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THE JUNKYARD DAUGHTER (YA THRILLER)


Best Answer DV77 , 20 March 2017 - 11:09 PM

Thank you for taking the time to look at my query, Ms. McGinnis.

 

The father is very relevant to the plot, mostly as Stephie's motivation for doing what she does, but yes he features prominently from the second half onwards and is actively involved. 

 

The smuggler and her grandson are the main supporting characters in this. They are key to my plot, but I'd been warned about introducing too many characters by name in a query, and since I didn't want to get too bloated I figured I'd keep it simple and not get too into it now. With regards to the grandson being a romantic figure, yes he is, but having read a few successful queries for romance stories I was trying to do what they do and hint at it.

 

Judging by that summary, were there any adjustments you might recommend in terms of the characters featured in this query?

 

Again, thanks so much for taking a look.

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#1 DV77

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 04:46 PM

Hi Guys. I would love some help on my query. I've already revised this quite a lot and received feedback from people with industry experience, but I never get any kind of full or partial request after sending it out to a few agents and I'm getting really frustrated. What am I missing here? Please don't hesitate to give me the cold, hard truth. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

 

Dear (Insert Agent name),

 

(Insert personalization)

 

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie has stumbled upon a priceless artifact that could save what’s left of her broken family—or destroy it.

 

Struggling to cope with her mom’s recent death, Stephie can only watch as depression slowly steals her dad away and a mountain of unpaid hospital bills sees her childhood home repossessed. But when a valuable seventeenth century Vatican coin and the journals of a disgraced archaeologist are mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works, Stephie believes her luck might finally be changing for the better.

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

A notorious black market kingpin also wants the items, and he’s hired a private army to wipe out anyone aware of their existence.

 

Moments from being gunned down, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson, and discovers the truth about the items. They’re clues to the location of Paititi—the rumored hiding place of the last Inca gold—and if she can help them find it, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

For Stephie, the gold represents a chance at a fresh start. But to get her dad the help he needs and take her home back, she’ll have to travel to the world’s most treacherous corners, trust two strangers with questionable motives and outsmart the private army at every turn. All for something that might not even be real. Stephie must decide whether that chance is worth any price—maybe even her own life.

 

A YA Thriller complete at 86,000 words and taking place in several exotic locations including Rome, Peru and Tibet, THE CURSE OF THE BLOODSTAINED GOLD revolves around the true story of Paititi—the location where the Incas were said to have moved a temple made of gold to save it from being ransacked by the Spanish during the 1600’s. I believe it will appeal to fans of Maggie Hall’s THE CONSPIRACY OF US, who might be looking for a heroine in the mold of Indiana Jones/UNCHARTED’S Nathan Drake. It’s a standalone novel with series potential.

 

I am a former copy editor at Disney Interactive in London, where I was primarily responsible for creating the marketing copy for apps including Mittens and Where’s my Water: Allie.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

(my name)



#2 Testome

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 05:32 PM



Hi Guys. I would love some help on my query. I've already revised this quite a lot and received feedback from people with industry experience, but I never get any kind of full or partial request after sending it out to a few agents and I'm getting really frustrated. What am I missing here? Please don't hesitate to give me the cold, hard truth. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

 

Dear (Insert Agent name),

 

(Insert personalization)

 

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie has stumbled upon a priceless artifact that could save what’s left of her broken family—or destroy it. This is vague and i don't really see the unique spin on this partuculer trope here and no real reason to read on.

 

Struggling to cope with her mom’s recent death, Stephie can only watch as depression slowly steals her dad away and a mountain of unpaid hospital bills sees her childhood home repossessed. But when a valuable seventeenth century Vatican coin and the journals of a disgraced archaeologist are mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works, Stephie believes her luck might finally be changing for the better. I'm not really sure this line is helping you. I'm not really sure the backstory is helping either.  If you mentioned her goal was save her father here, it might improve it though. 

 

She’s sorely mistaken. 

 

A notorious black market kingpin also wants the items, and he’s hired a private army to wipe out anyone aware of their existence. I would get here quicker as i was bored until now.

 

Moments from being gunned down, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson, and discovers the truth about the items. They’re clues to the location of Paititi—the rumored hiding place of the last Inca gold—and if she can help them find it, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

For Stephie, the gold represents a chance at a fresh start. I'm not seeng the usefulness. But to get her dad the help he needs and take her home back, she’ll have to travel to the world’s most treacherous corners i'm not sure this works as an obstacles since it's so vague., trust two strangers with questionable motives and outsmart the private army at every turn.  The obstacles seem somewhat glossed over. All for something that might not even be real. I would either elaborate on this or leave it out.  Stephie must decide whether that chance is worth any price—maybe even her own life.  I might focus the stakes more on her father than herself, but more conflict might help widened the scope of the stakes. I just found the conflict details glossed over.

 

A YA Thriller complete at 86,000 words and taking place in several exotic locations including Rome, Peru and Tibet, THE CURSE OF THE BLOODSTAINED GOLD revolves around the true story of Paititi—the location where the Incas were said to have moved a temple made of gold to save it from being ransacked by the Spanish during the 1600’s. I believe it will appeal to fans of Maggie Hall’s THE CONSPIRACY OF US, who might be looking for a heroine in the mold of Indiana Jones/UNCHARTED’S Nathan Drake. It’s a standalone novel with series potential.

 

I am a former copy editor at Disney Interactive in London, where I was primarily responsible for creating the marketing copy for apps including Mittens and Where’s my Water: Allie.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

(my name)



#3 anathebookworm

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 06:24 PM

Hi Guys. I would love some help on my query. I've already revised this quite a lot and received feedback from people with industry experience, but I never get any kind of full or partial request after sending it out to a few agents and I'm getting really frustrated. What am I missing here? Please don't hesitate to give me the cold, hard truth. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Frustration is part of the process, don't worry. Yesterday I sent my 80th query (which means it was my 8th try at my query, since I send queries in batches of 10). I got some requests, but it's not easy to get them. Don't despair. They'll come, I promise. :-)

 

Dear (Insert Agent name),

 

(Insert personalization)

 

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie has stumbled upon a priceless artifact that could save what’s left of her broken family—or destroy it. I agree with Testome here - this is too vague, and doesn't make me want to read more. The following paragraphs have the same problem, to be honest - you're trying to hard to be mysterious, but what you're actually being is vague. I don't know the characters, and I don't know why I should care about them.

 

Struggling to cope with her mom’s recent death, Stephie can only watch as depression slowly steals her dad away and a mountain of unpaid hospital bills sees her childhood home repossessed. But when a valuable seventeenth century Vatican coin and the journals of a disgraced archaeologist are mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works, Stephie believes her luck might finally be changing for the better.

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

A notorious black market kingpin also wants the items, and he’s hired a private army to wipe out anyone aware of their existence. But does this man knows Stephie has the itens? Did he send the army to get her? Or he's just looking for whoever it is that got the itens before him? This is all unclear.

 

Moments from being gunned down, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson, and discovers the truth about the items. They’re clues to the location of Paititi—the rumored hiding place of the last Inca gold—and if she can help them find it, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her. This is really well written, but it's also not fresh enough. It reminds me too much of Uncharted, and the world already has one Uncharted. I think you have to use your query to show agents what's fresh and unique about your story. The way it is now, I don't see anything unique. I'm really sorry if this sounds harsh, but that's what I think. Other people might think differently, of course.

 

For Stephie, the gold represents a chance at a fresh start. But to get her dad the help he needs and take her home back, she’ll have to travel to the world’s most treacherous corners, trust two strangers with questionable motives and outsmart the private army at every turn. See what I meant before? This is too vague, and too Uncharted. You have to make your story sound unique, not a remake of a famous one with a girl protagonist  All for something that might not even be real. Stephie must decide whether that chance is worth any price—maybe even her own life.

 

A YA Thriller complete at 86,000 words and taking place in several exotic locations including Rome, Peru and Tibet, THE CURSE OF THE BLOODSTAINED GOLD revolves around the true story of Paititi—the location where the Incas were said to have moved a temple made of gold to save it from being ransacked by the Spanish during the 1600’s. I believe it will appeal to fans of Maggie Hall’s THE CONSPIRACY OF US, who might be looking for a heroine in the mold of Indiana Jones/UNCHARTED’S Nathan Drake. It’s a standalone novel with series potential.

 

I am a former copy editor at Disney Interactive in London, where I was primarily responsible for creating the marketing copy for apps including Mittens and Where’s my Water: Allie.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

(my name)

 

I really like your writing style and voice, but the problem here is the story doesn't sound original enough. I'm not saying it isn't -- far from it, because I believe every story is original in several ways --, I'm just saying that this is what your query makes me think. If you like Uncharted, why don't you take the book jacket of the Uncharted novel? From what I remember, it's very good. And it can help you with ideas for your query, :-)

 

Hope this helps!

 

If you have the time, can you take a look at my query? http://agentquerycon...-sci-fi/page-3 



#4 RobynJC

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 06:45 AM

Dear (Insert Agent name),

 

(Insert personalization)

 

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie has stumbled upon a priceless artifact that could save what’s left of her broken family—or destroy it. I'm not sure you need this sentence.  It kind of repeats what happens in the next paragraph plus, and that's stronger and more specific. 

 

Struggling to cope with her mom’s recent death, Stephie can only watch as depression slowly steals her dad away and a mountain of unpaid hospital bills sees her childhood home repossessed. But when a valuable seventeenth century Vatican coin and the journals of a disgraced archaeologist are mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works, Stephie believes her luck might finally be changing for the better.

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

I like the punch of these two paragraphs.  The first sentence is really strong.  The second one is a little clunky -- "a valuable seventeenth century Vatican coin and the journals of a disgraced archaeologist" -- it is not clear how they go together. Is there a more interesting way to say this? How do these two things go together? 

 

A notorious black market kingpin also wants the items, and he’s hired a private army to wipe out anyone aware of their existence. 

 

Moments from being gunned down, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson, and discovers the truth about the items. They’re clues to the location of Paititi—the rumored hiding place of the last Inca gold—and if she can help them find it, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

There might be a little too much backstory here.  This is something I struggle with too! Do we need to know, right now, all the details about the artifacts? (I'm not sure; others may disagree.)  I think it's less important what these items are, and more important why they matter to Stephie. And where do the wily smuggler and grandson come from?

 

For Stephie, the gold represents a chance at a fresh start. But to get her dad the help he needs and take her home back, she’ll have to travel to the world’s most treacherous corners, trust two strangers with questionable motives and outsmart the private army at every turn. All for something that might not even be real. Stephie must decide whether that chance is worth any price—maybe even her own life.

 

I like this idea. I'm a big sucker for tribes of misfits, and it sounds like you've got a good tribe going here -- Stephie the junkyard daughter, the wily smuggler grandma, and her hot eccentric grandson? Those are three pretty cool characters! This paragraph might be a TINY bit cliche (risking her life, etc.) -- as others have said. I doubt the story itself is; things become cliche so easily when they get condensed. Maybe think of one or two strong details or unique angles, and build them into this paragraph?  I also think you might be struggling a tiny bit with so many characters. There's Stephie, her depressed dad, the black market kingpin, smuggling grandma, eccentric grandson, and only Stephie has a name. One idea might be to focus on the three characters of her little band, share their names, help us see them and get invested in their dynamic. Maybe even start the query at the moment when two weirdos save her life? 

 

A YA Thriller complete at 86,000 words and taking place in several exotic locations including Rome, Peru and Tibet, THE CURSE OF THE BLOODSTAINED GOLD revolves around the true story of Paititi—the location where the Incas were said to have moved a temple made of gold to save it from being ransacked by the Spanish during the 1600’s. I believe it will appeal to fans of Maggie Hall’s THE CONSPIRACY OF US, who might be looking for a heroine in the mold of Indiana Jones/UNCHARTED’S Nathan Drake. It’s a standalone novel with series potential. 

 

​Personally, I like this summary as well.  Nice comparables and a nice niche for the book.

 

I am a former copy editor at Disney Interactive in London, where I was primarily responsible for creating the marketing copy for apps including Mittens and Where’s my Water: Allie.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

(my name)

 

I think this is a strong query, with a good hook.  (I am not an expert, just a reader.) I'd eliminate the first sentence, dial back the backstory, and maybe invest us just a bit more in the smuggling grandma and eccentric grandson (what makes him eccentric?).  But see what others think.  And I agree, ten queries is not so many. Good luck!

 

(PS Check out my query if you get a chance; THE RIVER WE SEE.)  



#5 robinroewriter

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 02:28 PM

Hi Guys. I would love some help on my query. I've already revised this quite a lot and received feedback from people with industry experience, but I never get any kind of full or partial request after sending it out to a few agents and I'm getting really frustrated. What am I missing here? Please don't hesitate to give me the cold, hard truth. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

 

Dear (Insert Agent name),

 

(Insert personalization)

 

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie has stumbled upon a priceless artifact that could save what’s left of her broken family—or destroy it.

 

Struggling to cope with her mom’s recent death, Stephie can only watch as depression slowly steals her dad away and a mountain of unpaid hospital bills sees her childhood home repossessed. But when a valuable seventeenth century Vatican coin and the journals of a disgraced archaeologist are mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works, Stephie believes her luck might finally be changing for the better.

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

A notorious black market kingpin also wants the items, and he’s hired a private army to wipe out anyone aware of their existence.

 

Moments from being gunned down, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson, and discovers the truth about the items. They’re clues to the location of Paititi—the rumored hiding place of the last Inca gold—and if she can help them find it, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

For Stephie, the gold represents a chance at a fresh start. But to get her dad the help he needs and take her home back, she’ll have to travel to the world’s most treacherous corners, trust two strangers with questionable motives and outsmart the private army at every turn. All for something that might not even be real. Stephie must decide whether that chance is worth any price—maybe even her own life.

 

A YA Thriller complete at 86,000 words and taking place in several exotic locations including Rome, Peru and Tibet, THE CURSE OF THE BLOODSTAINED GOLD revolves around the true story of Paititi—the location where the Incas were said to have moved a temple made of gold to save it from being ransacked by the Spanish during the 1600’s. I believe it will appeal to fans of Maggie Hall’s THE CONSPIRACY OF US, who might be looking for a heroine in the mold of Indiana Jones/UNCHARTED’S Nathan Drake. It’s a standalone novel with series potential.

 

I am a former copy editor at Disney Interactive in London, where I was primarily responsible for creating the marketing copy for apps including Mittens and Where’s my Water: Allie.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

(my name)

Hi! I think you've done an excellent job here. My advice would be to edit until your word count is under 300. I'd also suggest changing the title if you're open to that. This is the first impression an agent has of your book, and it sounds more supernatural than thriller to me. The query definitely reads YA, but the title reads more MG in my opinion. Overall, great query!! :)



#6 DV77

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 04:49 PM

Hi again all. Thank you for your feedback. I appreciated every piece of it and tried to make it a bit more personal about Stephie as well as get more specific with a lot of the details. I've tried to trim the opening background info. Is it still too much? I've also changed the title and wondered what everyone thought. I never liked the previous one that much and something Robyn said in their feedback made me smile because they said the initial title I first gave it word-for-word.

 

Once again all honest feedback is welcome, no matter how brutal, and of course if you want me to return the favor with a query/first 250 words, I'm happy to oblige.

 

Dear (Insert Agent name),

 

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie is terrified the depression eating away at her recently widowed dad will kill him. Compounded by a mountain of debt thanks to her late mom’s unpaid medical bills, Stephie believes her broken family’s problems have been eased when a valuable seventeenth century Vatican coin is mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works.

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

A ruthless black market kingpin also wants the coin. And when his army of private mercenaries traces it back to Stephie, he doesn’t want to leave anyone alive who can tie it back to him.

 

Moments from being gunned down, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson, and told the truth about the coin. It’s not just a historical artifact. It’s a clue to the location of Paititi—the rumored hiding place of the last Inca gold—and if she can help them find it, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

To clear her dad’s debts and get him the professional help he needs, Stephie will have to solve centuries’ old Vatican mysteries, outsmart cartels in the jungles of Peru and brave the icy mountains of Tibet, all while being hunted by the most lethal private army on the planet. Stephie must decide whether a chance to see her dad smile again is worth any price—even though her death might be what kills him.

 

A YA Thriller complete at 86,000 words, THE JUNKYARD DAUGHTER revolves around the true story of Paititi—the location where the Incas were said to have moved a temple made of gold to save it from being ransacked by the Spanish during the 1600’s. I believe it will appeal to fans of Maggie Hall’s THE CONSPIRACY OF US, who might be looking for a heroine in the mold of Indiana Jones/UNCHARTED’S Nathan Drake. It’s a standalone novel with series potential.

 

I am a former copy editor at Disney Interactive in London, where I was primarily responsible for creating the marketing copy for apps including Mittens and Where’s my Water: Allie.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

DV77



#7 CM_Fick

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 07:33 PM

Hi again all. Thank you for your feedback. I appreciated every piece of it and tried to make it a bit more personal about Stephie as well as get more specific with a lot of the details. I've tried to trim the opening background info. Is it still too much? I've also changed the title and wondered what everyone thought. I never liked the previous one that much and something Robyn said in their feedback made me smile because they said the initial title I first gave it word-for-word.

 

Once again all honest feedback is welcome, no matter how brutal, and of course if you want me to return the favor with a query/first 250 words, I'm happy to oblige.

 

Dear (Insert Agent name),

 

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie is terrified that? the depression eating away at her recently widowed dad will kill him. Compounded by a mountain of debt(, comma here if you care for technical edits) thanks to her late mom’s unpaid medical bills, Stephie believes her broken family’s problems have been eased when a valuable seventeenth century Vatican coin is mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

A ruthless black market kingpin also wants the coin. And when his army of private mercenaries traces it back to Stephie, he doesn’t want to leave anyone alive who can tie it back to him. (I would combine these paragraphs) Moments from being gunned down, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson, and told the truth about the coin. It’s not just a historical artifact. It’s a clue to the location of Paititi—the rumored hiding place of the last Inca gold—and if she can help them find it, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

To clear her dad’s debts and get him the professional help he needs, Stephie will have to solve centuries’ old Vatican mysteries, outsmart cartels in the jungles of Peru and brave the icy mountains of Tibet(; I'd put a semi-colon here as they can be two separate sentences on their own - this is a personal preference) all while being hunted by the most lethal private army on the planet. Stephie must decide whether a chance to see her dad smile again is worth any price—even though her death might be what kills him.

 

A YA Thriller complete at 86,000 words, THE JUNKYARD DAUGHTER revolves around the true story of Paititi—the location where the Incas were said to have moved a temple made of gold to save it from being ransacked by the Spanish during the 1600’s. I believe it will appeal to fans of Maggie Hall’s (I would put these in title case and italicize so as not to detract from your book's title - but this is a personal preference) THE CONSPIRACY OF US, who might be looking for a heroine in the mold of Indiana Jones/UNCHARTED’S Nathan Drake. It’s a standalone novel with series potential.

 

I am a former copy editor at Disney Interactive in London, where I was primarily responsible for creating the marketing copy for apps including Mittens and Where’s my Water: Allie.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

DV77

This sounds like quite the adventure! I think that you've outlined your story clearly and concisely. The few edits I've added, are my own preference, Good work and the best of luck! 

 

I do have a query posted if you have a moment to read through it. 



#8 RobynJC

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 11:12 AM

I really like this query, and laugh at the new title. Personally, I like it much better. Evocative and unique! I'd want to read about a junkyard daughter.

 

Hi again all. Thank you for your feedback. I appreciated every piece of it and tried to make it a bit more personal about Stephie as well as get more specific with a lot of the details. I've tried to trim the opening background info. Is it still too much? I've also changed the title and wondered what everyone thought. I never liked the previous one that much and something Robyn said in their feedback made me smile because they said the initial title I first gave it word-for-word.

 

Once again all honest feedback is welcome, no matter how brutal, and of course if you want me to return the favor with a query/first 250 words, I'm happy to oblige.

 

Dear (Insert Agent name),

 

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie is terrified the depression eating away at her recently widowed dad will kill him. Compounded by a mountain of debt thanks to her late mom’s unpaid medical bills, Stephie believes her broken family’s problems have been eased when a valuable seventeenth century Vatican coin is mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works.

 

ALTERNATE OPTION to make the second line payoff a bit tighter: Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie is terrified that if the mountain of debt from her late mom's unpaid medical bills doesn't destroy her father, the depression will. When Stephie finds a valuable 17th century Vatican coin dumped in the rubble of the junkyard her family runs, she thinks she's found a way to help her broken family.

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

A ruthless black market kingpin also wants the coin. And when his army of private mercenaries traces it back to Stephie, he doesn’t want to leave anyone alive who can tie it back to him.

 

This is a tiny bit awkward - the sentiment is right, but the wording is just a wee bit off. Maybe "He sends his army after Stephie, the only person who can trace the treasure back to him."

 

Moments from being gunned down, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson. They tell her the true story of the coin: It’s not just a historical artifact. It’s a clue to the location of Paititi—the rumored hiding place of the last Inca gold—and if she can help them find it, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

(Edited above to replace passive voice.)

 

To clear her dad’s debts and get him the professional help he needs, Stephie will have to solve centuries’ old Vatican mysteries, outsmart cartels in the jungles of Peru and brave the icy mountains of Tibet, all while being hunted by the most lethal private army on the planet. Stephie must decide whether a chance to see her dad smile again is worth any price—even though her death might be what kills him.

 

LOVE IT!!

 

A YA Thriller complete at 86,000 words, THE JUNKYARD DAUGHTER revolves around the true story of Paititi—the location where the Incas were said to have moved a temple made of gold to save it from being ransacked by the Spanish during the 1600’s. I believe it will appeal to fans of Maggie Hall’s THE CONSPIRACY OF US, who might be looking for a heroine in the mold of Indiana Jones/UNCHARTED’S Nathan Drake. It’s a standalone novel with series potential.

 

I am a former copy editor at Disney Interactive in London, where I was primarily responsible for creating the marketing copy for apps including Mittens and Where’s my Water: Allie.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

DV77

 

 

I really do think you have a winner here. Not that I'm an expert, but I would read this, for sure. It's got a great interesting character, clear stakes, a fun tribe of misfits (I could still know them better, but given the strength of the rest of the query, I trust you), and tons of interesting action laid out.  Plus, the underlying emotional tug of the father/daughter relationship is sweet.  I honestly think you should believe in this.



#9 Monks

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 04:56 PM

Dear (Insert Agent name),

 

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie is terrified the depression eating away at her recently widowed dad will kill him. Compounded by a mountain of debt thanks to her late mom’s unpaid medical bills, Stephie believes her broken family’s problems have been eased when a valuable seventeenth century Vatican coin is mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works.

This paragraph feels a bit awkward to me, and I was trying to think of how I'd fix it. Thankfully, I think RobynJC nailed it, and I'd go with that version for sure.

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

A ruthless black market kingpin also wants the coin. And when his army of private mercenaries traces it back to Stephie, he doesn’t want to leave anyone alive who can tie it back to him.

I also agree with RobynJC that this feels a bit awkward as well. I think a minor tweak could fix it though. Something like, "A ruthless black market kingpin is willing to kill Stephie to get the coin, and his army of mercenaries has no trouble finding her. (I like combining these paragraphs, but that's just my preference.) Moments from being gunned down, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson, and told the truth about the coin. It’s not just a historical artifact. It’s a clue to the location of Paititi—the rumored hiding place of the last Inca gold—and if she can help them find it, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her. Agree with RobynJC again about the passive voice here.

 

To clear her dad’s debts and get him the professional (feels unnecessary, imo) help he needs, Stephie will have to solve centuries’ old Vatican mysteries, outsmart cartels in the jungles of Peru and brave the icy mountains of Tibet, all while being hunted by the most lethal private army on the planet. Stephie must decide whether a chance to see her dad smile again is worth any price—even though her death might be what kills him. This last sentence feels awkward, particularly "even though her death might be what kills him." I think something a bit simpler would work better here, like, "Stephie must decide what she's willing to sacrifice to see her dad smile again."

 

A YA Thriller complete at 86,000 words, THE JUNKYARD DAUGHTER revolves around the true story of Paititi—the location where the Incas were said to have moved a temple made of gold to save it from being ransacked by the Spanish during the 1600’s. I believe it will appeal to fans of Maggie Hall’s THE CONSPIRACY OF US, who might be looking for a heroine in the mold of Indiana Jones/UNCHARTED’S Nathan Drake. It’s a standalone novel with series potential.

 

I am a former copy editor at Disney Interactive in London, where I was primarily responsible for creating the marketing copy for apps including Mittens and Where’s my Water: Allie.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

DV77

First off, thanks for your awesome critiques of my query! Second, this looks really good. I don't see any major structural issues at all. Just a few places where things could be a bit more clear or a bit more tightly worded. Overall though, this is solid. On the verge of being ready to go.


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my query!


#10 DV77

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 09:34 PM

Thanks for the feedback and the comments, guys. I've changed some parts while others I'm a little more sentimental about. I've also come up with two different versions and wanted opinions on what you felt worked better. One is a direct copy of Robyn's opening, another is a little version of my own I made because while I agreed about the opening paragraph being weirdly phrased, I also felt the first sentence had less punch. Which one do people prefer, and is there anything else in these you'd change?

 

Will gladly return critiques for anyone who wants it.

 

A.

 

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie is terrified the depression eating away at her recently widowed dad will kill him. Compounded by a mountain of her late mother’s unpaid medical bills, she yearns for a way to ease her broken family’s problems. When a valuable 17th century Vatican coin is mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works, Stephie believes she's found it.

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

A ruthless black market kingpin also wants the coin. Eager to ensure nothing can be traced back to him after his private army of mercenaries locates it, he orders Stephie’s execution.

 

Moments from being gunned down, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson. They tell her the truth about the coin: It’s not just a historical artifact. It’s a clue to the location of Paititi—the rumored hiding place of the last Inca gold—and if she can help them find it, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

To clear her dad’s debts and get him the help he needs, Stephie will have to solve centuries’ old Vatican mysteries, outsmart cartels in the jungles of Peru and brave the icy mountains of Tibet; all while being hunted by the globe’s most lethal private army. Stephie must decide whether a chance to see her dad smile again is worth any price—even though her death might be what kills him.

 

 

 

B.

 

 

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie is terrified that if the mountain of debt from her late mom's unpaid medical bills doesn't destroy her father, the depression will. When Stephie finds a valuable 17th century Vatican coin dumped in the rubble of the junkyard her family runs, she thinks she's found a way to help her broken family.

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

A ruthless black market kingpin also wants the coin. Eager to ensure nothing can be traced back to him after his private army of mercenaries locates it, he orders Stephie’s execution.

 

Moments from being gunned down, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson. They tell her the truth about the coin: It’s not just a historical artifact. It’s a clue to the location of Paititi—the rumored hiding place of the last Inca gold—and if she can help them find it, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

To clear her dad’s debts and get him the help he needs, Stephie will have to solve centuries’ old Vatican mysteries, outsmart cartels in the jungles of Peru and brave the icy mountains of Tibet; all while being hunted by the globe’s most lethal private army. Stephie must decide whether a chance to see her dad smile again is worth any price—even though her death might be what kills him.



#11 RobynJC

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 06:46 AM

I like B! I wasn't remotely attached to my suggestion, just giving an example, but yours addresses my questions, and it's really strong. This is a great query.

 

You do still have one passive voice moment ("is rescued") but I understand why it's there structurally, and even though that's not my favorite thing in a query, it's a tiny quibble, and a strong pitch. 

 

Another tiny question - did the kingpin dump the coin in the rubble in the first place?  If so, it might be worth noting that, to avoid unnecessary questions, but again, doesn't matter so much.



#12 chadweiss35

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 08:58 AM

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie is terrified that if the mountain of debt from her late mom's unpaid medical bills doesn't destroy her father, the depression will. When Stephie finds a valuable 17th century Vatican coin dumped in the rubble of the junkyard her family runs, she thinks she's found a way to help her broken family.

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

A ruthless black market kingpin also wants the coin. Eager to ensure nothing can be traced back to him after his private army of mercenaries locates it, he orders Stephie’s execution.

 

Moments from being gunned down, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot,(what about attractive or something, instead of using slang) but eccentric grandson. They tell her the truth about the coin: It’s not just a historical artifact. It’s a clue to the location of Paititi—the rumored hiding place of the last Inca gold—and if she can help them find it, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

To clear her dad’s debts and get him the help he needs, Stephie will have to solve centuries’ old Vatican mysteries, outsmart cartels in the jungles of Peru and brave the icy mountains of Tibet; all while being hunted by the globe’s most lethal private army. Stephie must decide whether a chance to see her dad smile again is worth any price—even though her death might be what kills him.

 

 

 

 I feel B is the better option. There's still something in the first line that makes a person read it twice. I can't quite put my finger on it though, but I had to read it twice to grasp it properly.

I think what's missing is signs of character growth and character relationships. Right now it sounds like once she meets the smuggler and son, they're a little team to does everything perfect. Is there no tension between her and the son? How does the adventure grow and change Stephie's characters? I think its nice to have a little bit of that in a query.

Otherwise its good, I just think you need more so we can grasp who Stephie really is, make us want to get to know her.

Hopefully that's helpful



#13 ryankalford

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 01:02 PM

Okay, so giving this a whirl on my phone and Word app, I tried doing a revision of sorts after reading both A and B

__________

When seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie finds a valuable 17th century Vatican coin dumped in the rubble of her family’s junkyard, she thinks she’s finally found her ticket out the scrap heap. Buried under the crushing debt of her late mom's unpaid medical bills, and her father’s suicidal depression slipping closer to the end, Stephie aims to change her family’s fortunates for good with the lucky flip of wealth the coin will bring.

(I “flipped” things in your first paragraph because Stephie finding the coin is what triggers the story events. The explanations didn’t feel right being front-ended above the triggering event. Plus, I tried adding a bit more conciseness in explaining he setup and motivations.)

Too bad the odds flipped tails when she called heads instead.

(Rewrote this line to attempt something more colorful. The line as is is too generic to be interesting to me. It needs more personality to make me go “Oh!”)

A ruthless black market kingpin orders Stephie’s execution after his private army of mercenaries track her down. He wants the coin, but no competition. Facing death from the pointed ends of his trigger happy goon’s guns, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson. They tell her the truth about the coin: It’s not just a historical artifact. It’s a clue to the location of Paititi—the rumored hiding place of the last Inca gold—and if she can help them find it, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

(I condensed and re-arranged the top part a bit. Certainly not perfect, but just trying to illustrate with an example.)

Stephie embarks on a journey with them, solving centuries’ old Vatican mysteries, outsmarting cartels in Peruvian jungles, and braving through the icy mountains of Tibet; all while being hunted by the kingpin’s army. Stephie must decide whether a chance to see her dad smile again is worth any price—even if her death might be what kills him.

(I switched the verbs in the first sentence to “ing” to create a more active voice, and also cut the stakes at the top since Stephie’s goals remained unchanged from the 1st paragraph.)

__________

Overall, I think the last paragraph needs work. It feels like your trying to cram the rest of the story in there trying to sell me on a flimsy pitch. I don't think you need to put all your cards on the table in a "grand tour" way, but be somewhat more reserved and focus a bit more on a specific situation to bookmark this.

The ending stakes as well aren't as compelling to me as they should be. It feels a little too "obvious" like it was whipped out the formulaic stakes playbook. (Bad guys, adventures, saving Dad could cost me my life!). It needs to have a more personal feel for Stephie to be compelling. In fact, a bit more of her voice in the entire query would help it immensely.

But as it is, it's certainly well written and structured. Now it's just an "adventure" of making it excellent!

Guess I don't have any more suggestions I can think of until I see your next version. Best of luck!

RECODED <250 EDITING FEEDBACK + ADVICE

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

 

RECODED QUERY (FINISHED???)

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

 

RECODED: GENESIS (Dani POV) 250

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

 
RECODED: Chapter 1 (Lillian POV) 250

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

 

RECODED Synopsis (REWRITING SOON)

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


#14 Constantine Singer

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 04:20 PM

These are pretty close to where they need to be, both versions.  Each has their strength.  

 

A.

 

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie is terrified the depression eating away at her recently widowed dad will kill him. Compounded by a mountain of her late mother’s unpaid medical bills, she yearns for a way to ease her broken family’s problems. When a valuable 17th century Vatican coin is mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works, Stephie believes she's found it.

 

Change the order so it matches the importance of the information.  Lead with age or name, follow with the other, and then have details if you want them.  I personally don't see the need to mention archeology here -- it fits in well later.

 

You focus on the depression, but Stephie's solution will solve the other two problems, but not that one.   Here's how I might re-write this first paragraph:

 

Seventeen-year-old Stephie ___________ 'is terrified about her father.  He's recently widowed, depressed, and sitting on a mountiain of her late mother's unpaid medical bills.  More than anything else in the world, Stephie wants to make things better.   So when a valuable 17th-Century Vatican coin is mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works, Stephie thinks she's found an answer.

 

 

She’s sorely mistaken.  This is a good line, well placed.  Effective rhythmically and in terms of tension.

 

 

A ruthless black market kingpin also wants the coin. Eager to ensure nothing can be traced back to him after his private army of mercenaries locates it, he orders Stephie’s execution.  You don't need this.  Go simple:

 

A ruthless black marketeer also wants the coin -- and he wants it badly enough to kill Stephie to get it. 

 

Moments from being gunned down, Stephie is rescued by a Too complicated.  Just go with "On the run for her life, she's joined by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson. They tell her the truth about the coin: who tell her the truth about the coin: It’s not just a historical artifact. It’s a clue to the location of Paititi—the rumored hiding place of the last Inca gold—and if she can help them find it, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

 

 

To clear her dad’s debts and get him the help he needs, Stephie will have to solve centuries’ old Vatican mysteries, outsmart cartels in the jungles of Peru and brave the icy mountains of Tibet; all while being hunted by the globe’s most lethal private army. Stephie must decide whether a chance to see her dad smile again is worth any price—even though her death might be what kills him.  Add this to the previous paragraph:

 

 

On the run for her life, she's joined by a wily old smuggler and her hot -- but eccentric -- grandson who tell Steffie the truth about the coin:  It's not just an historical artifact, it's a clue to the location of he last Inca gold. And if they can find it without dying, they'll get to split the fortune - but there's more than just killers standing in their way.  They'll have to solve centuries-old Vatican mysteries, outsmart cartels in the Jungles of Peru and survive the icy mountains of Tibet if she's going to get the gold and save her dad.

 

So, the whole thing would read like this:

 

Seventeen-year-old Stephie ___________ 'is terrified about her father.  He's recently widowed, depressed, and sitting on a mountiain of her late mother's unpaid medical bills.  More than anything else in the world, Stephie wants to make things better.   So when a valuable 17th-Century Vatican coin is mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works, Stephie thinks she's found an answer.

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

A ruthless black marketeer also wants the coin -- and he wants it badly enough to kill Stephie to get it. 

 
On the run for her life, she's joined by a wily old smuggler and her hot -- but eccentric -- grandson who tell Steffie the truth about the coin:  It's not just an historical artifact, it's a clue to the location of he last Inca gold.  And if they can find it without dying, they'll get to split the fortune - but there's more than just killers standing in their way.  They'll have to solve centuries-old Vatican mysteries, outsmart cartels in the Jungles of Peru and survive the icy mountains of Tibet if Steffie's going to get the gold and save her dad.

 

 

 

You have room for more here -- but this is pretty strong as it is.



#15 DV77

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 06:51 PM

Hi again, guys. Thank you so much for taking the time to look at my work and help me improve it. I've spent a long time looking at everyone's feedback and having a very long think about what I agree with/don't agree with, and then even more time trying to implement it all! I've cherrypicked a little from each piece of feedback and was wondering what people thought of this latest version which is a bit of a mesh of everyone's advice:

 

Dear (Insert Agent name),

 

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie can’t stop crying for her recently widowed father. His depression isn’t getting any better, and the creditors chasing after her late mother’s unpaid medical bills are only making it worse. Stephie yearns for a way to help, so when a valuable 17th century Vatican coin is mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works, she believes she's found it.

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

A ruthless black market kingpin also wants the coin—and he wants it badly enough to kill Stephie to get it.

 

Moments from being gunned down by his hired mercenaries, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson. They tell her the truth about the coin: It’s not just a historical artifact. It’s a clue to the hiding place of the last Inca gold—Paititi. And if they can find it without dying, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

But to clear her dad’s debts, Stephie will have to solve centuries’ old Vatican mysteries, outsmart cartels in the jungles of Peru and survive the icy mountains of Tibet; all while being hunted by the globe’s most lethal private army. With nobody else to look out for her father’s deteriorating health if she dies, Stephie must decide whether a chance to see him smile again is worth both their lives.

 

A YA Thriller complete at 86,000 words, THE JUNKYARD DAUGHTER revolves around the true story of Paititi—the location where the Incas were said to have moved a temple made of gold to save it from being ransacked by the Spanish during the 1600’s. I believe it will appeal to fans of Maggie Hall’s The Conspiracy of us, who might be looking for a heroine in the mold of Indiana Jones/Uncharted’s Nathan Drake. It’s a standalone novel with series potential.

 

I am a former copy editor at Disney Interactive in London, where I was primarily responsible for creating the marketing copy for apps including Mittens and Where’s my Water: Allie.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

DV77



#16 Monks

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 07:45 PM

Hi again, guys. Thank you so much for taking the time to look at my work and help me improve it. I've spent a long time looking at everyone's feedback and having a very long think about what I agree with/don't agree with, and then even more time trying to implement it all! I've cherrypicked a little from each piece of feedback and was wondering what people thought of this latest version which is a bit of a mesh of everyone's advice:

 

Dear (Insert Agent name),

 

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie can’t stop crying for her recently widowed father. His depression isn’t getting any better, and the creditors chasing after her late mother’s unpaid (can probably leave this word out -- it's implied by the creditors, and it makes the sentence a bit cleaner) medical bills are only making it worse. Stephie yearns for a way to help, so when a valuable 17th century Vatican coin is mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works, she believes she's found it. This sentence feels just a tiny bit awkward. I like flipping it around a bit. Something like, "When a 17th century Vatican coin is mysteriously dumped at the junyard where she works, Stephie believes she's found a way to help her father."

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

A ruthless black market kingpin also wants the coin—and he wants it badly enough to kill Stephie to get it. I like it. Nice and punchy.

 

Moments from being gunned down by his hired mercenaries, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson. They tell her the truth about the coin: It’s not just a historical artifact. It’s a clue to the hiding place of the last Inca gold—Paititi. (Could maybe reword this a little bit. I like "It's a clue to the location of Paititi, the hiding place of the last Inca gold." But that's just my preference.) And if they can find it without dying, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

But to clear her dad’s debts, Stephie will have to solve centuries’ old Vatican mysteries, outsmart cartels in the jungles of Peru and survive the icy mountains of Tibet; all while being hunted by the globe’s (I like "world's" better here, but that's just me) most lethal private army. With nobody else to look out for her father’s deteriorating health if she dies, Stephie must decide whether a chance to see him smile again is worth both their lives. I like what you went with here. Clean and concise.

 

A YA Thriller complete at 86,000 words, THE JUNKYARD DAUGHTER revolves around the true story of Paititi—the location where the Incas were said to have moved a temple made of gold to save it from being ransacked by the Spanish during the 1600’s. I believe it will appeal to fans of Maggie Hall’s The Conspiracy of us, who might be looking for a heroine in the mold of Indiana Jones/Uncharted’s Nathan Drake. It’s a standalone novel with series potential.

 

I am a former copy editor at Disney Interactive in London, where I was primarily responsible for creating the marketing copy for apps including Mittens and Where’s my Water: Allie.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

DV77

I think you've nailed this one. My couple quibbles about the first paragraph aside, I think you really cleaned it up and made it flow much better than previous versions. The first two sentences especially are a lot crisper now. You could probably nitpick word choice for days, but honestly, I don't see much left to fix with this. Nice work!


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my query!


#17 CM_Fick

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 07:58 PM

 

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie can’t stop crying for her recently widowed father. His depression isn’t getting any better, and the creditors chasing after her late mother’s unpaid medical bills are only making it worse. Stephie yearns for a way to help, so when a valuable 17th century Vatican coin is mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works, she believes she's found it.

 

She’s sorely mistaken. (see comments below for notes on the previous paragraphs)

 

A ruthless black market kingpin also wants the coin—and he wants it badly enough to kill Stephie to get itfor it. 

 

Moments from being gunned down by his hired mercenaries, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson. They tell her the truth about the coin: It’s not just a historical artifact. It’s a clue to the hiding place of the last Inca gold—Paititi. And if they can find it without dying, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

But In order (I don't like to use but in situation like this) to clear her dad’s debts, Stephie will have to solve centuries’ old Vatican mysteries (is this plural mysteries? as in the Vatican has more than one revolving around this subject?), outsmart cartels in the jungles of Peru and survive the icy mountains of Tibet; all while being hunted by the globe’s most (unnecessary imo, when you can just say "a leathal" in this instance) lethal private army. With nobody else to look out for her father’s deteriorating health if she dies, Stephie must decide whether a chance to see him smile again is worth both their lives.

 

A YA Thriller complete at 86,000 words, THE JUNKYARD DAUGHTER revolves around the true story of Paititi—the location where the Incas were said to have moved a temple made of gold to save it from being ransacked by the Spanish during the 1600’s. I believe it will appeal to fans of Maggie Hall’s The Conspiracy of us, who might be looking for a heroine in the mold of Indiana Jones/Uncharted’s Nathan Drake. It’s a standalone novel with series potential.

 

 

 

Hi DV77, 

 

This is a solid revision, but there's still something missing, and I'm sorry, but I can't pinpoint exactly what that is. I still think this is a very intriguing plot and you've done well in presenting it.

 

I still believe there are too many paragraphs - but that's a personal preference based on my research of query formats. 

 

I reviewed some other comments above, and I agree with ryankalford - that the finding of the coin should be first and foremost in your hook. It not only covers all aspects of your opening, but does so putting the finding of the coin, before the family drama. The late mother and her father's depression feel like backstory. 

 

This is ryankalford's suggestion again: When seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie finds a valuable 17th century Vatican coin dumped in the rubble of her family’s junkyard, (this introduces the character and the inciting incident) she thinks she’s finally found her ticket out the scrap heap. Buried under the crushing debt of her late mom's unpaid medical bills, and concerned by her father’s suicidal debilitating depression slipping closer to the end, Stephie aims to change her family’s fortunes, and believes she's found a way with the coin.  for good with the lucky flip of wealth the coin will bring.

 

Here it is without all the edit notes:

When seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie finds a valuable 17th century Vatican coin dumped in the rubble of her family’s junkyard, she thinks she’s finally found her ticket out the scrap heap. Buried under the crushing debt of her late mom's unpaid medical bills, and concerned by her father’s debilitating depression, Stephie aims to change her family’s fortunes, and believes she's found a way with the coin.

 

She’s sorely mistaken. (because it seems you really like this line, and it's a good one, I adjusted above to make it fit.)

 

 I know how frustrating this can be with so many opinions, but hopefully this helps.



#18 DV77

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 09:17 PM

Thanks for the extra responses, everyone. (CM, I really liked some of the wording changes you made to the first paragraph. Really made it cleaner!)

 

Ryan's opening paragraph seems to be unanimously popular so I've tried incorporating it into this one again though. One thing I need to clarify though is that the coin itself would probably fetch five figures at an auction, so although it would ease Stephie's family's financial problems, it's nowhere near enough to cure all of them. Only finding Paititi would do that. Otherwise an agent might ask why is she even bothering going after it if she already can get all the money she wants just by selling the coin. That's why I'm having to be a bit careful with my wording.

 

When seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie finds a valuable 17th century Vatican coin dumped in the rubble of her family’s junkyard, she thinks she’s finally found her ticket out of the scrap heap. Buried under the crushing debt of her late mom's unpaid medical bills, and terrified by her father’s debilitating depression, Stephie believes the small sum the coin would fetch will ease her broken family’s problems.

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

A ruthless black market kingpin also wants the coin—and he wants it badly enough to kill Stephie to get it.

 

Moments from being gunned down by his hired mercenaries, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson. They tell her the truth about the coin: It’s not just a historical artifact. It’s a clue to the location of Paititi, the hiding place of the last Inca gold. And if they can find it without dying, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

To clear her dad’s debts, Stephie will have to solve centuries’ old Vatican mysteries, outsmart cartels in the jungles of Peru and survive the icy mountains of Tibet; all while being hunted by a lethal private army. With nobody else to look out for her dad’s deteriorating health if she dies, Stephie must decide whether a chance to see him smile again is worth both their lives.



#19 ryankalford

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 09:25 PM

To take for another spin . . .

Hi again, guys. Thank you so much for taking the time to look at my work and help me improve it. I've spent a long time looking at everyone's feedback and having a very long think about what I agree with/don't agree with, and then even more time trying to implement it all! I've cherrypicked a little from each piece of feedback and was wondering what people thought of this latest version which is a bit of a mesh of everyone's advice:

 

Dear (Insert Agent name),

 

Seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie can’t stop crying for her recently widowed father. His depression isn’t getting any better, and the creditors chasing after her late mother’s unpaid medical bills are only making it worse. Stephie yearns for a way to help, so when a valuable 17th century Vatican coin is mysteriously dumped at the junkyard where she works, she believes she's found it.

 

I think you already know my opinion on this hook. But starting out with the MC "can't stop crying" made it even less appealing. As CM Pick, noted, starting with your MC and your inciting incident woudl be best. In other words, tell us the who, what, and where with what starts her story before you start telling us her problems.

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

Okay, okay--I change my mind about this. It is a good line (only because CM Pick was neat enough to pair it with my suggestion, huehuehue). Although seriously speaking, context and arrangement are eveyrthing in a query (or writing). The previous two hooks didn't entice that the line stuck out like a sore thumb . . . but no, you can keep it. ;) 

 

A ruthless black market kingpin also wants the coin—and he wants it badly enough to kill Stephie to get it.  

 

Simple and direct--I like.

 

Moments from being gunned down by his hired mercenaries, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson. They tell her the truth about the coin: It’s not just a historical artifact. It’s a clue to the hiding place of the last Inca gold—Paititi. And if they can find it without dying, they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

But to clear her dad’s debts, Stephie will have to solve centuries’ old Vatican mysteries, outsmart cartels in the jungles of Peru and survive the icy mountains of Tibet; all while being hunted by the globe’s most lethal private army. With nobody else to look out for her father’s deteriorating health if she dies, Stephie must decide whether a chance to see him smile again is worth both their lives.

 

BAM! Now that's more like it! As i mentioned before, context is everything. After cleaning up all the clutter and chaff that bogged this down, this sings beautifully. Also the revamped stating of the stakes made me go "Ooooohhhhhh." Well done.

 

A YA Thriller complete at 86,000 words, THE JUNKYARD DAUGHTER revolves around the true story of Paititi—the location where the Incas were said to have moved a temple made of gold to save it from being ransacked by the Spanish during the 1600’s. I believe it will appeal to fans of Maggie Hall’s The Conspiracy of us, who might be looking for a heroine in the mold of Indiana Jones/Uncharted’s Nathan Drake. It’s a standalone novel with series potential.

 

I am a former copy editor at Disney Interactive in London, where I was primarily responsible for creating the marketing copy for apps including Mittens and Where’s my Water: Allie.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

DV77

 

 

Really . . . not much to say other than magnificent. Well, outside fixing your hook XD.

 

EDIT*** Oh, I didn't realize you just updated. Well then--"PERFECT K.O.!"


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/


#20 Monks

Monks

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 11:19 AM

Thanks for the extra responses, everyone. (CM, I really liked some of the wording changes you made to the first paragraph. Really made it cleaner!)

 

Ryan's opening paragraph seems to be unanimously popular so I've tried incorporating it into this one again though. One thing I need to clarify though is that the coin itself would probably fetch five figures at an auction, so although it would ease Stephie's family's financial problems, it's nowhere near enough to cure all of them. Only finding Paititi would do that. Otherwise an agent might ask why is she even bothering going after it if she already can get all the money she wants just by selling the coin. That's why I'm having to be a bit careful with my wording.

 

When seventeen-year-old archaeology fanatic Stephie finds a valuable 17th century Vatican coin dumped in the rubble of her family’s junkyard, she thinks she’s finally found her ticket out of the scrap heap. Buried under the crushing debt of her late mom's unpaid medical bills, and terrified by her father’s debilitating depression, Stephie believes the small sum the coin would fetch will ease her broken family’s problems. I like this rewording a lot. Leading with the inciting incident seems painfully obvious in hindsight. Much stronger this way.

 

She’s sorely mistaken.

 

A ruthless black market kingpin also wants the coin—and he wants it badly enough to kill Stephie to get it.

 

Moments from being gunned down by his hired mercenaries, Stephie is rescued by a wily old smuggler and her hot, but eccentric grandson. They tell her the truth about the coin: It’s not just a historical artifact. It’s a clue to the location of Paititi, the hiding place of the last Inca gold. And if they can find it without dying This feels superfluous. Makes the sentence a little clunky, and you've already established that their lives are in danger., they’ll gladly split the fortune with her.

 

To clear her dad’s debts, Stephie will have to solve centuries’ old Vatican mysteries, outsmart cartels in the jungles of Peru and survive the icy mountains of Tibet; all while being hunted by a lethal private army. With nobody else to look out for her dad’s deteriorating health if she dies, Stephie must decide whether a chance to see him smile again is worth both their lives.

I think this is ready to go. It's laser focused, clear, and concise. Nice job revising it!


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my query!





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