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TRUE NORTH (YA dark) | final at #47

Young Adult Thrillers/Suspense Multi-Cultural

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#21 jbodd

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 08:22 PM

North is extraordinary— and in the violent post-Shutdown world, she must conceal it. All Extra Ordinems like her are by law the exclusive property of the Control, imprisoned at a young age by the brutal agency of power. For what dark purpose, no one knows, and North hopes to never find out. But one sketch out of line and she could become a victim herself, as tortured and dead as anyone she captures on paper.   Love this line!

 

Unexpected Support from a disenfranchised rural community propels North away from despair and into forward motion, and she learns firsthand that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action. If it’s deep enough, she’ll find a fierce strength that’s beyond extraordinary. I like this line a lot, but feel like the next bit detracts and feels weak, and the will to overcome imminent harm. She could even save more than the person she loves. What else will she save? More detailed here, I think.

 

 

I've just posted a query today and I'm learning a lot by the progression of other's. This sounds like a great story, and your query is getting better and better! I hope I can make mine half as compelling. Good luck!


JBodd ~

 

If you have time, please take a look at my first paragraphs, Cleaning House  http://agentquerycon...market-fiction/

 

Or my title hunt [http://agentquerycon...omething-else/]


#22 marisajane

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 09:46 PM

Thanks jbodd!

 

Anyone reading- this next draft happened real fast because some things hit me. You might want to see version #5 also in case i've fallen off the mark now. 

 

Draft #6

 

Dear Ms. Agent, 

 

Seventeen-year-old North McNeil was born with eyes like cameras and the talent to draw exactly what she sees— and this makes her a threat. 

 

North is extraordinary, and in the violent post-Shutdown world, she must conceal it. All Extra Ordinems like her are the exclusive property of the Control, imprisoned at a young age by the brutal agency of power. For what dark purpose, no one knows, and North never wants to learn. 

 

But her skill comes in so very handy at the crime scenes she covertly investigates alongside her best friend Ranger. With her retired detective father’s blessing, of course. Just one sketch out of line and she could become a victim herself, as tortured and dead as anyone she captures on paper. 

 

Like the broken, bloodied girl whose death scene North can’t shake from her mind. What was she running from? North, Ranger and her father are getting closer to finding out. But just as a dangerous truth begins to emerge, North's ability is exposed, and her father is killed by the Control. Now a target herself, she is forced out on the run with Ranger by her side. When the same agents who murdered North's father hunt them down, and Ranger surrenders himself to protect her, she must choose between succumbing to her grief and a suicidal rescue mission. Unexpected support from a disenfranchised community propels North from despair into forward motion, and she realizes that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action. If it’s deep enough, she’ll find a fierce strength that’s beyond extraordinary. And she’ll save a lot more than one life. 

 

TRUE NORTH, a dark YA thriller with romance elements and diverse characters, is complete at 53,000 words and is book one of two. My background as a feminist multimedia artist has helped shape this narrative.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration!


TRUE NORTH ​query

BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO BUTTERFLIES 250


#23 jbodd

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Posted 20 November 2015 - 09:49 AM

Nice work! The ending "and she'll save a lot more than one life" is great.

 

The only thing I'd change would be to add a "But" to one sketch out of line.  "But one sketch out of line and she....."

That's because it seemed too abrupt to go from her dad's blessing to the possibility of her getting tortured and murdered in the next sentence.


JBodd ~

 

If you have time, please take a look at my first paragraphs, Cleaning House  http://agentquerycon...market-fiction/

 

Or my title hunt [http://agentquerycon...omething-else/]


#24 waxesnostalgic

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Posted 21 November 2015 - 07:30 PM

Thanks jbodd!

 

Anyone reading- this next draft happened real fast because some things hit me. You might want to see version #5 also in case i've fallen off the mark now. 

 

Draft #6

 

Dear Ms. Agent, 

 

Seventeen-year-old North McNeil was born with eyes like cameras and the talent to draw exactly what she sees— and this makes her a threat. 

 

North is extraordinary, and in the violent post-Shutdown world, she must conceal it. All Extra Ordinems like her are the exclusive property of the Control, imprisoned at a young age by the brutal agency of power. No one knows for what dark purpose, no one knows, and North never wants to learn. 

 

But her skill comes in so very (these two words are both more-or-less meaningless and usually are recommended to cut in fiction prose. Maybe something stronger like 'extremely'?) handy at the crime scenes she covertly investigates alongside her best friend Ranger. (I agree with jbodd, at "But" here for a better transition) With her retired detective father’s blessing, of course. Just one sketch out of line and she could become a victim herself, as tortured and dead as anyone she captures on paper. (Great!)

 

Like the broken, bloodied girl whose death scene North can’t shake from her mind. What was she running from? North, Ranger and her father are getting closer to finding out. But just as a dangerous truth begins to emerge, North's ability is exposed, and her father is killed by the Control. Now a target herself, she is forced out on the run with Ranger by her side. When the same agents who murdered North's father hunt them down, and Ranger surrenders himself to protect her, she must choose between succumbing to her grief and a suicidal rescue mission. Unexpected support from a disenfranchised community propels North from despair into forward motion, and she realizes that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action. (This just isn't specific enough to work for me... How are they disenfranchised? What kind of support do they give her? The last part seems wordy too and a little cliche-ish. Perhaps "love is not a deep feeling, but a deep action") If it’s deep enough, she’ll find a fierce strength that’s beyond extraordinary. And she’ll save a lot more than one life. 

 

TRUE NORTH, a dark YA thriller with romance elements and diverse characters, is complete at 53,000 words and is book one of two a duology?. My background as a feminist multimedia artist has helped shape this narrative.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration!

This has become much stronger and more exciting. Your beginning is really strong now. I think you do need some work on the vagueness is the last few sentences, though. 



#25 K.J. Harrowick

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Posted 21 November 2015 - 08:03 PM

Thanks jbodd!

 

Anyone reading- this next draft happened real fast because some things hit me. You might want to see version #5 also in case i've fallen off the mark now. 

 

Draft #6

 

Dear Ms. Agent, 

 

Seventeen-year-old North McNeil was born with eyes like cameras and the talent to draw exactly what she sees— and this makes her a threat. (The last bit is strong, but it sounds tacked on. Also, the 'and' in the last bit clunks up the rhythm a little. Maybe delete the second 'and' ?)

 

North is extraordinary, (vague word. Is there another more specific word that shows this?) and in the violent post-Shutdown world, (not sure this comma is needed) she must conceal it. All Extra Ordinems like her are the exclusive property of the Control, imprisoned at a young age by the brutal agency of power. For what dark purpose, no one knows, and North never wants to learn. 

 

But her skill comes in so very handy at the crime scenes she covertly investigates alongside her best friend Ranger. (This statement feels like a run-on. Maybe a comma somewhere to smooth out the flow?) With her retired detective (<--Are these two labels needed? Seems wordy.) father’s blessing, of course. (Also, this sentence is a fragment) Just one sketch out of line and she could become a victim herself, as tortured and dead as anyone she captures on paper. (This statement feels stronger if you cut everything after the comma, especially with the strong adjectives in the next line)

 

Like the broken, bloodied girl whose death scene North can’t shake from her mind. What was she running from? (Rhetorical question. Is this needed?) North, Ranger and her father are getting closer to finding out. But jJust as a dangerous truth begins to emerge emerges, North's ability is exposed, and her father is killed by the Control. Now a target herself, she is forced out on the to run with Ranger by her side. When the same agents who murdered North's father hunt them down, and Ranger surrenders himself to protect her, she must choose between succumbing to her grief and a suicidal rescue mission. Unexpected support from a disenfranchised community (This phrase is too vague. Does this group have a name?) propels North from despair into forward motion, and she realizes that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action.(All of this from 'propels' onward is confusing and wordy) If it’s deep enough, she’ll find a fierce strength that’s beyond extraordinary. And she’ll save a lot more than one life. 

 

TRUE NORTH, a dark YA thriller with romance elements and diverse characters, is complete at 53,000 words and is book one of two. My background as a feminist multimedia artist has helped shape this narrative.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration!

 

 

I have to say, this query is intriguing. Definitely got me wanting to know more. :wub:


 

K. J. Harrowick

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#26 marisajane

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Posted 21 November 2015 - 10:55 PM

Thanks everyone! I'm taking in many of your edits right now, very helpful! I am running into this though- some things i'm trying to delete/streamline as suggested, then deciding to leave in place because the meaning does shift ever so slightly away from what's intended without them. And now it's all so interconnected/interdependent. Added b/c more clarity was needed.. now they seem like extra.. it's funny how you sort of circle back on yourself  :blink: Anyone else feeling this? Is it just the query spiral? a quiral, even? 

 

Also, i have two buts :Woah!:  :Woah!:  in that one instance you all pointed out. I saw it while writing the draft, but wanted to avoid the double buts  :Woah!:  :Woah!:

Does a yet work? 

But her skill comes in extremely handy at the crime scenes she covertly investigates alongside her best friend Ranger. With her retired detective father’s blessing, of course. Yet just one sketch out of line and she could become a victim herself, as tortured and dead as anyone she captures on paper. 


TRUE NORTH ​query

BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO BUTTERFLIES 250


#27 marisajane

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 12:32 AM

^ question from me up in #26 ^

 

Draft #7

 

Dear Ms. Agent, 

 

Seventeen-year-old North McNeil was born with eyes like cameras and the talent to draw exactly what she sees— and this makes her a threat. 

 

North is extraordinary, and in the violent post-Shutdown world she must conceal it. All Extra Ordinems like her are the exclusive property of the Control, imprisoned at a young age by the brutal agency of power. For what dark purpose, no one knows, and North never wants to learn. 

 

But her gift comes in super handy at the crime scenes she covertly investigates alongside her best friend Ranger. With her retired detective father’s blessing, of course. Yet just one sketch out of line and she could become a victim herself, as tortured and dead as anyone she captures on paper. 

 

Like the broken, bloodied girl whose death scene North can’t shake from her mind. What was she running from? North, Ranger and her father are getting closer to finding out. Just as the dangerous truth begins to emerge, North's ability is exposed, and her father is killed by the Control. Now a target, she is forced out on the run with Ranger by her side. When they’re hunted down by the same agents who murdered North's father, and Ranger surrenders himself to protect her, she must choose between succumbing to her grief and a suicidal rescue mission. Newfound support from a disenfranchised community of tenacious citizens propels North from despair into forward motion. She soon realizes that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action. If it’s deep enough, she’ll find a fierce strength that’s beyond extraordinary. And she’ll save a lot more than one life. 

 

TRUE NORTH, a dark YA thriller with romance elements and diverse characters, is complete at 53,000 words and is book one of a duology. My background as a feminist multimedia artist has helped shape this narrative.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration!


TRUE NORTH ​query

BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO BUTTERFLIES 250


#28 ah_522

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 06:13 PM

^ question from me up in #26 ^

 

Draft #7

 

Dear Ms. Agent, 

 

Seventeen-year-old North McNeil was born with eyes like cameras and the talent to draw exactly what she sees— and this makes her a threat. 

 

North is extraordinary, and in the violent post-Shutdown world she must conceal it. All Extra Ordinems (I'm going to be slightly picky b/c I used to be a Latinist and say Ordinems is the singular accusative case, and ordines is the plural accusative case... Just in case you get published and people like myself who know Latin might find the language usage iffy) like her are the exclusive property of the Control, (misplaced modifier) imprisoned at a young age by the brutal agency of power that  imprisons the gifted at a young age. For what dark purpose, no one knows, and North never wants to learn. (awk phrasing)

 

But her gift comes in super (when you query, take out the italics) handy at the crime scenes she covertly investigates alongside her best friend Ranger EM DASH with her retired detective father’s blessing, of course. Yet just one sketch out of line (why? I'm confused. Do criminals come after her? Does that mean the Control will capture her? Don't make an agent guess. Spell it out.) and she could become a victim herself, as tortured and dead as anyone she captures on paper. 

 

Like the broken, bloodied girl whose death scene North can’t shake from her mind. What was she running from? (Is this detail necessary? It doesn't feel like it. Maybe say 'After they stumble onto a brutal murder that horrifies North, she and Ranger decide to investigate...') North, Ranger and her father are getting closer to finding out. Just as the dangerous truth begins to emerge, North's ability is exposed, and her father is killed by the Control. Now a target, she is forced out on the run with Ranger by her side. When they’re hunted down by the same agents who murdered North's father, and Ranger surrenders himself to protect her, she must choose between succumbing to her grief and a suicidal rescue mission. Newfound support from a disenfranchised community of tenacious citizens propels North from despair into forward motion. She soon realizes that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action. If it’s deep enough, she’ll find a fierce strength that’s beyond extraordinary. And she’ll save a lot more than one life. 

 

This is all unnecessary. All this stuff can (and should) be summarised in one line, such as 'Forced on the run with Ranger by her side, North must solve her father's murder while dealing with depression and grief. As Ranger guards her....blah blah blah.'

 

Point is, be succinct and specific, but also give hints. A lot of agents will only look at a hook before they decide whether or not to go on, and you want your story to flow well together. 

 

TRUE NORTH, a dark YA thriller with romance elements and diverse characters, is complete at 53,000 words and is book one of a duology. My background as a feminist multimedia artist has helped shape this narrative.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration! (take out the exclamation point for a period. ! is campy and unprofessional.)

 

Good luck! Hope my comments weren't too harsh. 



#29 marisajane

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 06:40 PM

Yep, pretty harsh ah_522! :smile: You might also consider offering people what, if anything, they're doing right as well as negs. Leading or even closing with the positive is my go-to. 

 

And THANK YOU for your edits! I def appreciate it. 


TRUE NORTH ​query

BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO BUTTERFLIES 250


#30 Cinder Elly

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 04:17 PM

^ question from me up in #26 ^

 

Draft #7

 

Dear Ms. Agent, 

 

Seventeen-year-old North McNeil was born with eyes like cameras and the talent to draw exactly what she sees— and this makes her a threat. 

 

North is extraordinary, and in the violent post-Shutdown world (still want more here, there are a lot of dark futures out there in fiction we need to know what yours is like and what makes it special) she must conceal it. All Extra Ordinems like her are the exclusive property of the Control, imprisoned at a young age by the brutal agency of power. For what dark purpose, no one knows, and North never wants to learn. 

 

But her gift comes in super handy at the crime scenes she covertly investigates alongside her best friend Ranger. With her retired detective father’s blessing, of course  even. (I prefer even. This isn't an "of course" situation to me. It would be a lot for a father in a normal world to sanction his daughter hanging out around crime scenes, let alone in a world where he knows her power makes her a target.)  Yet just one sketch out of line and she could become a victim herself, as tortured and dead as anyone she captures on paper. (I like this but it does make me wonder why she is doing this? If it's not her job and she knows it could get her killed what compels her to do it? Is it something the gift makes her feel like she has to do?)

 

Like the broken, bloodied girl whose death scene North can’t shake from her mind. (I really like this.) What was she running from? North feels compelled by the haunting images to find out while Ranger and her father just want to make sure this isn't the investigation that gets her killed. North, Ranger and her father are getting closer to finding out. (This doesn't work for me. Up to this point we had no indication that her father was helping them and the only part of their investigations we've heard about is her sketches. Here's a possible alternative...) Just as the dangerous truth begins to emerge, North's ability is exposed, and her father is killed murdered by the Control. Now a target, she is forced out on the run with Ranger by her side. When they’re hunted down by the same agents who murdered North's father, and North thinks she has nothing left to lose until Ranger surrenders himself to protect her. Now she must choose between succumbing to her grief and a suicidal rescue mission  giving herself over to the Control or find the courage to stage a suicidal rescue mission. New found support from a disenfranchised community of tenacious citizens propels North from despair into forward motion. (we need more here if this is important to the plot. Are they other Ordinems?) She soon realizes that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action. If it’s deep enough, she’ll find a fierce strength that has nothing to do with her gift and yet is beyond extraordinary. And she’ll save a lot more than one life. (might want to look for ways to make this a complete sentence)

 

TRUE NORTH, a dark YA thriller with romance elements and diverse characters, is complete at 53,000 words and is book one of a duology. My background as a feminist multimedia artist has helped shape this narrative. (I am getting that this last line is important to you to include, but I'm not really getting how it applies to the story or what an agent is supposed to take from this. If you feel strongly about it leave it in, but just letting you know my impressions as a reader).

 

Thank you for your time and consideration!

This is much stronger than the first draft I read, there are some details that I really love and I'm less confused than I was before. I do think some things are drifting the other way though and getting less clear or too wordy. Overall, I'm really excited for you with all the progress you've made. It is shaping up to sound like a book I would like to read!



#31 marisajane

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 06:42 PM

Draft #8

 

Dear Ms. Agent, 

 

Seventeen-year-old North McNeil was born with eyes like cameras and the talent to draw exactly what she sees— and this makes her a threat. 

 

North is extraordinary, but her life doesn’t belong to her. At least not according to the Control. All Extra Ordinems are their exclusive property, imprisoned at a young age by this brutal agency of power. And in the violent post-Shutdown world, where technology is scarce, North is an especially valuable asset. She’s alive and free only because she and her father conceal her ability. 

 

But North can’t help it if her gift comes in super handy, and as long as she’s careful, there’s no reason not to investigate a few crime scenes alongside her best friend Ranger. When she's working a homicide, North's skills have a purpose. Yet one sketch out of line and she could become a victim herself, as tortured and dead as anyone she captures on paper. 

 

Like the broken, bloodied girl whose death scene North can’t shake from her mind. What was she running from? North feels compelled to seek the answers. But just as the dangerous truth begins to emerge, North is exposed, and the Control murders her father. Now a target, she is forced out on the run with Ranger by her side. North thinks she has nothing left to lose until a vicious encounter ends with Ranger surrendering himself to protect her. Now she must choose between succumbing to her grief and certain capture, or staging a suicidal rescue mission. Newfound support propels North from despair into forward motion, and she soon realizes that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action. If it’s deep enough she’ll find a fierce strength that is beyond extraordinary. Her fight could even save more than one life. 

 

TRUE NORTH, a dark YA thriller with romance elements and diverse characters, is complete at 53,000 words and is book one of a duology. My background as a feminist multimedia artist has helped shape this narrative.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration!

 

--

  • AlternativeNewfound support from a disenfranchised community of tenacious outsiders, one of them an Extra Ordinem like her, propels North from despair into forward motion. She soon realizes that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action.
  • Note on Latin Extra Ordinem: in the text, it appears 1x as singular, Extra Ordinem. From then on it's abbreviated as EO or EOs. Latin grammar sabers can be sheathed :) 
  • Bio line notes: In the same way that a doctor might say she's a doctor if her story is about a doctor, or a salesman might mention his experience in door to door sales if his work is about that, I am stating that I am an artist as a qualification- my protagonist is an artist. I am also stating that I am a feminist, which in North's story means than female power can exist without compromise. If neither of these is coming through in a clear way, I'll cut it. I don't enjoy going on at length about myself but I do feel that one line that speaks to personal background/motivation kind of humanizes the letter. Again, if I'm wrong, out it goes. 

 

:biggrin: THANK YOU EVERYONE i'll gladly return your critiques. 


TRUE NORTH ​query

BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO BUTTERFLIES 250


#32 KellyS

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 09:15 PM

Draft #8

 

Dear Ms. Agent, 

 

Seventeen-year-old North McNeil was born with eyes like cameras and the talent to draw exactly what she sees—and this makes her a threat. 

 

North is extraordinary, but her life doesn’t belong to her. At least not according to the Control. All Extra Ordinems are their exclusive property, imprisoned at a young age by this brutal agency of power. And in the violent post-Shutdown world, where technology is scarce, North is an especially valuable asset. She’s alive and free only because she and her father conceal her ability. (I think you can streamline this a bit)

 

 

But North can’t help it if her gift comes in super handy, and as long as she’s careful, there’s no reason not to investigate a few crime scenes alongside her best friend Ranger. When she's working a homicide<--this sounds likes she's a professional detective), North's skills have a purpose. Yet one sketch out of line and she could become a victim herself, as tortured and dead as anyone she captures on paper. 

 

Like the broken, bloodied girl whose death scene North can’t shake from her mind. What was she running from?

 

(I think you can sum up the sentences I italicized above with something like, "But North risks revealing her skill when she <sneaks onto?>  the crime scene of a murdered girl and draws her body." )--->I'm sure you can phrase it better. This is just an idea of how to tell it succinctly. I don't think you need to tell us that she could become a victim if she gets caught, because the previous paragraph already does that.)

 

North feels compelled to seek the answers. But just as the dangerous truth begins to emerge, North is exposed, and the Control murders her father. Now a target, she is forced out on the run with Ranger by her side. North thinks she has nothing left to lose until a vicious encounter ends with Ranger surrendering himself to protect her. Now she must choose between succumbing to her grief and certain capture, or staging a suicidal rescue mission. Newfound support (I would either go into more detail about the newfound support or nix it from the query. I think wanting to save her best friend is enough of a catalyst query-wise, but if you streamline above, there would be more room to go into the newfound support.) propels North from despair into forward motion, and she soon realizes that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action. If it’s deep enough she’ll find a fierce strength that is beyond extraordinary. Her fight could even save more than one life. (I think you could end by showing the stakes more clearly. Like, "North must choose: hide from the Control to save herself, or risk her life to save her best friend." Or something like, "If North can't accomplish A, then B will happen." Again, I know you can phrase it better. This is just an example of how you might format the stakes at the end.)

 

TRUE NORTH, a dark YA thriller with romance elements and diverse characters, is complete at 53,000 words and is book one of a duology. with series potential. My background as a feminist multimedia artist has helped shape this narrative.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration!

 

--

  • AlternativeNewfound support from a disenfranchised community of tenacious outsiders, one of them an Extra Ordinem like her, propels North from despair into forward motion. She soon realizes that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action.
  • Note on Latin Extra Ordinem: in the text, it appears 1x as singular, Extra Ordinem. From then on it's abbreviated as EO or EOs. Latin grammar sabers can be sheathed :) 
  • Bio line notes: In the same way that a doctor might say she's a doctor if her story is about a doctor, or a salesman might mention his experience in door to door sales if his work is about that, I am stating that I am an artist as a qualification- my protagonist is an artist. I am also stating that I am a feminist, which in North's story means than female power can exist without compromise. If neither of these is coming through in a clear way, I'll cut it. I don't enjoy going on at length about myself but I do feel that one line that speaks to personal background/motivation kind of humanizes the letter. Again, if I'm wrong, out it goes. 

 

:biggrin: THANK YOU EVERYONE i'll gladly return your critiques. 

This is good! Besides the edits above, I'd add in anything you can to show what sets your story apart from others in the genre.

All the best!



#33 elysezane

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 01:48 AM

Draft #8

 

Dear Ms. Agent, 

 

Seventeen-year-old North McNeil was born with eyes like cameras and the talent to draw exactly what she sees— and this makes her a threat. 

 

North is extraordinary, but her life doesn’t belong to her. At least not according to the Control. All Extra Ordinems are their exclusive property, imprisoned at a young age by this brutal agency of power. I think this is understood without your having to spell it out. And in the violent post-Shutdown world, where technology is scarce, North is an especially valuable asset. She’s alive and free only because she and her father conceal her ability. 

 

But North can’t help it if her gift comes in super handy, and as long as she’s careful, there’s no reason not to investigate a few crime scenes alongside her best friend Ranger. When she's working a homicide, North's skills have a purpose. Yet one sketch out of line and she could become a victim herself, as tortured and dead as anyone she captures on paper. 

 

Like the broken, bloodied girl whose death scene North can’t shake from her mind. What was she running from? North feels compelled to seek the answers. But just as the dangerous truth begins to emerge, North is exposed, and the Control murders her father. Now a target, she is forced out on the run with Ranger by her side. North thinks she has nothing left to lose until a vicious encounter ends with Ranger surrendering himself to protect her. Now she must choose between succumbing to her grief and certain capture, or staging a suicidal rescue mission. Newfound support propels North from despair into forward motion, and she soon realizes that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action. If it’s deep enough she’ll find a fierce strength that is beyond extraordinary. Her fight could even save more than one life. 

I think you've got too much plot in this query. It's supposed to be a tease, not a synopsis. This last paragraph in particular should be condensed.

 

TRUE NORTH, a dark YA thriller with romance elements and diverse characters, is complete at 53,000 words and is book one of a duology. My background as a feminist multimedia artist has helped shape this narrative. I like the title and also Rose's suggestion about "series potential."

 

Thank you for your time and consideration!

 

--

  • AlternativeNewfound support from a disenfranchised community of tenacious outsiders, one of them an Extra Ordinem like her, propels North from despair into forward motion. She soon realizes that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action. This is definitely more clear, but like I say above, I think this last paragraph should be shorter.
  • Note on Latin Extra Ordinem: in the text, it appears 1x as singular, Extra Ordinem. From then on it's abbreviated as EO or EOs. Latin grammar sabers can be sheathed :)  :biggrin:
  • Bio line notes: In the same way that a doctor might say she's a doctor if her story is about a doctor, or a salesman might mention his experience in door to door sales if his work is about that, I am stating that I am an artist as a qualification- my protagonist is an artist. I am also stating that I am a feminist, which in North's story means than female power can exist without compromise. If neither of these is coming through in a clear way, I'll cut it. I don't enjoy going on at length about myself but I do feel that one line that speaks to personal background/motivation kind of humanizes the letter. Again, if I'm wrong, out it goes. Honestly, neither connection was clear to me. Nothing about North's story screams "feminist" to me, because strong heroines are common nowadays. And what stuck out to me about North was her photographic memory, not her artistic skills. Maybe you could say: Like North, I am an artist ?

 

:biggrin: THANK YOU EVERYONE i'll gladly return your critiques. 

 

Pretty please follow the link below to my (very short) query.


If I've helped you--or if you're simply bored--please comment on my query: http://agentquerycon...ction/?p=319871

 


#34 Dr.Deb

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 07:49 AM

Here are my thoughts on TRUE NORTH - Dr. Deb. I agree with Elysezane that it could be shorter....

 

 

Dear Ms. Agent, 

 

Seventeen-year-old North McNeil was born with a photographic memory eyes like cameras and the talent to draw exactly precisely what she sees— and this makes her a threat. 

 

North is extraordinary, but her life doesn’t belong to her. At least not according to the Control. I have trouble these first two sentence because in the following sentences you suggest North's life does still belong to her because she is in hiding. Can you find a different way to introduce the antagonist 'Control'? Maybe something like:

 

According to Control, the brutal agency of power that dominates society, all Extra Ordinem citizens are the exclusive property of the State and are imprisoned at a young age. And In the violent post-Shutdown world, where technology is scarce, North is an especially valuable asset. She’s alive and free only because she and her father conceal her ability. 

 

But North can’t help it if her gift comes in super handy, and as long as she’s careful, there’s no reason not to investigate a few crime scenes alongside her best friend Ranger. When she's working a homicide, North's skills have a purpose. Yet one sketch out of line and she could become a victim herself, as tortured and dead as anyone she captures on paper. 

 

Like the broken, bloodied girl whose death scene North can’t shake from her mind. What was she running from? North feels compelled to seek the answers. But just as the dangerous truth begins to emerge, North is exposed, and the Control threatens everyone that North loves. murders her father. Now a target, she is forced out on the run with Ranger by her side. North thinks she has nothing left to lose until a vicious encounter ends with Ranger surrendering himself to protect her. Now she must choose between succumbing to her grief and certain capture, or staging a suicidal rescue mission that could save even more than the lives of her loved onesNewfound support propels North from despair into forward motion, and she soon realizes that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action. If it’s deep enough she’ll find a fierce strength that is beyond extraordinary. Her fight could even save more than one life. 

 

 

TRUE NORTH, a dark YA thriller with romance elements and diverse characters, is complete at 53,000 words and is book one of a duology. My background as a feminist multimedia artist has helped shape this narrative. I like the title and also Rose's suggestion about "series potential."

 

Thank you for your time and consideration!



#35 moonim

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 10:55 AM

Seventeen-year-old North McNeil was born with eyes like cameras and the talent to draw exactly what she sees— and this makes her a threat. (you can totally spiff this up -- change talent to ability, and then say, talents that make her a threat. and this is so generic/bleh. So this would be my suggestion: Seveteen-year-old North McNeil was born with eyes like cameras and the ability to draw exactly what she shees -- talents that make her a threat.

 

North is extraordinary, (this is sooooooo cliche. No no no. ) but her life doesn’t belong to her. At least not according to the Control. All Extra Ordinems are their exclusive property, imprisoned at a young age by this brutal agency of power. And in the violent post-Shutdown world, where technology is scarce, North is an especially valuable asset. She’s alive and free only because she and her father conceal her ability. 

 

But North can’t help it if her gift comes in super handy (how does it come in super handy?) , and as long as she’s careful, there’s no reason not to investigate a few crime scenes alongside her best friend Ranger. When she's working a homicide, North's skills have a purpose. Yet one sketch out of line and she could become a victim herself, as tortured and dead as anyone she captures on paper. (how?)

 

Like the broken, bloodied girl whose death scene North can’t shake from her mind. (I don't understand this sentence at all) What was she running from? North feels compelled to seek the answers. But just as the dangerous truth begins to emerge, North is exposed, and the Control murders her father.

 

Now a target, she is forced out on the run with Ranger by her side. North thinks she has nothing left to lose until a vicious encounter ends with Ranger surrendering himself to protect her. Now she must choose between succumbing to her grief and certain capture, or staging a suicidal rescue mission. Newfound support propels North from despair into forward motion, and she soon realizes that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action. If it’s deep enough she’ll find a fierce strength that is beyond extraordinary. Her fight could even save more than one life. 

 

TRUE NORTH, a dark YA thriller with romance elements and diverse characters, is complete at 53,000 words and is book one of a duology. My background as a feminist multimedia artist has helped shape this narrative.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration!

 

Er, I think you still have a way to go. You've got your hook, great, but the rest of the query needs to relate back to that hook. So you hook the agent, usually then you establish the setting. Also this isn't really a YA thriller, its more a YA Sci-fi? or Dystopian? I know you don't want to call it those things, but that's what it is :/. 

 

Seveteen-year-old North McNeil was born with eyes like cameras and the ability to draw exactly what she sees -- talents that make her a threat. (also DO NOT CHANGE EYES LIKE CAMERAS TO PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY. One of the bummers about getting feedback like this, is you tend to lose your individual voice. Photographic memory is generic. Eyes like cameras is you as an author in three words. Its unique, its different, it has voice. DO NOT CHANGE IT.)

 

In a violent post-shutdown world, where technology is scare, ____ (here you need to develop a little better of how north fits into the society. She's not an Extra Ordinem is she? Or is she, and she is owned by someone? And she's alive and free does that mean she's on the run? Are they hiding that they are Extra Ordinems? This paragraph should start with the setting, and explain where North fits into her world. At the end of this paragraph you bring in something like -- as long as north keeps her talents hidden, or continues to conceal her ability. See there's the conflict and stakes you've raised?

 

THEN :  I would establish that north is connected to her ablities, they are a part of her, and sometimes she just cna't help herself. "She doesn't see the harm in investigating a few crime scenes alongside her best friend Ranger. When she's working a homicide, her skills have a purpose."  Now the how one sketch out of line could cause her issues thing -- if you make that first paragraph stronger, we should understand how already one ketch out of line could get her killed, as is, we don't know.

 

Then a stand alone sentence/ short paragraph: What is the incident that causes north to start asking questions? Did a girl die and she keeps thinking about it? so she starts asking questions and just as she starts to find answers, the control kills her father. You sort of have this now, but it doesn't make sense. Don't be concerned about telling to much -- or giving away some secret plot thing. Just get the info on the page

 

Then your final paragraph -- what you have is close, but I think you can just start with  -- When Ranger surrenders himself to protect her, North finds herself without anything left -- all her family is gone. New found support (you've got to be more specific here where does the support come from and what is it -- how does it give North what she needs to set in motion her risking everything to save Ranger/her dad. 

 

"Rather than succumb to grief and be captured, North must take action to save Ranger herself -- but if she's caught infiltrating the Control, she might not live to see him freed."

 

The stuff about love is great and all, but its too undefinable. It sounds like poetry. This is a book. You want firm solid choices at the end. Love stuff isn't firm or solid its like, floating ethereal nothingness.



#36 wildworks

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 01:38 PM

Dear Ms. Agent, 

 

Seventeen-year-old North McNeil was born with eyes like cameras and the talent ability to draw exactly what she sees— and this makes her a threat.

 

North is extraordinary,  (I'm not a fan of this kind of telling statement. Show us how extraordinary she is .)  but her life doesn’t belong to her. At least not according to the Control, who imprisons any Extra Ordinem they can find. All Extra Ordinems are their exclusive property, imprisoned at a young age by this brutal agency of power. And in the violent post-Shutdown world, where technology is scarce, North is an especially valuable asset. She’s alive and free only because she and her father conceal her ability. 

 

But North can’t help it if her gift comes in super handy, and as long as she’s careful, there’s no reason not to investigate a few crime scenes alongside her best friend Ranger. (Maybe it's just me, but the dystopian society you discribe above doesn't fit with the plucky crime solving that comes next.) When she's working a homicide, North's skills have a purpose. Yet one sketch out of line and she could become a victim herself, as tortured and dead as anyone she captures on paper.  (What is she actually doing to solve the crimes besides drawing the bodies?)

 

Like the broken, bloodied girl whose death scene North can’t shake from her mind. What was she running from? North feels compelled to seek the answers. But just as the dangerous truth begins to emerges, North is exposed, and the Control murders her father. Now a target, she is forced out on the to run with Ranger by her side. North thinks she has nothing left to lose until a vicious encounter ends with Ranger surrendering himself to protect her. Now she must choose between succumbing to her grief and certain capture, (Will surrendering save Ranger?) or staging a suicidal rescue mission. Newfound support propels North from despair into forward motion, and she soon realizes that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action. If it’s deep enough she’ll find a fierce strength that is beyond extraordinary. Her fight could even save more than one life. (Both endings are a bit philosophical. Some agents may like that, others may not.)

 

TRUE NORTH, a dark YA thriller with romance elements and diverse characters, is complete at 53,000 words and is book one of a duology. My background as a feminist multimedia artist has helped shape this narrative. (One warning. You don't want to sound like you're pushing an agenda over the story.)

 

Thank you for your time and consideration!

 

--

  • AlternativeNewfound support from a disenfranchised community of tenacious outsiders, one of them an Extra Ordinem like her, propels North from despair into forward motion. She soon realizes that love is less a deep feeling, and more a deep action.

  • Note on Latin Extra Ordinem: in the text, it appears 1x as singular, Extra Ordinem. From then on it's abbreviated as EO or EOs. Latin grammar sabers can be sheathed :) 

  • Bio line notes: In the same way that a doctor might say she's a doctor if her story is about a doctor, or a salesman might mention his experience in door to door sales if his work is about that, I am stating that I am an artist as a qualification- my protagonist is an artist. I am also stating that I am a feminist, which in North's story means than female power can exist without compromise. If neither of these is coming through in a clear way, I'll cut it. I don't enjoy going on at length about myself but I do feel that one line that speaks to personal background/motivation kind of humanizes the letter. Again, if I'm wrong, out it goes. 

 

Over all, it's solid. You get a feel for the characters and their plight.

Good job.



#37 marisajane

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 07:44 PM

My query plate is piled high! Thanks for these latest suggestions everyone, much appreciated. 


TRUE NORTH ​query

BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO BUTTERFLIES 250


#38 Mezzanine

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 08:45 AM

Your query does a good job capturing tension.
 
I’m having trouble getting why her ability is so highly coveted, and why it’s also so threatening. How is this connected to it being a time or place “where technology is scarce”? What about that makes her skill so valued? Maybe it's me, but as i read this I felt like I just wasn't getting it.
 
The fourth paragraph opens with a fragment, which in this case doesn’t really work for me.
 
I’m fairly well-read and an academic, but I had to look up the term “duology.” At first I wondered if you meant duality. I think it’d be easier to just say that it’s part one of two.
 
Hope this helps in some small way. Good luck!
 


#39 marisajane

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Posted 30 November 2015 - 10:30 PM

Thanks everyone! for all of your excellent feedback. This is a refocus/new direction prompted in part by your suggests. 

 

Draft #9 

 

Dear Ms Agent, 

 

Seventeen-year-old North McNeil was born with eyes like high-resolution cameras— but not even she can see a way to save her best friend. 

 

Besides, it’s her gift that got him abducted. Well, that.. plus her drawings of the dead blonde girl. 

 

Like the girl, North is an Extra Ordinem. EOs are the exclusive property of the Control, rooted out and imprisoned at a young age. In the post-Shutdown world, where the Control’s violent regime has all but eliminated genius, an extraordinary talent is the ultimate commodity. It’s only because she and her father conceal her crazy camera brain that North is alive and free now. 

 

Not broken and victimized, like the dead girl. 

 

North literally can’t shake these graphic images from her mind, and when she sketches them on paper, questions pile up. How did an EO ever escape the Control? And why? North and her best friend Ranger feel compelled to seek answers. But just as the dangerous truth begins to emerge, North is exposed, and her father is murdered by the Control. Now a target, she is forced out on the run with Ranger by her side. North believes she has nothing left to lose until a vicious encounter ends with Ranger surrendering himself to protect her. Now she must choose: either succumb to her grief in hiding, or sacrifice herself in a rescue mission to save her best friend. To fight past despair and survive forward motion, North will need a fierce strength that is beyond extraordinary— even for her. 

 

TRUE NORTH, a dark YA thriller with sci-fi and romance elements, is complete at 53,000 words and is book one of two. It will appeal to readers drawn to the intelligent aplomb of Lisbeth Salander and the trauma-overcoming psyche of Jessica Jones, as well as anyone who appreciates diverse characters. My background as a feminist multimedia artist has helped shape this story.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration!


TRUE NORTH ​query

BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO BUTTERFLIES 250


#40 Preston Copeland.Biz

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 09:34 AM

Besides, it’s her gift that got him abducted. Well, that.. plus her drawings of the dead blonde girl. 

 

Like the girl, North is an Extra Ordinem. EOs are the exclusive property of the Control, rooted out and imprisoned at a young age. In the post-Shutdown world, where the Control’s violent regime has all but eliminated genius, an extraordinary talent is the ultimate commodity. It’s only because she and her father conceal her crazy camera brain that North is alive and free now. I like this camera brain thing!

 

Not broken and victimized, like the dead girl. I think this sentence slows down the flow.

 

North literally can’t shake these graphic images from her mind, and when she sketches them on paper, questions pile up. How did an EO ever escape the Control? And why? North and her best friend Ranger feel compelled to seek answers. But just as the dangerous truth begins to emerge, North is exposed, and her father is murdered by the Control. Now a target, she is forced out on the run with Ranger by her side. North believes she has nothing left to lose until a vicious encounter ends with Ranger surrendering himself to protect her. Now she must choose: either succumb to her grief in hiding, or sacrifice herself in a rescue mission to save her best friend. To fight past despair and survive forward motion, North will need a fierce strength that is beyond extraordinary— even for her. 

 I am wondering does her father or someone have like a wire they hook into her mind to see what she records? Or does she just draw everything? Just for my curiosity.

I might find a better last sentence than “fierce strength.”

You are almost there. This is looking good.


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