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WISH UPON A BIRD

Fiction Fantasy Middle Grade

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#1 Cez

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 12:44 AM

Hi everyone! I'm getting my query ready for pitch wars and I would appreciate some help.

 

Dear agent,

 

Ten-year-old Lark is a mute girl who can see, living in a town of blind people who can sing.

 

To survive in a society where music is everything, Lark and her sister make a living by catching and selling songbirds. The birds are coveted not only for their songs, but for their wishes. Every kind of bird has a certain wish inside it. Robins are for health, magpies for trouble, blackbirds for luck, and wagtails for sense. Only one bird can grant any wish under the sun; a nightingale.

 

So when Lark hears a nightingale’s song in the forest, she risks hunting at night with wolves, and even trespassing in another bird hunter’s territory to catch it. If she does she’ll be able to wish for a voice for herself, and selling the bird will bring in enough money to keep her and her sister through the winter.

 

But everyone in the town has their own reasons for wanting the nightingale, and their own plans how to get it. And when even Lark’s friends join the fight for the bird, Lark will have to decide just how far she is willing to go to get a voice.

 

WISH UPON A BIRD is a middle-grade fantasy complete at XXXXX words.



#2 jaustail

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 01:14 AM

JMO:

 

 

Dear agent,

 

Ten-year-old Lark is a mute girl who can see, living in a town of blind people who can sing.(maybe rephrase this so it's easier to read. Like: In a town of blind people who can sing, Ten-year-old Lark is a mute girl who can see)

 

To survive in a society where music is everything, Lark and her sister make a living by catching and selling songbirds. The birds are coveted not only for their songs(maybe voices since they won't be songs but more like chirps unless the birds can actually sing), but for their wishes. Every kind of bird has a certain wish inside it. Robins are for health, magpies for trouble, blackbirds for luck, and wagtails for sense. Only one bird can grant any wish under the sun; a nightingale.

 

So when Lark hears a nightingale’s song in the forest, she risks hunting at night with wolves, and even trespassing in another bird hunter’s territory to catch it. If she does she’ll be able to wish for a voice for herself, and selling the bird will bring in enough money to keep her and her sister through the winter.

 

But everyone in the town has their own reasons for wanting the nightingale, and their own plans how to get it. And when even Lark’s friends join the fight for the bird, Lark will have to decide just how far she is willing to go to get a voice.

 

WISH UPON A BIRD is a middle-grade fantasy complete at XXXXX words.

 

 

Sounds interesting and you've described the world very well. I'd request pages.

 

Is Lark's sister also mute and can see?



#3 ThatDan

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 01:33 AM

Hi everyone! I'm getting my query ready for pitch wars and I would appreciate some help.

 

Dear agent,

 

Ten-year-old Lark is a mute girl who can see, living in a town of blind people who can sing. jaustail's advice on this is good. I also stumbled a little reading it. Swap it around and it's a great hook.

 

To survive in a society where music is everything, Lark and her sister make a living by catching and selling songbirds. The birds are coveted not only for their songs, but for their wishes. Every kind of bird has a certain wish inside it. Robins are for health, magpies for trouble, blackbirds for luck, and wagtails for sense. Yet, only one bird can grant any wish under the sun; a nightingale. I'm no ornithologist, but I think you'd have to make sure they're all songbirds. I'm not sure if a magpie is a songbird, but correct me if I'm wrong.

 

So when Lark hears a nightingale’s song in the forest, she risks hunting at night with wolves, and even trespassing in another bird hunter’s territory to catch it. If she does she’ll be able to wish for a voice for herself, and selling the bird for just it's song? Wish already used up I assume? will bring in enough money to keep her and her sister through the winter. i think there's a missing word here. Keep her and her sister ... through the winter. Alive? Fed?

 

But everyone in the town has their own reasons for wanting the nightingale,< I would assume they all have the same reason: they want the wish and their own plans how to get it. And when even Lark’s friends join the fight for the bird, Lark will have to decide just how far she is willing to go to get a voice.

 

WISH UPON A BIRD is a middle-grade fantasy complete at XXXXX words.

 

overall I really really like both the query and the story. Love the minimalistic style of the fantasy, and the query is very well polished. Sounds like a simple yet emotional story and I'd definitely hope to read it someday.


I'm no professional. Take my critiques merely as suggestions.

No active query atm.


#4 Springfield

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 02:00 AM

Hi everyone! I'm getting my query ready for pitch wars and I would appreciate some help.

 

Dear agent,

 

Ten-year-old Lark is a mute girl who can see, living in a town of blind people who can sing.

 

To survive in a society where music is everything, Lark and her sister make a living by catching and selling songbirds. The birds are coveted not only for their songs, but for their wishes. Every kind of bird has a certain wish inside it. Robins are for health, magpies for trouble, blackbirds for luck, and wagtails for sense. Only one bird can grant any wish under the sun; a nightingale. I think this could be smoothed out a bit -- it reads as if the birds have wishes, then as if they're totems of some sort, or just fulfill particular desires, not that they GRANT wishes, and only wishes that conform to specific categories

 

So when Lark hears a nightingale’s song in the forest, she risks hunting at night with wolves, and even trespassing in another bird hunter’s territory to catch it. If she does she’ll be able to wish for a voice for herself, and selling the bird will bring in enough money to keep her and her sister through the winter.Again, I'm confused by how it works -- the birds are... reusable? They're infinite wish-granters? I don't really understand why they're valuable in that case. I'd think there'd be a nice rental market, but...

 

But everyone in the town has their own reasons for wanting the nightingale, and their agreement own plans how to get it. And when even Lark’s friends join the fight for the bird, Lark will have to decide just how far she is willing to go to get a voice.

 

WISH UPON A BIRD is a middle-grade fantasy complete at XXXXX words.

 

I kind of love this -- I think it needs a bit of clarity, but beyond that, it's clear, it sounds intriguing... maybe a little more voice too, but it's a great start.



#5 Cez

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 08:49 AM

2nd draft.

 

Thank you all for your feedback.

 

Jaustail: to answer your question, no her sister isn't mute, but they are very poor.

 

 

Dear agent,

 

In a town of blind people who can sing, ten-year-old Lark is a mute girl who can see.

 

To survive in a society where music is everything, Lark and her sister make a living by catching and selling songbirds. The birds are coveted not only for their songs, but for their wishes. Every kind of bird has a certain wish inside it. Robins are for health, magpies for trouble, blackbirds for luck, and wagtails for sense. Only one bird can grant any wish under the sun; a nightingale.

 

So when Lark hears a nightingale’s song in the forest, she risks hunting at night with wolves, and even trespassing in another bird hunter’s territory to catch it. If she does she’ll be able to wish for a voice for herself, and selling the bird will bring in enough money to keep her and her sister fed through the winter.

 

But everyone in the town has their own reasons for wanting the nightingale, and their own plans how to get it. And when even Lark’s friends join the fight for the bird, Lark will have to decide just how far she is willing to go to get a voice.

 

WISH UPON A BIRD is a middle-grade fantasy complete at XXXXX words.



#6 jaustail

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 09:07 AM

JMO:

 

 

Dear agent,

 

In a town of blind people who can sing, ten-year-old Lark is a mute girl who can see.

 

To survive in a society where music is everything, Lark and her sister make a living by catching and selling songbirds. The birds are coveted not only for their songs, but for their wishes(but also for their wishes... or... but for their wishes as well). Every kind of bird has a certain wish inside it. Robins are for health, magpies for trouble, blackbirds for luck, and wagtails for sense(maybe: intellect/wisdom). Only one bird can grant any wish under the sun; a nightingale.

 

So when Lark hears a nightingale’s song in the forest, she risks hunting at night with wolves, and even trespassing in another bird hunter’s territory to catch it. If she does she’ll be able to wish for a voice for herself, and selling the bird will bring in enough money to keep her and her sister fed through the winter.

 

But everyone in the town has their own reasons for wanting the nightingale, and (have) their own plans (maybe add: on)how to get it. And when even Lark’s friends join the fight for the bird, Lark will have to decide just how far she is willing to go to get a voice.

 

WISH UPON A BIRD is a middle-grade fantasy complete at XXXXX words.

 

 

As mentioned earlier, interesting premise and good world building in the query.



#7 Sataris

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 10:17 AM

 

 

Dear agent,

 

In a town of blind people who can sing, ten-year-old Lark is a mute girl who can see. much better

 

To survive in a society where music is everything, Lark and her sister make a living by catching and selling songbirds. The birds are coveted not only for their songs, but for their wishes. Every kind of bird has a certain wish inside it. Robins are for health, magpies for trouble not sure what this means, blackbirds for luck, and wagtails for sense not sure about this one either - and it might pushes up a little too close against sight/speech being senses. Only one bird can grant any wish under the sun; a nightingale.

 

So when Lark hears a nightingale’s song in the forest, she risks hunting at night with wolves I'd cut this unless you want to develop the forest more- wolves sounds like a throwaway descriptor, and even trespassing in another bird hunter’s territory to catch it. If she does she’ll be able to wish for a voice for herself, and selling the bird will bring in enough money to keep her and her sister fed through the winter. 

 

I'm not sure why she'd get a ton of money for a bird whose wish has been used, though I know you said they're coveted for their songs, so it's probably alright. Is it the first nightingale they've heard for years? maybe increasing its rarity or saying its song is particularly beautiful would help sell people drooling over it regardless of the wish

 

But everyone in the town has their own reasons for wanting the nightingale, and their own plans how to get it. this is a little vague, and probably implied that they'll act on their desires And when even Lark’s friends join the fight for the bird, Lark will have to decide just how far she is willing to go to get a voice. I love the ending, but I wonder if you could make it more specific. Is there a specific friend she'll have to betray at the end of this that you could introduce us to? Otherwise we don't know she has friends until the very end- when we're supposed to be invested in them and not want to see them hurt.

 

WISH UPON A BIRD is a middle-grade fantasy complete at XXXXX words.

Despite all the marks, this is really good. I wish my second draft had looked like this. Really cool high concept too. Hope that was helpful. If you've got a minute, my query is in my sig


No current query.


#8 Springfield

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 10:35 AM

2nd draft.

 

Thank you all for your feedback.

 

Jaustail: to answer your question, no her sister isn't mute, but they are very poor.

 

 

Dear agent,

 

In a town of blind people who can sing, ten-year-old Lark is a mute girl who can see. This reads oddly -- blind people can sing. That's not odd. It also doesn't lead with your protagonist. The other way was a better setup.

 

To survive in a society where music is everything, This also doesn't fit now as it jumps off Lark, not the town. Lark and her sister make a living by catching and selling songbirds. The birds are coveted not only for their songs, but for their wishes. Every kind of bird has a certain wish inside it. Robins are for health, magpies for trouble, blackbirds for luck, and wagtails for sense. Only one bird can grant any wish under the sun; a nightingale.

 

So when Lark hears a nightingale’s song in the forest, she risks hunting at night with wolves, and even trespassing in another bird hunter’s territory to catch it. If she does she’ll be able to wish for a voice for herself, and selling the bird will bring in enough money to keep her and her sister fed through the winter.

 

But everyone in the town has their own reasons for wanting the nightingale, and their own plans how to get it. And when even Lark’s friends join the fight for the bird, Lark will have to decide just how far she is willing to go to get a voice.

 

WISH UPON A BIRD is a middle-grade fantasy complete at XXXXX words.

 Paring back takes away some of the need for explanations, which works for me -- except I'm still a little lost on the wishes/helps thing, and also why a robin couldn't fix her voice. Still like it but liked the first version of the opening much better, was more compelling and made more sense.



#9 Iconian

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 05:07 PM

JMO:

 

 

Dear agent,

 

In a town of blind people who can [I'd replace this phrase with something more interesting.  Like, "In a town of blind people who live life in song," etc] sing, ten-year-old Lark is a mute girl who can see.  [Wow.  I'm already very intrigued.  Like Flatland and other stuff . . .]

 

To survive in a society where music is everything, Lark and her sister make a living by catching and selling songbirds. The birds are coveted not only for their songs, but for their wishes(but also for their wishes... or... but for their wishes as well) <<<<[My personal choice]. Every kind of bird has a certain wish inside it: [colon] Robins are for health, magpies for trouble, blackbirds for luck, and wagtails for sense(maybe: intellect/wisdom). But only one bird can grant any wish under the sun: [colon] a nightingale.

 

So when Lark hears a nightingale’s song in the forest, she risks hunting at night with wolves, and even trespassing in another bird hunter’s territory to catch it. If she does succeeds, she’ll be able to wish for a voice for herself, and selling the bird will bring in enough money to keep her and her sister fed through the winter.

 

But everyone in the town has their own reasons for wanting the nightingale, and (have) their own plans (maybe add: on) [I'd say "for" instead] how to get it. And when even Lark’s friends join the fight for the bird, Lark will she'll have to decide just how far she is willing to go to get a voice.  [Interesting stakes, but I think you should give the reader SOME idea of just what means specifically.  For example: "she'll contemplate theft, violence, and even visiting a mysterious woman at the edge of the world in order to get a voice."]

 

WISH UPON A BIRD is a middle-grade fantasy complete at XXXXX words.

 

 

As mentioned earlier, interesting premise and good world building in the query.

 

Wow, cool premise, cool story, and I think the name's great.  I think the query needs a little bit of improvement, but I think it's probably pretty close.  I do have one question though: just how exactly do people make a wish through the bird?  Do they just think what they want, and the bird grants it to them?  Because if they have to actually vocalize their wishes, Lark's probably going to have a bit of a problem . . .


My query, open to critiques:   http://agentquerycon...mantic-dramedy/


#10 dovenestedtowers

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 08:53 PM

Dear agent,

 

In a town of blind people who can sing, ten-year-old Lark is a mute girl who can see. Wow. Talk about hooklines. This would instantly catch my attention--so you've got a lot of goodwill going into this. Let's see how the rest of this holds up.

 

To survive in a society where music is everything, Lark and her sister make a living by catching and selling songbirds. I think the logic of this is a bit off, unless you're implying that EVERYONE in that society sells songbirds for a living. There must be other jobs in that society, right? Is it that they have to sell songbirds because everyone else makes a living by singing, which Lark can't do, being a mute? (This is a bit nitpicky, but I think your query is at the stage where you only need nitpicking) The birds are coveted not only for their songs, but for their wishes. The phrasing here doesn't work for me. How about "for the wishes they grant"? Is that what you mean? Every kind of bird has a certain wish inside it. This is still a bit unclear--it almost sounds like the birds are the ones making the wishes. This is an awesome premise though! Robins are for health, magpies for trouble For wishing trouble upon others? This is a bit confusing because all of your other "wishes" (health, luck, and sense) are things you'd wish upon yourself. But I don't think someone would wish trouble upon themselves. Is there some better way you could phrase this? , blackbirds for luck, and wagtails for sense Wisdom?. Only one bird can grant any wish under the sun; a nightingale. Very cool.

 

So when Lark hears a nightingale’s song in the forest, she risks hunting at night with wolves, and even trespassing in another bird hunter’s territory to catch it. This makes it seem like those are the only two obstacles. Wouldn't it work better if you said something like: she'll stop at nothing to catch it, including... (I'm not saying you want to use that particularly cliched wording, but I think it'd flow better if you summarized her motivation and THEN gave examples. If she does she’ll be able to wish for a voice for herself Awesome!, and selling the bird will bring in enough money to keep her and her sister fed through the winter. Flip these if you can. Getting a voice for herself is the bigger reward--it has more of a punch than staying fed through the winter.

 

But everyone in the town has their own reasons for wanting the nightingale, and their own plans how to get it. You could make this more succinct. "They aren't the only ones out to catch the nightingale." ? And when even Lark’s friends Confusing--initial assumption is that they're helping her, when in reality she's competing with them, right? join the fight Is this the right word? for the bird, Lark will have to decide just how far she is willing to go to get a voice. This is a bit vague. How far she is willing to go in what sense?

 

WISH UPON A BIRD I love the title, by the way! is a middle-grade fantasy complete at XXXXX words.

 

Heck, based on your title and opening line alone I'd want to give the first chapter a look. I don't think I've made any comments at all about major structural elements of the pitch--my comments have more to do with ways of phrasing certain things. I think this is an awesome query. I'm writing down the title so I can buy this book if (when) it gets published!



#11 Cez

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 11:47 AM

Thank you everyone for your advice.

 

Iconian: To answer your question: Yes you have to say the words "I wish +++" to make a wish. And yes that is a problem for Lark.



#12 eric balson

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 04:51 PM

2nd draft.

 

Thank you all for your feedback.

 

Jaustail: to answer your question, no her sister isn't mute, but they are very poor.

 

 

Dear agent,

 

In a town of blind people who can sing, ten-year-old Lark is a mute girl who can see.  Intriguing hook

 

To survive in a society where music is everything, Lark and her sister make a living by catching and selling songbirds. The birds are coveted not only for their songs, but for their wishes. Every kind of bird has a certain wish inside it. Robins are for health, magpies for trouble, blackbirds for luck, and wagtails for sense "sense" sounds a tad awkward. Only one bird can grant any wish under the sun; a nightingale.

 

So when Lark hears a nightingale’s song in the forest, she risks hunting at night with wolves, and even trespassing in another bird hunter’s territory to catch it. If she does she’ll be able to wish for a voice for herself, and selling the bird will bring in enough money to keep her and her sister fed through the winter.

 

But everyone in the town has their own reasons for wanting the nightingale, and their own plans how to get it. And when even Lark’s friends join the fight for the bird, Lark will have to decide just how far she is willing to go to get a voice.

 

WISH UPON A BIRD is a middle-grade fantasy complete at XXXXX words.

Your story sounds interesting. There isn't that much you have to change in your query, it sums up nicely the key ingredients of agent-landing queries.

Hope i've been of help. Please check out my query here(post #69):  http://agentquerycon...o-we-are/page-4



#13 Theo A. Gerken

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 06:51 AM

2nd draft.

 

Thank you all for your feedback.

 

Jaustail: to answer your question, no her sister isn't mute, but they are very poor.

 

 

Dear agent,

 

In a town of blind people who can sing, ten-year-old Lark is a mute girl who can see.

 

To survive in a society where music is everything, Lark and her sister make a living by catching and selling songbirds. The birds are coveted not only for their songs, but for their wishes. Every kind of bird has a certain wish inside it. Robins are for health, magpies for trouble, blackbirds for luck, and wagtails for sense. Only one bird can grant any wish under the sun; a nightingale.

 

So when Lark hears a nightingale’s song in the forest, she risks hunting at night with wolves, and even trespassing in another bird hunter’s territory to catch it. If she does she’ll be able to wish for a voice for herself, and selling the bird will bring in enough money to keep her and her sister fed through the winter.

 

But everyone in the town has their own reasons for wanting the nightingale, and their own plans how to get it. And when even Lark’s friends join the fight for the bird, Lark will have to decide just how far she is willing to go to get a voice.

 

WISH UPON A BIRD is a middle-grade fantasy complete at XXXXX words.

The story made me think about The Hunger Games.

 

The first sentence is strong, introducing the whole thing. The rest doesn't feel dramatic, immediate, or primal enough. Do you need to introduce every kind of bird? I had to read that sentence several times.

 

Also, is the whole story about catching the bird? There's nothing else happing? I was wondering about that.

 

Writing queries is hard, keep it up.







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