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Awakened (YA Fantasy)


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#1 ddcash80

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:29 PM


Thanks for taking the time to critique my QUERY. I am a first time author, just finished my manuscript and I haven't submitted any queries yet, so I am happy to have found this site to give me some feedback. Thanks in advance.
(also I've seen alot of query examples that just jump into the synopsis -- is this normal?? or was the agent intro just redacted??)

 

EDIT: I've updated this with a new spin. Hopefully it works. . .

 

****

Dear Agent...,
 

For over a decade, the aliens have walked among us, living peacefully. In exchange for their place on the planet, the Zorin gave the human race amazing psychic power -- a deadly weapon in the wrong hands.

A beautiful species with the traits of mankind, the Zorin are distinguished by their fiery yellow eyes. But Dax Carter has never seen one. Fifteen-year-old Dax lives happily in the southern town of Brissal, filled with green grass and dirt roads. It’s a far distance from the rising technology of the eastern capitol.

Dax’s tranquil life falls apart when his mom is attacked by a demented Hollow – failed test subjects of a mad scientist bent on further unlocking the potential of the mind.

 

With his team of friends, Dax must learn how to control his power as he faces the Hollows and tries to unravel a hidden Zorin conspiracy which threatens to spark a world war.

 

Amidst the chaos, Dax turns to his best friend for help, only to find sutured stitches running down the back of his friend's neck, and blackened eyes filled with evil.

 

AWAKENED is complete at 105K words and is the first book of a planned trilogy, although it stands alone with a clear ending. I believe it might attract the fans of other dystopian YA fantasy novels such as the 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

I’m a young scientist, living in Boston, who does cancer research. I have published articles in scientific journals, but this is my first foray into the literary arts. I would be glad to send you pages of my manuscript if you are interested. Thank you for your time and consideration,



#2 SnowFox23

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 05:42 AM

First, I have to say that this is a pretty solid start for a first time author. Query is professional, and though I was confused a lot, I can see there is a great story in there.

 

Okay, as a first time reader who has no idea about your book I will give you my first impressions and let you decide on where you go from there. Sometimes it can sound harsh, but I'm just giving you my fresh eyes perspective. :)

 

 

Dear Agent...,

For over a decade, the aliens have walked among humans. In exchange for their place on the planet, the Zorin have gifted the human race amazing psychic power -- a deadly weapon in the wrong hands.
 

Sounds like an interesting idea- I just don't quite understand. So- everyone accepts that the Zorin walk amongst us humans? And was every human being gifted psychic abilities?

Built like man men . . . (and woman women), you can distinguish the Zorin by their fiery yellow eyes. But Dax Carter has never seen one. A young teenager, Tell us his specific age, Dax lives happily in the southern town of Brissal, (As an Australian, I wouldn't have a clue where Brissal is. Maybe make it a bit more specific, like southern California, or whatever) filled with green grass and dirt roads. It’s a far distance from the rising technology of the eastern capitol.

Dax’s tranquil life begins to spiral out of control    (try to avoid using clichés in query's, it just smacks of unoriginality) when a mad scientist, bent on further unlocking the potential of the mind, (whose mind? I'm a bit confused now.) escapes from prison and resumes his research, creating deadly monsters (how?, and why?). The dreaded chaos (those two words are a little uninspiring) hits home when Dax’s mother is the victim of an attack. (But what attack? You mean she was attacked by a monster? Also, how was she attacked by a monster because I thought they lived away from all the chaos?!)

With his friends in tow, Dax must learn how to control his power (the psychic thing that everyone has? Why didn't his Mum use it?!)as he fights against a new breed of villain, the dark mysterious Shadow, (Are these the monsters that the mad scientist created?) who drains the life of his prey and stirs up a war between the humans and Zorin.

Just when things couldn’t get worse, Dax turns to his best friend for help, only to find sutured stitches running down his spine and black eyes filled with evil. (Huh? Is his best friend a Shadow now?) I don't understand.

AWAKENED is complete at 105K words and is the first book of a planned trilogy, although it stands alone with a clear ending. I believe it might attract the fans of other dystopian YA fantasy novels such as the 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.  I liked that book.

I’m a young scientist, living in Boston, who does cancer research. So awesome! I have published articles in scientific journals, but this is my first foray into the literary arts. I would be glad to send you pages of my manuscript if you are interested. Thank you for your time and consideration,     

 

 

I think there is a great book in there, I just think there is a bit more explaining that needs to happen to pull it together more cohesively.



#3 ddcash80

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 08:32 AM

First, I have to say that this is a pretty solid start for a first time author. Query is professional, and though I was confused a lot, I can see there is a great story in there.

 

Okay, as a first time reader who has no idea about your book I will give you my first impressions and let you decide on where you go from there. Sometimes it can sound harsh, but I'm just giving you my fresh eyes perspective. :)

 

 

Dear Agent...,

For over a decade, the aliens have walked among humans. In exchange for their place on the planet, the Zorin have gifted the human race amazing psychic power -- a deadly weapon in the wrong hands.
 

Sounds like an interesting idea- I just don't quite understand. So- everyone accepts that the Zorin walk amongst us humans? And was every human being gifted psychic abilities? Yes, everyone accepts that they walk among humans. And yes, everyone accepts them, because they gifted everyone the psychic abilities

Built like man men . . . (and woman women), This was supposed to be "man" the species, like mankind, I may clarify this if more people don't get it. you can distinguish the Zorin by their fiery yellow eyes. But Dax Carter has never seen one. A young teenager, Tell us his specific age, [ok]Dax lives happily in the southern town of Brissal, (As an Australian, I wouldn't have a clue where Brissal is. Maybe make it a bit more specific, like southern California, or whatever)Brissal is actually his made-up hometown, is that too confusing? should I just take out the name? filled with green grass and dirt roads. It’s a far distance from the rising technology of the eastern capitol.

Dax’s tranquil life begins to spiral out of control    (try to avoid using clichés in query's, it just smacks of unoriginality) when a mad scientist, bent on further unlocking the potential of the mind, (whose mind? I'm a bit confused now.) he experiments with humans, he wants to unlock the potential of the "mind"-- in general. escapes from prison and resumes his research, creating deadly monsters (how?, and why?) the how is with brain surgery. the why is stated earlier (to unlock potential,aka more psychic power). failed experiments turn into monsters. I didn't want to go into too much detail in the short synopsis (maybe i should say more?). The dreaded chaos (those two words are a little uninspiring) hits home when Dax’s mother is the victim of an attack. (But what attack? You mean she was attacked by a monster? Also, how was she attacked by a monster because I thought they lived away from all the chaos?!)  Yes, she was attacked by a monster. The scientist hides out near Dax's hometown after escaping prison. I guess I could mention that.

With his friends in tow, Dax must learn how to control his power (the psychic thing that everyone has? Why didn't his Mum use it?!) Yes, the psychic powers. The power is like any other talent, everyone can do it, but at varying levels -- adults the worst. as he fights against a new breed of villain, the dark mysterious Shadow, (Are these the monsters that the mad scientist created?) The monsters have a different name and have a history in the story, the Shadow is a new "thing" --possibly the mad scientist who has achieved his goal and turned himself into a supermonster -- but it's a mystery for this book. who drains the life of his prey and stirs up a war between the humans and Zorin.

Just when things couldn’t get worse, Dax turns to his best friend for help, only to find sutured stitches running down his spine and black eyes filled with evil. (Huh? Is his best friend a Shadow now?) I don't understand. Yes, his best friend was turned into one of the original monsters. This was supposed to be a final hook, leaving you hanging and guessing (but kinda obvious at the same time)

 

 

Thanks for all of your comments. They are helpful to know where I was unclear. I answered all of your questions. Please let me know which points you think I should actually put in the synopsis, that you think would possibly make it better (more clear) without bloating it too much with detail.

 

 

AWAKENED is complete at 105K words and is the first book of a planned trilogy, although it stands alone with a clear ending. I believe it might attract the fans of other dystopian YA fantasy novels such as the 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.  I liked that book.

I’m a young scientist, living in Boston, who does cancer research. So awesome! I have published articles in scientific journals, but this is my first foray into the literary arts. I would be glad to send you pages of my manuscript if you are interested. Thank you for your time and consideration,     

 

 

I think there is a great book in there, I just think there is a bit more explaining that needs to happen to pull it together more cohesively.



#4 AdrianGC

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 08:43 AM

Boston is a great city! I lived there for a year with some friends who went to BC -- one of whom worked for the Red Sox and died from lymphoma in 2000. I wish you all the best with you research...

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Agent...,

For over a decade, the aliens have walked among humans. In exchange for their place on the planet, the Zorin have gifted the human race amazing psychic power -- a deadly weapon in the wrong hands. I'm just a bit confused by the premise...so we KNOW the aliens are here, right? They're not hiding among us, as it were? And in exchange for being here they've given all of us psychic abilities? Is that the gist? 

Built like man . . . (and woman), you can distinguish Similar in most respects (or some phrasing like that), the Zorin are distinguished by their fiery yellow eyes. But Dax Carter has never seen one. A young teenager, Dax lives happily in the southern town of Brissal, filled with green grass and dirt roads. It’s a far distance from the rising technology of the eastern capitol.

Dax’s tranquil life begins to spiral out of control complacency, however, is shaken when his mother is attacked by a deadly monster created by a mad scientist when a mad scientist, bent on using the Zorin's gift to further unlocking the potential of the mind, escapes from prison and resumes his research, creating deadly monsters. The dreaded chaos hits home when Dax’s mother is the victim of an attack.

With his friends in tow, Dax must learn how to control his power (so we all have these powers?) as he fights against a new breed of villain, the dark mysterious Shadow, who drains the life of his prey and stirs up a war between the humans and Zorin.

Just when things couldn’t get worse, Dax turns to his best friend for help, only to find sutured stitches running down his spine and black eyes filled with evil.

AWAKENED is complete at 105K words and is the first book of a planned trilogy, although it stands alone with a clear ending. I believe it might attract the fans of other dystopian YA fantasy novels such as the 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

I’m a young scientist, living in Boston, who does cancer research. I have published articles in scientific journals, but this is my first foray into the literary arts. I would be glad to send you pages of my manuscript if you are interested. Thank you for your time and consideration, 

 

Please take a look at my query when you get a chance. 

 

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


Adrian

I'm looking for feedback on my query. Thanks in advance. http://agentquerycon...-rhinos-sci-fi/

 


#5 CarterT

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 12:35 PM

I think the few critiques above cover all of the important points. I like the premise, and it kind of sounds like a kids version of District 9 (pardon me, I'm very visual so a lot of things connect to movies).

 

My biggest question is Dax's age, and how this connects to the query/audience. When I read young teenager, I think 13 or 14 tops. Is that the age range you are aiming for? Both for your MC and your audience.

 

 

Dax’s tranquil life begins to spiral out of control complacency, however, is shaken when his mother is attacked by a deadly monster created by a mad scientist when a mad scientist, bent on using the Zorin's gift to further unlocking the potential of the mind, escapes from prison and resumes his research, creating deadly monsters. The dreaded chaos hits home when Dax’s mother is the victim of an attack.
 

 

I think something like this is a good change. It ties together a couple of sentences that told important points, but didn't quite flow.

 

 

With his friends in tow, Dax must learn how to control his power (so we all have these powers?) as he fights against a new breed of villain, the dark mysterious Shadow, who drains the life of his prey and stirs up a war between the humans and Zorin.
 

 

You can probably drop 'dark', as most shadows tend to be just that! Feel free to throw another adjective in there. I feel like the green part could use some elaboration, or maybe it's own sentence. It seems like it should have some impact to it, but at the moment is tagged on to the life draining part. Micro vs Macro, so it doesn't hit home.

 

 

Just when things couldn’t get worse, Dax turns to his best friend for help, only to find sutured stitches running down his spine and black eyes filled with evil.
 

 

Yeah, get rid of the crossed out part. Super minor thing, but how is he finding the spinal stitches? They going swimming? Don't get me wrong, it's a good visual, just the logistics of it caught me off-guard. Are the black eyes associated with anything else other than the 'Shadows'?

 

I believe it might attract the fans of other dystopian YA fantasy novels such as the 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

 

Last comment. Have confidence in your work! It will attract fans of other dystopian YA fantasy novels! If you don't back your work 100%, do you think the agent will? It sounds like you've got a good story here, so sell it like that.



#6 SnowFox23

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 05:23 AM

Hiya again.

 

I like the sound of your book.

I read your answers, and I understand a bit better. I would just clarify these things:

 

The fact that everyone inherited psychic abilites, (because I think I wasn't the only one who didn't understand that)

The fact that everyone's powers are not equal  (which, by the way, I really like the idea of. Just out of curiosity, is that why the scientist went to his hometown specifically? To hunt Dax?)

Dax's age.

 

You know better than me if you want to mention the monsters and the Shadow in the query. For me personally, having both threats in the query, makes it a little less compelling. I would focus on only one threat because having two was a little confusing.

I was like, hang on, what are the monsters, how are they created, etc, and then a moment later, it was like, huh? What's the Shadow? Is that what his friend and Mum has?? Is the Shadow the monsters?!

 

Good luck, I know you will do great.

 

 

 

 

 

Dax's age.



#7 ddcash80

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 01:51 PM

Hiya again.

 

I like the sound of your book.

I read your answers, and I understand a bit better. I would just clarify these things:

 

The fact that everyone inherited psychic abilites, (because I think I wasn't the only one who didn't understand that) I've updated it with this info

The fact that everyone's powers are not equal  (which, by the way, I really like the idea of. I'll try to add this, but I don't know where I can fit in and still make it sound fluid and not too much info. Just out of curiosity, is that why the scientist went to his hometown specifically? To hunt Dax?) The scientist actually is from the same hometown (did his schooling/research in the city) and returns to his hometown to hide/do more research. So it was more of a coincidence that he encounters Dax

Dax's age.

 

You know better than me if you want to mention the monsters and the Shadow in the query. For me personally, having both threats in the query, makes it a little less compelling. I would focus on only one threat because having two was a little confusing. I agree, something was bugging me that it was too much details. I think it was mentioning monsters and shadow, so I will cut the shadow out.

I was like, hang on, what are the monsters, how are they created, etc, and then a moment later, it was like, huh? What's the Shadow? Is that what his friend and Mum has?? Is the Shadow the monsters?!

 

Good luck, I know you will do great. Thanks, If you get a chance, i've updated the query in the original post if you can check it out

 

 

 

 

 

Dax's age.






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