Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
- - - - -

Online - MG Sci-Fi


  • Please log in to reply
78 replies to this topic

#61 DV77

DV77

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 54 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationEurope

Posted 23 February 2017 - 02:08 PM

Thank you so much for your help! I still didn't come up with anything for the middle paragraph (because yesterday my brain started to think about a new synopsis), but I tried my hand with revealing a little more on the final paragraph. Is it better?

 

Thirteen-year-old Harper is a YouTuber in the middle of an alien invasion. When the Givers first arrived, they eradicated disease and brought economic and technological equality to all of Earth’s races. But as compensation for their kindness, they force people together, calling them soulmates. Families are broken, and strangers must become friends (Something about that word throws me off. Probably because it doesn't seem like that big a deal. Being forced to be lovers I can understand but being forced to be friends with strangers and getting to know new people for all those other perks they get seems like a small price to pay) or lovers. Harper tries to escape the horror the world has become by immersing herself in video games and YouTube, but it all falls apart when she learns the anon who’s been sending her videos online hate (Wouldn't something like 'harassing her online' be shorter and have more impact?) is actually her soulmate. Other than the minor things I mentioned I like this opening paragraph a lot more. Everything is clear.

 

Although eager to escape her destiny, Harper’s plans to free herself from her soulmate backfire when people get hurt I'm still gonna say this is a huge missed opportunity. If you gave some minor specifics here we could get a really strong idea of the kind of the kind of world we are entering. and her mother is blamed. To “protect the law”, the Givers order the execution of Harper’s mother, a big event to be aired live on TV. Seeing Harper’s suffering, one of the Givers responsible for her mother’s imprisonment tries to seeks redemption by taking Harper under her wing, to care and protect.

 

But it doesn’t take long for Harper to learn the true reason behind the Givers’ obsession with soulmates – pairing people up is what has been keeping the aliens alive all along. And to ensure their safety, the Givers tinkered with the human body so that those who refuse their soulmates are killed from a plague slowly. It’s enough to shatter her tentative friendship with the Giver taking care of her, and to seek help from a group of human rebels whose only objective is to kill every Giver they find. 

 

I think this version has cleared up a lot of ? moments from the last one and I have a much clearer picture of what's going on. Personally I still feel it'd be better to end it with a dilemma for Harper but ultimately its your call. Nice job.



#62 anathebookworm

anathebookworm

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 178 posts
  • Literary Status:agented
  • LocationSouth America

Posted 23 February 2017 - 05:19 PM

Thank you so much DV77! <3 You're always a huge help! Aaaaaand I look forward to reading your next query draft, ;)

 

Okay, I completely agree with you about the "people get hurt" thing. The problem is...I don't know how to explain how or why people are hurt without explaining a huge part of the plot I omitted from the query. In Harper's world, everyone is born with a soulmark - which is a sentence written on people's skins with the first words they'll hear from their soulmates. Many people have "bad" or insulting soulmarks (which is Harper's case), and don't want to have them at all. Along with a friend, Harper plans to remove both of their soulmarks. She doesn't have the time to do anything about hers, but when she tries to remove her friend's soulmark, she burns her friend's skin to the bone.

 

I'm not sure if I'm being clear enough here. I have a synopsis here if you want to take a look, and maybe it'll help you understand things better...

 

Thank you anyway! :-) I'll keep trying to think about a way to change the middle paragraph.



#63 DV77

DV77

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 54 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationEurope

Posted 23 February 2017 - 05:59 PM

Glad I could be of help :)

 

I had a read of the synopsis and had a different question I didn't see addressed. I don't know if agents will be asking it too if they read your synopsis/sample pages, but why do the Givers need to pair humans together? What's the scientific process behind it? How does it work?



#64 anathebookworm

anathebookworm

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 178 posts
  • Literary Status:agented
  • LocationSouth America

Posted 23 February 2017 - 08:42 PM

Glad I could be of help :)

 

I had a read of the synopsis and had a different question I didn't see addressed. I don't know if agents will be asking it too if they read your synopsis/sample pages, but why do the Givers need to pair humans together? What's the scientific process behind it? How does it work?

 

Aside from that, do you think the synopsis is okay? I re-wrote it today, and I was afraid it sucked.

 

The Givers need to "serve" to live, because otherwise their body will die. They believe they are serving humanity by showing people who their soulmates are. That's basically it, :-) I'll go add that to the synopsis! Don't know why I forgot about it --'

 

Also, after reading the synopsis, what do you think I should change with my middle paragraph here? Or should I leave it the way it's now? I still didn't come up with anything...



#65 ryankalford

ryankalford

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 181 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Southwest

Posted 23 February 2017 - 09:11 PM

Thank you so much for your help! I still didn't come up with anything for the middle paragraph (because yesterday my brain started to think about a new synopsis), but I tried my hand with revealing a little more on the final paragraph. Is it better?

 

Although eager to escape her destiny, Harper’s plans to free herself from her soulmate backfire when people get hurt and her mother is blamed. To “protect the law”, the Givers order the execution of Harper’s mother, a big event to be aired live on TV. Seeing Harper’s suffering, one of the Givers responsible for her mother’s imprisonment tries to seek redemption by taking Harper under her wing, to care and protect.

 

I just wanted to mention that I skimmed through your snynopsis, and found it interesting the query itself doesn't mention that Harper's mother helps remove soulmate marks illegally, or that Harper herself was trying to help her friend out instead of herself. I know your operating a on a tight query budget, but I think if you could mix a bit more of that in the explanation of what happens (as brief as neessary), it would bring out the drama more behind Harper's endangering how mother's life through her careless actions (and the potential guilt for being the root cause of her potential death) 

 

 

But it doesn’t take long for Harper to learn the true reason behind the Givers’ obsession with soulmates – pairing people up is what has been keeping the aliens alive all along. And to ensure their safety, the Givers tinkered with the human body so that those who refuse their soulmates are killed from a plague slowly. It’s enough to shatter her tentative friendship with the Giver taking care of her, and to seek help from a group of human rebels whose only objective is to kill every Giver they find. \\

 

Okay, that's a lot clearer. . . but I think it's still incomplete because it sparks a question for me. Namely, how does pairing people up enable them to be immortal? I feel like that bit of info would make the explanation logically complete to be effective as it should be. Like "Soulmates=immortal Givers because of X. If all soulmates go extinct, then Givers will die, so they implement Y to keep the masses in line.

 

The last line still isn't doing much for me. You want me to be foaming at the mouth when I finish the last line to jump right into your sample pages. But it needs to have more visceral stakes. Like maybe Harper's conflict between choosing helping the rebels and saving her mother, but having to sign Fifty-Seven's death warrant with aiding the rebels if she does? Something akin to that. An nearly impossible morale choice/diemma that sizzle the stakes at the end to a delicious crisp.


RECODED <250 EDITING FEEDBACK + ADVICE

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 

RECODED QUERY (FINISHED???)

http://agentquerycon...scifi/?p=250665

 

RECODED: GENESIS (Dani POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 
RECODED: Chapter 1 (Lillian POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...-social-sci-fi/

 

RECODED Synopsis (REWRITING SOON)

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/


#66 hermitage

hermitage

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 169 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Some academic, none in fiction.

Posted 23 February 2017 - 09:13 PM



Thank you so much for your help! I still didn't come up with anything for the middle paragraph (because yesterday my brain started to think about a new synopsis), but I tried my hand with revealing a little more on the final paragraph. Is it better?

 

Thirteen-year-old Harper is a YouTuber in the middle of an alien invasion [I think someone above said they prefer "occupation" to "invasion" here? At first look, I tend to agree with this, since "invasion" implies that the aliens are now in the process of trying to conquer the Earth for the first time.]. When the Givers first arrived, they eradicated disease and brought economic and technological equality to all of Earth’s races. But as compensation for their kindness, they force people together, calling them soulmates. Families are broken, and strangers must become friends or lovers. Harper tries to escape the horror the world has become by immersing herself in video games and YouTube, but it all falls apart when she learns the anon who’s been sending her videos online hate is actually her soulmate. [I like that you've integrated these a little more! I would just reverse the order. E.g. "... it falls apart when she learns that her intended "soulmate" is actually the anon who's been sending her videos online hate." My reasoning is that the formula "X is actually Y" implies that Y is a more real description of the thing than X. But this jerky guy isn't really her soulmate, you know?]

 

Although eager to escape her destiny, Harper’s plans to free herself from her soulmate backfire when people get hurt [is it necessary to be so vague here?] and her mother is blamed. To “protect the law”, the Givers order the execution of Harper’s mother, a big event to be aired live on TV. Seeing Harper’s suffering, one of the Givers responsible for her mother’s imprisonment tries to seek redemption by taking Harper under her wing, to care and protect.

 

But it doesn’t take long for Harper to learn the true reason behind the Givers’ obsession with soulmates – pairing people up is what has been keeping the aliens alive all along [oh weird... how? maybe you don't have to reveal it here, but I'm just curious how that might work. I thought it was just like a breeding program of some sort]. And to ensure their safety, the Givers tinkered with the human body so that those who refuse their soulmates are killed from a plague slowly [I'd prefer "slowly killed by a plague", or some variant on that]. It’s enough to shatter her tentative friendship with the Giver taking care of her, and to seek help from a group of human rebels whose only objective is to kill every Giver they find. 

 

Cool. I think it's getting better. By the way, another random reference aside from The Giver is the new TV show The Good Place. It takes place in an afterlife where people are always informed upon arriving, "here is so-and-so; he/she is your soul mate". It's actually a pretty cool show -- it just finished its first season a month or so ago, ending on a great twist. 

 

Thanks also for your replies on my pitch. It seems we have pretty different sensibilities in some ways, but still the discussion is really helpful, and I did make a few concrete changes in response to your points. I hope it's at least a little more clear. 



#67 DV77

DV77

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 54 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationEurope

Posted 23 February 2017 - 09:17 PM

To be honest I'm not the best expert on synopsis'. I got a sense of the story and where it goes so it's fine in that respect, but a query is just something easier to look at as an outsider and at least see things from scratch and either get it or just not get it. To be truthful I also just gave it a quick skim read to get a vague idea. If you'd like I can have a more in depth look a little later.

 

Hmm, I need a little more info on this serving part before I can get back to you on paragraph 2. The rest of it was good anyway it's just the serving that confuses me a little, but again it might just be me making a big deal of it. Do the Givers' bodies literally start dying if they don't serve or is it just their belief that they will die?

 

To make it all add up, what if in the first paragraph there was something like...

 

But as compensation for their kindness, they force people together, branding them with specially designated marks and calling them soulmates.

 

And then in the 2nd paragraph...

 

Determined to free herself from an unwanted destiny, Harper accidentally causes severe burn damage to a friend who also wanted the illegal procedure needed to remove the marks.

 

Anyway, don't take those suggestions too literally. I feel I might be leading you down an incorrect path if you did, but just wanted to give you some ideas to play with. You don't really have to explain what a soulmark is. You can easily just use branding to give us the idea.



#68 hermitage

hermitage

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 169 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Some academic, none in fiction.

Posted 23 February 2017 - 09:21 PM

Oh cool, I didn't know you had branding in some of these versions. I find DV77's suggestions promising. They make concrete a couple things that were vague in the version I just commented on. 



#69 anathebookworm

anathebookworm

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 178 posts
  • Literary Status:agented
  • LocationSouth America

Posted 23 February 2017 - 10:03 PM

Oooh guys, thank you so much! I tried to answer all of your questions now. Not sure if it's good, or if the query is too long now. What do you guys think?

 

As a side note - D.A.M.N. I hate writing this, it's sooooo frustrating. But I guess only receiving rejections because of a bad query is worse.

 

Thirteen-year-old Harper is a YouTuber in the middle of an alien invasion. When the Givers first arrived, they eradicated disease and brought economic and technological equality to all of Earth’s races. But as compensation for their kindness, they force people together, branding them with specially designated marks and calling them soulmates. Families are broken, and strangers must become friends or lovers. Harper tries to escape the horror the world has become by immersing herself in video games and YouTube, but it all falls apart when she learns the anon who’s been harassing her online is actually her soulmate.

 

Although eager to free herself from an unwanted destiny, Harper’s plans backfire when she slips to a friend her idea of erasing her mark. Her friend demands to have her mark removed as well, but all Harper manages is to cause her severe burn damage. Harper’s mother is blamed for the stunt and, to “protect the law”, the Givers order her mom’s execution – a big event to be aired live on TV. Seeing Harper’s suffering, one of the Givers responsible for her mother’s imprisonment seeks redemption by taking Harper under her wing, to care and protect.

 

But it doesn’t take long for Harper to learn the true reason behind the Givers’ obsession with soulmates – pairing people up is what keeps the aliens alive. Givers need to serve, and they believe they are serving humanity by pointing out people’s soulmates. And to ensure their safety, the Givers tinkered with the human body so that those who refuse their soulmates are killed from a plague. It’s enough to shatter Harper’s tentative friendship with the Giver taking care of her, and to seek help from a group of human rebels whose only objective is to kill every Giver they find. If she proves to them she isn't a Giver-loving girl, they might have a way to save her mother.



#70 kassamarandra

kassamarandra

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 253 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published, unagented
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Mark of Fate, Bad Caveman Publishing, 2011

Posted 24 February 2017 - 04:41 PM

I haven't gone back and read through the entire list of suggestions, so if you've already made a change from one of my suggestions, please disregard. Overall I believe you've done a great job in expressing your story. I hope this helps. 

 

Oooh guys, thank you so much! I tried to answer all of your questions now. Not sure if it's good, or if the query is too long now. What do you guys think?

 

As a side note - D.A.M.N. I hate writing this, it's sooooo frustrating. But I guess only receiving rejections because of a bad query is worse.

 

Thirteen-year-old Harper is a YouTuber in the middle of an alien invasion. When the Givers first arrived, they eradicated disease and brought economic and technological equality to all of Earth’s races (can you replace this with just humanity?) . But aAs compensation for their kindness, they force people together by branding them with specially designated marks and calling them soulmates;. Ffamilies are broken, and strangers must become friends or lovers. Harper tries to escape the horror the world has become by immersing herself in video games and YouTube, but it all falls apart when she learns the anon who’s been harassing her online is actually her soulmate.

 

Although eager to free herself from an unwanted destiny, Harper’s plans backfire when she slips to a friend her idea of erasing her mark. Her friend demands to have her mark removed as well, but all Harper manages is to cause her is severe burn damage. Harper’s mother is blamed for the stunt and, to “protect the law”, the Givers order her mom’s execution – a big event to be aired live on TV. Seeing Harper’s suffering, one of the Givers responsible for her mother’s imprisonment seeks redemption by taking Harper under her wing, to care and protect.

 

But it doesn’t take long for Not long after, Harper to learns the true reason behind the Givers’ obsession with soulmates – pairing people up is what keeps the aliens alive. Givers need to serve, and they believe they are serving humanity doing so by pointing out people’s soulmates. And to ensure their safety, the Givers tinkered with the human body so that those who refuse their soulmates are killed from a plague. It’s enough to shatter Harper’s tentative friendship with the Giver taking care of her (can you somehow play on words and shorten it to just "her 'careGiver'" or something along those lines), and to seek help from a group of human rebels whose only objective is to kill every Giver they find. If she proves to them she isn't a Giver-loving girl, they might have a way to save her mother.

 

And thank you for the feedback on my query; much appreciated! 



#71 SAVE

SAVE

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 59 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 24 February 2017 - 06:08 PM

Oooh guys, thank you so much! I tried to answer all of your questions now. Not sure if it's good, or if the query is too long now. What do you guys think?

 

As a side note - D.A.M.N. I hate writing this, it's sooooo frustrating. But I guess only receiving rejections because of a bad query is worse.

 

Thirteen-year-old Harper is a YouTuber in the middle of an alien invasion (Yes! This is a fantastic hook!). When the Givers first arrived, they eradicated disease and brought economic and technological equality to all of Earth’s races(I agree with CM_Fick, you should change "All of Earth's races" to humanity, unless there's another kind of life on Earth that this pertains to.). But As compensation for their kindness, they force people together, branding them with specially designated marks and calling them soulmates. Families are broken, and strangers must become friends or lovers. Harper tries to escape the horror the world has become by immersing herself in video games and YouTube, but it all falls apart when she learns the anon who’s been harassing her online is actually her soulmate(Conflict! Love it!).

 

Although eager to free herself from an unwanted destiny, Harper’s plans backfire when she slips to a friend her idea of erasing her mark. Her friend demands to have her mark removed as well, but all Harper manages is to cause her severe burn damage. Harper’s mother is blamed for the stunt and, to “protect the law”, the Givers order her mom’s execution – a big event to be aired live on TV. Seeing Harper’s suffering, one of the Givers responsible for her mother’s imprisonment seeks redemption by taking Harper under her wing, to care and protect (This paragraph is good! Lots of detail, and it's explained clearly).

 

But it doesn’t take long for Harper to learn the true reason behind the Givers’ obsession with soulmates – pairing people up is what keeps the aliens alive. Givers need to serve, and they believe they are serving humanity by pointing out people’s soulmates. And to ensure their safety, the Givers tinkered with the human body so that those who refuse their soulmates are killed from a plague. It’s enough to shatter Harper’s tentative friendship with the Giver taking care of her, and to seek help from a group of human rebels whose only objective is to kill every Giver they find. If she proves to them she isn't a Giver-loving girl, they might have a way to save her mother. (There are a few small things here and there that CM_Fick pointed out that are more personal likes/disklikes, but frankly, this is a really clean paragraph.)

 

I wish I could help more, but this is really tight and really clean. You have a lot of detail and your flow is nice. Your hook caught by attention and didn't leave me with a single question.

Good luck, you're just about there!



#72 DV77

DV77

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 54 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationEurope

Posted 24 February 2017 - 10:47 PM

Oooh guys, thank you so much! I tried to answer all of your questions now. Not sure if it's good, or if the query is too long now. What do you guys think?

 

As a side note - D.A.M.N. I hate writing this, it's sooooo frustrating. But I guess only receiving rejections because of a bad query is worse.

 

Thirteen-year-old Harper is a YouTuber in the middle of an alien invasion. When the Givers first arrived, they eradicated disease and brought economic and technological equality to all of Earth’s races. But as compensation for their kindness, they force people together, branding them with specially designated marks and calling them soulmates. Families are broken, and strangers must become friends or lovers. Harper tries to escape the horror the world has become by immersing herself in video games and YouTube, but it all falls apart when she learns the anon who’s been harassing her online is actually her soulmate.

 

Although eager to free herself from an unwanted destiny, Harper’s plans backfire when she slips to a friend her idea For some reason this seems awkwardly phrased of erasing her mark. Her friend demands to have her mark removed as well This feels like it could be joined with the last part I underlined because they repeat each other a little, but all Harper manages is to cause her severe burn damage. Harper’s mother is blamed for the stunt and, to “protect the law”, the Givers order her mom’s execution – a big event to be aired live on TV. Seeing Harper’s suffering, one of the Givers responsible for her mother’s imprisonment seeks redemption by taking Harper under her wing, to care and protect.

 

But it doesn’t take long for Harper to learn the true reason behind the Givers’ obsession with soulmates – pairing people up is what keeps the aliens alive. Givers need to serve, and they believe they are serving humanity by pointing out people’s soulmates. And to ensure their safety, the Givers tinkered with the human body so that those who refuse their soulmates are killed from a plague. It’s enough to shatter Harper’s tentative friendship with the Giver taking care of her, and to seek help from a group of human rebels whose only objective is to kill every Giver they find. If she proves to them she isn't a Giver-loving girl, they might have a way to save her mother.

 

On the whole am really liking the changes you made and some of the things a couple of the other grammar suggestions made by Save and CM_Fick. Everything is clearer now and I've got a much better idea of what's going on. Aside from that I'd only keep an eye on the thing I mentioned because the fat could probably be trimmed a little.

 

I'll probably refrain from commenting on any further adjustments you make for a few days though because it'd be a good idea to get some additional opinions on this. But from where it was when I first saw it and where it is now, nice job.



#73 RobynJC

RobynJC

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 16 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS South
  • Publishing Experience:Only in professional type journals

Posted 25 February 2017 - 09:06 AM

Thirteen-year-old Harper is a YouTuber in the middle of an alien invasion. ​The detail of "Youtuber" seems out of place here.  I might just say "thirteen year old Harper is in the middle of an alien invasion." When the Givers first arrived, they eradicated disease and brought economic and technological equality to all of Earth’s races. But as compensation for their kindness, they force people together, branding them with specially designated marks and calling them soulmates. Families are broken, and strangers must become friends or lovers. Harper tries to escape the horror the world has become by immersing herself in video games and YouTube, but it all falls apart when she learns the anon who’s been harassing her online is actually her designated soulmate.

 

Determined to free herself from an unwanted destiny, Harper’s plans backfire when she slips to a friend her idea of erasing her mark. Her friend demands to have her mark removed as well, but all Harper manages is to cause her severe burn damage. Harper’s mother is blamed for the stunt and, to “protect the law”, the Givers order her mom’s execution – a big event to be aired live on TV.

 

Up to here you have me 100% hooked.  The story is original and interesting, I like Harper, the stakes are clear.

 

Seeing Harper’s suffering, one of the Givers responsible for her mother’s imprisonment seeks redemption by taking Harper under her wing, to care and protect.

 

This is a tiny bit confusing.  Why is this Giver seeking redemption? 

 

But it doesn’t take long for Harper to learn the true reason behind the Givers’ obsession with soulmates – pairing people up is what keeps the aliens alive.

 

Nice twist!

 

Givers need to serve, and they believe they are serving humanity by pointing out people’s soulmates. And to ensure their safety, the Givers tinkered with the human body so that those who refuse their soulmates are killed from a plague.

 

This might be one step too complicated. I'm starting to feel a little bit overloaded with detail and backstory. Do you really need the first sentence of these two? What if you just say:  "...pairing people up keeps the aliens alive, and they tinkered with the human body to destroy anyone who refuses their soulmate."  I'm not sure if others might feel the need to know why soulmates keep Givers alive; for me, at the query, it's enough to know they do.

 

 

It’s enough to shatter Harper’s tentative friendship with the Giver taking care of her, and to seek help from a group of human rebels whose only objective is to kill every Giver they find. If she proves to them she isn't a Giver-loving girl, they might have a way to save her mother.

 

I think you might need to expand that punchline a bit. The stakes of this story are really high, which is GREAT, but somehow "saving her mother" seems like just part of it. Katniss set out to save Prym, but her quest quickly became much bigger. I think the same is true of Harper, and that final punchline I think leaves me a bit short.

 

Overall I think this is a really strong query, for the reasons I said above.  I actually read it yesterday and was impressed enough not to be sure what I could add. But your kind remarks on my query were so helpful, I gave it a try.

 

How central is the relationship between Harper and the redemption-seeking Giver? It might be helpful to show us that relationship just a bit; it's an interesting twist, but I'm not sure I have enough insight into that relationship, or that Giver, to be invested in it. (Does the redemption Giver deserve a name, and a bit of a personality?)

 

Good luck, I think you have a really interesting story, and a strong query.  Thanks again for your feedback on mine.



#74 ryankalford

ryankalford

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 181 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Southwest

Posted 25 February 2017 - 09:58 AM

Oooh guys, thank you so much! I tried to answer all of your questions now. Not sure if it's good, or if the query is too long now. What do you guys think?

 

As a side note - D.A.M.N. I hate writing this, it's sooooo frustrating. But I guess only receiving rejections because of a bad query is worse.

 

Thirteen-year-old Harper is a YouTuber in the middle of an alien invasion. When the Givers first arrived, they eradicated disease and brought economic and technological equality to all of Earth’s races. But as compensation for their kindness, they force people together, branding them with specially designated marks and calling them soulmates. Families are broken, and strangers must become friends or lovers. Harper tries to escape the horror the world has become by immersing herself in video games and YouTube, but it all falls apart when she learns the anon who’s been harassing her online is actually her soulmate.

 

I don't know exactly why, but this word just bothers me considering the concept. Maybe "couples" would be a better fit for describing being forced into a relationship? It seems to me your trying to trying to signify that there are two types of "soulmates" That two people are either A)Forced to be together based on the Givers whim, or B)Forced to be together and have children based on the Giver's whim. It's an interesting distinction, but "friends" just does not feel apt in describing what amounts to forced formal marriage, even if sexless.

 

Although eager to free herself from an unwanted destiny, Harper’s plans backfire when she slips to a friend her idea of erasing her mark. Her friend demands to have her mark removed as well, but all Harper manages is to cause her severe burn damage. Harper’s mother is blamed for the stunt and, to “protect the law”, the Givers order her mom’s execution – a big event to be aired live on TV. Seeing Harper’s suffering, one of the Givers responsible for her mother’s imprisonment seeks redemption by taking Harper under her wing, to care and protect.

 

This line sounds awkward to me. Maybe something simplier, like "Determinted to change her fate,"  

 

Okay, this part is still rather clunky in how it's composed, plus I feel it's missing the vital bit about her Mom owning a removal machine. So, if I'm to try a quick stab at it, I might write, "Determinted to change her fate, Harper conspires with a friend to use her mother's mark removal machine hidden in her tattoo parlor to erase their marks. But the procedure goes awry, and her friend is severely burned, exposing Harper's mother's illegal operation to the Givers. In order "To protect the law" . . ."

 

A bit awkward to me. Maybe change to, "Feeling sympatheic,"

 

But it doesn’t take long for Harper to learn the true reason behind the Givers’ obsession with soulmates – pairing people up is what keeps the aliens alive. Givers need to serve, and they believe they are serving humanity by pointing out people’s soulmates. And to ensure their safety, the Givers tinkered with the human body so that those who refuse their soulmates are killed from a plague. It’s enough to shatter Harper’s tentative friendship with the Giver taking care of her, and to seek help from a group of human rebels whose only objective is to kill every Giver they find. If she proves to them she isn't a Giver-loving girl, they might have a way to save her mother.

 

Really awkward 1st part of the sentence for transitioning from the last. Maybe something like "A growing bond develops between the two, but when Harper learns . . ."

 

I . . . don't quite get what your implying by Givers "need to serve," or they accomplish this by "pointing out people's soulmates." It doesn't answer the question of why it helps keeps the Givers alive, and actually prompts only more questions from me. Like, why does it really matter who that partciular people are paired together? What's so important to them (or what determines) matching the perfect couple that helps the Giver's interest? Hmm. Wish I had a better idea of a suggestion on this one. The main question for me though, is how it keeps them alive? 

 

Awkward phrasing. Maybe "To ensure compliance," or "To ensure obedience," Something like that.

 

Okay, so I just had a thought about this line. While I still think it's very important to fit in an explanation somewhere about the Giver's true motivations behind the importance of soulmates to them . ..  you might want to try excising it from this particular spot. After re-reading the section a couple times, I think this change of events below might be an interesting option.

 

"A growing bond develops between the two, but when Harper learns that the Givers tinkered with the human body to ensure that those who refused their soulmates are killed by a plague, it's enough to shatter their tentative friendship completely. She runs off, joining . . ."

 

It reads more compelling this way to me, instead of getting caught up with trying to explain why the Givers are immortal, or their need for soulmates. I mean, in the context of the sentence, learning that they're immortal and need soulmates doesn't seem like the brekaing point for Harper. But the tinkering with humans in order to ensure compliance is pretty damning of them. Having said that, again, I'd still want to know about the how and why the Givers need soulmates, but I'm wondering if you can find another spot for that? Just an suggestion, anyway.

 

Now that's a much better and interesting line . . . but it feels a little lonely in regards to stakes. Where's the payoff for Fifty-Seven at?

 

 

I know i had a lot to say, but I really did lik the improvements in this version. Getting closer. And yes, D.A.M.N indeed. :)


RECODED <250 EDITING FEEDBACK + ADVICE

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 

RECODED QUERY (FINISHED???)

http://agentquerycon...scifi/?p=250665

 

RECODED: GENESIS (Dani POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 
RECODED: Chapter 1 (Lillian POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...-social-sci-fi/

 

RECODED Synopsis (REWRITING SOON)

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/


#75 anathebookworm

anathebookworm

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 178 posts
  • Literary Status:agented
  • LocationSouth America

Posted 25 February 2017 - 12:31 PM

Hmm, thank you so much guys! I thought about everyone's comments, and came up with what I hope to be the final version of this query. I started seeking some beta readers yesterday to go through my manuscript one last time before I start sending out queries again. By the way, if anyone here wants to be a beta, I'd love that! :-)

 

Regarding Harper's mom owning the removal machine - I don't think I need to state that on the query, because the book opens with Harper and her family where her mother works, and the machines are all there.

 

Also - regarding the "friends" part of the query, I think it should stay only because this book is MG. If I state that soulmates must become lovers and a few minutes later mention that Harper found her soulmate, agents will assume she needs to fall in love with him. That's not what happens, mainly because this is not a really a thing people want to read about a 13yo doing.

 

Thirteen-year-old Harper is a YouTuber in the middle of an alien invasion. When the Givers first arrived, they eradicated disease and brought economic and technological equality to humanity. But as compensation for their kindness, they force people together, branding them with specially designated marks and calling them soulmates. Families are broken, and strangers must become friends or lovers. Harper tries to escape the horror the world has become by immersing herself in video games and YouTube, but it all falls apart when she learns the anon who’s been harassing her online is actually her soulmate.

 

Although eager to free herself from an unwanted destiny, Harper’s plans backfire when she slips her idea of erasing her designated mark to a friend, who demands to have her mark removed as well. However, all Harper manages is to cause her severe burn damage. Harper’s mother is blamed for the stunt and, to “protect the law”, the Givers order her mom’s execution – a big event to be aired live on TV. Feeling sympathetic, one of the Givers responsible for her mother’s imprisonment takes Harper under her wing, to care and protect.

 

But it doesn’t take long for Harper to learn the Givers tinkered with the human body to ensure that those who refused their soulmates are killed by a plague. It’s enough to shatter her tentative friendship with the Giver taking care of her, and to seek help from a group of human rebels whose only objective is to kill every Giver they find. If she proves to them she isn't a Giver-loving girl, they might have a way to save her mother.



#76 Monks

Monks

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 111 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, in-between agents
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:No publishing experience

Posted 26 February 2017 - 12:27 PM

Thirteen-year-old Harper is a YouTuber in the middle of an alien invasion. When the Givers first arrived, they eradicated disease and brought economic and technological equality to humanity. But as compensation for their kindness, they force people together, branding them with specially designated marks and calling them soulmates. Families are broken, and strangers must become friends or lovers. Harper tries to escape the horror the world has become by immersing herself in video games and YouTube, but it all falls apart when she learns the anon who’s been harassing her online is actually her soulmate.

 

Although eager to free herself from an unwanted destiny, Harper’s plans backfire when she slips her idea of erasing her designated mark to a friend, who demands to have her mark removed as well. However, all Harper manages is to cause her severe burn damage. Harper’s mother is blamed for the stunt and, to “protect the law”, the Givers order her mom’s execution – a big event to be aired live on TV. Feeling sympathetic, one of the Givers responsible for her mother’s imprisonment takes Harper under her wing, to care and protect.

 

But it doesn’t take long for Harper to learn the Givers tinkered with the human body to ensure that those who refused their soulmates are killed by a plague. It’s enough to shatter her tentative friendship with the Giver taking care of her, and to seek help from a group of human rebels whose only objective is to kill every Giver they find. If she proves to them she isn't a Giver-loving girl, they might have a way to save her mother.

 

I really like how this is shaping up! The voice for your protagonist comes out strong with just a few choice words (YouTuber, anon), and it's very concise. You set up the world quickly and the main hook (the soulmates bit), and then get right into the meat of the character-driven conflict. Good stuff!

 

I feel like the second paragraph could be tightened up even further though. Something like, "Harper, fighting to take control of her own destiny, tries to burn her branding off her own skin. But when she fails and her attempt is uncovered, her mother is blamed, and the Givers order her mother's execution." The stuff about the Giver that takes Harper in, and then Harper's discovery, is solid. Then at the end, I think you could add a little bit more information about the rebels. What is it they're trying to do? Free humanity from the Givers, I'm sure, but how specifically are they going about that? And what does Harper offer them? What do they demand from Harper, in addition to proving her loyalty?

 

Overall, this is really close to being spot on, imo. Just a few tweaks here and there. Good stuff. 


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#77 ryankalford

ryankalford

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 181 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Southwest

Posted 26 February 2017 - 02:17 PM

Hmm, thank you so much guys! I thought about everyone's comments, and came up with what I hope to be the final version of this query. I started seeking some beta readers yesterday to go through my manuscript one last time before I start sending out queries again. By the way, if anyone here wants to be a beta, I'd love that! :-)

 

Regarding Harper's mom owning the removal machine - I don't think I need to state that on the query, because the book opens with Harper and her family where her mother works, and the machines are all there.  

 

Also - regarding the "friends" part of the query, I think it should stay only because this book is MG. If I state that soulmates must become lovers and a few minutes later mention that Harper found her soulmate, agents will assume she needs to fall in love with him. That's not what happens, mainly because this is not a really a thing people want to read about a 13yo doing.

 

Thirteen-year-old Harper is a YouTuber in the middle of an alien invasion. When the Givers first arrived, they eradicated disease and brought economic and technological equality to humanity. But as compensation for their kindness, they force people together, branding them with specially designated marks and calling them soulmates. Families are broken, and strangers must become friends or lovers. Harper tries to escape the horror the world has become by immersing herself in video games and YouTube, but it all falls apart when she learns the anon who’s been harassing her online is actually her soulmate.

 

Pretty much perfect to me. Your "friends" logic makes sense. I wasn't really thinking about it from a MG perpesctive. Gotta protect those kiddies!

 

Although eager to free herself from an unwanted destiny, Harper’s plans backfire when she slips her idea of erasing her designated mark to a friend, who demands to have her mark removed as well. However, all Harper manages is to cause her severe burn damage. Harper’s mother is blamed for the stunt and, to “protect the law”, the Givers order her mom’s execution – a big event to be aired live on TV. Feeling sympathetic, one of the Givers responsible for her mother’s imprisonment takes Harper under her wing, to care and protect.

 

Maybe "but" instead? Yeah, I'm being nit picky, but you can have it either way really at this point. Just offering a super minor suggestion.

 

You're two for two now. The way you've written it works logically from getting us to Point A-B easily, which was the issue I was having (and less needing to mention the mother's machine itself). Motivation and events are clear, so this is golden now. 

 

But it doesn’t take long for Harper to learn the Givers tinkered with the human body to ensure that those who refused their soulmates are killed by a plague. It’s enough to shatter her tentative friendship with the Giver taking care of her, and to seek help from a group of human rebels whose only objective is to kill every Giver they find. If she proves to them she isn't a Giver-loving girl, they might have a way to save her mother.

 

I think you still need a mention of Fifty-Seven here at the end to cap off your query with a true gut punch (but more of tying in mention of their relationship). Giving it a whirl, myself, I might try,

 

" . . . they might have a way to save her mother.

 

Even if it means the death of the Giver who Harper wishes in her heart was still her friend."

 

My tweak (not the hasty writing itself), raises the stakes and ends the query on a higher note of "OMG--what choice is she going to make in that quagmire of a situation? Let me run to the sample pages!"

 

I mean, I suppose you can go with a majority rule on this one and be fine, but it just feels like its missing that small ittle bit to me to make me go "Whoah.".

 

Outside that, you're 3-3 in terms of the whole paragraph. Good choice on trying it without weighing it down with their detailed motivations of immortality. It works, and isn't really necessary at all (like I thought it still might be). But that's what it all comes down--arranging just the right bits of info in just the right places to work off each other without muddling clarity or logical sequence of events so they can be fully comprehended, and more importantly, don't prompt agents/readers with a question that stumps them.

 

Well . . . I think you pretty much got it in the bag at-this-point. Cheers, and best of luck! 


RECODED <250 EDITING FEEDBACK + ADVICE

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 

RECODED QUERY (FINISHED???)

http://agentquerycon...scifi/?p=250665

 

RECODED: GENESIS (Dani POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 
RECODED: Chapter 1 (Lillian POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...-social-sci-fi/

 

RECODED Synopsis (REWRITING SOON)

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/


#78 anathebookworm

anathebookworm

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 178 posts
  • Literary Status:agented
  • LocationSouth America

Posted 26 February 2017 - 06:44 PM

Thank you very much guys! :-) I made some minor changes on the query, and I hope to start sending it to agents soon! I'll tell you how it goes, :-)



#79 Monks

Monks

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 111 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, in-between agents
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:No publishing experience

Posted 26 February 2017 - 06:48 PM

Thank you very much guys! :-) I made some minor changes on the query, and I hope to start sending it to agents soon! I'll tell you how it goes, :-)

Good luck!


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users