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Minutes Until Morning (YA Contemporary)

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#1 kacimari

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 10:54 AM

NEW AT #7.

 

Dear Agent,

 

MINUTES UNTIL MORNING, a 65,000 word Young Adult Contemporary novel, is The Fault in our Stars meets Thirteen Reasons Why and will appeal to fans of Jennifer Niven.

 

With his toes pressed to the ledge of a twelve-story building, Hudson Trent has two choices: kill himself or kill his brother. Pulling Coop’s vent tube isn’t murder—that’s what the documentary producers say, anyway—it’s a kindness that comes with a Go Fund Me to pay down their medical debt. His mom needs money, but the unblinking cameras will expose Hudson’s secret: he has Huntington’s Disease, too. Sacrificing his own life will save his mom from suffering a third expensive and fatal battle with HD. As a bonus, he won’t have to watch his brother die.

 

Before he gathers the courage to jump, Hudson is interrupted by Remi, a whirlwind girl who’s fleeing her own deadly mistake. Hudson tries to walk away. The last thing he needs is another distraction, but Remi is desperate for a friend. When breakfast for dinner turns into a journey to document all their reasons for saying goodbye, Hudson finds himself tangled in Remi’s tornado and face to face with every experience he avoided because of Huntington’s Disease. A night of firsts and lasts—a party, a kiss, a dance, and a growing attachment to Remi—won’t slow Hudson’s approaching deadline. By morning, he must decide what makes a life worth ending, and what, if anything, is reason enough to keep living.

 

I’ve published a novel and companion short story with Inkspell Publishing. Several of my short pieces have been selected for literary magazines and anthologies, including Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things, Sucker Literary Volume III, and Spark Volume VII. I am a member of SCBWI and the Flint Area Writers Group.

 

Thank you very much for your time. I hope to speak to you soon regarding MINUTES UNTIL MORNING.


Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.

#2 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 10:16 AM

Dear Agent,

 

MINUTES UNTIL MORNING, a 65,000 word Young Adult Contemporary novel, is The Fault in our Stars meets Thirteen Reasons Why and will appeal to fans of Jennifer Niven. This belongs at the end. I'll show you.

 

With his toes pressed to the ledge of a twelve-story building, Hudson Trent has two choices: kill himself or kill his brother. (That's a great hook sentence.) Pulling Coop’s vent tube isn’t murder. Well, that’s what the documentary producers say, anywayIt’s a kindness that comes with a Go Fund Me to pay down their medical debt. His mom needs money, but the unblinking cameras will expose Hudson’s secret: he has Huntington’s Disease, too. Sacrificing his own life will save his mom from suffering a third (third? Did the dad have it too or something?) expensive and fatal battle with HD. As a bonus, he won’t have to watch his brother die.

 

Before he gathers the courage to jump, Hudson is interrupted by Remi, a whirlwind girl who’s fleeing her own deadly mistake. Hudson tries to walk away. The last thing he needs is another distraction, but Remi is desperate for a friend. When breakfast for dinner turns into a journey to document all their reasons for saying goodbye, Hudson finds himself tangled in Remi’s tornado and face to face with every experience he avoided because of Huntington’s Disease. (This is just a picky detail, but you said HD last time. If you're going to shorten it, shorten it all the way through.) A night of firsts and lasts—a party, a kiss, a dance, and a growing attachment to Remi—won’t slow Hudson’s approaching deadline. By morning, he must decide what makes a life worth ending, and what, if anything, is reason enough to keep living. 

 

MINUTES UNTIL MORNING, a 65,000 word Young Adult Contemporary novel, is The Fault in our Stars meets Thirteen Reasons Why and will appeal to fans of Jennifer Niven. I've heard that mentioning other books can hurt your query, but having it is a personal writer's choice. Since both books did great, I think it'd be okay.

 

I’ve published a novel and companion short story with Inkspell Publishing. Several of my short pieces have been selected for literary magazines and anthologies, including Ember: A Journal of Luminous ThingsSucker Literary Volume III, and Spark Volume VII. I am a member of SCBWI and the Flint Area Writers Group. Sounds like you have awesome experience.

 

Thank you very much for your time and consideration. I hope to speak to you soon regarding MINUTES UNTIL MORNING.

 

Honestly, it sounds great. There's just a couple of spots to clean up still, but you got a great, interesting plot working for you. Great job.



#3 loopygoose

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 04:48 AM

I completely agree with the post above, on everything. That's a really great hook. I can't wait to read it!



#4 klnorton

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 02:23 PM

Dear Agent,

 

MINUTES UNTIL MORNING, a 65,000-word Young Adult Contemporary novel, is The Fault in our Stars meets Thirteen Reasons Why and will appeal to fans of Jennifer Niven. My personal preference is to put this at the end, but my understanding is that either is acceptable. When I see your fantastic opening line below, I think that's far more compelling than this info, so I'd move this to the end.

 

With his toes pressed to the ledge of a twelve-story building, Hudson Trent has two choices: kill himself or kill his brother. Fantastic! Pulling Coop’s is this short for Cooper? I wouldn't use nicknames in a query vent tube isn’t murder—that’s what the documentary producers say, anyway—it’s a kindness that comes with a Go Fund Me to pay down their medical debt. Do they only get the oney if he pulls the tube? That seems a little odd. His mom needs money, but the unblinking cameras will expose Hudson’s secret: he has Huntington’s Disease, too. why will the cameras expose this secret if he pulls the tube? I don't quite see how the two connect Sacrificing his own life will save his mom from suffering a third where does the third one come in? expensive and fatal battle with HD. As a bonus, he won’t have to watch his brother die. At this point I'm feeling a little disconnect from your opening line because I don't really feel like those are his two choices. If he kills himself, his brother will still die. Someone else will pull the plug. The opening line makes it sound like killing himself will save his brother, so it feels a little misleading. But it's a great line, so I'm torn.

 

Before he gathers the courage to jump, Hudson is interrupted by Remi, a whirlwind girl who’s fleeing her own deadly mistake. Hudson tries to walk away.This line feels a little random and unnecessary The last thing he needs is another distraction, but Remi is desperate for a friend. When breakfast for dinner turns into a journey to document I don't know what this means all their reasons for saying goodbye, Hudson finds himself tangled in Remi’s tornado and face to face with every experience he avoided because of Huntington’s Disease. A night of firsts and lasts—a party, a kiss, a dance, and a growing attachment to Remi—won’t slow Hudson’s approaching deadline. By morning, he must decide what makes a life worth ending, and what, if anything, is reason enough to keep living. I like this last line

 

I’ve published a novel and companion short story with Inkspell Publishing. Several of my short pieces have been selected for literary magazines and anthologies, including Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things, Sucker Literary Volume III, and Spark Volume VII. I am a member of SCBWI and the Flint Area Writers Group.

 

Thank you very much for your time. I hope to speak to you soon regarding MINUTES UNTIL MORNING.  Janet Reid (Query Shark) advises against this phrase. I think it's her personal pet peeve, but I'd still avoid using it.


~ Karyne Norton

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One reason that people have artist's block is that they do not respect the law of dormancy in nature. Trees don't produce fruit all year long, constantly. They have a point where they go dormant. And when you are in a dormant period creatively, if you can arrange your life to do the technical tasks that don't take creativity, you are essentially preparing for the spring when it will all blossom again. - Marshall Vandruff

 


#5 kacimari

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 03:09 PM

NEW AT #7.

 

Dear Agent,

 

With his toes pressed to the ledge of a twelve-story building, Hudson Trent has two choices: kill himself or kill his brother. Pulling Coop’s vent tube isn’t murder—the filmmakers call it a kindness—and his mom needs the documentary fundraiser to pay down their medical debt. But the unblinking cameras will uncover Hudson’s secret: he has Huntington’s Disease too. Sacrificing his own life will save his mom—and Hudson himself—from suffering another expensive and fatal battle with HD. As a bonus, he won’t be the reason his brother dies.

 

Before he gathers the courage to jump, Hudson is interrupted by Remi, a whirlwind girl who’s fleeing her own deadly mistake. Hudson tries to walk away. The last thing he needs is another distraction, but Remi refuses to let him go. When breakfast for dinner turns into filming their own documentary with all their reasons for saying goodbye, Hudson finds himself face to face with every experience he avoided because of HD. A night of firsts and lasts—a party, a kiss, a dance, and a growing attachment to Remi—won’t slow Hudson’s approaching deadline. By morning, he must decide what makes a life worth ending, and what, if anything, is reason enough to keep living.

 

MINUTES UNTIL MORNING, a 65,000 word Young Adult Contemporary novel, is The Fault in our Stars meets Thirteen Reasons Why and will appeal to fans of Jennifer Niven.

 

I’ve published a novel and companion short story with Inkspell Publishing. Several of my short pieces have been selected for literary magazines and anthologies, including Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things, Sucker Literary Volume III, and Spark Volume VII. I am a member of SCBWI and the Flint Area Writers Group.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.

#6 Ajax

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 11:55 PM

Dear Agent,

 

With his toes pressed to the ledge of a twelve-story building, Hudson Trent has two choices: kill himself or kill his brother. Pulling Coop’s vent tube isn’t murder—the filmmakers call it a kindness—and his mom needs the documentary fundraiser to pay down their medical debt. But the unblinking cameras will uncover Hudson’s secret: he has Huntington’s Disease too.  (How?) Sacrificing his own life will save his mom—and Hudson himself—from suffering another expensive and fatal battle with HD. As a bonus, he won’t be the reason his brother dies. (This can be simplified for more clarity.)

 

Before he gathers the courage to jump, Hudson is interrupted by Remi, (Why?) a whirlwind girl who’s fleeing her own deadly mistake. Hudson tries to walk away. The last thing he needs is another distraction, but Remi refuses to let him go. (I need a strong motive here.) When breakfast for dinner turns into filming their own documentary with all their reasons for saying goodbye, (Why would they do this? How would the documentary help them?) Hudson finds himself face to face with every experience he avoided because of HD. A night of firsts and lasts—a party, a kiss, a dance, and a growing attachment to Remi (This feels forced and a bit unbelievable since Remi is a total stranger. Also, is there a way to talk about their adventure without making a list?)won’t slow Hudson’s approaching deadline. (What deadline?!) By morning, he must decide what makes a life worth ending, and what, if anything, is reason enough to keep living. (You should mention this in the beginning of the query. Plus, why the morning? Why this specific deadline?)

 

MINUTES UNTIL MORNING, a 65,000 word Young Adult Contemporary novel, is The Fault in our Stars meets Thirteen Reasons Why (These titles are "outliers" i.e. they are significantly huge and have big screen and TV adaptations. I've seen agents advise against using outliers in a query as comp titles.) and will appeal to fans of Jennifer Niven. (All the Bright Places and My Heart and other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga would make better comps for your query.)

 

I’ve published a novel and companion short story with Inkspell Publishing. Several of my short pieces have been selected for literary magazines and anthologies, including Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things, Sucker Literary Volume III, and Spark Volume VII. I am a member of SCBWI and the Flint Area Writers Group.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Good luck.



#7 kacimari

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    Spark Volume VII, and the inaugural issue of Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things.

Posted 14 June 2017 - 01:18 PM

Dear Agent,

 

Since Huntington’s Disease began killing his brain three months ago, Hudson Trent has known he will follow his father’s footsteps and take his own life. He never imagined he’d have to execute Coop, his incapacitated older brother, too. Some forgetfulness and soreness in his legs is nothing compared to the swarm of documentary producers demanding he and his mother pull Coop’s vent tube. Dying now won’t save Coop’s life, since HD is always fatal, but at least it won’t add to his mother’s pile of medical bills. When the producers offer a bribe turned fundraiser to eliminate the debt, Hudson is certain: Taking Coop’s blood money is wrong and he can’t leave his mother with more bills on his behalf.

 

The forty-eight-hour production deadline drives Hudson to the top of a twelve-story building. Before he gathers the courage to jump, he’s interrupted by Remi, a whirlwind girl running from her own fatal mistake. The last thing Hudson needs is a friend. Still, he talks her off the roof and she talks him into breakfast for dinner. Their last meal turns into a one-night journey to film their own documentary—a collection of snippets Hudson hopes his mother can use in exchange for the money she desperately needs. While recording, Hudson finds himself face to face with every first and last experience HD has stolen from him, including awakening feelings for Remi he’s not allowed to have.

 

Their one night doesn’t stop time and, by morning, Hudson finds himself back on the ledge where he must decide what makes a life worth ending, and what, if anything, is reason enough to keep living.

 

MINUTES UNTIL MORNING, a 65,000 word Young Adult Contemporary novel, will appeal to fans of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga. It was written using Lisa Cron’s Story Genius Course and a book coach/editor through Jennie Nash’s Author Accelerator Program. My HD research included advice and stories from a woman who lost her husband and two children to HD and several discussions with a genetic counselor from Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, MI.

 

I’ve published a novel and companion short story with Inkspell Publishing. Several of my short pieces have been selected for literary magazines and anthologies, including Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things, Sucker Literary Volume III, and Spark Volume VII. I am a member of SCBWI and the Flint Area Writers Group.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to speak to you soon regarding MINUTES UNTIL MORNING.


Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.

#8 Sataris

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 03:21 PM

Hi Kacimari, and thank you for the critique! I'll jump right into it.

 

Since Huntington’s Disease began killing his brain three months ago, Hudson Trent has known he will follow in his father’s footsteps and take his own life. He never imagined he’d have to execute Coop, his incapacitated older brother, too. Some forgetfulness and soreness in his legs is nothing compared to the swarm of documentary producers demanding he and his mother pull Coop’s vent tube. Dying now won’t save Coop’s life, since HD is always fatal, but at least it won’t add to his mother’s pile of medical bills. When the producers offer a bribe turned fundraiser to eliminate the debt, Hudson is certain: Taking Coop’s blood money is wrong and he can’t leave his mother with more bills on his behalf.

 

Okay, so the stakes are pretty clear here: if Hudson pulls the plug on his brother, he'll be able to pay his mother's way out of debt. But if he takes the money, he'll be betraying his brother. That totally works for me. However, I'm not sure why exactly documentary producers are demanding he pull the plug; is there some special circumstance involved here? Do they have a relationship with Coop that makes them feel like his best interests are being ignored? Why are they swarming this particular family and offering to bribe them?

 

The forty-eight-hour production deadline (I think you're saying he has 48 hours to decide here, but I'm not sure) drives Hudson to the top of a twelve-story building. Before he gathers the courage to jump, he’s interrupted by Remi, a whirlwind girl (great concise description) running from her own fatal mistake. The last thing Hudson needs is a friend. Still, he talks her off the roof and she talks him into breakfast for dinner (again, awesome). Their last meal turns into a one-night journey to film their own documentary—a collection of snippets Hudson hopes his mother can use in exchange for the money she desperately needs. While recording, Hudson finds himself face to face with every first and last experience HD has stolen from him, including awakening feelings for Remi he’s not allowed to have. 

 

I think I'm a little unclear as to the passage of time here; early on in the query, he's dealing with forgetfulness and sore legs in the mornings, and at this point he's been robbed of a tremendous amount of life experience. Does he maybe not realize how severely the disease has already progressed until he's faced with memories he can't remember? Or is he simply being reminded that he won't experience the things he's experiencing now ever again?

 

I think what's ultimately causing my confusion here is that I can't tell if they're rehashing his old life or not in the documentary. Maybe just a few more details on its exact subject?

 

Their one night doesn’t stop time and, by morning, Hudson finds himself back on the ledge where he must decide what makes a life worth ending, and what, if anything, is reason enough to keep living.

 

This is a great tagline. I could totally see this being on the back of the book. Overall, it's clear you're an excellent writer, and you've set up a very good framework of the story in a concise and engaging way. I think this is just about ready to go with another line on why the documentary people seem so intent on having Coop die, and a tiny bit more on what exactly the documentary is about.



#9 secondstar87

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 04:10 PM

Since Huntington’s Disease began killing his brain three months ago, Hudson Trent has known he will follow his father’s footsteps and take his own life. Ouch! A hook for sure!. He never imagined he’d have to execute Coop, his incapacitated older brother, too.

 

I'd make the next a new paragraph, otherwise your opening paragraph feels large and a little overwhelming. 

 

Some forgetfulness and soreness in his legs is nothing compared to the swarm of documentary producers demanding he and his mother pull Coop’s vent tube how do documentary producers get to demand that??. Dying now won’t save Coop’s life, since HD is always fatal, but at least it won’t add to his mother’s pile of medical bills. But wouldn't it add to her trauma and pain?! When the producers offer a bribe turned fundraiser to eliminate the debt, Hudson is certain: Taking Coop’s blood money is wrong and he can’t leave his mother with more bills on his behalf. I'm confused what a "bribe turned fundraiser means." They're paying them to let Coop die? Are they on reality TV? Is Hudson's sole reason for suicide to keep things inexpensive for his mother? That doesn't seem like a big enough incentive...

 

The forty-eight-hour production deadline drives Hudson to the top of a twelve-story building. Before he gathers the courage to jump, he’s interrupted by Remi, a whirlwind girl running from her own fatal mistake. The last thing Hudson needs is a friend. Still, he talks her off the roof and she talks him into breakfast for dinner. Their last meal turns into a one-night journey to film their own documentary—a collection of snippets Hudson hopes his mother can use in exchange for the money she desperately needs. While recording, Hudson finds himself face to face with every first and last experience HD has stolen from him, including awakening feelings for Remi he’s not allowed to haveI think cutting these phrases helps reduce wordiness. 

 

Their one night doesn’t stop time and, bBy morning, Hudson finds himself back on the ledge where he must decide what makes a life worth ending, and what, if anything, is reason enough to keep living. Great cliffhanger (literally!). I think at the end of the previous paragraph you should give us a clue that he's reconsidering suicide. 

 

MINUTES UNTIL MORNING, a 65,000 word Young Adult Contemporary novel, will appeal to fans of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine WargaIt was written using Lisa Cron’s Story Genius Course and a book coach/editor through Jennie Nash’s Author Accelerator Program. My HD research included advice and stories from a woman who lost her husband and two children to HD and several discussions with a genetic counselor from Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, MI.

 

I’ve published a novel and companion short story with Inkspell Publishing. Several of my short pieces have been selected for literary magazines and anthologies, including Ember: A Journal of Luminous ThingsSucker Literary Volume III, and Spark Volume VII. I am a member of SCBWI and the Flint Area Writers Group. The info in these last two paragraphs is certainly interesting and it's great that you did a lot of research, but it's more than I believe agents are usually looking for, and you want to keep things clean and concise. It's assumed that a good writer does research, so you don't need to state that. 

 

If you get a chance I'd appreciate your thoughts on my latest query draft for "To Sail the Stars!" 


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

 

"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 






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