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Interchangeable (YA ) complete rewrite #20


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#1 kwmags

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 09:20 PM

revised in #20

 

 

I've gotten some great feedback and used it so hopefully it looks better! Let me know what you think... this is the new one as of 6/20 directly below. 

 

Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows that emotional connections are not forever. After all, on her eighteenth birthday, she will be paired off and then re-paired again just a few years later. No attachments. No physical affections. No secrets. To her, the world catastrophe was a good thing, it allowed humanity to finally forge an ideal society, one with true equality for all. To achieve fairness, it is important to follow the rules. If you can’t be equal you are sent to the South, a barren wasteland in where few survive, or you can take your own life, since harming another is forbidden. Almost everyone chooses death. 

 

Samantha is content knowing she will have the same life as everyone else; one that has been laid out before her by society. So, when a stranger named Hawke appears to her in her dreams and declares that life isn’t fair, she knows she should report herself to Headquarters for the absurd thought, but she can’t. In her dreams, Hawke teaches her unimaginable things like fighting, weaponry, and dancing. If she was to reveal her dreams, Headquarters would wipe away her memories of him, and she isn’t ready for that. His brute force and passion for life stir up feelings Samantha has never felt, and in a world where nothing is hers, she wants to keep him for herself. He makes her feel more, want to be more…and in her society, more is not allowed. 

 

But just when she thinks she knows Hawke, she finds out that he is real, and he is dangerous. Afraid and with nowhere to go, she escapes to the South, only to land in the arms of Hawke himself. Equipped with only the skills that she learned in her dreams to survive, she must try to set aside her awoken feelings to navigate the South, and him. Faced with new discoveries, she must choose for the first time her own path, and how she is going to fight for it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear (Personalized agent),

I’m seeking representation for my 80,000 word, young adult dystopian novel, Interchangeable.

Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows that keeping her dreams a secret is prohibited. It wouldn’t be fair if she were to dream and others were not allowed to. There is nothing in her dreams to concern her enough to turn herself in, that is until a stranger named Hawke appears. And when he declares that ‘life isn’t fair’ she knows that she shouldn’t be dreaming of him and more importantly, he must be wrong. After all, the catastrophe that struck Earth was a good thing. It allowed humans in her government free society to be what they longed for so badly, equal. But there is something about Hawke that makes her keep him a secret. His brute force and passion for life stir up forbidden emotions in Samantha that make her feel more…want to be more. And in her society ‘more’ is not allowed.

When her dreams become a reality, she discovers that Hawke is real, and he isn’t the man she dreamt he was. Worse, the society she knows is holding many secrets, secrets that could be its undoing. Armed with this new knowledge she is cast from the only civilization she knows and strait into the arms of Hawke, real and in the flesh. She must use the lessons that he taught her in her own dreams to survive the South, a barren wasteland in which few survive, and more importantly… him. Throughout her journey, she beings to unravel her own personality and wonders if individuality is greater than being interchangeable.

Readers who enjoyed Lois Lowry’s, The Giver and Ally Condie’s, Matched, will get wrapped up in the dystopian world of, Interchangeable.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Here is new one:

 

The world’s catastrophe was a good thing. With what was left of humanity forged something that people from the past longed for so badly, an equal society. Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows it is important to follow the rules to maintain this equality. She will do her best to not get too attached to anything or anyone emotionally or physically. She will work every job, move every three years, be paired, and re-paired again. She will hold herself and others accountable for their actions and report any suspicions to Headquarters. If you can’t be equal you are sent to the South, a barren wasteland in which few survive, or you can take your own life, since harming another is forbidden. When given the option of the two, almost everyone chooses death.

 

But recently Samantha has racking up a list of things that are making her un-equal to her peers, but it’s her dreams. They make her think of memories of her dead brother, or helping others who can’t help themselves, or keeping secrets with friends, and worse wanting to see Hawke, the stranger that has been appearing in her dreams. He teaches her unimaginable things like fighting, weaponry and dancing. Every morning when she wakes up she knows she should report herself, but she can’t. She knows that if she does, Headquarters would wipe away the memory she has of him and she isn’t ready for that yet. His brute force and passion for life stir up feelings that Samantha has never felt before, and in a world where nothing is hers, she wants to keep him for herself. He makes her feel more, want to be more… and in her society, more is not allowed.

 

Caught between right (being equal) and wrong (being an individual) she goes to seek out answers only to find out that her dream boy Hawke is real… and in a world of no harm to another being, he helped kill her brother. Fearing for her life she is sent to the South and mistakenly straight into the arms of Hawke. Desperately trying to survive, she must use the lessons from her dreams to protect herself from the South and from him. But the further away from her community she gets the more she realizes that maybe Hawke isn’t the dangerous one but that Headquarters and her society are. Faced with new discoveries and feelings, she must choose for the first time ever her own path, and how she is willing to fight for it.



#2 Testome

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 12:04 AM



First time writer here and hopefully it doesn't show too much ;) 

here is a query I came up with for my book, Interchangeable. Happy to begin critiquing others as well. 

Thanks!!

 

 

Dear (Personalized agent),

I’m seeking representation for my 80,000 word, young adult dystopian novel, Interchangeable. I would move this to the end.

Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows that keeping her dreams a secret is prohibited. It wouldn’t be fair if she were to dream and others were not allowed to. There is nothing in her dreams to concern her enough to turn herself in, that is until a stranger named Hawke appears. And when he declares that ‘life isn’t fair’ she knows that she shouldn’t be dreaming of him and more importantly, he must be wrong. This could have more a punch to it as this is telling.After all, the catastrophe that struck Earth was a good thing. It allowed humans in her government free society to be what they longed for so badly, equal. But there is something about Hawke that makes her keep him a secret. His brute force and passion for life stir up forbidden emotions Again this seems like too much teling. in Samantha that make her feel more…want to be more. And in her society ‘more’ is not allowed.

When her dreams become a reality, she discovers that Hawke is real, and he isn’t the man she dreamt he was. This is a bit vague. Worse, the society she knows is holding many secrets, secrets I might try rewording this. that could be its undoing. This is also somewhat vague. Armed with this new knowledge she is cast from the only civilization she knows and strait into the arms of Hawke, real and in the flesh.  It seems like you might want to get here sooner.She must use the lessons that he taught her in her own dreams What did he teach her? to survive the South, a barren wasteland in which few survive, and more importantly… him. Why is he such a threat? Throughout her journey, she beings to unravel her own personality and wonders if individuality is greater than being interchangeable. best to show it in the novel or query.

Readers who enjoyed Lois Lowry’s, The Giver and Ally Condie’s, Matched, will get wrapped up in the dystopian world of, Interchangeable.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

It seems like there may be too much setup in the beginning and I wasn't really convinced by anything about Hawke since it was all telling and a little vague. The stakes are also somewhat vague. 



#3 gigigriffis

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 12:55 AM

First time writer here and hopefully it doesn't show too much ;) 

here is a query I came up with for my book, Interchangeable. Happy to begin critiquing others as well. 

Thanks!!

 

 

Dear (Personalized agent),

 

I’m seeking representation for my 80,000 word, young adult dystopian novel, Interchangeable.

 

<-- Make sure to add space between paragraphs. This comes across as one giant text block, which agents hate. 

 

Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows that keeping her dreams a secret is prohibited. <--Why? It wouldn’t be fair if she were to dream and others were not allowed to. <--Wait a second? Is keeping them secret prohibited or is dreaming itself prohibited? And, if the latter, how would she be able to control it? There is nothing in her dreams to concern her enough to turn herself in, that is until a stranger named Hawke appears. And when he declares that "life isn’t fair" she knows that she shouldn’t be dreaming of him and more importantly, he must be wrong. <-- Who is he? Why isn't he allowed to say life isn't fair? After all, the catastrophe that struck Earth was a good thing. It allowed humans in her government-free society to be what they longed for so badly, equal. <-- How did it allow that? What is the catastrophe and why did it bring equality? But there is something about Hawke that makes her keep him a secret. His brute force and passion for life stir up forbidden emotions in Samantha that make her feel more…want to be more. And in her society ‘more’ <-- Single quotes are only needed if you are quoting within a quote. Otherwise use regular double quotes. is not allowed.

 

 

When her dreams become a reality, she discovers that Hawke is real--not just a figment of her dreams--and he isn’t the man she dreamt he was. Worse, the society she knows is holding many secrets, secrets that could be its undoing. <-- Too vague. Armed with this new knowledge she is cast from the only civilization she knows and straight into the arms of Hawke, real and in the flesh. (You already told us he's real, we don't need it again here) She must use the lessons that he taught her in her own dreams to survive the South, a barren wasteland in which few survive, and more importantly… him. Throughout her journey, she beings to unravel her own personality and wonders if individuality is greater than being interchangeable. 

 

Readers who enjoyed Lois Lowry’s, The Giver and Ally Condie’s, Matched, will get wrapped up in the dystopian world of, Interchangeable.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Overall, this leaves me with more questions than answers. Why is this equal society so bad? What is the catastrophe and how did it make things equal? How do things run without a government? And, most importantly of all: what is the protagonist's goal? What is she doing? What choice does she have to make? What hard things happen if she chooses X and what hard things happen if she chooses Y? I find Hawke confusing...what's his role? He comes into her dreams to teach her things? He asks her to question society? And when she finds out he's real and not the same person from her dreams, in what way is he different? 

Your length is right, but the plot is too vague. As I understand it, the main questions you'll need to answer in a query are: how is the protagonist? What does she want? What's keeping her from getting it? What choice does she have to make? What happens if she chooses X? What happens if she chooses Y? (E.g. what's the conflict?)

Keep going. I can tell this has potential! We just need more info.


Will you take a peek at my query?

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

Copywriter, Content Strategist, & Travel Guide Author

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#4 newb

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 11:51 PM

First time writer here and hopefully it doesn't show too much ;) 

here is a query I came up with for my book, Interchangeable. Happy to begin critiquing others as well. 

Thanks!!

 

Previous poster already mentioned breaking this up into paragraphs. It's quite hard to read otherwise. You don't want to shoot yourself in the foot just because of bad formatting.

 

Dear (Personalized agent),

 

 

I’m seeking representation for my 80,000 word, young adult dystopian novel, Interchangeable. I prefer this at the end so you can get right into the juice of the query, but different people seem to do different things.

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows that keeping her dreams a secret is prohibited. It wouldn’t be fair if she were to dream and others were not allowed to. (is dreaming something in her control? There is nothing in her dreams to concern her enough to turn herself in, that is until a stranger named Hawke appears. (it might help to explain why dreaming is bad and who she needs to turn herself into. What's at stake because of her dreaming - or if anyone dreams? Don't get carried away explaining the world-building and setting, but it needs to be clear why dreaming is bad and that Samantha having dreams is a problem). And when he declares that ‘life isn’t fair’ she knows that she shouldn’t be dreaming of him and more importantly, he must be wrong. After all, the catastrophe that struck Earth was a good thing. It allowed humans in her government free society to be what they longed for so badly, equal. But there is something about Hawke that makes her keep him a secret. His brute force (does this mean he is violent? aggressive? it might help to show he is brutish and passionate instead of telling) and passion for life stir up forbidden emotions in Samantha that make her feel more…want to be more. And in her society ‘more’ is not allowed.

 

 

When her dreams become a reality, she discovers that Hawke is real, and he isn’t the man she dreamt he was. Worse, the society she knows is holding many secrets, secrets that could be its undoing. Armed with this new knowledge she is cast from the only civilization she knows and strait straight into the arms of Hawke, real and in the flesh.

 

She must use the lessons that he taught her in her own dreams to survive the South, what lessons? maybe set it up in earlier paragraphs when talking about him a barren wasteland in which few survive, and more importantly… him. why is he a threat now? Throughout her journey, she beings to unravel her own personality and wonders if individuality is greater than being interchangeable.

 

Readers who enjoyed Lois Lowry’s, The Giver and Ally Condie’s, Matched, will get wrapped up in the dystopian world of, Interchangeable.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

I'm not quite sure what's at stake for your protagonist here. If you can clear up what she wants, whats stopping her from getting it and what happens if she gets/doesn't get it, then that would be a start. 



#5 E.G. Tczarzenskawitz

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 04:33 PM

Seventeen-year-old Samantha lives in world run on equality, where being anything other than average and fair is prohibited. (Why is dreaming prohibited? I gathered from the rest of your query that maybe it has something to do with not wanting or having anything for yourself. All must be shared so everyone is equal. If your world is based on that, then that should be the bases of your hook first line.) Even dreams don’t belong to an individual, but to society as a whole. But when Samantha starts dreaming about Hawke, she wants to keep him to herself. (That’s what I grasp is happening). His brute force and passion for life stir up forbidden emotions in Samantha that make her feel more…want to be more. And in her society ‘more’ is not allowed.

When Hawke tells her “life isn’t fair,” She knows that she shouldn’t be dreaming of him, and turn herself in to the leaders of her government-free equality based society, but there is something about Hawke that makes her keep him a secret. (I don’t know the whole story, but again, I’m determining the story based on what’s here.)

When her dreams become a reality, she discovers that Hawke is real, and he isn’t the man she dreamt he was. (How?)Worse, the society she knows is holding many secrets, secrets that could be its undoing. (What secrets? Try to be more specific so we know the stakes.) Armed with this new knowledge she is cast from the only civilization she knows and strait into the arms of Hawke, (Why would the society cast her out to be with Hawke if they know of him and don’t like him?) She must use the lessons that he taught her in her own dreams to survive the South, a barren wasteland in which few survive, and more importantly… him. Throughout her journey, she beings to unravel her own personality and wonders if individuality is greater than being interchangeable.

Maybe try… When she discovers the society’s secrets of (Whatever it is), she is cast out from the civilization where her dreams becomes a reality. Hawke is real flesh and blood, and she must use what he taught her to survive the South, a barren wasteland in which few survive, and more importantly… him. Throughout her journey, she beings to unravel her own personality and wonders if individuality is greater than being interchangeable.

 

Did I understand your story’s premise? It sounds interesting. I hope my suggestions help you. My query is The Transformation. Any advice would be appreciated.



#6 kwmags

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 10:08 PM

Took a hiatus- would love feedback on the newer one.....

 

 

The world’s catastrophe was a good thing. With what was left of humanity forged something that people from the past longed for so badly, an equal society. Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows it is important to follow the rules to maintain this equality. She will do her best to not get too attached to anything or anyone emotionally or physically. She will work every job, move every three years, be paired, and re-paired again. She will hold herself and others accountable for their actions and report any suspicions to Headquarters. If you can’t be equal you are sent to the South, a barren wasteland in which few survive, or you can take your own life, since harming another is forbidden. When given the option of the two, almost everyone chooses death.

 

But recently Samantha has racking up a list of things that are making her un-equal to her peers, but it’s her dreams. They make her think of memories of her dead brother, or helping others who can’t help themselves, or keeping secrets with friends, and worse wanting to see Hawke, the stranger that has been appearing in her dreams. He teaches her unimaginable things like fighting, weaponry and dancing. Every morning when she wakes up she knows she should report herself, but she can’t. She knows that if she does, Headquarters would wipe away the memory she has of him and she isn’t ready for that yet. His brute force and passion for life stir up feelings that Samantha has never felt before, and in a world where nothing is hers, she wants to keep him for herself. He makes her feel more, want to be more… and in her society, more is not allowed.

 

Caught between right (being equal) and wrong (being an individual) she goes to seek out answers only to find out that her dream boy Hawke is real… and in a world of no harm to another being, he helped kill her brother. Fearing for her life she is sent to the South and mistakenly straight into the arms of Hawke. Desperately trying to survive, she must use the lessons from her dreams to protect herself from the South and from him. But the further away from her community she gets the more she realizes that maybe Hawke isn’t the dangerous one but that Headquarters and her society are. Faced with new discoveries and feelings, she must choose for the first time ever her own path, and how she is willing to fight for it.

 

 



#7 sarahaspen

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 01:12 PM

I love the premise of your story and the query is so interesting, but I think the new version is way too long. The goal to shoot for is around 250 words. You may be telling too much of the plot here. One guideline is to include the first quarter of the story. I played with your query and here is one example I came up with of how you could cut the words down:

 

Following world catastrophe, humanity has finally forged an ideal society--one with true equality for all. Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows it is important to follow the rules: No attachments. No emotional connections. No physical affection. If you can’t be equal you are sent to the South, a barren wasteland where few survive, or you can take your own life, since harming another is forbidden. Almost everyone chooses death.
 
Samantha is content to work every job, move every three years, be paired, and re-paired again, until a stranger named Hawke appears in her dreams. He teaches her unimaginable things like fighting, weaponry and dancing. In a fair society there are no secrets, even in dreams. Samantha knows she should report herself, but she can’t. If she does, Headquarters will wipe away her memories of Hawke, and she isn’t ready for that. His brute force and passion for life stir up feelings Samantha has never felt, and in a world where nothing is hers, she wants to keep him for herself. He makes her feel more, want to be more… and in her society, more is not allowed.
 
But when Samantha is held accountable for her secrets, she makes an unthinkable choice. Instead of death, she chooses to go South. She has only the skills Hawke has taught her to help her survive, but what she could never have expected is that the biggest danger out there might be Hawke himself, who turns out to be very real and more deadly than she imagined.

 



#8 G1nsbergb3ats

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 03:20 PM

The world’s catastrophe was a good thing.For whom? With what was left of humanity forged something that people from the past longed for so badly, an equal society.Take a look at punctuation. This should be a colon, not a comma.  Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows it is important to follow the rules to maintain this equality. She will do her best to not get too attached to anything or anyone emotionally or physically. She will work every job, move every three years, be paired, and re-paired again.Here is something interesting, maybe start here. Pair and re-paired, now I want to know what this means. This hooks me. She will hold herself and others accountable for their actions and report any suspicions to Headquarters. If you can’t be equal you are sent to the South, a barren wasteland in which few survive, or you can take your own life, since harming another is forbidden. When given the option of the two, almost everyone chooses death.These are interesting, but you need to weave them into a story that surrounds your protagonist. What's the specific stakes for her? What, specifically, does she have a choice between and how does she feel about it? 

 

But recently Samantha has racking up a list of things that are making her un-equal to her peers, but it’s her dreams.Very awkwardly worded sentence. They make her think of memories of her dead brother, or helping others who can’t help themselves, or keeping secrets with friends, and worse wanting to see Hawke,I'd look at punctuation throughout. the stranger that has been appearing in her dreams. He teaches her unimaginable things like fighting, weaponry and dancing. Every morning when she wakes up she knows she should report herself, but she can’t. She knows that if she does, Headquarters would wipe away the memory she has of him and she isn’t ready for that yet. His brute force and passion for life stir up feelings that Samantha has never felt before, and in a world where nothing is hers, she wants to keep him for herself. He makes her feel more, want to be more… and in her society, more is not allowed.

 

Caught between right (being equal) and wrong (being an individual)The fact that these two things are "right" or "wrong" is covered pretty completely above in the explanation of this society. You can even shorten that, but beware you're not over-explaining. Your reader is going to be SMART.  she goes to seek out answers only to find out that her dream boy Hawke is real… and in a world of no harm to another being, he helped kill her brother. Fearing for her life she is sent to the South and mistakenly straight into the arms of Hawke. Desperately trying to survive, she must use the lessons from her dreams to protect herself from the South and from him. But the further away from her community she gets the more she realizes that maybe Hawke isn’t the dangerous one but that Headquarters and her society are. Faced with new discoveries and feelings, she must choose for the first time ever her own path, and how she is willing to fight for it.

 
I think you have some interesting themes here, but your query really lacks cohesion. It's more like an amalgamation of all the ideas you want to convey in your book than a straightforward explanation. Write it for them, write it straightforward, and leave just a touch of intrigue. I think you're on your way, but needs work. It looks as though you have the skills to do it, just put the time in. 


#9 Sataris

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 03:02 PM

Took a hiatus- would love feedback on the newer one.....

 

 

The world’s catastrophe was a good thing. With what was left of humanity forged something that people from the past longed for so badly, an equal society. Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows it is important to follow the rules to maintain this equality. She will do her best to not get too attached to anything or anyone emotionally or physically. She will work every job, move every three years, be paired, and re-paired again. She will hold herself and others accountable for their actions and report any suspicions to Headquarters. If you can’t be equal you are sent to the South, a barren wasteland in which few survive, or you can take your own life, since harming another is forbidden. When given the option of the two, almost everyone chooses death.

 

This paragraph establishes what equal is; but I think you really mean interchangeable here. Equal probably works really well in your novel, but for this query equal has such a positive connotation on the reader's part that it's hard to equate being equal with oppression. I like the paired detail, but I'm not really sure what that means quite yet. Are people paired for reproduction? Could she dread that to add tension? That would be one really solid example that defines what it means to be interchangeable.

 

But recently Samantha has started racking up a list of things that are making her un-equal to her peers, but it’s her to dreams. They make her think of memories of her dead brother, or of helping others who can’t help themselves, or keeping secrets with friends, and worse wanting to see Hawke, the stranger that has been appearing in her dreams. He teaches her unimaginable things like fighting, weaponry and dancing. Every morning when she wakes up she knows she should report herself, but she can’t. She knows that if she does, Headquarters  will pull them apart would wipe away the memory she has of him and she isn’t ready for that yet. His brute force and passion for life stir up feelings that Samantha has never felt before, and in a world where nothing is hers, she wants to keep him for herself. He makes her feel more, want to be more… and in her society, more is not allowed.

 

This part here establishes the conflict; the MC wants more out of life, but wanting more is punished by death. Could you state this more concisely? Something like But when Samantha meets Hawke, a boy whose passion for life stirs up feelings that Samantha isn't allowed to have, she faces a terrible choice; report him to the authorities, or tie her life to him and flee to the southlands. But Hawke has secrets of his own, and her brother's blood on his hands.

 

Caught between right (being equal) and wrong (being an individual) she goes to seek out answers only to find out that her dream boy Hawke is real… and in a world of no harm to another being, he helped kill her brother. Fearing for her life she is sent to the South and mistakenly straight into the arms of Hawke. Desperately trying to survive, she must use the lessons from her dreams to protect herself from the South and from him. But the further away from her community she gets the more she realizes that maybe Hawke isn’t the dangerous one but that Headquarters and her society are. Faced with new discoveries and feelings, she must choose for the first time ever her own path, and how she is willing to fight for it.

 

I'm not sure you need the above paragraph here; I think the query would be compelling enough just knowing that she's got a serious decision to make concerning Hawke, and leaving the rest of the background out.

 

 

​INTERCHANGEABLE is a work of dystopian YA that is complete at X words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Heya, thank you for the critique! Here's my take on this one.

 

I agree that it's a little long; you're currently clocking in at ~420 words, so we should try to cut about half of that to make room for the line at the bottom that I added. I think overall the conflict itself is actually really strong, and that it'll come through even more strongly if you just pare down some of the details a little bit. Sounds like an interesting read! Hope that was helpful and let me know if you have any questions.


You can find my current query here.


#10 enveniya

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 06:45 PM

Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows that emotional connections are not forever. After all, on her eighteenth birthday, she will be paired off and then re-paired again just a few years later. No attachments. No physical affections. No secrets. To her, the world catastrophe was a good thing, it allowed humanity to finally forge an ideal society, one with true equality for all. Very niceTo achieve fairness, it is important to follow the rules. If you can’t be equal you are sent to the South, a barren wasteland in where few survive, or you can take your own life, since harming another is forbidden. Almost everyone chooses death. I cut those two phrases out because they are worldbuilding and don't relate to Samantha's struggle. Following the rules is already implied in your second paragraph. "Almost everyone chooses death" instead of being sent to the South emphasizes how undesirable the South is, and Samantha doesn't exhibit any murderous tendencies in this query, so the "harming another" line isn't necessary.

 

Samantha is content knowing she will have the same life as everyone else; one that has been laid out before her by society. So, when a stranger named Hawke appears to her in her dreams and declares that life isn’t fair, she knows she should report herself to Headquarters for the absurd thought, but she can’t. In her dreams, Hawke teaches her unimaginable things like fighting, weaponry, and dancing. If she was to reveal her dreams, Headquarters would wipe away her memories of him, and she isn’t ready for that. His brute force and passion for life stir up feelings Samantha has never felt, and in a world where nothing is hers, she wants to keep him for herself this made me smile. Love the juxtaposition of "nothing is hers" and wanting to "keep him for herself". He makes her feel more, want to be more…and in her society, more is not allowed. 

 

But just when she thinks she knows Hawke, she finds out that he is real, and he is dangerous. Afraid and with nowhere to go, she escapes to the South, only to land in the arms of Hawke himself. Equipped with only the skills that she learned in her dreams to survive, she must try to set aside her awoken feelings to navigate the South, and him both the South and him. Faced with new discoveries, she must choose for the first time her own path choose her own path for the first time (flows better), and how she is going to fight for it. 

 

Good job on showing the stakes in this query. It's very clear that she's caught between a dystopian society and her conflicting feelings for Hawke, and her personal journey is to find her own path. I also liked that you kept the brother's murder hidden in this version, only revealing that Hawke is dangerous. It's a good hook because Samantha is attracted to him, and the reader wants to know more about Hawke, but you throw them a vague curveball that makes them want to find out why he is dangerous.

 

If you have the time, please check out my query!



#11 ashleighm71

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 10:48 PM

I love dystopian novels, I'm rooting for you! 

Your plot sounds interesting. I would really like to know more about Hawke and what makes him so dangerous. I wish I could say more, but I'm still new to giving feedback on queries. I hope you keep trying with this query letter! I see that you already have so good suggestions that are pointing you in the right direction. 

 

 

I'm rusty with coding so here's just a link to my query below if you would be so kind to read it.

http://agentquerycon...an/#entry341367



#12 loopygoose

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 02:34 AM

Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows that emotional connections are not forever. After all, on her eighteenth birthday, she will be paired off and then re-paired again just a few years later. No attachments. No physical affections. No secrets. To her, the world catastrophe was a good thing, it allowed humanity to finally forge an ideal society, one with true equality for all.  To achieve fairness, it is important to follow the rules. If you can’t be equal you are sent to the South, a barren wasteland in where few survive, or you can take your own life, since harming another is forbidden. Almost everyone In that situation chooses death. 

 

Samantha is content knowing she will have the same life as everyone else; one that has been laid out before her by society. So, when a stranger named Hawke appears to her in her dreams and declares that life isn’t fair, she knows she should report herself to Headquarters for the absurd thought, but she can’t. In her dreams, Hawke teaches her unimaginable things like fighting, weaponry, and dancing. If she was to reveals her dreams, Headquarters wouldwill wipe away her memories of him, and she isn’t ready for that. His brute force and passion for life stir up feelings Samantha has never had, and in a world where nothing is hers, she wants to keep him for herself. He makes her feel more, want to be more…and in her society, more is not allowed. 

 

But just when she thinks she knows trusts? Hawke, she finds out that he is real, and he is dangerous. Afraid, and with nowhere to go, she escapes to the South, only to land in the arms of Hawke himself. Equipped with only the skills that she learned in her dreams to survive, she must try to set aside her awoken feelings to navigate the South, and him both the South and him. Faced with new discoveries, she must choose for the first time her own path choose her own path for the first time (flows better), and how she is going to fight for it. 

 

I agree, very much, with ashleighm71. You've done a really good job with this query and it sounds very enticing. I've cut a few more things that are unnecessary, to keep the impact of your query at its most potent. You changed tense. Love it. Great job! 

Do please take a look again at my new rewrite. Thanks! 

 

http://agentquerycon...o-so-in-return/



#13 distanthearts

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 09:17 AM

Hi kwmags! Looks like you have a pretty solid concept here already, that's awesome! However, I do feel that your query lacks the "punch" as I like to call it--it means that you need to shorten and make your query more concise in order to have a greater impact. 

 

Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows that emotional connections are not forever. (Great line, but I wonder if you can change the hook. Maybe something interesting about Samantha, or the city she lives in.) After all, on her eighteenth birthday, she will be paired off and then re-paired again just a few years later. No attachments. No physical affections. No secrets. To her, the world catastrophe was a good thing, it allowed humanity to finally forge an ideal society, one with true equality for all. (I kinda get what you mean, but this is kind of confusing. What pairing? What world catastrophe? What sort of ideal society? What is true equality? It's easy to say all this because its your story and you know what all this means. But to readers, it doesn't paint much of a picture. You have the key points you want to bring across of the world you've created, so all that's left to do is figure out how to phrase it. Perhaps to something like, "The Catastrophe (I put it in caps to show that its a named event) desolated the world, but from the remains of the earth, a new society has emerged: one that prides itself on equality to all.") To achieve fairness, it is important to follow the rules. (What rules?) If you can’t be equal you are sent to the South, a barren wasteland in where few survive, or you can take your own life, since harming another (This is something new that hasn't been brought up at all, except in the "rules" part. Why would people harm one another in the South?) is forbidden. Almost everyone chooses death. 

 

Samantha is content knowing she will have the same life as everyone else; one that has been laid out before her by society. So, when a stranger named Hawke appears to her in her dreams (How? Why? Why dreams, of all mediums to use?) and declares that life isn’t fair (I feel that this makes the sentence anti-climatic. You can change it to something like "When a stranger named Hawke appears in her dreams, he sways all that she knows and holds dear about her perfect society." You need to elaborate with how.) , she knows she should report herself to Headquarters for the absurd thought, but she can’t. In her dreams, Hawke teaches her unimaginable things like fighting, weaponry, and dancing (All these are forbidden? Why?) . If she was to reveal her dreams, Headquarters would wipe away her memories of him (Something new yet again, so it really shakes up the flow of the query.) , and she isn’t ready for that. His brute force and passion for life stir up feelings Samantha has never felt, and in a world where nothing is hers, she wants to keep him for herself. He makes her feel more, want to be more…and in her society, more is not allowed. (I like these two lines, especially the ending! It really brings across the strict nature of her society and helps in painting your world. Well done!)

 

But just when she thinks she knows Hawke, she finds out that he is real (How?), and he is dangerous. Afraid and with nowhere to go (Why is she afraid? Why does she have nowhere else to go?) , she escapes to the South, only to land in the arms of Hawke himself. Equipped with only the skills that she learned in her dreams to survive, she must try to set aside her awoken feelings to navigate the South, and him. Faced with new discoveries, she must choose for the first time her own path, and how she is going to fight for it. (Nice, but I do feel you're missing a conflict and a stake. So what if she chooses her own path? What's she going against? What are the consequences she'll face?)

 

You have so many wonderful details, but do remember that the query is only a snippet of your story. Pick out all the things that you must include and scrape the rest. It'll help to make your query more concise. I look forward to your new revisions! 

 

If you could help me with my query, I'll be immensely grateful! 

The Graveyard Festival



#14 kwmags

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 09:25 AM

New Revision 6/22- let me know what you think

 

Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows that emotional connections are not forever. After all, on her eighteenth birthday, she will be paired off to Matthew and then re-paired to someone else just a few years later. Like everyone she will work a different job each day, move every few years and forget about anyone that has died.  No attachments. No physical affections. No secrets. Her society is why the world catastrophe was a good thing, it allowed humanity to finally forge an ideal civilization, one with true equality for all.  If you can’t be equal you are sent to the South, a barren wasteland in where few survive, or you can take your own life. Almost everyone chooses death. 

 

Samantha has never questioned having the same life as everyone else; one that has been laid out before her by society. So, when a stranger named Hawke appears to her in her dreams and declares that life isn’t fair, she knows she should report herself to Headquarters for the absurd thought, but she can’t. In her dreams, Hawke teaches her unimaginable things like fighting, weaponry, and dancing. If she was to reveal her knowledge of these banned actions, Headquarters would wipe away her memories of Hawke, and she isn’t ready for that. His brute force and passion for life stir up forbidden feelings Samantha has never felt, and in a world where nothing is hers, she wants to keep him for herself. He makes her feel more, want to be more…and in her society, more is not allowed. 

 

But just when she thinks she knows Hawke, Headquarters reveals he is real, and he is extremely dangerous. Afraid and with nowhere to go, she escapes to the South, only to land in the arms of Hawke himself. Equipped with only the skills that she learned in her dreams to survive, she must try to set aside her awoken feelings to navigate both the South and him. But the further from her home she gets the more she realizes the real threat might be the society she knows and trusts. Faced with new discoveries, she must choose, for the first time, her own path, and how she is going to fight for it. 



#15 loopygoose

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 04:49 AM

Thank you for your critique of my query. You do make me laugh. i really appreciate it.

 

Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows that emotional connections are not forever. After all, on her eighteenth birthday, she will be paired off to Matthew and then re-paired to someone else just a few years later. GOOD Like everyone she will work a different job each day, move every few years and forget about anyone that has died.  No attachments. No physical affections. No secrets. Her society is why the The world catastrophe was a good thing; it allowed humanity to finally forge an ideal civilization, one with true equality for all.  If you can’t be equal you are sent to the South, a barren wasteland in where few survive, or you can take your own life. Almost everyone chooses death.  Samantha has never questioned any of it. having the same life as everyone else; one that has been laid out before her by society.

 

So, when a stranger named Hawke appears to her in her dreams and declares that life isn’t fair, she knows she should report herself to Headquarters for the absurd thought, but she can’t. In her dreams, Hawke teaches her unimaginable things like fighting, weaponry, and dancing. If she was to reveal her knowledge of these banned actions, Headquarters would wipe away her memories of Hawke, and she isn’t ready for that. His brute force and passion for life stir up forbidden feelings Samantha has never felt and comma in a world where nothing is hers, she wants to keep him for herself. He makes her feel more, want to be more…and in her society, more is not allowed. 

 

But just when she thinks she knows Hawke, Headquarters reveals he is real, and he is extremely dangerous. Afraid and with nowhere to go, she escapes to the barren wastelands of the South, only to land in the arms of Hawke himself. Equipped with only the skills that she learned in her dreams to survive, she must try to set aside her awoken feelings to navigate both the South and him. But the further from her home she gets the more she realizes the real threat might be the society she knows and trusts. Faced with new discoveries, She must choose, for the first time, her own path, and how she is going to fight for it. 

 
Gosh, this is really good, so much better than previously. I have cut a lot of sentences out because they are all unecessary and just provide extra padding. There's very little to re-write. Well done!   I've posted a new effort if you have the time/inclination/gritted teeth ;)
 


#16 secondstar87

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 01:07 PM

Sorry for my late response :) 

 

Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows that emotional connections are not forever. After all, on her eighteenth birthday, she will be paired off to Matthew and then re-paired to someone else just a few years later. Wow! :( Like everyone she will work a different job each day, move every few years and forget about anyone that has died.  No attachments. No physical affections. No secrets. Her society is why the world catastrophe was a good thing, it allowed humanity to finally forge an ideal civilization, one with true equality for all.  If you can’t be equal you are sent to the South, a barren wasteland in where few survive, or you can take your own life. Almost everyone chooses death. 

 

Samantha has never questioned having the same life as everyone else; one that has been laid out before her by society. So, when a stranger named Hawke appears to her in her dreams and declares that life isn’t fair, she knows she should report herself to Headquarters for the absurd thought to have her memory wiped, but she can’t. In her dreams, Hawke teaches her unimaginable things like fighting, weaponry, and dancing. If she was to reveal her knowledge of these banned actions, Headquarters would wipe away her memories of Hawke, and she isn’t ready for that. His brute force and passion for life stir up forbidden feelings Samantha has never felt, and in a world where nothing is hers, she wants to keep him for herself. He makes her feel more, want to be more…and in her society, more is not allowed.  I really like what you're getting at! These are just suggestions for making the paragraph less wordy. A lot of this paragraph felt redundant, and I think it would have more "punch" if you simplify. I like the idea that he singles her out apparently in the hopes that she will somehow find him... very romantic:)

 

But just when she Samantha thinks she knows Hawke, Headquarters reveals he is real, and he is extremely dangerous. Afraid and with nowhere to go, she escapes to the South, only to land in the arms of Hawke himself. Dangerous because... he's an insurrectionist? Or dangerous to the people themselves? Is she not confused that a real person was showing up in her mind? And is she running away afraid of him, or of retribution from Headquarters? Equipped with only the skills that she learned in her dreams to survive, she must try to set aside her awoken feelings to navigate both the South and him. But the further from her home she gets the more she realizes the real threat might be the society she knows and trusts. Faced with new discoveries, she must choose, for the first time, her own path, and how she is going to fight for it. 

 

Have you read the Matched trilogy? It's a few years old but seems like a good comparison. This is definitely a book I would read :) One question I think your query could benefit from addressing is, what sets this novel apart from every other dystopian YA where they have attempted to create a perfect society, the heroine becomes disillusioned and becomes a rebel? (Divergent, The Giver...)


http://agentquerycon...sail-the-stars/

http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/

 

"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." - Mark Twain 

"There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds." - G.K. Chesterton 


#17 Theo A. Gerken

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 07:24 AM

 

New Revision 6/22- let me know what you think

 

Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows that emotional connections are not forever. After all, on her eighteenth birthday, she will be paired off to Matthew and then re-paired to someone else just a few years later. Like everyone she will work a different job each day, move every few years and forget about anyone that has died.  No attachments. No physical affections. No secrets. Her society is why the world catastrophe was a good thing, it allowed humanity to finally forge an ideal civilization, one with true equality for all.  If you can’t be equal you are sent to the South, a barren wasteland in where few survive, or you can take your own life. Almost everyone chooses death. 

 

Samantha has never questioned having the same life as everyone else; one that has been laid out before her by society. So, when a stranger named Hawke appears to her in her dreams and declares that life isn’t fair, she knows she should report herself to Headquarters for the absurd thought, but she can’t. In her dreams, Hawke teaches her unimaginable things like fighting, weaponry, and dancing. If she was to reveal her knowledge of these banned actions, Headquarters would wipe away her memories of Hawke, and she isn’t ready for that. His brute force and passion for life stir up forbidden feelings Samantha has never felt, and in a world where nothing is hers, she wants to keep him for herself. He makes her feel more, want to be more…and in her society, more is not allowed. 

 

But just when she thinks she knows Hawke, Headquarters reveals he is real, and he is extremely dangerous. Afraid and with nowhere to go, she escapes to the South, only to land in the arms of Hawke himself. Equipped with only the skills that she learned in her dreams to survive, she must try to set aside her awoken feelings to navigate both the South and him. But the further from her home she gets the more she realizes the real threat might be the society she knows and trusts. Faced with new discoveries, she must choose, for the first time, her own path, and how she is going to fight for it. 

 

 

It's too long, aim for 250 words. Cant be much longer than that.

 

There was a logical issue with the world. Are dreams more real in this world? If not, how can she learn so much from someone she only dreams about? I feel like that has to be explained.

 

Apart from that + length I feel like it's a strong plot. The query just needs to be more efficient & effective.



#18 kwmags

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 11:45 AM

Ok new and different one. Worse or better????

Samantha knows nothing lasts forever. After all, on her eighteenth birthday, she will be paired off to Matthew, and then re-paired a few years later. She will work a different job each day, move every few years, and focus on herself.  No love. No secrets. No hierarchy. If you can’t be equal, you are given a choice: take your own life, or exile to the South- a barren wasteland in which few survive. Almost everyone chooses death. 

 

So, when Samantha continually dreams of her parents being in love, and memories of her late brother she knows she should report herself to Headquarters for the absurd thoughts. But then a strange boy named Hawke appears in her dreams and teaches her unimaginable things like fighting, weaponry, and dancing. If she was to reveal her knowledge of these forbidden actions, Headquarters would wipe away her memories of Hawke, her parents love, and memories of her brother, and she isn’t ready for that. In a world where nothing is hers, she wants to keep him for herself. He makes her feel more, want to be more…and in her society, more is not allowed. 

 

As she begins to question her society, Headquarters reveals that her brother was murdered, and the prime suspect is Hawke. Confused and afraid she is led to the South, only to land in the arms of Hawke himself. Equipped with only the skills that she learned in her dreams to survive, she must try to set aside her awakened feelings to navigate both the South and him. But in a shocking turn of events Samantha finds out what really brought Hawke to her dreams and what her society will do to keep equality within its walls. The bonds of family, friendship and love that never seemed possible are now rooted deep within Samantha, and she will do anything to fight for them. 



#19 Kimseal

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 09:45 PM

Samantha knows nothing lasts forever. After all, on her eighteenth birthday, she will be paired off to Matthew, and then re-paired a few years later. She will work a different job each day, move every few years, and focus on herself I don't get what's going on here. 'focus on herself' is especially throwing me off—you're giving us what sounds like an authoritarian regime, and they don't much care for individual self-focus.  No love. No secrets. No hierarchy I don't know what this means or what the story is. If you can’t be equal, you are given a choice: take your own life, or exile be exiled to the South- a barren wasteland in which few survive. Almost everyone chooses death.  The story is lost in the drama of the phrasing. I don't know what's actually happening. Simplify and just tell us that. What does 'if you can't be equal' mean?

 

So, when Samantha continually dreams of her parents being in love, and memories of her late brother she knows she should report herself to Headquarters for the absurd thoughts. But then a strange boy named Hawke appears in her dreams and teaches her unimaginable things like fighting, weaponry, and dancing. If she was were to reveal her knowledge of these forbidden actions, Headquarters would wipe away her memories of Hawke, her parents apostrophe love, and memories of her brother, and she isn’t ready for that isn't ready implies one day she'll be OK with these things, which doesn't seem likely. In a world where nothing is hers, she wants to keep him for herself. He makes her feel more, want to be more…and in her society, more is not allowed. 

 

As she begins to question her society, Headquarters reveals that her brother was murdered why? They don't seem like the type to give any info away, and the prime suspect is Hawke. Confused and afraid comma she is led to the South, only to land in the arms of Hawke himself. Equipped with only the skills that she learned in her dreams to survive, she must try to set aside her awakened feelings to navigate both the South and him why?. But in a shocking turn of events Samantha finds out what really brought Hawke to her dreams and what her society will do to keep equality within its walls what does 'keep equality within its walls' mean?. The bonds of family, friendship and love that never seemed possible are now rooted deep within Samantha, and she will do anything to fight for them. 

 

This seems like a potentially interesting story but I just don't understand enough about what's actually happening. This needs more world-building to make sense, IMO. What's going on exactly?

I went back and read your first query and that one worked much better for me (as did #14)--I felt like I understood the story after reading those two. This one is just stripped down too much to make sense IMO.

 



#20 kwmags

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:57 AM

Kimseal- I agree I didn't like that version either! I wrote another one and hope it works better???

 

Seventeen-year-old Samantha knows she will never be more than who she is, it wouldn’t be fair to others. Society’s rules to be equal are simple, share everything and everyone. Government is abolished, technology is sparse, and emotions are limited. If you can’t accept equality, you are given a choice: death or exile to the South- a barren wasteland in which few survive. Almost everyone chooses death.

 

But the one thing Samantha refuses to share are her lifelike dreams of Hawke. When the young man visits her dreams, he stirs up emotions she has never felt, and in a world where nothing is hers, she wants to keep him for herself. He makes her feel more, want to be more…until it’s revealed by Headquarters that Hawke is real and he is extremely dangerous. Confused and afraid, she reluctantly looks for clues as to why she dreamt of him in the South, only to land in the arms of Hawke himself. But the wasteland she dreaded is nothing like the thriving city below its surface. Not only does she find answers, but the true meaning of sacrifice. Samantha knows that Headquarters will do anything to keep Hawke, and those fighting for the South a secret…even if it means their death. She must decide if she will stay in the safety of the South, or risk everything and go back to the society she knows to save the ones she has grown to love. 






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