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THE JARGON MONKEYS CLUB (YA Contemporary)


Best Answer strangeface , 20 March 2017 - 10:39 AM

Thanks everyone! I think I'm ready to send off the query now. You guys seem to all be saying that's in a pretty good place, so thanks again :)

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#1 strangeface

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 12:41 PM

Thanks for any help you can give!

Some people have suggested writing the query from one perspective, so I've done it from Lucy's perspective.

 

Eight months. That’s how long Lucy’s gone without adding another scar on her arms. Her happy thoughts keep her from hurting herself, but when she falls in love with one of the straightest girls ever, Lucy’s desire for affection may send her right back to where she started.

 

Lucy tries not to bother her best friend Auden about her depression, about how often she’s slipped into it since her parents died. Despite her secrecy, they always stick by each other, so it’s easy for Lucy to stay with Auden when his hijinks prompt their school to condemn him to the Jargon Monkeys Club—its Alcoholics Anonymous-style project for treating “antisocial behaviour.”

 

At the club’s first summer meeting, Lucy develops a crush on the cute new girl, Ella. As much as Auden tries to convince her otherwise, Lucy is blind to the fact that Ella is straight. So, when Ella gets a boyfriend, it doesn’t take long for Lucy’s eight months to disappear.

 

The last thing Lucy wants people to know is that her depression’s back, but with Ella and her writing a song together for the club’s next concert, and Auden noticing her warning signs, it’s becoming harder and harder to hide her feelings. The conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights, so Lucy has no idea how badly Ella would react to a confession. But as she edges closer to the point of no return, Lucy may just risk her new friendship in a last-ditch attempt to subdue her depression.

 

THE JARGON MONKEYS CLUB is a young adult novel, complete at 84,000 words, that is told from the perspectives of Auden and Lucy. The manuscript is available upon request.

 

My short stories have been published in [] and []. Thanks for your time and consideration.



#2 lizellor

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 05:56 PM

Hi. I'd sent this query off to some agents, but I haven't gotten back any positive responses, so I'm wondering if something is wondering. Is it possible that it's too long? A lot of the successful queries I've seen have been shorter than mine. What do you think?

Thanks for any help you can give!

 

Dear *insert agent name here*,

 

Despite the tiny issue of his long history of anger and violence, Auden Lyons thought he could enjoy his summer off like everyone else. But after he ends the final concert for the semester by cursing on stage, his high school forces him to return for a summer period with the Jargon Monkeys Club—its pet project to treat “antisocial behaviour.” This strikes a weird chord with me. Cursing on stage doesn't seem like the sort of thing that would get a kid in this much trouble today. 

 

At the club’s first summer meeting, Lucy Arai, Auden’s timid best friend, develops a crush on the new girl, Ella Rigby. Entranced by Ella’s beauty and sense of humour, Lucy is blinded momentarily to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights.

                                                                                                

After Ella gets a boyfriend, Lucy becomes withdrawn, spending most of her time hiding in her bedroom. Auden becomes more and more worried about Lucy’s mental state. A few days later, Lucy arranges a meeting with Auden at the burnt ruins of their old day care, the site of the most traumatic experience of their lives. Auden, more concerned than ever, pushes Lucy to reveal the fresh wounds on her arms, confirming his suspicions. Her depression has returned. Here might be one of your biggest issues with agents: very few are looking for depressing LGBT YA, especially if it's not autobiographical. As a queer woman writer, I don't want to read about a young lesbian spiraling into depression and contemplating suicide because the girl she likes is straight. It's been done before, and it's really depressing. It also reduces Lucy completely down to her sexuality and mental health issues, giving an agent the impression that she's a 2D character who exists only to teach Auden a lesson. Now, this could work if you put a fresh spin on it--a kind of quirky, slice-of-life, John-Green-esque voice that infuses Lucy's problems with personality. "The Fault In Our Stars," but for depression. 

 

Everything in Auden’s life now seems petty, but when he can’t figure out how to help Lucy, he finds comfort in blocking out his problems. Those ruins awakened long-buried memories of the past. If they resurface, he won’t be able to help himself, much less Lucy.

 

THE JARGON MONKEYS CLUB is a young adult novel, complete at 84,000 words, that is told from the perspectives of Auden and Lucy. The manuscript is available upon request.

 

My short stories have been published in __ and ___. Thanks for your time and consideration.

 

 

The wording is a little awkward in parts, but I think the main problem is that this sounds like a late-nineties after-school-special. For a project like this to succeed, your query needs to have voice. You need to get us right inside Auden and Lucy's head, because in contemporary YA, it's absolutely crucial that your voice sound true to the high school experience of your modern teen readers. In SFF YA, you have a little more wiggle room. But your voice here feels preachy and pedantic. Your characters feel like flat stereotypes. You have to show dimension and make them interesting

 

Any feedback you can give on my query would be appreciated:  http://agentquerycon...ner-ya-fantasy/


Edited by Jean Oram, 07 March 2017 - 12:53 PM.
removal of querier's personal info. :)


#3 C.Harmon

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 05:24 PM

I think you could successfully include Lucy's depression in the query, but I wouldn't imply that she's cutting herself because Ella isn't reciprocating her feelings. It creates all sorts of implications about Lucy you don't to be giving someone completely unfamiliar with your book. Depression can drive the rising action in your query, but I would imagine Lucy's depression is rooted somewhere else. Perhaps only mention Lucy's sexual orientation, and have the query focus more on the day care fire?



#4 strangeface

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 10:26 PM

Perhaps. You're right about the root of Lucy's depression (I was hoping the term "returned" would give some kind of a hint), but it's hard to focus on the day care fire when that's revealed like a third into the story and is a source of mystery.



#5 SAVE

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 12:28 PM

Hi. I'd sent this query off to some agents, but I haven't gotten back any positive responses, so I'm wondering if something is wondering. Is it possible that it's too long? A lot of the successful queries I've seen have been shorter than mine. What do you think?

Thanks for any help you can give!

 

Dear *insert agent name here*,

 

Despite the tiny issue of his long history of anger and violence, Auden Lyons thought he could enjoy his summer off like everyone else (As far as a hook goes, this is kinda boring and doesn't really catch my attention. It's just really plain). But after he ends the final concert for the semester by cursing on stage, his high school forces him to return for a summer period with the Jargon Monkeys Club—its pet project to treat “antisocial behaviour.” (When does this take place? Nowadays swearing is pretty standard in youth, and while they'll probably get in trouble for it at school, I'm not sure if it'd be counted as "antisocial behavior")

 

At the club’s first summer meeting, Lucy Arai, Auden’s timid best friend, develops a crush on the new girl, Ella Rigby. Entranced by Ella’s beauty and sense of humour, Lucy is blinded momentarily to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights.

                                                                                                

After Ella gets a boyfriend, Lucy becomes withdrawn, spending most of her time hiding in her bedroom. Auden becomes more and more worried about Lucy’s mental state. A few days later, Lucy arranges a meeting with Auden at the burnt ruins of their old day care, the site of the most traumatic experience of their lives. Auden, more concerned than ever, pushes Lucy to reveal the fresh wounds on her arms, confirming his suspicions. Her depression has returned.

 

Everything in Auden’s life now seems petty, but when he can’t figure out how to help Lucy, he finds comfort in blocking out his problems. Those ruins awakened long-buried memories of the past. If they resurface, he won’t be able to help himself, much less Lucy.

 

THE JARGON MONKEYS CLUB is a young adult novel, complete at 84,000 words, that is told from the perspectives of Auden and Lucy. The manuscript is available upon request.

 

My short stories have been published in ____ and ____. Thanks for your time and consideration.

 

 

Honestly, I didn't find any real issues with your query. It's written well, but the characters could use extra description, and while it seems very realistic, it also seems kinda boring. The characters don't seem to have any depth here, and aside from Lucy's affection that can't really be returned, there's nothing that makes me get excited or want to read about the characters.

 

My suggestion is to save this, and write another version, give more details and spice it up, give us a bigger look into the characters :)

Good luck!


Edited by Jean Oram, 07 March 2017 - 12:53 PM.
removal of querier's personal info. :)


#6 strangeface

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 07:50 PM

Okay, I made a new query based on the suggestions given, but what I came up with is WAY too long. I'd love some help in shortening it and improving it generally.



#7 Cez

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 02:19 PM

Since I also have a dual narrative book I can understand your difficulty in writing a query. 

This query is way too long. I think I need some help shortening it.

Thanks for any help you can give!

 

Dear *insert agent name here*,

 

I think you need little more of an introduction. So Auden is a teenager? How old is he? Where does this story take place?

One more infraction. That’s all Auden Lyons’ stupid, uptight school was looking for to throw him back into the Jargon Monkeys Club—its pet project to treat “antisocial behaviour.” He wished someone had told him that before he cursed on stage during the club’s final concert. The truth is they are 'they' the school? I wasn't sure. were afraid of him, afraid of his history of violence, afraid because he beat up some people who deserved it. People who thought they could sexually harass Lucy and get away with it. This is too vague. If you say he has a history of violence, does that mean he has criminal inclinations? 

 

It’s hard for her sometimes, but Lucy Arai tries to look at the bright side. She has a family and a best friend that love her. A lot of people think it’s weird she never became attracted to Auden, but maybe it’s not weird at all. Joining him at the club’s first summer meeting, Lucy develops a crush on the new girl, Ella Rigby. Entranced by Ella’s beauty and sense of humour, Lucy is blinded momentarily to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights.

Just when Lucy thought her fun would never end, Ella gets a boyfriend, reviving something Lucy has been running from her whole life. There’s a reason all her shirts have long sleeves. Lucy wanted Ella to take that away, but it only got worse. After avoiding everyone for a few days, Lucy arranges a meeting with Auden at the burnt ruins of their old day care, the site of the most traumatic experience of their lives. Auden can see the warning signs. He’s seen them too many times to miss them. Auden pushes Lucy to reveal the fresh wounds on her arms, confirming his suspicions. Her depression has returned. I think you might mention some traumatic experience in both these kids' past sooner.

Every dumb feud can you be more specific? What fueds? in Auden’s life now seems petty, but when he can’t figure out how to help Lucy, he finds comfort in blocking out his problems. Those ruins awakened long-buried memories of the past. If they resurface, he won’t be able to help himself, much less Lucy.

 

THE JARGON MONKEYS CLUB is a young adult novel, complete at 84,000 words, that is told from the perspectives of Auden and Lucy. The manuscript is available upon request.

 

My short stories have been published in ____ and ____. Thanks for your time and consideration.

I was confused by the PoV shift at first because it feels like Lucy is the main character, but Auden must be important, since he is a narrator, yet you don't give many details about his problems and part of the story.

My best advice is try writing from just one POV, then from another, then try a combined query, but keep the POV's in separate paragraphs. You'll see which version works best for you.

Good luck.


Edited by Jean Oram, 07 March 2017 - 12:52 PM.
removal of personal info. :)


#8 dmsimone

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 11:34 PM

Here's my feedback, comments in blue.

Shouldn't it be Jargon Monkey's Club, not Jargon Monkeys Club?

You mentioned that you wanted to cut some words, so I made some suggestions below. Use what you like.

 

How much of your book are you revealing in this query? First 50 pages? First 100 pages? I have struggled for months with telling too much of the plot and synopsizing. Folks here will also push strongly for a single sentence hook in the beginning - I did this too but it hasn't worked for me at all.

 

I suggest what you almost nearly have...you just need to add a punch at the end.

Paragraph 1 - All about Auden. What life is like for him, what he wants, an inciting incident that calls him to action.

Paragraph 2 - All about Lucy. Same thing.

Paragraph 3 - You merge their stories, explain how they are going to help each other, what they must do to recover from their past wounds, and what stands in their way.

 

It sounds so easy but it really isn't! It's hard. All of this is hard. And at the same time we are supposed to inject voice and awesome turns of phrase. I am also no expert. I have no agent. I've just been doing it for a really long time. Can't write my own query!

 

Hope this helps,

D

 

 

This query is way too long. I think I need some help shortening it.

Thanks for any help you can give!

 

Dear *insert agent name here*,

 

One more infraction. That’s all Auden Lyons’ stupid, uptight school was looking for needed to throw him back into the Jargon Monkey's Club—its pet project to treat “antisocial behaviour.” He wished someone had told him that before he cursed on stage during the club’s final concert. The club's final concert or the schools? The JMC sounds like something you don't want to be in, and not the kind of club that would be putting on musical performances. The truth is, they were afraid of him, afraid of his history of violence, afraid because he beat up some people who deserved it. People who thought they could sexually harass Lucy and get away with it.

 

It’s hard for her sometimes, but Lucy Arai tries to look at the bright side. She has a family and a best friend that  who love her. A lot of Most people think it’s weird she never became attracted to Auden, never became attracted to Auden doesn't sound very polished. Maybe, "Most people think it's weird she and Auden aren't an item..." but maybe it’s not weird at all. The end of this sentence "but maybe..." doesn't add anything because you go right into the reason in the next sentence. Joining him at the club’s first summer meeting ok, I thought Auden wasn't in the club and didn't want to get thrown back into the club...is this when he was in the club? You can just say...At the Jargon Monkey's Club first summer meeting, Lucy developed... , Lucy develops a crush on the new girl, Ella Rigby. Entranced by Ella’s beauty and sense of humour, Lucy is blinded momentarily to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights. I like this.

 

At this point, I'm wondering what happened to Auden...

Just when Lucy thought her fun would never end What fun are you referring to? She like Ella who won't return her feelings, Ella gets a boyfriend, reviving the memory of something Lucy has been running from her whole life. There’s a reason all her shirts have long sleeves. Lucy wanted Ella to take that away, but it only got worse. Take what away? A painful memory? After avoiding everyone for a few days, Lucy arranges a meeting with Auden at the burnt ruins of their old day care, the site of the most traumatic experience of their lives. Oh, here's Auden - but this whole transition feels awkward. Auden can sees the warning signs. He’s seen them too many times to miss them. Auden  He pushes Lucy to reveal the fresh wounds on her arms, confirming his suspicions. Her depression has returned.

 

Every dumb feud in Auden’s life now seems petty, but when he can’t figure out how to help Lucy, he finds comfort in blocking out his problems how does he do this?. Those ruins awakened long-buried memories of the past. If they resurface, he won’t be able to help himself, much less Lucy.  So what must Auden do and what must Lucy do? That is the question you need to answer here with perfect clarity. 

 

THE JARGON MONKEYS CLUB is a young adult novel, complete at 84,000 words, that is told from the perspectives of Auden and Lucy. Perfect word count and good way to explain there are 2 POVs. The manuscript is available upon request.

 

My short stories have been published in ____ and ____. Thanks for your time and consideration.

 


Edited by Jean Oram, 07 March 2017 - 12:52 PM.
removal of personal info. :)

My twitter pitch: http://agentquerycon...itmad/?p=326900

My query: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=325180

My synopsis: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=326911

 

I will happily return a critique, and feel free to send me a note if you would like me to critique your work.


#9 hermitage

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 08:56 PM



This query is way too long. I think I need some help shortening it.

Thanks for any help you can give!

 

Dear *insert agent name here*,

 

One more infraction. That’s all Auden Lyons’ stupid, uptight high school needed to throw him back into the Jargon Monkeys Club—its pet project to treat “antisocial behaviour.” [are you British? if so, this is fine. if not, change it along with "humour"]

 

He wished someone had told him that before he cursed on stage during the club’s final concert. The truth is, they were afraid of his history of violence, afraid because he beat up some people who thought they could sexually harass Lucy and get away with it.

 

Lucy Arai tries to look at the bright side. She has a best friend and a family that love her. Most think it’s weird she and Auden aren’t going out, but maybe it’s not weird at all. At the club’s first summer meeting, Lucy develops a crush on the new girl, Ella Rigby. Entranced by Ella’s beauty and sense of humour, Lucy is blinded to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights.

 

Lucy gets a wake-up call when Ella gets a boyfriend, reviving something she’s been running from her whole life. There’s a reason all her shirts have long sleeves. Lucy wanted Ella to take that away, but it only got worse. After avoiding everyone for a few days, Lucy arranges a meeting with Auden at the burnt ruins of their old day care, the site of the most traumatic experience of their lives. Auden sees the warning signs. He’s seen them too many times to miss them. Auden pushes Lucy to reveal the fresh wounds on her arms, confirming his suspicions. Her depression has returned.

 

Every dumb feud in Auden’s life now seems petty, but when he can’t figure out how to help Lucy, he finds comfort in blocking out his problems. Those ruins awakened long-buried memories of the past. If they resurface, he won’t be able to help himself, much less Lucy.

 

THE JARGON MONKEYS CLUB is a young adult novel, complete at 84,000 words, that is told from the perspectives of Auden and Lucy. The manuscript is available upon request.

 

My short stories have been published in ____ and ____ [I don't know the common style here. Should these maybe be in italics or caps?]. Thanks for your time and consideration.

 

 

Huh. Well I do agree with you that it's probably too long, and too much like a full plot summary. I'm not sure if I can tell you exactly which bits to keep and which ones not to keep. I would say try to focus on one core idea that makes this book special, and build it around that. 

 

For example, what is the Jargon Monkeys Club all about. Is it like the Breakfast Club? Why does it have that particular name. Is it sinister in some way? Or a good experience where outcasts unite? 

 

Please try to limit yourself to a very finite number of "and thens". By that I mean that you have the structure "This happens. AND THEN this happens. AND THEN this happens. AND THEN this happens..." I'd say focus less on describing your plot event by event, and focus more on some kind of coherent picture of what the book is about, or where it's going.

 

So far I know that Lucy is a frustrated teenage lesbian with major depression and suicidal tendencies, while Auden is her male friend who tries to help her (and gets in trouble standing up for her), but also has problems of his own. I really don't know, but I might try to focus on those core ideas, while developing the club idea a little more clearly. And you might want to try to write in a way that gives clearer clues about the tone of your book. E.g. is it funny? Heartwarming? Poignant? I know it's not easy to convey this stuff (and it's generally considered a faux pas to just come out and say "listen, just take my word for it: this book is hilarious"), but you have to do your best. Agents are going to want to know what might attract readers to this particular book. Does it handle coming of age as a lesbian in a particularly insightful way? If so, you need to do your best to demonstrate that you have that special insight. Etc.

 

Ella doesn't seem to do enough in your pitch to justify the amount of detail you give about her. (And speaking of detail, do we really need everyone's last name? What do we do with that information exactly?) 

 

Remember that the point of the pitch isn't to answer the question "what happens in your book?", but to answer the question "what's so great about your book?", without cheating by just saying "believe me, my book is great."


Edited by Jean Oram, 07 March 2017 - 12:54 PM.
removal of querier's personal info. :)


#10 RobynJC

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 10:03 AM

Dear *insert agent name here*,

 

One more infraction. That’s all Auden Lyons’ stupid, uptight high school needed to throw him back into the Jargon Monkeys Club—its pet project to treat “antisocial behaviour.” He wished someone had told him that before he cursed on stage during the club’s final concert. The truth is, they were afraid of his history of violence, afraid because he beat up some people who thought they could sexually harass his best friend Lucy and get away with it.

 

This is a great hook, and a great voice! Love the opening sentence, the "Jargon Monkeys Club", etc. My only critique -- and it's tiny -- is why would the high school be mad at him, and not the harassers? Maybe because his history of violence gives him no credibility against the school's real offenders? Maybe a tiny twist in that last sentence could clarify.

 

Lucy Arai tries to look at the bright side. She has a best friend and a family that love her. Most think it’s weird she and Auden aren’t going out, but maybe it’s not weird at all. At the club’s first summer meeting, Lucy develops a crush on the new girl, Ella Rigby. Entranced by Ella’s beauty and sense of humour, Lucy is blinded to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights.

 

Also nice. "best friend and family that loves her" is a LITTLE vague. Do you have an interesting detail about the family, instead? 

 

Lucy gets a wake-up call when Ella gets a boyfriend, reviving something she’s been running from her whole life. There’s a reason all her shirts have long sleeves. Lucy wanted Ella to take that away, but it only got worse. After avoiding everyone for a few days, Lucy arranges a meeting with Auden at the burnt ruins of their old day care, the site of the most traumatic experience of their lives. Auden sees the warning signs. He’s seen them too many times to miss them. Auden pushes Lucy to reveal the fresh wounds on her arms, confirming his suspicions. Her depression has returned.

 

Hm, this loses me a tiny bit. Auden vanished for too long, after being the hero upfront.  And the first sentence -- "Ella gets a boyfriend, reviving something she's been running from her whole life" -- is confusing. Whose shirts have long sleeves? I thought it was Ella, but is it Lucy? What role does Ella play? If not much of one, maybe don't even use her name. Is it just that Lucy gets a crush on a straight girl, and the rejection sends her spiraling again? Is the core story Lucy/Auden or Lucy/Ella, or all three? If it's Lucy/Auden, maybe keep Ella a little bit more as a plot device (the straight girl who triggers the spiral). Cutting Ella also might help shorten the query, e.g., Lucy falls for a straight girl, the rejection sends her spiraling again.  There's a reason all her shirts have long sleeves. etc. 

 

Every dumb feud in Auden’s life now seems petty, but when he can’t figure out how to help Lucy, he finds comfort in blocking out his problems. Those ruins awakened long-buried memories of the past. If they resurface, he won’t be able to help himself, much less Lucy.

 

​This gets a bit vague and fuzzy. I'm struggling with this in my own query. You have a great story, a compelling setup, but the punchline here isn't as interesting as what came before.  "When he can't figure out how to help Lucy, he finds comfort in blocking out his problems." ---- kind of vague and why do those two things connect? Also, how does the Jargon Monkeys Club play in?  You introduce it up front, it's an awesome idea, and given the title of your book it seems like it's probably pretty central, but it's never heard from again. Is there a way to loop it back in at the end somehow, to give the punchline more urgency and connect back to the opener?

 

THE JARGON MONKEYS CLUB is a young adult novel, complete at 84,000 words, that is told from the perspectives of Auden and Lucy. The manuscript is available upon request.

 

My short stories have been published in ____ and ____. Thanks for your time and consideration.

 

​One real strength of this query is its voice.  It's compelling and sharp, and I would be happy to read a book in this voice. The query opener is great too, it maybe gets a little soft half way through.  I think you have a great hook and a strong story; hopefully my suggestions will help sharpen the query.  If you have a chance, I'd love your opinions on mine:

 

 

http://agentquerycon...pense/?p=335119



#11 strangeface

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 02:41 AM

Yay, I cut it down! I pretty much completely changed the ending and cut the thing about the day care. Hopefully I didn't cut too much. Please let me know what you think.



#12 Arty90

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 03:15 AM

One. More. Infraction. That’s all Auden’s stupid, uptight high school needed to throw him back into the Jargon Monkeys Club—its pet project to treat “antisocial behaviour.” If only they had told him that before he cursed the stage hosting that same club's final concert.

 

But with Auden's reputation for violence—like the time he beat the crap out of the jock who sexually harassed Lucy—even the antisocial club's afraid of him.

 

Lucy tries to look at the bright side. She has a best friend and a family that lover her. Most think it's actually weird that her and Auden aren't going out, but not so much after the club's first summer meeting...when she develops on a crush on the new girl, Ella. Entranced by Ella's beauty and sense of humour, Lucy couldn't be more blinder to reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town she calls home isn't exactly a bastion of gay rights.

 

When Ella gets a boyfriend, it revives something she's been running from her whole life: the reason why she only wears long sleeves. This doomed romantic hoped Ella would take that part of her away, but it only rushed it all back.

 

When Auden notices Lucy's cold-shoulders, she only gives all the more. The last thing she wants people to know is that her depression's back. But when Ella is grouped with her to make an original song for the club's next concern, it only becomes all the more difficult hiding her feelings.

 

Where does this leave Auden? Behind two closed doors: one saving Lucy from self-destruction, and the other condemning her to it.

 

THE JARGON MONKEYS CLUB is a young adult novel, complete at 84,000 words, that is told from the perspectives of Auden and Lucy. The manuscript is available upon request.

 

My short stories have been published in ____ and ____ Thanks for your time and consideration.

 

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

 

Excellent story. Absolutely love it. I just felt like the query definitely needed a paragraph break or two. I hope you like what I pieced together man. Use whatever you'd like. And thank you for reaching out to me. After reading your work, it was damned well worth it.


Edited by Jean Oram, 07 March 2017 - 12:54 PM.
removal of querier's personal info. :)

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#13 strangeface

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 12:01 PM

Okay. I updated it again.



#14 CM_Fick

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 01:43 PM

Apparently, I copied the wrong version... On a side note, to prevent this confusion, something that works for most posters is to link to their most recent update in their first post, so people can easily find it down the list to quote. 

 

 

One more infraction. That’s all Auden’s stupid, uptight high school needed to throw him back into the Jargon Monkeys Club—its pet project to treat “antisocial behaviour.” (do you use non-American spelling throughout your entire ms? if so, this is fine to keep in your query, if not, I'd change it) He wished someone had told him that before he cursed on stage during the club’s final concert.  (this still isn't clear to me. I don't understand why this is important to the hook at this point. we don't know that the club is for music and swearing at the concert seems irrelevantThe truth is, they were afraid of his history of violence, afraid because he beat up some people who thought they could get away with sexually harassing Lucy.
 
Lucy tries to look at the bright side. She has a best friend and a family that love her. (I think that this character need a better introduction, there isn't much that grabs me straight off, and with the POV change, it may confuse) Most think it’s weird strange that she and Auden aren’t going out, but (when she develops a crush on the new girl Ella, she suspects that it's not so weird after all.) but Lucy’s suspects that it’s not so weird after all when she develops a crush on Ella, the new girl in the club. Entranced by Ella’s beauty and sense of humour, Lucy is blinded to the harsh (my first thoughts when reading this: why is this that Ella is straight, a "harsh" reality? and why is she blinded to the conservative town? I think it will read better if you find a way to work that she's blinded to Ella's orientation and the harsh reality of her conservative town means there are few other's she can relate with) reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights. So, when Ella gets a boyfriend, it revives something she's been running from her whole life: the reason she only wears long sleeves. She hoped Ella would take that away, but she only instead, brought it all back. 
 
Auden sees Lucy’s warning signs. He’s seen them too many times to miss them. The last thing Lucy wants people to know is that her depression’s back, but with Ella and her making an original song for the club’s next concert, it’s becoming harder and harder for her to hide her feelings. Auden just hopes he can help her before she hurts herself even worse than before.
 
THE JARGON MONKEYS CLUB is a young adult (genre) novel, complete at 84,000 words, that is told from the perspectives of Auden and Lucy. The manuscript is available upon request.
 
My short stories have been published in ____ and ___. Thanks for your time and consideration.
 
Overall, this is getting closer. I've noted a few places where I've had questions. I'll keep watch for your next update. 
 
Thanks

Edited by Jean Oram, 07 March 2017 - 12:55 PM.
removal of querier's personal info. :)


#15 Monks

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 10:33 AM

It's a tiny bit long, so some suggestions to cut it down a bit would be appreciated. Thanks for any help you can give!

 

One more infraction. That’s all Auden’s stupid, uptight high school needed to throw him back into the Jargon Monkeys Club—its pet project to treat “antisocial behaviour.” He wished someone had told him that before he cursed on stage during the club’s final concert. Sure, they’d warned him to use the song’s clean version, but Auden knew their crocodile tears were a ploy. The truth is, they were afraid of his history of violence, afraid because he beat up some people who thought they could get away with sexually harassing his best friend, Lucy.

Lucy tries to look at the bright side. With how grumpy Auden is, she thinks it’s good for him to have some positivity in his life. Most think it’s weird she and Auden aren’t going out, but when she develops a crush on Ella, the new girl in the club, she suspects that it’s not so weird after all. Entranced by Ella’s beauty and sense of humour, Lucy is blinded to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights. So, when Ella gets a boyfriend, it revives something she's been running from her whole life: the reason all her shirts have long sleeves. She hoped Ella would take that away, but she only brought it all back.

Auden sees Lucy’s warning signs. He’s seen them too many times to miss them. The last thing Lucy wants people to know is that her depression’s back, but with Ella and her making an original song for the club’s next concert, it’s becoming harder and harder for her to hide her feelings. Auden just hopes he can help her before she hurts herself even worse than before.

 

THE JARGON MONKEYS CLUB is a young adult novel, complete at 84,000 words, that is told from the perspectives of Auden and Lucy. The manuscript is available upon request.

 

My short stories have been published in ____ and ____. Thanks for your time and consideration.

 

You've got a good foundation here. Your voice is coming out very strongly in this query, and that's always good. But it needs to be a bit more focused. The entire first paragraph, for example, is backstory about Auden, and then Auden almost vanishes from the query altogether. Those are two big problems. Instead of starting with this information about Auden, start with the hook: a woman suffering from depression is attracted to another woman who is straight. That's the focal point of the novel, so far as I can tell. That's what needs to be in the hook. Everything else should be what flows out of that. What conflicts arise? The obvious one is that Ella is straight, so she and Lucy aren't going to be together. The other big point of conflict I see is that they're working together on a school project and therefore forced to spend time together. You don't bring that up until the end off the query, but I think it should be sooner. Basically, you need to focus more on what happens to the characters and what they're actively doing. I don't think you need a big Auden paragraph at all, honestly. Mention him somewhere, as a person helping Lucy through her issues, maybe briefly outline what's at stake for him, but that's it. The rest of the query should be laser focused on Lucy. What she wants, what's going to prevent her from getting it, and what's at stake if she fails. Once you do that, I think you'll be golden. Your writing is strong, the voice, as I said, is great. Just need to shift the focus.


Edited by Jean Oram, 07 March 2017 - 12:55 PM.
removal of querier's personal info. :)

Would greatly appreciate critiques of my query!


#16 Ajax

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 07:56 PM

Reduce the length. Standard length is 250 words.

 

Use the paragraph breaks. I cannot critique a wall of text.

 

Google "query letter formatting."



#17 smithgirl

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 10:15 PM

One more infraction. That’s all Auden’s stupid, uptight high school needed to throw him back into the Jargon Monkeys Club—its pet project to treat “antisocial behaviour.” After this sentence, it seems like he is out of the club. Right? And he was in the club before? He wished someone had told him that before he cursed on stage during the club’s final concert. But here it seems like he's in the club since he's singing in the club's concert. Sure, they’d warned him to use the song’s clean version, but Auden knew their crocodile tears were a ploy. The truth is, they were afraid of his history of violence, afraid because he beat up some people who thought they could get away with sexually harassing his best friend, Lucy.

 

I'm unsure if the events in the first paragraph precede the events in the next paragraph, and I'm unclear on some things  Also, I'm not sure if being in the club is good or bad; it seems like both.

 

Lucy tries to look at the bright side. With how grumpy Auden is, she thinks it’s good for him to have some positivity in his life. I think you can cut this. Then start the second part here: Most people think it’s weird that Lucy and Auden she and Auden aren’t going out, but when she develops a crush on Ella, the new girl in the club, So Lucy is also in the JMC? she suspects that it’s it might not be so weird after all.  If you omit she suspects, then it keeps the query in a more neutral POV. Entranced by Ella’s beauty and sense of humour, Lucy is blinded to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights. If you want to shorten, you could cut the rest of this sentence. You already have the conflict that Lucy is in love with a straight girl. That's enough. So, when Ella gets a boyfriend, it revives something she's Lucy's been running from her whole life: the reason all her shirts have long sleeves. She hoped Ella's love could have taken that away, but instead Ella's rejection brings it all back. only brought it all back. I think this is good. We see how the disappointment affects Lucy. Also, if you omit she hoped, it will again make your POV differences less jarring.

 

Auden sees Lucy’s warning signs. He’s seen them too many times to miss them. I would try not to change POV here. He hopes things won't get worse,  The last thing Lucy wants people to know is that her depression’s back, but when Ella and and Lucy work together on a  her making an original song for the club’s next concert, the signs get stronger and stronger. it’s becoming harder and harder for her to hide her feelings. Auden just hopes he can help her intervene before she hurts herself again. even worse than before. I would try to make this less graphic.

 

 

THE JARGON MONKEYS CLUB is a young adult novel, complete at 84,000 words, that is told from the perspectives of Auden and Lucy. The manuscript is available upon request.

 

My short stories have been published in ____ and ___. Thanks for your time and consideration. List publication titles in italics or use quotes.

 

 

I think the gist of your story is clear. I would try to keep in just one POV as much as possible.

 

I think the first paragraph is a bit vague and could be tightened. I also indicated some things I think you can cut in the second paragraph. I think the second paragraph was better than the first. You might add a hook at the beginning, that gives an overview of the main story conflict. I do think your query has a nice voice, which is hard to do. I really struggle with getting voice into a query.

 

Re the earlier comment that the market is saturated with sad girl LGBTQ stories, I really have no idea. You can make the risk seem less graphic as I commented. It's your story, so you just have to go with it.

 

If you can, please take a look at my query here: Thanks! http://agentquerycon...rade-critiques/


Edited by Jean Oram, 07 March 2017 - 12:55 PM.
removal of querier's personal info. :)


#18 Novelarnia

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 12:28 AM

It's a tiny bit long, so some suggestions to cut it down a bit would be appreciated. Thanks for any help you can give!

Also, I know some people prefer to write multi-POV novels from one perspective. Should I do that? I don't want to give a false impression of the whole thing, or for an agent to not be interested in it based on a false impression of the novel.

 

One more infraction. That’s all Auden’s stupid, uptight high school (rather than mentioning the high school, how about bringing up the people who specifically put him there?  A rude principal?  A nosy teacher?) needed to keep him in the Jargon Monkeys Club (I love this name!)—its (change to "his" or "hers," if you mention a specific person above) pet project to treat “antisocial behaviour.” He wished someone had told him that before he cursed on stage during the club’s final concert. (I do have to agree that in this day and age, cursing isn't such a big deal.  I mean, it's not awesome, but I doubt he'd get more than a slap on the wrist for it.  Maybe google some high school infractions, or speak with a teacher or educator about examples they can think of?  I'm sure they have TONS of stories. <3 ) Sure, they’d warned him to use the song’s clean version, but Auden knew their crocodile tears were a ploy (This reads weird.  Maybe rephrase?) . The truth is, they were afraid of his history of violence, afraid (Hmm.  Not sure if a teacher / principal would be scared of a teenager with a history of violence.  Especially when sexual harassment is involved.  I'd use a different word.) because he beat up some people who thought they could get away with sexually harassing his best friend, Lucy. (Also, something to consider: sexual violence is a pretty sensitive topic, especially in YA novels.  It sounds like you've treated it with an appropriate amount of respect, but you should be very real with yourself about whether or not you're overstepping boundaries just for the shock value.  Again, not saying that's what this is--it's just something to keep in mind!!)

 

Lucy tries to look at the bright side. With how grumpy Auden is, she thinks it’s good for him to have some positivity in his life. (This is great characterization!!) Most think it’s weird she and Auden aren’t going out, but when she develops a crush on Ella, the new girl in the club, she suspects that it’s not so weird after all. Entranced by Ella’s beauty and sense of humour, Lucy is blinded to the harsh reality (a bit unclear here.  Maybe rephrase to "Lucy chooses to ignore the harsh reality"): Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly big on gay rights. So, when Ella gets a boyfriend, it revives something Lucy's been running from her whole life: the reason all her shirts have long sleeves. She hoped Ella’s love would take that away, but the rejection only brought it all back.

 

Auden sees Lucy’s warning signs. He’s seen them too many times to miss them. (You can condense this by just saying, "Auden recognizes all of Lucy's warning signs.") The last thing Lucy wants people to know is that her depression’s back, but with Ella and her (unclear who you're talking about here.  Rephrase) making an original song for the club’s next concert (is this the same type of concert Auden performed at when he cursed on stage?  If so, was he supposed to be done with the Jargon Monkey's Club after that concert?  Clarify this part, because it's unclear what, exactly, they're doing day-to-day, beyond coping with Lucy's depression), it’s becoming harder and harder for her to hide her feelings. Auden just hopes he can help her before she hurts herself even worse than before.

 

THE JARGON MONKEYS CLUB is a young adult novel, complete at 84,000 words, that is told from the perspectives of Auden and Lucy. The manuscript is available upon request.

 

My short stories have been published in ____ and ___. Thanks for your time and consideration.

 

Sorry for the late reply!!  I had a bunch of tabs open with queries to critique, and then my browser crashed.  I thought I found them all, but I definitely missed yours.  Deepest apologies!!

 

This book sounds really interesting!  But you're touching on some heavy stuff here, and it might be a hard sell.  If you can add a quirky flair, ala John Green, I think you can get away with it!  But definitely revise your query to match that tone, because that's what will snag an agent's attention.  I have total confidence you can do it; already this query is TONS better than your initial one!  Don't lose hope, and keep going!!  Best of luck! :) 


Edited by Jean Oram, 07 March 2017 - 12:56 PM.
removal of querier's personal info. :)


#19 smithgirl

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 11:58 AM

 

Lucy's perspective

 

Lucy doesn’t like Auden. This doesn't seem like a standard hook, but I kind of like it. My only question is how it fits with the rest of the query, since the story isn't really about Lucy not liking Austin; it's about him being her friend despite the things that don't work out between them. Maybe something that leaves more room for interpretation: There's always been something missing between Lucy and Austen. 

 

He’s her best friend and everything, but Lucy never found herself attracted to Auden. Still, she’d do anything for him, so when Auden’s hijinks prompt the school to make him stay in the Jargon Monkeys Club for the summer, she stays with him. I think this is much better. Last time I was really confused at this point. I didn't even realize it was during the summer. I assumed it was something you did all year round...?

 

For something I wonder if you could use a different word. Organization maybe. Although something sounds truer to your voice. meant to treat people who display “antisocial behaviour,” the club doesn’t always draw in people who don’t want to make friends. The new girl, Ella, is friendly from the start, and the more time she spends with Lucy, the more Lucy becomes entranced with her. entranced with her Lucy becomes. It isn’t long before Lucy realises she has a crush on her, and that there was a reason she never went out with Auden.

 

For a while, Lucy is blinded to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights. So, when Ella gets a boyfriend, it revives something Lucy's been running from her whole life: the reason all her shirts have long sleeves. She hoped Ella’s love would take that away, but the rejection only brought it all back. I almost feel like you could end your query on this note. When I move onto the next paragraph, the query starts to feel long and wordy, and the final paragraph feels a bit redundant. Maybe just take out the most essential parts of the paragraph below, shorten, and add to this paragraph. The warning signs are back; she knows Auden sees them. He's always been there for her in the past, but this time it might not be enough. Just an off-the-cuff suggestion.

 

Lucy knows that she’s acting weird around her friends, and that Auden is noticing the warning signs she’s displayed so many times in her life. The last thing Lucy wants people to know is that her depression’s back, but with Ella and her making an original song for the club’s next concert, it’s becoming harder and harder for her to hide her feelings. If they do break out, it’s going to be much worse for everyone around her.

 

 

I think this is a big improvement. And I like how you get voice into your query. That's something I can't seem to do. My own query seems to be going backward, so I need to take some more time with it.



#20 Ajax

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 02:40 PM

My pick is the query with both the perspectives. If your MS is told in a dual pov, it's only natural to have a query that reflects it.

 

 

One more infraction. That’s all Auden’s stupid, uptight high school needed to keep him in the Jargon Monkeys Club (This is a very strange club name. I have a hard time taking this seriously if this is what the school authorities came up with.)—its pet project to treat “antisocial behaviour.” (What exactly does this club do? How does it treat antisocial behavior. A little detail here would really make an impact.) He wished someone had told him that before he cursed on stage during the club’s final concert. Sure, they’d warned him to use the song’s clean version, but Auden knew their crocodile tears were a ploy. (I have no idea what's happening here. This needs to be simplified.) The truth is, they were afraid of his history of violence, afraid because he beat up some people who thought they could get away with sexually harassing his best friend, Lucy. (You can still boil it down to bare essentials. Focus on the MCs and their one overarching problem. I’m not sure what the problem is. Are the MCs forced into the club? How’s that bad? I need more focus here.)

 

 

Lucy tries to look at the bright side. With how grumpy Auden is, she thinks it’s good for him to have some positivity in his life. (What positivity?) Most think it’s weird she and Auden aren’t going out, but when she develops a crush on Ella, the new girl in the club, she suspects that it’s not so weird after all. (Clunky sentence.) Entranced by Ella’s beauty and sense of humour, Lucy is blinded to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly big on gay rights. So, when Ella gets a boyfriend, it revives something Lucy's been running from her whole life: the reason all her shirts have long sleeves. (I love this sudden dark twist.) She hoped Ella’s love would take that away, but the rejection only brought it all back.

 

 

Auden sees Lucy’s warning signs. He’s seen them too many times to miss them. The last thing Lucy wants people to know is that her depression’s back, (Why? And what was it like last time?) but with Ella and her making an original song (Why? Is Ella a member of the Jargon Monkeys Club? What’s her story?) for the club’s next concert, it’s becoming harder and harder for her to hide her feelings. Auden just hopes he can help her before she hurts herself even worse than before. (Why is Auden concerned about her well-being? What would Auden lose if Lucy goes to the dark side? Their relationship is not bluntly stated anywhere in the query. I need clear motives.)

 

 

THE JARGON MONKEYS CLUB is a young adult (What’s the genre? It’s mandatory that you state it here.) novel, complete at 84,000 words, that is told from the perspectives of Auden and Lucy. The manuscript is available upon request. (Redundant. It's common knowledge that you can only query with a completed manuscript.)

 

 

My short stories have been published in [] and []. Thanks for your time and consideration.

 

 

Firstly, how does the club perform its function? I'm not even sure who runs the club. Is it under the school (I'm guessing) or some private club outside the campus?  These are my most pressing concerns.

Also, why is Lucy suffering from severe depression? She obviously has a history of self-harm. You need to put some light on what started this.

So Auden was forced to join the club because he cursed at the school concert? I don’t see how that’s even close to Lucy’s harrowing predicament. What's the criteria to become a club member?

I don’t like how Auden’s world revolves around Lucy and how Lucy’s world revolves around Ella. I need to see what’s more to these characters. Who are they without their friends/crushes? I also want to see their individual personalities.

 

Good luck.






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