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THE FAMILY GRIM (YA FANTASY)


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#21 KateB

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 10:15 AM

This mostly works for me.

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,(Find a way to get rid of this. It sounds cliched.) Jude’s madly in love with Drew’s girlfriend, the beautiful and talented Skylar Petersen. (Maybe move the being in love with Skylar to the bit where you say she is murdered. It has more surprise there.)

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. (Unnecessary.) One night Drew finally snaps, (I don't like this phrasing.) misusing his powers to murder a classmate who embarrassed him at school before hiding the body in a nearby river. When (insert here: Drew's girlfriend,) Skylar discovers his secret, Drew panics and adds her to his body count. (Then add a line that says something like, 'Jude may have turned a blind eye to the boy but...' and drop in your bit about him being in love with her since pre-school, this way you establish your book as a sibling rivalry with a love-interest element.)

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 (I like in the original that you tell us that the Tree of Tenere is the Tree of Life.). 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. (I think this is a really strong closing line.)

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

Sincerely,


This is an improvement on the last one.

#22 M.E.Pritchard

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 11:45 AM

Love it! Great job, RJ!

#23 R Jensen

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 09:29 PM

All right all you fellow agent queryites and much more experienced writers, I am at a crossroads. I feel like half of you prefer the old query/hook for its voice/punch and half of you prefer the new one for its format/style. Since I'm not talented enough to combine the two, I am putting both versions below and would love to hear which one everyone prefers. I know what way I'm leaning but I would love to hear other opinons. And if you have any suggestions for what to change on the one you prefer, once again I'm much obliged. I owe you each several favors. Thanks!

Option #1 - Old hook with new revisions

Dear Agent:

Two hundred years ago Death’s most feared servant, the infamous Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, entrusting his eternal duty to his future descendants: the Family Grim.

Three generations later, his great-grandson Jude is a high school student in a small Wyoming community, living in the shadow of his psychopathic twin brother Drew, the local golden boy. Jude’s also secretly in love with the beautiful and talented Skylar Petersen, who just so happens to be Drew’s girlfriend.

Jude and Drew may share the same blood line, but that doesn’t mean they’re friends. In fact, Drew’s hidden psychopathic nature and his lust for blood have turned the twins into bitter enemies. As their rivalry grows, fate pushes Skylar away from Drew and closer and closer to Jude. One night Drew goes too far, misusing his powers to slaughter a classmate who embarrassed him 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 uncovers a long-forgotten legend: reaper’s 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 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.

Option #2 - New hook with old revisions :wink:

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 psychopathic twin brother Drew, the local golden boy.

Two hundred years ago Death’s executioner, the infamous Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, entrusting his eternal duty to his future descendants: the Family Grim. Jude and Drew are his great-grandsons, but just because they share the same bloodline doesn’t mean that the twins are friends. In reality, Drew’s hidden psychopathic nature and his lust for blood have turned them into bitter enemies. Adding to their rivalry is the fact that they’re both in love with the same girl, the beautiful and talented Skylar Petersen.

When Skylar eventually picks Jude, Drew spirals out of control. First he murders a classmate who embarrassed him at school, hiding the body in a nearby river. He then misuses his power to end Skylar’s life before disappearing into the woods.

On the verge of despair, Jude uncovers a long-forgotten legend: reaper’s 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 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,

#24 MzBuzz

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 11:42 PM

Nice revisions. I like your explanations of the tensions between the brothers. Good development.

One crit: this sentence breaks my concentration by being a bit confusing.
"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."

The placement of the clause "before hiding the body in a nearby river..." muddies the meaning. I had to stop and think. Any confusion on the reader's part is not good. It could cause your query to be summarily tossed. Change "before" to "and" to smooth it out.

Good work and best of luck to you.

#25 R Jensen

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 11:04 PM

Thanks again friends. I feel really good about this version (of course I feel that way every time I post one). I've cut the fat while hopefully maintaining the voice and intrigue from the story. Round 7 :biggrin:

Dear Agent:

Two hundred years ago Death’s most feared servant, the infamous Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, entrusting his eternal duty to his future descendants: the Family Grim. Three generations later, Jude Grim is a high school student in a small Wyoming community, living in the shadow of his psychopathic twin brother Drew, the local golden boy.

The twins may share the same unusual bloodline, but that doesn’t make them friends. Drew’s lust for blood and Jude’s compassionate soul have turned the two of them into bitter enemies. Adding to the rivalry is Skylar Petersen, Drew’s girlfriend and Jude’s lifelong crush. As the twins fulfill their family duty, fate pushes Skylar away from Drew and closer and closer to Jude. One night Drew goes too far, misusing his powers to murder a classmate who embarrassed him and then hiding the body in a nearby river. When Skylar discovers his secret, Drew adds her to his body count.

On the verge of despair, Jude uncovers a long-forgotten legend: reaper’s victims can be saved with seeds from the ancient Tree of Life. But there’s a problem -- the seeds only work for a short time 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 bring Skylar back. If he somehow succeeds, his future will then be decided by Death himself, a man not known for his forgiveness.

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

Sincerely,

#26 KateB

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 10:11 AM

Nearly there. A few thoughts-

Thanks again friends. I feel really good about this version (of course I feel that way every time I post one). I've cut the fat while hopefully maintaining the voice and intrigue from the story. Round 7 :biggrin:

Dear Agent:

Two hundred years ago Death’s most feared servant, the infamous Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, entrusting his eternal duty to his future descendants: the Family Grim. Three generations later, (I would re-insert, Jude's relationship to Death- "Death's grandson, Jude Grim,") Jude Grim is a high school student in a small Wyoming community, living in the shadow of his psychopathic twin brother Drew, the local golden boy.(I like that you are outlining the relationship of the brothers but this line doesn't seem connected to your opening line. Maybe you need to move this line down to the next paragraph and say something like "Three generations later, Death's grandson, Jude Grim, is feeling the weight of that decision as he struggles to balance high school in Wyoming with his soul sucking duties.")

The twins may share the same unusual bloodline, but that doesn’t make them friends. Drew’s lust for blood and Jude’s compassionate soul have turned the two of them into bitter enemies. Adding to the rivalry is Skylar Petersen, Drew’s girlfriend and Jude’s lifelong crush. As the twins fulfill their family duty, fate pushes Skylar away from Drew and closer and closer to Jude. (The two clauses in this sentence don't seem connected. How does fulfilling the family duty result in Skylar getting closer to Jude? You either need to explain the connection or cut it. I would cut it and go straight from "life long crush" to "One night Drew...") One night Drew goes too far, misusing his powers to murder a classmate who embarrassed him and then hiding the body in a nearby river. When Skylar discovers his secret, Drew adds her to his body count.

On the verge of despair, Jude uncovers a long-forgotten legend: reaper’s victims can be saved with seeds from the ancient Tree of Life. But there’s a problem -- the seeds only work for a short time 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 bring Skylar back. If he somehow succeeds, his future will then be decided by Death himself, a man not known for his forgiveness. (I'm a little torn by this line. It is helpful to indicate that Death isn't happy with Jude's decision to rescue the girl but this line doesn't have the same bunch as the penultimate line which used to be your closer.)

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

Sincerely,



#27 JMB

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 10:24 AM

I've been following this query from the first post, which I really liked and thought was appealing enough already to make an agent read the first pages. This version is quite good. I agree with KateB that the 2nd para could use a bit of polish.

The twins may share the same unusual bloodline, but that doesn’t make them friends. Drew’s lust for blood and Jude’s compassionate soul have turned the two of them into bitter enemies. Adding to the rivalry is Skylar Petersen, Drew’s girlfriend and Jude’s lifelong crush. As the twins fulfill their family duty, fate pushes Skylar away from Drew and closer and closer to Jude. One night Drew goes too far, misusing his powers to murder a classmate who embarrassed him, and then hiding the body in a nearby river. When Skylar discovers his secret, Drew adds her to his body count.

A heart-broken Jude is determined to bring her back to life.He pursues a forbidden remedy: reaper’s victims can be saved with seeds from the ancient Tree of Life. But there’s a problem -- the seeds only work for a short time 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 bring Skylar back. If he somehow succeeds, his future will then be decided by Death himself, a man not known for his forgiveness.

#28 R Jensen

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 09:05 PM

Awesome advice! I loved the ideas. I've made the edits (trying to throw my own voice into them of course :tongue: ) My only concern is the second sentence. I worry it may have too much info. What do you think?

Dear Agent:

Two hundred years ago Death’s most feared servant, the infamous Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, entrusting his eternal duty to his future descendants: the Family Grim. Three generations later, Jude Grim struggles to balance his duties as a reaper with his life as a high school student buried in the shadow of his psychopathic twin brother Drew, their Wyoming town’s golden boy.

The twins may share the same unusual bloodline, but that doesn’t make them friends. Drew’s lust for blood and Jude’s compassionate soul have turned the two of them into bitter enemies. Adding to the rivalry is Skylar Petersen, Drew’s girlfriend and Jude’s lifelong crush. One night Drew goes too far, misusing his powers to murder a classmate who embarrassed him and then hiding the body in a nearby river. When Skylar discovers his secret, Drew adds her to his body count.

A heart-broken Jude is determined to save her. He pursues a forbidden remedy: seeds from the legendary Tree of Life. The seeds hold the power to reverse a reaper's kill, but they only work for a short time 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 bring Skylar back before she’s lost forever. If he somehow succeeds, his future will then be decided by Death himself, a man not known for his forgiveness.

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

Sincerely,

#29 Juls Duncan

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 10:04 PM

Hi R Jensen...

I think you have done a great job with your query... I just have a couple of problems for me... But it could be just me... So please remember this is just my thoughts, so please take it as such...

I think your second sentence is fine, except for -psychopathic twin brother Drew, (their Wyoming town’s golden boy.)(This doesn't flow for me...) need to word it differently.

One night Drew goes too far, misusing (abusing) his powers to murder a…

But the seeds (needs something here) only work for a short time following the victim’s death. Sorry my brain is fried at this moment… Can’t think of anything but (will). Maybe move (only) to the other side of (work) - But the seeds will only work if used (time frame) following the victim’s death –

If he (somehow – I would remove) succeeds, his future will (then- move) be decided by Death (himself – remove)so it reads -
If he succeeds then his future will be decided by Death, and the (man) fiend is not known for his forgiveness.

#30 R Jensen

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 02:37 PM

Newest Version (Few edits + some name changes) Thanks for any comments!

Dear Agent:

Two hundred years ago Death’s most feared servant, the infamous Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, entrusting his eternal duty to his future descendants: the Family Grim. Three generations later, Jude Grim struggles to balance his deathly duties as a reaper with his life as a high school student buried in the shadow of his twin brother Drew, the local golden boy.

The twins may share the same unusual bloodline, but that doesn’t make them friends. Drew’s lust for blood and Jude’s compassionate soul have turned the two of them into bitter enemies. Adding to the rivalry is Haven Snow, Drew’s current girlfriend and Jude’s childhood sweetheart. One night Drew goes too far, abusing his powers to murder a classmate who embarrassed him at school and then hiding the body in a nearby river. When Haven discovers Drew’s secret, she becomes his next victim.

A heart-broken Jude is determined to save her. He pursues a forbidden remedy: seeds from the legendary Tree of Life. The seeds hold the power to reverse a reaper’s kill, but will only work for a short time 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 bring Haven back before she’s lost forever. If Jude succeeds, his future will be decided by Death himself, a man not known for his forgiveness.

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

#31 Graceful24

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 02:59 PM

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 (I would take this out becuase you said closer already it seems repetitive) 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,



Hello R,
I enjoyed reading this. I don't typically like these types of stories, but I would probably pick this one up and read it. It does catch my attention! I was going to offer a piece of advice on changing your hook line from 'family business' to 'family tradition' but you have found a way to do without that sentence. I think the advice given thus far has truly been beneficial for you.
I added one part that I thought you could alter; but overall this was great!

#32 Eli Ashpence

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 03:59 PM

Newest Version (Few edits + some name changes) Thanks for any comments!

Dear Agent:

Two hundred years ago Death’s most feared servant, the infamous Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, entrusting his eternal duty to his future descendants: the Family Grim. Three generations later, Jude Grim struggles to balance his deathly duties as a reaper with his life as a high school student buried in the shadow of his twin brother Drew, the local golden boy.

The twins may share the same unusual bloodline, but that doesn’t make them friends. Drew’s lust for blood and Jude’s compassionate soul have turned the two of them into bitter enemies. Adding to the rivalry is Haven Snow, Drew’s current girlfriend and Jude’s childhood sweetheart. One night Drew goes too far, abusing his powers to murder a classmate who embarrassed him at school and then hiding the body in a nearby river. When Haven discovers Drew’s secret, she becomes his next victim.

A heart-broken Jude is determined to save her. He pursues a forbidden remedy: seeds from the legendary Tree of Life. The seeds hold the power to reverse a reaper’s kill, but will only work for a short time 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 bring Haven back before she’s lost forever. If Jude succeeds, his future will be decided by Death himself, a man not known for his forgiveness.

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


Other than the one nitpick, it looks good to me. :)

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#33 Cat Woods

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 09:58 PM

I really like this version. While the first line had me not quite hooked in the traditional sense (time-wise, it's not urgent and is a bit back storyish), I think it works well with the following one. And yes, I'd definitely give this a read.

Nice job.

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#34 Amy

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 05:44 PM

Yay!! Ok....I am just coming to the party on this thread but I read through it all and agreed every time that the hook was off and Grim needed to be placed elsewhere. THIS one is better. The concept is great, love the premise, that hook was just off. This is better!

#35 morganflour

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 09:54 AM

Revised Query Post #30
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,



First of all, I just want to say that the WHOLE reason why I clicked on this post is because of your title. Freakin' LOVE this title. It immediately had me saying, "oooooh, that sounds goooood"

Second, I agree that your first line, while compelling, is misleading. I'm glad to see that you are considering revision.

Third, you have a couple of issues with rhythm here. Read every sentence out loud to yourself, if it sounds awkward when your saying it, take a few unnecessary words out. For example, "abusing the family power over death to end the lives of any classmates" is kinda wordy. Consider taking out "over death".

Loving the voice, LOVING the concept, love, love, love... Keep pushing forward. This is a great book. I'd buy it.

#36 Caroline Hartman

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 09:57 AM

First of all, I just want to say that the WHOLE reason why I clicked on this post is because of your title. Freakin' LOVE this title. It immediately had me saying, "oooooh, that sounds goooood"

Second, I agree that your first line, while compelling, is misleading. I'm glad to see that you are considering revision.

Third, you have a couple of issues with rhythm here. Read every sentence out loud to yourself, if it sounds awkward when your saying it, take a few unnecessary words out. For example, "abusing the family power over death to end the lives of any classmates" is kinda wordy. Consider taking out "over death".

Loving the voice, LOVING the concept, love, love, love... Keep pushing forward. This is a great book. I'd buy it.



#37 Caroline Hartman

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 10:01 AM

Hi,
I'm new and feeling my way around. I came onboard this particular thread because the title intrigued me -- I'm not even a horror or fantasy fan, but your title sucked me in like a whirlpool. Then I read the query. I believe it needs a little tweeking, but you are getting great advice. Best of luck.
Caroline
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#38 morganflour

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 03:49 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.




I agree with much of what's included here, but I don't think JK Rowling cornered the market on the phrase "you know who". I'm a big fan of the Potter series, and that didn't even creep into my thoughts. In fact, I thought it added a little zest to your voice. Consider keeping it. ;o)

#39 morganflour

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 04:30 PM

Newest Version (Few edits + some name changes) Thanks for any comments!

Dear Agent:

Two hundred years ago Death’s most feared servant, the infamous Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, entrusting his eternal duty to his future descendants: the Family Grim. Three generations later, Jude Grim struggles to balance his deathly duties as a reaper with his life as a high school student buried in the shadow of his twin brother Drew, the local golden boy.

The twins may share the same unusual bloodline, but that doesn’t make them friends. Drew’s lust for blood and Jude’s compassionate soul have turned the two of them into bitter enemies. Adding to the rivalry is Haven Snow, Drew’s current girlfriend and Jude’s childhood sweetheart. One night Drew goes too far, abusing his powers to murder a classmate who embarrassed him at school and then hiding the body in a nearby river. When Haven discovers Drew’s secret, she becomes his next victim.

A heart-broken Jude is determined to save her. He pursues a forbidden remedy: seeds from the legendary Tree of Life. The seeds hold the power to reverse a reaper’s kill, but will only work for a short time 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 bring Haven back before she’s lost forever. If Jude succeeds, his future will be decided by Death himself, a man not known for his forgiveness.

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



Okay, STILL loving this... A couple of things:

1.) What EXACTLY is Jude's duty? Does he choose who dies? Does he simply "collect" a person's soul? I'm not exactly sure what's at stake here because I'm not exactly sure WHAT he does.

Which got me thinking. Perhaps your hook could be a demonstration of what Jude is capable of and how it screws up his life. I could see him struggling to study for his History exam because he knows his teacher won't be in class the next morning...

2.) It took me several reads to figure out <<duh!>> that Jude exists because Grim turned into a mortal and hooked up with his dream chick. Much as I like the phrase "sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved" it isn't really clear that he HAD to give it up in order to be with her (marry her, or whatever). Maybe I'm just an idiot, but for some reason, I just couldn't see that the first pass.

3.)I'm not sure why the evil twin brother would have to hide a body if he has Grim Reaper powers. Would there be evidence that could implicate him????

4.) "Childhood sweetheart" makes it sound like Jude and Haven actually had some sort of relationship. Did they? Or was it merely a crush?

5.) This sentence is confusing: "A heart-broken Jude is determined to save her." I know you explain the meaning in the next sentence, but perhaps you could smoosh these two together with something like, "Risking everything, Jude sets out to find the only thing that can save her--seeds from the legendary Tree of Life. He better hurry the hell up though, because Death is gonna be pissed about this...."

6.) LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the sentence "With Drew hot on his trail..." Don't you dare change that one!

7.) Ditch the last sentence. (Is Death a man, BTW?)

Still LOVING this, and I would still buy it. Sleep on it for a few nights before you revise again. It's easy to go cross-eyed on these damned things...

Good luck! Keep at it!

#40 morganflour

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 06:45 PM

First of all, I just want to say that the WHOLE reason why I clicked on this post is because of your title. Freakin' LOVE this title. It immediately had me saying, "oooooh, that sounds goooood"

Second, I agree that your first line, while compelling, is misleading. I'm glad to see that you are considering revision.

Third, you have a couple of issues with rhythm here. Read every sentence out loud to yourself, if it sounds awkward when your saying it, take a few unnecessary words out. For example, "abusing the family power over death to end the lives of any classmates" is kinda wordy. Consider taking out "over death".

Loving the voice, LOVING the concept, love, love, love... Keep pushing forward. This is a great book. I'd buy it.



Sorry for the spelling error. I meant "you're" not "your". Duh.




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