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The Sky Shatters - YA speculative fiction


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#1 Jen Mannering

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 05:17 PM

Thank you all so much for helping me out! I just joined this site a little while ago and I've been really enjoying getting to know you all! I don't know any writers in "real life" and it's so amazing to find such a supportive community online smile.png

All feedback is greatly appreciated -don't hold back! I'm trying really hard to thicken my skin in preparation for sending queries to agents.

 

 

 

Dear agent,

 

When the rain starts, it’s simply an annoyance.

 

But then it doesn’t stop.

 

Seventeen-year-old Simon Myers is sure of two things: he’s not gay and the world is not ending.

 

He just happens to spend a lot of time studying the muscles of his childhood friend, star quarterback, Jay Griffon.

 

And it just happens to be raining. Every single days for weeks.

 

As the downpour continues, the complaints and jokes about the weather begin to morph into whispers of fear. Simon’s school closes. The grocery store on his street is broken into. A man is shot in broad daylight and the police are nowhere to be found. The electricity goes out. The water gets higher.  

 

Simon doesn’t know if the rumours of a global flood are true, but he does know that there’s no way in hell he’s going to let his family drown. And a kiss from Jay before the end of the world might be nice too.

 

THE SKY SHATTERS is an LGBT young-adult speculative novel, complete at 77,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not and Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On.  

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Jennifer Mannering


Please help me with my query letter! Trying to write it feels like trying to run through wet sand...while drunk....and on fire...wearing ten tonnes of steel armour....

 

Query Letter

 

 

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”

― J.K. Rowling

 

:biggrin:


#2 Testome

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 05:37 PM

Thank you all so much for helping me out! I just joined this site a little while ago and I've been really enjoying getting to know you all! I don't know any writers in "real life" and it's so amazing to find such a supportive community online smile.png

All feedback is greatly appreciated -don't hold back! I'm trying really hard to thicken my skin in preparation for sending queries to agents.

 

 

 

Dear agent,

 

When the rain starts, it’s simply an annoyance. You need a hook, this does not tell us anything.

 

But then it doesn’t stop.

 

Seventeen-year-old Simon Myers is sure of two things: he’s not gay and the world is not ending.

 

He just happens to spend a lot of time studying the muscles of his childhood friend, star quarterback, Jay Griffon.

 

And it just happens to be raining. Every single days for weeks.

 

As the downpour continues, the complaints and jokes about the weather begin to morph into whispers of fear. Simon’s school closes. The grocery store on his street is broken into. A man is shot in broad daylight and the police are nowhere to be found. The electricity goes out. The water gets higher.   This is still all backstory, character introduction and setup. What does your mc want? What stands in his way? What happens when he fails?  I'm still not seeing any specultive material here yet.

 

Simon doesn’t know if the rumours of a global flood are true, but he does know that there’s no way in hell he’s going to let his family drown. And a kiss from Jay before the end of the world might be nice too. Your plot only begins here and there it's too vague.

 

THE SKY SHATTERS is an LGBT young-adult speculative novel, complete at 77,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not and Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On.  

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Jennifer Mannering

The main problem is you spend the entire query on setup, and only vaguely hint at your plot in the last line.  You also need a hook to draw in your reader at the beginning. 



#3 Daisy

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 05:45 PM

Thank you all so much for helping me out! I just joined this site a little while ago and I've been really enjoying getting to know you all! I don't know any writers in "real life" and it's so amazing to find such a supportive community online smile.png

All feedback is greatly appreciated -don't hold back! I'm trying really hard to thicken my skin in preparation for sending queries to agents.

 

 

 

Dear agent,

 

When the rain starts, it’s simply an annoyance.

 

But then it doesn’t stop.

 

Seventeen-year-old Simon Myers is sure of two things: he’s not gay and the world is not ending.

 

He just happens to spend a lot of time studying the muscles of his childhood friend, star quarterback, Jay Griffon.

 

And it just happens to be raining. Every single days for weeks.

 

As the downpour continues, the complaints and jokes about the weather begin to morph into whispers of fear. Simon’s school closes. The grocery store on his street is broken into. A man is shot in broad daylight and the police are nowhere to be found. The electricity goes out. The water gets higher.  

 

Simon doesn’t know if the rumours of a global flood are true, but he does know that there’s no way in hell he’s going to let his family drown. And a kiss from Jay before the end of the world might be nice too.

 

THE SKY SHATTERS is an LGBT young-adult speculative novel, complete at 77,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not and Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On.  

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Jennifer Mannering

 

 

You know...I like this.

 

I wouldn't change much except tighten the wording.

 

Example:

 

When the rain starts, it’s simply an annoyance. annoying.

 

But then it doesn’t stop

 

 

Good job so far.  :smile:



#4 anathebookworm

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 05:49 PM

Thank you all so much for helping me out! I just joined this site a little while ago and I've been really enjoying getting to know you all! I don't know any writers in "real life" and it's so amazing to find such a supportive community online smile.png

All feedback is greatly appreciated -don't hold back! I'm trying really hard to thicken my skin in preparation for sending queries to agents.

 

 

 

Dear agent,

 

When the rain starts, it’s simply an annoyance.

 

But then it doesn’t stop. I agree with Testome here, you need a hook, and this is not enough to draw a reader in. I only discovered that I liked the story here because I kept going, but if I were an agent with tons of queries to read, I would stop here. I'm honestly not trying to be mean, I just want to help...

 

Seventeen-year-old Simon Myers is sure of two things: he’s not gay and the world is not ending.

 

He just happens to spend a lot of time studying the muscles of his childhood friend, star quarterback, Jay Griffon.

 

And it just happens to be raining. Every single days for weeks.

 

As the downpour continues, the complaints and jokes about the weather begin to morph into whispers of fear. Simon’s school closes. The grocery store on his street is broken into. A man is shot in broad daylight and the police are nowhere to be found. The electricity goes out. The water gets higher. While I like this bit of backstory way more than your first paragraphs, I'm still wondering where the speculative elements are. HOWEVER, I would start the query with this. 

 

Simon doesn’t know if the rumours of a global flood are true, but he does know that there’s no way in hell he’s going to let his family drown. And a kiss from Jay before the end of the world might be nice too. This is good! The last two paragraphs completely hooked me, but I think you need to change your opening a bit. 

 

THE SKY SHATTERS is an LGBT young-adult speculative novel, complete at 77,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not and Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On.  

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Jennifer Mannering

 

Oh dear! I loved this a lot! I adore Rainbow Rowell (Carry On and Fangirl are my favorites!), and if your writing style in anything like hers, I'm sure I'll adore your books too. If you one day need a critique partner, DM me! I'm with a lot of free time now, and I would love to read this, :)

 

Hope my suggestions are useful!

 

If you have the time, I would it if you could take a look at my query (Online - MG Sci-Fi) and offer some thoughts too. 

 

Ana



#5 Jen Mannering

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 05:52 PM

Thank you all for your help!

 

Maybe I'm not understanding properly what genre my book fits into. I thought it was speculative because it is about the world flooding. Would it be sci-fi?


Please help me with my query letter! Trying to write it feels like trying to run through wet sand...while drunk....and on fire...wearing ten tonnes of steel armour....

 

Query Letter

 

 

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”

― J.K. Rowling

 

:biggrin:


#6 Testome

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 06:01 PM

Thank you all for your help!

 

Maybe I'm not understanding properly what genre my book fits into. I thought it was speculative because it is about the world flooding. Would it be sci-fi?

I think it has more to do with the vagueness of your plot until the end.  If you elaborate on it more in the beginning it should be fine.



#7 Daisy

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 06:06 PM

Thank you all for your help!

 

Maybe I'm not understanding properly what genre my book fits into. I thought it was speculative because it is about the world flooding. Would it be sci-fi?

 

 

I'm glad you came back and said this.

 

 

Right now, the vibe your query gives off is a "quiet" book.  I imagine it to be about a young man struggling with his sexuality. Period.  

HOWEVER,

If this is more of sci-fi or those floods suggest any sort of adventure, then...your query is not conveying that at all.



#8 anathebookworm

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 06:56 PM

Thank you all for your help!

 

Maybe I'm not understanding properly what genre my book fits into. I thought it was speculative because it is about the world flooding. Would it be sci-fi?

 

Sometimes it's hard to figure out genres. With my current manuscript, I only understood the story properly after my CP and a lit agent showed me the right direction. I guess you should read and re-read your story and learn what is your main focus. Is it the romance? The flooding? Maybe it's something like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012? It really depends on your focus.



#9 Jen Mannering

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 09:06 PM

The book focuses on the romance and teen coming of age for about the first 60%, and then pushes more into the apocalypse for the last 40%. I think that's why I'm having so much trouble writing the query letter -I don't know what to focus on.


Please help me with my query letter! Trying to write it feels like trying to run through wet sand...while drunk....and on fire...wearing ten tonnes of steel armour....

 

Query Letter

 

 

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”

― J.K. Rowling

 

:biggrin:


#10 Daisy

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 09:31 PM

The book focuses on the romance and teen coming of age for about the first 60%, and then pushes more into the apocalypse for the last 40%. I think that's why I'm having so much trouble writing the query letter -I don't know what to focus on.

 

Hmmmmm....If it's 60% romance, I think I'd call it a YA Romance (m/m)

 

That's tricky, but it sounds like the floods are the climactic ending and not the main focus of the book. 

 

Browse online and see if these sound like they'd be shelved with your novel. https://www.goodread...tag/m-m-romance



#11 Jen Mannering

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 09:55 PM

Daisy, yes exactly!

 

But I don't know if I should call it YA romance... I'm so conflicted! Could I call it YA romance with sci-fi undertones? Or speculative undertones? Apocalyptic undertones?


Please help me with my query letter! Trying to write it feels like trying to run through wet sand...while drunk....and on fire...wearing ten tonnes of steel armour....

 

Query Letter

 

 

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”

― J.K. Rowling

 

:biggrin:


#12 Daisy

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 10:05 PM

Daisy, yes exactly!

 

But I don't know if I should call it YA romance... I'm so conflicted! Could I call it YA romance with sci-fi undertones? Or speculative undertones? Apocalyptic undertones?

 

 

I don't think I'd complicate the issue. Pick the genre it fits into the most; which I think is YA (M/M) Romance.

 

I don't think you need to say "undertones of..." in your query.  You mention the floods and hint at it, but it doesn't seem to the be main focus. 



#13 Jen Mannering

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 10:30 PM

What do you think of this?

 

THE SKY SHATTERS is an LGBT young-adult romance novel, complete at 77,000 words. It is a mix of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and Tommy Wallach’s We All Looked Up

 

Do I need to include the author's names? It makes it much more muddled :/


Please help me with my query letter! Trying to write it feels like trying to run through wet sand...while drunk....and on fire...wearing ten tonnes of steel armour....

 

Query Letter

 

 

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”

― J.K. Rowling

 

:biggrin:


#14 Daisy

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 11:57 AM

What do you think of this?

 

THE SKY SHATTERS is an LGBT young-adult romance novel, complete at 77,000 words. It is a mix of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and Tommy Wallach’s We All Looked Up

 

Do I need to include the author's names? It makes it much more muddled :/

 

Yes, I think that is more appropriate than "speculative" judging by what you've told me.  :smile:

I also think you'll get more nibbles targeting it as a LGBT romance. 

 

 

I'm not sure about the author's names since I've never used comparison titles.  You can google that for examples I suppose.  :biggrin:

 

 

So, I think if you tighten the wording in the query itself, you're almost good to go. 



#15 A.M.Rose

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 04:59 PM

My comments below in green.

 

Thank you all so much for helping me out! I just joined this site a little while ago and I've been really enjoying getting to know you all! I don't know any writers in "real life" and it's so amazing to find such a supportive community online smile.png

All feedback is greatly appreciated -don't hold back! I'm trying really hard to thicken my skin in preparation for sending queries to agents.

 

 

 

Dear agent,

 

When the rain starts, it’s simply an annoyance.

 

But then it doesn’t stop.

 

Seventeen-year-old Simon Myers is sure of two things: he’s not gay and the world is not ending. (This feels more like your hook. Consider starting with this and then go into the next part.)

 

He just happens to spend a lot of time studying the muscles of his childhood friend, star quarterback, Jay Griffon.

 

And it just happens to be raining. Every single days for weeks. (Why are all of these sentences broken up?)

 

As the downpour continues, the complaints and jokes about the weather begin to morph into whispers of fear. Simon’s school closes. The grocery store on his street is broken into. A man is shot in broad daylight and the police are nowhere to be found. The electricity goes out. The water gets higher.  

 

Simon doesn’t know if the rumours of a global flood are true, but he does know that there’s no way in hell he’s going to let his family drown. And a kiss from Jay before the end of the world might be nice too.

 

Okay, you set up the setting for this story, but nothing else. What does Simon want? What stands in his way? What happens if he doesn't get it? You are missing the meat of your query letter and the stakes. 

 

THE SKY SHATTERS is an LGBT young-adult speculative novel, complete at 77,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not and Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On.  Is this book only about Simon figuring out he is gay? What about the rain? What does that have to do with the plot? 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Jennifer Mannering


A.M. Rose

Author of Road to Eugenica - Available 2018 from Entangled Teen 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


#16 Mezzanine

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 07:20 AM

Thank you all so much for helping me out! I just joined this site a little while ago and I've been really enjoying getting to know you all! I don't know any writers in "real life" and it's so amazing to find such a supportive community online smile.png

All feedback is greatly appreciated -don't hold back! I'm trying really hard to thicken my skin in preparation for sending queries to agents.

 

 

 

Dear agent,

 

When the rain starts, it’s simply an annoyance.

 

But then it doesn’t stop.

 

Seventeen-year-old Simon Myers is sure of two things: he’s not gay and the world is not ending.

 

He just happens to spend a lot of time studying the muscles of his childhood friend, star quarterback, Jay Griffon.

 

And it just happens to be raining. Every single days for weeks.

 

As the downpour continues, the complaints and jokes about the weather begin to morph into whispers of fear. Simon’s school closes. The grocery store on his street is broken into. A man is shot in broad daylight and the police are nowhere to be found. The electricity goes out. The water gets higher.  

 

Simon doesn’t know if the rumours of a global flood are true, but he does know that there’s no way in hell he’s going to let his family drown. And a kiss from Jay before the end of the world might be nice too.

 

THE SKY SHATTERS is an LGBT young-adult speculative novel, complete at 77,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not and Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On.  

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Jennifer Mannering

 

You have good writing in terms of cadence and pacing. You know how to put sentences together. My concern with your query is that agents want to see the big choice confronting the main character, along with the major stakes involved in that choice. I don't see a choice here, as in what happens if he does Choice A, what happens if he chooses Choice B, and what are the conflicting stakes involved in each. Also, they want to see impact and effects of events. What you have here now reads to me as more as a series of events, not as a story with a plot.

 

Hope this helps! Best of luck to you






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