Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
- - - - -

ONLY A DAY AWAY (YA Urban Fantasy)


  • Please log in to reply
39 replies to this topic

#21 wendywtw

wendywtw

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 91 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:None

Posted 23 June 2011 - 02:19 PM

I love your premise. It sounds like a real thriller. My only suggestion, in addition to what is shown below, is to allude to Paul having a chance to uncover the truth behind his sister's allegation and resolve the other turmoil you mentioned in your query. Does this happen in your story?

#22 bkeats

bkeats

    How like them.

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 825 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Not published yet.

Posted 24 June 2011 - 04:46 PM

Thank you all for your latest round of comments. My next revision will be out shortly.

G. Dorothy, your comment about the serious of the molestation charge juxtaposing against the "darkly funny" query puzzles me. I didn't think there was any humor in this query- dark or otherwise. There certainly isn't in the story itself. It's by far the grimmest thing I've ever written- it's like a friggin Bergman film. If there is indeed humor hiding out here, I need to snip it out.

wtw- your comment is well taken. The main plot of this story is actually about Paul's life, which he experiences twice. Once with no knowledge of the future but with the potential to alter it by changing his ways (the present), and the second time, where he has full knowledge of the future but is powerless to act on it. The time travel is more of a McGuffin than anything else- a vehicle to put Paul into this situation.

#23 Robbin

Robbin

    Robbin

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 127 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, emerging
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 28 June 2011 - 12:56 PM

Bkeats, My first thought was Ground Hog Day, but that was years ago, and I think the new generation of YA readers will love the premise. See comments below:

This isn't done yet, but I'm working on it, and the full story outline is all laid out, so I figured I might as well start on the query, now that I know how f**king HARD they are to write!

Besides, I figure if anticipa can do it, then it must be okay :tongue:





Dear All-knowing, all-wise Agent *insert sucking sounds here*

Paul Farrell is headed towards yesterday- and leaving tomorrow behind. Not in love with the hook - not sure what it means.

Paul's sixteenth year looks to be the last of his short and terrible life. Great line :) His mother has died, his sister has publicly accused his father of molestation, and Paul has gotten himself indefinately indefinitely suspended from high school. And now his splitting headaches turn out to be from a fast-growing, inoperable brain tumor. Here, I'm thinking who is going to take care of him? His only hope is a brand-new, experimental drug and a dour change the word for YA neurosurgeon seemingly more interested in his own reputation than Paul's well-being. Why do you say that?

I wouldn't stay the line with Paul - you did that in the first paragraph. Maybe: After Friday's operation, Paul is amazed to be alive. Paul awakes from the Friday operation, amazed to still be alive. But he shortly realizes it's not Friday at all- it's still Thursday! He relives in the entire day in panic and confusion, hoping everything will be okay tomorrow. But when he wakes up the next day, he's horrified to discover that it's Wednesday. Paul is living his life in reverse, one day at a time, and he's powerless to stop it. Yet, he no longer has his headache, right? Everything he does, anything he says to anyone means nothing the next day- because tomorrow is always out of reach.

Unable to interact meaningfully with the world anymore outside of a one-day span, Tell us about that - how is he preceived by others? Paul is forced to relive all his recent tragedies. His sanity slipping, his only chance is convincing his doctor to reverse a process that hasn't been invented yet and somehow find Patient Number One- the girl who underwent the operation before him. AWESOME IDEA! But Paul discovers that even time travelers can run out of time- because Paul Farrell is marching inexorably another word I would change, but that's me :) back to a fate more incomprehensible than death- his own birth.

And possibly, even beyond. Ah!

(Incredibly witty closing remarks follow) Be careful - I've been told NO humor/wit in query letter - keep it strictly BUSINESS. I WOULD READ YOUR BOOK :)


Robbin Luckett
YA Writer

#24 the transylvanian

the transylvanian

    InTown Books

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,406 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:I am the founder of InTown Books, a boutique of fantasy, paranormal, mystery, and historical romance that is dedicated to publishing and promoting authors.

Posted 28 June 2011 - 10:13 PM

Paul awakes from the Friday operation, amazed to still be alive. But he shortly realizes it's not Friday at all- it's still Thursday! He relives in the entire day in panic and confusion, hoping everything will be okay tomorrow. But when he wakes up the next day, he's horrified to discover that it's Wednesday. Paul is living his life in reverse, one day at a time, and he's powerless to stop it. Everything he does, anything he says to anyone means nothing the next day- because tomorrow is always out of reach.

This paragraph left me breathless. I would start the query with it and I believe Sharon suggested this earlier. Best of look to you...

Imagination is better than knowledge  - Einstein

http://www.intownbooks.net

www.the-transylvanians.com

 


#25 bkeats

bkeats

    How like them.

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 825 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Not published yet.

Posted 29 June 2011 - 11:13 AM

Version #3

Dear Agent,

Paul Farrell is headed towards yesterday- and leaving tomorrow behind. (For now, the hook stays. Not set in stone, though)

Paul's sixteenth year looks to be the last of his short and terrible life. His mother has died, his sister has publicly accused his father of molestation, and Paul has gotten himself suspended from high school. And now his splitting headaches turn out to be from a fast-growing, terminal brain tumor. His only hope is an experimental drug that's so new it's only been tried on one other patient before.

Paul awakens from the Friday operation, rejoicing to find himself still alive. But he soon realizes it's not Friday at all- it's still Thursday. He relives the entire day in panic and confusion, hoping everything will be okay tomorrow. But when he wakes up the next day, he's horrified to discover that it's Wednesday. Paul is living his life in reverse, one day at a time, and he's powerless to stop it. Everything he does, anything he says to anyone means nothing the next day- because the next day is yesterday, and tomorrow has already happened.

Forced to relive all his recent tragedies, Paul tries to come to grips with his family and the mistakes both he and they have made, but his only real chance is convincing his neurosurgeon to reverse a process that hasn't been invented yet and maybe find Patient Number One- the girl who underwent the operation before him and may be trapped in a similar loop. But Paul discovers that even time travelers can run out of time. Because Paul Farrell is marching inexorably towards a fate more incomprehensible than death; his own birth.

And possibly, even beyond.

#26 Jshaw

Jshaw

    Mrs. Happypants

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 142 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:None, aside from my thesis.

Posted 29 June 2011 - 12:25 PM

Version #3

Dear Agent,

Paul Farrell is headed towards yesterday- and leaving tomorrow behind. (For now, the hook stays. Not set in stone, though) For what it's worth, I like it!

Paul's sixteenth year looks to be the last of his short and terrible life. His mother has died, his sister has publicly accused his father of molestation, and Paul has gotten himself suspended from high school. And now his splitting headaches turn out to be from a fast-growing, terminal brain tumor. His only hope is an experimental drug that's so new (comma?) it's only been tried on one other patient before. I felt this sentence needed a break when I read it out loud, so I put the comma where I paused.

Paul awakens from the Friday operation, rejoicing to find himself still alive. But he soon realizes it's not Friday at all- it's still Thursday (if he had the surgery on Friday and woke up on Thursday, then how is it 'still' Thursday? Wouldn't it 'still' be Friday?). He relives the entire day in panic and confusion, hoping everything will be okay tomorrow. But when he wakes up the next day, he's horrified to discover that it's Wednesday. Paul is living his life in reverse, one day at a time, and he's powerless to stop it. Everything he does, anything he says to anyone means nothing the next day- because the next day is yesterday, and tomorrow has already happened. I'm in love with this last sentence.

Forced to relive all his recent tragedies, Paul tries to come to grips with his family and the mistakes both he and they have made, but his only real chance is convincing his neurosurgeon to reverse a process that hasn't been invented yet and maybe find Patient Number One- the girl who underwent the operation before him and may be trapped in a similar loop (This is a very long sentence. There could be a break and new sentence starting with 'His only real chance'). But Paul discovers that even time travelers can run out of time. Because Paul Farrell is marching inexorably (I feel like this word choice doesn't match with the rest of the query, might want to simplify) towards a fate more incomprehensible than death; his own birth.

And possibly, even beyond.

Hey bkeats! This reads really well. My comments are more nitpicks than anything, like the four 'buts' :happy: I feel like I have a great idea of the story and what the stakes are (and they're major). Your voice is strong as well. Nicely done! :biggrin:

#27 Desire4Fire

Desire4Fire

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 125 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:I have two published novels, published book I and book II in 2010 through a print by demand publisher.

Posted 29 June 2011 - 01:22 PM

Yea!!, for Hooks staying put!... Mine is stuck in stone.. its the only thing that is grounded. :)
I've done myself an injustice, because i havn't gone back to my query yet.
(unsure if my alarm for break time over has rung)

BK.. something happened in the last paragraph.. and it struck me too (read it out loud)

does the *when* factor work in the second paragraph... *When Paul awkens from the friday operation, - you can lose the *but* if you replace the first word to *when*

anyways.. great job as always.

4Fire.
Desire4Fire

#28 RileyRedgate

RileyRedgate

    Ant, the Quixotic Query Quibbler

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

Posted 29 June 2011 - 01:48 PM

Version #3

Dear Agent,

Paul Farrell is headed towards yesterday- and leaving tomorrow behind. (For now, the hook stays. Not set in stone, though) me also likey

Paul's sixteenth year looks to be the last of his short and terrible life. His mother has died, his sister has publicly accused his father of molestation, and Paul has gotten himself suspended from high school. And now his splitting headaches turn out to be from a fast-growing, terminal brain tumor. His only 'only' echoes later in the sentence. Maybe 'one' hope here? hope is an experimental drug that's so new it's only been tried on one other patient before. A comma would be grammatically incorrect, but the sentence does lend itself to needing a pause. Best shot is just simplification.

Paul awakens from the Friday operation, rejoicing to find himself still alive. But he soon realizes it's not Friday at all- it's still Thursday. He relives the entire day in panic and confusion, hoping everything will be okay tomorrow. But when he wakes up the next day, he's horrified to discover that it's Wednesday. Paul is living his life in reverse, one day at a time, and he's powerless to stop it. Everything he does, anything he says to anyone means nothing the next day- because the next day is yesterday, and tomorrow has already happened. HEEEEE god i love this plot

Forced to relive all his recent tragedies, Paul tries to come to grips with his family and the mistakes both he and they have made, but his only real chance is convincing his neurosurgeon to reverse a process that hasn't been invented yet and maybe find Patient Number One- the girl who underwent the operation before him and may be trapped in a similar loop. Hoo boy! This is a helluva long sentence. I'd split it at 'made' and just start the next sentence with 'but'. Also, 'find' needs to be 'finding' because it's paralleling 'convincing' and whatnot But Paul discovers that even time travelers can run out of time. Because Paul Farrell is marching inexorably towards a fate more incomprehensible than death; Should be a colon, not a semicolon his own birth.

And possibly, even beyond.


YAWP!

author of SEVEN WAYS WE LIE and NOTEWORTHY

rep: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

 

i tweet!


#29 AMK

AMK

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 572 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:nada...working on it

Posted 29 June 2011 - 03:28 PM

Version #3

Dear Agent,

Paul Farrell is headed towards yesterday- and leaving tomorrow behind. (For now, the hook stays. Not set in stone, though) (I like this very much.)

Paul's sixteenth year looks to be the last of his short and terrible life. His mother hasis dieddead, his sister has publicly accused his father of molestation, and Paul has gotten himself is suspended from high school. And Now he discovers that his splitting headaches turn out to be are the gift of a from a fast-growing, terminal brain tumor. Yeah. Not exactly fantastic. (Or something witty here to keep this from being too terribly sad.) His only hope is an experimental drug that's so new it's only been tried on one other patient before.

Paul awakens from the Friday operation, rejoicing to find himself still alive. But he soon realizes it's not Friday at all- it's still Thursday. He relives the entire day in panic and confusion, hoping everything will be okay tomorrow. ButWhen he wakes up the next day, he's horrified to discover that it's Wednesday. Paul is living his life in reverse. One day at a time. And he's powerless to stop it. Everything he does, anything he says to anyone means nothing the next day- because the next day is yesterday, and tomorrow has already happened.

Forced to relive all his recent tragedies, Paul tries to come to grips with his family and the mistakes both he and they they've all have made. but His only real chance at salvation (or something?)is convincing his neurosurgeon to reverse a process that hasn't been invented yet (I'm a little bit confused here.) and maybe find Patient Number One- the girl who underwent the operation before him and may be trapped in a similar loop. But Paul discovers that even time travelers can run out of time. Because Paul Farrell is marching inexorably towards a fate more incomprehensible than death; his own birth.

And possibly, even beyond.

Very cool concept. I want to read this! As you know, I am a newbie, so take my thoughts or leave them. I wish you best of luck all the same.

#30 RileyRedgate

RileyRedgate

    Ant, the Quixotic Query Quibbler

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

Posted 29 June 2011 - 03:37 PM

You know, it's interesting. I'm not reading humor in the query, but is it just me, or have some readers drawn the conclusion that it leans toward a humorous voice? Thing is, it's such an inherently WHOA, WAIT, WHAT?! sort of idea, so it has this natural almost-ludicrous nature to it. But I think you stated that it's dark, right? Not at all humorous? To make the voice of the query match... well, I don't know what you'd have to do. Because I'm not seeing any humor in it, but people seem to be (mis?)interpreting it as light, and I'd hate for an agent to do the same...

author of SEVEN WAYS WE LIE and NOTEWORTHY

rep: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

 

i tweet!


#31 bkeats

bkeats

    How like them.

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 825 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Not published yet.

Posted 29 June 2011 - 03:49 PM

You know, it's interesting. I'm not reading humor in the query, but is it just me, or have some readers drawn the conclusion that it leans toward a humorous voice? Thing is, it's such an inherently WHOA, WAIT, WHAT?! sort of idea, so it has this natural almost-ludicrous nature to it. But I think you stated that it's dark, right? Not at all humorous? To make the voice of the query match... well, I don't know what you'd have to do. Because I'm not seeing any humor in it, but people seem to be (mis?)interpreting it as light, and I'd hate for an agent to do the same...


I'm not sure either, anticipa. I'd have thought the "mother dead, sister abused by her father, etc" line would pretty much have leeched the humor out of this query, but apparently not. I do usually put lots of humor in my stories, even if they're not inherently comedic (Although I do actually write funny stuff, too. Well, allegedly funny, but that's another thread). Not this one. I really don't expect anyone to laugh at this story. If they do, I've screwed up big time. As I mentioned before, while it has its thriller elements (Paul trying to reverse his condition), the soul of this story is about Paul's life and those in it, and all the heartaches, mistakes, bad choices and so forth that haunt every one of us, even if some more than others. In Paul's case, he goes through it all twice, under radically different circumstances. While not a particularly sympathetic character at first, Paul does manage to grow as a person even as (or perhaps because of) the universe closing in around him.

By the way, besides the Mighty anticipa, thanks again to Jshaw, Desire4Fire, AMk and everyone who's taken the time (ha, ha) to comment on this. Not sure when Version #4 will be out. I suppose I should probably actually finish writing this damn thing one of these days, ya think? :unsure:

#32 RileyRedgate

RileyRedgate

    Ant, the Quixotic Query Quibbler

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

Posted 29 June 2011 - 03:57 PM

YA THINK?

I DO. :humph: I take personal offense that this isn't already finished so I can't read the durned thing.

Yeah, ahahha, I'm used to you being a funny dude. Maybe it's just that we're accustomed to your personality.

Perhaps specifying how his mother died and detailing how he got suspended would sober it up a little? The phrase 'short and terrible life' has the potential to be either way, I think - almost sardonic, as you say, or a blunt fact.

author of SEVEN WAYS WE LIE and NOTEWORTHY

rep: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

 

i tweet!


#33 Moonshade

Moonshade

    Plague Cat

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,514 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:The Urban Dragon series

Posted 29 June 2011 - 06:25 PM

Version #3

Dear Agent,

Paul Farrell is headed towards yesterday- and leaving tomorrow behind. (For now, the hook stays. Not set in stone, though)I like this, because it SCREAMS time travel. The one thing I'd change is pointing out that he doesn't have a choice in the matter.

Paul's sixteenth year looks to be the last of his short and terrible life. His mother has died, his sister has publicly accused his father of molestation, and Paul has gotten himself suspended from high school. And now his splitting headaches turn out to be from a fast-growing, terminal brain tumor. His only hope is an experimental drug that's so new it's only been tried on one other patient before.

Paul awakens from the Friday operation, rejoicing to find himself still alive. But he soon realizes it's not Friday at all- it's still Thursday. He relives the entire day in panic and confusion, hoping everything will be okay tomorrow. But when he wakes up the next day, he's horrified to discover that it's Wednesday. Paul is living his life in reverse, one day at a time, and he's powerless to stop it. Everything he does, anything he says to anyone means nothing the next day- because the next day is yesterday, and tomorrow has already happened. This is a good presentation of the conflict.

Forced to relive all his recent tragedies, Paul tries to come to grips with his family and the mistakes both he and they have made, but his only real chance is convincing his neurosurgeon to reverse a process that hasn't been invented yet and maybe find Patient Number One- the girl who underwent the operation before him and may be trapped in a similar loop. But Paul discovers that even time travelers can run out of time. Because Paul Farrell is marching inexorably towards a fate more incomprehensible than death: his own birth

And possibly, even beyond. Nice.

This sounds fascinating, though definitely not a humorous book, and it takes a good deviation from the typical Groundhog Day Loop. I love the premise~

Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Website

mark_zpsckzxw7vu.jpg  Potnia_zpsykuekifx.jpg


#34 Stefanzo

Stefanzo

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 99 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationAustralia/New Zealand
  • Publishing Experience:None yet

Posted 30 June 2011 - 08:50 AM

What can I say. Bravo.
The hook stays! It stopped me and I had to think.
I love that his life was awful and now he has to relive it.
I like the "one patient before" line, which looks to be incidental becomes part of the story. nicely done.

My manuscript assessor promises me "gotten is rotten". Find another word or way of saying it. It's a weak link.
You seem to be using En dashes, instead of Em dashes. I don't think there is supposed to be a space before or after an Em dash either.
I reckon you could use more voice. (It's about a 16 y/o boy but I don't hear a corresponding voice. Doesn't the voice normally match the age of the protag?) Like: But when he wakes up the next day, he's horrified to discover that it's Wednesday. It sucks. (maybe not a brilliant example, but you get the picture)



Paul Farrell is headed towards yesterday--and leaving tomorrow behind.

Paul's sixteenth year looks to be the last of his short and terrible life. His mother has died, his sister has publicly accused his father of molestation, and Paul has gotten himself suspended from high school. And now his those splitting headaches turn out to be from a fast-growing vicious, terminal brain tumor. His only hope is an experimental drug that's so new it's only been tried on one other patient before.

Paul awakens from the Friday operation, rejoicing to find himself still alive, (comma--too many sentences starting with but)but he soon realizes it's not Friday at all--it's still Thursday. He relives the entire day in panic and confusion, hoping everything will be okay tomorrow. But when he wakes up the next day, he's horrified to discover that it's Wednesday. Paul is living his life in reverse, one day at a time, and he's powerless to stop it. Everything he does, anything he says to anyone means nothing the next day--because the next day is yesterday, and tomorrow has already happened. (Fabulous!!)

Forced to relive all his recent tragedies, Paul tries to come to grips with his family and the mistakes both he and they have made, but (too many buts--try a "however" or something) his only real chance is convincing his neurosurgeon to reverse a process that hasn't been invented yet. Or and maybe find Patient Number One--the girl who underwent the operation before him and may very well be trapped in a similar loop. But However, Paul discovers that even time travelers can run out of time. Because Paul Farrell is marching inexorably towards a fate more incomprehensible than death; his own birth. (Wow. I just pictured my own birth and my brain inverted)

And possibly, even beyond. (Glorious)

#35 bkeats

bkeats

    How like them.

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 825 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Not published yet.

Posted 01 July 2011 - 10:37 AM

Moonshade, stefanzo- thanks for your comments. Still musing over this one.

yeah, "gotten" sounds like a passive-tense, moldy tomato. I'll ditch it.

I reckon you could use more voice. (It's about a 16 y/o boy but I don't hear a corresponding voice. Doesn't the voice normally match the age of the protag?)


Very astute observation. Yes, the voice is Paul's, but (SPOILER ALERT!) he's not sixteen when he narrates this novel, which is actually told in flashback. Paul is twenty-four chronologically as the narrator in the prologue, although he looks like an eight-year-old. The bulk of the novel does deal with Paul at "around" sixteen, so when you hear Paul speak, he sounds sixteen, but commentary is from a sadder, wiser and older (?) Paul.


comma--too many sentences starting with but)


But, but, but... That's me, the Human Outboard Motor :biggrin:

#36 the transylvanian

the transylvanian

    InTown Books

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,406 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:I am the founder of InTown Books, a boutique of fantasy, paranormal, mystery, and historical romance that is dedicated to publishing and promoting authors.

Posted 02 July 2011 - 01:06 PM

Paul Farrell is headed towards yesterday- and leaving tomorrow behind. (Still very good for a hook despite the fact that I suggested the third paragraph)

I love you query bkeats. As I mention before the second paragraph does not comes easy to me but only the second sentence. I keep reading your query and pass that part and I am not missing it at all. Your book contains a lot of drama and I know you try to bring that out. But (but but but) as you know very well, most genius ideas are hard to be contain!!!!

Imagination is better than knowledge  - Einstein

http://www.intownbooks.net

www.the-transylvanians.com

 


#37 Cheryl B. Dale

Cheryl B. Dale

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,193 posts
  • Literary Status:published, in-between agents
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:Category, ebooks, mystery

Posted 02 July 2011 - 03:48 PM

Version #3


I think this is pretty strong except for a few polishing problems. If it were mine, I'd redo it like so (not going to use strikeouts and red ink because it takes too long; you'll have to compare):


Paul Farrell is headed towards yesterday-and leaving tomorrow behind.

Paul's sixteenth year is a bummer. His mother dies, his sister publicly accuses his father of molestation, and Paul is suspended from high school. Worse, his headaches come from a fast-growing, terminal brain tumor. His only hope is an experimental drug so new only one other patient has used it.

Paul awakens from the Friday operation (or procedure since I assume it's a drug being administered?), still alive, before learning it's not Friday at all. It's still Thursday. He must endure the entire operation again. But when he wakes up a second time, it still isn't Friday. Or Thursday. It's Wednesday. Paul is living his life in reverse, one day at a time. Everything he does, anything he says means nothing the next day because his next day is yesterday, and his tomorrow has already happened.

He can handle reliving his family's recent tragedies, but his only real chance of survival is convincing his neurosurgeon to reverse a process that hasn't been invented yet.

But even time travelers can run out of time. And Paul Farrell is marching inexorably towards a fate more incomprehensible than death; his own birth.

Or even beyond.


I cut the 'come to grips' bit to focus on the real conflict. Ditto with the other patient. The family problems and the other patient may play major roles in your ms but you don't have time for them in your query. I also took out a lot of the adverbs and adjectives and telling stuff that, in fact, only shows your writing needs some polishing to get up to professional standards. If you don't have it, get Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King. It would be a great help to you.

And as I said, if this were mine, this is how I'd revise it. Anything you like, use (in your own voice if you can); ignore the rest. This sounds like a fascinating story. Hope you can get the query in shape to find an agt/ed.

Just my opinion.

#38 Robbin

Robbin

    Robbin

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 127 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, emerging
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 03 July 2011 - 08:41 AM

bkeats,

I like the idea of your story, but I find things missing to keep me moving forward (no pun intended). Comments below:

Version #3

Dear Agent,

Sixteen-year-old Paul Farrell is headed towards yesterday- and leaving tomorrow behind. (For now, the hook stays. Not set in stone, though)

Paul's life is about to end. Paul's sixteenth year looks to be the last of his short and terrible life. (Show don't tell) His mother has died, his sister has publicly accused his father of molestation, and Paul has gotten himself suspended from high school. (I would remove the suspended from school part, and go directly into his headaches. Who cares about school when he's facing a brain tumor.) And now his keeps getting splitting headaches, which turns out to be from a fast-growing, terminal brain tumor. His only hope is an experimental drug that's so new it's only been tried on one other patient before. At this point, I feel compassion for Paul - so I'm concerned, but who is his caretaker? Is his sister old enough and strong enough to take care of him? Does a relative come and take care of the children? Take Paul to the hospital? I think there needs to be an adult (just my opinion)

Paul awakens from the Friday operation, rejoicing to find himself still alive. But he soon realizes it's not Friday at all- it's still Thursday. He relives the entire day in panic and confusion, hoping everything will be okay tomorrow. But when he wakes up the next day, he's horrified to discover that it's Wednesday. Paul is living his life in reverse, one day at a time, and he's powerless to stop it. Everything he does, anything he says to anyone (nurses, doctors?) means nothing the next day- because the next day is yesterday, and tomorrow has already happened.

Forced to relive all his recent tragedies, (What tragedies? His mother's death?) Paul tries to come to grips with his family and the mistakes (what mistakes? Did the father molest his sister? What else?) both he and they have made, but his only real chance is convincing his neurosurgeon to reverse a process that hasn't been invented yet (Something needs to be added. Paul is in the hospital because he has a brain tumor - sorry to say, but lots of kids are in the hospital with brain tumors and they are not living in reverse. So you might first need to diagnose him with a medical term (make one up) . Did this experimental drug cause reversal side effects? and maybe find Patient Number One- the girl who underwent the operation before him and may be trapped in a similar loop. But Paul discovers that even time travelers can run out of time. Because Paul Farrell is marching inexorably towards a fate more incomprehensible than death; his own birth.

And possibly, even beyond. I like this.


Something else you need: What makes the reader want to keep going backwards. Do we learn more about Paul? Is it all depressing, or dark hidden secrets revealed? Following someone backwards could be mundane - what is at stake? What is keeping us in the story? What truths does Paul learn by going backwards? Make sense? I think this story can be a hit, if you add elements that are intriguing. I already like Paul, now I want to know more about him and his struggles and/or hopes, etc. Hope this helps.
Robbin Luckett
YA Writer

#39 kacimari

kacimari

    Kacimari

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 124 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:Novels: Antithesis (YA Sci-Fi), Reflection Pond (#1), Poison Tree (Reflection Pond, #2) (YA Fantasy). Stepping Stones (YA Contemporary Fantasy). As an editor: Out of the Green: Tales from Fairyland.
    Short fiction in Sucker Literary Volume III,
    Spark Volume VII, and the inaugural issue of Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things.

Posted 03 July 2011 - 10:59 AM

Version #3

Dear Agent,

Paul Farrell is headed towards yesterday- and leaving tomorrow behind. (For now, the hook stays. Not set in stone, though)

Paul's sixteenth year looks to be the last of his short and terrible life. His mother has died, his sister has publicly accused his father of molestation, and Paul has gotten himself suspended from high school. And now his splitting headaches turn out to be from a fast-growing, terminal brain tumor. His only hope is an experimental drug that's so new it's only been tried on one other patient before. I'd like to know the success of this drug. If it worked, consider saying so here.

Paul awakens from the Friday operation, rejoicing to find himself still alive. But he soon realizes it's not Friday at all- it's still Thursday. He relives the entire day in panic and confusion, hoping everything will be okay tomorrow. But when he wakes up the next day, he's horrified to discover that it's Wednesday. Paul is living his life in reverse, one day at a time, and he's powerless to stop it. He's not powerless, he goes to find the other patient. Everything he does and anything he says to anyone means nothing the next day- because the next day is yesterday, and tomorrow has already happened.

Forced to relive all his recent tragedies, Paul tries to come to grips with his family and the mistakes they have all made. both he and they have made, but his His only real chance is convincing his neurosurgeon to reverse a process that hasn't been invented yet Consider making both of these their own sentences. Or changing it to "or finding Patient..." There's no maybe, if you say it in the query, it's gonna happen! and maybe find Patient Number One- the girl who underwent the operation before him and may be trapped in a similar loop. But Paul discovers that even time travelers can run out of time. Because Paul Farrell is marching inexorably towards a fate more incomprehensible than death; his own birth.

And possibly, even beyond.


I love this idea. I think that people are adding humor to it because of Ground Hog Day, which was VERY funny. But, when I read this, I'm horrified. Your voice comes through in the query quite nicely. From the start I find myself in Paul's shoes, absolutely terrified of what's going on. Very well done BKeats! This sounds like something I would love to read.
Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.

#40 wendywtw

wendywtw

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 91 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:None

Posted 06 July 2011 - 10:18 AM

I love the hook. I may not be expert with queries, but it got my attention.

Paul's only hope is undergoing a risky surgery, one he may not survive, and taking an experimental drug tried on only one other patient.
(I FEEL YOU NEED AN INTRODUCTION TO THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH.)

Paul awakens from the Friday operation, rejoicing to find himself still alive. But he soon realizes it's not Friday at all- it's still Thursday. He relives the entire day in panic and confusion, hoping everything will be okay tomorrow. But when he wakes up the next day, he's horrified to discover that it's Wednesday. Paul is living his life in reverse, one day at a time, and he powerless (NEEDS) to stop it.

I THINK THE REST OF YOUR QUERY READS GREAT. I LOVE THE LAST LINE TOO.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users