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Starlight (YA fantasy) REVISED #2

Fantasy Young Adult

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#1 Jatsuki

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:18 AM

Hello! This is my first time looking for an agent. I've read a lot of advice on what makes a good query, but I feel a good deal of it is contradictory depending on whose opinion it comes from. So this is my attempt....

 

Dear (Agent name)

 

I am seeking representation for Starlight, an 88,000 word young adult fantasy that will appeal to fans of Julie Kagawa and Sarah J. Maas. I am submitting to you because of your interest in (____).

 

Sixteen-year-old Sera thought she was unremarkable. She is just another high school student in the countryside of Virginia, trudging through each day set to the beat of her mother’s strict schedule. But when a recklessly handsome assassin tries to carve out her heart, she realizes she is anything but ordinary.

 

Leaving her mundane existence behind and her safety even further, Sera is forced through the roots of Yggdrasil, the twisted tree of Norse legend that connects her world to another. One where creatures of myth thrive and barbarian mysticism is both alluring and violent.

 

Fallen into a festering empire, Sera and her off-limits guardian Callen, are captured by the Regent’s elite guard. In the confines of the Feyrik Palace, Sera discovers the father she never knew drives a rebellion against the Regent. Caught as a pawn between two warring sides, Sera faces an uncertain fate and a perilous decision. Pledge loyalty to the Regent, a man whose lecherous regard threatens to make her blood flow backward, or spend the rest of her life in the soiled prison below the Palace.

 

All the while, whispers of death and a terrible power follow her like a cursed shadow. A power that divided her family and ripped the kingdom apart. One she may still hold inside.  

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#2 Testome

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:03 PM



Hello! This is my first time looking for an agent. I've read a lot of advice on what makes a good query, but I feel a good deal of it is contradictory depending on whose opinion it comes from. So this is my attempt....

 

Dear (Agent name)

 

I am seeking representation for Starlight, an 88,000 word young adult fantasy that will appeal to fans of Julie Kagawa and Sarah J. Maas. Unless an agent requested this at the beginning, I would move it to the end. I am submitting to you because of your interest in (____).

 

Sixteen-year-old Sera thought she was unremarkable. This is a bit cliche. She is just another high school student in the countryside of Virginia, trudging through each day set to the beat of her mother’s strict schedule. I don't think any of this does anything for you since it looks it won't be apart of your story much.But when a recklessly handsome assassin tries to carve out her heart, she realizes how? she is anything but ordinary. I like the first half for a hook, but the second half is too vague.

 

Leaving her mundane existence behind This is vague and a big jump from the last sentence. It's like you jumped from A to C here. and her safety even further, Sera is forced through the roots of Yggdrasil, the twisted tree of Norse legend that connects her world to another. One where creatures of myth thrive and barbarian mysticism is both alluring and violent. Too vague.

 

Fallen into a festering empire, Sera and her off-limits If you're trying to imply a romantic connection, I would either make it more prominent or remove it from the query all together.guardian Callen when did he come into the picture?, are captured by the Regent’s elite guard. In the confines of the Feyrik Palace, Sera discovers the father she never knew drives a rebellion against the Regent. Caught as a pawn between two warring sides This is a bit vague., Sera faces an uncertain fate and a perilous decision. Pledge loyalty to the Regent Why does he need her to join him? is her family royalty that's been dethroned or something? You mentioned her father leads a rebellion, but why would she need to join the regent? Seems like she would be more useful as a hostage without more info., a man whose lecherous regard threatens to make her blood flow backward, or spend the rest of her life in the soiled prison below the Palace.

 

All the while, whispers of death and a terrible power follow her like a cursed shadow. A power that divided her family and ripped the kingdom apart. One she may still hold inside.   this seems tacked on at the end.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I think you've skipped over a bit too much of the dots we need in the beginning. 



#3 Jatsuki

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:50 PM

I think you've skipped over a bit too much of the dots we need in the beginning. 

 

Thank you so much for the input, it's very insightful and helpful. You're right, there's too many vague points I'm brushing over! I'll rework this!



#4 Jatsuki

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 01:20 AM

Ok I tried to fix the vagueness, but i don't know if there are still any cliche parts or if propaganda and strong arm belong together... thoughts? - Also, thanks so much!

 

Sixteen-year-old Sera’s lackluster Virginian life implodes the day an assassin tries to carve out her heart. Callen, the boy Sera has only admired from a distance, interrupts the attack, coming to her defense. But the damage is done, a toxin from the poisoned coated dagger seeps into her bloodstream.

 

Callen claims the antidote only exists on the “other side.” Dying, disoriented, and believing he is more than half mad, Sera is forced through the roots of Yggdrasil, the twisted tree of Norse legend that connects her world to another, one long lost to the memory of history.  

 

Fallen into a festering empire, Sera and Callen, are captured by the Regent’s elite guard. In the confines of the Feyrik Palace, Sera discovers the father she never knew drives a rebellion against the sociopathic Regent and his asphyxiating hold on the country. Followed by fear and whispers of monster, murderer, soul stealer, the Regent plans to employ her as propaganda to strong-arm her father into submission.  

 

Caught as a pawn between two warring sides, Sera faces an uncertain fate and a perilous decision. Agree to be the Regent’s showpiece, a man whose lecherous regard threatens to make her blood flow backward, or spend the rest of her life in the soiled prison below the Palace.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#5 Olive K. Aristen

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 04:29 PM

Hello! This is my first time looking for an agent. I've read a lot of advice on what makes a good query, but I feel a good deal of it is contradictory depending on whose opinion it comes from. So this is my attempt....

 

Dear (Agent name)

 

I am seeking representation for Starlight, an 88,000 word young adult fantasy that will appeal to fans of Julie Kagawa and Sarah J. Maas. Any reason you can quickly throw out? Titles? I am submitting to you because of your interest in (____). I agree with the other commenter. You probably want to move this to the end.

 

Sixteen-year-old Sera thought she was unremarkable. She is just another high school student in the countryside of Virginia, trudging through each day set to the beat of her mother’s strict schedule. [I think you should shorten this. I feel like I want a bit of a voice to, or something funny? Maybe dodging her helicopter mom?] But when a recklessly handsome assassin [I feel like I wouldn't notice much that the guy who was trying to kill me was handsome...I mean I could be alone in this but...] tries to carve out her heart, she realizes she is anything but ordinary.

 

 

I'd almost change this to something like "Sixteen year old Sera thought she was unremarkable, spending her days dodging her helicopter mom, until an assassin tried to carve out her heart."

 

Leaving her mundane existence behind and her safety even further, Sera is forced through the roots of Yggdrasil, the twisted tree of Norse legend that connects her this [our world?] world to another. One where creatures of myth thrive and barbarian mysticism is both alluring and violent. Sentence fragment. I'd edit this.

 

Fallen into a festering empire, festering seems like the wrong word; do you mean rotting or something like that?  Sera and her off-limits guardian Callen [What do you mean off-limits? Why? This raises a lot of questions. You should probably edit it. Keep to Sera], are captured by the Regent’s elite guard. In the confines of the Feyrik Palace, Sera discovers the father she never knew drives a rebellion against the Regent. Caught as a pawn between two warring sides, Sera faces an uncertain fate and a perilous decision. Pledge loyalty to the Regent, a man whose lecherous regard threatens to make her blood flow backward, ? or spend the rest of her life in the soiled prison below the Palace.

 

All the while, whispers of death and a terrible power follow her like a cursed shadow. A power that divided her family and ripped the kingdom apart.  One she may still hold inside. This is very vague and two sentence fragments. I'd revise.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

You use a lot of proper nouns. I'd try to limit them as much as possible; streamline and try to keep it simple. Keep working!


Current query for critique: http://agentquerycon...-adult-fantasy/


#6 Jatsuki

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 04:34 PM

You use a lot of proper nouns. I'd try to limit them as much as possible; streamline and try to keep it simple. Keep working!

Oh sorry, I guess I'm suppose to cross out the query if I've already made changes. The second one I updated is right above your post! Thank you for the suggestions, what do you think of this second version?



#7 tkm256

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:16 PM

Hi Jatsuki,

 

This is a great setup, but so far that's all it is: a setup, not a story.

 

Your heroine doesn't do anything until the very last sentence. Sera is attacked, she is saved, she is forced into another world, she is captured, she is caught between two warring factions...and then she faces a choice that will presumably spur her to action. This query gives the impression that Sera is a passive princess who sits around fretting while her love interest, her father, and her evil uncle drive the real story. But she's not, right? She's a heroine and she must do heroic things you haven't told us about.

 

I imagine you have a lot of great material in this novel that you aren't highlighting. What is Sera's magic power, and how does she use it to save the kingdom and return home? How do her feelings for Callen grow, and what tragic circumstance keeps them apart? What decision does she make, and how does she escape the Regent's clutches and bring him down?

 

-TK



#8 Brittany Astor

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 07:58 AM

Hi Jatsuki,

 

I'm no querying expert, but I just wanted to let you know that I thought your updated/edited version was fantastic and really piqued my interest. As a fan of YA, I think it was a great 'summary' or 'blurb' that I'd maybe find on the back of the book.

 

I agree with tkm256, however, we do need to see a bit more of Sera's actions and what makes her so special other than just her father being the leader of the rebellion.


Budding writer of historical YA fiction...






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