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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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#21 Garrett Lemons

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 10:01 AM

Most of the feedback I would give has already been covered, but I think you should focus on Lucy's POV only in the query. I think the Auden included version is good, but this feels like her story (from what I know from the query) more than it feels balanced between the two of them. Maybe include the fact later like: "The Jargon Monkeys Club is a YA contemp told in alternating view points between Lucy and her best friend Auden..." but definitely only hint at Lucy in the hook.



#22 strangeface

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 09:28 PM

Thanks. Perhaps you're right, because it's almost impossible for me to include all the subplots and characters that Auden is involved with in the query. I'm kind of forced to only focus on Lucy's story in this query.



#23 thewindseer

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 09:19 AM

Thanks for any help you can give!

Some people have suggested writing the query from one perspective, so below are the queries from both perspectives and Lucy's perspective only.

The one from both perspectives is rather long.

 

Both perspectives

 

One more infraction. That’s all Auden’s stupid, uptight high school needed to keep him in the Jargon Monkeys Club—its Alcoholics Anonymous wannabe geared towards “antisocial behaviour.” [Intriguing first sentence. I like the voice!] He wished someone had warned him about that before he used his song’s unclean version out of spite during the club’s final concert. He didn’t think they’d make him waste his summer away over something stupid like that, but of course they were looking for any excuse to keep him in the club. [Any way you could condense these two sentences into one statement? They seem a bit long-winded.] 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. [Specify the "they." The teachers, the principal?]

 

Lucy always tries to stay positive. With how grumpy Auden is, she thinks it’s good for him to have some optimism in his life, and if that means following him back into the Jargon Monkeys Club, so be it. Lucy always wondered why she and Auden never went out, but when she develops a crush on Ella, the new girl in the club, she starts to understand why she never felt anything for him. Entranced by Ella’s beauty and sense of humour, Lucy chooses to ignore the fact that Ella is straight. 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. [It feels like there's too much of a shift in tone/focus in how you present the two perspectives.]

 

Auden sees Lucy’s warning signs appearing again. 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 again.

 

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. [Already implied.]

 

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

 

 

 

Lucy's perspective

 

Lucy doesn’t like Auden. [I like this, but it makes me assume that she hates him rather than "she doesn't have a crush on him."]

 

He’s her best friend and everything, but Lucy has never felt attracted to him, even though everyone assumes they're dating. [Adding something about how Lucy thinks she SHOULD be attracted to Auden would help this statement make more sense.] Still, she’d do anything for Auden, so when his hijinks prompt the school to condemn him to the Jargon Monkeys Club for the summer, Lucy stays with him.

 

For something meant to treat people who display “antisocial behaviour,” the club draws in a surprising number of screw-ups looking to make friends. [The previous phrasing almost sounded like a double negative.] The new girl, Ella, is friendly from the start, and the more time she spends with Lucy, the more Lucy becomes entranced with her. 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. [Good voice here.] 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. [Not sure how I feel about having two phrases with colons in a row.] She had hoped Ella’s love would take that away, but the rejection only brings it all back. [This sentence sounds vague and melodramatic. I don't think it adds much.]

 

Lucy knows she’s acting weird, and that Auden has noticed her warning signs. The last thing Lucy wants people to know is that her depression is 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's always been there for her in the past, but this time it might not be enough. [Nice ominous ending.]

 

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. [Instead of this sentence, I'd throw in a comparison to emphasize that there is a market for this type of fiction. In particular, I'm reminded of All the Bright Places.]

 

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

 

I agree with what others have said about focusing on a single perspective for the query. It just makes the overall plot feel more cohesive and allows you to clearly convey an entire character arc. In multiple POV books or TV shows, the first perspective presented is usually the primary character (think Jack in Lost or Rick in The Walking Dead), so it's okay to have a query that focuses more heavily on one character, even if there is more than one POV in your actual book.

 

I'd greatly appreciate your feedback on my query as well! http://agentquerycon...ty-mg-fantasy/ 



#24 lsprochnow

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 04:34 PM

Thanks for any help you can give!

Some people have suggested writing the query from one perspective, so below are the queries from both perspectives and Lucy's perspective only.

The one from both perspectives is rather long.

 

Both perspectives

 

One more infraction. That’s all Auden’s stupid, uptight high school needed to keep him in the Jargon Monkeys Club—its Alcoholics Anonymous wannabe geared towards “antisocial behaviour.” I think this is a pretty strong opening to your query He never suspected they’d make him waste his summer away over something stupid like using his song’s unclean version out of spite during the club’s final concert This line about wasting summer away is worded in a confusing way. I had to reread it to get its full meaning, but of course they were looking for any excuse to keep him in the club. 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. This paragraph is well written with some good information, but it reads as if you're giving us backstory rather than telling us what your story is about

 

Lucy always tries to stay positive. With how grumpy Auden is, she thinks it’s good for him to have some optimism in his life, and if that means following him back into the Jargon Monkeys Club by this, do you mean Lucy joins the Monkey Club with him? It's not entirely clear to me, so be it. Lucy always wondered why she and Auden never went out, but when she develops a crush on Ella, the new girl in the club, she starts to understand why she never felt anything for him. Entranced by Ella’s beauty and sense of humour, Lucy chooses to ignore the fact that Ella is straight. 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 appearing again. 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 again. Okay, so the larger plot is that Lucy's depression is coming back, which drives her to hurt herself, and Auden wants to help her. That's excellent, but I think that needs to be mentioned much earlier than the last paragraph. What's at stake is Lucy's physical and mental health, but we don't get any idea of that until the last line. I would suggest cutting a good bit from the first paragraph and finding a way to infuse these high stakes into the first paragraph. Hopefully that helps!

 

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.

 

 

 

Lucy's perspective

 

Lucy doesn’t like Auden. I'm not sure this line is enough to draw in an agent

 

He’s her best friend and everything, but Lucy has never been attracted to him, even though she’s always felt like she should. Still, she’d do anything for Auden, so when his hijinks prompt the school to condemn him to the Jargon Monkeys Club for the summer, Lucy stays with him.

 

For something meant to treat people displaying “antisocial behaviour,” the club draws in a lot of people just looking to make friends. I'm not entirely sure of this first sentence's purpose The new girl, Ella, is nice from the start I'd remove the 'nice from the start' line, and the more time she spends with Lucy, the more Lucy becomes entranced with her. 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. I think this paragraph could be boiled down into one or two sentences

 

For a while, Lucy is blind to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights is this line about the town needed? Since Ella is just now realizing she's gay, it doesn't seem like anyone in the town would know either, so I would doubt she's had to deal with any discrimination yet. 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.

 

Lucy knows she’s acting weird, and that Auden’s noticed her warning signs. 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's always been there for her in the past, but this time it might not be enough.

 

I prefer the single POV query. It seems more focused and you're able to describe the stakes and Lucy's struggles better. I think you've got all the perfect content here, but it seems like you tend to spend a paragraph saying something that could be said in a sentence or two. Some of the lines didn't seem crucial either. I would revisit and try to trim down your paragraphs, leaving only what's crucial. I think you're off to a good start here!

 

Here's my query if you wouldn't mind taking a look: http://agentquerycon...ing-ya-fantasy/

 

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.



#25 ryankalford

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 07:49 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.

 

Lucy doesn’t like Auden, though she’s always felt like she should. 

 

This isn't much a hook. More like an incomplete, almost normal thought someone might have. The job of the hook is to tell me what's unique and interesting about Lucy right-off-the-bat. Thus, catching my attention with it. In other words, this is a throat clearing for more explanation, and that's not what you want. Also, writing about how she feels about something is rather passive instead of something proactive and actiony. Hooks need more of a dramatic, empowering tone that reveals personality.

 

He’s her best friend and everything, but Lucy has never been attracted to him. Still, she’d do anything for Auden, so when his hijinks prompt the school to condemn him to the Jargon Monkeys Club for the summer, Lucy stays with him.

 

Okay--this should probably be the first part of your hook. This is the first interesting situation, and Lucy's first true dilemma (the inciting incident that starts the story). Needs to be expanded upon, but the core for the hook is in the above, in my opinion.

 

For something meant to treat people displaying “antisocial behaviour,” the club draws in a lot of people just looking to make friends. The new girl, Ella, is nice from the start, and the more time she spends with Lucy, the more Lucy becomes entranced with her. 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.

 

This should be the actual meat of your hook. From what I gather at this point in the query, Auden doesn't seem important enough to be worth a mention outside being the one who gets her to attend the club that just stating she has the conflict of having a crush on someone who cant' receiporate because of differing gender attractions.

 

For a while, Lucy is blind 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.

 

The strikeout above honeslty just confuses me. I don't get what you're hinting at. Some kind of abuse?

 

Lucy knows she’s acting weird, and that Auden’s noticed her warning signs. 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's always been there for her in the past, but this time it might not be enough.

 

Wow, this came out of fucking nowhere Feels waaaaaayyy to tacked on at the end here, and just comes across tacky. It should be built into the hook and the rest of the query if it's intergral to Lucy's story arch and conflict. Dropping it like a misfired bomb at the endpoint here with the only hint being the previous line just draws attention to itself in a bad way. 

 

Ending stakes are way too vague and feel rushed. Why would Auden not be there for her now? 

 

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 should focus on getting your hook right for Lucy, then let the rest of the query build around it. Hope my thoughts are helpful, and I apologize for the delay.

 

Best of luck to ya!


RECODED <250 EDITING FEEDBACK + ADVICE

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

 

RECODED QUERY (FINISHED???)

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

 

RECODED: GENESIS (Dani POV) 250

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

 
RECODED: Chapter 1 (Lillian POV) 250

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

 

RECODED Synopsis (REWRITING SOON)

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


#26 strangeface

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 08:43 PM

Now someone is telling me I should start with the Auden getting stuck in the Jargon Monkeys Club thing. Ugh...this stuff is impossible.



#27 RosieSkye

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 10:03 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.

 

Lucy doesn’t like Auden, though she’s always felt like she should. (This doesn't grip me.  It makes is sound like Auden is just a nice guy... meh.)

 

He’s her best friend and everything, but Lucy has never been attracted to him. Still, she’d do anything for Auden, so when his hijinks prompt the school to condemn him to the Jargon Monkeys Club for the summer, Lucy stays with him.

 

For something meant to treat people displaying “antisocial behaviour,” the club draws in a lot of people just looking to make friends. The new girl, Ella, is nice from the start, and the more time she spends with Lucy, the more Lucy becomes entranced with her. 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 blind to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights. (This is your main conflict, and it should come much sooner. The previous two paragraphs just feel like setup to basically convey that Lucy develops a crush on Ella.) 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.

 

Lucy knows she’s acting weird, and that Auden’s noticed her warning signs. 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's always been there for her in the past, but this time it might not be enough.

 

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.

 

 

This sounds intriguing, but as I said above, I think you spend too much time talking about Lucy and Ella.  It's your main conflict, but it's very straightforward - Lucy develops a crush on a straight girl, and it triggers her depression.  It sounds like the real heart of your story is the friendship between Lucy and Auden, and if half the book is told from Auden's viewpoint, you need to integrate him a lot more post-main-conflict, meaning once Lucy starts going downhill. How has he helped her in the past, and why is he not able to now?

 

Hope this helps! 



#28 thewindseer

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 06:41 AM

Here's my attempt at revising your query according to the latest advice you've received. I took some creative liberties in guessing at your plot and my phrasing isn't the best, but I'm just aiming to create a skeleton that you could work from for your next draft. I agree with ryankalford's observation that the hook could begin sooner, presenting the reader with that core conflict right away. However, I think it's important to define what the club is FOR, otherwise your reader will be left with more questions; thus, I think some variation on the "antisocial behaviour" portion should stay. 

 

The long-sleeved part feels fairly self-explanatory to me, but maybe I just read too much depressing YA fiction. I don't mind the dramatic last sentence, but I can see how others may interpret it as melodramatic. You could remedy this problem by following RosieSkye's advice and clarifying how Auden has helped Lucy in the past and how this new situation is different.

 

As RosieSkye also notes, the heart of the story seems to be Auden and Lucy's friendship (especially given that this novel features dual perspectives). With that in mind, I think Auden should be mentioned in every paragraph. I've tried to tweak Ella's storyline to include Auden's reactions or involvement. 

 

 

 

When Auden's hijinks prompt the school to condemn him to the Jargon Monkeys Club for the summer, Lucy stays with him. Even though she doesn't have any special feelings for him, Lucy would do anything for Auden, including join a club meant to treat teens who display "antisocial behaviour." But when Lucy starts falling for the new girl in the club, Ella, her and Auden's friendship changes for the worse.

 

As much as Auden tries to convince her otherwise, Lucy is blind to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights. When Ella gets a boyfriend, it revives something Lucy's been running from her whole lifethe reason all her shirts have long sleeves.

 

Lucy knows she’s acting weird, and that Auden’s noticed her warning signs. 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 was there for Lucy the last time she nearly bled to death in her bathtub. But this time? This time Lucy's spiraling downward faster than ever before, pushing away anyone who tries to help, and Auden's friendship may not be enough to save her.

 

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.



#29 Monks

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 10:04 AM

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.
 
Lucy doesn’t like Auden, though she’s always felt like she should.
 
He’s her best friend and everything, but Lucy has never been attracted to him. Still, she’d do anything for Auden, so when his hijinks prompt the school to condemn him to the Jargon Monkeys Club for the summer, Lucy stays with him.
 
For something meant to treat people displaying “antisocial behaviour,” the club draws in a lot of people just looking to make friends. The new girl, Ella, is nice from the start, and the more time she spends with Lucy, the more Lucy becomes entranced with her. 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 blind 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.
 
Lucy knows she’s acting weird, and that Auden’s noticed her warning signs. 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's always been there for her in the past, but this time it might not be enough.
 
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.[/size]
 
My short stories have been published in [] and []. Thanks for your time and consideration.

 
I'm going to echo the gist of ryankalford's post here: I don't feel like any mention of Auden adds to the query. Which isn't to say that he shouldn't be in your query at all (though it's possible). Just that he doesn't add to this particular version. Every time he comes up, I find myself thinking, but what does this have to do with anything? Now, I get that the book has two POVs, and you want to work both of them into the query. I struggled with that myself. But in this particular case, I feel the query would be so much stronger in general without any mention of Auden at all. This query kind of reminds me of this post on QueryShark. I think you can easily leave Auden out of the body of the query, and then at the end, you say something like "THE JARGON MONKEYS CLUB is a young adult novel told from the alternating perspectives of Lucy and a friend trying to help her." That's pretty clunky wording, but you get the idea. The query just needs to be more focused, and Auden is detracting from that. The core of the novel, as I see it, is Lucy is struggling with her own sexuality in an environment that's openly hostile towards homosexuals, and more specifically, she's attracted to a straight woman and having to deal with that. None of that has anything directly to do with Auden. He might be a super important part of the novel itself, but I don't see how he fits in the query.

 

If you remove Auden, you'll have a lot more wordcount to play around with and clarify Lucy's conflict. I think your hook needs to be more specific to Lucy's situation. "Lucy likes Ella" is the core of the conflict, but it's too vague. I'd start with the original song that they're working on together. It's the first specific event you reference that feeds this conflict, in my opinion, but in the current query, it's all the way down at the end. But if you include it early, you can use that specific event to build on Lucy's attraction for Ella, how Ella can't reciprocate, the tension inherent in Lucy being forced to spend all this time with Ella anyway, etc. And then you have a more natural segue into Lucy's depression.

 

That's the direction I would take it, anyway. And honestly, I think you'd be better served starting from scratch than trying to shuffle around the pieces of this query. When you're doing a big reworking, it's easier to just start fresh. I hope this helps, and best of luck in your revisions. I'll keep an eye on the thread, but if I miss an update, feel free to PM me.


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my query!


#30 strangeface

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 12:58 PM

Okay, as it was suggested, I tried completely reinventing the query, but now it's EXTREMELY long. There are probably a few parts I can cut though. This one's a bit more true to the book though, as it was never really a surprise that Lucy was depressed. It's known since chapter 1.

 

Also, before I found it kind of hard to incorporate Lucy being an orphan into the whole thing, but I think I found a good way to do it here.



#31 thewindseer

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 01:37 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.

It's very, very long now, but I've tried to reinvent it.

 

 

Eight months. That’s how long Lucy’s gone without adding another scar on her arms. Eight months, and she thinks she’s finally getting used to it. [I'd use a more concrete term than "it" here. Coping with her pain, maybe? I like this new opening, though.]

 

Lucy and her best friend Auden have an unspoken rule: They don’t talk about it. Sometimes they’ll speak in coded tongues, but they don’t ever really talk about it. They don’t talk about how Lucy has fallen apart after her parents' deaths. [Not the best phrasing, but the "sad" part feels understated.] They don’t talk about it.

 

That’s more her fault than his. She doesn’t talk about it. People don’t talk about that stuff where she lives. [All this information feels way too repetitive. It doesn't add much narrative flair, either. You really only need to mention it once.]

 

Eight months, and maybe all that doesn’t matter anymore. If Lucy ever falls again, ["Falls" might be too vague.] Auden would do anything for her. She’d do anything for Auden too, so when his hijinks prompt the school to condemn him to the Jargon Monkeys Club for the summer, Lucy stays with him.

 

For something meant to treat people displaying “antisocial behaviour,” the club draws in a lot of people just looking to make friends. The new girl, Ella, is really nice, and it isn’t long before Lucy realises she has a crush on her.

 

As much as Auden tries to convince her otherwise, Lucy is blind to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights. When Ella gets a boyfriend, it starts Lucy spiralling again. It doesn’t take much for her eight months to disappear.

 

One day, and Lucy knows she’s acting weird, and that Auden’s noticed her warning signs. 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. This time, Auden’s more aggressive in wanting to help her, [I would rephrase this to be more specific. How is Auden being more aggressive in helping her? Does he try to have her committed or what?] but Lucy's spiralling downward faster than ever before, pushing away anyone who tries to help, and Auden's friendship may not be enough to save her.

 

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.

 

This draft accomplishes something that previous ones don't: It introduces Lucy's internal conflict right off the bat and puts the focus on her friendship with Auden. By putting the character conflict first and introducing the main plot events later, I think you've made the query feel more focused. We get all the "backstory" needed to understand the primary conflict.

 

I hope this helps! It's great that you're so open to feedback and willing to revise, revise, revise. 



#32 samlat77

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 04:52 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.

It's somewhat too long.

 

Eight months. That’s how long Lucy’s gone without adding another scar on her arms. Eight months, and she thinks she’s finally getting used to it. I almost feel like the last sentence isn't needed.

 

Lucy and her best friend Auden have an unspoken rule: they don’t talk about the her depression, about how often she’s slipped into it since her parents died. Still, she knows that if that ever happened again, Auden would do anything for her. She’d do anything for Auden too, so when his hijinks prompt the school to condemn him to the Jargon Monkeys Club for the summer, Lucy stays with him. I 

 

For something meant to treat people displaying “antisocial behaviour,” the club draws in a lot of people just looking to make friends. The new girl, Ella, is really nice, and it isn’t long before Lucy realises she has a crush on her.

 

As much as Auden tries to convince her otherwise, Lucy is blind to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights. When Ella gets a boyfriend, it starts Lucy spiraling again. It doesn’t take much for her eight months to disappear. This is repetitive.

 

Lucy knows she’s acting weird, and that Auden’s noticed her warning signs. The last thing she 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 I may just be tired, but this just seems like an odd sentence, it’s becoming harder and harder to hide her feelings. This time, Auden’s more insistent on helping her, but Lucy's spiralling you've said this already. Try a different way of phrasing it downward faster than ever before, pushing away anyone who tries to help, and Auden's friendship may not be enough to save her.

 

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 like where this is headed and you've got most of what you need in the query. But like thewindseer said, it just needs to be reworked is all.



#33 Monks

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 10:45 AM

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.

It's somewhat too long.

 

Eight months. That’s how long Lucy’s gone without adding another scar on her arms. Eight months, and she thinks she’s finally getting used to it.

 

Lucy and her best friend Auden have an unspoken rule: they don’t talk about her depression, about how often she’s slipped into it since her parents died. Still, she knows that if that ever happened again, Auden would do anything for her. She’d do anything for Auden too, so when his hijinks prompt the school to condemn him to the Jargon Monkeys Club for the summer, Lucy stays with him.

 

For something meant to treat people displaying “antisocial behaviour,” the club draws in a lot of people just looking to make friends. I don't feel like this sentence adds much. I'd try to work it into the above paragraph where you first introduce the club, as a very short parenthetical. The biggest remaining structural issue with this query, in my opinion, is that it takes a little too long for you to get to Ella, the catalyst of Lucy's conflict. I'd try to compress everything before she's introduced. The new girl, Ella, is really nice, and it isn’t long before Lucy realises she has a crush on her. This sentence could be a bit stronger. "Is really nice" is pretty generic. That's a good opportunity to bring Lucy's voice into the query a little bit. And "realises she has a crush on her" feels passive.

 

As much as Auden tries to convince her otherwise, Lucy is blind to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights. I feel like the comment about the town doesn't really fit here. It doesn't really have anything to do with Ella being straight, and the structure of the sentence also suggests that Lucy is blind to the reality of her conservative town as well as Ella's sexuality, which I doubt is the case. I think it's good to point out the social environment that Lucy lives in, because it informs her depression, but I don't think this is the place to do it. Plus the paragraph reads a lot snappier with that comment moved somewhere else. So, when Ella gets a boyfriend, it doesn’t take long for her eight months to disappear.

 

Lucy knows she’s acting weird, and that Auden’s noticed her warning signs. The last thing she 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 to hide her feelings. This time, Auden’s more insistent on helping her, but Lucy's spiralling downward faster than ever before, pushing away anyone who tries to help, and Auden's friendship may not be enough to save her.

 

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.

This is looking a lot better from earlier versions. I agree with other posters that it introduces Lucy's internal conflict more succinctly, tying the whole thing together a lot better. I agree with samlat77 on all of her line edits, in addition to the few suggestions I made above. We're getting into the detail work here, which is a good sign. Means the overall structure is coming along well. Good job!


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my query!


#34 strangeface

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 03:08 PM

Again, I edit! I changed the position of the whole "her community isn't exactly a bastion of gay rights thing." I wonder if it's in the right place now. Let me know.



#35 RosieSkye

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 04:57 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.

It's somewhat too long.

 

Eight months. That’s how long Lucy’s gone without adding another scar on her arms. Eight months, and she thinks she’s finally getting used to it.

 

Lucy and her best friend Auden have an unspoken rule: they don’t talk about her depression, about how often she’s slipped into it since her parents died. Still, she knows that if that ever happened again, Auden would do anything for her. She’d do anything for Auden too, so Lucy stays with him when his hijinks prompt the school to condemn him to the Jargon Monkeys Club—its Alcoholics Anonymous-style project for treating “antisocial behaviour.”

 

At the club’s first summer After a few meetings, Lucy develops a crush on makes friends with the cute new girl, Ella, and it isn’t long before Lucy develops a crush on her. The small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights, so Lucy needs to find the right time to tell Ella, like when they’re both alone. As much as Auden tries to convince her otherwise, Lucy is blind to the fact that Ella is straight (I'm not clear on whether she's truly ignorant, or just optimistic that she can broaden Ella's horizons here). So, when Ella gets a boyfriend, it doesn’t take long for her Lucy's eight months to disappear.

 

Lucy knows she’s acting weird, and that Auden’s noticed her warning signs. The last thing she 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 to hide her feelings. This time, Auden’s more insistent on helping her, but Lucy's spiralling downward faster than ever before, pushing away anyone who tries to help, and Auden's friendship may not be enough to save her.

 

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.

 

 

This is stronger, although I think you have a lot of extraneous wordage that I've struck through.  One thing I'm curious about (and you don't have to necessarily address it in the query per se, but I am wondering) is what's Ella's part in all of this?  Does she notice that Lucy is depressed?  Does she have a clue how Lucy feels about her?  Are they friends, or are they just working together on the song?

 

Good luck!



#36 ryankalford

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 07:40 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.

It's somewhat too long.

 

Eight months. That’s how long Lucy’s gone without adding another scar on her arms. Eight months, and she thinks she’s finally getting used to it.

 

Okay, this is a much better hook...but I feel like it's missing a piece or two. Something to connects us to the story below. From the above, we get that Lucy is being successful at battling her depression, but what/where's the interesting challenege or swerve to make us drool over your concept? For me, the second sentence doesn't do the first one justice as a follow-up. I need a bit more mixed in there. A hook really should stand in some form by itself in showing off what's unique and interesting about your story off-the-bat. It feels more like Ella, should be included upfront somehow (the thing that threatens her relapse), even if it's only a tease/hint of sorts.

 

Lucy and her best friend Auden have an unspoken rule: they don’t talk about her depression, about how often she’s slipped into it since her parents died. Still, she knows that if that ever happened again, Auden would do anything for her. She’d do anything for Auden too, so Lucy stays with him when his hijinks prompt the school to condemn him to the Jargon Monkeys Club—its Alcoholics Anonymous-style project for treating “antisocial behaviour.”

 

The strikeout part feels like it could be summed up with just a simple sentence or two, like "Auden's was the only one who stuck with Lucy during the dark times after her parents death, so Lucy sticks by him by.... " A very rough example, but the strikeout itself just feels clumisly constructured with points that don't exactly get us to the dance as fast as it should. 

 

At the club’s first summer meeting, Lucy makes friends with the cute new girl, Ella, and it isn’t long before Lucy develops a crush on her. The small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights, so Lucy needs to find the right time to tell Ella, like when they’re both alone. and 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 her eight months to disappear.

 

Outside the strikes, this is the best paragraph in the whole query at-the-moment, by far. Both clear and concise--good job.

 

Lucy knows she’s acting weird, and that Auden’s noticed her warning signs. The last thing she 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 to hide her feelings. This time, Auden’s more insistent on helping her, but Lucy's spiralling downward faster than ever before, pushing away anyone who tries to help, and Auden's friendship may not be enough to save her.

 

Stakes are too vague to be exciting or interesting. We need a specific situation with specific consequences for Lucy and/or Auden. 

 

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.

 

Some core pieces are falling into place. You just need to get the sequence of events in a proper order that lead into some killer stakes, and you'll be good.

 

Good luck on next draft!


RECODED <250 EDITING FEEDBACK + ADVICE

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#37 CFrances

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 11:02 AM

I agree with Ryankalford's suggestions. I've read through all your edits, and this latest version is the cleanest, clearest one yet, but I still have a question. What is the central issue? Is it Lucy's friendship with Auden? Is is her cutting/depression and things that affect it? I know your query was originally written from two perspectives, and I agree with your decision to cut it down to one, but now I feel like there's just not enough going on here to draw me into the story. I'll check back after your next edit. Good luck!



#38 strangeface

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 11:04 AM

It's about a ton of things, but I was forced to cut it to just one in this query, which is just Lucy's depression. I suppose you could say that's the "central issue" in the same way that Tom Robinson was the "central issue" in To Kill a Mockingbird. I was able to include some other themes in there, like Lucy's friendship with Auden and Ella, but there's a whole lot more going on.



#39 CFrances

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 11:42 AM

I thought as much. It's too bad queries are supposed to be so brief. It seems like there are several, important subplots going on in your story. The comparison to Tom Robinson helps. Lucy's depression is an inciting factor, but it sets several other issues in motion.



#40 strangeface

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 11:51 AM

Exactly. I'm having some trouble with what ryankalford suggested at the end (i.e. bringing up some specific stakes with a specific situation for Auden and Lucy). It's hard to find something like that early on in the book, but I'm trying.






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