breaks. The way you have it makes it look like a very long string of anorexic paragraphs, whereas it could be your hook and then three (or even two) plumper ones. In any case... I look forward to a trimmed edition!

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#11 R Jensen

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 12:34 AM

Scratch that last revision. I was having one of those nights where nothing seemed to come out right. All it took was a half-hour jog to get my mind clear. This is a trimmed, and in my opinion, much better version. Thanks for the suggestions Anticipa and arbraun, and forgive my last revision. Consider this my futile attempt at redemption. :blush:

Dear Agent:

Two hundred years ago Death’s most feared servant, the Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, turning his eternal duty into a family business. Three generations later, his great-grandson Jude searches for a means to undo a savage murder and rescue the love of his life from her recent grave.

Drew Grim, Jude’s twin brother, is the most popular kid at their Wyoming high school. He’s dating the beautiful and talented Skylar Petersen, who just so happens to be Jude’s lifelong crush. Drew’s also a closet psychopath who enjoys torturing his victims before using his inherited powers to end their lives. As time passes Skylar catches glimpses of Drew’s evil side and distances herself from him, eventually falling for Jude. One night Drew snaps, misusing the family powers to slaughter a classmate and then hiding the body in a nearby river. When Skylar discovers his secret, Drew panics and adds her to his body count.

Torn with grief and guilt, Jude brings Skylar’s lifeless body to his family, begging for help. Together they track down an eccentric recluse who knows everything there is to know about the Grim Family legacy. He informs them of a whispered legend: reaper’s victims can be brought back to life with seeds from the ancient Tree of Tenere. There’s only one problem, the seeds only work for three days following the victim’s death, and it has already been two days since Skylar died. With Drew hot on his trail and Father Death watching their every move, Jude has twenty four hours to find the tree and bring Skylar back.

THE FAMILY GRIM, a young adult fantasy novel, is complete at 72,000 words. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to sending you the completed manuscript.

Sincerely,

*********

Do you think the last sentence works better on its own or should in the paragraph like it is (highlighted in blue)? Also, should I include the last sentence I used to have (Only this time, Jude vows to never lose her again)? I don't know if it makes the query any stronger and was interested to hear some other opinions.

#12 Pete Morin

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 09:51 AM

RJ, hate to be a party pooper, but that opening paragraph still isn't doing it for me. I won't harp on it since you seem intent on keeping it. I just think it's too obscure.
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#13 M.E.Pritchard

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 11:23 AM

Hi RJ,

I agree with Pete. The hook isn't doing it for me. I also don't see how the first and second sentence relate. I feel like I'm missing something (or several things) there.

The rest of the query seems a bit jumpy as well. I don't understand why the first paragraph after the hook starts with Drew. Isn't the story about Jude? In addition, the sentence "Drew’s also a closet psychopath who enjoys torturing his victims before using his inherited powers to end their lives." breaks up the flow of that second paragraph. I do like the third paragraph as is, including the sentence in blue. I don't think you need your original sentence there (about Jude not losing her again). I think that would be a bit much.

Just my 2 cents!

#14 alexcharles

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 04:27 PM

RJ:
I read all the posts and some additions/subtractions I agree with, and the rest is honestly messing it up. You have a hook...and I don't even read these kinds of books and can't wait to read the book. It is a very unique concept and one that seems to have an excellent story line. I am published, and I can tell you that the worst parts of the editing process is the compromising part. But it is just that. Compromising. Take the advice, think about it, and then revise to what feels comfortable for you. This is your baby, you have to sell it, and you won't be happy when you don't feel passionate about the end result. Everyone has an opinion, but this is your book.

I truly wish you the best of luck and feel free to email me. I would love to hear when you find a publisher!! My email is alexcharles2010@yahoo.com.

Kim

#15 R Jensen

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 02:01 AM

I appreciate all the comments and see the value in what is being said. I hope I don't offend with the decisions I make. Every comment has helped! Please keep them coming.

Pete - let me know if you like the new hook better. I really want to keep the Grim Reaper in it if possible. His fall from immortality plays a big role in the story, and I feel including it in the hook sets the stage really well. But with that said, I can definitely understand where you're coming from.

Five rounds down, if the boxing metaphor holds true, that should mean I'm halfway there :biggrin:

Dear Agent:

Two hundred years ago Jude Grim’s great-grandfather, the infamous Grim Reaper, defied Father Death’s orders and sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved. As punishment, each of his descendants must now spend twenty years fulfilling Grim’s eternal duty as the legendary reaper of men.

Jude Grim leads a complicated life. For starters he’s a seventeen-year-old reaper, forced to help Death maintain the circle of life. He’s also a high school student in a small Wyoming community, hidden in the shadow of his twin brother Drew, the local golden boy. To make matters worse, Jude’s madly in love with Drew’s girlfriend, the beautiful and talented Skylar Petersen.

Drew has something dark inside of him. Jude recognized this fact two years ago, and their relationship changed forever. As the two of them grow farther apart, fate pushes Skylar away from Drew and closer and closer to Jude. One night Drew finally snaps, misusing his powers to slaughter a classmate and then hiding the body in a nearby river. When Skylar discovers his secret, Drew panics and adds her to his body count.

Torn with grief and guilt, Jude brings Skylar’s lifeless body to his family, begging for help. Together they track down an eccentric recluse who knows everything there is to know about the Grim Family legacy. He informs them of a whispered legend: reaper’s victims can be saved with seeds from the ancient Tree of Tenere. There’s only one problem, the seeds only work for a short time following the victim’s death. With Drew hot on his trail and Father Death watching their every move, Jude has twenty four hours to find the tree and bring Skylar back.

THE FAMILY GRIM, a young adult fantasy novel, is complete at 72,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

#16 RileyRedgate

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 03:02 AM

Hmm. How do you feel about moving the Grim Reaper information to elsewhere in the query? I think the problem with the current hook is that it mentions Jude, but it doesn't really tell us anything about him, and he's the protagonist we should be concerned with/about/arghprepositions. In my opinion, your second paragraph is more relatable, and also introduces the concept of reapers more... gently.

Anyway, what do you think of it looking something like this? I added one sentence and deleted a word; the rest is just reorganization (and a couple commas):



Jude Grim leads a complicated life. For starters, he’s a seventeen-year-old reaper, forced to help Death maintain the circle of life. He’s also a high school student in a small Wyoming community, hidden in the shadow of his twin brother Drew, the local golden boy. To make matters worse, Jude’s madly in love with Drew’s girlfriend, the beautiful and talented Skylar Petersen.

Two hundred years ago, Jude’s great-grandfather, the infamous Grim Reaper, defied Father Death’s orders and sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved. As punishment, each of his descendants must now spend twenty years fulfilling Grim’s eternal duty as the legendary reaper of men. This responsibility falls on Jude, but also, unfortunately, on Drew. However, Drew has something dark inside of him. Jude recognized this fact two years ago, and their relationship changed forever. As the two of them grow farther apart, fate pushes Skylar away from Drew and closer and closer to Jude. One night Drew finally snaps, misusing his powers to slaughter a classmate and then hiding the body in a nearby river. When Skylar discovers his secret, Drew panics and adds her to his body count.

Torn with grief and guilt, Jude brings Skylar’s lifeless body to his family, begging for help. Together they track down an eccentric recluse who knows everything there is to know about the Grim Family legacy. He informs them of a whispered legend: reaper’s victims can be saved with seeds from the ancient Tree of Tenere. There’s only one problem, the seeds only work for a short time following the victim’s death. With Drew hot on his trail and Father Death watching their every move, Jude has twenty four hours to find the tree and bring Skylar back.

THE FAMILY GRIM, a young adult fantasy novel, is complete at 72,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.


Just a suggestion. Take it or leave it.

Also, haha, you said you hope you didn't offend anyone with the decisions you make...? This is your query! You answer to no one but yourself! :D Heck, as long as you're not being rude I don't think anyone will be offended by anything you do.

Best of luck as usual.

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#17 Pete Morin

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 08:43 AM

I'd deffo follow Anticipa's lead here - and she's even keeping your Darling, just moving it to par. 2.

Howevah, I do believe "Jude Grim leads a complicated life" is raaather flat. You can do better than that. Jude Grim is such a superb name! Why not just launch into the details and leave the banalities on the floor?


Jude Grim is a seventeen-year-old reaper, forced to help Death maintain the circle of life. He’s also a high school student in a small Wyoming community, hidden in the shadow of his twin brother Drew, the local golden boy. To make matters worse, Jude’s madly in love with Drew’s girlfriend, the beautiful and talented Skylar Petersen.


Personally, I don't get "forced to help Death maintain the circle of life," seems like a non sequitur, but I'm quite sure that's because I don't read the genre and am an old fogey.
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#18 KateB

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 04:41 PM

I think that the way anticipa has reorganized your new draft makes your story very clear. However, I have to say, something about the original version of this query really resonated with me. I feel like you are almost telling too much in this latest draft. I think something about the original packed a punch that this later draft doesn't have. And there were little details in the original that I really liked- the description of Drew as a psychopath, the suggestion that Drew murdered his classmate because the classmate embarrassed him- they had a real sense of teenage voice to them. Personally, I would go back to the original though I second the suggestion to gloss over the sister.

I understand that my comments may conflict with what others are saying so I will only add that you should take all advice you receive with a grain of salt.

PS- Pete is right, Jude Grim is a brilliant name.

#19 Wish

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 06:12 PM

The letter basically works for me, but I'd personally tighten it up a little. Examples:

Two hundred years ago, Jude’s great-grandfather, the infamous Grim Reaper, defied Father Death’s orders and sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved.

Becomes

Two hundred years ago, Jude’s great-grandfather, the Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved.

It still gets the point across, and to me it flows a little better. I'm not so good with commas myself, so I'll leave that alone. Also, if you say he brings her LIFELESS BODY to his family, you can probably do without the lifeless part. You told us he added her to the body count, lifeless is redundant, and though you're trying to build a little drama, you've already done that. I feel like shaving off those sorts of things contributes favorably to the flow of the letter.

#20 R Jensen

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 12:17 AM

Alright everyone, here goes with a new version. I'm still deciding about the hook. But I thought I better shoot this out there and see what people say. Here it is:

Dear Agent:

Seventeen-year-old Jude Grim is a reaper, one of Death’s most feared servants. He’s also a high school student in a small Wyoming community, buried in the shadow of his twin brother Drew, the local golden boy. To make matters worse, Jude’s madly in love with Drew’s girlfriend, the beautiful and talented Skylar Petersen.

Two hundred years ago Death’s executioner, the infamous Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, placing his eternal duty into the hands of his future family, the Family Grim. Jude and Drew are his great-grandsons, and although twins, are nothing alike. In fact, Drew’s hidden psychopathic nature and his lust for blood have turned them into bitter enemies. As the twins grow farther apart, fate pushes Skylar away from Drew and closer and closer to Jude. One night Drew finally snaps, misusing his powers to murder a classmate who embarrassed him at school before hiding the body in a nearby river. When Skylar discovers his secret, Drew panics and adds her to his body count.

Torn with grief and guilt, Jude brings Skylar’s lifeless body to his family, begging for help. Together they track down an eccentric recluse who knows everything there is to know about the Grim Family legacy. He informs them of a whispered legend: reaper’s victims can be saved with seeds from the ancient Tree of Tenere. There’s only one problem, the seeds only work for a short time following the victim’s death. With Drew hot on his trail and Father Death watching their every move, Jude has twenty four hours to find the tree and bring Skylar back.

THE FAMILY GRIM, a young adult fantasy novel, is complete at 72,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,




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