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THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB (MG Adventure)

Adventure Childrens Middle Grace

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#1 Calcifer

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 04:40 PM

NEW VERSION IS IN POST #38

 

------------------------------------

 

 

Thirteen-year-old Peter Hold has just become a member of his school’s secret vigilante club, aimed at resisting their tyrant headmaster. But when the club members uncover the headmaster’s criminal past, their main goal becomes survival.

 

At the Horston Academy, rules are as severe as the weather on the windblown island where it’s founded, and punishment for transgressions is severe. After Peter dares to break a rule, he is approached by Samantha, a transfer girl, recruiting members into The League, an underground club that will fight against the school’s unfair system.

 

During a mission, the Leaguers stumble upon information suggesting the headmaster is not just a bully, but may actually have a criminal past. The club’s mission changes from small acts of vigilante justice to uncovering the truth. But when Samantha mysteriously disappears and is pronounced missing, Peter is convinced that the headmaster is behind it. Now he must use all his skills and ingenuity to unmask the headmaster and to save his friend, before it is too late.

 

THE LEAGUE is a standalone middle grade adventure, complete at 43,000 words.


THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS Query: http://agentquerycon...-grade-fantasy/

 

THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB Query: http://agentquerycon...998-the-league/

 

 


#2 Bri104

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 07:17 PM

 

 

Thirteen-year-old Peter Hold has just become a member of his school’s secret vigilante club, aimed at resisting their its tyrant headmaster. But when the club members uncover the headmaster’s criminal past, their main goal becomes survival.

 

At the Horston Academy, rules are as severe as the weather on the windblown island where it’s founded located, and punishment for transgressions is severe [repeated word -- needs something worse than 'severe']. After Peter dares to break a rule [a big rule? a small rule?], he is approached by Samantha, a transfer girl [so? what does this mean?],  recruiting members into The League, an underground club that will fight [is it a new club? or should it be 'fights'?] against the school’s unfair system.

 

During a mission, [what kind of mission?] the Leaguers stumble upon information suggesting the headmaster is not just a bully, but may actually have a criminal past. The club’s mission changes from small acts of vigilante justice [like...? you never explained what their original mission really was] to uncovering the truth.['truth' doesn't seem big/interesting/important enough here. is it dangerous? scandalous?] But when Samantha mysteriously disappears and is pronounced missing, Peter is convinced that the headmaster is behind it. Now he must use all his skills and ingenuity to unmask the headmaster and to save his friend, before it is too late.

Maybe mention (briefly) what sorts of injustices/cruelties the headmaster was behind, to make him seem like a villain

 

THE LEAGUE is a standalone middle grade adventure, complete at 43,000 words.

It's a very well-written query. The first thing I'd say is find a way to make the hook more compact. It's got exciting elements, it just needs better delivery.

Also, there's a good story here, but it feels like it's missing something. I think a few more little details here and there could help build the element of suspense (not that I'm an expert, by any stretch)

In general, it's succinct but still gives a good idea of the novel. You're off to a great start! Good luck!



#3 Calcifer

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 09:08 PM

Thank you for your suggestions, Bri. You bring up some very good points. I'll have to think them over.

 

By the way, very cute avatar ;)


THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS Query: http://agentquerycon...-grade-fantasy/

 

THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB Query: http://agentquerycon...998-the-league/

 

 


#4 LittleJoni

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:32 PM

Thirteen-year-old Peter Hold has just become a member of his school’s secret vigilante club, aimed at resisting their tyrant headmaster. But when the club members uncover the headmaster’s criminal past, their main goal becomes survival.

 

At the Horston Academy, rules are as severe as the weather on the windblown island where it’s founded, and punishment for transgressions is severe. Word repeat After Peter dares to break a rule, he is approached by Samantha, a transfer girl, this info probably isn't necessary, just knowing she's another student is enough recruiting members into The League, an underground club that will fight fights against the school’s unfair system. An example of the school's harsh punishments would give this paragraph a boost, maybe what Peter had to suffer for breaking a rule, and even knowing what rule he broke, because if it's something minor then that wold given us a bigger sense of the unfairness

 

During a mission, the Leaguers stumble upon information suggesting the headmaster is not just a bully, but may actually have a criminal past. An example of what kinds of crimes they suspect would be good The club’s mission changes from small acts of vigilante justice again, an example of what the club does would be great, even if it's just taping a sign to the headmaster's back that says "kick me" to uncovering the truth. But when Samantha mysteriously disappears and is pronounced missing, you could probably either just say she "mysteriously disappears" or "is pronounced missing", I don't think you need both Peter is convinced that the headmaster is behind it. Now he must use all his skills and ingenuity to unmask the headmaster and to save his friend, before it is too late.  I like the stakes, but again, knowing the crimes the headmaster is suspected of will help give the reader know how high the stakes are.  Right now, I find myself asking, "too late for what?" because I don't know what they suspect the headmaster of doing, but that's an easy fix. :)

 

THE LEAGUE is a standalone middle grade adventure novel, complete at 43,000 words.

 

Sorry for all the red, it's not that I think this query needs a lot of work, I just had a lot to say. ;)  In fact, this query is pretty solid, I think it just lacks a few details that will give the stakes more meaning.  Mostly what I think will help is adding what the club suspects the headmaster's crimes are, an example of their vigilante justice (probably best stated in the second paragraph when you introduce Samantha), and what kinds of rules and punishments exist at Hortson so that the reader can more fully sympathize with the students' plight.

 

This does sound like a fun story and reminds me a little bit of MATILDA (evil headmaster...or mistress in Matilda's case, making students want revenge). :D


Newest Query:

TIME GUARDIAN

 

Older Queries:

THE BELIEVER

THE MYSTIC ROAD


#5 Mister M.

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 01:51 PM

The hook doesn't work for me: When they find out about his past they have to survive... Did the headmaster discover that they found out and he wants to eliminate them? 



#6 Cheryl B. Dale

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 03:30 PM

Hi all! This is a query I've been working on for my new MS, The League. I feel like I've been staring at it long enough and now I'm in need of some fresh eyes. Any input would be greatly appreciated ;) Thanks, guys!

 

------------------------------------

 

 

Thirteen-year-old Peter Hold has just become a member of his school’s secret vigilante club, aimed at resisting their tyrant headmaster. But when the club members uncover the headmaster’s criminal past, their main goal becomes survival.

 

At the Horston Academy, rules are as severe as the weather on the windblown island where it’s founded, and punishment for transgressions is severe. After Peter dares to break a rule, he is approached by Samantha, a transfer girl, recruiting members into The League, an underground club that will fight against the school’s unfair system.

 

During a mission, the Leaguers stumble upon information suggesting the headmaster is not just a bully, but may actually have a criminal past. The club’s mission changes from small acts of vigilante justice to uncovering the truth. But when Samantha mysteriously disappears and is pronounced missing, Peter is convinced that the headmaster is behind it. Now he must use all his skills and ingenuity to unmask the headmaster and to save his friend, before it is too late.

 

THE LEAGUE is a standalone middle grade adventure, complete at 43,000 words.

 

The hook doesn't work. It simply tells what is restated in the query later on. Readers don't like to hear things over and over. Once is plenty.

 

The storyline itself sounds good. The conflict is clear. Peter must find his friend but has to unmask the headmaster to do it, before it's too late. So really it's the presentation you need to work on.

 

I'd find another hook and continue polishing the rest (doing away with passives, echoes, and trying to be more concise).

 

Just my opinion. Hope it helps.



#7 Shelly Jasperson

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 07:11 PM

Hi all! This is a query I've been working on for my new MS, The League. I feel like I've been staring at it long enough and now I'm in need of some fresh eyes. Any input would be greatly appreciated ;) Thanks, guys!

 

------------------------------------

 

 

Thirteen-year-old Peter Hold has just become a member of his school’s secret vigilante club, aimed at resisting their tyrant headmaster. But when the club members uncover the headmaster’s criminal past, their main goal becomes survival.

 

Really good hook! I love it! One thing though, I'm pretty sure a 13-yr-old MC puts you into the YA category. 

 

At the Horston Academy, rules are as severe as the weather on the windblown island where it’s founded, (this metaphor is a gem!) and punishment for transgressions is (are) severe. After Peter dares to break a rule, he is approached by Samantha, a transfer girl, recruiting members into The League, an underground club that will fight against the school’s unfair system.

 

 

Feels like you just told us this in the hook. 

 

During a mission, the Leaguers stumble upon information suggesting the headmaster is not just a bully, but may actually have a criminal past. (Again, you're just reiterating the hook.) The club’s mission changes from small acts of vigilante justice to uncovering the truth. But when Samantha mysteriously disappears and is pronounced missing, Peter is convinced that the headmaster is behind it. Now he must use all his skills and ingenuity to unmask the headmaster and to save his friend, before it is too late.

 

THE LEAGUE is a standalone middle grade adventure, complete at 43,000 words.

Sounds really cool! 


Please visit my query The Memoirs of Nigel Beauregard. I could use the help! 


#8 D.V.Perry

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 11:16 PM

I loved the Calcifer reference so I couldn't resist seeing what you had up. I'll give my opinion, but forgive that I'm no expect lol. I'll do what I can to hell.

Hi all! This is a query I've been working on for my new MS, The League. I feel like I've been staring at it long enough and now I'm in need of some fresh eyes. Any input would be greatly appreciated ;) Thanks, guys!

 

------------------------------------

 

 

Thirteen-year-old (this is definitely up in the YA range. If you want to stick to MG I'd recommend downgrading his page or upgrading your category to YA.) Peter Hold has just become  became a member of his middle or high school’s secret vigilante club, aimed at resisting maybe try ;rebelling against' their tyrant headmaster. But when the club members uncover the headmaster’s criminal past, their main goal becomes survival.

 

At the Horston Academy, rules are as severe as the weather on the windblown island where it’s founded, and punishment for transgressions is severe  are dire. After Peter dares to break a rule, he is approached by Samantha last name  a transfer girl, recruiting members into The League, an underground club that will fight against the school’s unfair system.

 

During a mission, the Leaguers stumble upon information suggesting the headmaster is not just a bully, but may actually have a criminal past. The club’s mission changes from small acts of vigilante justice to uncovering the truth. But when Samantha mysteriously disappears and is pronounced missing, Peter is convinced that the headmaster is behind it. Now, he must use all his skills and ingenuity to unmask the headmaster and to save his friend before it is too late.

 

THE LEAGUE is a standalone middle grade adventure, complete at 43,000 words.

 

 

This is a very interesting storyline. I like the mystery and suspense. However, there was a tiny extra bit of repetition and passiveness used. I cut out a few in order to keep the flow smooth without coming off as "has to do" or "had to do" or "is" or "was". I've learned that having too many passives can chop your query's flow. Hope I was of some help. ^_^


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#9 LittleJoni

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 11:36 PM

Just popping in to say that in general a 13-year-old MC is considered MG, not YA.  But age alone isn't the end-all-be-all of determining a book's age category.  The theme, tone, and voice of this query, along with the MC's age put it firmly in MG.

 

Pops out.


Newest Query:

TIME GUARDIAN

 

Older Queries:

THE BELIEVER

THE MYSTIC ROAD


#10 Calcifer

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 08:26 AM

Cheryl and Mister, I see what you mean about the hook. Think I found a way to fix it.

 

Shelly and Perry, I very much appreciate your comments. Have to agree with Joni about the MC's age, though. 13 is still MG. For it to be YA, the MC would have to be at least 15. And also, As Joni said, there's the context to consider.

 

Not going to post a new version of the query yet, I'm still working on it and revising the ms.


THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS Query: http://agentquerycon...-grade-fantasy/

 

THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB Query: http://agentquerycon...998-the-league/

 

 


#11 Calcifer

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 01:02 PM

This is a new and revised version of my query. This one doesn't have a traditional hook, but I hope it works:

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Thirteen-year-old Peter Holm believes he’s not one for rule-breaking. All he wants is to get through another year at Horston Academy and avoid detention. Even punishments aside, life at Horston is still about as pleasant as a freezing shower in winter, which happens to be one of its rigors.

 

Peter learns he’s more rebel than he thought, when his new friend, Samantha, proposes to start a secret club to challenge the school’s authority, and he says yes. It’s just that the club’s missions − such as breaking into the Headmaster’s office and stealing back the confiscated desserts − are simply too fun to turn down.

 

But what starts out as a series of exciting escapades, turns grave when Peter discovers their Headmaster could be a murderer. And when Sam mysteriously disappears, he’s convinced that the Headmaster’s behind it. Now he must use all his ingenuity to outwit the criminal in charge of his school and rescue Sam, before she becomes the next victim.

 

THE LEAGUE is a middle grade contemporary adventure, complete at 48,000 words.


THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS Query: http://agentquerycon...-grade-fantasy/

 

THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB Query: http://agentquerycon...998-the-league/

 

 


#12 Yuffie

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 01:07 PM

This is really good! I can't find anything to criticise. The tone is witty and upbeat. Not sure if the comma in that last sentence is necessary, but beyond that, looks really good.


I'd really appreciate some feedback on my query for Guardian Redemption: http://agentquerycon...t-high-fantasy/


#13 RumthackerCooley

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 02:41 PM

Sounds great! The only part that was momentarily confusing:

Peter learns he’s more rebel than he thought, when his new friend, Samantha, proposes to start a secret club to challenge the school’s authority, and he says yes.

 

It didn't seem like he was directly being asked something to say "yes" to. As if it was Samantha who was proposing to start the club on her own. That's just how it reads to me.

 

I might change this to:

 

...new friend, Samantha, asks him to help her start a secret club to challenge the school’s authority, and he says yes.

 

Or, depending on the actual story:

 

...new friend, Samantha, asks him to join a secret club dedicated to challenging the school’s authority, and he says yes.

 

Regardless, the story sounds great. I know that I'd want to read it. And I would certainly get it for my son!



#14 trickster71

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 02:45 PM

Thirteen-year-old Peter Holm believes he’s  is not one for rule-breaking. All he wants is to get through another year at Horston Academy and avoid detention. Even punishments aside, life at Horston is still about as pleasant as a freezing shower in winter, which happens to be one of its rigors.

 

Peter learns he’  is more rebellious than he thought,I would end the sentence here and start a new one. when his new friend, Samantha, proposes to start a secret club to challenge the school’s authority, and he says yes. It’s just that the club’s missions − such as breaking into the Headmaster’s office and stealing back the confiscated desserts − are simply too fun to turn down.

 

But what starts out as a series of exciting escapades, turns grave when Peter discovers their Headmaster could be a murderer. And when Sam you may consider  continuing with the name Samantha.  It took me a minute to figure out who Sam was. mysteriously disappears, he’s convinced that the Headmaster’s behind it. Now he must use all his ingenuity to outwit the criminal in charge of his school and rescue Sam, before she becomes the next victim. She already is a victim.  She has disappeared, right?

 

What a cute story idea!  You are super close on this query.  Good job!

 

THE LEAGUE is a middle grade contemporary adventure, complete at 48,000 words.


Want a more in-depth critique/edit of your query, synopsis, or MS?

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#15 MJ O'Neill

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 04:28 PM

This is a new and revised version of my query. This one doesn't have a traditional hook, but I hope it works:

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Thirteen-year-old Peter Holm believes he’s not one for rule-breaking. All he wants is to get through another year at Horston Academy and avoid detention. Even punishments aside, life at Horston is still about as pleasant as a freezing shower in winter, which happens to be one of its rigors. I like this addition of voice over your previous hook, but this doesn't shout "read me". I think it was more powerful when you were focused on the Headmaster being a murder. Maybe you could merge these two sentiments. Something like "When 13 yo Peter Holm told his mom Horston Academy Middle School was murder, he was mostly being sarcastic. But when his best friend goes missing, the joke might be on him." Not that, but you get the idea.

 

Peter learns he’s more rebel than he thought, why? You spent the hook telling us he was an ocd rule follower. This seems to immediately counter that. when his new friend, Samantha, proposes to start a secret club to challenge the school’s authority, and he says yes. It’s just that the club’s missions − such as breaking into the Headmaster’s office and stealing back the confiscated desserts − are simply too fun to turn down. So he's a rule stickler as long as there is no fun involved?

 

But what starts out as a series of exciting escapades, turns grave when Peter discovers their Headmaster could be a murderer. And when Samantha mysteriously disappears, he’s convinced that the Headmaster’s behind it. Now he must use all his ingenuity to outwit the criminal in charge of his school and rescue Samatha, before she becomes the next victim. I like the stakes in this ending.

 

THE LEAGUE is a middle grade contemporary adventure, complete at 48,000 words.

 

Cute story. I think this is closer than my red notes might indicate. I don't think your hook is working yet.

 

One thing to consider - you spend a lot of this query on the back story of how he gets to the club and the mystery, but not much on the mystery or Peter's personality that lets him solve it. You might get more voice mileage if you switched it up, making the club joining back story less and the mystery solving more.

 

Keep plugging!


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#16 Write-Handed

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 04:42 PM

You have a very good query, and I think trickster's LBL really polishes it up. You might still want to consider a one-line hook to grab the agent's attention. Something like, "When thirteen-year-old Peter Holm join's his school's vigilante club, he uncovers that the headmaster may be a murderer." You can probably write it better than I just did, but you see that it immediately tells the agent what is unique about this story.

 

I love your story, and you're well on your way to a polished query.



#17 Calcifer

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 08:00 PM

MJ, thanks for the hook suggestion, I might just use it in my next version ;)

 

Thanks for all the editing suggestions, guys!


THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS Query: http://agentquerycon...-grade-fantasy/

 

THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB Query: http://agentquerycon...998-the-league/

 

 


#18 Calcifer

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 01:40 PM

I rewrote my query taking the advise and comments about the last version. Here's the result :)

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Thirteen-year-old Peter Holm compared the island of Horston Academy to a floating prison, he had no idea its “warden” might be a murderer.

 

Life at Horston is as pleasant as a freezing shower in winter, which happens to be one of its rigors. When Peter’s new friend, Samantha, asks him to help her start a secret club to challenge the school’s authority, he quickly agrees. The club’s missions – such as breaking into the Headmaster’s office and stealing back the confiscated desserts − are simply too fun to pass on.  

 

But what starts out as a series of exciting escapades, turns grave when Peter discovers their Headmaster could be a murderer. And when Samantha disappears, Peter’s sure the Headmaster has taken her, and suspects he knows where. To rescue his friend, he ventures into the treacherous caves beneath the island, where he must overcome the Headmaster’s most guarded secret and outwit the criminal in charge of his school, before Samantha becomes his next murder victim. 

 

THE LEAGUE is a middle grade contemporary adventure, complete at 48,000 words.


THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS Query: http://agentquerycon...-grade-fantasy/

 

THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB Query: http://agentquerycon...998-the-league/

 

 


#19 RumthackerCooley

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 01:54 PM

Sounds great! The one thing that strikes me as problematic is that since you mention that the "warden" might be a murderer in your hook, it seems like you're repeating yourself in the beginning of the third paragraph.



#20 Calcifer

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 02:09 PM

Good point, Rum. I hadn't noticed that. What if in the third paragraph I substitute with something like "...Peter discovers their Headmaster has a bloody past"? 


THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS Query: http://agentquerycon...-grade-fantasy/

 

THE CONSPIRATOR'S CLUB Query: http://agentquerycon...998-the-league/

 

 






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