Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
- - - - -

CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE CYBORG, YA Sci-Fi


  • Please log in to reply
25 replies to this topic

#1 MarcyKate

MarcyKate

    There can be only One.

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,111 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:My debut novel MONSTROUS will be out from HarperCollins Children’s Books in Winter 2015!

Posted 05 January 2011 - 09:44 AM

Hello AQ-ers!

I've been working on my query letter for my WIP (read: procrastinating the whole finishing it part) and I'd love some feedback on it. Does it work? Come off as silly? Just meh?

Thanks in advance!
MarcyKate


Dear Agent,

Getting into a car accident was the second to last thing Maggie Lyons expected on prom night.

The last thing she expected? Finding out she’s part machine.

Turns out there’s a lot of things Maggie didn’t suspect. Like the fact she almost died when she was four and a stranger replaced her broken parts with technology more advanced than anything on the Syfy channel. Or that her geekoid next door neighbor, Tommy, is sleeping in the backseat of her car when she runs away in the middle of the night.

But thems the breaks.

Now Maggie and Tommy are on the lam, running from her parents, the police, and the doctor who just might be on to her unfortunate condition. She only wants to find her maker and get fixed—as permanently human. Tommy totally cramps her style as they follow clues on a cross-country road trip; but he is beginning to distract her from the ex who wrapped his car around a tree on prom night. That’s a problem in itself. But if she can find the Maker, maybe, just maybe, she can go back to her normal life.

Then Maggie meets the others like her.

Turns out there’s a lot more to be afraid of than winding up under a microscope.

CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE CYBORG is a YA Science fiction novel complete at 60,000 words. [bio, creds, etc]

#2 Derrick

Derrick

    Giver of Rocky-themed Pep Talks

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 536 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 05 January 2011 - 10:09 AM

There's something about the flow here that doesn't jive with me. It sounds very "and then, and then, and then"ish--even though I only count the word "then" once. I'm afraid to make suggested changes, because I appreciate the voice, and I don't want to say something that would encourage you to water it down.

However, voice or no voice, I'd definitely cut this:

But thems the breaks.



This is telling:

That’s a problem in itself.



Also, what's with Tommy. It's not normal for a boy to sleep in the back of people's cars, is it? I never did. I'm left thinking: "why the heck is Tommy on the run?"

Overall, the story sounds awesome. Even though I felt the query read little choppy, I kept reading it out of interest. I'd definitely be interested in reading this when it's published.

#3 M.E.Pritchard

M.E.Pritchard

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 124 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:published journal articles and book chapters in my field, but no fiction; I've written 1 YA and 2 Romances - haven't had any luck publishing them though

Posted 05 January 2011 - 11:04 AM

Hi MarcyKate,

I agree with Derrick. It doesn't flow and I was completely lost by the fourth paragraph. I like your hook, although I would put the first two sentences together: Getting into a car accident was the second to last thing Maggie Lyons expected on prom night. The last thing she expected? Finding out she’s part machine.

But the rest of it just doesn't work for me. You need to flesh it out a little better; there are too many things missing.

One little things: It's SciFi not SyFy.

Hope this helps!

#4 C. Taylor

C. Taylor

    Subsisting on Pots of Tea

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,300 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published, agented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:I'm a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author writing under the pen name, Cali MacKay and write fun and steamy contemporary romances, in addition to erotica, paranormal romances and mysteries. I also write steampunk romances under the pen name Calista Taylor.

Posted 05 January 2011 - 11:34 AM

I agree. I think it just needs to be reined in and focused a bit. Then flesh it out here and there, and I'd think you'd be in good shape. Just be careful not to lose the voice you have here.

Cali MacKay

        FREE

51HdjDwZKxL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-51Ekbyv33TL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-51HnUjguTHL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-511uTCIPFnL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-51-y12BGRPL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-51LB9MAkXgL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-612uyFf1xML._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-61y0ZMZ-%2BaL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arro51J-PsyEZoL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-

 


#5 Juls Duncan

Juls Duncan

    Juls Duncan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 232 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:Three novels, and the fourth coming soon through Mythic Dragon Publishing

Posted 05 January 2011 - 01:11 PM

Hi, MarcyKate

remember this is just my thoughts, so please take it as so…


I have to agree that it reads rather choppy, and I would defiantly put the first to sentences together to make your Hook. Something like – Getting into a car accident was the last thing Maggie Lyons expected on prom night, but finding out that she’s part machine. Is (what ?).

When she was four and a stranger replaced her broken parts with technology more advanced than anything on the Syfy channel. She leaves home to discover who had done this to her, but with her parents, the police, and the doctor who just might be on to her unfortunate condition on her heels…. This is just off the top of my head… not real smooth, but you get the idea…

Now some questions -

Wouldn’t her parents know about her condition? How old is she, must be over 16 to drive… Why was Tommy in the backseat? How old is he? Is he hiding from someone? … I hope this helps… Juls

#6 RileyRedgate

RileyRedgate

    Ant, the Quixotic Query Quibbler

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,994 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:My debut novel, SEVEN WAYS WE LIE, was released in March 2016 by Abrams and optioned for film by Jane Startz Productions. My sophomore novel, NOTEWORTHY, hits shelves May 2017.

Posted 05 January 2011 - 10:58 PM

Love the first half of your query. Love it, love it, love it. I read the first line, and I was like, "Oh, okay. Car crash." And then... the second line! I laughed aloud.

Here's where you lose me:

Now Maggie and Tommy are on the lam, running from her parents, the police, and the doctor who just might be on to her unfortunate condition.
Why would she run from her parents? For that matter, why are they on the lam? If she's made it this far being mechanical, why is it suddenly a problem?

She only wants to find her maker and get fixed—as permanently human. Tommy totally cramps her style as they follow clues on a cross-country road trip; this is just a comma - careful. but he is beginning to distract her from the ex who wrapped his car around a tree on prom night. That’s a problem in itself. But if she can find the Maker, maybe, just maybe, she can go back to her normal life.

Then Maggie meets the others like her.

Turns out there’s a lot more to be afraid of than winding up under a microscope.
Can you give us one last sentence that punches us with the final conflict? This is a brilliant set-up, but we still don't know what she has to do. Also, I'd blend this line with the above "Then Maggie meets the others like her."

CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE CYBORG is a YA Science fiction novel complete at 60,000 words. [bio, creds, etc]

I'll be buying this upon publication. It sounds AWESOME. =DDD

author of SEVEN WAYS WE LIE and NOTEWORTHY

rep: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

 

i tweet!


#7 L J Rutledge

L J Rutledge

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 27 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, emerging
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:None in my own name. Site copy composition for ecommerce, two manuscripts for others (ghostwriting).

Posted 05 January 2011 - 11:06 PM

Hi MarcyKate,

Lump me in with the rest. I do like the first two sentences as the hook. That really works. The voice is strong and interesting. The flow just needs to be better directed.

My question is about the "Tommy distracting her from her ex". Is that a reference to a budding romance in the novel?

It sounds like an intriguing plot.

I hope this helps,
Lisa

#8 JMB

JMB

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 500 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 06 January 2011 - 01:26 AM

Hi MK, If you haven't already done so, you may want to check out a synopsis of Kevin Brook's Being. The MC is 16 and discovers in a routine procedure that he is part machine. He flees the hospital and then goes on the run with a girl he meets. The focus of the story is different from yours but the description of Being may help you formulate your own query. Good luck. JMB

#9 Peter Burton

Peter Burton

    Court Jester and Wanna Be Author

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,962 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, self-published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Self Published

Posted 06 January 2011 - 01:01 PM

Not much more I could add to the already excellent advice above.

It seems like your trying to "lead" the agent/reader. Kind of saying, "Now look at this...now this...now this." Instead try to guide the reader subtlety. Make them want to look, want to know, want to read the whole story on their lonesome.

Derrick has the right idea, IMHO. Cut the things like, "The last thing she expected? Finding out she’s part machine." That should be a lead in with the hook.

Example, (naturally):

"A car crash on prom night reveals to Maggie Lyons that she has far more than the typical teen problems to deal with. She also happens to discover she is a cyborg!"

Leading statements, or questions like the ones Derrick mentions are sure to be a detriment with most agents. It makes them feel like your trying to "pull a fast one", instead of impressing them with your talent and story.

The story sounds awesome. The trick is making the query sound the same. :wink:

"But that's OK. There's treasure children always seek to find.

And just like us, you must have had, a Once Upon A Time."

~Elton John


#10 gjhowe

gjhowe

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 20 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:none

Posted 09 January 2011 - 01:51 PM

Hi MarcyKate,

I didn't read all of the other feedback, so I may be repeat some stuff, but here goes.

I love the first two lines. I think it's a really great hook, though I don't know that they need to be separated by a paragraph break (personal preference I guess).

I like the next paragraph too, though I don't understand exactly why she's running away in the middle of the night, which could be fixed by adding a quick line about her reasons. I assume it's to find the maker, but we don't learn about him until later in the query, so mentioning him here could be helpful.

Lastly, as a dude, I don't fully understand why she wants to get rid of her highly advanced robot parts, I mean, I would totally love to have some kick-ass, super-advanced cybernetics, but maybe that's just me.

Anyway, I think it's a great start- very catchy!

G

#11 MarcyKate

MarcyKate

    There can be only One.

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,111 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:My debut novel MONSTROUS will be out from HarperCollins Children’s Books in Winter 2015!

Posted 18 January 2011 - 09:35 AM

Wow! Thanks for all the feedback guys! This is really helpful!

OK, here's my revised version which should (hopefully) clear up some of the questions you all had:



Getting into a car accident was the second to last thing Maggie Lyons expected on prom night. The last thing she expected? Finding out she’s part machine.

Turns out there’s a lot of things Maggie didn’t suspect. Like the fact she almost died when she was four. And her parents let a stranger replace her broken parts with technology more advanced than anything on the Syfy channel. Or that her geekoid next door neighbor, Tommy, is hiding in the backseat of her car when she runs away in the middle of the night.

But that’s just the way her weekend is going.

Now Maggie and Tommy are on the lam, running from her parents, the police, the doctor who might be on to her unfortunate condition, and a bald dude with a seriously bad attitude. Tommy would give anything to have her newfound talents, but Maggie’s not so keen—even a simple tickle fight could turn deadly. All she wants is to find her Maker and get fixed—as permanently human. As they follow the clues on a cross-country road trip, Tommy totally cramps her style; but he is beginning to distract her from the ex who wrapped his car around a tree on prom night. That’s a problem in itself. If only she can find her Maker, maybe, just maybe, she can go back to life as normal.

Then Maggie meets the others like her. Turns out, there’s a lot more to be afraid of than winding up under a microscope.


I'm still debating on whether to put anything else after the last line. I feel like it leaves the reader wanting more (OK, I admit, I'm totally biased!) which in theory should make the agent want to read more. What are your thoughts? Does it work or does it really need more?

#12 KateB

KateB

    Sporadic Contributor

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 73 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:Have interned for a literary agent and currently work in acquisitions for a film sales and production company--basically, I read... a lot.

    Am an aspiring writer and query enthusiast. Have travel blogged and been a columnist for a theatre publication.

Posted 18 January 2011 - 09:52 AM

You haven't really changed much in this. I agree with all the others who have commented- I like the first half of this. The second half is troubling. Why is Tommy asleep in her car? This really trips me up. Why is she running from her parents if they already knew she was mechanical? Or is she just running away from the doctors? Why is it suddenly a problem that Maggie is a machine? Surely she had tickle fights before... what did the car accident change in her? You need to tell us. Did it make her stronger? Can she not control her limbs as well... what? See if you can answer these questions in the next draft. Your premise has to make sense. Kids don't just run away and boys don't just sleep in cars. Explain away and then cut down later.

#13 Jean Oram

Jean Oram

    Your friendly, neighborhood, all-purpose moderator

  • Super Moderator
  • 9,301 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published, in-between agents
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:New York Times bestselling romance author. Independent author with traditional publishing experience. Everything from magazines to newspapers to short stories to novels.
  • City (optional):C-eh?-N-eh?-D-eh?

Posted 18 January 2011 - 11:24 AM

Cool premise. I love the beginning and the very last bit. The second to last paragraph gets a bit windy. I'll pop my thoughts in below.

Getting into a car accident was the second to last thing Maggie Lyons expected on prom night. The last thing she expected? Finding out she’s part machine. [The 'second to last' bit made me go, 'Whoa! Wait? What!?' In a good way. :wink: ]

Turns out there’s [should it be 'there are?'] a lot of things Maggie didn’t suspect. Like the fact [that] she almost died when she was four. And her parents let a stranger replace her broken parts with technology more advanced than anything on the Syfy channel. Or that her geekoid next door neighbor, Tommy, is hiding in the backseat of her car when she runs away in the middle of the night. [Why is she running away? Because she's a teen and she just found out she's half borg? Maybe: ...of her car when she tries to run away from her problems in the middle of the night.??]

But that’s just the way her weekend is going.

Now Maggie and Tommy are on the lam [why are they on the lam?], running from her parents, the police, the doctor who might be on to her unfortunate condition, and a bald dude with a seriously bad attitude [who is he and how does he fit in? What does he want? Why is she running? How is he connected? Just a hint would be fine, I think.]. Tommy would give anything to have her newfound talents, but Maggie’s not so keen—even a simple tickle fight could turn deadly. [Why deadly all of a sudden? Didn't she used to think she was human before the accident?] All she wants is to find her Maker and get fixed—as permanently human [permanently human or completely human? or?]. As they follow the clues [clues to what?] on a cross-country road trip, Tommy totally cramps her style; but he is beginning to distract her from the ex who wrapped his car around a tree on prom night. [How is the ex important here? Too much explaining to tie him in. Like why is he an ex. Why were they together then? Why distract? Is he dead? Does she still love him? etc. Maybe T could just distract her from her problems and make her laugh?] That’s a problem in itself. If only she can find her Maker, maybe, just maybe, she can go back to life as normal.

Then Maggie meets the others like her. Turns out, there’s a lot more to be afraid of than winding up under a microscope. [Nice. It's like a little end of query hook. It makes me go... oh, so there's going to be more after she finds the Maker (if she even does--or maybe it'll motivate her even more to find him... or... So many options!) and there's going to be all sorts of conflicts, etc, etc. It's nice to know there is more (intriguing) story after this set up. I'd keep this end part.]


It looks like you are getting close! Best of luck.

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

*The Helpful Writer *Twitter

If you are a parent, you might be interested in my ideas on growing happy, healthy kids who'll thrive in this ever changing world (includes crafts, activities, games, articles, and fun!):
*Twitter *Blog *Pinterest *Facebook

 

I write stuff (www.jeanoram.com)

 


#14 Peter Burton

Peter Burton

    Court Jester and Wanna Be Author

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,962 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, self-published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Self Published

Posted 18 January 2011 - 11:31 AM

Wow! Thanks for all the feedback guys! This is really helpful!

OK, here's my revised version which should (hopefully) clear up some of the questions you all had:



Getting into a car accident was the second to last thing Maggie Lyons expected on prom night. The last thing she expected? As a general rule it is usually not a good idea to put questions in a query. Sometimes it makes the agent feel like they are being led. Perhaps if you worded this as a statement? "The last thing she expected was... Finding out she’s part machine.

Turns out there’s a lot of things Maggie didn’t suspect. Like the fact she almost died when she was four. And her parents let a stranger replace her broken parts with technology more advanced than anything on the Syfy channel. Or that her geekoid next door neighbor, Tommy, is hiding in the backseat of her car when she runs away in the middle of the night.

But that’s just the way her weekend is going.

The additional sentence isn't really helping, either. It's just making the query sound choppy. Consider dropping it, or working it into the first paragraph. It should help with the flow.

Now Maggie and Tommy are on the lam, running from her parents, the police, the doctor who might be on to her unfortunate condition, and a bald dude with a seriously bad attitude. Tommy would give anything to have her newfound talents, but Maggie’s not so keen—even a simple tickle fight could turn deadly. All she wants is to find her Maker and get fixed—as permanently human. As they follow the clues on a cross-country road trip, Tommy totally cramps her style; but he is beginning to distract her from the ex who wrapped his car around a tree on prom night. That’s a problem in itself. If only she can find her Maker, maybe, just maybe, she can go back to life as normal.

Then Maggie meets the others like her. Turns out, there’s a lot more to be afraid of than winding up under a microscope.

Same advice here as with the one above.


I'm still debating on whether to put anything else after the last line. I feel like it leaves the reader wanting more (OK, I admit, I'm totally biased!) which in theory should make the agent want to read more. What are your thoughts? Does it work or does it really need more?


I think the problem is you are trying to tell the agent the story, but not really showing them the story. I know that sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it really isn't.

There are several threads that are directed to this issue. Give then a read, and I'm sure you'll see what I mean.

This is a good idea for a SF story. Give the query another go, Marcy! It's worth the effort. :biggrin:

"But that's OK. There's treasure children always seek to find.

And just like us, you must have had, a Once Upon A Time."

~Elton John


#15 Jean Oram

Jean Oram

    Your friendly, neighborhood, all-purpose moderator

  • Super Moderator
  • 9,301 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published, in-between agents
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:New York Times bestselling romance author. Independent author with traditional publishing experience. Everything from magazines to newspapers to short stories to novels.
  • City (optional):C-eh?-N-eh?-D-eh?

Posted 18 January 2011 - 03:38 PM

I think the problem is you are trying to tell the agent the story, but not really showing them the story. I know that sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it really isn't.


See and I feel the opposite...

I think the question "The last thing she expected?" since it isn't directed at the agent/reader as something in need of an answer, but is more of a conversational device... I think it is okay. In fact, I might even argue that it goes well with the tone of her query. I'm not sure about the telling vs. showing the story since it is YA and she's got a 'tone' going on that works for a teen in angst. You are correct in that sometimes the telling thing is not so great. I think that is more reserved for when it is dry and here-is-the-story-I-hope-you-like-it monotone. Then again, I could be way off.

And I kind of like the way the one sentences off one their own break things up. Again, because it is YA. And again, because it goes with her tone. Many couldn't get away with that, but I kind of think MK does. I think it stops us from getting distracted and complacent as a reader. (But I know I couldn't get away with it!)

Anyway, that's my two cents. Now MarcyKate is going to shoot me for arguing the other side...

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

*The Helpful Writer *Twitter

If you are a parent, you might be interested in my ideas on growing happy, healthy kids who'll thrive in this ever changing world (includes crafts, activities, games, articles, and fun!):
*Twitter *Blog *Pinterest *Facebook

 

I write stuff (www.jeanoram.com)

 


#16 Peter Burton

Peter Burton

    Court Jester and Wanna Be Author

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,962 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, self-published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Self Published

Posted 18 January 2011 - 08:10 PM

Oh, I don't think she'll shoot you Jean. It's a very good point. we both know that very often an unconventional/non-traditional query does work.

This could very well be the case here. The only way to find out for sure, is for us to send them out in a round of agents, and see if anyone is interested.

This is certainly one profession where the unexpected seems to happen very often, and it's hard to pin down what will work for anyone at any given moment.

But, that's for Marcy to decide if she's willing to put herself out there, and see what happens.

Sometimes I wish we could guarantee a smash hit, but if we could do that we would all be sending out fulls for agents to read. :wink: :laugh:

"But that's OK. There's treasure children always seek to find.

And just like us, you must have had, a Once Upon A Time."

~Elton John


#17 Ben Goodwin

Ben Goodwin

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 16 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:Working on it :)

Posted 18 January 2011 - 09:05 PM

OK, I really like this. I see some problems and think you could tighten it up, but your TONE works really well for me. Really well.

Hello AQ-ers!

I've been working on my query letter for my WIP (read: procrastinating the whole finishing it part) and I'd love some feedback on it. Does it work? Come off as silly? Just meh?

Thanks in advance!
MarcyKate


Dear Agent,

Getting into a car accident was the second to last thing Maggie Lyons expected on prom night.

The last thing she expected? Finding out she’s part machine.
I almost like your two opening paragraphs. :biggrin:

I hate it when people rewrite my work, but you're not me so here's my thought.
The last thing Maggie saw saw were the car lights of the idiot who t-boned her car on prom night (not exactly right, but like this)
When she woke up she felt lots of pain in her left leg which was partially crushed. She expected to see blood and maybe bone when she looked down, but not machine parts (or lights and gears or what not).

My problem with your first sentence is that the last thing she expected was not to find out she was made of machine parts. If you had asked her five minutes before the crash what the last thing she expected to happen was, that would not have been her response. Nit-picky yes, but still.

I like your OMG thought on this hook. I'm what?!!!! a cyborg? Sheesh! :laugh:




Turns out there’s a lot of things Maggie didn’t suspectknow. Like the fact she almost died when she was four and a stranger replaced her broken parts with technology more advanced than anything on the Syfy channel. Or that her geekoid next door neighbor, Tommy, is sleeping in the backseat of her car when she runs away in the middle of the night.
Tell me why she had her parts replaced. Like when she was four she was crushed by a hydraulic thingy and had her legs, arms, and left eyeball... replaced

If you are going to tell me Tommy is sleeping in the backseat of her car I need a why. ...or that her geekoid next door neighbor tommy sleeps in the backseat of her car because his something is something.
I'm just having a bit of trouble with this because he'd wake up when she got in the car and started it and she might see him. I know you're trying to have him go off on an adventure with her (everybody needs a sidekick), but either don't bother telling us that he went with her because he sleeps in the back seat of her car (btw, is it her car or her parents' car and if so, she's stealing?)




But thems the breaks. I like this. It gives you voice.

Now Maggie and Tommy are on the lam, running from her parents, the police,

and the doctor who just might be on to her unfortunate condition
Here I'm thinking nefarious. The doctor who knows what she is and wants to take her apart and figure out how she works... or something like that.

. She only wants to find her maker and get fixed—as permanently human

This I don't get. Her organic parts are gone. How is she going to become human again? Does she just want to get fixed or does she really expect her to replace her cyber kidney with a real one? You have confused me here.

. Tommy totally cramps her style

Need to know who/why he does this or leave him out of the query letter. Ask yourself if you need to tell the agent about Tommy or if we can focus on maggie for this letter.

as they follow clues on a cross-country road trip; but he is beginning to distract her from the ex who wrapped his car around a tree on prom night. That’s a problem in itself. But if she can find the Maker, maybe, just maybe, she can go back to her normal life.
If she's falling for him I think you're being too vague. I also don't think you need to mention about wrapping car around tree on prom night. I don't care.

So give me a bit more about Geekoid or drop him.



Then Maggie meets the others like her.

Turns out there’s a lot more to be afraid of than winding up under a microscope.

Meets others like her. Excellent!

I don't like winding up under a microscope. Something more like... afraid of ending up strapped to Doc (whatever his name's) table and being taken apart like car engine... or examined like a science project...



CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE CYBORG is a YA Science fiction novel complete at 60,000 words. [bio, creds, etc]


I'm not one to talk as the title of my novel is current "OAK, ASH and IRON" but I don't like the confessions part of your title. But no big on that.

#18 Cat Woods

Cat Woods

    Juvenile Junky and Clairvoyant Ninja

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,157 posts
  • Literary Status:published, in-between agents
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:As Cat Woods: adult short stories in the Seasons Anthologies. Middle Grade Anthology: TALES FROM THE BULLY BOX (2014). Middle Grade Novel: ABIGAIL BINDLE AND THE SLAM BOOK SCAM (2015).

    As A.T.O'Connor: short stories in the Seasons Anthologies. YA Novel: WHISPERING MINDS.

Posted 18 January 2011 - 10:58 PM

I'm just going to throw it out there. I love it. Not that it doesn't need some tweaking, but the voice is one we could all turn green over.

I love the geekoid neighbor sleeping in her backseat and don't need an ounce of clarification as to why. Obviously this is a quirky book with quirky characters who do quirky things.

The last sentence is spot on for me as well.

What I feel could use some work:

-Turns out there’s a lot of things Maggie didn’t suspect. I think the last word sounds off.

-Now Maggie and Tommy are on the lam, running from her parents, the police, and the doctor who just might be on to her unfortunate condition. I'd pull the parents from this sentence. "Now Maggie and Tommy are on the lam, running from the police, the doctor..." and add in the bald dude with the attitude to round out your threesome. Why? Because explaining why she's running from her parents will take up lots of time and will detract from the pace. If you say police, doc and bald dude we are more inclined to let the question go. At least I am.

-She only wants to find her maker and get fixed—as permanently human. How? I don't know that you need to answer that question here, but that maybe some rewording will take the question away and let the reader focus on the query and not the how.

-Tommy totally cramps her style as they follow clues on a cross-country road trip; but he is beginning to distract her from the ex who wrapped his car around a tree on prom night. That’s a problem in itself. And this is where I think you need your most work. It feels off to me. Or at least confusing how they all tie together. Why is geekoid so off-putting? Does he pick his nose or is he awakening feelings she'd rather have sleeping? And why is it a problem to get distracted from the Looser who nearly killed you on prom night? This is where quirky needs to be succinct.

-But if she can find the Maker, maybe, just maybe, she can go back to her normal life. We don't know anything about her old life to make this feel compelling. Why is normal better than being part cyborg? What is she missing? What is so special about normal?

I'm sure you have all these answers in your manuscript, but they may need to be addressed here to clear up any major confusion.

But whatever you do, DO NOT LOSE YOUR VOICE. Don't let us tweak that out of your query. Don't go in for dry tradition to satisfy our whims. Pay close attention to the questions we've asked and figure out which ones need to be answered and which ones can be left open to heighten intrigue.

And for the record, I like the question in the hook. It's not your common rhetorical question.

Best luck as you decipher all this feedback. Looking forward to the rewrite. :wub:

Cat Woods
Juvenile Junction Group Moderator


Words from the Woods~ Blog for Cat Woods
From the Write Angle~ Group Blog

Whispering Minds~ Blog for A.T. O'Connor

 

SpringFeversthumb.jpg   thefall_front_cover.jpg


#19 Jean Oram

Jean Oram

    Your friendly, neighborhood, all-purpose moderator

  • Super Moderator
  • 9,301 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published, in-between agents
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:New York Times bestselling romance author. Independent author with traditional publishing experience. Everything from magazines to newspapers to short stories to novels.
  • City (optional):C-eh?-N-eh?-D-eh?

Posted 19 January 2011 - 10:00 AM

we both know that very often an unconventional/non-traditional query does work.

This could very well be the case here. The only way to find out for sure, is for us to send them out in a round of agents, and see if anyone is interested.

This is certainly one profession where the unexpected seems to happen very often, and it's hard to pin down what will work for anyone at any given moment.



Very good points, Peter! Now where did I put my crystal ball...

And holy fantastic comments, Batman! AQCers rock. I just have to say. Lots of great input. It's one of the reasons I love this place so much. :wub:

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

*The Helpful Writer *Twitter

If you are a parent, you might be interested in my ideas on growing happy, healthy kids who'll thrive in this ever changing world (includes crafts, activities, games, articles, and fun!):
*Twitter *Blog *Pinterest *Facebook

 

I write stuff (www.jeanoram.com)

 


#20 MarcyKate

MarcyKate

    There can be only One.

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,111 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:My debut novel MONSTROUS will be out from HarperCollins Children’s Books in Winter 2015!

Posted 20 January 2011 - 09:39 AM

Thanks again for all the comments! (And no, Jean, definitely not going to shoot you – I could hug you!)

Some of the questions which have arisen from the query create a bit of a quandary for me. Some details were left out on purpose, yet were still important enough to hint at but would take WAY too long to explain a query...So I guess I've cut my work cut out for me :) I'll go back and try to make that second paragraph a little more clear!

THANK YOU!!!




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users